Harrison writes to Henry from Clearwater Minnesota, a village of about 230 people on the Mississippi River between St. Cloud and Monticello. Harrison had married in Michigan and had three children in Hillsdale before moving to Minnesota: Frank Herbert Ranney (b. 1857), Fred Albert Ranney (1859-1903) and Mary Minnette Ranney Whittemore (1861-1925). Harrison mentions that Minnette is about to “become a mother any day now.” She has her only child, Maude, the following day.
Harrison’s oldest son, Frank, lives in Charlevoix County in northern Michigan. Harrison says Frank teaches school in addition to farming. Frank apparently continued the family’s Republican traditions; he would be an alternate Michigan delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1892.
My transcription follows the images:
Sept 8th 1885
I recd yours of Aug 29th a few days since, & was very glad to hear from you once more.
Our family (like yours) consists of only myself & wife, & we are having usual good health although Helen is troubled some with her Heart.
I am still in the same store where I have been for the last thirteen years as clerk. I keep my farm yet of fifty seven acres all seeded down to Timothy & Clover. I rent a house in the village, my farm is one mile out. Fred has 40 acres about 80 rods from mine & his wife has a house & a block of land which contains 10 village lots in the corporation that makes all the land Fred can work. Freds folks have no children. Minnette’s husband CD Whittemore is a very nice young man. Has a good farm & buildings one & one half miles from this village. Minnette expects to become a mother any day now.
Frank lives at South Arm Charlevoix Co Michigan away up near Petoskey. He is on a farm of his own. He has 80 acres a good house which he built last year & a large log barn. Frank & wife have two children, one Boy Ralph 4 ½ years of age and one Boy Merritt 2 ½ “ “ . Minnette spent a year in Michigan the year before she was married. She said Frank’s boys were very nice boys.
Frank works his farm summers & teaches school winters, & is getting along well. I do not hear from Hillsdale (only by the newspaper) very often. Your old friend Eb Orr (who was brought up by his uncle Daniel Forbes) used to be around here selling watches & jewelry. He was about here for 2 or 3 years. But his health is poor & it has been 2 or 3 years since he has been here. He lives in Todd County with his son about 75 miles from here. Where in Kansas does your grandson Austin Packard live?
I hope we will write each other oftener than heretofore. It really seems good to hear from you.
Love to All
Harrison J. Ranney
[Upside-down at top of page] Please excuse pencil. I do all my writing mostly with pencil. I will send you my photo when I get one.