Letters of Ann Mildred Jones and Franklin Cummings

"At Home" Portland, Maine March 7th 1850
My dear Anna,
     Only a few days ago I wrote to you from New York, and I presume you will be a little surprised at seeing this letter coming so soon after the other, but I presume you will require no apology for the intrusion:- if you do I can only say that I am anxious to keep myself prominent in your memory, and as I am deprived of the pleasure of talking with you I am constrained to be content to talk to you in this cold medium of communication.
     I am once more at my father's house, in the midst of the associations of my boyhood, and everywhere meet with the welcome greetings of my long known friends, hearts sincere and true, seem gladdened at my approach and absence seems only to have strengthened the ties of kindred love and purified the friendship of my youth's associates. I wish you were here, I know you would be glad to meet my relatives and they would be no less rejoiced to receive you among them. I think you would be pleased to visit this place and find among all who know me not a thought of malice or detraction breathed against my name, however much I may be reviled by some of your friends. I know that you would not only merit but receive the highest respect and esteem from all my friends here. I need not tell you that midst all the pleasures of home my thoughts are else where, my heart is with one whom I have left far away. One whose slightest word or look of affection is dearer far to me than the brightest smiles and warmest welcomes of all others. With the greatest delight I think of the time when united as one, hand in hand we will journey on together through the varied scenes of life, happy in each others love and unchangeable in our affections. You well know my dear Anna, my many declarations of love to you but you do not know the strength of my devotion, how love has twined itself around my heart and penetrated the inmost recesses of my soul until it envelopes my whole intellectual being. I know that my love is not such as that fickle impulse which the heart sometimes feels as the eye passes upon the charms of the fair and beautiful, but it is a passion of the soul, a love whose birth and existence is in the intellect rather than the senses and the dearest wishes of my heart are for your happiness, and happy will be my lot to be near you always to enjoy sweet converse with you and happier yet if my companionship should add to your pleasures or alleviate those sorrows that fall to the lot of all against which purity is no shield.
     I arrived at home night before last, father and family are all well. Mother has gone out in the country to spend a few days with sister Mary. A March storm is in full blast and as soon as it clears off I shall go out after Mother, she is not expecting me now and I shall take her some what by surprise. Father is delighted at seeing me back and I am glad to see that he is looking finely, very little change for the last six years. Sister Lizzy is really a beautiful girl. The sleighing was very good yesterday, but I fear that this rain storm will ruin it, and I shall not have a sleigh ride here; but I care but little for it as you are not here to ride with me.
      Shall go out to visit those young ladies that I told you of and some others that you have not heard of. I always "believed I was impenetrable to the charms of beauty and the fascinations of the ladies until I saw you and now I know I am, so I think I can go anywhere with impunity especially as I have no heart to lose, that article being entrusted to you; and I know it will stay with you as long as you will allow it, it would break and be irretrievably lost and well it might be, for you have robbed it of its treasures or rather it has surrendered them all to you and only asks a place in your bosom that it may rest and be cherished there. You have sometimes told me that I was vain and indeed if I am I think I am excusable. That I should retain a place in your memory would be enough to render me self complacent but to receive your confidence and to know that you love me might turn the head of a wiser than I. This is my vanity, and if you charge me with it recollect you are the cause, that I am proud of your affection I admit, did I know I was fully worthy of it I might be prouder yet, but should I be able to retain it and become more dear to you I shall be most fortunate and the happiest of all who ever made the discovery that they were irretrievably in love. I must beg your indulgence dear Anna, for father has been talking with me and I have to write and talk too.
     Should you be kind and answer this please write as soon as possible. I suppose Susan is with you, my kindest regards to her, next to you I consider her the most estimable young lady I am acquainted with. Tell Lizzy King [future wife of Leonidas Jones] I … trust her ring in a letter, so I will come on purpose to bring it to her myself. My kindest regards to your sister Lizzy and mother and Mrs. McLeod too. In my next I will tell you what time I will return to you. I shall be back in this month at any rate. Good bye for the present.
Your devoted lover, F. Cummings

April 27, 1850, Louisville, KY

Dear Mother,
     I have the pleasure of informing you that thus far we have had a safe and delightful journey: we arrived in Cumberland at 5:00 o'clock of the same day we left and immediately took the stage and crossed the mountains in the night. I thought it best to go on as fast as possible as I was afraid Ann would be lonesome stopping for the night so near home. Soon after we left you her accustomed good spirits and cheerfulness returned, and although she thinks of you all with the fondest affection, I am proud to be able to tell you that the parting has not caused a tear since we left Harper's Ferry; I know you will be rejoiced to learn that she is so contented and happy. I believer her greatest source of regret is, as she says, that she fear she will be missed by her dear Mother. I think she deserves to be commended for her fortitude. We were about 15 hours in the stage from Cumberland to Brownsville, Pa. If we had gone the other route to Wheeling we should have had 70 miles more of staging. The Steamer Atlantic took us from Brownsville to Pittsburgh where we stopped all night. We left the next morning at 10 o'clock for Cincinnati on the steamer of the same name and from thence came direct to Louisville, we arrived on Friday night, so the trip to this place occupied five days. The novelty of traveling and the beauty and magnificence of the scenery on the Ohio River were matters of great interest and pleasure to Ann but each mode of conveyance whether by railroad, stage or steamboat had its objections. The motion of the cars caused nausea. The stage jolted her most shockingly and she was "giddy headed" all the time on the steamboat, but in spite of all that nothing of interest seemed to escape her; the grandeur of the mountain scenery, the beautiful residences, the pretty towns, the broad acres of the planter glowing with luxuriant vegetation all drew forth exclamations of surprise and pleasure, but when we came down the Ohio her expectations were more than realized. The weather was delightful. Our boat was a magnificent one and as we passed through the enchanting scenery, the river alive with steamers, flat boats and timber rafts, the banks dotted with quiet towns, beautiful houses and gardens and blooming fruit trees, Ann declared it was like fairy scenes and often wished that her father and sisters were present to enjoy it -- but I had better let her give you an account of all these things as well as her sensations on the journey which she promises to do as soon as we get to Brownsville. She seems to be as merry as a cricket, sings and laughs as much as ever and has first rate health. My fondest hope is that she may always be so.
     We arrived at brother Cyrus's house last Saturday morning and were received with the most cordial welcome. We stayed with him a week and shall start tomorrow (Sunday) for New Orleans direct on the Steamer General Lafayette. We expect to reach N.O. early next Friday and shall take the steamer for Brownsville next Saturday morning at ... o'clock am so you see we shall be detained there only one night. We find no cholera or sickness of any kind on the River and we hear there is none at N.O. so don't give yourself any uneasiness on that account. We are in the care of kind Providence whose decrees are right; our trust is in Him and hope to be preserved from all dangers and have the happiness of seeing you many times again. Brother C has a very pleasant place here, is doing well and seems to enjoy life. His wife and Ann have become as intimate as sisters and she says it will be right hard to part with them. We send you our likenesses both on one one plate. Ann looks rather serious. She says she hopes you will not think she feels as grim as she looks. I think it is an excellent likeness. She had on her wedding dress but it reflected another color in the picture. I will leave the rest of this sheet for Ann. Affectionately, F. Cummings.
     My Dear Mother,
     Mr. Cummings will have me write a little on this but I will not attempt to give you a description of our journey to this place. I intend to do that when I get home to Brownsville. Then I shall sit down and write you a long letter, tell you everything just as though I was there talking to you. I have had a pleasant journey so far, leaving out that staging across the mountains straight up in the stage with no very agreeable companion except my beloved husband. We traveled all night over a horrid road. The horses were trotted uphill and run down, such jumping, thumping, bumping and battering we had. Sometimes I almost despaired of my life but so it is we are here safe and sound and I am very happy. Brother Cyrus and his wife have been as kind to me as though I was their sister and I love them very much. Brother C in particular. His wife is a very smart woman but the best of all is my husband. He is the kindest best husband that ever was surely. To crown all, dear Mother, I am perfectly happy except when I think of my dear friends at home. Write to me one of you please and send the letters to Brownsville that I may hear from you as soon as possible. Tell me everything, how you got home from the cars, what you've done since, how all my friends are every one of them, Lizzie, Bro. John, Nida, all, all. Tomorrow we leave this delightful place for New Orleans and in little more than a week expect to arrive at what is to be my future home. [She continues with expressions of affection toward her husband and asks her mother not to let anyone see what she has written.]
     We went out yesterday and had our likenesses taken on two plates, one we gave Brother C the other we send to you. It looks just like us, do you think so. I wish I had yours and a dozen more from there, but you denied me that pleasure -- but I am in hopes to get some from here one of these days yet. Sister Margaret has made me some promises of good things when her old man comes back with his gold. Good luck to him indeed I say. A secret Mother, if you wish to keep Brother John with you never let him visit this country. If you do, he is lost. It is like paradise I think. The wheat here is knee high and the prettiest color I ever saw, the gardens are all planted out with cabbages and other vegetables and look about like they will with you two months hence, perhaps. The dwelling houses here, most of them are magnificent, such beautiful yards, gardens and lawns in front. I have been fishing once, caught five nice little fish, had a pleasant party of two or three of the young ladies here went long, have paid one visit and now dear Mother I must close. Mr. Cummings joins me in love to all my sisters and brothers, Mr. King and family and all others in ... friends and accept for yourself Dear Mother the best love of your affectionate daughter, Ann M. Cummings.

Brownsville, Texas, 3rd July 1850

John A. Jones, My Dear Sir

     I am in a greater hurry this morning than I was before and although I would like to give you some further account of our travels I am obliged to postpone it to some more convenient time. Ann is in first rate health and suffers no inconvenience from the climate. She was sick for several days immediately after our arrival here occasioned by the fatigues of journey and derangement of system in crossing the gulf. She was very seasick as the sea was very rough. We are keeping house and have no servant yet. We have had one that stayed part of two days and left. It is impossible to get a good one here and I am going to [sail?] to Galveston for a half dozen Dutch girls for us and our friends, for many of the ladies here are without servants. We have done very well without any so far, I help cook and you just ought to taste the corn cakes we turn out. We throw bakers bread entirely into the shade. We have our washing done by a Mexican woman. Ann is performing wonders in the way of housekeeping, has knit three stockings for me and done quantities of sewing. She complains bitterly that none of you write to her. She would be very well satisfied if she could get ... letter often from home. Our town is flourishing, finely is incorporated into a city and is respectable, quiet and orderly. Mr. Powers and I are building four houses for rent. It will be a first rate investment and will bring in at least 50 per cent a year. If you can help me out a little by and by I would be glad.
     Enclosed I send you that two dollar note I took of George Chiswell. I have passed it off a dozen times but it always comes back. Please give it back to George and send me one on some bank in Baltimore.
     Out kindest regards to Mother and all the family. Yours as ever, F. Cummings

