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Letters from Georgiana Hall Elliott[1]

All but one of the sixteen letters that follow were written from the plains of Nebraska between 1874 and 1913 by Georgian Hall Elliott to her sisters—Lavina (Vina), Delia, Emma, and Francis (Frankie)—who still lived in New York. To provide continuity and context, the letters are arranged chronologically in a timeline of family and other events drawn primarily from "The Life Story of Allen and Georgiana Elliott: Nebraska Pioneers", written by their grandson, Allen Atwell Elliott.

Georgiana Hall and Allen Elliott were married on December 4, 1872 in Adams (Jefferson County), New York. Shortly thereafter they traveled by boat and train to Harvard, Nebraska. This was as far as Burlington & Missouri Railroad extended in 1873.

The couple lived in Harvard for a little over a year and Allen worked for the railroad. Their first son, Claude, was born there and this is the subject of Letter #1. Money earned from working for the railroad was used to purchase a sod breaker plow, a team of mules, and a wagon for traveling on to their homestead site.   Their homestead was located in the northeast corner of Harlan County on land adjoining the homestead of Allen’s brother and sister-in-law, John and Mahalia Elliott.

The story of the couple’s journey from Harvard to their homestead in late November of 1874, a distance of about 75 miles, is the subject of Letter #3. John and Mahalia had moved to the area first and lived there long enough to build a sod house before Allen and Georgian arrived. Because John and Allen hand-dug the first well in the area and provided water to travelers, freighters, and neighbors free of charge, the John Elliott homestead soon became known as Freewater, Nebraska.

On their adjoining homestead, Allen and Georgiana first built a two-room sod house--a combination kitchen-living room and a bedroom. There the family lived for over a decade while six more children were born. In 1887 Allen and Georgiana Elliott built a two-story, eight-room frame house to replace the sod house. In the late 1890s the couple sold their homestead and bought a nearby farm from Martin Wilcox.[2] In 1914 the Elliotts retired from the farm and moved to Ragan, Nebraska where they lived until Georgiana died in 1926 and Allen died in 1928.   The Elliotts are buried in the Freewater Cemetery, which was established on land donated the family (Letter #9).

Other members of the extended Allen Elliott family who also eventually moved to Nebraska included his parents, Patrick and Catherine Hawkskby Elliott; two sisters, Hannah Elliot Holmes and Mary Elliott Chaffin; and an uncle, John Hawksby (who wrote Letter #11 describing the death of one of Allen and Georgiana’s children). Whenever possible, the names of these family members and others mentioned in the letters are identified in footnotes added to the text of the letters. 

Background Events

1846 June 8

Allen Elliott was born in Enniskillen, Fermanagh County, Ireland—the son of Patrick and Catherine (Hawksby) Elliott. He had a brother (John Elliott) and two sisters (Hannah Elliott Holmes and Mary Elliott Chaffin) who lived to adulthood and also came to Nebraska.

1850 or 53

The Elliott family emigrated to Canada and then to New York. Patrick Elliott was a poor Irish farmer who decided to seek a better life for his family in Canada. The move was made when Allen was four years of age and they settled somewhere in the St Lawrence River Valley across from Watertown, New York. Some time later, the family immigrated to the United States and settled on a farm near Watertown.

1851 April 14

Georgian Hall was born in Adams, New York (near Watertown)—the daughter of John and Lucy (Clark) Hall. She had six sisters—Lavina (Vina), Helen, Rachael,[3] Delia, Emma, and Francis (Frankie). John Hall was a silversmith and his daughters were all sent to, and graduated from, a girl’s academy in Watertown.


Homestead Act signed.

1867 March 1

Nebraska became a state.

1872 Dec. 4

Allen Elliott and Georgiana Hall were married in Adams, New York.


Burlington & Missouri Railroad extended to Harvard, Nebraska.


Allen & Georgiana Elliott came to Harvard, remained over a year.


Allen & Georgiana Elliott filed a homestead claim in Harlan County, Nebraska.

June 10

Claude Elliott born at Harvard, Nebr. (1st child of Allen and Georgiana Elliott)

.June 13

Letter #1 - Claude`s birth.

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Saturday, June 13, 1874
[Harvard, Nebraska]

My dear Frankie
     I suppose you think it has been a long time since I wrote last to you. yes In fact I think so myself but I have been waiting for something to happen to write about and as it has happened I thought I would write you today.
     You can see by the way my pen jiggles about that I am flat on my back in bed. But you could see us, you would if you was here, that there is a little wee baby with me. Tis the long looked for event has transpired and we have at last got a little boy born the 10th of June and weighed eight pounds and two ounces.
     You of course know we are a happy pair. I have long since got over my foolish ideas about boys and was perfectly satisfied. He has got dark hair and quite a lot of it and was quite recently white when he was born but now looks more the color of a copper kettle.
Don't you think I am good at keeping a secret. I thought it would be such a nice surprise for you all and I thought [Ma] would worry all the time about me and it would only make her miserable and she could not do me any good. So far I have got along all right. Did not have a very hard time. Mahalia[5] is here and Mrs. Birdsoll was here when I was sick and I had a real good Dr.
     I hired a woman to wash for me and next week I am going to have a girl. Mahalia is going Monday to where John has taken up land some ways west of here. She has been very good indeed to me but I shant be sorry to see her going for Nettie[6] worries me most to death. She is into everything all in a minute. It has not seemed like home to me since they came here and then you know if I have a girl and pay her I shant be afraid to ask her to do little favors for me.
     You know Mahalia is not the most sympathetic person in the world. She thinks now that I might just as well be sitting up as laying in bed. It almost seems so to me but the Dr. gave strict orders for me not to get off the bed until the tenth day and Allen thinks I must do as he says and of course that is enough for me. Today (Sunday) I have sat up in bed and dressed the baby for the first time. I wish you could see him all [dressed] up in a night dress with a [ruffled] yoke trimmed with lace. He has got three flannel skirts and a blanket--all white. Mrs. Wilson embrordered one skirt and the blanket very handsomely with linen. everything I have is white except three little calico wrappers that I will send you pieces of. So you see I have a very respectable looking baby if I haven't anything very nice. Mahalia thought I have been extravagent but when I told her that all my things did not cost much more than her nicest baby dress she did not venture any more remarks. I only spent about seven dollars and had some little things given to me. Tell Vina[7] that now she may guess what that lace edging was for that she got for me and that makes me think it is about time I [] her for it. I suppose I must stop writing soon for my arm is beginning to ache.
     I will write again in about a week for I suppose you will be anxious to hear again. You must write as soon as you get this. I want you all to send a name for the baby and then I will pick from them. The thing you sent came all right. I never had anything do me so much good as that yarn. I want you to write how much it cost and I will send the money. Tell Emma[8] I thank her ever so much for her present. And the dress I think is very pretty. I did not get time to finish it but will as soon as I get well.
     I must tell you about Mahalia's machine. She brought it all taken to pieces and John wanted her to have it set up and leave it with me summer but no she would not do it but is very glad to get a good place to stay [store?] it. She is going to leave it here until fall but won't have it set up. She brought quite a lot of sewing expecting me to do it for her and even asked me to take it to Mrs. Wilsons to stich for her but I told her I would be ashamed to when everyone knew she had a machine. I could not help but think it very unkind in her after all I have sewed for her but I suppose I must not think of such things.
     Tell Emma I mean to write to her as soon as I get able. All of you write as often as you can. Give my love to all the folks and remember me as you affectionate sister.


Tuesday morning.
     I did not feel able to finish my letter yesterday so thought I would add a few words this morning. I did not feel very smart yesterday but today I guess I am all right. The greatest trouble I have is the baby hurts so when he nurses but he is real good about crying. I have taken care of him every night. I dreamed last night I was to a party and was sitting holding the baby when the door opened and in you walked. Of course there was great times then. Well I must stop for the baby is beginning to twist & squirm.
    I have not written more than half such a letter as I wanted to but will write again soon. Tell Emma that calico that she gave me last fall just came in Johny in the right time. I will send the pieces of his wrapper in my next letter. Well it is nearly train time and I will stop.
Accept this with love from Georgia.

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1874    Aug. 9

Letter #2 - Grasshopper plague, Indians, written from Harvard.

