Yet another letter from William McKay to his cousin Edward Frasier. This one shares the latest farming news – weather, crops, prices and so forth. Then William describes a story involving a recently widowed Mrs. Russell, his Grandmother, and his Uncle Bowley and Aunt Mag and their interactions with someone named Josiah (who could be Grandmother’s youngest son and Aunt Mag’s little brother). I can’t figure what preceded all of this but apparently Josiah did something to offend the family. Grandma seems to want to move on but Uncle Bowley and Aunt Mag aren’t so forgiving.
I have photos of Uncle Bowley, Aunt Mag and Grandma:
Gotta love this other photo of Uncle Finn sitting in a rocking chair with his dog. Reminds me of the RCA Victor dog – it’s even the right breed (Rat Terrier).
Here’s the text of William’s letter:
June 20, 1876
Dear Cousin Edward,
I received your card of the 31st and was glad to hear from you but do not want you to think I was waiting for you to write first for I have started to write letters and would get about half through and something would come up to stop me. I have a letter in the house now that [was] written last July.
Well Eddie we have had pretty dry weather here this spring until the 8th when it commenced raining and we have been getting a good deal of rain ever since and on the 15th it hailed considerable in places. It cut the rye and corn some. Crops are looking very well now since the rain. I put in 20 acres of corn this year but two acres failed. Some seed I got from Mrs. McDonald. She said it was the same seed as she planted and I saw hers and it came up good and not a kernal of ours came. I think she too it out of the crib. There has been awful bother with seed corn this year. It has been as high as 2.50 a bushel. I only sowed 6 acres of wheat this year, 4 of oats and will sow 5 or 6 acres of buckwheat.
We went out to Montello Saturday with the wool. We did not wash it this year and got 30 cents a pound for it from the pen that bought Perkins store but I guess he did not know it was not washed. For the first time in a good many years, Mother has had some strawberries to sell. We took 11 quarts to Montello and got a shilling a quart for them and she thinks this week she will have nearly a bushel more to spare. If there had been rain two weeks sooner there would have been a good many more.
Mitchell’s folks is not going to have any more than they had last year off from a good deal more ground. And Graham will hardly have any. He has got him a Harvester Reaper this year and Kearns have got a new self rake and a Sulky Cultivator. They are all coming out in style. We have made inquiries about Frank Lenois’s place and heard he had 80 acres and only 12 broke and so stony that a man could walk on the them and a little shanty for a house smaller than the one he left. His health has been poor this summer and has not done much work and has rented his varm. Ed Vining has rented Frank’s old place and another man has rented it of him this year.
Well Ed I have some more news to tell and I want you to tell it to your Morhter for I cannot write to her today. About ten days ago just as Uncle Bowly and Aunt Mag was starting to Kingston, Mrs. Russell came in on them and stayed all day and all night and they was awfully put for she did not owe them a visit and they thought they was not used very well the day of Mr. Russell’s funeral and she got to talking about Josiah before Grandmother how well he was doing and all that and before she went away Grandma asked her to tell him to come over and see her while he was at Lytles and the next day he came over and Grandma was watching for him and run out to meet him and when he came in Aunt Mag was in the other room but she knew he was in there and Grandma called her to come out and see who was there but she was in no hurry for a little while and then she went out and he put out his hand to shake hands and she barely shook hands with him and then went out into the wood shed where Uncle was and did not go back nor Uncle either but Grandma went down to the gate with him and talked half an hour with him. They feel awful vexed with her for the way she has acted after all he has done and Grandma was made to think they did not treat him as if nothing had happened.
Well Eddie will haft to stop for want of room. Write soon and give all the news.
W. E. M.