Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Kimber Letter 4: 3rd Great Grandaunt Sarah’s Visit to Owego, NY

I considered naming this post ‘Great Grandaunt Sarah’s Horrible, Terrible, Very Bad 2 Days in Owego’. William and Sarah (Kimber) Mackney took the train to Owego in October 1852. The trip began with a rocky start. Great Aunt Sarah describes her experience as a train car passenger in her letter home.

Once they arrived in Owego, their evening did not improve. Their room at the boarding house was given to other travelers. William and Sarah spent the night at the Tioga House--a hotel across the street from the boarding house. The next morning Uncle William found another boarding house. Aunt Sarah has much to write about the proprietor and none of it complimentary. I can’t describe it better than she—you must read it for yourself.

While reading Aunt Sarah’s letter I got the impression she was not in the best health. William wanted to carry her across the street to the Tioga House.  Later in the letter she said “I had to take plenty of morphene to keep up”. I don’t know what her medical issues were. Perhaps it was a chronic condition as Great Grandaunt Sarah died 12 years later just 40 years old.

3rd Great Grandaunt Sarah (Kimber) Mackney addressed her Monday morning Oct. 25, 1852 letter to her parents, Benjamin and Keziah (Bennett) Kimber, and sister Abigail. Sarah Kimber was William Mackney’s young wife having married at Minisink, Orange County, New York in June 1844.

How am I related? Sarah’s parents, Benjamin Kimber and Keziah Bennett, are my 4th Great Grandparents. Sarah and my ancestor, Charity (Kimber) Clark were sisters.

Letter 4.

Monday Morning October the 25, 1852.

