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Easter - Document 2

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Joseph Wood, Wisconsin, U.S.A., to "Dear Brother".<
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Donated by Miss Maureen Carr, 40 Breda Park, Belfast BT8 4JR<
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The Ulster American Folk Park<
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#SERIAL=9612194<
#DATE=07:03:1858<
#TYPE=EMG<
$$ TAGS $$ LOG Document added by LT, 03:12:96.<
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<
Mount Pleasant Green County Wis. [Wisconsin?]<
March 7th 1858<
Dear Brother we received your letter duly were glad to<
hear that you were doing well. We were much interested<
with your description of the [stained] Crystal Palace.<
I am sure it would be a splendid performance and I know<
you would enjoy it first rate while reading your account<
[of it?] I felt almost as I could fancy myself amongst you<
[looking?] with intense interest to the beautiful and<
touching solos in the Messiah or Judas Macabeus, but<
more especially to the sublime and overpowering force<
of "Israel in Egypt" performed by so large a number I<
can [imagine?] must be eminently grand but I<
suppose the ideal for the case would fall far short<
of the real. It is now some time since I heard a<
thoroughly good performance of music As we were coming<
to America Elizh [Elizabeth?] and I while in Liverpool<
went one night to St. George's Hall to hear Mr Best<
perform on the great Organ. The programme [consisted?]<
of an overture [Marituna?] (Wallace): Decd [deceased?]<
[then?] [Varrisk?] [------he?] two pen- [stained]<
"Reminiscences of the Music to Shakespeare's Play Richard<
2nd [stained] (op. [opus?] 39) ([solo?]) [stained] I was not<
[stained] very grand [stained] [we?] Graveshead<
the [stained] the and [stained] the best we may<
expect to hear for some time the [stained] of music<
generally I believe [John?] [stained] has [stained]<
[took?] it some kind or other there [stained] the<
writer [stained] [kind?] [they?] do not [stained]<
the [----?] come [stained] from [stained] [resins?]<
[seams?] [faded] [stained] now and then and we go to<
their house [stained] are the best singers in this<
neighborhood that I am [stained] bass viola a few<
weeks about christmas This [stained] [time?] the<
[stained] we used to [stained] is very for a [---?]<
Music but has not [fr---?] [stained] with the Oratorio<
[stained] [performance?] of an [oration?] but [there?]<
is [stained] me [thats?] and [----y?] I hear the other<
parts going on at the same time and [that?] has to do<
instead of [hearing?] it [--------y?] [faded] that<
[youve?] had commenced teaching writing and [oration?]<
[faded] I shall be glad to hear that you still<
[contrive?] teaching. It will be something for you<
and [partake?] tend to keep you in practice [--?]<
little - You did not say exactly how much you were<
receiving for it. My term of teaching is nearly out<
now (for this season at least) I have only one week<
more to teach [---?] then I suppose I shall have to<
change my occupation and commence writing on the farm<
if the [weather?] [be?] [still?] the term of school<
this winter was four months [faded] [few] the winter<
and a female teacher in the summer season in most of<
the schools and the teachers are chiefly young and<
unmarried persons they commonly board around amongst<
the inhabitants of the District the states are divided<
into counties [for?] unusual dimensions there is however<
some regard to order in the division of states as the<
counties are generally bountiful by straight lines so<
that for the most part the counties are in the form of<
squares, parallelograms or some such figures but such<
is not the invariable rule. The counties are again<
divided into townships of about 6 miles square as near<
as possible (We live in the township of Mt. Pleasant)<
and again the townships called school District I believe<
the rule that each District should be about 2 miles<
square making nine District in a township But when a<
township is very unequally settled that is when some<
parts of a township ar [are?] much more densely<
populated other this rule is not strictly attended to.<
I think there is seven or eight districts in this<
Township Each district has one school the inhabitants<
of the Districts meet in the school House twice a year<
to appoint officers and to determine the school term<
for the season The officers elected are Treasurer<
Clerk and Director the clerk has power to engage a<
teacher but previous to engagement each teacher has<
to apply to the town's superintendent to be examined<
and obtain a certificate they are very particular<
about the pronunciation of words - Webster's<
Dictionary is regarded as the standard here and<
each school is provided with one for the use of<
