The letters bellow were sent to me in 1998 from Robert Curtis in Mass. They were in collection of correspondance passed down from Charlotte's family in RI and MA. Robert sent color photo copies along with his transcription of the letters. I set down and read over the photocopies and made my own transcription. I added punctuation and spelling changes in order to make them more readable. For each letter I have put a photocopy link so you might see the orginal and offer your own interpretation of the letter.

Robert included transcripts to more than Charlotte and Seth's letters and they can be viewed HERE.

Letter to Mr. Richard Taft (Charlotte's brother) Glendale Mahoyar, RI

December 12, 1869

Dear Brother and Sister,
I that I would answer your kind letter. I was glad to hear from you all and that you were all well. We are all well at present and hoping these few lines will find you all the same. I got father's picture. We have been on the railroad all summer. We have just come back to our place. We have some log houses and one frame house. Ellar lives in the log house. Seth and Henry are getting out rails. To find them we have been to Missouri and (Seansors) Nebraska and still we live in Taylor Co. Iowa. We haven't had any snow to amount to any thing yet. The ground is not frozen much yet. Wheat is 50 cents a bushel, corn is 90 cents a bushel, butter 20 cents a pound, potatoes 10 to 15 cents a bushel, eggs 10 a dozen, pork 10 to 12 cents a pound. I want you to tell me where John Alger is so I can write to him. I got his picture. Father, Seth wants you to come and hunt deer with him. There is from 10 to 15 in a flock together, rabbits, wildcats, raccoon, wild turkey, wolfs and plenty of Indian, all civil. I must send you a piece of my flannel dress that I made from my sheep. Here is a piece of my black dress. 25 cents. I don't think of much new right now so good by. I will write more next time.

Charlotte E. Alger


March 12, 1875

Dear Brother and Sister,
I received your kind letter and was glad to hear that you was all well. We are all well but Ella. She is sick down to Beatrice, one hundred and 25 miles from here. Seth has gone this morning after her. We have just got back from Iowa. We went last September. We was eat out by the grasshoppers. It is very hard times. There is good money to suffer. The state grany from New York has sent two car loads here, some grain and clothes, some dry fruit and sugar. A good deal has come from the (cade) society.

Edward is sowing lettuce. Out wheat is up. The ground is green. Abe had sown our wheat before we come back. Seth and doctor Hed are going to California after harvest. I ain't a going any farther. I have gone far enough. We have had a pleasant and very warm this winter. I don't think of any more now so good by to you all. Write and tell me where Ruth is.

Charlotte E. Alger


Red Cloud, Webster Co. Neb.

Nov 1875

Dear Uncle and Aunt,
I take my pen to write you a few lines to let you know that we are well. Hoping these few lines will find you all well. I have not heard from you in a long while and did not know where you lived until I had a letter from Elanso Dudley. He told me where you lived. I would like to see you all but don't expect to ever come back again. I would like to have you all come out here and see us and get you a piece of land. It is homestead land. One hundred and sixty acres for fourteen dollars by staying on it five years. No taxes to pay for five years on the land. I have been on my land, it will be three years in June this year. I have good corn, wheat not very good. Last year the grass hoppers ate all of my corn. I had twenty acres of corn and they ate it up in four days. The corn was black with them. I went back to Iowa last winter to live. Came back home this spring. It is two hundred and fifty miles. I have been it eight times within two years and a half with a strand of horses. We put some bows on our wagon and cover it with cotton cloth and then away we travel and when night comes we are at home.

Now I will tell you the prices of grain. Corn is 20 cents a bushel, flour is two dollars and fifty cents a hundred, potatoes 15 cents a bushel, butter 20 cents, eggs 10cents a dozen. There is only four of us. We have lost three children and three living. The youngest is almost twelve years old. I will tell you of some of wild animals out here. Some deer, some antelope, prairie dogs, prairie hens, they go in a flock, some times a hundred of them, once in a while buffalo, not very plenty, but there is plenty of wolves. They come almost every night around my house and howl but we don't care any thing about them.

