Monday, July 1, 2013

1866 Letter from Mary Maynard at Janesville [Iowa ?] to John Townsend of Lakeville, Massachusetts

30 December 1866 letter from Mary Maynard at Janesville, possibly Iowa, to her "brother and sister", John Townsend and wife, at Lakeville, Massachusetts.  I don't know whether Mary was the sister of John or his wife, who may have been Anna (Smith) Townsend, or their sister-in-law or if by "brother and sister" she meant a religious or social affiliation.

This letter might have relationship with an 1873 letter featured in another post, a letter from Nettie E. Hackett, (Eldora Purdenet Hackett) from Lakeville, Massachusetts, to her older half sister Abbie Maria (Hackett) Maynard at Quincy, Massachusetts.

There were towns named Janesville in California, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Wisconsin.  There may have been more.

I found a bit of information on John Townsend of Lakeville, Massachusetts.  I believe he is the John who was born about 1811 at Middleborough, Massachusetts, son of Bradford Townsend.  John married Anna Smith at Middleborough, Massachusetts, on 30 October 1831.  Anna was the daughter of John and Hannah (Haskell) Smith.  I couldn't find a daughter of Bradford Townsend or John Smith, who married a Maynard.  

Interestingly, I found a Find-a-Grave listing for a Mary Maynard, who was born in Massachusetts about 1816 and lived at Janesville, Iowa, with her husband John B. Maynard, who was born in Vermont about 1806.   They're both buried at the Oakland Cemetery at Janesville.

Transcript below.

Transcript: [punctuation inserted; spelled corrected.]

Janesville, Dec 30 1866

Dear brother and sister.  It is with pleasure that I sit down to write to you.  We are all well and fat as hogs.  We have had very fine weather for this time of year.  It is snowing very pretty today.  We have not had any sleighing yet.  Business is very dull here just now.  Pork is down and all kinds of meat.  Prices are falling on everything.  I will send you our pictures.  They are not very good. The man that we wanted to take them was not at home, so we had to get another person to take them.  They look quite natural except the eyes.  They are too small.  I would like to have both of yours for I don't expect to ever see you again in this world, but I hope we shall all meet in heaven where parting is known no more forever.  I did once think I should visit you again but the war made such hard times I don't know that I shall be able to.  I will send you some pieces of my dresses.  The delam [delane ?] was thirty cents a yard.  The other was twenty cents a yard.  

I should like to know where Mary Smith is and how she is getting along.  I don't never hear from her, and I should like to know if Adaline lives where she used to because I want to write to her.  I wrote to Susan after she was dead, but I did not know that she was dead at the time.  What has become of her husband?  I should think he might answer the letter.  I should think Jim Bly must be most helpless by this time.  Whatever became of Mercy Bly?  I have never heard what end she ever came to.  Please write soon and tell me all about the folks I ever know.  It is getting dark, and I must quit so good by for the present.
Mary Maynard

Hopefully the names in this letter will trigger recognition in a reader, who will leave a comment to solve the mystery of letter writer Mary Maynard's birth parents and siblings and which Janesville she was writing from.

Lakeville, Massachusetts

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