Lowell Mill Girl Letters

February 26, 1864

UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS LOWELL 
CENTER FOR LOWELL HISTORY

WRITTEN BY MARIA L. CRANE BIRD1 
TO CHARLES H. CRANE2

                        Lowell3 Feb 26

Dear Charley

      My Castles in the Air have all fell to the ground and Mother4 need not save any Straw for me. When I wrote awhile ago and said I wanted some braid. I expected I could sell a lot of Bonnets and get a good price for them. for Charles5  had been in to Robinson’s6 and the young man said he thought from what Charles said of the Braid he would give two dollars for number nine and take quite a number the old Robinson7 has been in Boston8 and this Winter and has just come back. Charles went down there last night to find out 
for certainty what they would do. Before I wrote and he could not do anything with the Old Man. he did not seem to know anything. he did not know anything about Braid and when he wanted Bonnets he went to Boston and got the kinds 
they had. he had been down yesterday and got a lot of number nine for $1.33 cts.  I do not see how got them so cheap for I had a letter from Addie Boyden the other day, and they are asking at Foxboro.9 by the wholesale $1.50 and $2.00. So I will have to sell mine pretty low, to have them buy. because they would have to be pressed and I should not make  enough to pay me braid to make up but I am coming out there in the course of a few weeks to make up what little I have braided, and I want Mother to ask Lusher Baker10 when he comes. If he will let me take a block for a week. Tell him I want to alter 
a few Bonnets and want to make up a few for some friends, and that will not be telling a lie for Mrs. Lows11 and Mrs. Searles12 both say they will have one, if they do not backout. if he will not lend me one, perhaps he will sell one, but I had  rather he would lend one, for my profits will not be very large and cannot afford to lat out a great deal. The Braid does not match 
Mrs. Wilsons13 Bonnet and she has concluded not to have it altered, and she thinks a little of having a Bonnet from the number 13. when she makes up her mind I shall send word. I quess the third week from now I shall be there. I have been sick since I wrote to you. First a very sore throat.  Then a bad cough and finally it seems to settle all over me. They were all afraid I was going to have another Fever. but I got through with out. but for a week I laid on the sofa most of the time. I only did just what little work was obliged to be done, so there was a week lost from braiding. I should think the folks must have wanted to go to Boston. to start of that awfully cold windy day. it was an awful day here the worst one we have had this year. everything froze up in our middle room that night, and 
our fire went out in our sitting room, and most all of my plants froze. I thought I had rather bad luck don’t you 
and to crown all, they fired the Cannon out on the Common, Washingtons Birthday, and it shook the house so that one of my plants (that did not freeze) on to the floor and broke all to pieces. But I must stop for it is time to get Supper, and I have got the tooth ache so I am almost crazed. I want you to write as soon as Mother finds out, if L. Baker will let me have a block. Write so I can get the last of next week, and you will greatly oblige me.

                     Yours in haste Maria

[on cover]

Answered Mar 2 1864

Mr. Charles H. Crane 
West Dedham, 
Mass

Postmarked 
Feb 27

 

 1Maria L. Crane b: 6 Dec 1832, Dedham, MA d: 1867, Lowell,  
    MA; parents: Joseph Crane and Susan Boyden; married 1850:  
    Charles Bird b: Nov 1825, Walpole, MA d: 1909, Walpole, MA;  
    employed: Convers carriage maker – 183 Central; residence:  
    82 South Street. 
  2Charles H. Crane b: 1 Nov 1844, Dedham, MA; parents: Joseph  
    Crane and Susan Boyden; married 1877: Lovey Anna Lewis  
     b: 1849, Alfred, ME. 
  3Lowell, Massachusetts. 
  4Susan Boyden b: 21 Jul 1813, MA d: 15 Aug 1884, Dedham, MA;  
    parents: Jason Boyden and Hannah Marr; married 1831: Joseph Crane. 
  5Charles Bird b: Nov 1825, Walpole, MA d: 1909, Walpole, MA;  
    parents: Andrew Bird and Mary Thompson; first married 1850: Marie  
    L. Crane; second married: Harriet E. Keyes. 
  6Francis W. Robinson, Jr. b: 1832, MA; employed 1860: merchant – 
    millinery store.  
  7Frederick William Robinson, Sr. b: 6 Aug 1810, MA; business owner  
    1860: bonnets and millinery store – 61 Merrimack Street corner John  
    Street; residence: 16 Kirk Street.  
  8Boston, Massachusetts.

9Foxborough, Massachusetts. 
  10Lusher G. Baker b: 1806, MA; business 1870: hat  
      manufacturer. 
  11Mrs. Hannah Low; residence 1864: 78 South Street. 
  12Mrs. Frances B. Searles b: 1805, MA; residence 1864:  
      66 Thorndike Street.

  13Mrs. Harriet T. Wilson; residence 1864: 86 South Street.