Brownsville, Texas, July 13th, 1850

Dear Brother,

     I think you all deserve a good scolding for not writing to Mr. Cummings or me. I suppose you think we've forgotten you as you have us but you are mistaken. I remember all about you, how you used to go out Saturday evenings and come back Monday evenings, how you waited on me to church and how straight you sit on your horse. In fact, I remember every character and feature. Why then should your memory be so bad? It can't be that you have more to employ your time, doubtless you have different employment for your thoughts but cast such thoughts aside for a time and take your pen, ink and paper into the other room and sit down at the table there and write me a good long letter as I intend to do to you. I hope Mother won't forget to answer the letter I sent her sometime ago nor sister Margaret hers either nor you yours when you get to it, so I must hasten along and make haste and sent it off. I suppose you have had a wedding in your vicinity before this. Did you get a bid? I attended the celebration of the fourth of July, had a Sunday School process on marched round the town preceded by a band of music directed by some of the officers of the garrison in horseback following after. ... were marched to a place where there was a stand erected. There we had prayer from the Rev. Mr. Chamberlain followed by the reading of the declaration of independence and an address by a young gentleman of this place and then transferred back to the church where we ... from there we found the table set for dinner covered with confectionery of all kinds. The gentleman's dinner was prepared elsewhere. After dining we got together again. Mr. Cummings and I sat an hour or so with one of our friends and then marched home and went to bed for the customary evening nap, hush! don't tell Mother besides it is only on occasions being out in the hot sun for such a length of time that we indulge ourselves with a nap at all. Next day we were both sick and so we were the day after, but finally after drooping a day or two we recovered our usual health.
We have now ripe figs here but I like them best dried. They are about the size of a good-sized pear and taste somewhat similar to a banana, a fruit they have in New Orleans and considered by most people delicious. Vegetables grow here all the year, but don't name the ants and other insects they grow, increase and multiply 'till they become exceedingly great and numerous. I've positively seen roaches here an inch and a half long and an inch in breadth, and red ants bigger than honey bees. Last week we took a ride to Matimoras and I was rather disappointed in its appearance. It's not as large as Brownsville nor as pretty a place either. The prettiest place I saw there was the square prepared (in mound covered with flowers) by Major Chapman here in our garrison, he made the prisoners do it when he was commanding in Matimoras. They have a very fine catholic church commenced there, have raised funds to finish it several times, the funds have been smuggled by the old Padres and the church remains unfinished. The house in Matimoras all have flat roofs and brick doors. A great many of them have only grated windows. The greasers themselves (as the poorer class of Mexicans are called) are the greatest curiosities of all. They go about naked to the waist, in the scorching sun, and then to see the places they live in. I have really seen them living in huts built of green weeds, one made of mud is something superior. Sticks and cornstalks though is their principal lumber for housebuilding. The children mostly are unencumbered with clothes, so much for the Greasers. Now for the Indians. There has been a great disturbance about them. Lately rumor says they are killing and plundering through the country. The soldiers of the garrison are out in search of them. Have been three days and have not returned so I don't know what luck they have had. Mr. Cummings thinks there's none within a hundred miles of us. I don't feel afraid of them. Some here though are uneasy and everybody keeps fire arms convenient of a night at all times. Kellogg the highway robber they have confined here in jail for some time made his escape in open daylight and the citizens were afraid to take him as he had more friends than anybody else. He was heard to say in prison that when he got out he would have a thousand dollars for every day he spent in there, but he has gone to Matamoras and won't be apt to show himself here again, as the officers are on lookout for him.
      My health and Mr. Cummings's is very good and we get along first rate. It is very healthy. No sickness of any kind here. Hope Mother is well, as well as all the rest of you. Our love to Mother and all the family and all inquiring friends. Mr. C will write to Uncle White soon. I will write to Nida and Lizzy soon. Remember us to Rose, Sam and all the rest of them. I find Mr. Powers (Mr. C's partner) to be a very fine man. I have some first rate neighbors. The ladies are very kind. Please write immediately and often I do so like to hear from home.

Your affectionate sister, Ann M. Cummings

(a separate slip of paper in above letter)
The report about the Indians proves to be incorrect. They are now within twelve miles of us committing depredations. A Mexican came into town yesterday with a spear wound and two arrows in his back. The town is now very unquiet. Night before last a man of good character and respectability was killed in town. The people were so incensed against the murderer that they took him out the next morning, put it to a vote what should be done with him, decided he should be hung, took him out forthwith and hung him between 8 or 9 o'clock in the morning all within sight of my house. Wasn't that expediting business. He was a great desperado, had killed ten or eleven men before, was one of Murrel's gang. Mr. Cummings said he looked as undaunted and composed on the gallows as could be. Told them all farewell, said he hoped his example would have a good effect, offered to tie the rope around his neck himself and Mr. Cummings proposed he should have a preacher to pray with him, accordingly he had one at the scaffold. The oddfellows turned out yesterday to bury the murdered man (he was one of them). All dressed in their regalia accompanied by as solemn music they have a great ceremony burying the dead. Such proceedings makes me feel wretched but I have not doubt tis for the best. The number of Indians is 350 scattered. AM Cummings.

Brownsville, 14th Aug. 1850

Dear John
     Yours of the 23rd of July was received yesterday. I am under many obligations to you for that long and friendly letter and some other time I will do as much for you, but this morning I can't for our Irish girl is sick and Ann has her hands full of business and I must help her. We were grieved to hear of Mother' accident and were astonished to learn the amount of labor she did that Saturday. I think John that day's work will do to go alongside the porposies |?| Ann wrote of. Of Mr. McLeod's success I am rejoiced to hear and I think that if his prospects continue so favorably Sister Margaret ought to be willing for him to stay a few months longer. He has endured so many privations that he deserves a rich reward. When he answers my letter, if it comes to Poolesville take it out and all of you read it and then send it to me. Lizzy seems to be up and doing. She is right to let her get a fair start and I don't believe they can get ahead of her. We are pleased at the account you give of her vigilance but think you might give us a few more particulars of yourself. It is most timely for you to be stirring yourself, but with the good chances you have perhaps it is time enough yet for you know that when you are married you will not be of half so much consequence among girls as before.
     I found that two dollars enclosed. Thank you for sending it. In regard to the other if you have $100 or less you had better send Baltimore bills but if you have a larger amount to send you had better get bills of Exchange on some banking house in New York payable to my order and sent to me in a letter you will get duplicated and keep one yourself till you hear that mine is read. Such bills are at a premium here. Drafts on New Orleans would do nearly as well. Perhaps you could get the bills at Frederick Town if not they can be got at Baltimore. Our houses will all be done this week or next and we shall all be hard up for money to pay for them. If you send $500 or $600 you had better get bills of Exchange of $300 each, although it will not make much difference if it is all in one. My health is first rate and our prospects are good. I will write more at large another time. Hope to hear from some of you every week. Ann gets along finely and when she gets letters often she seems well satisfied. She is much better contented than I expected she would ever be. Our love to all our relations and particularly to Lizzy King. Will write to Nida soon. Hope Mother is entirely well.
Affectionately yours, F. Cummings

Brownsville, Texas, 2nd Oct. 1850

My dear Brother
     Yours of Sept. 13 came to hand last Monday, the two drafts of the $300 each came safe and I shall have no difficulty getting the cash for them. I am very thankful for your careful attention to the matter. We had not great necessity for the money for several weeks as the last payment on our houses is not due for two months but is is very acceptable as we wish to make some improvements in our house, purchase some furniture X &c.
     I have been appointed City Attorney for this city and Mr. Powers and I have dissolved partnership. We keep our offices in the same building and are jointly interested in many cases, but as he is engaged in an important suit against the city I of course had to dissolve with him when I accepted the office of City Attorney. The salary is about $500 a year for the ordinary duties and extra compensation for extra services. It will not conflict with my other practice, so you see that much will be clear gain. I am getting an extensive practice but it does not pay much at present. A farmer's life is the only truly independent one. The labors are repaid by a grateful soil and while he enriches himself he impoverishes nobody else. If I were as well fixed as you are I would let the world wag on, but you seem to be in some doubt about the girls. You ask my advice about them out here. Now, John, if you have actually formed a resolution to take one of them I advise you to look upon one somewhere near home and if you should be as fortunate as I have been you will find you could not have bettered yourself anywhere.
    I was sorry to hear of so much sickness in the neighborhood, particularly that young lady who affected your heart so much. I will have not doubt it will all come out right. And these slight afflictions will serve to show which way your affections be, but of all things John be sure you are right and on safe ground before you drive ahead very fast.
     I wish you would come out here and live with us for a while. You would be astonished at many things. It is the most healthy place I ever saw in any part of the country. The last of this month I shall plant our garden and we will have vegetables all winter. The winter is the best time for some plants, although with proper care and irrigation they grow all the year.
     Ann is doing first rate, has excellent health, seems contented and cheerful. She has gone to bed and I just asked her what I should say for her. She says give her love to Mother and Lizzy and all the rest and particularly to Leonides. He says he will not not think we have not forgotten him. We are rejoiced to hear that Mr. McLeod is coming back so soon and hope sister Margaret will be happy enough to make up for all the anxieties she has suffered in his absence. I am curious to hear from him, hope we shall live as neighbors one of these days. If I was able I would like to live in the North better than any other place and particularly with such neighbors as I could pick out of your county, although I should pass by some of them sure. We are grieved to hear of Mother's illness and Henry Dawson's. Hope to hear better accounts of you next time. Write often John and I will keep you well posted up in matters here. Our love to all.
     Your affectionate brother, F. Cummings.

Brownsville, Texas, 19 April 1851

Dear Mother,
     I have no doubt you think me neglectful in not writing to you, but the fact is I entrusted to Ann the pleasure as well as the duty of writing all the letters to you and the rest of our friends in Md. and I believe she has attended to it faithfully but she says she says the last she wrote to you was rather a gloomy one and I must explain it. It so happened that a case of great importance was coming on in the U.S. Court held at Galveston in which the city of Brownsville was interested and I as City Attorney was appointed to go on to attend it. I intended to take Ann with me but just at the time I wished to start there was no conveyance but a small schooner which had but poor accommodations for ladies, and it was thought advisable for Ann not to go. I expected to be gone two or three weeks only, so I left Ann at one of our neighbors well cared for and started off. The voyage ought to have been made in 40 hours but as it was we met with severe storms and head winds and were driven far out of our course but after seventeen days we arrived at Galveston out of provisions and very much fatigued. I assure you for doing the last two days we were constantly engaged in pumping and bailing out the vessel. I had not been out on my voyage three days before I promised I would never leave Ann again even for a night, my anxiety on her account was excessive but luckily she never heard of our peril although she was astonished at my long absence. I remained at Galveston only long enough to conclude my business and returned by steam ship taking with me almost everything either useful or beautiful that I thought Ann would be pleased with for peace offerings for my long absence. I was happy on my return to find Ann very well and comfortable and you may as well believe she was the personification of happiness too; I hope you will not think hard of me for having Ann there, as business of the most urgent nature called me away, and I promise never to do it again.
     We are getting along very comfortably, pleasantly and happily. More than a year has now passed since our marriage. Its rapid flight has left no record of sorrow or regret at our fireside, though far from friends we love and deprived of many pleasures to be found in their society. Yet our joys are not few; at time rolls away our mutual love increases and seeking for each others happiness we secure our own. We are blessed with prosperity and health, in fact I never was in a climate as healthy as this. Ann often says she wishes you were here. She knows you would enjoy our climate and our mode of living. Our market is well supplied and almost every luxury the world produces can be obtained at moderate prices.
     The death of Dr. Dawson has saddened our hearts! The devoted husband, kind father and faithful friend is gone to a brighter home, may his family be comforted and may we all meet him hereafter in the fullness of joy we recall journeying the way he is gone and I hope the bright example shown in his life may be a safe guide to our conduct and that when life closes with us our friends remaining may think of us not as those who sorrow without hope.
     Ann has worked a collar for you which you will find enclosed herein. She met with an accident the other day, stepped on a brick which turned and sprained her foot badly, but under my medical skill has rapidly recovered and is now nearly well.
     I will write soon to all our friends, particularly to Uncle White, please tell him so with our kindest regards to him and his family.
          I have not forgotten my promise to sister Elizabeth, though she may get married before my advice on that subject reaches her. We were really delighted with her letter to us and hope she will write often. I hope John and Leonides will write and I pledge myself to write back two letters to their one.
     One of our neighbors has a little baby and some people think there is a prospect of its being fashionable throughout the neighborhood in course of the next six months. With our devoted love to you dear mother and our kindest regards to all I remain,
     Most affectionately yours, F. Cummings

Brownsville, Texas 16th July 1851

Dear Mother
     I have the happiness of informing you that we have a little boy [Joseph Franklin Cummings]. He was born this morning at precisely six o'clock. Ann says that he ... . She can't tell whether he is pretty or not -- but he is a fine boy anyway. Ann is doing very well and has had excellent health all the time. She has kind friends and neighbors with her and is in every respect comfortable. And now as I shall have to tend the baby I shall not have so much time to write to the ... as often as formerly and as I have been so punctual up to this time I know you will excuse me.
     We have an excellent servant and nurse so that I expect my part of the nursing will not be very fatiguing.
          I read Mr. McLeod's letter. Will answer soon. Our love to all.
               Affectionately yours, F. Cummings
The mail starts this morning or I would write more.