George I want you and aunt and the children to get their pictures taken and send them out to us. Tell me weather you are carting coal. I am (silking corn get). Excuse my poor writing for I can't see a I used to. Write as soon as you get this. I will close by bidding you all good by. from Seth & Charlotte Alger
I will write more next time.
Red Cloud
Webster Co. Neb

Jan 29, 1876

I will set myself to write you a few lines to let you know that we are all well at present. Hoping these few lines will find you all well. You wanted to know how we was getting along. We are getting along first rate and doing well. I have sixty acres on my homestead broke out. We brake our grounds with a casteel plow the first time and then plant it with corn. Take an old ax and cut holes in the ground and step on it and we don't do any more to it only pick it. We raise from twenty to twenty five bushels to the acre on the sod, from 50 to 75 on old ground in a good season. You wanted to know if there was any timber. There is not much timber. Out here there is some. It is mostly taken up by speculators but we are going to use it as long as it lasts and then we will burn corn or coal. Our wood is mostly cotton wood and elm. Some oak & willow. You wanted to know about our water. It is good water. Some has springs but on the dry lands you have to go from 50 to 125 feet. I went 75 feet but it never goes dry. You wanted to know about the homestead lands. There is a good deal left yet. You wanted to know what cows were worth. Good cows are twenty five dollars, horses are from 50 to 100 dollars. You wanted to know how far I was from town. I am 6 miles, sawmill and gristmill 8 miles, railroad is 35 miles from me. You wanted to know the prices of pork, 6 cents a pound, beef is 9 and 5 cents. You wanted to know about the weather here. The winters are nice and warm. We plowed till the 10th of January. It is little cold now. We have had but one snow and that did not cover the ground. It was gone the next day. There is not many apples here for it is a new country. There is no Indians. Only tame ones no wild ones. There is stone quarries here. There is lime here. We get our lime by the quarry and mix in some sand and go to plastering. You wanted to know about the land it is rolling. Tell me where Mory Alger and his family is and where Joshway family is and where Alling Boxstone is and who owns your old place and who owns fathers old place and how it looks around there. I would like to come back and see you all but I never expect to but I would not want to come back to farm any more. George I think you can do better here than there. I will write more next time.

From Seth and Charlotte Alger


Postmarked May 29, 1880 Memory Iowa
Addressed to Mr Richard Taft, Mapleville, RI

May 24 1880
Dear Brother and Sister,
I received your letter and was glad to hear from you and that you were all well. We are all well at present and hoping these few lines will find you all well. We are plowing corn. It is very dry. Ellar's folks are all well. Tell me where I shall direct my letters to Merinda. I should write to her if I new where they got their mail. We moved from Nebraska to Iowa. It took us thirteen days. We got through all right. If it weren't any more than four or five hundred miles we would hitch up the team and come out and see you all, but it is to far to come. Tell me all the news you can. I will tell you the price of corn. It is 20 cents a bushel, flour 3.25cent a hundred, butter 8cents a lb, eggs 6 a dozen. I don't think of any more this time. I will close and bid you all good night from Seth and Charlotte Alger.

Direct to Memory
Taylor Co. Iowa


Mapleville, RI
Addressed to Mr Richard B Taft
Chepachet, RI

Glendale Jan 8

Dear Uncle and Aunt,
Mother has not heard from Aunt Adeline & she wants to hear so much that she got me to write so she could hear from you. Mother is not very strong so she does not dare to ride so far in the cold & the horse is so slow that it is almost impossible to go any where this weather. Mother says write and let us know how you all are for we are all anxious to hear. Much love to you Maria D. Sumner
P.S. we have just received a letter from Aunt Charlotte. They are all well. They sent two pictures to Aunt Marinda of Seth & Charlotte, Ella & husband.


Comments from
Robert Curtis
425 Main St 11A
Hudson, MA 01749

Some notes re individuals:
Emor Esten b 26 Mar 1792 married (1) Elizabeth Chase b 20 Aug 1788 had the following children:

  1. Sabrina Esten b 11 Jul 1816
  2. Dexter Esten b 17 Apr 1818
  3. Syra Esten b 8 Jun 1820 mar Louisa Fairbanks
  4. Adaline Esten b 26 Oct 1823 mar Richard Baker Taft
  5. John Esten b 15 Dec 1825 mar Laura Ann Wallis Emor married (2) Ruth Marcy b 2 Apr 1805 and had the following child
  6. Edwin Chester Esten b 2 Oct 1845 mar Edna (?)

