To: Julia, Lucy May and Etta Briggs
From: Hattie Briggs, Gardner, Dakota, Sunday June 1st 1884
My Dear Ma, May and Etta,
I guess I am the one that will have to get the black-mark this time. I never went so long without writting home since I came to Dakota. But excuse me this time I have been so busy all the spring that it seemed almost impossible to find time to write. any day except sunday and I am to lazy to write then. or we go somewhere you know sunday is the only day that folks go visiting out here. there is no meeting to go to. we have been visiting the last three sundays and John wanted to go over to Wetmers to day but I thought I would rather stay at home and rest. We have had a lovely spring here just rain enough to make things grow nicely. the ground has never been in such good condition for seeding since we have been here and two or three weeks earleyer than common. John has done all of our work alone drove one team on the seeder and led the others on the drag. he has sowed between sixty and seventy acres of wheat, twenty acres of oats and eight of barley and plowed thirty acres in the bargin "haint that doing pretty well for one "little" man. grain is looking nice. John has commenced breaking he is going to break up forty acres more of our land and when he gets that done he has got a job of plowing of Mr Ohmes to last until haying. I have planted every bit of the garden and we have a good big one. I tell you, it is all growing fine and by next sunday I will have lettuce and raddishes large enough to use. I have planted potatoes, sweet corn, two kind of beans, beets, peas, lettuce, raddishes, one hundred and twenty-three hills of cucumbers, twenty one tomatoes plants, and an awful lot of cabbage, and onions enough to steank the whole county. tell Ellen she will have to come over and help John eat them. I expect Frank and Ellen feel pretty proud of their boy wish I could see the dear little fellow. I am Auntie now as well as the rest of you. Nellie and I went away out on the prairie after flowers this morning. you would have laughed to seen her. the ground was just blue with panzies and she wanted to pick them all. she kissed them about a hundred times, wouldent come to the house till I picked all she could hold in both hands. I cant keep her in the house at all. you wouldent know her she has got tanned as brown as a berry. she talkes awful pretty.
Tell Willie we have got six of the nicest little pigs he ever did see two are all black like the old ones and the others are spotted. got eleven little chickens and will have three hens hatch this week. our calk is a steer calf hadent you better come over and see it Julia.
May does that William really talk business his farm joins Charleys dont it that will be quite a Briggs settlement when we get there.
Have you heard any thing from Mate yet I haint had a letter from her since in February I have written twice since then and have not received an answer to either letter. tell Pa not to worry one bit about that money we can do just as well without it. John wanted to fence up a pasture but we can put the steers in the heard and stake the cow out like we did last summer.
Well I will try now and finish my letter Nellie likes to ride so well that John hitched up and we went for a ride drove clear around the farm the wheat is looking splendid. I am getting tough as can be work like an old negro and dont hurt me a bit I was weighed the other day when we were up to town weighed 127-1/2.
Ma if I were in your place I would keep May at home you have to much work to do to try to get along without her. Aunt Flora and Ellen can get plenty of other girls to help them. you will make yourself sick working so hard now I want you to stop it. write as often as you can. love to all.