the teacher. - The classes do not [read?] in the<
bible and Testament as they do in most common<
schools in England but out of books that [faded]<
[possession?] [for?] [schools?] [The?] kinds most<
commonly used now about here is 'Sanders series'<
it consists of five Readers - Geography is a great<
deal thought of Cornell's Geography is used is used<
in most of the common schools and in some of the<
higher schools too. Thomson's Arithmetic is used.<
In some of the common school's Thomson's higher<
Arithmetic is used as well as praised. But my<
school was not very far advanced. I have had<
none [working?] in the higher arithmetic. One<
of my scholars has just got through [his?]<
practical arithmetic and a few more are getting<
on pretty well with it Thomson's Practical<
Arithmetic is a pretty large work the [largest?]<
common Arithmetic I have seen - There is [quite?]<
a large [treatise?] on [fractions?] cancellation<
is much used in working fractions and indeed in<
all other cases where it is available Federal<
money being on the Decimal system is much easier<
to calculate than English money. The denominations<
of Federal money are Mills - cents, Dimes Dollars<
Eagles and Double Eagles but accounts are usually<
expressed in Dollars, cents and Mills thus $25,625<
is read twenty five dollars, sixty two cents, five<
mills, whereas if it was read according to the<
denominations it would be two Eagles five Dollars<
six Dimes two cents and five mills - All the<
[------?] to the left of the point are read as<
dollars the first two places right of the point<
are cents the third Mills and the rest decimals<
of a mill But Sterling money is taught here as<
well as federal and then there is the [faded] in<
some of the states 8 shillings make a Dollar -<
in some 7 shillings and six pence in others 6<
shillings and so on - In Wisconsin 8 shillings<
make a Dollar what is called 2 shilling here is<
about as large as an English sixpence and about<
the same value There is a variety [of?] different<
coins Double Eagles Eagles half Eagles and Dollars<
are gold coins, half Dollars, quarter Dollars,<
shillings, Dimes, half Dimes and three cent<
pieces are silver coins - cents and half cents,<
copper - mills are not coined we have had a very<
pleasant winter I do not remember that we saw so<
fine and agreeable a winter before We have had<
but little snow. There has been now and then a<
few days of cold weather. When the wind blows<
from west or northwest then as the yankees say<
I tell you it blows might cold; but the greatest<
part of this winter we have had south winds and<
that I think has caused the winter to be<
considerably warmer than usual.<
April 4th 1858<
Dear Brother I dare say you will wonder how it is<
you do not get a letter from me. I commenced this<
letter four weeks ago and intended finishing it<
and sending it off right away - To day is Easter<
Sunday I supposed his [this?] forenoon you will have been<
performing some choice pieces at Armagh probably<
"Lift up your Hearts" or something of that kind<
appropriate for the day I do not see that there<
is any particular observance of Easter here it<
may be they observe it more in the eastern States.<
Christmas Day; New Years and fourth Day of July<
are observed as holidays the fourth of July is<
held in commemoration of the declaration of<
Independence it is very much thought of - We<
have commenced our Spring's work on the farm<
the weather is very fine The frost got out of<
the ground about a month earlier this spring<
than last Most of the grain was to sow in May<
last year But it is very likely the grain will<
[be?] put in sooner this year People are very<
busy reparing [repairing?] the land, and some<
have sown a good deal already Jabes & I have got<
in about 18 acres of wheat and the rest of our Wheat<
land (a little over 40 acres is now ready for<
sowing Part of this about 18 acres) was planted<
with Indian corn last year. I do not suppose you<
ever saw any growing. It requires a warm climate<
and is of very rapid growth and very often<
attains the height of six or eight feet the<
stem is very stout you may see a drawing both<
of the stalk and ear in the Popular Educator<
page 120 I believe There is a many different<
kinds of Indian corn some is white some red<
others yellow &c. the leaves you see hanging<
somewhat loosely about the ear are called the<
husks these before the corn is ripe adhere<
closely to the ear and quite envelop it but<
when the corn is ripe they partially burst<
open. At reaching these leaves have to be<
torn quite apart so as to bare the ear and<
the ear is then broken off form the stem.<
This is called husking corn the stalks are<
usually left standing and the cattle turned<
in amonst them to eat them. They generally<
[clear?] them pretty well off before spring<
corn but this winter being an unusually mild<
