Carolyn Gay Taft Farm Letters - Transcribed letters from 1938

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Carolyn Gay Taft Farm Letters - Transcribed letters from 1938


Old Mission Peninsula (Mich.)
Crops and climate


Carolyn Gay Taft (1873-1952), was the owner of a small cherry farm on Old Mission Peninsula in the early 1900’s. While she spent her summers on the
Peninsula, her primary job as a teacher at the Illinois State School for the Deaf required hired hands to run the farm in her absence. These farmers, and their
families, lived on the farm and sent frequent written reports to Ms. Taft. Most letters are written by the farmer’s wives, and provide a record of both agricultural and social history.


Ralph Kitchen, Joseph Kitchen, Essie Kitchen, Max Gilmore, Hazel Gilmore


Collection donated to Peninsula Community Library by the surviving members of the Taft family.


Peninsula Community Library




Mary T Morgan


This document is protected by copyright law. Contact the Peninsula Community Library for permission to reproduce, display, or transmit this document.










LHC 010


Traverse City, Peninsula Township, Grand Traverse County, Michigan

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Carolyn Gay Taft Farm Letter - January 31, 1938

To Miss Taft
We had such a terrible snow storm I don't think we be out of the hollow till July 4. Ronald hasent been to school for a week, and don't look as tho he will go this week.

We were to Detroit a week called there by cerious illness & death of are Neice
Rosemary Senequest. She died of cancer of blood stream. A Dr cut into a black mole that had infection in it.

All animals are well. Daisy need to be rebreed but no chance of getting her out.

Miss susie Walker is up in wheel chair know. But Dr is still in bed.
Max got the straw at last hauled it by sleigh from Russell Gore.

Mr Roger Kitchen just had a cold & Grippe like all rest of people. thay are expecting and other arrival in spring. Oh yes Max brother Curt done chores while we were gone.

excuse the paper as I am all out and havent been to-town in two weeks. The people in neighborhood had a big shock. Well Mr Milton Gore stepped out with his lady friend three after his wife died, and when to Florida. We hear know that he was seeing her long before Mrs Gore passed away. Mrs Frank Phelps is working up town nursing.

I guess that all news. Oh yes we have new school bus. All school but Mapleton elemated there eight grade. So by that the Traverse City high purchased a bus. The other high school children ride to.

Will close with wind just a howling.

Sincerely Max & Hazel.

Hopeing this reach you in good health.

To Miss Taft
Ever thing is covered with sleet & very cold.

Bell Horse had a little sick spell Saturday but was all right in four hours a little colick.

Max say you will have to have hay right away. The contractor was here Friday and Max let him into the house, & he also called this morning Monday to get again.

Max has go to town to get a tooth pulled. been up two nites with it to get nerve enough to get it pulled.

Ronald is well, and all rest. So must close so Ronald can take it to school with him. Richard have moved back and have Scarlet fever.

Sincerely Max & Family

[March 3, 1938]
To Miss Taft

Are snow is starting to go a little we had two big rain that lowered it considerable.

Fay Dohm made two trips for hay for Taft farm,at $2.00 per trip.

The old Kitchen truck was hauling ice for Mrs Jennison.

I guess the Richard dident find living so fat out there, and also has 1/8 of place over there. And as Leona Kitchen Levi wife say there a good living for all if its worked right. It never has been since we came hee it seems.

Inclose is weight bill on hay.

Max is pruning & fixing up tools for spring.The cellar basment has beeen flooded three time so far.

I am suffering from a sprained back slipping on ice.

There changeing Men on farm around here to beat band. Jack Griffin is working for Mr. Frank Stevens. Max was just laughting. Jack Griffin was a man that always like good horses. Max he look fine behind old Duey, of Stevens, as gray as a bager.

Last nite was coldest Nite we had everthing froze in kitchen, and pump froze for first time. Max set the lantern down by pipe and it was long before it was thawed.

The hay was good. Most alfalfa. Most place were $19.00 per ton.

Ronald is enjoyed his heavy knit sweater of Gray. I have been thinking of starting and other sweater for next year. Making it bigger. Max has been kidding me to make one for him, but that look to be to big of a job. Dn Walker is still in hospital don't know when she will be out. She was burned so much deeper then her sister Susie, and she also has sugar in blood, and you know you don't heal so fast with that in blood. Miss susie Walker is out, around.

