Two letters written by Mary R. Knox at Porter, Maine, to Mrs. Mary A. Moore of Silver Lake, New Hampshire, a village in the town of Madison. Images and transcriptions appear farther below.
Mary R. Knox was presumably Mary R. (Harriman) Knox, widow of James B. Knox and daughter of Adams F. Harriman and Elizabeth (Fisk) Harriman. About 1892 Mary would marry widower Samuel Runnels.
I believe Mrs. Mary A. Moore was Mary Ann (Kenerson) Moore, wife of Edgar Herbert Moore and daughter of William and Sophia (Drew) Kenerson. The Martha mentioned in one of the letters was presumably her older sister Martha Sophia Kenerson, who, by the time of the letters, had married George Amasa Nickerson.
Clues in the letters:
- Porter, Maine
- The writer had lost three members of her family within the previous two years. Her brother Bion F. Harriman died in 1882; her husband James B. Knox died in 1884. Mary's mother was still living at the time the letters were written and is mentioned in each, but perhaps Adams F. Harriman was the third person lost.
- Martha, possibly Martha Sophia (Kenerson) Nickerson; mentioned in each letter
- Uncle John, uncle of Mary R. (Harriman) Knox Runnels
- Ed, presumably Edgar Herbert Moore, husband of letter recipient Mary Ann (Kenerson) Moore
- Fannie; mentioned in both letters in conjunction with Mary R. (Harriman) Knox's mother
- Tamworth, New Hampshire
- Herbert Herriman or Herbert Harriman
- Conway, New Hampshire
Letter #1 [its envelope is shown at top]. Mary describes her loneliness and the fairly recent loss of three family members.
Porter, Oct. 28th, 1884
Dear Friend May,
I will now try and write you a few lines in answer to your letter I received so long ago for I believe I have never answered it before now. I have been thinking I would write to you for a number of days but when I think about it I think I have nothing to write about but my lonesome thoughts and feelings and it is so lonesome I don't know what to do with myself and I can't make it seem right anyway. when I think there is only three left out of the six in our family only two years ago.
I have not been feeling very well since I came home and have not done much but a little sewing. How is Martha now. We feel very anxious to hear from her and I want you to write to me soon and all about her. I should had gone over and seen her if I had known I was not coming home so soon but I was expecting to come every day and I did not feel like walking up there and back in one day and Uncle John was using the horse all the time but they did not come after me until Sunday. Mother and Fannie sends love to you all. Now May, write to me soon for we want to hear from you. Give my love to Ed and all the rest and accept a share yourself.
From your loving Friend
Mary R. Knox
P.S. write me a good long letter and I will try and write more next time.
Transcript of letter #2
Porter, June 21st 1885
Dear Friend May
I will write you a few lines in answer to yours I received last week. Was very glad to hear from you and also to hear you were all well. We are all well now. Mother is at work a little way from here for a woman who is sick. I suppose she will stay until just before we go up to Tamworth. It is a real nice place to work and she can come home every day or two and I can go up there and see her. I think your dress will be real pretty when you get it made. I suppose you had a nice time to the circle. I should like to have gone with you if I had have been up there. You asked me if I would like to sell my flannel dress. I would like to sell it for I shan't wear it another winter and I do not like to have it lay so long, so you tell Martha she may have it if she would like it. I think it had ought to be worth about eight dollars as it is a real nice piece of flannel and I have not soiled it any. It cost me twelve dollars besides the making but of course I do not expect to get what it cost. Write me what Martha thinks about it and if she wants me to send it to her or bring it when I go up. I suppose Herbert Harriman will go up to Conway the last of this week and perhaps I could send it up by him. There is not much news to write so I will close soon. Mother and Fannie send love to all and so do I, so please accept this with love.
From Mary R. Knox