Letter: Lucy-Boyd Rice Burton to Nellie-Burton Marsden
Detroit ~ March 29th (c. 1881)

Nellie, a granddaughter of William and Lucy-Boyd Rice Burton, was twenty-one, unmarried, and apparently living with her married sister Eunice ("Noonie") and her husband John-Sutton Felver at Batavia, Illinois when this letter was written. Lucy-Boyd Rice Burton, her widowed grandmother, was evidently visiting her son James Covel Burton and his family at Detroit. She died in Green Bay, Wisconsin, at the home of her daughter Lucy-Ann (Burton) Cozzins two and a half months later, at the age of eighty-three.

Detroit, March 29th

Dear Nellie

Your letter was received Monday morning and rite glad was I to hear you were all well. It is such unhealthy weather and there is so much sickness that I almost feel afraid to hear from the children, yet am very anxious all the time.

A letter from your Aunt Martha [1] last week saying they were all sick but Lawson. She has had a great deal of trouble with her head for several months. It got so bad she consulted a Dr. He said it was a cataral [2] difficulty that the tubes heading from the throat to the middle ear was inflamed, and filled with mucus, and he would have to treat it. Medicine would not reach it. So she goes to his office every morning and will have to for some time. She says she had less headache and the noise in her ear is very faint, so she hopes it is helping her. Flora [3] was home from school sick. Ada and Anna were down with hard colds. She said it sounded good to have me say we were all well, for everybody was sick in Cleveland.

I got Aunt Lucy [4] weekly letter yesterday, saying she was yet in Green Bay; that Alfred was better, but not able to go out yet and she thought he wound not be until warm weather.

I can't say now that I am well. I have caught a very bad cold and have a cough with it that has made me almost sick. I am feeling better this morning, and with care shall soon be better.

Aunt Mary's [5] thumb is not yet so she can use it, and she is troubled with rheumatism all the time, but she keeps around and does her work well.

Nellie, my letter is full of grievances, but nothing I hope that will not be lived through, and all come out right. I forgot to tel how much comfort Blanche [6] has taken with the map Dudu [7] gave her. She puts it together herself without any help. Her paper has come, but no picture yet. Poor Carra. I am very sorry to hear of her suffering, and Mrs. Towns [8] you think will never be any better. Remember me to her and Mrs. Felver [9] also.

I felt very bad to hear your father [10] was loosing all his lambs. Don't Mr. Winchil remedy do any good?

Blanche has come in and says tel Nellie, Noonie, Dudu, Harry [11] and the whole caboodle to come here and stay all summer.

Well Nellie, I can't think of anything more to say, so will stop. If I could see you, we could think of enough to say. I can't tel you how much I miss you all. When night, it's rather lonely.

With a great deal of love to you all, and kisses for the little ones [12] from your Grand Mother,

Lucy B Burton

(Covel and Mary wish to be remembered always)

(click image to enlarge a page)


  1. "Aunt Martha" - Martha-Ann Burton Pierce, daughter of William and Lucy-Boyd Rice Burton, wife of Lawson-Augustus Pierce. (b. Jan 2, 1825 St Albans, Vt; d. Jun 7, 1907 Cleveland, Ohio). Lawson was an agent for the Cleveland & Detroit Steamboat Line. He died Jun 21, 1881.
  2. "cataral" - see "catarrhal"
  3. "Flora" - Flora-Hale Pierce (b. Sep 25, 1858). "Ada and Anna" - Ada-Marion Pierce (b. Sep 11, 1851) and Anna-Grover Pierce (b. Nov 1863). All three daughters were unmarried and living at home in June 1880
  4. "Aunt Lucy", "Alfred" - Lucy-Ann Burton Cozzens, daughter of William and Lucy-Boyd Rice Burton, wife of Alfred Cozzens. Lucy Ann and her husband Alfred Cozzens lived at the Cooke's Hotel on Washington Street in Green Bay, Wisconsin, operated by their son Myron Ellison Cozzins.
  5. "Aunt Mary" - Mary Grunning Burton, wife of Lucy's son James Covel Burton. She at Detroit in June 1878
  6. "Blanche" - Blanche Burton, daughter of Covel Burton and granddaughter of Lucy-boyd Rice Burton (b. Jly 12, 1869)
  7. "Dudu" - unknown
  8. "Carra" and "Mrs. Towns" - unkonwn
  9. "Mrs. Felver" - probably Jane (Vannata) Felver, Noonie's mother-in-law.
  10. "your Father" - probably actually step-father, James Carr, a farmer at Batavia, IL. Her father was Captain Charles Marsden, whom her mother divorced after business failures supposedly led him to drink, after which he was evidently disowned by the Burtons.
  11. "Harry" - possibly Harris-Foster Carr, step-brother to Noonie and Nellie.
  12. "little ones" - Carr children. In June of 1880, Noonie and Nellie Marsden were living on the farm in Batavia, IL with their mother and step-father, who had three younger children; Harris, Lucy and William, 11, 10 and 9-months, respectively. (Samuel Wolverton, future husband of Nellie, was also listed in that household as a farm hand.)

Submitted by Phyllis Begens, great-granddaughter of Eunice Marion Burton