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Anna Laura Hittle Rings diary

Anna Laura Hittle Rings diary
Date: 1949-1961
One of three diaries of Anna Laura Hittle Rings of Topeka, Kansas. Anna was the live-in-housekeeper for Mr. Harry Imes at 1208 College Avenue from 1949 to her death in 1961. She was a cook, gardener, housekeeper, and seamstress. The diaries tell of her daily life while in Mr. Imes' employ. The other two diaries can be found at Unit ID's: 473053 and 473077.


Ellen Douglas Denison Goodnow to Isaac Tichenor Goodnow

Ellen Douglas Denison Goodnow to Isaac Tichenor Goodnow
Creator: Goodnow, Ellen Douglass Denison, 1812-1890
Date: July 25, 1858
Ellen Goodnow wrote from Manhattan, Kansas Territory, to her husband, Isaac, while he was traveling. She included news of recent heavy rains, which had washed out bridges and roads, slowing travel and mail delivery. However, the crops were prospering as a result. Goodnow also described much illness and fever in the area, herself included. She closed the letter with a recipe for shaving soap.


Ellen Douglas Denison Goodnow  to Isaac Tichenor Goodnow

Ellen Douglas Denison Goodnow to Isaac Tichenor Goodnow
Creator: Goodnow, Ellen Douglass Denison, 1812-1890
Date: August 16, 1859
Ellen Goodnow wrote from Manhattan, Kansas Territory, to her husband, Isaac, who was traveling on the East coast. Ellen updated him on the progress of Bluemont College's construction, and suggested that they move into the school building temporarily to keep watch over loose supplies ("anything moveable is in danger"), especially doors and windows. She recounted an incident in which a housemate's accident left him with a deep head wound and included details of the treatment. Goodnow also listed more supplies that she needed from the East, gave Isaac clothing suggestions to keep healthy, and expressed her fatigue at running the household without him.


Ellen Douglas Denison Goodnow to Isaac Tichenor Goodnow

Ellen Douglas Denison Goodnow to Isaac Tichenor Goodnow
Creator: Goodnow, Ellen Douglass Denison, 1812-1890
Date: October 3, 1857
Ellen Goodnow wrote from Shannon, Kansas Territory, to her husband, Isaac, who was traveling in Boston. Ellen asked that he purchase winter supplies for the family and neighbors while he was on the East Coast, and listed their necessities. The letter includes a short note from Joseph Denison, informing Isaac that more money was needed than expected to support the college through the winter.


Ellen Douglas Denison Goodnow to Isaac Tichenor Goodnow

Ellen Douglas Denison Goodnow to Isaac Tichenor Goodnow
Creator: Goodnow, Ellen Douglass Denison, 1812-1890
Date: July, 1859
Ellen Goodnow wrote to her husband, Isaac Goodnow, from Manhattan, Kansas Territory, briefly relating the news of a friend's sudden death. She attached a list of items she wished Isaac to purchase while he was in the East, which mostly consisted of clothing items, but also included a clock and a microscope.


John Stillman Brown to William Brown

John Stillman Brown to William Brown
Creator: Brown, John S.
Date: June 21, 1857
This letter, written from Lawrence, Kansas Territory, is a tender, heartfelt piece of correspondence, speaking of the joys and triumphs of living in a new land. Brown enjoyed his time in Kansas, preaching at a local church and working on his claim. He outlined for his son, who was away at boarding school in New Hampshire, his typical day-to-day activities, which included cooking, gardening, and housekeeping. He also wrote of the currently peaceful state of affairs in Kansas.


Joseph Harrington Trego to Alice Trego

Joseph Harrington Trego to Alice Trego
Creator: Trego, Joseph H. (Joseph Harrington), 1823-1905
Date: Around September, 1857
Joseph H. Trego, en route via steamboat to Kansas City, wrote to his wife Alice in Rock Island, Illinois. Trego commented on the unpredictable and perilous conditions of steamboat travel on the Missouri River due to snags and sandbars, but despite these, admitted that the journey itself had "little to claim his attention." He feared that his wife might have an accident in his absence, and asked her to wait until he returned to "indulge her spirit." Trego, though he missed his family, was comforted by their miniatures (small portraits).


Joseph Harrington Trego to Alice Trego

Joseph Harrington Trego to Alice Trego
Creator: Trego, Joseph H. (Joseph Harrington), 1823-1905
Date: October 16, 1857
Joseph H. Trego wrote from his cabin in Sugar Mound, Kansas Territory, to his wife Alice in Rock Island, Illinois, about his journey from Kansas City to Sugar Mound. His friends, Thomas Ellwood Smith (Ell) and his brother Edwin (Ed), and himself were poorly prepared as they expected to stay in public houses during the journey, not camp outside as their wagon transportation preferred. As the road they took went right down the Missouri state line, Trego contrasted the well-established farms to the East with the "open, wild prairie" to the West. He and his brother, upon arriving at their cabin, found that they had "Hoosier" neighbors (from Indiana), who were pleasant but proslavery. Trego recounted the difficulty they had acquiring home furnishings and food, fighting adverse weather at every turn. He spoke at length of how he was comforted by writing to his wife, as he and his friends greatly missed their families.