Brownsville, Texas Oct. 8th, 1851

My dear Mother
     I read a letter from you the last mail and would have answered it immediately but in consequence of the boats leaving so early had to defer it till this week. I am truly sorry, dear Mother, that you have had no much trouble and sorrow to endure now in your old days, 'tis hard - very - but you know tis the will of the all wise Creator when we are bereft of our dear friends and we should try and resign ourselves to it as much as we can. I fell deeply for my sisters. Poor sister Sally, you did not tell me anything about her in your last letter. Has she become any more reconciled to her loss? I was surprised to hear that Mr. McLeod is going to take his family away. Expected he was tired of traveling by this time and I am very sorry they are going on your account dear Mother. I know it will go hard with you to part with sister Margaret and then when I come on to see you all t'would be so pleasant to have her and her family there too.
     You congratulate me on my fine son and well you may -- he is a nice little boy I can tell you, so quiet and pretty too I think. I can't tell who he resembles, but you could if you could see him I expect, you are so surprised at my calling him Frank, but don't you know I have Joseph before it after my dear Father. O! I would give anything could you all see him but perhaps you will one of these days if we live and have our health.
     Brownsville has gone down so much. I don't think we will remain here another year longer than that anyhow -- even should it take a rise we will visit you next year I think. If we have to return here again.
     I have had a gathered breast since I had my baby but tis well now and I nurse off it too - but you may depend I suffered with it a great deal, was confined to my bed with it two weeks and the month of August and you may depend the heat was intolerable but I have gotten through it all and at this time am enjoying first rate health. Mr. Cummings is not so well this morning. He suffers more or less with the neuralgia for the last two months.
     Dear Mother I am surprised at your saying that I have never told you how I like this place. I thought I had do so several times but if I have not I will do so now. In the first place we have a delightful climate, enjoy excellent health, have everything good to eat except down east fruit, have a comfortable little house, a nice little baby and excellent neighbors (one lady Mrs. Dye stayed with me more or less all the time I was sick, made me nice things to eat, took the trouble of my baby and was very kind indeed, more like a sister than anything else). To sum up I would as leave live here as any place I ever was at if I only had some of my friends here. You, my Mother, if you were here I should be very happy. I should like to have some of my Sisters or Brothers or relatives here - but I enjoy myself sometimes as it is very much - so you can tell those who ask again that I like it very well. I was sorry to hear poor G. King was dead. He must be a very great loss to his family. Are they still at the mill? I hope Mr. King will not go to the west - would like Cousin Ann to stay near you. Tell Lizzy King I will write to her soon as to Elizabeth Jones. I believe she has forgotten she has such a sister as I in the world. Maker her write to me often, Mother, please twill be improving to her as well as a great satisfaction to me. That is one thing I am disappointed at - having so many friends down there and hearing from you so seldom. I read your letter with the edging and was very much obliged to you for sending it to me. Cousin Sophie Brewer is taking quite a ... with her friend. I hope she will enjoy herself. She is a very fine woman I think. Please give my love to her and apologize to her for my not writing to her.
     There is about to be a revolution in Mexico. They are expecting a fight in Matamoras every day - have the place strongly fortified, breast works fixed up and I don't know what all. Matamoras is only a mile from this place, but there is no danger to up let there be ever so much fighting. Indeed the Americans are pleased at the prospects. Think perhaps twill make times better here -- The American families residing in Matamoras have left and come to this place. Also a great many Mexican families.
     I must tell you about my parrot. She has got so she can say anything she likes. At this time she is calling out for ... Cummings to come here, come along, as plainly as anyone could say it -- when I go on I will carry her with me. Mr. C thinks our ... most intelligent animals he ever saw. They are certainly very fond of him and no wonder -- he notices them so much -- Oh! I must tell what I preserved this summer. The fruit of the prickly pear. Tis a pear equally as large as the largest ... pear and very much the shape of a pear but the color is a deep purple. When preserved they are nearly the color of blackberries. The prickly pear grows to an enormous size here and are very plentiful. There is a cactus here also that bears a fruit they say is good to ... . Tis call'd the turks head cactus, grows round like a hat crown and the fruit comes right on top like a knob. Tis a very singular looking thing, the green ... with the red top. Tell Lizzy I intend to send her some honey suckle seed when they ripen. I have my piazza in front covered with vines. The balsam pear, morning glories and three or four other vines I don't know the names of. They have grown so thick and luxuriantly that we can't see through them. But the greatest thing we have here in the way of curiosities is the Chihuahua dog. They are the littlest things of the dog kind I ever saw and the most singular animal. Their legs look almost precisely like a young lambs and the smallest mouths and largest eyes more like bullets [?]-- on the whole I think they are the most singular looking animal I have seen here. They are a wild animal and have holes under the ground but the natives catch and domesticate them. They are very knowing little things.
     Mother please tell Lizzy I want her to knit my baby two or three pairs of socks and send him. I can't get any yarn here to knit them myself. Inside your letter I send a little book for Anne McLeod. I think Sister Margaret owes me a letter as they all wait for that. Write to me as often as you can dear Mother and tell all the others to do so too. Please give my love to Sisters and Brothers and all inquiring friends and accept for yourself the devoted love of your daughter Ann M. Cummings
     Mr. Cummings sends his love to you all and wishes you and the boys would write to him. The thinks the baby the most perfect little child in every respect he ever saw. Brother Cyrus has a little son one month older than mine. Tis the first.

[Between these letters, Franklin and Ann went back to Maryland and Franklin continued to Maine.]

February 5th 1853
Poolesville, Montgomery, MD (addressed to Franklin Cummings in Portland, Maine)
My Dear Mr. Cummings

     I received a letter from you tonight about half an hour since, so you see I don't wish to keep you waiting for an answer. I was very much pleased to hear you found your friends so well. Should like very much to be there with you but could not have gone when you did. I was right sick for a couple of weeks after you left. At this time I am considerably better. Little Frank has got on very well, is right fat and very saucy. Have not had occasion to give him a dose of medicine since you left.
      Two letters have come to you, the first one I opened. T'was from Dr. West. He is attending to the front office. Says he intends to apply for it. I did not think it worth while to send the letter to you as that is pretty much the amount of the contents. The one that came tonight I shall send to you with this. There is great [business?] going on here. Susan and Sally Ann are both up helping to make the rigging. Went to Frederick last week a whole lot of them have been making silk dresses ever since. You had better make haste back or you may miss the occasion, which would be dreadful. The girls have wished a good many times that you were here.
      I was right glad your friends didn't think me ugly - but good looking enough. I reckon they only said so out of respect to your feelings. When you come through New York don't forget to get Sally one of those carnelian rings, one without a set and about the size of mine. Last week I quilted my big quilt at Mr. Kings. Got it done in a week had a good deal of help. Mother has sent for Hannah. I expect she will be home in a day or two. She will be the one we will have to take with us. I was very much pleased to hear you had got well of your cold - ours hangs on very well. Mother is right much complaining yet. I hope Lizzy may on to get well. Was truly glad to hear you found her better than you expected. I hope you will try to get back by the middle of this month any how the time appears long since you left. Everyone complains of missing you and Franky for several days after you left would not be comforted - but he begins to feel resigned to it now but not so with me. The longer the time is the more anxious I am to see you and shall wish for your safe arrival every day till you get here. I have not heard from my watch yet. I have not seen any of the family since and now my Dear Husband give a great deal of love from me to your dear Father and Mother - Sisters and Brothers. Nothing would afford me more pleasure that to become acquainted with hem. I suppose its hardly worth while to invite any of them to visit us nevertheless we would all be very happy to have any one of them to come down with you to the wedding [of her brother Leonidas Jones and Elizabeth King] which is to be the first day of March. If you do not bring Mr. Powers along the girls be sadly disappointed - and now as tis getting late I must bid you good night.

Your affectionate Wife
Ann M. Cummings

On the same paper there is another note:

Mr. F. Cummings
Dear Uncle Frank

Aunt Ann has given me permission to write a few lines to you. I have nothing very interesting to communicate for they are all as dull here as weeding [hoes?] since you left. I wish from the bottom of my heart you were here. Such times as [illegible] might [illegible]. We had a merry trip to Frederick. James drove us up and he vows and declares that it will be the last time he will ever wait on such another [illegible]. We are hard at work making up the finery. Nida's mouth is spread from ear to ear. She and Liz [?] are as happy as the day is long. Sally Ann came up last Sunday bringing Joe with her. He left about ten o'clock at night for home. Uncle Joe was right much provoked with you for not spending that week with him before you started or Maine you must not forget it when you return. [Sara?] and I get along finely. [Illegible] all my thoughts are centered on Mr. Powers now do Uncle Frank bring him along. My curiosity to see his lordship is beyond all bounds and Liz Jones' is equally as great. But for fear that I shall not be able to captivate Mr. Powers. I would like it if you possibly can to bring me a bear from Maine and indeed if you will I will give you a sweet kiss on your return. And more good byes for paper is very [illegible]. Make haste back - we all want to see you very badly. Yours affectionately, Susan A.

Brownsville, Cameron co., Texas
June 22nd, 1853

Dear Mother
     Your letter to Ann was received last night - having a few minutes to spare at my office I will write a line or two. Ann can answer by next mail. I think I have written two or three letters to John already, yet by your letters it seems you have not heard from us since we left Smithland, Ky. I was very sick there occasioned by drinking water out of a well that was poisoned by some mineral. I recovered fully in about 12 days. We spend a very pleasant day at Coz. James Brewer's. Frank did not recover till we got to our own house here. He was so low when we got home that he could not walk and his legs were all the time cold even in the warmest weather. I doctored him myself without a physician and in 4 or 5 days he began to get better and is now one of the healthiest children I ever saw, strong, fat and hearty, runs all about, talks quite prettily. Calls Lizzie, you, John, Nida and all the darkies. His mother is proud of him as she can be and often says she wishes you could see him now for she knows you would say he is the finest boy and the prettiest you ever saw. I can certify that he behaves well and is not trouble at all. I attribute his restoration to health as much to the climate as anything else, for it is the most extraordinary climate I was ever it. Ann is perfectly restored to health and is well contented and cheerful. We have a first rate house supplied with furniture and everything we want that money can buy and more than all else we have health the greatest blessing of all -- I sometimes feel sorry that I am not near some of my good and true friends in Montgomery, but I look for a good deal of pleasure in visiting you all again one of these days.
     Hannah does very well not, but as she belongs to the domestic affairs I shall leave her for Ann to write about. I am sorry to hear that John got sick. I wish he was out here with us. He would be a strong healthy man in one year, I have no doubt; and he might get married too if there was anybody out of your county that would suit his friends. I would answer more of the contents of your letter but I have not read it all yet and Ann has got it out to the house. I hope Sister Mary and Sally Ann and all of them are well. I often think of them for I tell you the truth when I say there is nobody loves their true friends better than I do.
     Ann sends her love to all and Frank sends his to you and says he would like to have a pull at your nose and spectacles. I will write again in a few days.
Affectionately your, F. Cummings

To Mrs. Ann Jones

December 4, 1853
Brownsville, Cameron Co., Texas

My Dear Mother

     A week ago I didn't think I should ever again have the pleasure of writing to any of my friends -- last Monday week I was taken with the yellow fever -- in less than an hour after I was taken I became delirious. The third day they raised my head about two inches from the pillow for the purpose of draining a blister I had on the back of my neck and I fainted off three times, one time after another -- It seemed almost impossible to keep life in me. In fact I believe all that saved me was the good nursing and attention that I received -- besides Mr. Cummings for nurse I had one of the best Doctors living who stayed with me day and night almost constantly and the ladies too came and stayed day and night. There was more came than the Doctor would allow me to see.
     Dear Mother I can't tell you how it hurt me to have Mr. Cummings beg me to speak to him to say that I knew him and I couldn't do it, I couldn't speak, though I knew everything. For two or three days I couldn't see. I am now going about the house. Have not been out though. Mr. Cummings says I may go this evening to see Mrs. Nixon. She was taken with the fever the night before last. She was not taken violently like I was. My mouth is still a little sore from salivation.
     I read a letter last week from Cousin S. Brewer and one from little Willy Brewer at the same time. Willy is certainly a remarkably smart child -- indeed they are all smart children. Cousin Sophie wrote me they were all well. James had had a light attack of the yellow fever. All the others had escaped it. She does not seem to have much dread of the yellow fever -- but I tell you Mother I have -- Numbers of poor Mexicans have died here with it and the soldiers in the Garrison are still dropping off four and five a day. It seems to me it will sweep off all of them before it leaves here. It is still very bad in Matamora - from fifteen to twenty dying there in a day.
     Cousin Sophia wrote me that Uncle Brewer and Aunt Polly had sent them their daguerreotypes. Now Mother why can't you send me yours. I should prize it so much -- I am afraid you will never have it taken for us. I should like to see Uncle Brewer and Aunt Polly's. Cousin S. says they are the best likenesses she ever saw.
     Little Frank keeps well and grows fat and saucy, says he is going to Grandmas -- Grandma will give him apples. Uncle John will ride him on his knee and on a horse too and Aunt Lizzy will give him whole lumps of sugar -- he is all the time talking.
     Mr. Powers talks of going to Washington this winter. If he does he will probably leave here in February. He says if I have any little thing to send you he will take it and leave it at Mrs. Langs for you. When I get well enough I will go out and see if I can't find some nice little thing to send you. The ladies here are busy fixing fair they are to have Friday and Saturday before Christmas. Tis to raise money to assist in building the Episcopal Church that is now going up here. They have been after me to help them. I think I will sew some for them when I get a little stronger They have been begging me for my little knit baskets for the fair. I told them they might as well ask for my right hand. Those little baskets have been very much admired.
     About two weeks ago Mr. Cummings made me a present of a sewing bird. Tis the nicest little thing. You screw it on your work table, touch a spring and the bird opens its mouth. You catch the work in the mouth and there tis fast till you wish to take it out again. You don't have to stoop as you do when you have your work pinned to your knee -- besides there is no pin holes following you -- tis made of silver -- cost 2 dollars and a half.
     Dear Mother have you got that cold room fixed for winter -- I hope you have -- I wouldn't like to pass another winter in such a cold house. Another such cold as I had last winter would surely put me in my grave. The Doctor thought my previous illness was the cause of my baby's [Cyrus Cummings] death. Oh! Mother such a fat pretty baby -- all that saw him thought him a beautiful baby -- I can't help mourning the loss of my baby -- when I was so sick I could see him in my imagination all the time -- sometimes he seemed to be beckoning to me with his little hand to come to him and I couldn't go.
     You wish to know Dear Mother how Hannah comes on -- well she is improving slowly -- she will take my sugar and sweetmeats without permission and then lie about it. -- Mr. Cummings has a dreadful opinion of anyone that will tell untruths or take anything not belonging to them -- to keep her from doing so he gives her a part of everything good that he brings to the house -- but it's no use -- it seems to be bred in her bones -- in all other respects she has improved wonderfully, can cook a very good dinner -- keeps herself much cleaner than she did. I have also broke her of the habit of wetting a bed every night - as she did at first -- I make all my soft soap now as much as I can use.
     Why don't Lizzy and brother John write me -- the first letter I wrote was to Lizzy and she has never yet written me a line - please give my love to sisters and brothers, Cousin Ann King and family and all inquiring friends. As Christmas is so near I will wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year. I wish I could be with you at Christmas but never expect to have that pleasure again. I hope though you will sometimes think about me. I am very happy with my husband; He is more affectionate and kind (if possible) than ever. Christmas gift to you all.
     Hannah seems very happy and not at all lonesome. Frank is very fond of her. When you write to Sister Margaret again ask her why she doesn't answer my letters.