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Harvard, Neb.
Sunday, Aug. 9th, 1874

My Dear Frankie:
     I received your very welcome letter on Thursday and hasten to reply for I fear from the tone of it that my last was rather a discouraging letter. Well tis not much of a wonder for I was sick in my bed then but now I am better and am gaining strength fast. I do my own work now and do not find it hard. I think you have a wrong idea about the climate here not agreeing with my health. I think it very healthy here. I know I never was sick so much before but then you must remember the was a cause for that.   Here after I think I will be as well as I ever was. The worst feature of this country to me is the hot weather. I tell you, you have no idea of what hot weather is.   You have probably seen some warm day but that is all.   The thermometer in the shade has stood some days 114.   How is that for high?   And we have winds from the south so hot that it burns our faces where it strikes it. But it will soon be cooler. Almost everybody here is homesick as they can be. Almost every woman in the town (except me) would give all they are worth to go back east to live. I have not been homesick yet. Isn't that strange? I would like to go back to make a visit--but as I know that that is impossible, I don't think anything about it.
     I presume you have heard of the grasshopper plague but you can't realize what damage they cause. They came one day, millions & millions of them. The ground was literally covered with them. The corn fields looked black a short distance off and in a few hours there was nothing left but the bare stalks.   Just imagine if you can fields of thirty- or forty acres of clean stalks. You would not believe that grasshoppers could do so much injury.   They eat the gardens bare.   Eat right into the ground after beets, turnups & onions. And I tell you they have left a good many downhearted homesteaders. That is why people are generally so homesick.   There are such hard times staring them in the face. There is no corn at all and that you know is one of the principal crops. The wheat was mostly all harvested when they came so they did that no injury but that did not yield as well as was expected on account of dry weather. So on the whole you see the farmers are pretty much discouraged and hard times are expected this winter. I had a ride out in the country the other day. The first time the baby ever rode. Mrs. Birdsoll took me up to her sons farm where he and Allen were plowing. He had about thirty acres of beautiful corn. He has the stalks now. They keep a horse & buggy just to ride around with and so Mrs. B very kindly invited me to ride up with her. I was very glad to go for rides are not so numerous as they used to be this being the third one I have had since coming to Nebraska.
     I must tell you we have named the baby Claude. What do you think of that.   He will be two months old tomorrow and weighs twelve pounds. He is just getting pretty now. He laughs when I talk to him and notices things around the room. He is a very good baby too. Lays on the rocking chair most all day while I am at work.
     Allen is well and has been all summer with the exception of one turn of sick headache. I have been afraid the hot weather would make him sick but he stands it fully as well as I do. I wonder if Delia[9] is with you. If she came when you thought she would. I suppose she is. I would like very much to see her and the children but really I cann't say I wish I was there for I don't believe there is any room for me. I thought when I came west that I would see Delia before any of you but she has gone back so much sooner than I thought she would. I presume it will be a good while before I see her.
     I was quite surprised to hear about Mrs. [Weaver]. I think I must write to her as I promised her to. I am waiting anxiously to hear some news from Ella. I think you had two nice presents. That singing book they use here or did when I last attended church. Well I must stop writing for Allen has the fire built and I must go to getting supper. I wonder what you are having good to eat at home to day. Whatever it is I imagine you are about eating it now as it is about half past three o'clock. We propose to have a Johnny cake.It will be a great treat, this being the first corn meal we have had since we kept house. I will tell you what I would like above everything else. That is some red raspberry pie. I told Allen to say I would give a dollar for one piece. That you know is or was my favorite kind of pie. I bought a young chicken the other day and it made the best meal we have had in a long time.   Then we had two snipes sent to us last Sunday. They were pretty good.
     Have you read about the trouble with the Sioux. They don't trouble me much although I suppose they are in the western part of this state or at least I read something about it in the [World]. Did I ever write you anything about the Pawnees. They are quite plenty around but they are a friendly tribe. They wounldn`t hurt any one [] than a white man would. But I don't like their looks very well. The first one that came here nearly frightened me to death. They came to beg. I gave him a nickle (.05) and he said "good squaw good squaw". Shook hands and went on. His name he said was Pawnee John. Then there was a squaw here one day. When she came in she noticed the baby on.....[part missing].
     There was a boy here got bit by a rattle snake a few days ago. Twas thought necessary to amputate his leg one time but I guess now they won't have to.

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1874    Dec. 1

Letter #3  Trip from Harvard to Harlan County homestead—first to John and Mahalia Elliott's sod house (1 room, 12 x 16), then built own sod house (2 rooms).

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Elliott Center, 
Dec. 1st, 1874

My dear sister:
     Well it has been a long time since I wrote you last and I fear you are beginning to worry but we were talking of moving so long that I kept thinking I would wait till we got settled and at last we are here as you see from the heading of this but not settled by any means. We are at Johns[10] getting rested after our journey of which I must tell you something.
     Allen hired a team and started with his pigs, cow, pork and a lot of rough stuff a week ago last Thursday.   He was gone until the next Wednesday.   I had a young lady to stay nights with me and daytimes I visited and sewed with the dressmaker most of the time. Then when he got back we tore up and Saturday morning at three o'clock we started on the biggest load of furniture you ever saw. We got to Hastings about nine o'clock. This is 15 miles from Harvard. Here we stopped and got breakfast. The baby got very cold because I did not know enough to keep him properly covered but the landlady gave him a brandy sling and me a few lessons on taking care of him so he did not get cold again. I forgot to say that when Allen came back he brought John's horses and wagon to go back with. Well we left Hastings about eleven and continued westerly and arrived at Kenesaw about 6 o'clock. That was fifteen miles here. We got a good supper, bed, and breakfast and started about eight in the morning and bidding good bye to the railroad forever started south and west. Twas a very pleasant day. We rode 11 miles on the broad open prairie. Then we stopped to a sod house and got warm. Then we went 8 miles and arrived at [Sod Ranch].
     Here you would laugh enough to split at the house. It is a dug out with no floor and kept for travelers to stop to feed. Tis kept by two young men. I asked if we could get dinner. They said they didn't like to cook for strangers, especially ladies, but I could get it myself. So I got out our lunch which had been somewhat [neglected] and warmed it and one of the chaps made us a nice cup of coffee. We fed and watered the horses and started here. We traveled a little stretch of ten miles without seeing a house. After going 16 miles we came to Walker's Ranch, the great stopping place for everybody. Twas after dark but we thought we would go on as we had only come 36 miles and was only seven from Johns and we began to think we was near home. So after getting warm we started again. We followed the well traveled stage road about five miles. Then came the rub. Where to leave it. We finally concluded to leave it to the horses. So after a time they shot off onto the prairie. This was rather [skeery] traveling after dark on the broad prairie with a chance of going miles and miles without seeing a house. However, the horses were plunging along so fast we could hardly hold them so we were very sure we were right and sure enough after going a mile or so we came onto a road not much traveled. Then Allen knew where we were and soon came in sight of Johns. I tell you we were glad to crowd into one of Mahalia's soft beds if it was on the floor for we had rode 42 miles in a heavy loaded wagon. I won't write any more tonight. Only Mahalia (who is in pretty good spirits) wants me to tell you how we are situated for the night.
     There is a man staying here over night for they keep travelers when they come. Well the house is 12 by 16 and all in one room.   Our two beds stand in one end and just [room] for the sewing machine between. This we call the [parlor] and when we get two chairs in it is full. It occupies half of the house. It the foot of Mahalia's bed she has spread down a bed for the man. Then she has a large cupboard and stove, a very large table and chairs, benches, a big packing box. Now imagine five grown people and you will see it is we are. Mahalia says tell you that she and I are going out to walk around the house until the man gets in bed. This is all for tonight from Georgia.

* * * * *


Allen's parents, Patrick & Catherine Elliott, came to Nebr.



1875  Nov.29

Letter #4 - Mail, formation of school district 28 (Georgiana Elliott teacher), trips to Republican City & Kearney.

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Sunday eve,
Nov. 29th, 1875

My dear Frankie:
     It has been some time since I received your last letter and I am going to write you a few lines in reply this evening. We are all well but it is dreadful cold today.   We have had some very cold days but warm ones mixed in now and then. One day the air will be warm & pleasant as summer. But before the next morning twill be so cold you can hardly put your face out. I never see such sudden changes as we are subject to here. I suppose there is plenty of snow where you are. We have one or two little flurries but did not stay long.   We got two of your papers some time ago and neither one of us done a stitch of work till they were read through.   We liked them very much. You sent me some triming in your letter but said nothing about it. If it was intended for anything special please let me know. I got a letter from Vina the last mail day and I think I will write her a few lines in this.   We have had a change in the mail.   It comes on Monday & is brought to Johns. You know [Ally [11]] has had to go six miles after it all summer. But that bother is got along with now and we expect a stage will soon run by here, perhaps daily. Vina said you were home from Mr. [Leem's]. Do you think of teaching this winter? I am going to surprise you by telling you that I am going to teach this winter. Me thinks I hear you say, Is the woman crazy? But I will explain to you. They organized a school district here and [there are] three months school in the year. Now you see they must have it or lose the public money. The next thing is they are to [press] to hire a teacher for so few scholars. So I like a fool told them last summer that I would teach it for the public money. Lately I have tried every way to get out of it. Told them I would not teach except in my own home never thinking they would consent to that. But any way to have a school, so here I am to begin next Monday in our own house & continue three months for the immense sum of about thirty dollars which you know is better than a kick in the shin (excuse slang). I don't expect to have but three scholars besides Claude, Ally & Maggie[12], & Henry Wilcox who is 17 years old and I guess about as good a scholar as I am. But he is a good boy. It is his folks that are so anxious to have a school. They are splendid folks, the best neighbors. There is another family in the district who have two boys & two girls but they (or the father) reminds me of [Marsh Clark[13]], always pulling on the off side & I don't think he will send.
     I went to Republican City on Thursday to be examined but have to go again as he would not give me a private examination. I suppose you will think by the name of that place that it is a large city.   I found it to be some larger than [Worthville] but quite a pretty town. We started at daylight & got back about eight in the evening having rode 40 miles.   A right smart trip to take in a lumber wagon. I left Claude between Gramma [14] & Mahalia. He grows like a pig & is as tough as a bear. I have knit him some red mittens & pleasant days he toddles all over the yard. I wish you could see him. Allen bought him some cheap cotton flannel for nightgowns & I made them in Johnny [bags].   He kicks so I thought they would be warmer.   I tell you he looks cute when he has them on. I see by the paper that George [Getterson [15]] is married. I thought that would make a match when you wrote me he was going with her. Where are they & where do they intend to live.
     How is Emma? Have you seen Mary[16] lately. Does she go out any with her baby. I would like to see her with it in her arms. It seems so funny to think she is a mother. Are you & she friendly. I must stop writing although I have said nothing for my sheet is full & it is bedtime.   Allen is already snoring. I am going to send you a few postage stamps. Allen found them in a store the day we were at the City & said send them to you for John will furnish us with them. He & Mahalia have been to Kearney. Was gone two days & one night. We kept house for them. Mahalia says she would rather stand at the wash tub a week than go again. She took Nettie and it was very cold so she had a hard time of it.   [Uno] had fits on the way back & died [cried?]. Vina said you was making a new dress. You must not forget to send me a piece. We have got the handsomest [  ].   Cute you ever see. She is large, fat & smooth & a great [-]. Allen thinks as much of her as I do. This is all I am going to write to night. So accept with love from your far away
Sister Georgiana
Write soon & tell me all the news.

