Tena and Katie to Katie, 1 March 1896
Dear Sister and Family,
I will now answer your kind letter we received some time ago and indeed was glad to hear from you all. Well this is the first day of March and it is cold and snowing. We have not had much snow here this winter and not much awful cold weather, but we had so much changeable weather which was very unhealthy.
Will is still working at the Furnace. He has been working quite steady all winter. Katherine goes to school every day that she can. She wishes so often if she could only be with her Aunt Katie for a while. Albert will be three years old the second day of March. He has grown big and talks most everything. I will send you one of his pictures. They are small but very natural.
How is our parents getting along this winter? I have not heard from them for a long time, only what you wrote to me in your last letter. I have not heard from sister Rose since your last letter. I wonder how she is getting along and the baby.
Dear sister Katie I will thank you for the dollar you sent to Katherine and the 25 cts. you sent to Albert by mother. It was a part of her Christmas present. I got her a red dress; here is sample of it. It is not made yet. Grandma Weinsz gave them each a dollar for their Christmas and Uncle George gave Katie a lovely gold writing pen with a pearl handle for Christmas.
This will be all for this time, hoping to hear from you soon.
Regards from all to all
[Note from Albert, the transcriber of these letters: My sister wrote this at the end of mother's letter]
Dear Aunt Katie,
I will write you a letter and let you know how I am getting along. I go to school every day. I missed one day of school this winter. I like to go to school.
Dear Aunt Katie how are you and Uncle George getting along? How is Grandma Ruth and Grandpa Ruth getting along?
I and Papa were out to my Grandma Weinsz today. Mamma and Albert stayed home. I like to go out to my Grandma house. I often go out there alone and my Grandma is very kind to me and my uncles all like to have me come out.
Dear Auntie this will be all for this time,
Tena frequently mentions Will working at "the furnace". She never says which one, but Dover was industrialized in the mid 1800s and remained a manufacturing center into the 20th century.
I'm not clear myself on just what the term "furnace" meant in 1896. Dover had blast furnaces producing iron by the late 1800s, but I also found a reference to a furnace which provided power to operate a salt well. It seems to have meant anything that burned coal to provide power for manufacturing.
In this letter, little Katie (my great-grandmother) added a note of her own to her aunt Katie (Tena's sister). She writes that she often goes out to her Grandma Weinsz's house by herself. Grandma Weinsz lived just outside of town.
I had imagined that it was a long way for a seven-year-old girl to go on her own, but through the magic of Google Maps I found that it was about a mile.
View Larger Map
I should have posted this yesterday, but didn't have my commentary ready. That provides another item for commentary, however. Today would be the 116th birthday of Albert Weinsz, the baby in these letters, and later the transcriber of them.
By the way, it was "cold and snowing" in Dover on 1 March 1896. It is cold and snowing in Fairfax, Virginia today 2 March 2009.