Joel Taft b 13 Mar 1793 and Rebecca Baker b 1798 has the following children

  1. Richard Baker Taft b 22 Oct 1820 mar Adaline Esten
  2. Ruth E Taft b 1822 mar John Briggs
  3. Charlotte E Taft b 1829 mar Seth Alger
  4. Marinda Taft b 30 Sep 1826 mar Collins Chase

Richard Baker Taft and Adaline Esten had the following children:

  1. Sarah Taft b 13 Jan 1846
  2. Malvina Taft b 30 Mar 1849 mar (1)Alfred J(Johnson) Curtis, (2) Edgar A(O?) Caswell
  3. Joel Taft
  4. Margaret mar William H Barnes
  5. Benjamin Taft b 3 May 1851 mar Mary A Keating

Charlotte E Taft b 1829 mar Seth Brown Alger b 16 Nov 1828 and had the following children:

  1. Sarah N Alger b Sep 1849 probably Iowa
  2. Josephine M Alger b 1 Nov 1849 probably Iowa
  3. Henry Alger b abt 1863 Nebraska probably married Lucinda (?)

Benjamin Taft b 3 May 1851 mar Mary A Keating b 1861 and had the following children:

  1. Richard Taft b Nov 1879
  2. Elsie Taft b Dec 1881
  3. Mary(Mamie?) A Taft b Mar 1883
  4. Francis B Taft b May 1893

Auther Johnson Curtis b 15 Jul 1824 mar Dianna Young b 24 Nov 1823 and had the following children:

  1. Mary E Curtis b 29 Mar 1845 died young?
  2. Thomas B Curtis b 29 Mar 1845 d before 1860?
  3. Charles H Curtis b 29 Mar d aft 1860( no record) mar Mary E Green
  4. Alfred J(Johnson) Curtis b 5 May 1849, RI, d. 27 Aug 1892, Lincoln, RI mar Malvina Taft
  5. Emmer F Curtis b 7 Feb 1851 d 2 Jul 1857
  6. Huldah Curtis b 2 Feb 1854 d 23 Jul 1857
  7. George Lincoln Curtis b 13 Nov 1860 mar (1) Mary E Clark mar (2) Mary Teresa Burke
  8. Josephine Louise Curtis b 19 Apr 1864 mar Ruben Coville Sprague
  9. Huldah Ann Curtis b 4 Apr 1867 mar Clarence Burton Frye

Alfred J Curtis b 5 May 1849 mar Malvina Taft b 30 Mar 1849 and had the following children:

  1. Benjamin Alfred Curtis b 5 Aug 1876
  2. Edgar Franklin Curtis b 4 Feb 1878
  3. Bertha Louise Curtis b 31 Dec 1883 d 11 Mar 1960
  4. Berthena Louisa Curtis b 31 Dec 1883 d 31 Dec 1883
  5. Frank Waldo Curtis b 28 Jun 1885
  6. Emma Frances Curtis b 17 Oct 1891
    Malvina (Taft) Curtis m Edgar A(O?) Caswell b 9 Sep 1850, d 18 Dec 1925

John Esten b 15 Dec 1825 mar Laura Ann Wallis and had the following children

  1. Juliette J Esten b 11 Mar 1849 m (1) ? m(2) Charles F Foster b abt 1856

Of some interest is that Josiah Perry mentioned in Malvina's letter is a Woolen Manufacturer according to the 1870 census with a real estate evaluaton of $15000. Josiah Perry M Martha J Elliott. In the 1870 MA Census Hannah H Elliott age 55 is also living in the same household. Josiah is also a Taft descendent.

Some of the remaining mysteries include the letter from Maria Sumner(she may be a Briggs?) and from cousin Dora to Malvina.

Attempts to find Warren W Logee(perhaps Lague) in one of Malvina's letter was not successful. The name is not in the 1920 RI census, 1880 MA census, 1880 CT census. Looked through the town of Douglas, MA in the 1900 census, no Warren Logee but an Edwin? Logee. There is a Rachel Logee, age 93 living with Joel Taft and Rebecca (Baker) in the 1850 RI census. Rachel was probably the wife of Caleb Logee.

Edwin Esten and Edna are mentioned in letter no. 22 written by Juliette and husband Charles. Juliette is also mentioned in the letter written by Dora. Edwin and Edna (?) Esten lived on South St in Douglas. Juliette is Juliette Esten and Charles F? Foster is her second husband. Juliette had no children by her first husband(from the 1910 MA census). Charles children Jesse and Mirna are also mentioned in letter no 22.

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