     Remember me to all the blacks -- Rose, Sam, Emily, Till and all of them.

Brownsville, Cameron Co, Texas
Jany 17th 1854

My Dear Lizzy
     I read your letter last week and you see I am not keeping you waiting for an answer as you did me. I had begun to think right hard of you for not writing -- but as you have acknowledged your negligence and promised to do better for the future I will not scold you this time -- but should you serve me so again you may look out for squalls. I was very much pleased to find that you had not forgotten your promise about sending me your daguerreotype but would have been still better pleased to have received it. However, I hope I will get it soon. Perhaps you will send it to me by Mr. C. [?] Mr. Cummings wishes brother John to go down to Washington to see him when he gets there. Mr. Cummings will write to brother John soon and do, pray tell me, what is the reason brother John didn't write to me. Tell all the rest waiting for me to write him first -- I wrote to Aunt Fletchall two weeks ago an account of our fair. I was presented with a pair of very handsome cups and saucers that cost six dollars. You may know they are pretty. I would be so glad to have a chance to send Mother one of them. I also had two very fine bottles of cologne given to me -- you should have one of them if I had any way of getting it to you out - that is impossible as they are all of the breakable kind. I have a little leather basket here for Mother and I will fill if full of little things before I send it off among the rest. I hope there will be some little thing for you. I should like to send you something nice but can't this time -- for whatever I send will have to go by mail to New Orleans -- Mr. Powers will get it there. He is already in Galveston on his way to Washington.
     I was surprised to hear that James King had gone to the west. Will he visit Sister Margaret? When did you first hear from them and how were they? I wrote to Sister Margaret when I first got home but she has not answered my letter. Why doesn't cousin Ann write to me? She was one of the first of my friends I wrote to. I hope Lizzy T. is doing well. So Larry still goes to see Sally does he. What has become of Jo? How has Thomas Darby got? I hear t'was thought he was in a decline. Lizzy, you must write to me often and tell me all the news. I want to hear how you are all getting on. How comes on Margaret E. S. and L's [?] wife? Is she any more amiable now than she was said to be?
     Frank says Aunt Lizzy's dress is so pretty. He is talking very plainly now. Hannah has learnt him to swear. I am very much provoked about it. Am in hopes he will soon forget about it. When I hear him using bad words I pretend not to notice it. Think that will be the best way to break him of it. Mr. Cummings humors and pets him much more than I do -- he is pretty much spoilt -- not cross -- but willful -- mischievous -- wild. He is very sprightly and merry. Sings O! Susanna don't you cry or ... and walk into the parlor boys and lots of other songs besides.
     New Years day I got a present of a pair of china dogs - like that one of Virginia White's. Lizzy, how has John Chiswell's little child got. Has he outgrown his affliction or what? What does Sarah Griffith call her little girl? Give my love to Sarah when you see her and tell her I will write to her soon. In the mean time I hope I may get a letter from her.
     I have to stop every now and then (as you say) to look after my dinner. I have a very fine fat turkey roasting -- we got fine fat gobblers for four 1/2 bits a piece. I also have some apple dumplings and I can tell you they are a rarity here. Apples are so scarce. These are some that were sent from Illinois to a lady here from that place. She made me a present of a large basket full. Her husband is a Doctor Bowie from Maryland, first cousin to Richard [T. or P.] Bowie of Rockville. Says he knows Uncle Brewer and others I am acquainted with.
     Mr. Cummings looks well now, enjoys excellent health and is as cheerful as ever. Don't seem to have many troubles. How is Sister Mary? Give my love to her and tell her I am expecting a letter from her.
     Is Sam staying with Mr. Poole this year? If he was willing to come here he might come out with Mr. Powers. We could get three hundred dollars a year for him here. How are Mr. Gotts family getting along? Poor Mr. Gott, I was so sorry to hear of his death. I think he must be a great loss to his family. Does Mrs. Bowie [?] live with them?
     So you say have have no beaux Lizzy. If you had come out with us you might have had two or three and you would have had such a nice chance to have gone back again (if you had wished to) with Mr. ... and Mr. Kingsberry. He is going to Washington with Mr. P and you know there would have been no impropriety in going under his care, as he is a married man and our nearest neighbor. Give my love to my dear Mother, brothers and sisters, Mr. King's family, Uncle White's and Mrs. Fisher. Hannah sends her love to Rose, Sam, Em and Till and all the rest too I believe. Mr. C and Franky send their love to you all too.

Brownsville, Texas, July 10, 1855

Dear Mother
     With this we send you a picture of Ann, Frank and Sis [Elizabeth Ann Cummings], all three together. We send this because it is a good picture of the baby. We have better ones of Ann and Frank. Hope you will be pleased with them.
     I have got entirely well of the chills. And shall take care not to get them again. The family are all well now. Frank has got over his chills. We have had bad weather and that accounts for our sickness.
     I received a letter from John yesterday with a check for $1_5. John is very kind and I am grateful to him. I have been so worried of late, my business being behind on account of my sickness or I would have written you oftener, but I entrust the family correspondence almost entirely to Ann and I think she attends to it right faithfully.
     I have not heard from John Young. If he had come to this part of Texas I should certainly have known it. Did he never write home to his friends. If you could tell me where he was last I would try to find out something about him. I hope his family will hear from him soon --
     I reproach myself for not writing to Uncle White, Geo. Chiswell &c. And will do myself that pleasure soon. I hope they and all my other friends will excuse me.
          We are living very comfortably here, have an excellent large house and are doing well, but I would like to see you all often and before two years hope to visit you. We are gratified to hear of your good health and hope it will long continue.
     I am writing at my office and am interrupted every minute so please excuse this and make the will for the deed --
          I will write to John next mail.
               Our love and kindest regards to all our friends.
Affectionately yours, F. Cummings

Brownsville, Texas, July ...

My Dear Mother
     We have had our likenesses taken for you and send them with this letter, Mine, Frank's and Lizzie's are all on one plate. I should not have sent one of myself if I could have had Lizzie taken alone, that was impossible. 'Tis a difficult thing to keep a baby still long enough to have its likeness taken. I keep one of each of the children myself. The one I keep of Frank is first rate. 'Tis on a plate by himself. Mr. C. thinks 'tis the best likeness he ever saw. This one I send you has his mouth open which does not look so well. We were all so engaged with the baby that we forgot to look if Frank was right or myself either. When you get tired of them you can give them to Leonidas. Hannah has sent her likeness to the black people. She does not say which of them.
     I received a letter from Sally Ann last night which was a real treat. Sally writes a very interesting letter. Mr. Cummings read one from Brother John also with a draft enclosed in it. I am very much pleased to hear of Brother John getting along so well. Now if he would get married 'twould be so nice. Brother John wishes to know if we has seen or heard anything of John Young, nothing at all, I don't think it is likely he would go to Texas with cattle. Cattle are cheaper here than anywhere else. Neither do I think it likely he would go to California. My own private opinion is that he is dead. Poor Aunt Margaret and Uncle Young. I pity them sincerely. They should not have trusted John to go off in the world so alone. He was not calculated for it.
      Was sorry to hear of poor Susan Gott's death. Did she die with the consumption? And old cousin Polly White is dead too. How does Ann W. get on? Does she have any more children?
     Dear Mother I have to write you a short letter this time, as it is already time I had sent if off. Lizzie and Brother John must write to me. I am tired of waiting for them to send there daguerreotypes, but I hope they will do so right soon now. Please give my love to Brothers and Sisters and Mr. King's family and Uncle White's and to Sarah Griffith when you see her and to all inquiring friends. Give my love to old Mrs. Fisher and family. We are all well. Frank has missed his call today. Hope you're all well. Whenever we displease Frank now, he threatens us that he will leave us and go to live with his Grandma and Uncle John. He is always talking about you. Mr. Cummings joins me in love to you all. I hope Dear Mother you will excuse haste. Write to me soon.
     Your affectionate daughter, Ann M. Cummings
I had a likeness taken of myself to send to Sister Margaret

Brownsville, Texas, October 9th, 1855

My dear Mother

     It has been too long since I have read a letter from Maryland that I hardly know what to think of it. I read one from you last July and have not hear a word from anyone of my friends since. I sincerely hope you are all well. My family are enjoying very good health now again, it has been just twelve months since were were all well before -- Mr. Cummings is getting right fat again which is a joyful thing for me I tell you truly my dear Mother I have had very little hopes this summer of ever seeing him well again, it was one thing after another all summer until he was reduced down to nothing. The last thing he had was a tremendous carbuncle, which confined him to his bed over a week and required poulticing over a month, but as I said before he is beginning to look right well again.
     We are congratulating our old friend Mr. Davis of being elected Judge of the district court yesterday -- he is elected for the term of six years -- at eighteen hundred dollars a year -- he is staying at our house for a few weeks. Our house is his home always when he is in Brownsville. He is a fine young man and a great friend of course. Mr. Powers has moved from the Point up here to Brownsville and is living right here. I like his wife very much. She and I are great friends. She is right important now.
     Last night there was a concert at the market hall. We all went, dressed Frank to go, even to his hat, we were detained a few minutes, when Franky laid down on the sofa and fell asleep. Today his Pa and all hands have been trying to persuade him that he went. If you could see his puzzled looks and hear him talk about it, you would laugh I know. He says he remembers that he had on his fine clothes ... and his head combed and his hat on but he can't remember anything that took place there. He is a funny little fellow and the pet of every body that comes to the house. Lizzy though is my darling. She is now a year old, stands alone but does not walk yet, but I think she will in a few days.
     Hannah has grown very much and has improved a great deal. I wrote you I was going to send her daguerreotype but did not send it. The young folks frolicking over it broke the case all to pieces. Mr. C is going to have another put on it. Then we will send it to you. Did you get ours? I sent you mine and the two children all on one plate - but I never heard whether you received them or not.
     Our widow neighbor Mrs. Martin that you inquired about has married again and done first rate this time I think. Mrs. Dye and her family are still living here. They are doing very well now. Mr. Dye is the mayor of the town. Mrs. Garey, a great friend of mine is just recovery from an attack of apoplexy. Poor old lady. Tis the second attack she has had. The old lady and her daughter (Miss Lizzy) are great great friends of mine. I wish you knew some of my friends here. I would be such a satisfaction to me to write to you about them sometimes and then I should not be as such a loss for subjects to write about.
     I read a letter from Cousin Sophie Brewer not long since. They all keep well. They, like myself, don't receive letters from our Maryland friends very often. I have not heard from Sister Margaret for a long time. I sent her a daguerreotype of myself at the same time I sent you those.
     I was very much pleased to hear of your fine crops, garden, orchards &c -- it has been a fine growing season here too. I have been preserving figs off our own trees, of our own planting. Have been preserving citrons also. They are a species of lemon but three times as large. We preserve them green. We also candy some to put in our fruit cakes. It gives them such a fine flavor. My dear Mother I often with I was near enough to send you some of the things I make sometimes.
     A little party of us went over to Matamoros last week and went through all the gardens there. 'Tis a real treat to see the different kinds of tropical fruits they have growing there. There was a dozen different kinds that I had never seen before. They put me in mind of pictures I had seen in books when I was a child. We have in our own yard growing oranges, lemons, citrons, figs, limes, guavas, pomegranates, grapes, tapioca, etc.
     How does Brother John and Lizzy come one? Any notion of getting married? Won't there be no weddings among the young folks this winter? Has James King gone to the west yet? I am sorry James is going away. I think it will hurt his Parents so to part with him.
     Dear Mother, we have never heard anything of John Young nor would be likely to as he could not possibly drive cattle through this part of Texas on account of the Indians. Besides cattle can be bought for half the money here that they can be bought anywhere else for. If his friends have not heard of him yet, I think he must be dead. Poor Aunt Margaret -- she must see a great deal of trouble about him. My sheet is so near full I must close, please give our love to my brothers, sisters, Cousin Ann and family, Uncle White's family, Sarah Griffith and family, nieces and nephews and all inquiring friends. Remember me to old Sam, Rose and all the blacks. How does my Sam come on? I hope he is no so bad as was represented. Tell Rose she had better send me that daguerreotype of herself. I would be very proud of it. Tell Brother John and Lizzy they must write to me and you dear Mother I hope you will write as often as you can. Your letters and the counsel they contain are received with thankfulness by both Mr. Cummings and myself. Mr. Cummings and Franky both join me in much love to you dear Mother, your affectionate daughter, AM Cummings.