* * * * *

1876    May 8

Infant son born (2nd child of Allen and Georgiana Elliott).

May 24

Infant son died, age 16 days.

1876   Oct 29

Letter #5 - Rebuilding Patrick & Catherine Elliott's sod house.

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Freewater, Neb.
Sunday, Oct. 29th 1876

My dear Frankie:
     I am alone today and am going to try to write you a few lines. It is a beautiful day. Too nice to stay in the house but as I have no place to go to out of doors, I thought it best to stay in and write to you. Allen has gone to Turkey Creek. They bought some cattle down there & were obliged to take them away early this morning so he started about twelve in the night. I guess John went with him but am not certain. It is so pleasant I have been looking for Mary[17] to come down for a ride. She was coming to visit all last week but was not as well as she had been. We had a long cold rain & she took a little cold. Before that she seemed as well as when she came to Nebraska. She came down here once & staid all night & two days. When she gets lonesome up there she teases them to bring her here. She has been to Johns most of the time. Our folks have to build [Grampas[18]] house all over. The sods were not the right kind & they crumbled. The house went out of shape & in fact commenced to fall down so they tore it all down and made a new one. They have got a good house now with three rooms including Hannahs[19] house which is only another part of [Grampas]. It is all done now but plastering, but Mary is still at Johns. She walks over home most every day & rides out when she feels like it. She is so childish she don't seem like the same person.   She sent for me one day to ask if I would let her take the yarn Vina sent & knit Claude's stockings. It was so pretty she thought she would like to work at it. She has got one about half knit.
     Vina ask if Claude likes Mary. He does very much.   He calls her Auntie Mammie and asks every day for her to come home. I asked him what I should write for him. He said "tell Frankie to come here & Vina too". When he wants anyone to come to our house he says come home.   You don't know how much company he is for me. He talks now about everything.   We went yesterday to attend the funeral of one of Mr. Marzolf's[20] daughters. She was kind of an idiot. She was 30 years old.  Had fits at 14 (and ever since by spells) & has not known any thing since. Her mother found her dead in her bed & supposed she died in a fit. Did you go to the apple cut to Mrs. S. I have seen two or three apples this year but have had none to eat. You say you have had snow there. It seems curious to think of it for although we have had some cold disagreeable weather it has not seemed any like winter today. It is warm and summer in feel. Has been for about a week. Is Vina going to teach this winter? Henry Wilcox is going to teach our school. Did [         ] go to San Francisco. I am afraid he would not come to see us if he did for I never wrote to ask him and I will tell you why.   If I invited him to come I would want to tell him we would meet him at Kearney and you know we have no team to go there with and we are both too independent to ask John for his horses.  I was afraid if I wrote & did not offer to meet him he would think we did not want to see him & if he knew it he could ride from K here any day for there is teams going all times of the day and a stage comes within six miles of us. John is perfectly willing for Allen to drive his horses but you know Allen is very independent & as I am a little inclined that way we would rather go anywhere with the oxen than ask for the horses
     That makes me think to tell you I drove the oxen to Mr. Wilcox & back a week or two ago.   Tis three miles there. I took Claude & Maggie & did not get back till after dark.   Wasn't I brave?   Do you think you could do it? I guess not. I cann't believe you know haw from get (is that spell right). I did not till we got these oxen but now I am quite an ox driver.   They are as gentle as cows.   They & our cow seperate themselves from the rest of the cattle every night and I have to catch them and tie them up. I have got a cute pig that takes up the most of my time now. The [old] hog [ate] them all but one so they took that away when it was 3 weeks old and gave it to me. I learned him to drink & he is getting as fat as a hog. I see our folks are coming in sight so I must stop and get dinner.   Will write a little more before I send this for it won't go till Thursday.

* * * * *

18[77or78]  Feb. 4

Letter #6 or #7 - Death of Mary Elliott Chaffin (sister of Allen Elliott, school), aged 23 years, 6 months, 4 days. She was survived by her husband, Leen Chaffin, and a daughter, Lillie Chaffin.


Check to see whether Mary Elliott Chaffin died in 1877 or 1878?

* * * * *

LETTER #6 or #7

                                                                                           Sunday, Feb. 4th 18[77or78]

     It has been a week since I commenced to write to you I seems as if my letters are destined to lay in my portfolio about two weeks every time before they are mailed. I presume you will have heard of the death of Mary[21] before you get this for I think Leen wrote home. I was going up to watch with her last Tuesday night & thought I would take my letter & finish it but before I got started Lollie[22] came to tell us both to come for they thought Mary was sinking.   She died just at ten o'clock.   She knew she was dying.   Said she was ready & perfectly willing to go. She told us not to morn for her for we all knew how she had suffered. Said she had no fear of death. Said she wanted Lillie to go back to Mrs Chaffin [23] for she asked for her before [Mary came away]. She would not give her to any one for she belonged to Leen but was willing for Mrs. Chaffin to keep her as long as he wanted her to.   She told what should be done with her things. She took a notion that morning that she wanted a Dr. so John went to Republican City 20 miles & got one He was there when she died.   I staid all the next day for Hanna & Gramma were both sick. They took her death very hard. John & Mr. Fields went to Kearney. Got a very nice coffin. The funeral was on Thursday at 2 o'clock. Had a Methodist minister from Turkey creek. He read the 15 chap of 1st Corinthians & based his remarks on it.   Did not take any text. She was buried beside our little baby. Leen thought of taking her back to Adams but found it would cost about 150 dollars. They would not take a corpse so far unless it was in a metallic coffin.   That would cost at least 75 dollars & if sent by express the charge would be $80 so he gave it up. It is a very lonesome house to Grampas. They have had so much care of her they hardly know what to do now & poor Leen seems as if he was lost. I think he will go back soon. I pity him to the bottom of my heart. He seems so young to be left alone with such a charge as Lillie on his hands.   Mary was buried in her wedding dress.   Mahalia & I with the help of Mary Wilcox put it on & put her in the coffin. We never done such a thing before & it seemed as if we could not do it for Mary but we were obliged to. I must stop now & say a few words to Vina. Write to me as soon & often as you can.   With love I remain your sister. Georgia

Wednesday, Feb. 7th 18[77or78]
     My dear Vina. I received your letter today. Twas not quite a week on the way. Twas written the day Mary was buried. It seems strange that the weather should be nearly the same here as there. You said it was like spring but I don't believe you have seen such a long time of spring weather as we have. It has been just two weeks since it commenced to thaw & every day as warm as April.   There is no snow to be seen. Our folks are [bragging] today & think they can plough. Then you are really thinking of coming west? I hope you will.   Allen has been wanting me to write for you to come next summer & teach our school next winter.   Henry gets now as much as you do.   Of course you could have schools with more wages but I don't know as it would be much better for here you would not pay for your board. Teachers here do not get any better wages than where you are so it won't be no [object gain] for you only to have a visit & see the country. That I think is worth something. $50 a month looks big but I am afraid you would have to work pretty hard for it. If we could pay your fare back when you got ready to go I should insist on you coming but when you must pay your way here then work for money to take you back I feel as if I can only ask you. But you don't know how glad I should be for you to come. You must think it over & tell me what you think of it. If you thought of coming I could speak for the school you know. There will be a new Director elected in April. I am afraid if you stopped to Uncle Fred's[24] to teach you would homesick & go back instead of coming here.   I must stop.   I won't call this a letter to you. Will write soon again. Will not wait so long again for it has been a long time since I wrote. Has Uncle Hiram [25] got consumption. I thought so from what you wrote. He must be quite old.   I hope Pa & Ma [26] will keep well this spring. It seems a trying time of the year for folks as old as they.   It seems as if spring had really come but suppose we must see winter again. I have got seven hens laying. No more this time.   From you sister.

