This is the last letter we have from Ann. It was written on March 4, 1902. She died the following month on April 29.
Here’s a photo of Ann that may have been taken around this time. She’s holding a young child on her lap – maybe it’s her grandson Clarence, the “little man” she refers to in her letter.
In this letter, she appears to have given up on purchasing a farm and is now considering a property “downtown” that will pay monthly – perhaps a commercial property of some kind. It also sounds like Edward may have talked with her about a short-term loan.
Her children can’t be all that enthusiastic about a 73-year-old woman undertaking such a project. I wonder if the various land deals fell through due to some foot-dragging by Edward and Ella.
More comments after the text of the letter.
March 4 1902
I received your letter Monday. We get no mail Sundays.
Ella intended to go to Lincoln to day. We was talking about buying some property downtown. Thought that would be as good as paying so much for land. I could not put more in land than I got for the place. If it is as good as they say it will come monthly. If you could not get money I would send it right down as it makes no difference to you. I would like to have it invested so short a time would not help me out very much. I would not think of charging interest for so short a time.
Maggie got home last week. She was in Sunday. Uncle Phin is poorly. Him and John is talking about visiting here this summer if he is able. Tell Ella I don’t feel well but will write to her soon. I hope my little man has got over his cold. Love to all the children. Ida will feel nice with her new kitchen. How is the peach trees. I hope they are all right. Uncle Josiah is dead. Write soon. I am anxious to hear about the peach trees. When will you be up. You will soon be at spring work.
Good by from Mother.
She mentions some names in the letter:
- Uncle Phin is her brother-in-law Phineas Bowley, who was married to Ann’s sister Margaret. Margaret died just a month before this letter was written.
- John is probably her brother, John Campbell, who lives in Houston County, Minnesota and has a large family of his own. It could also be John Miller (her foster son?) but I doubt it.
- The “Ella” mentioned in the second paragraph (“Tell Ella I don’t feel well…”) would not be her daughter Ella, I don’t believe – perhaps this is a reference to Edward and Ida’s daughter Nellie?
- The “little man” is probably Clarence, Edward and Ida’s youngest son who would have been almost three years old at the time of this letter.
- The recently-deceased “Uncle Josiah” is her youngest brother. We first read about Josiah in a letter from William McKay back in 1876. In that letter, a falling-out between Josiah and the rest of the family is described. There is much more to tell about Josiah – stay tuned!