Brownsville, Texas, March 19th 1856

     I have been ironing all the morning, which has made my hand so still I can hardly hold the pen, but as we only have an opportunity of sending letters to the states once in two weeks, I feel it my duty to write to you or some of my friends by every mail if I can. I wish my friends would feel the say way about me, but not they, there is Brother John and Elizabeth that never think of such a thing as writing to me, I believe. Two or three months ago I heard that they had had their likenesses taken for me, ever since I have been expecting them by every mail, and every mail has brought a disappointment, not even a scratch of pen. Now my Dear Mother if they have their likenesses for me tell them I beg of them just to pack them up and send them along. I read a letter from Sally A. this morning and one from Sister Margaret also. Sister Mary wrote one side of Sally's letter, she said she had just got home from a visit to you, that you were not very well and that Emily and Till were both very ill with the Typhoid Fever. I sincerely hope this may find you all well again. I feel very sorry for Lizzy. She must have felt very uneasy about her two girls. Lizzy must write to me. I want her to send me all the flower seeds she can spare and Cousin Ann and Nida's Lizzy. I want them to send me flower seeds too. My garden is beginning to look beautiful. Everything is looking well after the hard winter we have had. It has been very cold here for Texas. Folks here have made a great fuss about the cold, but for my part I liked it. I have worn English cotton stockings all winter and have not had cold feet once. Is not that strange -- I that used to suffer so much with cold feet. Sister Margaret says it has been awful cold where they are this winter. She has suffered more with the cold than she has ever done before in her life. She has another little daughter called Mary Margaret. Poor sister Margaret -- I don't think she writes cheerfully although se says theyare doing very well.
     Mr. Cummings read a letter from James King last week. James is dissatisfied with Missouri. He asked Mr. Cummings advice about emigrating to Texas. Oh! I should be so much delighted to have James here with us. Mr. Cummings has not written him yet but thinks he had better visit the country and see for himself before taking his family.
     I was very much surprised that Mary McGill had twins. I for one don't envy her her charge. How many children has she now, it seems to me my cousins are always having children.
     Frank is a smart little boy, reads right well and spells very well indeed. 'Tis no trouble for him to learn. But Lizzy is the bright little one, she is so very small that it makes her look so cunning to be running around talking everything. She is trying to say everything she heard anyone else say. Hannah goes into ecstasies about her nearly every minute in the day.
     Lizzy will have to be very careful of Em and Till for a long time that they do not get a relapse. Where is Sam [?] this year and how is he getting on? I hope my friends are all well. Dear Mother I feel anxious to see you. I am more anxious to see you all now than I was before I went to see you. I m more anxious to see you all now than I was before I went on three years ago, but I know tis impossible for me to go now ... would make almost any sacrifice to have me do so. But it is so far and so expensive that I don't say to him I want to go, but I trust and pray to the Almighty that I may be permitted to see you again in this world, my Dear Mother, but if not that we may meet in a better one where parting is no more, such is my daily prayer. I hope you think of me too, Mother, sometimes I think you don't care about me at home and then I always have a good cry.
     I am blessed in my husband and children and have good neighbors, but still I wish to be remembered at home.
          Please give my love to Sisters and Brothers and all inquiring friends. Remember me too Mother to the blacks, tell Em and Till they must take good care of themselves and not get sick again.
     One our ... trees (a Toronce [?]) is in full bloom. I hope it will have some fruit, but can't tell yet.
          There has been a great deal of robbing carried on here lately, the citizens have had to patrol the streets at night and they think they have run the robbers off now. Two or three days ago they were warned to leave and I think they have ... I understand they have threatened to come back and burn the town. The party are four or five young Californians. They got into the Post Office and were trying to get into Mr. Cummings' iron safe when they were frightened off. Mr. Cummings joins me in love to all, particularly yourself my Dear Mother. Your affectionate Daughter.
     Ann M. Cummings

Brownsville, Texas, Jany 7th, 1857

My Dear Brother

     I read your letter this evening which has caused my as much uneasiness on my Dear Mother's account as it has relieved my mind on Nida's. Oh! I was so sorry to hear of our dear Mother having another spell of inflammatory rheumatism. I sincerely hope she has entirely recovered her health over this. I trust she may be spared. Tis such worry to me hear of her being sick. God in his mercy grant that we may all live to meet again I pray. I read a letter from Sally four weeks ago telling me of Nidas being ill with the typhoid fever -- since then I had heard nothing more till I read your letter this evening which has taken a great weight off my mind on his account account you may be sure. Dear Nida I have been very uneasy about and am truly glad he has got well enough to be about again. I hope he will be prudent and careful and not take a relapse.
     My Dear Brother I am grieved and shocked to hear of your negroes having acted in such a manner, more especially to learn that Sam has been in a measure the cause of it. I am more astonished at Horace than the others as I had a better opinion of him altogether. I regret very very much that Sam has turned out so badly. I wish you dear brother to do with him just what you think proper. Mr. Cummings regrets very much that you have had so much trouble with him. He says he is perfectly satisfied with anything you think proper to do. If he seems inclined to reform and behave himself for the future, you might give him a chance, but of that my Dear Brother you will be the best judge. I sincerely hope that you will not let him worry or annoy you further. We both feel that we would rather lose him than have you harassed or annoyed by him in any way. Whatever you think best do we hope you will do. Mr. Cummings desires me to beg of you not to let it worry you anyhow, neither on his account nor mine. We have seen the hand bills you spoke of. We got it with your letter. Dear Brother, I can appreciate your feelings having Dear Mother sick, Nida sick, and all this trouble with your blacks. I sincerely hope the New Year presents a more cheerful state of things. I think you ought to set out at the beginning of the year with a determination to induce some nice young lady to consent to share your joy and sorrow with you. Nothing would give me more pleasure. I know you would be happier and I speak from experience -- I hope you will write me often now, the only trouble is to get at it. I have been grieved that my brothers and sisters have all been so indifferent about writing to us. I don't believe 'tis because you don't care anything about us though it certainly would seem so to persons not acquainted with your manner of doing things. We are all well. The children and Mr. Cummings are enjoying excellent health. Mr. Cummings quit the use of tobacco last summer and has been fattening and improving ever since. Please write directly on receipt of this, we shall be so anxious till we hear again. Give my love to Dear Mother, to Lizzy, to Nida and family, Mr. King's family and all inquiring friends and accept for yourself the sincere love and good wishes of my husband and myself. Ann M. Cummings

July 21, 1859, Brownsville, Texas

My Dear Sister Lizzy,
     I read a letter from you last night and you see the first thing this morning I have taken my seat to answer it although you accuse me of being a tardy correspondent. Indeed Lizzie I must say the fault lies at your own door. I know I have answered punctually in every letter I have read from Maryland punctually and have written you several, to which I have received no answer. You speak of Sister Margaret writing to you frequently. 'Tis more than I can say of her. I don't receive hardly one letter from her in a year, and when I do get one I answer it immediately. My sisters are all alike in that respect, don't care to write to me. I have been away so long I suppose they don't care much about me anyhow. Lizzy your letter is a great comfort to me. 'Tis the first particulars I have had of my precious Mother's illness. I have so longed to know if she spoke of me in her illness. Oh! Lizzy if I could have seen her before she died I think I could feel so much more reconciled, as I feel convinced our Dear Mother is reaping her reward for her patience and long suffering and her many Christian virtues, manifested here on earth. God grant that we may be as prepared when our summons comes, but I despair of our being half as good even as our Mother. I envy you your privilege of being with her all through her sickness and of knowing how dear you were to her. I think it ought to be such a comfort to you, Lizzy, I am glad you have worn mourning. I too have done so, I could not feel reconciled to wear anything else. I shall wear deep mourning for a year or more perhaps. I could not wear my colored dresses, they would not harmonize with my feelings. God knows I mourn my darling Mother with all my heart -- I could dwell on this subject altogether Lizzy, but I expect would rather I would speak of something else.
     Well then! Does Sister Margaret ever talk of visiting you at any time or Mr. McLeod either. When you write to her again tell her I am thinking very hard of her for not writing to me sometimes, a long time ago I wrote to her a long letter, to which I have never received a line.
     Sally A. wrote to me that she had the whooping cough during her Grandmother's illness and that Mr. Darby was afraid to let her go out. She did not get to see her Grandmother but wished to very much. Sister Sally I know has a good kind heart, I am glad she was with you so much, she could do so much better than Sister Mary as she has daughters to take care of her when she is away. There is none of though Lizzy, but might feel thankful that we could have in our power to do a kindness to one who has done so much for all of us. I feel convinced Lizzy that children cannot do too much for their Parents. I wish Sister Sally and her family felt differently toward me and mine. I don't feel though that I have ever done any of them an injury, so shall not say anything more about it...
     Lizzy can you or some of family come out with Cousin James Brewer when he comes. You could return with us when we went on. I think it would be such a nice trip for any of you, and I should be so delighted to see any of you.
     Tomorrow I am going down to Point Gabel in company with Mrs. Powers and Mrs. Martin. We will all stay two weeks. We calculate on enjoying ourselves very much, bathing, sailing and walking on the beach enjoying the fine sea breeze. Mr. Cummings is not going with us, but will come down before we have to go home. Mr. Chas. suffered with his eyes this summer, the last two weeks has been wearing goggles, has be to const ....ed to business, has so much writing to do and the sun is so very glaring. Mr. Cummings is very popular here and is all the time crowded with business, almost more than he can attend to. He thinks he will have to get a clerk to help him. I wish he would I feel uneasy about his eyes.
     We are now busy whitewashing. 'Tis late to be at it but we could not get lime sooner.
          Mr. Cummings has had advertisements of John Young in the principle papers of this state, when I get some of the papers, I will sent it to you. My opinion is that John is not living. Yet 'tis very natural that his brothers should all hope.
     Why does Dr. Hughs think of going to Texas, to live or only on a visit? I should be so glad to have any of my relatives in this country.
          I am so glad to hear of Uncle Brewers and Aunt Nelly's [?] good health. If I ever do visit Maryland I hope I may find all my friends well. Poor Dick. I know I need not ask you to do all you can for the poor fellow, as you will do that anyhow. I feel truly grieved about him. Do you think he will recover or not?
     Frank is going to start school ... young lady, a great friend of mine. She has only three little girls, besides, so there is no chance of his being .... would be if he went to one of the public schools here and such a chance to associate with the bad boys about town. Miss Lizzie Garey is the young lady. She and I have been good friends for many years. She and her Mother are living here, sold out their possessions in Florida and came here to be with an only son and brother who was married and living here. After they came here they did not get along comfortably with the Daughter in law, so after awhile he sold out and left, and although he was very anxious for his Mother and Sister to go with him, they wouldn't consent but have remained here. The family and I are intimate.
     I will send you a paper with an account of the lots of the Steamer Louisiana, lost up by Galveston, this steamer makes 3 that have been lost on the gulf by this same company within the last year. I was not acquainted with any on board this steamer, except Col. Bainbridge. He spent the winter here, was here attending a court martial held here on Major Giles Porter of the U.S. Army. He was at my house quite frequently while here, was a nice gentleman, very sociable and agreeable. I felt very badly when I saw an account of his death. Poor old man, he was just on his way home to his wife and children after an absence of 7 years. I think the U.S. officers have had a time. They (if they have families) have to separate from them more than half the time, always change about, they don't know at what time they may be ordered somewhere else, yet the girls all seem to think 'tis a great thing to be an Officer's Wife, but I don't. Last winter an officer here married a poor young girl of this place, directly after he was ordered off to Jefferson Barracks in Missouri. Now she has come back to her Mother. Dear Lizzy, my sheet is full so I must quit though I could write more if I had room. Write directly on receipt of this and when you write you will always find me punctual. I send you and Brother John Franky's and Lizzy's ambrotypes. [Ambrotypes were negative images on glass, with a black paper backing. They were one of the replacements of the daguerreotype.] I hope you will prize them.
     Lizzy have you no beaux? You are quite silent on that subject. If Brother John marries and you don't I claim you to live with me, mind. Remember I have made my mind to that. Affectionately, Ann

Brownsville, Texas July 21st, 1857

To John Augustus Jones, Esq.
Poolesville, Montgomery co., Md.

