There's another interesting letter we found among Nettie Bullis's papers, but she is not the writer. It is dated March 1, 1914 and signed "Mrs. Baylord."
In the first paragraph Mrs. Baylord indicates that she is answering Nettie Bullis's letter to her. She then writes about her three cats: Willard, Tiger and Snoopy, and adds that Sniffi is dead. She also writes about gardening and sewing.
Mrs. Baylord mentions Eleanor, a teacher named May Contast and the Ward Boys, as well as Mr. Day (who is a trustee--of what, she doesn't say).
The letter ends:
"With love to you
This is your stamp thank you just the same"
And then she adds this recipe:
"Taffy or Vinegar Candy
Three cupfuls of sugar, one half cupful water, one half cupful of vinegar. Stir before putting on the stove, but not after, one tablespoonful of butter and teaspoonful of vanilla. Cook until it hardens. Just before removing from the stove stir in a little soda in a few drops of hot water. When cool to handle pull with the tips of the fingers."
So we're asking you to let us know if have any information about any of the people mentioned in this letter.
And if you try the recipe, please let us know how it comes out!
Document: 117 From Nettie Bullis to Cousin Eleanor Date: June 4, 1911
From Address: Macedon, NY
"My dear Cousin Eleanor,
Ever since I sent you the Easter card, I've meant to have written and told you how I appreciated your nice long letter received sometime ago.
It has been a most perfect Sunday, with a refreshing breeze this afternoon. If June is anything like May was, we will have plenty of warm days without even a breeze.
How sad about Uncle John's death. I am so sorry for Aunt Josephine and the girls. A paper came yesterday from San Antonio. It seems so sad that some of his relatives weren't there.
Examinations come next week; I have several to try. At present I am debating on whether to go into this years class or not. Mr. Crane said that I thought to go in; Miss Ladner said she thought as I did, that it was a foolish waste of time. I don't like to take the time from my studies, to learn an essay and then get up and deliver it in public. Did you have to write an essay when you graduated? I have got one nearly written on the topic "Life like every other blessing derives its value from its use." I think the law requires one to write an essay, but not to deliver it: it is the custom here, however, to deliver them.
You wondered at my knowing that old-furniture was one of your fads. Something you said the summer you were here led me to believe as I did. I have not fixed up any old pieces lately, yet there are a number that need fixing. A friend loaned me some of her last years Ladies Home Journals, that contained articles on old furniture and house decorations. You wrote you would send me some clippings on furniture when you get them together. I assure you I shall appreciate them. Aunt Helen sent up the Saturday Evening Posts of 1906. With the articles on furniture by the Shacheltons. I hope I can get papa to help fix up the fireplace in the sitting room, this summer. I am very fond of fireplaces, there are two in this house, yet I have never seen an open fire.
A week ago I fixed a flower bed on the south side of the house and planted part of a package of mixed flower seeds. "A wild garden mixture" said to contain over 400 kinds of flower seeds. I have to let every thing that comes up grow, weeds and all, for I fear I might make a mistake and pull flowers instead of weeds. As I was fixing the bed my thoughts involuntarily turned back to the days when I used to go with Aunt Amy after dirt for her plants. She was a great lover of flowers.
Last fall Papa built a new front stoop. It is 10ft wide and 20ft long; or rather, I should say that he built at it, he has not got the railing up yet. I hope he can get it up soon, and get it painted so that we can start some vines. I imagine it will be a pleasant retreat for the summer, but honestly, cousin, I was sorry to see the old stoop go. Our great grandfather Bullis probably built it when he built the house.
You asked if I saw much of Jessie and Aunt Lydia. I saw Aunt Lydia Thursday afternoon, but I have not seen Jessie since the fall of 1908.
Do you intend to teach school this coming fall? I don't know for sure, what I shall do, I think I shall do some sewing about the first thing after examinations. I have not done any lately, and have run rather short of clothes.
I have a hard cold now, which seems rather out of place in this kind of weather. I hope you are well.
It is getting late and if I don't stop you will be glad that I am tardy in answering letters. With much love,
The Bullis archives contain a number of Nettie Bullis's letters. We have chosen her June 12, 1910 letter for this post--as a reminder of the "lost" art of letter writing as well as its content of Bullis family history.
Document #116 From Nettie to Cousin Eleanor Dated June 12, 1910 Address: Macedon, NY
"My Dear Cousin Eleanor:
If mental telegraphy could but convey our thoughts to our friends you indeed would be gratified with what has been going on in my mind, of you for a long time. An account of innumerable cares and duties, together with my school studies, I am unable to keep up regularly a correspondence with my friends, but I do however, find time to think of them and wish I could have them near to talk with.
How good it seems to see summer again, yet it is so cold that were it not for the green leaves and the flowers, one almost might call it autumn.
I had hoped that I might graduate this June, but my eyes failed me so that hope was abandoned. I am wearing glasses now which are giving me great relief. Two days of our examinations are over, three more days of them this week. Then for a summer vacation I am going forward to it eagerly, for there is so much reading that I want to do could I but find a few leisure moments.
The class colors this year are blue and gold, with the white rose as the flower. The motto is 'Nihil sine labore.' Charles graduated from High School last year, and has not been going to school this year, which I fear has caused aunt Lydia considerable worry.
What have you been reading lately? Though I presume your school studies keep you so busy that you find but little time to indulge in such pleasures as reading.
Whenever papa goes to Rochester, (at least once a month) he comes home with four or five new books.
I am sorry that I could not have seen you again, that summer you were in Macedon, for I felt that if we could have had a visit by ourselves we would have become better acquaintences with each other.
Did you go to the Brown University when you got through at the Friends School? I have heard and read quite a little about this university lately, and have taken an interest in it.
Maud said they were looking for aunt Lydia any day, that magazines had been coming for some time. Aunt Helen and Uncle Stephen are taking a rest at Medina for a few days.
I hope that you will forgive me my tardiness in writing, and favor me with a letter.
On this day 150 years ago Abraham Lincoln's life was ended by an assassin's bullet. Rather than think about that tragedy, let's spend some time remembering the life of that great president. Many books have been written about Lincoln, and we're recommending to you one that is in the Bullis Collection:
Lincoln and Men of War Times
by A. K. McClure
published in Philadelphia by The Times Publishing Co., 1892
A. K. McClure wrote from his perspective as an editor of the Philadelphia Times and a Republican powerbroker of the day. He included in his book a facsimile of Lincoln's May 23, 1860 letter to the president of the Republican National Committee, in which he accepted their nomination of him as its presidential candidate for that year.
Please visit us in the Bullis Room to look through this book and learn more about our country's 16th president. (And while you're there, please browse through some of the other great books on the shelves.)
Published in 1885-86 by C. L. Webster & Co. in New York, this two-volume edition contains plates, maps and facsimiles that help tell the story of Ulysses S. Grant's military career during the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War.
You can stop by the Bullis Room and read this biography from cover to cover, if you wish, or focus on Grant's account of his American Civil War experiences.
This is a good time to refresh and add to our knowledge of the war between the states, since this month is the 150th anniversary of General Robert E. Lee's surrender to General Ulysses R. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.
And - just a reminder - the shelves in the Bullis Room contain a number of other good books on the American Civil War. If you stop by, we'll lead you to them.