Towle family correspondence  1850-1895
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Electa M. Higgins Towle (1810-1900), a native of Turner, Maine, and Daniel Towle (1810- 1874) of Avon, Maine, married in 1833. The couple lived in Avon, where they operated a farm and raised their three children: Clarinda (1835-1901), Daniel Higgins (1841-1918), and Emma (1849-1851). A farmer and postmaster by trade, Daniel left for Sacramento, California, in early 1850 to find work during the "Gold Rush." Electa remained at home during his absence, caring for their children, managing the farm, and consequently taking on many of her husband's roles.

Daniel had several different jobs during his time in California. Initially, he mined at "Sagar's Bar" on the North Yuba River. By January 1, 1851, Daniel had relocated to a site on the Feather River, 120 miles from Marysville, California, where he was involved in dam building. In addition to these enterprises, Daniel also managed a shop. In 1852 he sold his interest in the shop in order to invest in the Spring Valley Quartz Mining Company (January 25, 1852). Daniel's brother George W. Towle (b. 1823) also traveled to California to seek his fortune, and another brother, Benjamin F. Towle (b. 1831), contemplated following his brothers to California.

During his absence, the family underwent many changes and endured several obstacles, which Electa nevertheless handled effectively. On January 21, 1851, daughter Emma died from scarlet fever, a loss which proved to be very difficult for Electa. In addition, Electa withstood the vicious gossip of her neighbors during the long periods of not hearing from Daniel, as well as her own anxieties about his safety and return. Her most prevalent concern, however, was paying their debts, something she hoped she could do with Daniel's earnings in California.

After Daniel returned to Avon c. 1853, their surviving daughter Clarinda married Edward K. Hitchcock (1817-1900) of Strong, Maine. The couple subsequently had a son named Alfred (b. 1859).

Shortly after Daniel's death on August 4, 1874, Electa moved to Red Wing, Minnesota where her son Daniel H. had settled with his wife Amanda (1844-1882) and their four children: Emma (1868-1944), Lena (1872-1952), Gertrude (b. 1878) and Merton (b. 1878). Clarinda remained in Strong with her husband and son while she and her mother exchanged letters for several decades. During her time in Minnesota, Electa wrote about her grandchildren, the death of Amanda, her son's remarriage to a woman named Mary (b. 1855), and the birth of a fifth grandchild named Neal (b. 1891). In addition, she discusses her son's farming business, for which he sold farm equipment and supplies from "Van Brunt, Barber & Co." Although she often considered returning to Maine one day, Electa remained in Minnesota until her death in 1900.