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Monday, February 20, 2012

In George's Own Words

George writes to his wife-speaks of his amputation, wanting the local paper and for goodnessake hire a man to help him already:


February 6 = 1880  

Ella i recieved your kind + welcome letter on the 5.  i am on the gain some, i can set up in bed now a little while to a time.  the day i got your leter mother + Andrue Frank went out on a walk, went up on main st. seen lots, i ges for there is lots to see if you are a mind to look at it.   i supose you + the children are all well. has frank been a fox hunting yet i want to hear all about what is a going on.   is lydia with you yet? you wanted to now if i wanted a boy, i want some one that can plow with the team how old is he?  if any of you see henry Canaustman the indian, ask him how much he will ask a month to work for me.  andrue frank has been here to day it makes 3 days he has been here how did mart like his leter i rote in yours? who is frank hodges a going to work for? 

Ella you take the Standard paper as fast as they come and let Wall mail them to me you can read them first if you want to.  You pay the postage on them.  Don’t send any more postal cards if you cant send a leter dont send anything i dont want everyone to read my business.   there is a geathering coming on my stub don’t now what it will amount to but i ges it wont bee more than a bile.  i hope you mite send one that tells about the amputation of my leg to.   there is lots of snow here how i would like to bee so i could get out on my crutches it is prety tough i can tel you lay here on my back all the time +  don’t now how much longer i have got to lay here it said in one of those papers you sent me. the latest advice in regard to George Burns was that the doctors hope for his recovery but i is quite a critacle case. has frank got my leter i wrote to him?  i got a postal card from John Sunday he said you had got them pictures taken.

Sunday 8

the doctor was here to day he said i was doing nicely. the gathering has broke now ges it wont mount to anything but a little mater.  the boys is real good to me beter than they would use me to home.  they wait on me to change my shirt or lift me on the couch so mother can make my bed, buy me cigars + apples.  real good the mail comes rite to our door twice a day.  andrew frank said if it staid good slaying he + his women would come and see us he thought.  wish i could come home this week but i cant no use crying over spilt milk.  did you get that leter with one in for Alvah? how did he act over it?  is the calf giving any + how much?  has mart got a card so omer can card him of? how does the small colt look now and the rest of them and that big red cow making bag wet? i can set up in bed a lone now but cant set long my stub pains me some but dont take any morphene.  get some rest has mart got a good road so he can draw a big load how much longer does school keep? i can’t think of any more to rite so good by.

 from you humble Husband
 yours truley
George Burns


How scary to endure the loss of his leg and then worry about every little threat of infection that could take his life.  Clearly, after a month in bed George wants to get home again and get back to the job of running his farm.  

Henry Canustman sounds interesting.  It seems like he's seen as a local "indian" who turns up in town every so often looking for odd jobs.   While I didn't find anyone of that name in the census, I found an odd photo in the box that makes me wonder if it is Henry.  Obviously, the style of photographic finish suggests it is from the 20th C but who knows.  Clearly this guy was a character.

"Compliments of your Indian Friend"


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