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Hill Country Living

Much Ado As Summer Begins For Wagners

By Coulter Fussell

This Wagner letter has all the things I love to see in a Wagner letter…mention of their pet prairie dog, mention of the railroad expansion into Texas that was constantly pulling folks West, way too much personal health information from ol’ Mom again, Frank the much-loved horse and Ed the much-unloved human. And, of course, the Wagner’s had a nice personal ice cream freezer in 1887….of course they did.


Water Valley, Miss
May 20/’87

My Dear John,

Mamma was going to write to you this evening, but she was busy and so she got me to write for her. You must excuse the different kinds of handwriting for I have just got a new pen. School turns out the third of June, that is week after next. I am awful glad. I wish you could come home that soon. We are going to have a picnic after school turns out, Papa says. Prof. is examining the lower grades now. Tomor-row is the teachers examination. You just ought to have seen Miss Genie today. She is so excitable.

My little prairie dog gets fatter every day, I believe. He is awful sweet. He is not particular about what he eats and eats strawberries, mulberries, mush, lettuce, and nearly everything.

I hope I will get a prize this examination, but I don’t know whether I will or not. Miss L is going away in about two weeks to Texas.

You ought to see our flowers now. They are just lovely. I wish you had some. Our nice roses on the arbor are just lovely now. They look like Cape Jessamine, a little pinch off. Everybody says that they are the prettiest rose they nearly ever saw.

[ a change of handwriting, Maria takes over the letter]


Saturday night May 21st
My Dear Boy,

I have felt 2 days that I must write but I have been interrupted and kept by company & so now I will add a little to Jessie’s letter & try & send it by mail morning. I was right unwell last night, my bowels were much disturbed & I felt quite let down this morning. But a dose of medicine & plenty of work has cured me. I think.

Well, John, I was over to Will Leland’s reception Thursday night — at Mr. Barron Leland’s house. Had quite a pleasant company there. I felt very much honored or complimented as I was the only married lady outside the kinfolks. Daniel & I were specially invited. Mrs. Leland was very unwell for several days before Will married, she almost had flu & was in a bad fix but she managed to get through with it. She sends her love to you & said she was just waiting til you came home. I think she was expecting to enjoy a good time — said “I don’t see how you do stand to give John parties so often, I am not going to again til Will is 45.” I laughed good.

I’ll have to hurry for Ed is moving within, I believe.

Corinne has 16 more little Turkeys, took them off today, the first are growing so well & nice & will be nice sized by time you see them. Frank is well & fat & the cows give us all the milk we can use & waste. We have a good ice cream freezer & I have made some 2 times this week, once on Daniel’s birthday & once on Jessie’s. We will try it when you come to enjoy it with us. I will be so very glad to see you & have you with us once again.

Ever so much love from us all & especially your loving Mother.

Aunt Dupuy send lots of love.


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