* * * * *

1877    May 14

Letter #7 - Garden, livestock, mail, wedding of Alice McNiel & Henry Elliott. Freewater, Nebraska

* * * * *

Letter #7

Wednesday, AM, May 14th, 1877

My dear sister:
     Allen has been scolding me for the last two or three weeks about not writing home. So this morning I have sat down before doing up my work to write a few lines, but it will not be much of a letter for it generally takes me two or three days to write one and I have only today for this one. I had a long letter written a week or two ago & was going to send Ma some ground cherry seeds. Had written all about how to raise them & when I come to send the letter I could not find the seeds. I was so mad I burnt the letter up. We are having the best spring for everything to grow that we ever saw here. It rains every night and there have been 5 or 6 very heavy rains besides. I am afraid it is so wet that we will get paid for it by & by & that we will have a very dry spell. The crops are looking nicely. The corn is up.   I suppose they have not planted yet in [Lorraine]. Allen commenced the 21st of April. We set out 25 acres of trees (& John the same). They look splendid. They are all cottonwood except 5 acres apiece of black walnuts. We have got in a very nice garden. I put in all or very nearly all the seeds myself.   Consequently, my joints are as stiff as an old stage horses. If the grasshopers don't come, I shall have about 10 bu. of onions (from the seeds) & as many carrots. I have planted over 400 hills of cabbage. So you see I have been pretty busy. Nearly everything is up.   I have got the rutabaga to sow yet.   Shall sow enough for 75 or 100 bushells if I can get the seed. It seems as if it is the greatest pleasure we have here is putting in seeds & watching them grow. Every [grows] so nicely here if it is let alone. Claude of course has to help me & wherever I go he is at my heels.   He thinks it is great fun to drop squash & pumpkin seeds for me. I cann't think of anything but the crops, hoping they may grow for it is such hard times.   The European war has raised the price of wheat so that flour is selling for $5.00 per cwt.   It has usually been $2 or $2.50. It makes it very hard for those that have to buy.   We have nearly enough to keep us till we get the new. If the grasshoppers come this year, I don't know what Nebraska folks will do, prices will be so high.   If they don't I expect we will all get rich. (Oh won't that be joyfull _________). We took up the pieplant and made eight roots of it and divided with Grampa's folks.   It is growing nicely.   I have got 12 hills of the seeds sowed but it is not up yet. I got a letter from Vina last week. Must write to her soon. Be sure to tell me in your next what about her Kansas chap. Did she ever write to him? I dare not ask before for fear she would read it. [Let] [27] and Emma like their new home? How do they like the farm and do they live in the big house? Do our folks keep more than one cow and is she a good one?   We milk two.   Have to supply Mahalia with butter.   Has she got any young chickens? I have got 27. Have two hens sitting on turkey eggs. You asked if I would get time to piece a bed quilt if you were to send it all out and I should rather think I could but you had better keep them for yourself.   Allen said tell her to do so by all means. Said he did not care for the [rags] but would get a paper to read now and then.   I would like you to send one for a pattern anyway.   Have you commenced your school yet?   I expect to get a letter from you today. Claude and I are going over to John's after dinner to get it. We have two mails now in the week. One Wednesday, the other Friday. We have had another wedding here this spring, Henry Elliott and Allice McNiel. [28]   If you see [Leen] tell him for he knew them both. She (the bride) spent a day with me one day last week. She is just your age and this is her second husband. They live just two miles from us. They done there courting in seven weeks.   I cann't think of anything more to write.   Write soon and give us all the news.   Let me know if [Rodmans] (or any other place) has any particular attraction for brother [Leen].   I will try and write sooner next time and something worth reading. I was in such a hurry this time maybe you cann't read it. No more this time from your sister Georgia.

* * * * *

1877    July 13

John Hall Elliott born (3rd child of Allen and Georgiana Elliott).


Georgiana Elliott still teaching school according to story written by Allen Elliott's grandson.

1879 Feb. 25

Willis Elliott born (4th child of Allen and Georgiana Elliott).

Dec 5

Howard K. Elliott born (second child of John and Mahalia Elliott.

1880  Jan 07

Howard K. Elliott died, age 33 days.

Mar 2


1880 May 11

Letter #8 - Crops, children

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<><><LETTER #8

Freewater, Nebraska            
Tuesday, eve, May 11, 1880

My dear sisters:
            It has been so long since I addressed a letter to you that it almost seems as if I am writing to a stranger. I don't think it necessary to make any apology for I think you know it is the want of time. We are all well at present and extremely busy from the oldest to the youngest.   We have the crops all in excepting the millet (we raise it for hay). It has been an unusually dry spring here. Have only had one rain. We had about given up the wheat.   Thought we must plant corn on all the wheat land but we had a good big rain last Tuesday & things are looking better but we are wishing for more. I have got an excellent young girl working for me. She is fourteen years old and very quiet & womanly for her age.   I pay her 1.20 per week.   Her folks live just half a mile from here. If she stays all summer I shall consider myself very fortunate. I don't know what I would do without her. Willis is running alone now & you cann`t imagine how many steps he causes us to take. Of course he won't stay in the house a minute and the first we know he is going into the barn behind the five horses. Then we have a trough at the well that holds two barrels. The next thing he is leaning over that--liable to fall in & drown & so you see he keeps us on the move all the time.   Hall takes care of himself mostly altogether and as for Claude, he thinks he is almost a man. We have one old horse that is blind. Claude has got so he can go & untie him, bring him to the water, take him back & tie him again. He thinks this a great feat. He can ride pretty well for a little boy. He is quite a help running on errands but I cann't hire or drive him to go to the store.   It is only a mile & he goes every time any one else goes but he is too bashful to go alone.   Uncle John has a running sore on his foot.   It is worse now that it ever was.   He is not able to be around.   We had to keep Maggie out of school this week to herd the cattle. My dear Frankie, I must make my letter short for it is ten o'clock & I will try to do better next time. Allen got a letter from Kittie Hicks last week & wants to answer it.   She is an excellent scholar, is fitting herself for teaching. She wrote a nice letter. Friday night and my letter here yet. Allen has been going to Kearney for the last week & has not gone yet. He is surely going in the morning & I will start this missive on its way. We have had a splendid rain today that made all nature (& some of the folks) smile.   We are quite hopeful of a good crop.   Have you got any young chickens. I have only 35, yet have got ten young calves & little pigs without number. I suppose Vina is away teaching. I am looking for a letter from her. Am afraid you will never write me again. I have been so negligent about answering you. Try me once more. I may do better next time but don't like to promise. Please excuse poor writing but if you see any words spelled wrong, just consider that it is according to the reform spelling. Give my love to Father, Mother, Will[29] & baby. Remember me to all inquiring friends and write soon to your loving sister.

Georgiana E

Have you had anything new this spring?   I have not. Have dry goods gone up in price? I will send you a scrap of gingham I got for the children.   Gave .13 for it.   Calico is .08 and everything a little higher than a year ago.

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1880     Sept 27

Allen Elliott became a naturalized citizen—certificate issued at Phelps Center.

1881    Mar. 14

George H. Elliott born (5th child of Allen and Georgiana Elliott).

1882    Oct. 18

George H. Elliott died, age 1 year, 7 months, 4 days.

Oct. 22

Frank D. Elliott born (3rd child of John and Mahalia Elliott).

1883 Jan. 21

Letter #9 - Organization of Freewater Cemetary from land donated by Catherine Hawksby Elliott and Congregational Church on land donated by Allen Elliott.

