W3123 TO REV. THOMAS BAKER from his daughter-in-law Maria [Mudge] Baker
Dec 11 1877
To: Rev. Thomas Baker, No 3 Bold St., Hamilton, Ontario
From: Burwell Street, Upper Town, Paris
My Dear Father,
When I answered your letter you sent with the money I had not time to say what I wanted to say that is why I write so soon1 I looked around for a cheaper house I can get them but they are cold and not very respectable looking and they are on the flats near the river and when my land lady heard I was going to leave she came over and said if I would stay I should have it for six dollars a month but if you think I had better take a cheaper one I will. I dont find this house to large now with my family but I do not think I will have so many long Johny is talking of getting on the rail road and minnies cousin Mrs Tuck has wrote for her and I think she is going back there as for the baby I do not know what he entends doeing with it he is a nice little fellow and we all like him very much but I think as you do that his mothers sisters are the ones to take care of him but I should not like strangers to have him. If I was able and John not able I would take care of the child but he is a young man and ought to take care of one when he thought his pa ought to keep so many they have been here three weaks last wensday he brought a bag of turnips and a few cracked peas he sold all his apples and potates and everything he has said nothing about his board he said if I would get little alfred some close he would pay me when he got some money he said nothing about the board nor washing. I was much suprised at him coming at all, I told him he had better keep house and it would make a home for one of the girls but John knows there is some expence atached to house keeping and he likes to get along as easy as he can when he fist come here I was afraid I should have trouble with him he is very agreeable so far we get along very well he worked a few days but did not like it and quit there is one thing I wish to speek to you about and I do hope it will cause no hard feelings that with regard to Hariette not goeing to school regular I understand that Hariettes grandma is most put about at Hariette not going to school but I am certin if Mrs Baker knew my circumstances she would say I done right does she know that there is six in family to wash make and mend for and the family to cook for and my health bad and not able to hire any things done if I was as well as I was a few years ago I could do all my work and more but I am broke down with hard work I must beg before I can get my living with hard work when I fist came to Paris I sent all the children as soon as I could get them ready to school I lay sick two weaks while in the other house and five day of the time I could not sit up to get my bed made I kept Hariette out of school two days only shortly after that Mrs Hart was taken sick and Mr Hart went to see if alice would go in and look after Mrs Hart but Bessie Harbin was away and alice could not go I told Mr Hart that I needed Hattie my self and could not think to take her out of her school then alice came in and said it was all noncence she could go as well as not untill Miss Harbin came home then she said she would go herself but Miss harbin did not come for a couple of weaks and then Hattie did not want to leave and did stay for some time and went to school part of her time but for myself I never kept his home but a few days untill lately I did not think she went to school to learn she went because she had to I cannot do my work now with regards to Maud being home that day you came here was she is troubled with the head ache every little while and seems stupid at [?] time I spoke to the Dr he said I had better keep her at home when so I have never kept either of the four children only when not able to go to school but Haritte but it was because I could not help it I would have been glad if I could for it was her fathers wish for her to go to school one year where the five children went to school it warse than haveing five boarders and it was but little they could do and there was thir washing and mending the reason I was away at the time you was here my sister was sick she sent for me and I went the first time I have been in her house since alfred died he was with me there last I am here in this house some times for a month and do not get out when I can walk I go to church but hardly ever down town do I ever go.
I am very sorry Mrs Baker should feel hard toward me about the children my God knows I have done the best I can have done all in my power to make them apeer respectable and it is no small task for me yet I must say it is a pleasure for me to do all I can for them for I love them all and its a duty I do think if Mrs Baker knew me and knew what I have to contend with she would pity me sooner then blame me I hope what I have said will not be taken wrong for it is my wish while I stay in this unfriendly world to live at peace with all there is another thing wish to speek to you about and that is with regards to church but shall be silent for the present least it should worry you I hope this will find you all well the children all write with me in kindest love you and all
I am Dear Father your
affectiate and thankfull
daughter in law
Maria [Mudge] Baker2
Rev Thomas Baker3
No 3 Bold St
[Written in Rev. Baker's handwriting:] Dec. 11. John & Child here 3 Weeks last Wednesday
1 This letter contains many errors in spelling and punctuation, which have been retained in the transcription. For ease of reading, we have omitted the usual [sic] indications for errors.
2 Maria (Mudge) Baker "inherited" seven stepchildren in 1876 after the death of her husband, James Alfred Baker. Her father-in-law, Rev. Thomas Baker, provided her with financial support as she was still caring for the most of the children. However, in 1878, her eldest stepchild, John P. Baker, reported to Rev. Baker a rumour that Maria was keeping gentlemen callers for undue lengths of time and, as a result, the Reverend removed the children from Maria's care. See W3155 for details.
3 The name Thomas, and "to Thomas Baker" are written on the envelope in several directions in Maria's handwriting.