Bio: Shupe, Margaret Ellen "Ella" (1880)

Contact: Pat McDougall

----Source: Family Records

I thought perhaps some of you would enjoy this old letter which came to me from my grandmother.

First, a little background history:

Elias Shupe, a widower with 2 young children, married Mathilda Walton, April, 1855 in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. They headed west to Wisconsin with a party of Elias’ brothers- settling first in Fond du Lac County. After George, their youngest, was born, in January 1871, they came to Clark County and settled about a half mile north of the village of Loyal. Daughter, Amanda, married George Fessenden in March 1880 and they left shortly after for Kansas. This is a letter written to her by her brother William, b. 1858 and her sister Margaret Ellen [Ella] b. July 1867. William d. in 1881, Ella in 1889 - both of consumption. "Lilla" - who didn’t share in Ella’s gifts and was "mad enough!" was my grandmother. Frank was born in 1865 and married Julia Emerson and raised his family on the homestead after Elias and Mathilda moved to the ‘village’. I’m sure Minnie and Bony were the cat and dog. And the teacher was quite likely Mary Eastman who was boarding with the family when the 1880 census was taken. Must have been a terrible storm.

June 7, 1880

Loyal, Clark County, Wisconsin

Monday morning

Dear Sister and all

I now take the pleasure of answering your letter which we got yesterday morning. We was not out after the mail Friday or Saturday. It rained all the time and some of the time yesterday. From Friday noon until Saturday evening I guess it rained all of ten inches on the level. Saturday afternoon the rain fell in perfect sheets. I never saw the likes before. The folks all say they never saw it rain so before and the wind blew fierce. We could hardly see the stable. The bridges are all gone out between here and Loyal. Some corduroy and Graves dam has gone out. Father says it will cost fifty dollars to fix the roads the way they were before. No team can get through they say although there was one went through yesterday. I am going out to see the site this afternoon if it does not rain. It is quite fair this forenoon. Father and Frank are out to work at the graveyard today. They are all going to work to fence it and clean it off and turnpike the road into it. D. Gwin was over after the mail over to Greenwood Saturday evening and when he came back he could not get through the swamp so he came back and stayed all night. The next morning Father went out with him and they came back and he went round by Dodgeville and some of that bridge is gone at the corner. The bridge in Neillsville has gone out and some of the Rock Creek Bridge over at Harding's old place. I will now let you know about your boxes while I think of it. Father says if you have not got them yet and if they were at Merilan yet he would go down and look after them and see what the trouble was if you would send him the directions on them and what day they were brought there. He says he would like to have you find out whether they were there or not before he goes as he would not like to drive down there for nothing. Frank is going to send you them stamps. He has not asked Weaver for it yet. Weaver has taken the bankrupt law and calls his debts payed. He is assessor. That is all he does I believe for a living. Mr. Slocum is dead. He died last Tuesday evening and was buried Thursday at Dodgeville. The sermon was preached by Greer in the Darton Schoolhouse but none of us went. I do not know if we will have board fence or not. We have not got any boards yet and are not a going to move the fence before haying. Mother is washing today. She feels some better than she did some time ago. Did you get that parsley seed in the magazine ant that slip of paper? Yes we have lots of tobacco seed. I will send you some. They have let a job of $75 in the swamp to Deloss Raymont. It comes at the first creek so I don’t know who will fix that place. The one at the corner I guess Father and the town board will have to fix. There was four little children died with the dipthery out of one family. All the children they had. Up near Bernard Browns but we cannot find out their name. The sermon was preached yesterday by Elder Greer. Well I believe that is all the news for this time so goodbye from your brother. Wm. Shupe I forgot to tell you we were all well.


Dear Sister and Brother,

I will write to you once again. I thought of a little again to write. I was at Greenwood last Saturday. I and Anna Klahn. It was the first time I ever was there. It was quite a little city. We took eggs both of us. We got 10 cents. I got me an apron and some writing paper and a spool of black thread. There was a woman in there and she gave me a thimble. I asked her how much they cost and she said if I bought an apron I must have a thimble to sew it with. And last week, Wednesday the boys went to Spencer. They got me a hat. It cost 50 cents without any trimmings. It don’t want but one piece of ribbon with a bow on the side and some kind of a pin. It is very nice. The teacher has one of the same shape but hers is black straw and mine is white. Yesterday Father was up to Unity. He got a pair of gaiters and rubbers. They are the first pair I ever have had since we came up here. We had a pair then, I and Lilla. Lilla did not get anything. She is mad enough. They are just the right fit with cotton stockings. I wish you could see them. We were scaret awful last night. A thunder shower came up and it lasted all day yesterday. It just poured down at noon. We could not see the trees up by the well sometimes and last night it rained again as hard. We were just back from bringing the calves milk about 5 or 10 minutes. It was raining again quite hard and it commenced to thunder. At once it cracked awful. We had not got off all our things yet. I, Ma, Lilla, and teacher was in here alone and were awful scarte. I bent over and teacher hollered. Bony and Minnie were behind the stove. Old Bony he yelled just before it cracked and ran in under the table. Minnie run out as if we had licked her. We could not think what was up. The boys were in the barn milking. It rained so hard that they put the cows in the barn. It knocked down one or two of them but not flat but on their hind part that they got Frank all milky and the rest ran back. It struck in a stub down in our spring lot right in the corner where it turns back east toward the woods. It is all full of slivers. It is from bottom to top slivered up. I wish you could be here to see it. It threw George back. He was in the barn with Frank the first. Teacher ran to the window and looked to the barn. We thought it had struck the boys. We did not see anything of them for a long time. Mother says it is nearer than she ever wants it again. She shivered a whole hour. Mother says she wishes you were nearer so you could come home some times. The teacher keeps us three busy all the while. If I go to school too we do not get much time to work in the garden. We don’t hardly have time to go to the back house. We got your seeds. We are going to plant some of them. We sent for cards with our names on. You and Edd are going to have the nicest ones. You anyway. Us three littlest ones sent. I have missed 5 ½ days and have 164 credits. Lily and George have more. I guess I must close. Tell Edd I will write to him next time and send him a card too if they come. Their time was out Friday but I guess they will come Tuesday.


Love to you from your sister Ella

I haven’t any trimming for my hat yet. I am going to Sunday School when I get some.



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