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Freewater, Nebraska          
Sunday eve, Jan. 21st, 1883

My dear sister:
            It has been a long time since I addressed a letter to you and am going to write a few words tonight. We are all well at present. Are having rather a hard winter for here but have managed to keep comfortable so far.   Claude could not go to school only about half the time. The teacher boards here but it is a mile and a half to the school house and this is too far for a little boy to go when it is extremely could. Last week it was too cold and stormy for even the teacher to go.   He lost two days.   We think we never knew such cold weather anywhere.   We certainly thought we must loose some of our cattle and hogs but everything came through all right.   But the windmill froze up and burst the pipe and Allen is going to Alma tomorrow to get a man to come and fix it.   The water in our reservoir froze solid Thursday night after having a fire till eleven o’clock.   We call that pretty cold for Neb.   The people in the neighborhood are busying themselves preparing for a grand oyster supper next Thursday night at Hannahs, the proceeds of which are to be used for fencing the grave yard.   Gramma gave two acres to the public for it & the people around here formed a cemetary association buying a membership fee of $2.00 all of which is to go towards building a nice fence around it. It has been laid out in lots & will have trees set out in the spring & is going to be a very nice cemetery. I must not forget to say that Allen Elliott is the President of the affair. The good people are also agitating the public mind about building a Congregational church. Your worthy brother in law has offered to donate $20 and an acre of ground to build on just across the road from the grave yard but we don’t know if it will be built or not. But I do know that I must go to bed very soon for I am getting cold and Allen will want to get up early.   I hate to see him start out when it is so cold but he has agreed to deliver two loads of fat hogs tomorrow and must go. I am doing my work alone at present. [Sara] went down to her sisters on a visit. Got exposed to the measles & so stayed to have them for she knew I would not like her to bring them here to the children. Now I think she will be back in a week. I hope so for I need her very much. We board the teacher & have a herd boy. Consequently, our family is rather large.   Allen got me an extension table at Christmas.   It was just what I needed.   A week later. Your letter had laid around a whole week but I will finish it tonight.   Our cold weather has moderated some.   It has been quite pleasant today.   Hannah was down here today. They are all well but Gramma is into one of her mad fits.   She has them every once in a while and will while she lives. She has not had one in a year before. She has not spoke to any one but Allen and Lollie in a week except to burst out once or twice to Uncle John or Hannah. We are expecting Ira & Kittie Hicks week after next. The rest of the family intend to come in about a year.   Kittie, who is a fine scholar, expects to teach when she gets here. She has taught one term.   Ira will work by the month the same as he has there. They think to save their wages to help their folks to a home when they come.   The oyster supper went off nicely.   There were a great many there. They cleared about $17. I did not go. I got a letter from [Vina] last week. Should answer it tonight but am afraid I won't have time. I hope you will write to me soon. Do not wait as I do. Does your baby walk yet?   I suppose Allen[30] is a great big boy. How I would like to see them. Do you think I ever will? Write to me soon and I will try to think of something to write about. From your loving sister.


* * * * *

1883    March 1

Mary Lavina Elliott born (6th child of Allen and Georgiana Elliott).

1884    April 6

Letter #10 - Crops, livestock, children.

* * * * * 

Letter #10

Freewater, Nebraska     
Sunday, April 6th, 1884  

My dear sister:
            You see I have got sadly behind [        ] with my letter. I tried hard to get it written in March but failed to do so. I have been to church nearly every Sunday lately and that has taken up the day so there would be no time for writing. Today it is snowing and raining so we could not go to Sunday school and I am going to try to write to you and Vina. I received a letter from Alma a short time ago.   Was very glad to hear from her but she wrote the same news she did to you almost word for word and I got it a few days after I did yours. I have not written to Vina but once since I came home. Maggie got a letter from Martha Chaffin. She wrote that Ma was at Vinas. That is all I have heard from them in a long time but I think of them often enough.   We have had a very pleasant spring.  Rather a late one.   The wheat is all in. Allen sowed about 90 acres. That is rather a small crop for him but he has 40 acres of winter wheat and then the low prices for wheat the last two years has discouraged him a good deal.   He is turning his attention to raising hogs. We have over 50 young pigs.   Our entire stock, young and old, now numbers 110. We are milking only three cows.   We have sold three this spring at 40 dollars a piece. Allen is going to fence 160 acres soon. I have been alone for a week.   Libbie went home sick.   I think she will come back this week.   I cann't get along at all without a girl.   Maggie had to help me wash.   There is too many steps to take for one person. I could stand it to do it alone but don't have time. Dinner time comes before my work is half done. We have two boys, Lollie and Allen Hicks. He is 16 years old and is very [bright] help. Allen bought a new horse last week. Gave $110 for him. That makes us six work horses. Mammie [31] is walking alone and has eight teeth. She enjoys the fine weather very much. Yesterday she was all over the homestead in her buggy with the boys. They were busy drowning gophers. We had a very heavy rain last Monday and every hole is full of water. I hope we will have school before long. Is Allen learning to read and how is Eddie. [32]   I suppose he can say almost everything.   Sometime when you can I wish you would send me his apron pattern. You know the blue gingham one and if you have any pretty pattern for wall basket (to be made of pasteboard) send it along. I want to make one for the newspapers. Also one for my bedroom to hold patterns and cover them with that handsome wall paper you gave me.   I tried it but could not get the right shape to suit me. I must stop writing for it is nearly supper time. I have a notion to send you my receipt for cream for I know it would just suit Will.   If I thought you would use it I would send it. I hope you will not fail to write to me or come as near it as I did. I promise to do better in the future. Give my love to Will and the children. Keep a larger share for yourself. From your loving sister.         Georgiana E.

* * * * *

1884    Apr 23 

Ira Holmes Elliott born (4th child of John and Mahalia Elliott).

Sept. 16 

Willis Elliott died (4th child of Allen and Georgiana Elliott), age 5 years, 6 months, 29 days.

1984   Sept. 16

Letter #11 - Willis Elliott's death described by John Hawksby (brother of Catherine Hawksby Elliott).

* * * * *


Freewater, Nebr.                
Tuesday Morning, 16th Sept. /84

Dear Mrs. Strickland: [33]
            Sad news. Poor little "Willis" is dead. He breathed his last at 4 1/2 o'clock this morning.
            Never was so heartbroken a man as Allen Elliott is at this moment.
            Willis took ill Saturday, 13th, that is. He had great difficulty in breathing but kept going about and there was not much thought about the matter. His father and I went to Axtel, a town 16 miles off, yesterday (Monday) morning and bought the lumber for Hannah's house and when within about 3 miles from home in the evening we met a messenger on horseback coming as hard as he could gallop to tell Allen that Willis was dieing. This was about 6 p.m. Allen got down off the wagon and mounted the horse and rode home as fast as ever he could tear along. Messengers were also out in all directions for doctors. Two arrived and remained until the poor fellow died. He was up and going about until about 2 o'clock in the afternoon when he was suddenly seized with a choking and could not breath.   Doctors could not do anything and the poor dear little fellow took everything the doctors gave him so willingly until the last moment.
            Funeral assemble at the house at 1 p.m. and proceed to the church where the sermon will be preached at 2 o'clock tomorrow (Wednesday). To say that Willis was a darling, good, affectionate boy would be giving you only a poor idea of his worthiness.
            He was born 26th February 1879. His heartbroken parents have the sympathy of the community at large and no one will miss poor dear little Willis more than

Yours very truly

John Hawksby [34]

Membrane croup doctors called disease.   Georgie said reason she did not write you was she has no help and had no time. Cannot get a hired girl for love or money.   Will write you as soon as she can.

            Your letter------Saturday, 13th. Thanks.


* * * * *

1885    Mar. 23

Georgiana Elliott born (7th child of Allen and Georgiana Elliott).

1886     Oct 18 

Mahalia Elliott died, age 45, survived by her husband John Elliott ;and children—Neltie (or Nettie or Nellie?), Frank, and Ira. An infant son, Howard K. Elliott, died in 1880.


Allen & Georgiana Elliott built a two-story, eight-room, frame house & moved out of sod house.


Ragan established


John Hawksby appointed postmaster in Ragan (uncle of Allen Elliott, brother of Catherine Hawksby Elliott).

10.0pt;April 16

Edna Belle Elliott born (8th child of Allen and Georgiana Elliott).

Aug 31

Hannah Holmes died, age 52 (sister of Allen Elliott), preceded in death by her husband Henry Holmes, survived by children Allen (Lollie) and Margret (Maggie).

1889    Mar 9

Harrison Elliott born (9th child of Allen and Georgiana Elliott).


Allen Elliott served one term in the Nebraska State Legislature.

1890    Jan.

Catherine Elliott moved in with Allen & Georgiana Elliott.

189[0]  April 7


Letter #12 - John Elliott's illness & financial problems; baby sick, cattle & hogs.
Check marriage date for Maggie Holmes and Norm Stevens to determine year. (married 22 Jan 1890)