Dear Father and Mother and Sister

   I take up my pen this morning
according to the promise to let you know I be
and now I am geting along     we arrived safe at
Owego thursday evening but such a tired mortal
as I was I dont think ever lived     I took a good
shaking up  I assure you     they need not tell me
any more about the cars riding easy for I had
rather ride in a carriage twice told on the
account of the jar    if any one want a good
lecturising let them take a ride on the cars     I
dident feel much  afraid after we got under way
but I must tell you how we made out after we got
here    as soon as we got off the cars we got
aboard the omnibus and went up to his boarding
place     we went in and Mrs Wood came into the
room and said she couldent  board us     before she
got his line she had taken another man and his
wife in that room and she was full     you can
judge my feelings for they was better felt than
told      I could not help but cry      William wanted
me to lay down on the settee while he went out
and got a place for me to stay but I told him I
dident want to take off my things until I took
them off for good     it would only tire me so
much the worse so he went out and was gone a few
minutes and come back and said we would go over
to the Tioga House and stay all night     that was
just across the street and then it was eight o
clock in the evening     he wanted to carry me
over but I couldent let him     I leaned on his
arm    as soon as I got over there I laid down
and while I was laying down William     went
out and hunted up a boarding place and the next
morning about 9 o clock we got in the omnibus
and away we went up there and the moment I saw
the woman I did not like her     I made up my mind
that we should fare pretty slim and so it turned
out.     she looked like an old jade     she was one
of those kind that are always talking what they
are going to do but never do it     she had not
got our room ready for us yet     she said we must
stay down in the parlor she called it until     she
did     well at length the dinner hour came and we
went out to the table     I must tell you what it
consisted of     some bread that tasted as if it
had been baked a month and as sour as swill and
some baked beef as tough as leather and about
half done and some potatos boiled whole and
looked almost as yellow as them mary golds that
Mary Ellen used to bring me and some beets cut
up and some pumkin pie to top off on    I eat
about two mouthfuls of pie and left the table
and William eat about the same only he managed
to eat his pie     I guess she had made a mistake
with the pie and put the ginger in for the sugar
and the sugar for the ginger     I forgot to tell
you we had black tea     I drank one cup     if I
hadent took a pretty big breadfast I couldent
have got along till night     after dinner they
went upstairs and fixed our room     after they
got it fixed I went up     Willy was up there and
when I opened the door I stood there speachless
and William laughed    up one corner stood a
little stove on a big flat stone about as large
as one of your stove pots and in another corner
was a bed and it looked as if some irishmen had
slept in it for a month past     it was so dirty
and it was a back room in the bargain     I told
William I couldent be staying there     well he
said I needent for he was as sick as I was     he
said he would go down to the Tioga house again
and see if Mr. Knapp could furnish us with a
front room    he told us the night before he
would board us if we dident like up there     he
went right down and came back in a few moments
and said we could have a front room with a large
bedroom attatched to it only it was in the third
story     I would have to go up the two pair of
stairs    I thought I could get along with that
inconvenience and have got good fare better than
I could stay where I was and starve to death
so Mr. Knapp sent the omnibus there about 4 o
clock in the afternoon and we got in a bag and
baggage again and away we went and left the old
woman and glad to get off to for I began to feel
as if I wanted my tea     I had to take plenty of
morphene to keep up     she was sorry that I was
not contented     she was going to make me so
comfortable     she said she thought I looked as
if I wanted a great deal of care     I concluded
if I did it would be more than I could get there
   I thought it was the longest day that I ever
saw     here I am situated very pleasantly and
very comfortablely    the door opens from my
front room out on a stoop    I have a fair
prospect     I can see a good ways around     I have
a good bed and first rate board     everything is
brought to my room except my victuals and to day
my dinner was brought     there was a great many
here to dinner and Mr Knapp said he would send
my dinner up as it is a big day in every way to
day     there is a democratic mass meeting     they
have the Ithica hose band     they passed right
along by the door this morning     the band was
playing ahead of the procession and when they
got in front of the hotel they stoped and gave
three cheers for the democracy "Tioga" the
speaker is John Vanburen     they have a platform
erected in front of the congregational church
I can see very plain from my door and hear him
speak but I cant understand what he says but I
am so busy writing that I havent got time to
tend to them much     I dont eat with Willy but
once a day and that is tea    he has to eat his
breadfast and dinner both before I do    there is
a setting room at the top of the front stairs
and that is always warm     I stop in there going
and coming from my meals and rest     they have a
sofa rocker in there that I sit on and take a
good rest     I have a bolster rocker in my room
I have felt quite smart ever since I have been
here considering what a journey I have took     I
felt very sore for a couple of days but I have
got pretty much over it now     I expect you feel
very anxious to hear from me but dont worry
about me for I will write to you every week if I
keep smart and if I dont keep smart I shall come
home     Williams cough is a good deal better     he
dont have to cough but very little now     I shall
have to bring my letter to a close for I am so
tired that I can hardly wag my pen    I have
written a long letter but I have not written
half as much as I would like to yet I dont know
where to stop but I shall have to wait until
next time     I dont know as you can make out to
read the whole of it for I have trembled very
much all day and my ink is poor     give my love
to all that ask after me but mind and keep a
good share of it yourselves     o how I wish you
could come and see me     it dont seem impossible
I am so far from home     I cant tell you how I
like it here for I have not had a chance to know
   write to me if you can Abby so I can get it a
Saturday night and if you cant be sure and write
so I can get it a Tuesday night for l want to
hear from home    write all particulars and then
it will be as if I had seen you    I had my
passage free coming up     it is now candle light
and William has come in from the shop and is
setting beside me     he says tell Abby that he is
one of the boys to hunt boarding places but good
bye for this time and may the Lord bless you all
and preserve each one of our lives to meet again
which is the earnest prayer of your affectionate
daughter and sister

Sarah B. Mackney

P.S. Mother that letter Cathern [another Kimber sister] sent you hair
and all was in the note book when William opened
it yessterday     I dont know how it came there
I will send the hair home in a letter if you
want me to or else I will keep until I come
write which

By day    by night    at home abroad
Still we are guided by our God
By His incessant bounty fed
By His unerring counsel led.

NOTE: Edna Raymond, a past Town of Minisink historian, gave me typed transcripts of the letters exchanged between the Kimber sisters and their parents. This letter is 4 of 31.

It was many years ago when I visited Edna and learned of the letters. Edna has since passed away. I believe Edna told me a couple from Illinois visited the Minisink Town Hall and brought the original Kimber letters. The Kimber descendant allowed Edna to photocopy the letters in his/her presence. Edna worked quickly. In those days copy machines were slow and the quality left much to be desired. Edna spent many hours studying and transcribing the letters as the ‘old time’ handwriting was especially difficult to read.

To see Kimber Letter 1, 2 and 3 click on each title below:

TALENTED TUESDAY Wm. T. Mackney’s Love Letter to Sarah Kimber

SIBLING SATURDAY, How We Are Getting Along on this Wide World


Currier & Ives Night Scene At A Junction

Currier & Ives
Courtesy of Library of Congress
Prints and Photographs Division  

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