Dear Brother
     On yesterday I read your letter of June 30th with Boyer/Taylor and Co. draft and Abbot Dodge & Co. for $125.00 on account of Sam's wages. I am grateful to you, John, for your kind attention to these affairs. I had not written to you about it because I had no occasion to ... and supposed it might be of service to you. I hear Sam is better now. If not, it will be the worse for him. My intention is, if Sam is a good boy, to to well for him, as he was given to Ann by her father, I would not like to sell him into strange hands. I have a liking for the boy and hope he will have sense enough to know what is for his own good. I am sorry he has given you so much trouble. If he conducts himself badly again I wish you to take your own course with him and whatever you do will be approved by me.
     I hope to see you this fall or winter and then we can arrange matters. Hannah has grown to the size of a woman, is kind to the children and is much attached to them, but she is not a good house servant and I think never will be. She is careless and wild, a sort of field negro. I think a great deal of her. She is attached to us and has been with us so long, without a good cause which she has not I know.
     We have had a very mild winter so far. We have not had frost enough to nip the tomato vines. Our gardens are all looking so fresh and beautiful. I wish you could spend a winter here with us. The climate is so delightful. Give my love to Brother John and tell him I think 'tis high time he was answering my letter. My love to all, remember me to poor old Rose and Sam. Mr. Cummings and the children join me in love to you all. Write very soon. And now I bid you good night and wish you all a happy new year. As ever your affectionate sister, Ann M. Cummings.

Brownsville, Texas, April 6, 1858

Dear John

I read on yesterday your letter dated Georgetown, DC Mar 22/58 - with enclosure of Boyce Taylor & Co. draft on W.H. Newman and Co. of New York for $550.00. I hope you did not put yourself out to trouble about it so as to cause you any inconvenience. Ann told me she had written to you for some money and I intended to write to you not to put yourself to any inconvenience about it -- but neglected it. I was not pressed for the money. I always make my calculations upon my own resources and could have got along without drawing on you. I have bought on speculation something over 5000 acres of land near this city at less than 30 cents an acre. It is a good bargain and will one of these days be worth a good price. I have bought it so that it might increase in value and I would have something sure for my children. I paid 1/3 cash am to pay the balance in 1, 2 and 3 years. So you see that it is easy. Money brings a good interesthere and I could put out all I could raise at 1-1/2 to 2 percent a month, which of course is quite an object. I hope you are getting along well. Our love to all. I am in haste now, Will write again. All well. Yours truly, F. Cummings

Brownsville, Texas May 26th, 1858

My Dear Brother
     I made a mistake in beginning my letter, so I have torn out the top and commenced again. You see how economical I am -- not to waste a sheet of paper - besides it will not take so much writing to fill it up "do you see".
     You must know I am ... a woman of great importance now at home, with three little children to take care of. ... All together we keep very busy you may be sure. ... I wish you could see me sometime. I think you would laugh (in your sleeve ... ) how bustling I am.
     You speak about our visiting house. Now I know you could not possibly be as pleased to see us as we would be to see you, and visit you all again, yet I don't think you need expect us this summer as I don't think Mr. Cummings will be able to leave his business or undertake such a journey with such a large family -- for my part I have made up my mind that I will have to stay in Texas as long as I live and if I could see my brothers, sisters and relatives I don't know but I should rather live here than anywhere else. I am very happy here with my little family and friends any how. That I cannot see my relations is the greatest trouble I have in the world.
     I am sorry to have you tell me that you have settled down for an "old bachelor". You ought to marry. So many good girls as there are in Maryland. I know you might get a first rate wife. Wife -- now wouldn't you be proud to call some dear little girl by that endearing name. (Wife, Now Old Bachelor I am trying to make you feel badly! Do you feel so? If you do go and try to get the remedy prescribed, get married. It will be the best thing for you in the world. If you marry a good girl and are not happy afterwards, I will bear the blame. I will now leave this subject for your consideration. When you come of my opinion, let me know.
     I felt very badly to hear of poor old Sam's death. Poor old man. I hope he was prepared to the change. He has been a faithful servant. You can't think how much attached I feel to those old negroes Sam and Rose.
     Well which one of the girls was the lucky one in captivating Clay Dawson? I hope one of them succeeded in in soing so as the beaux seem to be scarce there for the number of belles. Where are all the young men that there should be so many unmarried ladies left?
     You speak of going to Missouri to see after brother Joseph's children. Well if you go to see Sister Margaret and don't come to see me I shall be jealous. Mind I tell you I shall be jealous. She has seen several relatives already since she has been in Missouri while I have not seen one yet. Have you seen any thing of that young man Gordon yet? He thought he might get up to see you but I don't think he will be able. We have not heard from him since he left New Orleans. Have you heard anything of brother J's children lately?
     We are now in midst of the longest dry spell of weather that I have known since I have been in the country. 'Tis distressing! No rain for months past nor no prospects of any. We are more fortunate than most folks, as we have plenty of water still in our cistern but my garden is nearly ruined.
     My little Willie is growing fast, he has always been a remarkable child, and I think he gets more so every day. I tried to get but really she has caused my a great deal of annoyance. I am afraid she made me swear a little some times if not more.
     I send by this mail an ambrotype likeness of Frank and Liz. They are sweet children. I send them to you and Lizzy Jones. I know you will prize them. I have no time to write to you fully.
     We are all well and prospering. My businesses laborious at present and I hope to have time for some recreation by and by.
          I shall be rejoiced to see you again. Ann writes to Elizabeth by this mail. Respects to Nida and his wife and all friends.
               Yours truly, F. Cummings

January 13, 1858, Brownsville, Texas

My Dear Lizzy,
     It has been such a long time since I have received a letter from home, that I had begun to think you had forgotten me, or else I has displeased you some way. So you may be sure your letter that came to hand today was received with a great deal of pleasure. It has been some 3 or 4 months I think since I have had a word from one of you before. I see from your letter that you have been very busy, industrious and very smart. I must compliment you, indeed I think you deserve a great deal of credit for your industry and good management, but I still wish you would take time to write me a little oftener than you do, particularly as you know there are so few of my relatives that care to take the trouble to write me a line.
     And Sally has a daughter which makes us grand Aunts you know. I had wondered why I had no more letters from Sally. He has been heretofore such a good correspondent. Now 'tis explained. Well I wish her much joy and great good luck with her little girl (and my Grand Niece) (why how old it makes me feel) Poor Sally I am sorry to hear she had gathered breasts. 'Tis such a misfortune. And Lizzy had another boy! Well done! Nida is doing his part to keeping the family name. Give my love to them and tell them I wish them both joy with their big little family.
     Now Lizzie, about our correspondence, not to my knowledge have I received a letter that I have not answered and I have not put off doing so for 4 or 5 weeks either; for instance I received your letter about half an hour since and am not answering it. That is what I call punctual correspondence - and 'tis no pain on the contrary a pleasure for me to write to you Lizzy. As to your excuses about your bad spelling and bad grammar, I won't hear them. You need not think Dear Lizzy when you are writing to me that you are writing to a person who would feel disposed to criticize your letters, even if there was room for it, which I have not seen yet. To me your letters are very precious and interesting. The only trouble is the scarcity of them. I should be so glad to see your necklace and locket. I am so glad you have it. Dear Dear Mother, how much I think about her every day, more and more I believe.
     Dear Lizzy, don't be confident of seeing us next spring. Nothing in the world would give me more pleasure than to see you all again, yet 'tis such an undertaking that we can't feel determined about it. However you had better keep those hams if there is no danger of their spoiling. Mr. Cummings has a great fancy for your old bacon, thinks it is the best he ever ate, and besides we are all blessed with remarkably good appetites -- Lizzy is very much tickled about you sending her a dress. She says she loves Aunt Lizzy for that. I can't well send you her measure. I will give you her age and you can guess though of her size, she was 3 years old last September. You can allow for a tuck in the skirt. She wears short sleeves. The body you can leave 'till you have her measure.
    So Nathan Talbott has got Pauline Hays after all, well I think she must have been doubtful of a chance of anybody else. Did Susan Ann go to Kentucky with George Dawson as she anticipated doing? Oh! Lizzy, how much I wish you could come to see me. I believe we could make you pass your time very pleasantly among us. Mr. Cummings and the children make it so pleasant here at home and I have right kind friends round me. We have excellent health and a delightful climate, in fact most everything to make us happy and contented.
     The small pox is all round us now. One of my callers on New Years Day complained of feeling very sick while he was at my house, went home and to bed. The next day Mr. Cummings called in to see him and found him all broken out with small pox. Then again about 3 weeks ago I sent Hannah to my washerwoman's for something, when she came back she told me five of the washerwoman's children were all covered with sores, that she had never seen such sights as they were. The next I heard 'twas the small pox, so you see we have been in rather close contact with it. I don't fancy it, you may be sure, but they don't seem to dread it here like they do in the states and most of them certainly ... very lightly. ... are with it.
   I must tell you of my nice Christmas gift, a nice fan worth 25 ... . The children ... all got their share of Christmas presents.
          Hannah is of great help to us. She understands cooking very well. She don't want to go home, tells the children she will cling to them and then I will be obliged to bring her back with me. She is certainly very much attached to the children and they to her. It has made me overlook many things in Hannah -- her kindness to my children. Mr. Cummings has the patience of Job with her.
     I had not heard of poor Liddy's death! Poor thing. I feel very sorry to hear of it indeed. I know Sister Margaret must have felt her loss very deeply. She has been with her so long and was so faithful. I never knew a more faithful servant than poor Lid was to her mistress. Sister Margaret never writes to me any more. She is wrong to treat me so for anything anyone may have told her. I don't believe she has a friend who wishes her well more sincerely than I do. I have a particular sympathy for Sister Margaret that some folks can't have. She shouldn't suffer herself to be prejudiced against a sister Lizzie's ambrotype taken yesterday but the light was so strong on her eyes that it made her frown, so I wouldn't take them. She is a smart little thing, goes to Sunday School and can learn anything se is mind to. Tell Nida if he well send me his little group of children, I will send him mine. That is, their ambrotypes. I challenge him to do it. I want to compare them. I have heard so much of his children's beauty. I want to see if they are as pretty as my three.
     As I have your negro and you have mine, can't we make a trade? I expect as to qualifications they are about on a par I think we might as well make a trade, if you think so. The money you have of mine now I wish you to keep till Mr. Cummings may call for it. I have not yet seen the land he has bought as 'tis some six or seven miles from here but will ride down to take a look at it soon. Mr. Cummings is getting along in his business very well indeed and is very highly and justly esteemed by the people here. I say justly because I think he deserves (and more too) all the praise that can be bestowed on him and you may well be proud of your brother in law Franklin Cummings. I am expecting a letter from Lizzy soon. I hope you and Lizzy will up up a more punctual correspondence with us. I feel very easy to write you just what I think and not be afraid of your criticisms. You must not expose my letters to others though. They might not be so considerate.
     Why don't you tell me something of Lizzie's beaus. I hope she will have a better one than Henry Odle [?] Talbott. When you and Lizzy marry I want to to do as well as I have done. That is the best wish I could make for you in the world, for I certainly think I have been extremely fortunate in my choice. My best wish for Lizzie is that she may get as good as husband as he is, then your wife will be certain to be happy. My love to all. Write soon. Your affectionate sister, Ann M. Cummings