:* * * * *

LETTER #12 or #13

                                                                                    Monday eve, Apr. 7th 1910

Dear sister V:
            I am almost ashamed to address a letter to you after so long a silence.   But as I have a few spare moments to night I mean to improve them by writing you a few lines even if there is several garments that need mending and lots more to be made.   It seems as if I cann't get a chance to write on Sunday any more. We either have company or some of the children are sick or I don't feel well myself.   I have done my work along all winter and you know that keeps me busy. Gramma has been living here since January. I don't believe I have written to you since Maggie was married. Is it possible I have been so negligent about writing.   She was married on her birthday, Jan. 22nd, to Norman Stevens, a very good young man who came here from NY about 12 years ago.   His mother lives about 3 miles from us.   They are a good family.   He has not much means but is an excellent worker.   He has rented the place from Lollie--live in Hannah's house. We were all so glad that Maggie did not have to move away from us. John has been sick for about two months with a brain trouble.   Something that effects his speech.   Some words he cann't say at all & some he says with great difficulty. He is very much reduced in flesh and I sometimes think it will end in softening of the brain. I guess it was brought on by financial trouble, for he is deeply in debt and had got where he could not go much further and I suppose worried about it till he was stricken down.   Allen thinks it will take all his property to pay his debts. Allen has spent a good deal of his time with him & running around to see about his business so you see we have had a good deal to worry us and worse than all else is our own poor baby.[35]   I think I wrote you of his having some kind of spasms. Well he has never got over them yet. We had council of Doctors about six weeks ago and they decided that he has Epilipsy but think by a long steady treatment they can cure him as he is so young.   He don't seem to notice anything we show him or don't care for the child playing around him. We thought he didn't know anything, was going to be perfectly foolish, but the Drs think (and have convinced us) that he don't see.   They say there is an obstruction to the brain that darkens his eye sight and if they can remove that (as they expect to) his eye sight will be all right. His eyes look as good as any childs. He is a very pretty baby and very large--weighs 28 pounds. I am afraid he will never be just right but of course all we can do is to follow the Dr.'s directions and patiently await the result.   The poor little fellow had a severe attack of the lung fever last week but is better now. We have all had a good deal of lung trouble this winter. Mammie [36] started for school today. The teacher is a married lady that lives in Ragan. She boards at home & drives a horse & buggy every day so we got her to come after Mammie. She thinks she will like it very much. Vina do you know that I have [         ] & I think I wrote you that Allen was trying his luck at fattening steers and thought you might like to hear the result. He sold 72 head about a month ago. They brought nearly $2500. It was quite a nice lump of money but there was lots of ways for it to go. It did not stay with us long but it helped to pay a good many debts. Allen thinks he done well with them. We have only got 40 or 50 head of cattle left but have got 110 head of hogs. But enough of this. Write me everything and very soon.


* * * * *

1890    July 13

Letter #13 - Poor crops

* * * * *

<><><LETTER #13

                                                                                               Sunday, July 13th, 1890

Dear sister Frankie:
            In looking over the contents of my writing drawer today I came across this old letter that I started to write more than a month ago and failed to finish until it was so old I was ashamed of it. But someway I took a lazy notion to write another sheet and send them both along. I am not going to fill my sheet with excuses but will only say my time seems to be so fully occupied that I never see time for writing and if I do get a few minutes I am too tired to write. I have had a very good girl all summer but there seems to be plenty for us both to do.   I got so behind with my sewing by having no help through the winter that it has kept me busy to keep them all covered.   Just now we are in the middle of our harvest and you know that means hard work for everybody.   Our wheat is about a half crop and oats & barley still less.   We have not seen so poor a year in 10 years. We have nothing at all in our garden. It is the first harvest I ever saw without new potatoes. The corn looks good yet but unless we get more rain very soon that too will be a failure. It makes us feel pretty poor but suppose we will have to stand it. I have not heard from Mother for a long time & feel hopeful that she is better for it seems as if someone would write if she was worse.   It seems as if I ought to see you all this fall but don't see how I can. I would have to leave the baby at home and don't believe I could do that.   I have not heard from Edna [37] yet & suppose they are not coming to see us.   I am so sorry for I felt sure they were coming.   Frankie, I never sent you Allen's picture, but don't think I am trying to cheat you out of it.   Allen insists on my getting mine taken to send with it so I waited till I could go to Holdrege and get a good one and have never went yet but I shall go before long or else send it alone.   It has also been nearly a year since I laid out pieces of the paper on our parlor to send to you that you might see Nebraska style.   I think I shall send them yet.   I could fill a sheet full of questions.   Do you live where you did & does Will [38] work for Mr. P________. Is Allen [39] still with Vina. I hope so for I think it a good place for him. From the way Vina wrote they seem to be greatly attached to him.   Does Lucy[40] go to school. Mammie [41] went every day for three months this summer. Well I must stop writing & shall try to send it off before it is too old. I hope you will write to me very soon for it has been a long time since I heard from you.   I believe this is my second leter to you since you wrote but I suppose your time is limited as well as mine.   So many little ones to care for.   Hoping to hear from you soon, I remain your loving sister.


The last letter Vina wrote to me was on the 16th of April and that is the last I heard from Ma. I will tell it all and say I have not answered it yet.   Did I ever write you about my baby.   If not I will describe his case next time. Yours truely,   Georgia

* * * * *

1891    June 2

Lucy Pearl Elliott born (10th child of Allen and Georgiana Elliott).

Aug 21

John Elliott died, age 54 (brother of Allen Elliott), preceded in death by his wife Mahalia. [verify date]

1894    Dec 15 

Catherine Hawksby Elliott died, age 79 (mother of Allen Elliott).

1898    Summer

Letter #14 - Omaha exposition, 25th wedding anniversary gifts, geneology

* * * * *

Letter #14

[Summer 1898]

[part missing]
.....for my own spending all that I realize out of the cherries. So you see I feel quite rich. I treated myself to a dozen silver knives & forks & a washing machine & wringer.   I have also had a new stove this summer, a 6 hole range & Allen got a set of dishes for my birthday present.   They are very pretty decorated with morning glories. Of course you heard of the beautiful silver tea set our friends gave us last winter.   If I ever see you again I will tell you all about it. How completely surprised we were. But I will not try to write about it for I think I shall see you sometime. Then how we will talk. I have been thinking all summer that you or some of Delia's folks would come out during the exposition at Omaha for I suppose the rates on the RR are low.   I wrote to Edna [42] about it in the spring but have never had an answer.   I suppose it is owning to her absence from home.   Why do they have to attend to their cousin? Has she no nearer friends?   Isn`t she Mrs. [Potter's] daughter?   Could you come some way if you could only get hold of some of that magnificent fortune that is awaiting us over the sea? [43]   I really know nothing about it only what I read in the papers you sent me. I really wish you would send me a copy of our geneology.   There are two gentleman named Wright in Wilcox who are heirs to the estate. I wish we might get even a small portion of it. Then you would be sure to come & see me & what joy.   It has been two weeks since I started to write this but it is such hot weather & so much work to do that must be done. We had a wind that was nearly a cyclone. It blew off so many apples & left so few on the trees I felt as if I must take care of them so I canned up 26 quarts & made a jar of pickles & one of apple butter & then we milk six cows & sell some butter and Allen & his hired man are helping somebody to thrash nearly all the time & we have to attend to the chores so you can see how my time is occupied. The thrashers will be here this week. Then school will begin in two weeks and so much sewing to be done.   You ask if my health is good.   I cann't stand half the hard work I used to. Am troubled so much with hot flash & faint spells. Then I have spells of dyspensia or some stomach trouble. So altogether I do a good deal of grumbling.   Do you wear glasses. I do but cann't get used to them and going next week to a real oculist & have him fit my eyes. I wish you would write to me right away a few words & let me know if there is any show of anybody coming to see us during the exposition. It seems as if Charlie & Delia[44] might come. I don't know as you can read this for I write so little I have almost forgotten how and the boys are home & there is such a racket. Claude says tell you his nose is all right now but he has not forgotten that bicycle ride. The rim of the wheel was smashed but they got a new one. It was Halls [45] wheel.   He has since traded it off.   Do you hear from Vina often?   It has been a long time since I heard from her. Mammie [46] is writing to [Lucy[47]].   She wishes she could see her.   Knows she would....      [part missing].

* * * * *

late 1890's

Allen Elliott sold homestead & purchased W 1/2 of section 27 (Martin Wilcox homestead), remodeled house into six rooms, two- stories.  
[pin down date by checking courthouse records in Alma]

1902     Feb. 22

Harrison Elliott died (9th child of Allen and Georgiana Elliott), almost 3 years of age.

Nov. 6

John Hall Elliott & Clara Black married

1903    Sept. 14

Georgiana Elliott & Atwell Black married

1905    Jan. 18 

Mary L. Elliott & Clarence Glandon married

1908     Nov. 10

Georgiana Elliott Black died (7th child of Allen and Georgiana Elliott), 23 years old.

1909    Nov. 7 

Letter #15 - Family news, death of sister of Georgiana Elliott— [probably Delia?]

