This letter was written by Olive (Kelly) Chandler (1818-Aft1860), the wife of Alvin Chandler (1799-18xx). She wrote the letter to her sister, Sarah M. (Kelly) Pennell (1821-1909), the wife of lumberman William Eaton Pennell (1814-1868) of Machiasport, Washington County, Maine. Olive and Sarah were the daughters of Deacon John Simpson Kelly (1788-1864) and Sarah Seavy (1782-1860).
Addressed to Mrs. Sarah M. Pennell, Machias Port, Maine
August 22nd 1848
It has been some time since I wrote you but as you see all the letters I write home I suppose it makes but little difference who they are directed to except paying the postage that you will have to do this time. I am keeping house at last and it seems quite like living again. We live in part of Mr. Hamilton’s house. She is very kind indeed. They have a good garden and she gives me a good many, good messes out of it, She told me today to get me a mess of beans any time that I wanted them and almost every time she picks any cucumbers for herself, she picks for me too.
This is the worst place that I ever saw for berries of all kinds. I have not had one this year except a few strawberries that we went out after tea and picked. They were indeed few and far between. They have some new apples here but they are very dear. We had a very heavy thunder shower here one afternoon last week which ended as most of our thunder showers do — in a severe rain storm that lasted two or three days. THe weather was very cold and I almost thought that winter was coming without being sent for and it is not much warmer yet. I had to make a fire in the stove Sunday forenoon and sit by it. The river was very high Sunday — higher than it has been any time since last spring and it looks lively around the mills.
We had a letter from Rachel Chandler two or thee weeks ago. They were all well. She said her Father and Mother were coming down to visit us this fall and I expect one of Alvan’s sisters and her husband. So you see that I could not come home this fall. Were there nothing else to hinder me. I do not lack a will to go, but I mean to stay long enough when I do go to make up for staying away so long. I had a letter from Father last Saturday. He said they wanted me to help them Court week. Oh! how I wish I could be there. He said they were without help. I hope they have got a girl before this time. I am afraid Mother will get sick. I was in hopes that they had quit taking boarders. I was very glad to hear of the alteration they had made in the house. I think it must be a great improvement. Does Mother keep a bed in the parlor yet? I want Father and Mother to come on here this fall and if they get a good girl, coax them off. If they are all ready to start as soon as Court is over, it will be pleasant traveling and the journey will do Mother good.
When you write, tell me how [our brother] John is getting along. I have not heard whether he has made or lost since he has been in the mechanic [trade] and whether he got the letter I wrote him for I believe he does not mean to let me know.
Where is Bacon and his wife this summer, and is Esther Niles married? Where does Arathusa Pennell (I forget her new husband’s name) live and has she all her children with her? I was over to Mr. Perry’s three weeks ago tomorrow and spent the afternoon. He came after me. He said that the sewing society met there that afternoon and his wife wanted me to come and visit her. They are much more neighborly than I though they would be considering how little we were acquainted. She said that John Witherbee had moved to Machias and was practicing there. I was surprised. Does he have much practice?
I suppose you and William will be here this winter as a matter of course. I shall begin to look for you as soon as the snow begins to fly. Bring one of the children but I cannot say which one I want to see most. I wish I could see them all. I suppose Burniece and Corace Ann can carry on quite a stir of discourse together. And little Lolla, I suppose, jabbers with them. Kiss them all for me. Mr. Chandler says he would write a few lines but he is very busy. He cannot make up his mind what it is best for him to do in regard to moving down east. I hope he will go before this time another year if it would be as well for him. I hope you will not defer answering this letter four months as you did the last one I wrote you. I suppose it is about time to close this mess of nonsense. write soon. Give my love to John when he comes home and tell him to come and see me.
Our best wishes to you and William. Also to Father and Mother and the rest of the folks — Sarah Noyes in particular. When you write, tell me all the news. Everything you can think of. From sister Olive with much love.