1896 Correspondence with a Grandmother TWO LETTERS FROM CLEVELAND
Lucy Hale Keys
Cleveland April 13 '96 77 Chester Street
My dear Nellie and Harry,
I know you think G Ma very remiss in her duty to you but my dear children you must not feel hurt. I cannot do better. There are days and days that I could no more write a letter than I could remove mountains, for if I undertook either I should have to do it letter by letter & piece by piece. I received your welcome letters, also one from Howard about the same time. At that time I was not able to sit up all day & even now I am obliged to lie down often if I try to slow or do any little thing I am so weak. We have had some very cold weather for April, & I think it has affected my rheumatism & makes me feel worse. For a few days past it has been quite pleasant, & today is the first real hot day we have had, & as I have not changed my winter flannels. I find it rather too warm for delicious comfort, but tomorrow or even tonight it may snow & the changes are so sudden that we may have to put off all changes as long as we can.
I shall look for my little root of (------) with great eagerness. When we left Florida I had a beautiful root, but it was sought after so much, that the cutting killed it. So if you can I would like a root. The leaves or buds are just beginning to swell on some of the shrubs & cherry trees, but that is as far as they have got & though you will see roses and all kinds of flowers on the corsage of very many at church & elsewhere, yet they come from greenhouses in the east & south together with those raised here. Cleveland people are great flower loving people, and all will have them when they would do better to save their money to buy bread with.
I was glad to hear that all was done for your father that could have been. You did not tell me where he was. Either at your house or at his boarding house? Did any of the Jacksonville people go to the grave, & how did you get along with that suit with the undertaker? Captain Shaw in answer to a letter, gave us much news about the people of J & spoke of how much your father thought of you two boys, & that you had grown to be fine young men.
It has been a very sickly winter here, & many deaths. As to our own family all are well as usual, only Lulu has the ulcerated sore throat, and I think her babe has the measles, also Fanny's daughter Roberta has them. Uncle Fred is far from well I fear he has heart trouble. A few days ago he fell from his chair in the office & it was three hours before he was so recovered that he could be brought home. He was over today to see me, but he looked badly. I presume you have heard from Aunt Mimi, as Lena wrote you. I did expect her up today but tis too late now. Nellie (-----) I would answer your loving letter today if I could but I am about tired out but I will try to answer it soon, but do not stop writing on that account. You are young do not forget the aged. We will soon be looking for Howard. Cannot you come up to our centennial? If I had a home of my own I would try to have all my Southern children or G children spend their summers with me, but as I have not the next best thing is to have them visit us, & failing that to write after so please take the hint & do the best you can.
Afft Gmother LH Abbott
After the birth of Charlotte Elizabeth Jones
October 4 '96 47 Chester St, Cleveland
My dear grandson,
Your welcome letter of August 31 was received by me laying on the couch of sickness. Since July 28, I have been confined to the house, & most of that time to my room & bed. I sent you a PC, but was not able to write more, this is the third letter I have written since I was able to hold a pen to write, & each letter I had to lie down ere I could finish.
There was something in your letter that I wished to answer myself or I should have had Aunt E written. I am glad Nellie & my little Lottie are doing well, & I am looking forward with great desire to the letter Nellie is to write me so soon as she is able. Kiss both for G & G mother.
You spoke of wearing that ring until your daughter was old enough. Now let me make a remark, with the kindest of love. I wore that ring from 1877 till I send it to you. During all that time I did no work that should or could wear it. Yet comparing it with one in the same lot I found it had grown thin to what the other was. Now if you wear it at your work will you not wear so much, that, by the time L gets it, it will be very thin? Now I know you long to wear it, & I would but not about my hard work. Your grandfather gave one to Aunt Maria & your mother just alike but the initials, in 1867. As ours were all stolen during the war in Missouri, we had 3 of us together 13 rings 5 breast pins, 2 gold watches & chains, bracelets & other jewelry. We had but one piece left, & that was my breast pin. I had it on at the time of the raid & unpinned it & slipped it into my clothes. The cup was given her by an intimate friend or friends* of ours & neighbors of ours in Saint Louis in 1853. The spoon was one I gave her. I had a set of them old style, a hired girl took 3 of them, then I took the other 3 & had 2 made of them. One I gave to Lottie the other to Aunt Mamie.
As to your father's friends in England, I know nothing. He often spoke of being at Eton school, & that while there he ran away & joined the Army as drummer boy, & was at the Battle of Sebastopol, & that on his return to E he received the medal which he showed us that the Queen gave him. He also said he had no relatives that cared for him in E & thatNewark, New Jersey, was more home to him than any other place. Still I always felt that there was some mystery that he could have cleared up if his pride would have let him, & your mother felt the same way. He promised her that sometime he would take her back with him. I hope you will succeed in your great undertaking, but as money begets money, so will you have to be fully supplied with money and friends. I & so did your mother think that "Jones" was a misnomen, still England is a "tricky" country.
Give me a description of that great grandchild of mine. Oh how much your Pa would have enjoyed having it to amuse him. Well tell Nellie my beautiful (------) is dead. It never started up fresh. I was so disappointed, I fear the root was too old. I do want the picture of you all, cannot you have them taken? Both families and Maria are well. I send love to (------) Floridian relatives from the oldest to youngest. Kiss Miss Lottie for her G mother, & keep her mind on me by showing the scarecrow I sent you.
With love to both & a hope that you will both write soon I remain your Aff G mother LH Abbott.