* * * * *

Sunday, Nov. 7th, 1909

I received your good letter on Friday and was very glad to get it. We had looked anxiously for it for we had not heard a word after the dispatch came. It does not seem possible that our dear sister [48] is gone. I little thought when I was there that I would never see her again. I would have gone when Lavina & Lucy[49]   went if I could possibly have got away.   I studied it over and look at it in every way but could not think it best to leave such a mixed family without a head.   You did not say what Edna [50] and the others are going to do. Will they stay in the same house and do they keep the boarders?   I suppose if May [51] has such poor health they could not think of breaking up the home and yet Edna would like to go back to her old position in the school I suppose.   Did her mother ever advise her what to do or did she not realize that she was leaving them? How sad it all seems. I am glad if Lucy[52] was benefitted by her trips and assure you we all enjoyed it as much as she did and do not for a minute think that I overdone for the girls do the hardest work and none of us hurt ourselves. Just had a good time. If you had been here you would have thought the youngsters were crazy at times.   Eating watermelons and caving around.   Generally, they have settled down and are behaving nicely. Carl[53] is well and happy and does not seem at all homesick.   He said the other night the only way to make him homesick was to take him back to Oneota. Then he would want to get back. He is pretty near mad at all of you for not writing. He has never got but one letter, the one you wrote him and a card from Lucy.[54]   He has been baling hay and yesterday helped a neighbor thresh. He has picked some corn with Atwell [55].   Last night he and Lucy [56] went to Ragan to a basket supper and spelling match and today they went to church at [Border] Chapel. Edna [57] was too tired to go last night and today she had company.   Nannie (Clara's sister) and husband were here, also Hall & Clara[58] & family including a fellow that is picking corn for them.   Also Clarence & Mammie [59] & Georgia [60] making in all nineteen. I am getting sleepy and will stop and go to bed and finish tomorrow. So good night from Georgia.                                                                                                                      Monday night

My dear sister.   I shall have to cancel a lot of what I wrote for todays mail brought your good letter to Carl.   Also a card from Maurice.[61]   Of course he was greatly pleased as we all were. The girls say no one writes such good letters as Aunt Frankie. The girls done a large washing this A.M. I went up to see Mrs. Glandon.[62]   She starts in the morning for Illinois for a two weeks visit. Carl has not got his heavy underwear on yet for we had had such beautiful weather.   Too warm for comfort that nobody has on winter underwear yet but yesterday we had a slight cold wave and I will see to it that he gets them on soon & try to have him be careful about taking cold. He says he will write to you next Sunday. Also to Aunt Vina.   Yes of course I got your letter in Aug. but did not try to answer it because it came a few days before they got here and some of them were writing every few days and I thought I would wait awhile and did. Tell Lucy [63] we have got a new driving horse. His name is Selum and he goes like a streak but is somewhat afraid of autos.   Ask Lucy if she ever finished any of those pictures for Annie Glandon.[64]   It was her and Lucy on old Bob.   She wanted to pay Lucy and have her get several of them. L said she would finish them but did not want any pay for it. I presume she has never thought of it since but Annie keeps asking if she ever sent them. She is going to stay here & at Mammie's[65] most of the time while her Mother is away. I must stop. I could write all night. Mr. & Mrs. Shull have been here this evening since supper so you see it is rather late.   Tell Lucy to write to the girls when she can. I suppose she is busy most of the time. Well write as often as you can. I shall be anxious to hear from May [66].   It is too bad she is so poorly.   I am afraid she will not live very long.

From your loving sister, Georgia.

* * * * *

1913    Jan. 30

Letter #16 - Family news

* * * * *


Ragan, Nebr., Jan 30th, 1913

My dear sister:
            I am going to write you a few lines tonight in answer to your good letter that I received some time ago. I am at Lucy's[67] sitting up with the baby[68] who has been very sick but is much better today.   We really think he is out of danger if he does not take more cold. He took a heavy cold about a week ago while they were up to Mr. B but he seemed better till yesterday he was very bad off. Acted very much like pneumonia. His breath was so short and his fever ran up to 104 and he was quite stupid. Neither laughed or cried all day. The Dr. was here three times and was much alarmed about him.   But Clara[69] stayed all night and she is such a faithful nurse.   They got his fever down and relieved his short breathing and when the Dr. came this A.M. he found him in a good condition.   He has had no fever today and has laughed and played and seemed quite natural but still has a cough and will have to be taken care of very carefully. He is resting perfectly easy and has been for some time but thought I ought to stay with him tonight & could not improve my time any better than in writing to you. What a nice open winter we are having. Yesterday was just like summer. We went to Mrs. Shumards to the Aid society. She had the door open all the afternoon and the children were playing out on the grass.   There has been considerable sickness, most of the grip kind with some tonsilitis. Mrs. Fosburghs father was buried today but he was very old.   We have not heard from Maurice [70] for several days but hope he is improving and that abscess does not gather up again. Tell him that Allen got his card and was glad to hear from him. But he is such a poor hand to write that I expect it will be me that will have to answer it which I will try to do very soon. Lucy[71] still stays with Mammie[72] and seems to be having a fine time. Edna[73] & I are treking along in the same old path.   I made her a blue serge dress and it looks very nice.   I am getting very sleepy and will not try to write any more this time & will see that some one sends you a card tomorrow or next day to let you know how the baby is but I think he will be all right if he does not take a set back. I wish I had your last letter so I could answer your questions, but of course it is at home. Write to some of us as often as you can but do not worry if you don't write especially to me at once for I know your time must be fully occupied. From your sister, Goergia.

Fri. The baby is as bright as a new dollar. He laid & slept all night while I sat and watched him but I felt better satisfied than if I had gone to bed besides getting two letters written.   Am going home this P.M.   Clara's baby is not well.   Has had this disease also.   Kenneth and Richard[74] all have awful coughs. Enough for this time. Georgia

* * * * *

1913    Nov. 10

Claude Elliott & Jane Rodenbaugh married.


Allen and Georgiana Elliott and daughter Edna Elliott moved to Ragan. The John and Clara Elliott family moved to the farm and lived there until it was sold to settle Allen Elliott’s estate in 1929.

Sept. 30

Lucy Elliott & Harold Porter married.

1926    Sept. 20

Georgiana Hall Elliott died, age 75 years, 5 months, 4 days.

1928    Jan. 18 

Allen Elliott died, age 81 years, 7 months, 10 days.

1949    Feb. 8

Claude Elliott died (1st child of Allen and Georgiana Elliott), age 74.

1952    July 4

Jane Elliott died (wife of Claude Elliott).

1959    June 9

Harold Porter died (husband of Lucy Elliott).


Atwell Black died (1st wife was Georgiana Elliott, 2nd wife was Lucy Blanchard—daughter of Frankie Blanchard). [get date]

1967    Aug. 8 

John Hall Elliott died (3rd child of Allen and Georgiana Elliott), age 90.

1968    April 5

Clara Belle Elliott died (wife of John Hall Elliott).

1971    Jan. 17

Edna Belle Elliott died (8th child of Allen and Georgiana Elliott), age 83.

1972     Dec. 1 

Lucy Elliott Porter died (10th child of Allen and Georgiana Elliott), age 81.

1978    June 21

Mary Lavina Elliott Glandon died (6th child of Allen and Georgiana Elliott), age 95.

* * *  Endnotes * * *

[1] Letters transcribed by Douglas W. McNiel,  e-mail: Letters are transcribed verbatim, including miss-spelled words.   Parts that are illegible are enclosed in [brackets].

[2] Check land records in Alma for more exact date.

[3] Helen (b: 1841, d: 18 Nov 1869) and Rachael (b: 1843, d: 30 Dec 1863) died before the letters that follow were written.

[4] Francis (Frankie) Hall (younger sister of Georgiana Hall Elliott) was born 15 Apr 1855, married Willis Blanchard on 10 Sep 1877, and died 19 Apr 1938 in Oneonata, NY. Children of Willis and Frankie Hall Blanchard—Aaron (1879), Lucy (1884, married Atwell D. Black), Harold Willis (1887), Morris (1889), Carl C (1893), Herbert (1896), Allen C ( ? ), and Edward H ( ? ).

[5] Mahalia Abrams Elliott (sister-in-law of Georgiana Hall Elliott) was born 8 Jun 1841, married John Elliott (brother of Allen Elliott), and died 18 Oct 1886 in Harlan County, NE. Children of John and Mahalia Abrams Elliott—baby ( ? ), baby ( ? ), Neltie E (Hicks - adopted) (1872), Howard K (1879), and Frank D (1882), Ira H (1884).

[6] Nettie Elliott (adopted daughter of John and Mahalia Elliott) was born in 1872 (about 2 years old at the time of this letter), listed in 1885 Census for Harlan Co. Parents were probably Norman & Elizabeth Hicks. Nettie married Charles Witham and died in Bird City, KS in 1899. Nettie had a sister, Kitty, who visited the Elliotts in Harlan County and taught school at Freewater for at least one year.

[7] Lavina (Vina) Hall (oldest sister of Georgiana Hall Elliott) was born 24 Dec 1838, married Morgan Strickland about 1885, and died 21 Oct 1925.   Morgan and Lavina Hall Strickland had no children.

[8] Emma Hall (sister of Georgiana Hall Elliott) was born 24 Dec 1848, married Lester Ansted 26 Dec 1867, and died 22 Aug 1925. Lester and Emma Hall Ansted had no children.

[9] Delia Hall (sister of Georgiana Hall Elliott) was born about 1845/46.   Delia married Charles A Potter about 1866. Children born to Charles and Delia Potter were; Cora, Arthur C, Edna H, Nettie L, Maud, Helen May, and Clark. They lived in Oneonta, NY and Delia died there in 1909.

[10] Homestead of John and Mahalia Elliott. John Elliott (older brother of Allen Elliott) was born 14 Oct 1836 in Ireland, married Mahalia Abrahms, and died 21 Aug 1891. John and Mahalia also lived at Bird City, Kansas and probably took another homestead there. He also built a hotel and was quite active in civic affairs in Bird City.