Mrs Phelps has been very busy on confinement case.

Harry Zarig lost a three year old colt this winter.

Mabel Burton is home for the General Hospital where she been ever since after cherry time. But you tell on her, she act funny. she sure lost her mind.

Sincerly Max & Hazel

[March 16, 1938]
To Miss Taft
The weather is rather rainy, and cloudy, by taking the snow off.

Are road in here are terrible. there so ruff. Nearly jars your teeth out. Mr Stramburg this worse road he even seen. Mr. Stramburg started work on the cottage Tueday, March 16, Max and I went over and took all bedding out of tin-closet and put down stairs in front room. Mr. Stramburg also put the dresser & chest of drawers & trunk in front room to he said it was impossible to work around them.

They want you to send the key to well so they can have water when want it, as he is going to have the electricity turned on as his tools are most all electric and need water for cement work.

I am going to a stork shower for one of Kroupa women to-day Mrs Fred Kroupa.

This is a brief note a Max waiting to take to mail on way to cottage to do your bidding on pictures & locks.

Hazel & Max

[April 9, 1938]
To Miss Taft
Are weather is so what cold, but no snow like the rest of states.
Max has all brush picked & burnt where it was warm enough for team.
Suprise is fresh after a two month rest, after a male calf.

As far as holding open house at your house or your cottage for Colericks or any body else. We havent been there only when the carpenter was there the first day he started to do as you said in tin closet & cover thing up. So we can not tell you a thing about the looks of your cottage.

Tony Dohm has spray rig the next day after your letter come and is waiting for parts on it to come from factory.

Mr & Mrs Roger Kitchen are parent of baby girl born April 7, at
Grandmother Kitchen.

Lots of sickness around with flu & colds.
We are going to have a new central. Mr Lardie doesen't want it any longer, since Mrs Lardie is gone.

In close is card stating the needed spray material.
Will close to get this in to-day mail.
Hazel & Max.

[April 25, 1938]
To Miss Taft
Are weather is so foggy you hardly see and we have been having some very cold weather last Tuesday nite hurt the cherry. Max say they dont look so good. the sweeet cherries are not hurt as bad as sour's.

Have not got fertlizer yet and sending back check,as packing Co. is sending for there own and land where it will be in. Max went ahead a disc the orchards anyway.trees came and are all in.

The dormant spray on. there a mistake in spray dope. 2 barrell of lime & sulpher should of been ordered.

We were over to cottage yesterday it look like a young hotel. You
will have a big job washing windows. We weren't in inside the cement for is laid for the garage.

Ronald fell into wounch disc last week and cut his arm quite bad. if he diden't have had the sweater on I knit him, he would of cut his arm off. Thanks for funnies.

suprise cow is doing real well this time when she freshened. Daisy has to be breed again.

Mrs Lardie had a fall and hurt her self quite bad she was out of her head for days. she cant move a arm know, wets bed and
ever thing. Mrs Will has to have an other lady to help her.

Mrs Will G. Tompkins has had an operation and found she has
cancer of throat.

Must ring off and get into Mail.

Max & Family

[May 6, 1938]
To Miss Taft:
We have been having funny weather. Monday & Tuesday Nite we had two of terrible electric storm I ever seen. it lightened, thundered all nite no let up and tuesday nite the same. Monday nite dident rain much but tueday nite just poured. and so to-nite Max is building a fire in heating stove to keep warm Thurday nite.
The cherry are nearly in full bloom. The fertilizer came Monday. Max got all on
Tuesday and finished Wednesday.
Oats & seeder are in.
Max say you will have to have some more hay. Max this hay wasn't as good as it should of been. about 1 1/2 ton.
The posts are all in at cottage and wire up.
Mrs Jennison has not come to her farm and has had nothing done as I know of.
school will be out May 20. Ronald is home sick with swollen glands.
I guess that all news.
Max & Hazel

