Letter # 7; 1862 (three days later)

‘Dear Fanny,

I am anxious to send this letter off. With Jessie on my lap, I will write a few lines. As I wrote you, we had no nurse as she had to return home and care for her husband, who has the mumps. Sure enough, after I had been in bed for a while, the pains came on. I woke Emory and told him he had to be brave. Well, after one hard pain I fell asleep and slept until daylight. Before dark, Mrs. Gentry came over. It was lucky she came. I was taken sick again and Emory saddled up and went for the doctor. He was not gone long when I was seized with a chill and the child was born. After a while Mrs. Lyons arrived and the two women took the baby and long before the doctor came, it washed and dressed. I told the doctor there was nothing for him to do except make it over into a boy.’

I’m sure by now the reader will understand how important it was for the women to bear sons. It was a matter of life and death for a family, whose father, who might be ill or injured, have sons to help him manage the land.

    ‘The children are delighted with the baby. If I allowed it they would take her around like a dolly. Beulah is past three years old and you would be surprised to see how handy she is. She takes care of Fanny too. She says she is anxious to grow up and help mama. She is a darling child and sometimes I fear we have set our hearts too much on her. We love Fanny but I think she is not to us what Beulah is.’

 ‘I must mention what I need is a pitcher that holds a quart or more. A deep dish of some kind is needed for when I am fortunate enough to have a piece of fresh meat and make a stew; I have nothing to hold the gravy. … Susan.’

      Letter # 8; 13 July 1863 (excerpt)

‘… I have been hoping some chicken peddler would come by so I can sell him some eggs and get some cash to buy stamps. Our Postmaster is a perfect despot. He must have his money for his stamps. No sort of stuff will suit him. He will charge the cost but when I have charged fifty cents, we can send no more letters until he is paid.’

‘I have to write Emory’s sisters and brothers. Two of their husbands are in the war (Civil War).  One is a private and the other is a surgeon on board a hospital ship off the southern coast.’

‘Emory was taken with lung fever and it was five weeks before he stirred the plow again. Emory got worse and I took him in hand wrapped him in a wet sheet till he sweat profusely and that broke the fever. I got along and one night Judge Lyon came and sat with him as I did not like to be alone when Emory was out of his head with fever delirium,’ Susan.

        Letter # 9; Summer 1863 (excerpt)

‘… Bees are odd creatures. Some years they have a distaste for the hives and betake themselves to the woods. Our old swarm is doing well and we take honey often. The second swarm, I hived when Emory was away, left and disappeared. We hope next year the war will be over and the spirit of Secesh will quiet down among the bees. Susan.’

Next Episode: Letter # 8; War and the Falling Value of Treasury Notes

Lake County History. $32. (includes. Tax & Shipping)

Pal Publishing, PO Box 6, Upper Lake, Ca 95485

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Gene Paleno

Gene runs his life at a full sprint. In his ninety-three years he's dug ditches, painted signs, played semi-pro football, worked as a taxicab driver, an insurance agent, and a school teacher. He's been a technical artist, a marketing director, and a business owner. He served in World War II, raised four children, and was married to the love of his life for fifty years. He's an accomplished oil painter and skilled in ceramics. He's written fifteen books, including the definitive Lake County History, and doesn't show any signs of slowing down.

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