Brownsville, Texas, July 13, 1859

My Very Dear Brother

     I know you will excuse my not writing you sooner when you hear I have been prevented by sickness. Ever since the middle of April (when I had that hard spell of congestive chills I wrote Lizzie about) I have had chills and fevers off and on. I had my last attack of them last week. I believe I am getting to be very delicate and good for nothing. I think a trip to Maryland would benefit me, but t'would be too great an undertaking for me now. I wish very much to see you all, dear brother. I should like to ask you about one thousand and one questions, about our western relatives and your trip; as it is I must ask you a few. How does Sister Margaret look and seem? Is Anna a pretty girl and intelligent? Are the children Catholics or not? Do you think they have done better by going to the West? Have they everything comfortable or not? Do write a history of everything worth telling. 'Tis not from idle curiosity I wish it. 'Tis the great interest I feel in my sister and her family.
     I am truly glad you have taken brother J's son to educate him. I hope he will apply himself diligently to his study and do credit to your kind interest in his behalf. Education is the best fortune a child can receive. 'Tis better than gold or silver.
     Now my dear brother, why can't you and Lizzy pack up next fall and pay us a visit? I think you would be fully repaid for your trouble and expense in the consciousness of the pleasure and happiness you would confer (by so doing) on your loving Sister and her family. I flatter myself too that we could make your visit agreeable. Do try us. Does Thomas Shrieve intend to come to this part of Texas? I think I should be right ... to see him, although I should not know him, nor never did know much about him, but the ... of his coming from Maryland and acquainted with my family would insure him a hospitable ... with us.
     As regards Hannah, I don't think there is any possibility of our getting her back. It provokes me very much to think, after I raised her and she had got to be of use to me (after those years of trial with the Imp of old Satan fairly) that now, the Mexicans should have her services for nothing. Not but what I am better served than when I had her. I am amused at Lizzie's idea of my doing all of my own work. I, all the time, have two servants and sometimes as many as four. Everything that love and care can furnish me, I have. I tell you dear brother I ought to be and I believe I am a happy woman. I have a comfortable house and every comfort about it that could be desired in this country. I have intelligent pretty children and the best husband in the country. At least I think so. I think Mr. Cummings comes nearer to perfection as husband and father than anyone else in Texas [?] (as I have said before). All through my sickness he has stayed by me day and night and nursed my more tenderly than a woman could. I have thought I was not worth so much care as my darling husband daily bestows on me. I wish I was more worthy of him.
     But as I was telling you about H, she is with one of the most aristocratic families in Hamoras. They give her a bad name, that she is so untruthful, so dishonest and so ..., yet at the same time they make much of her, take her out riding with them in their carriage sometimes. They keep her close for fear of her being kidnapped. I have never seen her, but the children have several times. She sent me word by the children to send Willie over to see her, to send her trunk and for Mr. C to buy her a new pair of shoes and send her. She has adopted the Catholic religion. You can take Dick and do the best with him you can.
     Tell Lizzy many many thanks for the beautiful little dress. I am going to write to you in a few days.
          Well my dear old bachelor brother, when am I to expect that invitation to your wedding. Soon, I hope. You have no right to live single. You ought to be fined and the mischief knows what oughtn't be done with you.
     I wish Lizzy would send me a little skein of knitting cotton for darning purposes. I send Lizzy the Home Journal, but not in regular order. 'Tis the way I read them, promiscuously [?]. To Nida, I send the Saturday Post. To Sally, I send the Portland Transcript. I send away a large package of papers every mail.
     Mr. Cummings and the children are all well and all send their love to you and Lizzy and all our friends.
          Now I want you to write to me. I won't be put off with your excuses about engrossing ... I could have much better excuses than you, but I do not want them. I wish to write to you and to have you write to me like my darling brother is going to do to his darling [?] sister, Ann.
     I am feeling quite well again. Am in hopes I have parted with the chills for good and all.

Brownsville, Texas July 14, 1859

Mr. John Augustus Jones
Poolesville, Mont. co., Md.

Dear Sir:

     I have received your letter of 27th ... with draft on National Bank NY for $400 which I shall send on at once.
          We have received the nice dress which Lizzie sent and we feel much gratified that Sister Liz thought so much of us.
               The money you sent will be of use to me for I am paying 12 per cent a year on the last piece of land I bought. My paper will not become due for two years to come, but what I can pay in advance will of course stop the interest on so much. I have bought over two thousand acres of land in this county on speculation. I have paid one half the price in cash and the balance is payable in a little over two years, interest 12 per cent per annum. It does not cost me over 50 cents per acre. I am satisfied it will be worth $1 an acre in a few months. It will be good property for my children hereafter. I will write again in few days. Love to all, Yours truly, F. Cummings

Brownsville, Texas, August 9, 1859

Dear Lizzie
     Many thanks to you indeed for the beautiful dress you sent my little daughter Lizzie. One week after its reception, she wore it to a celebration of the Sunday School children on the fourth of July. I bought a piece of embroidery for the sleeves which ... it right well. I had to run two more little tucks in the skirt to make it short enough. Sis looks sweet in her embroidered dress and the proudest little mortal I ever saw. I think you had a great deal of patience Lizzie to do all that work and 'tis done so neatly. When you need such things I will make you one.
     The yellow fever is prevailing as an epidemic here now. We had no frost here last winter to kill it off, so I suppose it never left us, but only waited for the summer months to bring it out again. I do not fear it so much for myself or my family as I think we are all pretty well acclimated, but 'tis dangerous for strangers or unacclimated persons to be here now; 'tis not of so violent a type as it was last summer, yet 'tis dangerous. Quite a number of persons have died of it in the last two weeks. Most of them were strangers. Our cook was taken down last night (a Mexican man). He has been quite sick all day today, but we can't tell much about him yet. Mr. Cummings is doing everything for him he can. I hope Tom Shrieve won't come here now.
     Dear Lizzie, as you wish it I will have my likenesses and Willie's taken for you when I have an opportunity, although I have said I would not let mine be taken again. I take so badly. Now there is no one here who takes them.
     I envy you your strawberry gatherings and eating too. We get them here done up in their own juices in air tight cans. They are nice but I think I should like to pick them from the vines once again.
     Every once and a while I have a chill. I had one a week ago. Willie has had the diarrhea and sore eyes for the last two weeks. Teething. Lizzie too has very sore eyes. Frank is well. I keep him home from school this month. 'Tis hot.
     Dear Lizzie you always write me quite a discourse on religion. I believe you think I am careless on the subject as I do not speak much about it. Yet I trust I have sincere religious principles and views, but 'tis the principle of my religion to go into my closet to pray. I never talk to the world much on these subjects. They are sacred to myself and my God. I tell you this Lizzie to explain my never writing on religious subjects. I hope you well never doubt my having a sincere appreciation of the glorious attributes of God I wish I was by to take a peep with at Sister Marg's daguerreotypes when you get them. Indeed I wish I could take a peep at you and all of you.
     I send a package of three little vests for Nida's little son by this mail. I hope they will get them. Mr. Cummings bought a lot at auction the other day for Franklin. Some of them are too small for him.
     I don't know Lizzie but I feel so little inclined to write, I can hardly hold my pen. You must excuse this poor letter. I must send this or none as the mail leaves very soon. My dear Lizzie, I repeat many thanks for your pretty present and for your kind wishes and the interest you feel for me and mine. I sincerely appreciate your kindness and trust it may be in my power some day to prove it to you.
     How is Rose getting on? Has she got well? Poor old Rose. I feel very much attached to her. I hope Emily and Till are good girls and prove a comfort to you. You can't think how much I miss Hannah. Can't bear to think about her. Please give my love to Cousin Ann and Mr. King and ask Cousin Ann if she never means to write to me, but the one letter. My love to Brother John, Nida and Wife and family and all inquiring friends, and accept for yourself the sincere love and good wishes and don't fail to write soon to your sincerely affectionate sister, Ann

November 28, 1859 Brownsville, Texas

Miss Elizabeth Jones, Poolesville, Montgomery co., Md.

My dear Sister Lizzie,
     I have just read your letter of November 20th which I hasten to answer immediately. I am sorry you are so much alarmed for us, as I do not now feel much afraid, although I am still boarding here at the restaurant. My house being on the outskirts of town, 'tis deemed unsafe for us to be there. I have been here now seven weeks. I wish very much I could go home. Indeed I should like very much to be with you dear Lizzied round the old hearth stone, till this war is settled but on account of my situation I could not undertake the journey, particularly without Mr. Cummings and 'tis impossible for him to leave here now. Besides I should be very uneasy about him if I left him here. I couldn't stand it I know. I will have to stay and see the war through I think. Our citizens are somewhat relieved from guard duty now. There are between 2 and 3 hundred Texas Rangers here, one company of U.S. troops, two or more companies expected daily, and more rangers too. As soon as the troops arrive that are expected now, the forces will all march out to Cortina's camp and rout him I hope. A few days ago the Rangers went with some of the citizens, amounting to about three hundred men, went out to attack him and were repulsed and driven back. Mr. Cummings got all ready to go, but finally didn't go, much to my relief. I believe if he had gone if would have made me sick in good earnest. Cortina's camp is about ten miles from here. He is well fortified. His force isn't known correctly but 'tis thought he has as many as five hundred men. There is no knowing when this war will end. It may cause a war between Mexico and the U.S. For weeks we were expecting every night to be attacked and were fired upon (the guards) every night for weeks. Our town is all barricaded, every street and alley, but now that we have troops here they do not venture down on us any more.
     I don't know what our country is coming to. We read the Sun you spoke of. The affair at Harper's Ferry was dreadful and but for the prevention, would, undoubtedly have been a horrible massacre. 'Twas well it was put down in time. It makes me shudder to think of such things occurring so near my old home.
     Here we are better prepared now for such trouble, cannon and barricades across each street and large guard out every night and day. May I will now leave this unpleasant subject and think of something else.
     Who is ..., dear Lizzie. I think Richard Jones' family are very partial to the ... . I'm surprised that Susan Dawson has not yet got home then. She has had a long visit. Lizzie, did Lizzie I. [?] Jones receive the little vests I sent for her little boy? I think your dress very pretty and nice. It looks like it might last forever. Perhaps it will be handed down from generation to generation.
     Of all the weddings you tell you do not mention yours or Brother John's. Tell me, Lizzie, don't you think you will marry sometime - but not without you can ...as yourself as well. My dear sister, I hope, I should like it if you and brother John were both well married. I think Brother John might write me a note in a while at least. I wrote sister Margaret a long letter a short time back. I hope you are all well. We are all very well and hearty. Willie is the smartest little sauce box I ever saw, I believe. I with from my heart you could see him. Everybody says he is a beautiful boy. The children have had to stay home from school on account of the difficulties here. I am very anxious to get back to my little home again. I think I will appreciate it more than ever if I get back to it again. Boarding here is enormously high and I would be much more comfortable at home, but Mr. Cummings does not wish us to incur the danger there would be of our going there at present. God grant the difficulty may be settled soon. There has been 4 or 5 of the Rangers killed and one citizen when out on scouting parties. There will be a day of reckoning for the Mexicans soon I hope and I don't care how terrible it may be. They are a mean treacherous degraded race, as a general thing and filled with hatred and jealousy for American people. I confess I have no love for the Mexicans. A great many ladies from here have gone to Matamoras for protection, but is seems to be I would rather be killed here than go to them for protection.
     Dear Lizzie, did you ever receive my petition for a little hank of darning cotton. If you can spare me a little skein I can make it very useful in filling up the holes in our stockings. I would not trouble you if I could get it here. Write soon dear Lizzie. Mr. Cummings and the children all join me in love to all our friends, particularly yourself and Brother John. Give my love to Nida and children, to Cousin Ann and family and Give my love to Nida and wife and children, to Cousin Ann and family and to Uncle White's family. Believe me dear Lizzie your sincere friend and sister. AMC

Brownsville, Texas July 6, 1860

My dear Auntie
     I take my pen to write you a letter. You know I am quite a little boy yet and you will not expect me to do great things. This if the first letter I have ever tried to write and if I make some mistakes I know you will excuse me.
We are all pretty well. May has a little boy three months old. He is a very pretty little boy. We call hem Charley. I have another brother two years old we call Willie. He is a very smart little fellow. I have a Sister whose name is Lizzie. She is five years old and has spelled through the Spelling Book. She has studied through Geography four times and is learning some lessons in arithmetic.
     I hope you will come and see us. We would all be very glad to see you in in Brownsville. From your affectionate nephew,
          Joseph Frank Cummings

August 1, 1860

Dear Lizzie
     I neglected to send you Joe's letter before. It is my fault, not his. I hope you will answer it at once so that Joe may be encouraged to write again. I think you will find him a more attentive correspondent than I am.
     We are all well but the weather is so hot and dry that it makes us very lazy. Ann has got a fine new sewing machine and thinks it the greatest invention every made. She finds it difficult to have enough work for it.
     No sickness here this season. The Contina War is all past and quiet restored. The invaders all gone off into Mexico -- that is what were not killed. We have plenty of U.S. troops all along the river and there is on occasion now for apprehension. Our love to all. Why don't you write to me. We send some paper.
     Yours affectionately, [AM?] Cummings