[May 21, 1938]
To Miss Taft
We have had only one day of sunshine week and that was Monday. it has rained the last two days
The sweet cherry are a good crop. The sour cherries look better then they did. The sour cherry are blossoming for second time again. some tree are loaded and again there not hardly any they are spotted. its hard to say what percent of crop there is.
Max want to know if you want to put some corn the south part of little orchard as there no cherry on trees.
Max say the hay crop look good. Ronald out of school this week. passing in 3rd grade.
I haven't my garden in yet its been so cold it was no use.
Henry Kitchen hauled the fertlizer & hay. $4.00.
We are haveing a new central at Mapleton. Mr & Mrs Arnold White. She is Mr. Lardie sister. Dorothy Lardie is going back and finish her nurse training and she the only one to take care of board.
Mr & Mrs Isdore Lardie was good operators. We will miss them. Of course Mrs Lardie is dead.
Mrs Will G.Tompkins has cancer of throat. Thay say she was operated on for goiter. and found the other.
I guess that all the news.
Max & Hazel & sonny

[September 16, 1938]
To Miss Taft
Are weather is rain & more rain and has been quite cold. A stove has felt might good and some added blankets.
Max has corn cut in between showers. Even one who hasenit electricity is all excided. There a new [company?] here. for Rural district. I am sending you the paper that were given to us to send to you. The Wounch's & Zangs and all cottages are wiring up. Even one that on Michigan public that case is going hook on with the new comany as soon as is in. Its coming down west shore. The Monthly charge is $2.50 that for 40 killwatt hour. the Michigan public charges $3.00 for 30 hours. That what board thought off hand $2.50 a month. If more goes on it will be less. thay don't quite know till line in. Thay want get ever one signed up so to start the Oct 1 to build line.
Max hasen't had a chance to buy any oats yet. Max say 1 ton straw will run them with what there is.
I guess that all news.
The Gilmore's

[September 29, 1938]
To Miss Taft
We are haveing good weather again with some sunshine. After so much rain it seems mighty good to see the sun.

I suppose there might be war by time you get this letter.

We expected we would have to pay some on electricity, but it seem a lot to pay $1.75 per month. Not know whether your useing that much or not, as I don't think we will with few electrical appliances we will have, which will only be a iron & washer & light. But I guess we will have to take bitter with sweet if want it.

Max has order 75 bushel of oats at 35 per bushel.

There was no answer on straw. Max has a chance to get a ton at $9.00 per ton delivered. There only one ton need.

Max has nearly all plowing done. Max say the old plow will take $10.00 repairs. Want to know if you want to put that much into it. The plow is sprung and mole board dont fit were it should that why they keep breaking all the time.

I have my canning done with just half my can fill.

Max is going to start over to your house next week digging away.

I guess that all the news I can think of. excuse my writing paper.

Max & Hazel

[October 18, 1938]
To Miss Taft

I am just getting on scene again. I have to be in bed with grippe. I managed to get something to eat and that all. My head ache like everthing to-day.

Are weather is simply beautiful, thinking ever day will be last good day.

Max & Curt have been working over at your house. Thay have found it very hard work. The clay was so hard it all had to be picked.

No one is wireing yet, as they dident know if it would go threw on pensulia. Mr Fouch has been working very hard on it, getting right way & signers for electricity. his last lap is to figure out were the line is going to come, and send it into Lansing. when thay had meeting in July at Court House, no one from pensulia was there to meeting, saying that they wanted electricity out here. So this is and side line business now.

The job over at your house is done with Curt Gilmore with 35 hours of labor at 20 cents per hr.

I have nearly 50 quarts of tomatoes up. But my cans are not a full as thay were last year. I have a couple of bushel baskets of empty can's left. I dident get any berries up at all.

The Delicious apples started dropping so after you left and I don't believe there be two bushel of apples left to eat. I suppose it weather conditions. I guess have to buy some spies & wagners for cooking purpose.

My water is hot to peal tomatoes So means get busy.

Max & Hazel

[November 17, 1938]
To Miss Taft
I guess winter has came. it is snowing hard to-day. Bur we sure had some nice weather this fall.

We have the kitchen painted the walls. We didnt get the woodwork done yet. The walls sure make the Kitchen brighter. We painted walls a ivory.

There going to start stakeing out on electricity most any day. Your five dollar went in.

Max has hay home & everything in for winter. the straw came the other day.

Mrs Tom Richards is very ill she just lost another baby.

Most all men around country have gone deer hunting. wished more could go one year. The apples are not keeping this year there starting to rot already.

Max just killed an other muskrat in cellar. We are trying to decide wether to cook it. Mr Phelps say is very good. I am not much on wild stuff.

