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W2940 TO REV. THOMAS BAKER from his daughter-in-law Charlotte (Puckridge) Baker
May 3 1858
To: [Newmarket, Ontario]
From: Cold Springs farm

Dear Sir/

Alfred received your last letter quite safely and is very much obliged by your forwarding the money so quickly, he paid it all away the same morning as he received it forty five dollars for flooring, seventy five and three quarters for shin[gle?] the remainder for lime. As he did not expect to have to pay for the flooring just directly he would like to get the other 80 dollars as quickly as you can let him have it without inconveniencing yourself too much he would be glad to get some by next Saturday night he though to have paid some of the workman [sic] out of the last 80 but if he has not given you sufficient notice to get any, they must wait a little the1 bill for lumber and 100 dollars to the builder Alfred agreed not to pay until after harvest this he will settle himself and give you the receipts in place of your Rent so that you need not call in more of your money then [sic] you think proper--and the different bills he will forward you receipted as soon as he gets them all settled the same as he did for the shed.2

There will be the paint to buy Alfred thinks to do the painting himself and wishes to know if you do not think it will be best to have it done at once he considers that it will need lefs [sic] paint and take it better while the wood is new and clean and I am to ask if you do not think a Verandah along the front of the house will be better then [sic] a porch Alfred thinks he should prefer it, considers it will add very much to the appearance of the house and be in many respects better he would [] a movable porch of boards on the Verandah to be taken away in summer the builder recommends that we put [tin?] pipes for rain water up at once he considers it a great preservation to the house I said in my last the [ports?] of the house [were?] [] feet high they are fifteen the eaves are just as you will like them and the [house take?] it altogether [about?] as you will expect to find it though there are some little things that might have been better if there had been more time taken to have thought and planed [sic] but considering every thing [sic] was arranged and done in a hurry I think there is little doubt but that it will meet your approbation for my own part I am very much pleased with the house for I did not expect to have had it any thing [sic] like so convenient and comfortable as it will be and I am sure you will be pleased with the situation I like it very much all I am anxious about now is to get into it as quickly as I can and when we once get to rights [sic] I know we shall be very comfortable. It is inch lumber that we put on the outside of the house but it is good Alfred bought it in the lump as he could not get furnished only with green and seasoned together if he had bought poor lumber he would have had to have give 6 dollars for one and 10 for the other many of the mills here are shut up from not having drawn in any logs last winter for want of money.

Split lathing Alfred could not obtain at any price and the sawed lathing was nothing but crop grained [slats] after good lumber had been picked out of it so ["Alfred" crossed out] he decided on using the sawed board lathing which was generally good lumber but too shaky for dear stuff.

When your letter arrived Mr. Hill had left home fore Michigan and is not expected back before haying time. Alfred was careful before employing Mr. Gardner to ascertain that he was duly qualified but since receiving your letter he has been to him and exprefsly asked him what you wished and received answers quite satisfactorily so that Alfred is quite certain there will be no trouble on that front Mr. Gardner informed him that he learnd [sic] his businefs in England and upon coming here again went through all the branches pafsed his examination in Toronto and took out a licence authorising [sic] him to survey any lands in Upper Canada.

I think they will commence to [sic] plaster the inside of the house tomorrow I want very much to get into it on Saturday next and expect I shall be able to do so it is very awkward to Alfred and the men to have no one to cook for them I shall have a great deal to do to get to right every thing is got so upset in the hurry of getting it out and so dirty the bed clothes is [sic] all in a sad condition the men have made straw beds in the barn for some time so as to be nearer their work and to guard the things that are there, since I last wrote we have had all our Pork [sic] stolen excepting one side a shoulder and ham which we suppose was left for want of time it was taken while the men went to Mr. Randall's to get supper a very short time to get away so much there must have been more then one person we do not mifs any thing else but they may have taken many things that we shall not know of for some time as every thing is in such confusion a chest belonging to me of our men was broken open but nothing taken out, It is quite a lofs to lose all our summer stock of meat but I feel that I have great reason to be thankful for sad as our misfortunes are they might have been much worse our lives are all spared my husband and children are all safe if the fire had take place in the night we could not have saved as much as we did and might some of us have lost our life [sic] there was a house burned down in Stratford but a short time ago where the poor woman lost her husband and a child in the flames when I think of her I cannot but feel that I ought to be very thankful that my trouble is no greater than it is time and perseverance will I trust replace our lofses.

We are both very much obliged to both Mrs. Baker and you for the kind interest you take in getting us so comfortably housed again and hope you will arrange so as to come and spend some weeks with us before the end of the summer. I hope we shall have things quite comfortable by that time I still feel very unwell and Minnie is getting her teeth which makes her very poorly but Alfred and Johnny and Alice are well.3

Alfred writes with me in kindest respects to Mrs. Baker and yourself.

I remain dear Sir

Yours affect'ly

Charlotte [Puckridge] Baker

1 Charlotte does not often use periods to indicate the end of a sentence nor does she capitalize the word that begins the next sentence. Some periods and paragraph breaks have been added to make the text more readable.

In addition, Charlotte often writes "fs" in place of "ss" as was common at this time.

2 James Alfred Baker, Rev. Baker's son and Charlotte's husband, had rented Cold Springs from his father about a year earlier. His father attempted to help him financially while he worked the farm but apparently was never able to make any real profits because he was deep in debt to his father, to the workmen he had employed and to other debtors, such as his brother-in-law John Puckridge. Eventually Rev. Baker was forced to remove his son from the farm and sell the property. See W2960 for details.

3 John, Minnie and Alice are James Alfred's and Charlotte's three eldest children. Later, they had Mary Maud, Harriett (Hattie), William and Charlotte (Lottie). After their mother's death (likely after 1864, date uncertain), their father married Maria Mudge who took care of them after their father died in 1876. However, the eldest boy, John Puckridge Baker, rarely got along with Maria and reported to his grandfather rumours that she had turned to prostitution. As a result, Rev. Baker removed his grandchildren from Maria's care. See W3155 for more details.

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