Feby 13, 1864 Brownsville, Texas

My own dear Sister Lizzie

     It has been three long weary years since I have heard a word from you and oh! when I think of what may have happened in that time to some of my own dear friends, it makes me sick. I am now just recovering from a severe attack of pneumonia. I was very ill, indeed two or three days were blank days to me in my existence. I night Mr. Cummings didn't think I would live to see morning. Brownsville for the last five years has been a very sickly place. Every summer we look for some severe epidemic. Last summer myself and three of the children, Frank, Lizzie and little Mollie, came near death with the congestive fever. It it was not enough for Mr. Cummings' vigilant watching and care of us when we are sick, we would half of us been dead long ago. I have more confidence in his knowledge of medicine and he is certainly the best nurse I ever saw. But oh! My Dear Sister I am so anxious and uneasy about my precious husband. His health is so delicate, so very delicate. He has had a dreadful cough for three months and looks very thin and badly. I think if I could see my dear husband right well again and hearty I would be perfectly content, although our prospects here are so dreary and desolate enough goodness knows.
     I suppose you have heard 'ere this that our town is in possession of U.S. troops. They took possession of Brownsville the 3rd of November. The Confederates set fire to the garrison and left it burning, a portion of the town was burnt too. I think though that there will be some hard fighting yet in Texas. I sure that the State will never surrender without a desperate struggle. Brownsville now looks dreary enough. Almost all of our old friends are gone. I dread to go down the street 'tis so desolate. The prices of everything is ruinous and many things are not to be had at any price. There is no milk in the country. We this concentrated milk but 'tis very expensive.
     Dear Lizzie I want to know all about yourself and all of my own dear friends. Tell me something about each and every one of you. How is Brother John and how is he getting along? And Dear Nida and family and each of my Sisters and their families? Have you heard anything from poor Sister Margaret? Oh! How much I think about her. I wish we could be near each other at least, as we are separated from all of our relatives. It would be such a comfort if we could be together. How is my dear Sister Sally and her family, my sister Mary and her family, my own dear cousin Ann King and her family, Uncle White and family, Aunt Sally Chiswell, Ant Fletchall and all the rest of my aunts, uncles, cousins and neighbors and everybody I used to know? I want to hear from a stranger the death of my dear old Uncle Brewer. He had certainly lived to a good old age. I think few of us will ever reach that age.
     Dear Lizzie, I wish you could see my dear little children. I have five: three boys and two girls. My youngest, little Mary Margaret, is a year and five months old. She is a sweet little thing with blue eyes, is just beginning to walk and talk a little. Her sickness last fall has made her very backward in walking but she is very interesting and we are delighted with the little girl. My little Charlie is a very intelligent, interesting little fellow, a great hit with everybody. Willie is a stout, fine looking boy and very amiable. Lizzie is bright and intelligent, very, she is ahead in all of her classes in school and she is in the first classes. It looks strange to see a little thing like her in the classes with young ladies. She can learn anything she undertakes without any trouble at all. She is now learning to play the piano. She goes to school to the Convent. 'Tis a good school and the only school of any kind in town. I have no school to send Frank to and his health is so delicate that his Pa is unwilling to let him go from home to school. Poor Franky is a very delicate boy and since he had that severe spell last summer he has been still more delicate. I am afraid he will never live to be a man. He has such weak lungs and Lizzie he is such a good boy. He really has not hot one bad principle, every one that knows him says he is the best boy they ever knew. He is very tall and so is Lizzie.
     Dear Lizzie I have a very dear friend in Baltimore -- Col. Davis' wife. I will get her address and if any of my friends should have occasion to go to Baltimore I would be gratified if they would call on her. I know it would be pleasing to her too.
     Oh! How much I wish I could go on and spend next summer with you but I fear it cannot be, there are so many long miles between and travelling is so expensive I almost despair of ever seeing you again. But oh! Lizzie I entreat you to write me all you can. I have hardly patience to wait an for an answer to my letter. Good bye without delay. Mr. Cummings and all the children join in love to you all. Good bye without delay. May God bless and keep you is my sincere prayer. AM Cummings

Frederick, November 12, 1864

John Aug. Jones, Esq.
Dear Sir,
     Your sister Mrs. Cummings of Brownsville, Texas performed numerous acts of kindness and hospitality to my son and young Mr. Baugher of this place who were carried by the chances of war to the distant town in which she resides. I am informed by Mr. Baugher's family that Mrs. Cummings has come or intends to come to spend the winter with her friends in Maryland. Will you please inform me whether she has come and if she has not whether you expect that she will come and when. My wife and Mr. Baugher are exceedingly anxious to see her and fro what purpose will go to any part of this state where she may be. You will much oblige me by an early answer.
     I am Very Respectfully, John H. Williams

May 12th 1865

My darling husband
I have written to you twice since you wrote me to send my letters to New York. Am in hopes you will be there to receive this As I am very anxious for your return home. I am very glad to hear you are so much pleased with the school Frankie is to go to. Dear child I hope and pray he will be kindly cared for by those he will be among. I think of him day and night and miss him more than I could tell. I hope and believe though that it is for the best and I reconcile myself with the belief. We have just heard that the rebel boys will be allowed to come home on their paroles but the oath cannot be administered 'till farther hearing from the war department. We are very much in hopes EA will come home now. There is to be a picnic today at the ferry. The rebels from the other side and the folks from this side. I am afraid 'tis a bad policy making so much of the rebels before things are settled. Cousin James Brewer has settled himself at law business in New Orleans much to the satisfaction of his wife and family I see in last night's paper that Texas has refused to surrender to the Federal Government, Federal troops were to invade her immediately - I am very sorry if 'tis so. I was so in hopes all warring was over in this country.
It looks gloomy for us but I am in hopes we will yet have a home of our own where we will feel safe and contented. If we can have our health I have great confidence that such will be the case, my darling.
Enclosed I send a piece of Lizzie's dress. She wishes you to get her trimming for it. You can get a pretty contrasting piece of ribbon or inquire what would be most suitable and get it, if you get ribbon get the whole piece - try and get something to trim it prettily.
Hoping you are well, with love from all the children and friends.
Your affectionate Wife, Ann M Cummings

Middletown, Connecticut, June 10th 1865

My Dear Aunt Lizzie
     In the letter that I received yesterday my Mother said that you was very anxious for me to write to you so I will write a few lines to you. I am very sorry indeed that Aunt Sally is so sick but hope she will recover again soon.
     I had a very nice time last ... eating Ice Cream and Strawberries and other things and was wishing that the children were here to have some of it.
          I am learning to write in Telegraph letters and can write very will indeed, but as I am very tired and it is near dinner time I much close, sending my love to Mother, Father, Uncle John and Nida, Anne King and tell her that I will write soon and give my love to Aunt Lizzie, Nida and all the children.
     Yours affectionately, Joseph F. Cummings
P.S. Tell Johnny and Tom Chiswell to write to me soon for they have delayed too long already.

Middletown, Oct. 14, 1865

My Dear Mother,
     As I have not written to you for a good while I think it is about time that I should do so.
          It is pretty cold here now and I think that we never had it any colder in Brownsville than it is now. Aunt Dora says we will have no more warm weather this winter.
     Aunt Dora has bought me a new pair of pantaloons and they are very nice.
     I received Lizzie's letter not very long ago and I think she is very punctual in writing and I would like for every body to be so punctual and to write.
     I have not received any letter from Willie Brewer but am very glad that he wrote to me but he had better write again.
     Tell everybody that I promised to write to that I have made a new rule and that if anybody wants me to write first and if they ... where my address is they had better write to me and find out.
     Tell my father that I have not received my Jugglers Tricks yet.
     I am studying the same lessons I did last term and am getting along very well.
     Tell Willie he must print a letter to me to let me know how he is getting along in his studies.
     Kiss everybody for me and give them my love. Your Affectionate son, Joseph F. Cummings to Mrs. AM Cummings

New Orleans, La., Oct. 30th, 1865

Dear John
     We arrived here on the 26th inst. All well except Charley. He got badly scalded on board Steamer Continental our our passage from Cairo by coming in collision with a waiter with a tureen of soup. Waiting her for Charley to recover we missed the steamship for Bragos St. Iago and may not have an opportunity to ship for that place for five or six days yet. Charley is now much better, is able to go out and I think nothing serious will result of his injuries.
     James Brewer and family are all well. We meet many of our old friends and acquaintances. My house in Brownsville is all right and is in charge of the person I left in it.
     I shall have to buy new furniture at high prices, much of mine was damaged by rain and has been sold at low prices.
     Johnny got along very well on the trip back. We feed him now on corn starch. He does well on it though is is yet quite delicate.
          With kindest regards to all, F. C. Cummings

Middletown, March ... 1865

Dear Aunt Lizzie,
     I have not heard from you for a long time and I suppose you have not heard from me for a long time either, but I intend to make up for it if I can.
     I have received a letter from my father a few days ago and he said that he has received information that Uncle John was married.
     It is raining pretty hard now. The winter has gone and the birds have come back again.
     I expect to go home next September or October and would like to pass through Maryland and will do so if I can.
     I am studying Practical and Mental Arithmetic, Latin Grammar and Reader ...
     Last Winter in January while I was learning to skate I fell on the ice and knocked out two of my front teeth and it does not look very well.
     Give my love to Uncle John, Uncle Nida, Aunt Lizzie, Aunt Ann, Aunt Polly, Johnny, Joe, Tom and all other of my Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and friends.
          I am your affectionate nephew, J. Franklin Cummings
P.S. Uncle Cummings has gone away to preach and we do not expect him back until Wednesday. He has gone to Washington and is going to preach in the House of Representatives.

Brownsville, Texas January 22, 1879 [?]

My dear Brother,
     I received your kind letter with much pleasure. It did seem so nice to have a letter from my own dear brother. And now I hope I my have many more and I am going to try to get Nida to write to me too. If you only knew how lonesome and sorrowful I fell sometimes and how glad I am to hear from my dear friends far away I think you would more often write to me. I don't hear a word from Willie which causes me great anxiety. If hope he is not sick. Mamie sent him a pair of slippers for a Christmas present and is anxious to know if he got them. I hope he did, she worked hard to get them done and had but little time as she was going to school all the while. We are having a very disagreeable winter. It has been drizzling and cold for about a month. One day there was a little ice. It has been unusually cold all over Texas. I think it must be very severe for you.
     I get very interesting letters from Frank. He wrote a piece for the Sentinel, a paper published here. I sent Willie a copy of it and hope he will get it. The piece is entitled "The Indian of Today". He has sent us quite a number of Indian curiosities, moccasins, knife, scabbard, match cases &c. He has also sent me a splendid lot of view of Crooks Army on the Plains and other little things. Poor Frank, I believe he is always thinking of us. I have just had a letter from Lizzie and she is quite well but doesn't know when she can come home as it will cost her at least a hundred dollars to come and they have had many expenses.
     Dear brother, I am very sorry to hear that you have such poor help. Have you still any of the old negroes? I am glad that you went to the Centennial. Quite a number went from here and all came back gratified that they had gone. I have ... a great many fine view of the principal apartments. Did you ... any curiosities there? I have seen quite a number of Japanese articles from there. Mr. Downey, the Superintendent of the Sabbath School here brought for each one of the large scholars and all of the teachers ... School bible made on the Centennial grounds with a picture of the building in which they were made on one side and on the other the name of the one for whom it was intended. He also brought every one belonging to the Sunday school a little badge with a small bell and eagle attached. All of my children got a bible and a badge. Frank got a badge too, and happened to be there the day they were distributed around. I hope Willie will give satisfaction in his school and be able to manage the children through kindness. I hope dear little Wilkerson has recovered from his cold and fever. 'Tis a good name and I am very glad he has it. I love the child for his namesake.
     Mamie and John go to school and both very smart and learn well. Mamie plays the piano very well and is studying French and Spanish in addition to her other studies. John is in Algebra, Philosophy and Latin besides the usual studies, so you can see how they have to study to get through all.
     Charlie is still in the Railroad Office at fifty dollars a month. He gives general satisfaction and is a favorite with all. He is thinking of studying at night and learning Law so that by the time he is a man he may have a profession.
     I am very lonely all day when the children are away at school and Charlie at the Office. I often have to eat my dinner alone. Give my love to Nida and family and accept for yourself much love and best wishes of your loving sister, Ann M. Cummings.
P.S. Please give my love to Willie and advise him to write to me. Dear boy, if he only know how anxious I am to hear from him I think he would write often.