[11] Allen (Lollie) Holmes (son of Henry and Hannah Elliott Holmes who was Allen Elliott’s sister) was born in 1863 (about 10 years old at the time this letter was written) and later became the editor of the Wilcox Herald newspaper. Lollie married Ruth Tullett in Minden, Nebraska on 30 July 1896.

[12] Margret (Maggie) Holmes (daughter of Henry and Hannah Elliott Holmes who was Allen Elliott’s sister) was born in 1868 (about 7 years old at the time this letter was written), married Norm Stevens and moved to Pittsford, Vermont in 1903. Norman G & Margret Ann "Maggie" Stevens had the following children: Mary Randilla (1891), Gladys (1893), George Elliott (1895), Kenneth Robert (1899), and possibly twins that died in infancy after their move to Pittsford.

[13] Georgiana Hall Elliott’s mother was Lucy Clark—this probably refers to someone from that family.

[14] Probably refers to Catherine Hawksby Elliott (mother of Allen Elliott).   Allen’s parents, Patrick and Catherine Hawksby Elliott, lived nearby—see next letter.

[15] Identity unknown.

[16] Identity unknown. Could be Mary Elliott Chaffin, sister of Allen Elliott. The family of her husband, Leen, was in New York state. Their daughter Lillie was born in NY, 15 September of 1875, so this might very well be Mary Elliott Chaffin.

[17] Mary Elliott Chaffin (sister of Allen Elliott) was born 28 Jul 1854, married Leen Chaffin, and died 1 Feb 1878. Leen and Mary Elliott Chaffin had one child, Lillie Chaffin.

[18] House of Patrick and Catherine Hawksby Elliott—parents of Allen Elliott.

[19] Hannah Elliott Holmes (sister of Allen Elliott) was born in 1840, married Henry Holmes (d: 1868), and died in 1887. Henry and Hannah Elliott Holmes had two children—Allen (1863) and Margret (1868).

[20] Identity unknown.

[21] Mary Elliott Chaffin died 1 Feb 1878. aged 23 years, 6 months, 4 days. She was survived by her husband, Leen Chaffin; daughter, Lillie Chaffin; parents Patrick and Catherine Hawksby Elliott, brothers, John and Allen Elliott, and sister, Hannah Elliott Holmes. "Leen" was born as Orrin but later changed his name to Frank A. After the death of Mary, "Leen" returned to Rodman, NY, where Lillie.
was raised by her grandparents, Smith and Margaret Chaffin. Lillie married John Crandall in 1893 and they had five children.

[22] Allen (Lollie) Holmes, son of Hannah Elliott Holmes.

[23] Mother of her husband, Leem Chaffin.

[24] Probably refers to Fredrick S. Hall (b: 28 Nov 1822) who was the youngest brother of Georgiana Hall Elliott’s father, John Hall.

[25] Probably refers to Hiram Hall (b: 29 Aug 1805, d: 12 Mar 1877, about a month after this letter was written) who was an older brother of Georgiana Hall Elliott’s father, John Hall.

[26] Georgiana Hall Elliott’s parents were John Hall (b: 22 Jan 1809, m: 22 Jan 1837, d: 23 Aug 1881) and Lucy Clark (b: 26 Feb 1817, d: 25 Sept 1891).

[27] Emma Hall (b: 24 Dec 1848, d: 22 Aug 1925) married Lester Ansted (b: abt May 1847, d: abt 1971) in Lorraine, NY 26 Dec 1867—no children.

[28] Alice Powell McNiel was the widow of Jesse McNiel who was the brother of George Washington McNiel. So far there is no evidence Henry Elliott was related to the Allen Elliott family.   Marriage certificate shows Henry Elliott and Alice McNiel were married 1 April 1877, lists Henry’s father (P or D Elliott) and mother (L. Jacobs). Henry and Alice Powell McNiel Elliott moved to Oregon.

[29] Francis (Frankie) Hall (b: 15 Apr 1855, d: 19 Apr 1938) married Willis Blanchard (b: abt 1856) in Lorraine, NY 10 Sep 1877; Children of Willis and Frankie Hall Blanchard—Aaron (1879), Lucy (1884, married Atwell D. Black), Harold Willis (1887), Morris (1889), Carl C (1893), Herbert (1896), Allen C ( ? ), and Edward H ( ? ).

[30] Probably refers to Frankie Blanchard’s son.

[31] Probably refers to Mary Lavina Elliott, daughter of Allen and Georgiana Elliott, who was one year old when this letter was written.

[32] Allen and Edward Blanchard were the youngest sons of Willis and Frankie Hall Blanchard.

[33] Lavina (Vina) Hall (oldest sister of Georgiana Hall Elliott) was born 24 Dec 1838, married Morgan Strickland about 1885, and died 21 Oct 1925.   Morgan and Lavina Hall Strickland had no children.

[34] John Hawksby was a bother of Catherine Hawksby Elliott. He was latter appointed the first postmaster of Ragan, NE.

[35] Probably refers to Harrison Elliott (b: 9 Mar 1889, d: 22 Feb 1902).

[36] Mary Lavina Elliott was also called Mammie and would have been seven years old when this letter was written.

[37] Identity unknown.

[38] Refers to Willis Blanchard, Frankie’s husband.

[39] Probably refers to Allen Blanchard?

[40] Probably refers to Lucy Blanchard?

[41] Refers to Mary Lavina Elliott, daughter of Allen and Georgiana Elliott.

[42] Identity unknown.

[43] This may be a reference to the Anneke Jans story—deeded all land drained by the Hudson River. See page 17 in the "Life Story of Allen and Georgian Elliott: Nebraska Pioneers" by Allen Atwell Elliott.

[44] Was Delia Elliott married to Charlie ___________?

[45] Probably refers to John Hall Elliott, son of Allen and Georgiana Hall Elliott.

[46] Probably refers to Mary Lavina Elliott, daughter of Allen and Georgiana Hall Elliott.

[47] Probably refers to Lucy Blanchard, daughter of Willis and Frankie Hall Blanchard.

[48] Probably refers to death of Delia Hall (b: abt 1845/46)—no further information.

[49] Probably refers to Lucy Blanchard (b: 1884, married Atwell D. Black), daughter of Wills and Frankie Blanchard.

[50] Could this be a daughter of Delia?

[51] Could this be a daughter of Delia?

[52] Probably refers to Lucy Blanchard (b: 1884, married Atwell D. Black), daughter of Wills and Frankie Blanchard.

[53] Probably refers to Carl Blanchard (b: 1893), son of Willis and Frankie Blanchard.

[54] Probably refers to Lucy Blanchard (b: 1884, married Atwell D. Black), daughter of Wills and Frankie Blanchard.

[55] Probably refers to Atwell Black.

[56] May refer to Lucy Elliott (b: 2 June 1891), daughter of Allen and Georgiana Elliott.

[57] Probably refers to Edna Elliott (b:16 April 1887), daughter of Allen and Georgiana Elliott

[58] Refers to John Hall Elliott (son of Allen and Georgiana Elliott) who married Clara Belle Black on 6 Nov 1902.

[59] Refers to Mary Lavina Elliott (daughter of Allen and Georgiana Elliott) who married Clarence Glandon.

[60] Refers to Georgia Glandon (b: 9 Dec 1905), oldest daughter of Clarence and Mary Elliott Glandon.

[61] Could refer to Morris Blanchard (b: 18889), son of Willis and Frankie Blanchard.

[62] Louisia Glandon. Her son, Clarence C Glandon, was married on 18 Jan 1905 to Mary Lavina Elliott, daughter of Allen and Georgiana Elliott.

[63] Probably refers to Lucy Blanchard.

[64] Anna Glandon was the youngest sister of Clarence C. Glandon.

[65] Refers to Mary Lavina Elliott (also known as Mammie) who was married Anna’s brother Clarence Glandon.

[66] Identity unknown—see footnote 51.

[67] Does this refer to Lucy Blanchard who married Atwell D. Black?

[68] Who is this baby boy?

[69] Refers to Clara Black who was married to John Hall Elliott on 6 Nov 1902.

[70] May refer to Morris Blanchard (b: 1889), son of Willis and Frankie Hall Blanchard?

[71] May refer to Lucy Elliott (b: 2 Jun 1891) youngest daughter of Allen and Georgiania Elliott. She was probably staying with her sister Mary (Mammie) Elliott Glandon care for her children—Georgia (b: 9 Dec 1905), Pearl (b: 3 Feb 1911), and Marjorie (b: 9 Feb 1913) who will be born a few days after this letter was written. Lucy Elliott married Harold Porter on 30 Sep 1914.

[72] Refers to Mary Lavina Glandon (b: 1 Mar 1883) who married Chester Glandon on 18 Jan 1905. The Glandons were living on a ranch near Nordon, NE at this time.

[73] Probably refers to Edna Belle Elliott (b: 16 Apr 1887), daughter of Allen and Georgiana Elliott.

[74] Probably refers to Kenneth and Richard Black. I’ve forgotten how they tie in? Kenneth Black was the son of Atwell and Georgiana Elliott Black. Is Richard Black the son of Atwell and Lucy Blanchard Black—Atwell’s second wife?

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