Monday, July 13, 2009

The Old Glendale Farm

Today while going through some of my great-grandmother's letters and memorobelia, I came across this poem that she had cut out of a newspaper nearly a century ago. Edith Minter wrote of going home to Glendale. My grandparents also lived on a farm in what now is Kendall, but in years past the farm had been in Glendale, before Kendall gained prominance. In fact, the story goes that the original farm house had been built from the wood of the general store in Glendale that had been dismantled and carried to its new location.

This summer while visiting in Wisconsin, I drove past the old Kendall/Glendale home which now looks new and updated with fresh siding and paint. I thought about all the wonderful summers we cousins had played in the creek, "helped" to milk the cows, had wandered through the fields, and had been recipients of my dad's great skill as a willow whistle maker from the tree by the barn that hung over the road. The old barn in gone, the horse barn, built in 1916 is beginning to slip off it's foundation. The rutted driveway has been updated and the old path is fading. But I still know the way to Spring Brook Farm (later known as Pine Terrace and after that the Old Weber Farm), the home of four generations of Sherwoods since 1868. A cousin still owns the land, but a few acres containing the house were sold off, so the heart and soul is gone from the old place. But I walk there in memory, hearing the lowing of the cows, the meowing of the hungry barn kittens and watching the evening shadows turn to lightening bugs. As I sat in the car along the road, I thought of the old phrase, "You can't go home again" and knew that it was true. I can though, carry home with me in my heart. And I love Edith Minter's words evoking the old days in roughly the same place.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Great-great-Aunt Susie Sherwood Pratt

The flyleaf of this very small Bible (less than 3 X 5 inches) pictured below notes that it was a gift for Susie (Susannah Mary) Sherwood from her father just past her 11th birthday. I have not yet discovered what her health condition was, whether or not she simply had consumption, or if she had had some childhood illness like rheumatic fever that had left her an invalid. I don't know how she, living up in Monroe County, Wisconsin met Arthur Pratt who lived in Johnstown Center, in Rock County Wisconsin, but the connection seems to have been the (previously unknown to me) cousin Ella Wheeler who married a Wilcox.

The little note above the Bible was found inside and provides the connection. I think the note was added by Ella Jane Stevens Sherwood, mother of Susan Rosina Sherwood Weber who is the 2nd recipient of the tiny Bible . I am currently in possession of the Bible which belongs to my mother, but I like the idea that it has visited me, me whose middle name is Susanne (sort of in between the Susan of my grandmother and the Susannah of my great-great-aunt.

I like the letter that Susie wrote below and her description of Arthur makes me appreciate him so many decades later.

Johnstown Center [Wisconsin]
Oct 16, 85

Dear Aunt Grace,
It is some time since I received your last letter. I have been waiting so that I could tell you some news. I am keeping house! I thought maybe I never should, but I am, and have been now four weeks. I was a little fearful that I might not be able to stand the work and thought before writing I would make sure. I think I feel even better than when I was doing nothing. Through the summer I could be out with my flowers and help Arthur and my life was tolerable, but when I thought of passing another such winter as I did last, I could not endure the mere thought of it. If the Lord gives me strength and health for only this year it will pay me. I think I am better in all aspects by having my mind taken up with something. My work is not hard just for us two every thing is real handy for me. We have the west part of the house and I have a nice cupboard and my room has a carpet with oil cloth all around the stove. My flour barrel is just off the head of the stairs in the dark chamber and the cellar is no farther for me than it is for them. Arthur is just splendid about helping me and says I’m a boss cook. I used to often say if I should die Arthur wouldn’t miss me much for I never had any chance to make myself necessary to him. I tell him if it was not for that horrid trouble I should be perfectly happy, but it is not wise for us poor mortals to have no trouble. I only pray that I may have my strength a while longer and maybe then I could oversee and have it easier than I have done. I hope you are all well as usual. I would so much liked to have seen you all this summer but will wait now till next if we are all spared. I shall not go to Milwaukee either. I could have gone very cheap at one time, $2.75 there and return and a Ticket to the Exposition but we did not have the money and the Exposition’s closed now so will not go. I had a letter from Clara last week, she was real well and getting fat, she said. I have not heard from Grace but twice since she went home. I had lots of things to write to her but guess she don’t want to hear them. She has given up coming back of course, or would have been here before this. I saw Mrs. Kent Fair here (that was six weeks ago). She was very anxious then to hear from her as there were so many calling for Grace and she wanted to answer them but I presume Grace has seen to it. I have sent her Delinator to Kendall. I did not know where she was. I wrote and asked her to tell me where to send them, she must have known there was one due long since, but I kept waiting thinking I should hear from her. I have to repost them anyway so took it out for Mother to look at. The PM won’t forward them. I will now tell you why I did not write yesterday as I intended. I went over to see Edith. Al said he had written to Pa so perhaps told you that she had broken her arm about five weeks ago. It is broken right in the elbow and Tilly’s second one broke hers in the same place about ten weeks ago. Edith looks for thin and pale. I wanted to bring her home with me but Al had got to take her to the Dr. again today. I guess Uncle Billy’s folks are well but do not see any thing of them they are out with us. I’m sorry but can’t help it. Mattie has been very poorly awhile ago but is better now, was down to see me this afternoon but I had gone into one of the neighbors and she went back home. Myra is working down on the Prairie now at Mr. Godfrey’s. Give my love to Auntie when you see her and all the Elroy friends, with a large share for you all at home.

Your affectionate niece, Susie