August the 20th (1869)

My Dear brother John

It is me left to undertake to tell you of the trouble I have seen your poor dear brother has been dead five years and I am in a dreadful condition we have but little left and the county court is about to take that away from us and they are talking about selling the land but I don’t think they can do that I should have written to you long since but I am so poor that I am not able to get paper and pay postage for I still lover you as a brother I often think of you and look at your picture little John often talks about you and says that he intends to go to you and make a lawyer but I am afraid that I never should be able to educate any of them our estate was mostly stock and the boys was two small to take care of it until now and it is nearly all gone and if you will not help me a little it will all be taken from me in a short time if you will be kind enough to (send) me as much as 100$ it will save what little stock we have left (and) help us out of the bog we are almost naked and barefooted and we have no way to help ourselves if you will assist me a little I will repay you some day if I live and if I die before the estate will be worth it but at the present since money is so scarce that I could not cash a good horse for 20$ so you see it would take a great deal of stock to bring anything I hate to ask you for anything but I am on sufferance and compelled to call on you for you know my own brother (is not) able to help me any I want you to write to me often and tell me how to get along since I am berieved of my mate but my children has to be brout up one way or another but I fear they will never be what pa desired they should be write soon give our love to sister this is from your sister Mary