Joseph Harrington Trego to Alice Trego

Joseph Harrington Trego to Alice Trego
Creator: Trego, Joseph H. (Joseph Harrington), 1823-1905
Date: January 9, 1858
Joseph Trego wrote from Sugar Mound, Kansas Territory, to his wife, Alice, in Illinois. Trego reported that the mill was finally up and running, leaving them to occupy themselves with housekeeping and construction of outbuildings near the mill; he had decided to delay building a new home for his family until the spring. Trego responded to his wife's concerns about free state and proslavery skirmishing in the area, conveying his confidence that "truly there is no probability of the people here at Sugar Mound being molested" by them.


Joseph Harrington Trego to Alice Trego

Joseph Harrington Trego to Alice Trego
Creator: Trego, Joseph H. (Joseph Harrington), 1823-1905
Date: December 11, 1857
Joseph Trego wrote from his cabin near Sugar Mound, Kansas Territory to his wife, Alice, at home in Illinois with their three daugthers. His friend Ell's trip to St. Louis had been aborted due to the freezing conditions of the Missouri River. The town company of Sugar Mound was meeting that day, in which the formal site of the town would be selected; Trego hoped to build their new home on a lot near his mill, which was in an especially picturesque area. His comments about the current "political storm" reveal the variation of perspectives among free state supporters, as he found free state supporters in his area were for a "free state government from politic[al] motives & not humane." He also reported that a group of armed free state men had passed by two days before, looking for a "nest" of pro-slavery men in Bourbon County. Trego added descriptions of their daily life and their struggle to keep their living expenses down.


Joseph Harrington Trego to Alice Trego

Joseph Harrington Trego to Alice Trego
Creator: Trego, Joseph H. (Joseph Harrington), 1823-1905
Date: December 5, 1857
Joseph Trego wrote from Sugar Mound, Kansas Territory, to his wife, Alice, in Illinois. Trego described the furnishings and atmosphere in their "Bachelor's Hall" of a cabin. As he greatly missed them, Trego was eager to receive his family's daguerreotypes by mail; he also spoke at length about both business and domestic matters at home. His friend Ell (Thomas Ellwood Smith) prepared to embark on a trip to St. Louis to purchase a corn mill, which they hoped would translate into a business enterprise that would sustain the three of them.


Mary Dillon Holliday to Cyrus Kurtz Holliday

Mary Dillon Holliday to Cyrus Kurtz Holliday
Creator: Holliday, Mary Dillon, 1833-1908
Date: February 2, 1861
Mary Holliday wrote from Topeka to her husband, Cyrus K. Holliday, in Washington, D. C. She described farm and financial difficulties, especially her frustration with John, an incompetent hired hand. She also considered releasing her "girl" to save money and taking in Sister Tite as an unpaid but potentially helpful guest. Mary requested instructions concerning lumber, asked for seeds and carpets, and mentioned local happenings. She hoped that the statehood of Kansas would encourage Cyrus to return quickly. The letter has no signature.


Nathan Starks to Hiram Hill

Nathan Starks to Hiram Hill
Creator: Starks, Nathan
Date: March 8, 1858
Nathan Starks wrote from Lawrence, Kansas Territory, to Hiram Hill in Williamsburgh, Massachusetts, asking for Hill's assistance in securing his old homestead in Massachusetts. Starks described his situation: he had moved to Kansas Territory seeking better health and business, but had been disappointed in both of those, the social scene, and the lawlessness of the land. He hoped to return to his old homestead in Massachusetts after a year of life in Kansas Territory, provided that it had not been sold.


Samuel Newell Simpson to Hiram Hill

Samuel Newell Simpson to Hiram Hill
Creator: Simpson, Samuel Newell
Date: November 20, 1855
S. N. Simpson wrote from Kansas City, Missouri to Hiram Hill in Williamsburgh, Massachusetts, where Edmund Jones had recently returned (see Hill's letter to Jones of October 11, 1855). Simpson described development and rising property values in Lawrence. He detailed his attempts to collect rent from Mrs. Hall, who had cleaned in exchange for a month's rent. In language reminiscent of documents from the American Revolution, the last paragraph declared that Kansas could but would not break ties with the United States, partly because Kansas needed financial assistance. As evidence, Simpson asked Hill for church-building funds.


Thomas Ewing, Jr., to  Miss Maria Maher

Thomas Ewing, Jr., to Miss Maria Maher
Creator: Ewing, Thomas, 1829-1896
Date: September 14, 1859
Although not specifically stated, it seems clear that this letter to Maria Maher, "a first rate servant" girl who had "served us [the Ewings] so long and so well," addressed her unfortunate condition--becoming pregnant out of wedlock. She was sent to the Catholic charitable institution in St. Louis and advised to seek legal assistance from a particular attorney there "if the young man will not honorably fulfil his promise. . . . If the young man means to marry you, he will do it at once."


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