one , and feed more plentiful than it commonly<
is, the cattle have not eaten up the stalks<
well so Jabes and I have had a few days of work<
in cutting them down and burning them there is<
about 100 acres of plowed [ploughed?] ground<
on the farm we are working We intend putting<
in about 60 acres of wheat 20 of oats & 20 of<
Indian corn it may be we shall put in a few<
acres of Barley. You asked if we had got any<
oat cake here. We have not seen either oat<
cake or oat meal since we came here. We get<
good flour, but I think the wheat in this<
part is somewhat inferior to English Wheat<
they cannot make oat meal at the Mills here<
as they have no kilns to dry the oats. Oats<
are grown chiefly for feed to horses. There<
is some very good horses in the country and<
they [are?] generally fed well. We have corn<
meal that is Indian corn meal which makes<
very good porridge (Mush the yankees call<
it and pretty good bread too usually called<
Johnny cake) We got a little Buck wheat Flour<
in the winter It is nice for a change. It is<
usually made into pancakes. You asked if the<
same amount of money would go as far with his<
as it would in England. Somethings here are<
dearer than in England and some things are<
cheaper while others are about the same in<
both countries I do not know exactly how it<
is the towns and cities but about here I think<
people can live cheaper than in England. Meat<
and Butter is generally low potatoes sell for<
very little here. Sugar, Molasses, soap, candles<
&c about the same as in England. Tea and coffee<
cheaper, rice dearer, most kinds of clothing not<
so good as we could get in England. People<
generally wear boots. We give about 4 Dollars<
for a pair of common Wellington Boots<
(as we used to call them) They dont last<
very long, the leather is not so well got up<
as in England - Farmers generally [sell?] their<
own meat. They kill their beef and Pork about<
the beginning of winter and salt it they do not<
have mush to buy at the stores, only a few<
groceries and wearing apparel, and some of them<
keep a few sheep, work the wool into yarn and<
hire it out weaving for themselves. The lands<
in this country is surveyed by government and<
laid out in sections and numbered, a section<
comprises one mile square. It is usually sold<
in forty acre lots [&?] the land about here is very<
good soil dark and very rich. It is not that<
kind of land which appears to be full of little<
stones. When you have harrowed a field you might<
wander about for half an hour and not be able to<
find a stone. But then all the land is not such<
as this, there is poor land as well as good land<
in America In plowing [ploughing?] in this land<
we meet now and then with big stones just below<
the surface which are hard to dig [out?]. Most of<
the land here is bought up either by settlers or<
speculators, but there is a great portion of it<
yet unfenced and so long as it remains unfenced<
it is the same as common land and any one has the<
priviledge to turn out his cattle there to feed<
and in summer there is excellent pasturage for a<
vast number of cattle on these Prairies. The<
fields are large generally about 40 acres each.<
Fencing is chiefly done with rails. The roads are<
four rods wide. But they are not such roads as<
the turnpikes in England In Spring when the frost<
is just going out of the ground they are very bad<
the soil being naturally light you sink at every<
step just like going over a new plowed [ploughed?]<
field. In summer and in winter too they are pretty<
[grim?] But I must draw to a conclusion for the<
present - We received Bro. [Brother?] B. Pickford's<
letter about the beginning of March which brought<
us the sad news of little Louis' death: Poor child<
he had much to suffer before he was released I know<
they would feel it very hard to part with him Give<
our kind respects to Bro. [Brother?] & Sister. We<
sympathise with him in their suffering though far<
away - What a many deaths (sic) have occurred since we<
left Shipley. We were sorry to hear of Fanny Wood<
and Aunt Malley being [dead?] Give our kind respects<
to Mr. & Mrs. Wood and to all enquiring [friends?]<
We are all pretty well Amelia grows well she is a<
fine little girl [&?] will be eight months old<
tomorrow - We hope you will write to us soon and<
tell us all the news you can We hope Aunt Hannah<
is still well and gets a little work - Give our<
kind love to her and to Bro. [Brother?] [Beny?]<
& Sister Mary and to Sister Elizh. [Elizabeth?]<
also We were glad to hear by B. Pickford's letter<
that she likes her place pretty well We hope she<
may do well Accept our kind love yourself Dear Bro.<
[Brother?] and believe us still your affte<
[affectionate?] Mr. C. Wood Bro. [Brother?] & Sister<
(address as before) J. & E. Wood<
$$N NOTES
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