January 6, 1861, Homer, Iowa
Dear Lizzie,

May I presume to call you "Lizzie" dear sister? Do you think "Mrs. Williams" would be more appropriate? I must confess I do not, and will therefore call you Lizzie, at least until requested not to.

When James sent your daguerreotype accompanied by a letter acquainting us with his intended marriage, which we learned by day before yesterday's mail was consummated on the 14th ult, and spoke in such high terms of you. I felt so enthusiastic that I determined to become acquainted with you thro' the medium of the post forthwith, but when I saw my poor scrawl on paper was it any wonder I turned away saddened and disgusted? I think not, but I thought of you both constantly, and morning and evening breathed a silent but heartfelt prayer for your happiness.

I gave James an account of our Christmas from which you will no doubt draw the inference that our amusements are very primitive and tame -- my description was certainly the latter -- and probably they are, but we nevertheless enjoyed ourselves thoroughly on the occasion referred to, or at least I did.

New years was a most beautiful day and we had a sleigh ride which we enjoyed as much as our sense of the beautiful and delicious would admit of.

There was a public ball in the evening, but tho' we believe dancing to be harmless and pleasant in itself, yet we have grave objections to the persons who invariably attend such gatherings here, and therefore we did not go.

Our houses are surrounded by immense banks of snow, but on the open prairie it is pretty equally distributed. Soon after the snow fell we had a very heavy sleet which secured the snow from blowing and made the surface of the drifts as smooth and firm as could be desired, affording a fine opportunity for sledding, which Rebecca and George have improved to its full extent.

It is cloudy today and is thawing some. Ma and pa and indeed all of us send our love.

Your proud and happy sister-in-law.


P.S. I wish to add a few lines for James.

Dear Brother, I wish you joy! O how I wish I could see you and Lizzie and talk to you! This way of putting one's ideas on paper seems so senseless and I cannot express half what I want to, so I will leave you to imagine the rest.

I believe I told you that Mary Hartman married Mr. Hollowday, which was a mistake, her husband's name being Ammond. The misunderstanding arose from the fact of their both being lawyers, both teach in the same neighborhood, each marrying one of their pupils and being married at about the same time. Mr. Ammond is very gentlemanly and appears to be well educated. I have seen him several times and the oftener I see him the more I wonder what could have induced him to marry her. They were only acquainted three months, part of which time he was sick and she took care of him. I send you a "poem" written by him, which, by the way don't speak much for his poetic powers; the theme is the post office at Webster City about which there has been great excitement -- everyone wanting it.

I suppose you remember that Clarindy Heartman moved away to Des Moines about a year ago! Well she was married a short time ago to a stage driver, said to be a respectable man. I do not know his name. James Heartman has a daughter who was a week old last Wednesday; they are very proud of her. Martin Heartman has got entirely well of his wound which they thought would prove fatal. Emily Pemberton was at the New Year's ball, as well as every previous one within the past year. Her boy is a pretty, bright little fellow, and they seem very fond of him.

Your affectionate sister,


Pa wishes you to read the article marked with a cross in the leaf of the Crisis, enclosed.

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