Tena to Katie, 27 Dec 1893
Canal Dover, Dec 27th
Dear Sister and Brother,
I will write a few lines to let you know that your letter of Dec 23 was duely received and was glad to hear from you all. Also the two dollars and the pictures was received, many thanks to you for so kindly remembering my children and sending them a Christmas present. We never thought of such a thing. Thanks to you for the picture; it is quite good.
Well Christmas is past once more. Where did you spend it? I was at home all day. My baby is not very well. He had such a fever Sunday afternoon, Christmas Day Night and on Christmas Day I went down. I almost think it is teething. He has four teeth.
Katherine is well and enjoyed her Christmas as children always do. She went to the Christmas tree and got a little book and a bag of candy. At home she got a book and slate. Her Aunt Rose from Lorain sent her a doll and Albert a book. Her Grandma Weinsz (gave) them over 2 dollars in money and many other little things they got.
William is working at present. He is working for the C and M Railroad Co.; the car inspector went on a visit during the holidays and Will is working in his place till he comes back. They think the furnace will start to work next month then there will be some work again.
The Mrs. Wendling out on the farm died a few weeks ago. The folks out home are all well. They butchered last week and we took one half of a hog on account of lard. I got over five gallon which will last me a long time.
Now I will close writing, wishing you all a Happy New Year.
I remain your sister, Tena
Our regards to all. Write soon.
Notes: I hope I haven't made this too confusing by posting these out of chronological order. The letter I posted on December 23 was written four years after this one. If I posted them in chronological order, I'd be posting one every 3 or 4 months for 6 years. For now, I'm sticking with my idea of posting them on the day of the year in which they were written, and I'll wrap it up with one Katherine wrote to her aunt in December 1899.
Back to Tena's letter, I wondered if she meant Christmas Eve by "Christmas Day Night". She said it was Sunday and Christmas Eve was on a Sunday that year, so the answer appears to be yes.
I also wonder when Christmas trees started to become popular home decorating items. I assume that when she says Katherine went to the tree and got presents, she means the Christmas tree at church. Tena and William were both children of German immigrants, so the custom of the Christmas tree would have been familiar, but it sounds as if they didn't have one at home.
We don't know who "the Mrs. Wendling out on the farm was", but believe that the farm in question is that of her mother-in-law, Barbara Loehrer Weinsz. Barbara's husband, Nicholas Weinsz Sr., died 4 years before the date of this letter.
And I'm not done wondering. What would $2 buy in 1893? A local newspaper, The Ohio Democrat, had a small amount of advertising on December 21 and most of that was in the form of printed text just as if it was a news story. I got sidetracked reading the ads - much more fun than any modern ads I've seen lately. I've highlighted some of my favorites. Click through to read at full size.