From Florinda Hirst Watkins, her letter of June 7, 1852 (Praire Tree Letters, page 53)
F. H. Watkins & S. D. Watkins to Our Dear Friends
Lima June 7th 1852
Jane’s health has been very bad since last fall Mother was up there 6 or 7 weeks ago and wove a carpet for her (22 1/2 yds.) and she thought she was near, if not altogether having consumption. She is a great deal better now, however and we think she will get well. There is no one who [is here] today but the “Old Man” and myself and Emma. Stephen went this morning to Rand’s to build an addition to their house. We have no more than house room yet than we had at first. Our house is only 16 by 22 and there is a small bedroom and closet partitions off that. You would not live in as small a house would you! Mother went to Brother Coburn’s this morning and has not got back yet so I cannot write what she wants written now. Ginevra is at school When do you talk of coming here this fall! The sooner the better I really think you would like the place.
John thinks the place where our house is is the prettiest place he ever saw in all his life. Stephen left a grove of Aspens standing near the house when he cleared about the house, beside some small oaks and white walnut which gives it a cool and comfortable appearance in hot weather besides breaking the wind off in winter which is quite a desiratum with Mother you know. Come I know you would exchange the rattle of Carriages and the roar of omnibus for the murmuring of the breeze in the green leaves and the song of the woodland cloisters! Do you not prefer the pure air of heaven to the filthy smoky atmosphere of crowded streets! nature’s carpet of green to dusty sidewalks! I was in Platteville the other day and I thought as I looked out of the room that no money would tempt me to live in a place where I could see nothing but my neighbors dwellings, boxes of merchandize and the teamsters driving their teams along and making such a dust I could barely breathe. Oh I would not have my horizon bounded by the insignificant doings of pigmy sorts. Give me a wide extended vision. I would have it bounded only by the distant hills or where the blue sky and green trees appear. To meet with the away yonder in the distance. Give me the perfume and fragrances of flowers rather than of Whisky barrels and wine casks.
F. H. Watkins
This may not be mailed for some days for Stephen is not here and perhaps he may wish to write something. Mother also will have some word to send. She did not know I was going to write when she left this morning nor I didn’t either F. H.