The photos above and below of William and Caroline (Post) Atwater, are from my cousin, who is a direct descendent from Dora and the Atwaters.
This four generation photo may well be one of the last photos that were taken of Caroline Calista Post Atwater. This is of her, her daughter-in-law, Ella Jane Stevens Atwater Sherwood (center front), her grand-daughter Dora Atwater Sherwood Lindsey (right) and lastly Margaret Lindsey Mangum Leesom May (center back).
1917-1209 – Caroline Calista Post
Atwater to Ella Jane Stevens Sherwood Atwater
[Caroline Post Atwater was the mother of Elmer Atwater, first husband of Ella Jane Stevens
. At the time of this letter, it had been sixty years since her son was born and 37 years since her son had died when Dora was an infant. When Dora was born Ella Jane, Elmer and Dora had lived with William and Caroline Atwater and Ella Jane and Dora continued to live with them for some time after his death. They remained close throughout their lives, even after Ella Jane married Will Sherwood. William Atwater had passed away a few months earlier on April 8, 1917. Caroline's letters provide a lot of family information.] Atwater
Dear Ella and family, don’t think for one moment I have forgotten to write to you for I have not but you know how negligent we old people are. How are you this severe wintery weather. I am not feeling very good but am much better than I have been. I took a very hard cold and it left me with a very bad cough. Am troubled with bronchitis and it was pretty hard on me for a while but am better. It was almost like the Grippe so I expect I will have to keep pretty close at home this winter. Have not been out anywhere but once since I came home. Two months ago I was with you. Net seemed very glad to see me and I surely was glad to get here before cold weather. Am much obliged for sending the crochet hooks. I have been quite busy (when I felt able) knitting rugs. Have knitted one twenty two inches wide and forty long a quite a dark one. Another one not quite done will be thirty inches wide and sixty six inches long. They are both striped. The last one is much lighter than the other. Will have rags enough left for another one smaller. Have made blocks enough for a silk quilt all ready to work the seams and tatted quite a bit. How did you spend Thanksgiving? We all stayed at home. Aunt Beck and Uncle Philand [Rebecca Atwater, Caroline's sister-in-law and her husband Philander Byrns] came down Thanksgiving morning and stayed until Sunday. They are pretty well for old people and Leolie’s family were here to dinner. You never saw such a place for company. Four men, hog men and wives and three of them with a child too have been here since I came home and they have stayed from one night to one week. One man and wife stayed one week. He would be gone some days but back nights several times. Three or four men came and be here one night. It makes lots of work.Mrs. Frank says I would not have it. I would be boss in my own house and put a stop to it. Net says it is part of the hog business. They had a hog sale the next week after I came home. Sold $4,785 but it is a very expensive such work, his expenses are enormous. Will have another sale in the last of Jan of bred sows will make 3 or 4 thousand and then he sells lots at private sales. He certainly is a prosperous man.
Now I don’t write this for a blow but thought you would like to hear it. I had a letter from Will Skelton not long ago. Their boy is in the army. I don’t know whether he was drafted or enlisted. They take it very hard. Will said with close economy they might get along until spring. The worst is for feed for stock. Everything dried up out there and Will is not well and a very poor manager at best. Their daughter is married and lives near them. She helps them a great deal. I think by the way he wrote it is very cold tonight. Len has got the house heated to boiling but I have got a window open.
Isn’t this war something fierce. I have had to quit reading war news it makes me so nervous. Mrs. Frank reads it all and talks it all the time. It seems as though all the devils in the infernal regions possess the old Keiser (I don’t know if I spelled that right but you know what I mean) for him to think of such dreadful things. Mrs. F and I both want to knit for the Red Cross but Net and Len say we have knit enough in our day and not try it but if I could I would be glad to.
Dora sent me Margaret’s picture. It is very nice. I wrote to her some time ago but don’t know whether she received it. About three weeks ago six ladies, old neighbors of mine from Onalaska came up on the half past eight train and stayed all day. We all had a splendid time. It surely made me feel good. They sent Net word so she was ready for dinner and supper. Len bough a tractor to use on the farm this fall. It cost him $1030 with two plows. Is something nice too he only has four horses now and wants to sell one team.
Now don’t you think I have written enough nonsense and I think it must be about bed time. My how the wind blows so goodnight. Love and best respect to you all. Write before you forget it. Mother ANote on back:
A Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to One and All
* * * * * * * *1918-0305 – Caroline Post
Dear One’s All,
How are you this very unpleasant day. It has been so foggy all day could hardly see across the road. It is just twenty four years today since we moved to Onalaska and it rained all day after we got about three miles on our way. I was very home sick then for a long time but with never such a sad, lonely feeling as I have these days. I spend most of my time in my own room all alone and am very, very lonely. I have not been out in the road since before Christmas and it seems very different from any thing I was ever used to. I would not have any think I am complaining for I have a very nice home yet it is not home to me. It seems as though I was in the way. A letter from Grace today done me so much good. Her two youngest boys were having croup Sunday pretty bad I guess. The rest are well.True’s folks were not very well, some of them. Mae’s husband has been sent home on account of tuberculosis of the lungs. There is but little choice I think between that and going to
Net’s brother Eber is here visiting his mother. She has been quite sick and is very childish and it makes her very angry to contradict. One word she guesses she knows she has had and brought up seven children, she ought to know. She sputters at Net because she don’t do everything just as she says. I suppose you think you know more than I do but I don’t – she tells Net – but we don’t say much only try to make her think she is all right – surely if she has many spells like she had had this winter she won’t last very long. Net’s birthday is the 16th of this month. I am making her a corset-cover yoke crocheting it – am doing it on the sly. Next week Lenore is coming to stay all the week. She has no sewing machine so is coming to sew and her mother will help her. Says she has nothing to wear. Her husband’s mother stays most of the time with them this winter so she can come often. Ida’s baby does not do as well as she ought, don’t grow much, is a poor little thing, but is surely a good baby. Net is sewing for Lilah, making over some of Lenore’s dresses for her. I have silk blocks enough, made a quilt for Mae and blocks of outing flannel enough for a quilt for Millie but have to work them yet – but that will pass away the time.
Is Susan going to stay at home or what and what will be her name. If she stays there, there will be nothing to hinder you from coming out here when Dora comes. I hope she don’t disappoint us. Now my eyes are getting so tired, think I will have to quit. Grace said they had lots of milk, were milking sixteen cows, mostly new milks and if I would come up I could have all the mush and milk I wanted. Now don’t forget to write to me before long. Haven’t I done pretty well answering so quick. See you do as well.
I received three letters today, one from Oland Post wife. Net received three and her mother two and Net says not much of a day for letters either. They often receive eight to ten a day. Now goodnight and pleasant dreams to all.
Yours with love
I have always for sixty years signed my name Mrs. W B Atwaterand it comes very hard to sign it any other way.
appears to be
about ten miles away from Onalaska. It
sounds like she has moved in with other family. Bangor
 Grace Atwater, wife of Harry Jewett. Grace and Harry had eleven children.
 Leonard Atwater, son of William and Caroline Atwater
 Linette Frank, wife of Leonard
 Daughter of Leonard and Linette; she was married but don’t yet know to whom.
 Her husband, William Bigelow Atwater had died eleven months before on 8 Apr 1917. He died six months before what would have been their 60th wedding anniversary.