There isn't much news floating around.
Sincerely, Max & Hazel. Over

Mr Reay never came to putty the windows it was getting so late. We ask Mr. Lewis Franklin Sr: to come so he did last week & puttyed them up it took 3 can of putty. and also put in some window board in that were rotted out. the labor was $1.75. his address is just Old Mission, as thay get there mail at post office there.

Max is boarding in back porch. So we wont need to step out into a snowbank when we open the kitchen door, or carry half snow bank into house. and a place to put in supply of wood & coal for nite use.

I guess that all I forgot to tell you.

[November 30, 1938]
To Miss Taft
We have about 6 in of snow, which fell thanksgiving night.

Ever one is well except slight cold. Your animals have 10 bushel of carrots of three colors, orange, light orange & white & 20 bushel of corn. 4 bushel of beets top and all. They were so small Max did tops there. Feed tops and all, and your tools are all under shelter too.
There were only 1 good load of cornstalks Tom Richard 160 shocks of corn he want to sell. He wants $15 for whole bunch agreeing to help haul them. Do you want them. Max say it will help out on hay.
Max is getting up a pole pile for to buzz. Are electricity is coming slow with Michigan public bucking it at ever turn. they don't want to wire the people up but still thay don't want an other comany to come in either. I think you will be here to see your own house wired next year. you dident specfie a light for cellar. it a might dark place down there.

The lawing in wireing there got to be three opening in a room. but wall switch can count as one. Clifford Fouch had to make an other map of pensulia.I have your glad bulbs all stored. It will be soon time to think of Xmas. We wont have an apple by Xmas there all rottening ever body is. there not keeping.

Ronald just at age were he want so many thing for Xmas. I don't what to do. He want one of little type writers. He still believes in Santa yet. I told him santa pretty hard up this year.

A good many from this vicinity have returned with there deer. Mr Perry Christopher & Mr. Harry Christopher & Fay Dohm & Fred Dohm, Jhon Langworthy, Archie Helfrich each bagged a deeer. There were eight in the party.

Well I must close and get my hungry familly something to eat.
Hopeing this receach in best of health.

Max & Hazel

[December 7, 1938]
To Miss Taft

We have a light fall of snow last nite. But has been raining the past week.

I recieved a letter from Alberta saying the new baby girl was names Carolyn Gay. You should be greatly honored having her named after you.

We recieved notice on seeding so went to town Monday and had the blank sent to you, and Max brought some feed home.

Yes there quite a lot of stealing going on around here too. Max pulled a lot of pipe over at your cottage. So he had bring it home because it was starting to go. I guess that know who it is Carl Brimmer.

Max went to orchard to see about mice. But dident see any where. The animals are all fine.

Well I am very excited. I am between two women that are expecting. Mrs Henry Kitchen & Mrs. Richard Zaug.


When you have it on both sides you wonder if the old stork will visit you next. There be only one in family that would be glad and that Ronald.

I guess that all news. Yes, most of Deer hunters make gloves & mittens out of hides. It's very expencive to make a jacket, my nephew has one.

Hopeing this reach you feeling fine.
Sincerely, Hazel & Max

[December 31, 1938]
To Miss Taft

We had a steady week of snow fall and wind. its not been so cold but one day.

Are front room isen't so comfortable know that winter has come. you need the stove in room your setting in. We had a fair Xmas. So many in family sick with grippe.

Ronald sure liked your package. He making good use of stocking ever nite & morning, going up stairs and down. Thanks a lot. Alberta send him a package of pure milk chocolate, which is favorite candy.

The new house that being build is right next to Frank James house. So guess the west bay resort starts at forks of road. There a new house just to right of forks of road that went up this fall, in corner of wood's it was and aladin house went up in sections.

This house beside Frank James is a beautiful big house mostly brick, its on bank. Mr. Altenburg say there going to build over across road this next year.

The animal are all well. Tom Richard Children had scarlet fever again. There on welfare relief, $30.00 and do nothing. I am glad to earn my bill of fare.

Mrs Richards lost an other baby. Levi Kitchen & wife is out cutting pulp wood some where in woods. There letting out bids to finish the pensulia road starting at Roy Lardies going thru to light house.

The light house ground are full of Red fox the men around here have got four & five all ready. But say foxes are very thin.

Hopeing this reaches you in best of health.
Sincerely, Max & Hazel

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