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Hill Country Living

Christmas Plans In 1883 Included Trip To Philly


It’s a Wagner Week. I picked a couple that were mailed in the same envelope. Maria is her usual passive aggressive, guilt tripping self, Daniel is a control freak and Jessie is an old lady in a child’s body. They mention Cousin Clara, though! I always love mentions of the ever-single Cousin Clara. The family’s sole mission is to hook her up with somebody. They never speak of her in any context outside of her singleness. 

I keep reading the letters written by the small children lately, as it assures me that no matter the country’s political upheaval, some things remain constant and the children do endure. And what’s not to love about the perfection of little Jessie’s spelling errors. 


Phila Pa. Dec 5th/83

My Dear John,

Your letter of 3rd reached me yesterday, I was not surprised to hear you had a severe cold, for you deserved I think changing from heavy to light clothing in winter, but I hope you will soon be over it for it is very disagreeable company. I will ease you on one subject, your father is going to let you come up, that was just what decided my coming. 

I did not think of coming until your father said if I came he thought he would let you come so I decided right away to sacrifice the pleasure of being with those at home and making this Christmas pleasant, to seeing and making yours pleasant. I will be so glad to see you, your father wishes to know when school is out for the holidays, be sure and tell him in your next. 

Clara thinks it will be nice to have an escort in uniform, bring your trunk with you, I guess. 

Do you wear your overcoat? You ought to, you mustn’t expect to cut too much of a swell for we can’t afford it, it is real warm for this time of year. 

I hope you are making every effort in your studies. Now is the time the windows down town begin to look beautiful. I have to look at them. I know you will enjoy your visit, Auntie was glad you could come.

George is fat and bad. I am well and have a splendid appetite, I am in hopes I will be real stout by the time I get home. I have not been out to Ms. Evans yet, they will send in for me soon. I had a letter from Hiram. Breakfast bell is ringing.

With lots of love and kisses,

From your ever

Loving Mother


Water Valley, Miss

Dec 5th, 1883

Dear brother John,

Papa says that he is to let you go up to Philadelphia to see mama Christmas and spend your holaday up there. We all want to see you very bad but we hope you will like that just as well. You have not been up there since you were six years old and papa thinks that it would be real improving for you. Aunty and Aunt Sis would like to see you very much. You have not seen them in so long. Mama has been gone two weeks and we are all very lonely with out her but we hope she is having a nice time and before two weeks more we hope you will be with her in joying yourself. Grandma says she got your letter. She has been so unwell that she could not answer it. She will answer it when she feels better. We children got got out letter and we’re very glad to hear from you and expect they will all answer them. 

Corinne and Gertie will answer theirs. At school I study Grammar, Aritha-metic, Geography, Speling and History and get along very well I think. Calista  is very smart Mrs. Mc Farland says and reads right along. I am very well generally but tonight my ear aches. Please excuse this for I am sleeppy.

Much love and many kisses from your sister, Jessie E. Wagner

P.S. John, the baby can stand alone and we just got your letter.

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