With William's death, Mary was left alone with six children aged 4 months to six years. Mary's father came to live with her after his school in Franklin was closed due to the war. After a time, they moved from Pikeville to Spencer where they were better protected and more food was available. After the war, schools began to reopen. Mary's father was recalled into the educational field and became president at a college in Manchester, TN. Mary went with him as a teacher and, in 1866, remarried. However, the marriage was not a happy one. In a few years her husband, who was much older that she, died.
William Davis Carnes then went back to Burritt College which had reopened in Spencer. Mary went with him as one of his teachers. After her father died in 1879, Mary stayed in the teaching profession and was given schools of her own in Pikeville and then Sparta. The last letter in the collection was written from Mary to her youngest child, William Walter, just after his twentieth birthday.
Mary devoted the rest of her life to teaching. She died in 1901 and was buried next to her husband, William J. Hill, at the Smyrna Cemetary near Pikeville.
My precious boy,
This is a rainy Sunday and we have all been here alone and have read the Bible, talked some, cut apples, and had a real good dinner, soDora said, for we had chicken and dumplings; we also had good sweet potatoes and sweet milk and egg bread. O, how I wished for my absent children to eat with me. We had a letter from Ella last week in which she said they had the Scarlett fever in their school. She wrote a long strange letter - some of it funny and some of it sad. I am sorry for her. She is so sensitive and recluse in her disposition.
We are very pleasantly situated now since we moved to the Norwood house, and I do wish you could come to see us. We moved here only last Thursday. I got an old negro man to move us in a wheelbarrow in the evening after School was out and Jennie and Ida fixed up the next day. Mrs. Norwood has left us a number of things to use and the rooms are very nice. She left a kitchen table, dining table, a wash stand, small table, one chair, a nice clock like the one your grandpa had and a carpet, wash kettle, tubs, barrels, a cake board etc. etc. besides some very nice pictures. Also window curtains, clothes line, good barn, and lots I can't tell you. All the conveniences.
Yesterday I had two loads of cut stove wood put under the wood shed and will get a lot of coal this week. Mrs. Norwood sold me her young chickens and left her hens for me to take care of and use the eggs. I find no difficulty in having all my supplies brought and my cow gives nearly as much milk and butter as we want and we do not use much meat. We have a fine cellar to keep potatoes. The cellar steps are nice and go down from the kitchen.
The fall school went out last spring and I will have a hard time by myself. Some of the large girls are dissatisfied and want to go to the College. They don't care much about an education - - have been used to sliding over lessons any way and don't like to pin down on them. So you see I will have to work to get them in. I now have six more weeks and then a rest. I have the "backache" to-day and will not write much as it makes me nervous. I guess it is caused by the bad weather. I have had unbounded good health since I came here. Your letter was truly a comfort to me. I heard from another source that you were a very good quiet boy, so you see it pays then in this life to act nobly and right.
I am truly glad you take such delight in reading your Bible for you can't have a better companion. Write often to poor Ella andEddie - - Ella especially for she is so forlorn. Lu writes the work of our new house will begin tomorrow. I hope it will soon be so my things can be moved home for I am uneasy about them being about so. I will see you in less than seven weeks I hope for I want to go to Sparta as soon as I can and if you can't come to see me I will go and see you.
We all live on about $30 per week. Our house rent will not be much if anything and we enjoy life very much better than boarding. Dora gets cash down for working in the office. Jennie has made two fine dresses - - one for the editor's daughter, Laura Morrison, for the card in the paper and one for which she got $3.00 in cash. She will get considerable work I think. She has another dress to make for Mrs. Hall's daughter. Jennie does my cooking and washing for her board and works for herself the rest of the time. Dora is taking lessons in Zephyr, hence is taking putty lessons. Dora has taught a class in Leather. She has only two music students.
Bro. Turner of Spencer preached here in Bro. Hoovers place last Sunday and he preached at Cold Springs - - he is very highly esteemed by the people here. I wish we all could go to church every Sunday. You did not tell me how far you are from Cookeville or Cherry Creek. Do you have any better accomodations now than you did before? Have you a good bed? Don't throw way your old clothes and I will mend them for you.
It is very warm to-day. I am sitting out on the back poarch. Jennie is in the kitchen; Ida in the dining room on the bed; Dora upstairs in the hall in a large rocking chair left there. I will rest a while and then write to Ella as my back is troubling me some now. Do write often for your letters are next to seeing you. One mail last week I got a letter from you, Ella, andLu at the same time and also the exposition. We sat up late that night and read and talked. You must not forget how to talk for I guess you do not talk much. I hope the time will come when we will all meet and enjoy life in a better way than we now are. We must all do our best tho as it is take special care of your health. Keep your person clean and don't stay wet. Write soon to your loving Ma.
I got a letter from Deans last night. He inquired about you and sends his regards.
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