Monday, July 4, 2016

Independence Day 1897-Carrie’s Letters

I always find it interesting to see how my ancestors celebrated Independence Day.  The following is a letter that my paternal great-grandmother, Carrie Terry Warner, (see blog posts Carrie’s Letters) wrote to her sister Ella Terry in 1897.  Carrie and John lived very close (I believe the family property actually went to the water) to the Long Island Sound in Baiting Hollow, Suffolk,  New York.
When my father and I scanned all the letters we sometimes missed a page.  My father is the keeper of the letters.  When I head back East to visit I catch up on pages that I have missed.  I seem to be missing a scan of the 2nd page to this letter but luckily I have the transcription. 
John is Carrie’s husband who was a farmer.  Terry is their 9 year old son. 
B. H. (Baiting Hollow)
July 4. ‘97
Dear Sister. I believe I have answered your last letter but am not sure. It is nearly eleven P.M. have four letters all ready to mail. Can not write much to you this time. I attended the children’s day exercises last Sunday morning. They were good. The children all did well. Mr. DeFriest was buried last Sunday. Funeral in the church in the afternoon, burial at R. H. (Riverhead) Annie has been home again today. John took her to Calverton this morning did not get home in time for church, so no one went from here today.

Just had an invitation today to a picnic up on the beach tomorrow afternoon. I don’t want to go, but suppose I shall have to. The men are not going to work, so John is not going to work, and having nothing to do he will want to go. Terry has his fireworks tomorrow evening.

Tuesday I must wash. Annie barely got the ironing done by Saturday night when we wash Monday. John has just written for Wesley to come home Wednesday morning. I shall have to meet him when I take Terry to the Dr’s. Terry put his right hand in one of the bay fork wheels and took the ends off of three fingers last Monday. Tore the flesh all off of two so I went down to the village Thursday morning and helped the Dr. take the bones off to the first joint. They seem to be doing very nicely. Baby seems to be improving all the time. It’s a mystery to me how he can. Russel keeps well I hope, and yourself too. Have you got him in short clothes? There were four children baptized last Sunday. Lida Hulse or Luce now, Gene Terry’s little boy Mrs. Columbus Terry’s little grandson, which she has had since its birth when its mother died. Grace Ketchams or Edwards little boy, and Mrs. Downs little girl. How are you making out canning? Doing up lots of strawberries and cherries I suppose. Do write to me when you can. Uncle Albert is in R. H. (Riverhead) again. Wonder if he will drift east to Peconic for the Summer. I have not seen him to speak with but Terry has. I heard the other day that Jennie Smith or Wells is likely to increase her family some time in the definite future. Must say good night, from your loving sister Carrie.

My first thought was why wouldn’t Carrie have enjoyed going to the beach as we all did as kids growing up but then…. I thought about it ….and put a few more pieces together and think I can understand that Carrie may not have been excited about going to the beach for the festivities.  Carrie was about 5 months pregnant with their 4th child and had boys ages 7(Wesley) , 3(Gerald)  along with 9 year old Terry for a ‘treck’ by wagon to the beach for a picnic…hmm…think I understand.
I hope you enjoy your 4th of July this year!

I would appreciate any additional information or corrections you may have.
Enjoy the journey,


  1. I love her seemingly ambivalent reporting of poor little Terry's finger mishap! I wonder what a bay fork wheel is - but I imagine it is some piece of farm equipment... And what about the baby improving?? Also - did Carrie refer in her letters to both names of women (i.e,. "Lida Hulse or Luce now") as a way to indicate married and maiden names? Interesting letter! :)

  2. I'm not sure what a 'bay fork wheel' is but would agree it's something on the farm. The 'baby' she would be referring to was Gerald who was 3 years old at the time. Believe in her previous letters he had been ill. Yes, Carrie referred to some women by their maiden and married names which has helped me figure out who she was talking about. I can remember my grandmother always doing that also.

  3. We come from hardy stock, for sure! I realize I came up as unknown on the previous post, although I thought I was commenting as Ann Germain. Anywho - thank you for posting these great genealogical tidbits!!

  4. By July 4th, 1897 the fourth son had been born (5/7/1897) so Carrie Eliza was postpartum. Thank you for your invaluable work. Hollie