How often do you think of what would make you glad? This phrase was used several times as Mary Rogers McCoy wrote to her father, William Rogers in Picture Rocks, asking him to gather plants and starts of flowers from family and neighbors. Mary had married Peter McCoy and made the journey West, homesteading in Saunders County, Nebraska.
Having readied their home and farmland, Mary, in March of 1883, was looking for items from her familiar surroundings in Pennsylvania to be sent to her home in Nebraska that would make her "so glad."
Mary writes: Dear Father: Hattie wants a snowberry root. I think a small limb could be found with small roots. Cut off the top so it is not more than 1-2 inches long.
Go to Bryan's and see if you can get one root of the big blue flag that stood at the first right-hand corner of the Summer House. We have small blue flags growing wild here. If they would let me have a couple of the small roots of the little snowdrops, I would be so glad. And also a very small root of the Columbine and of Cups and Saucers. Please see that each plant has an "eye" in it to grow from. If anyone has lilies, I would like to have some. I have plenty of tulips and crocuses, roses and a very fine plant of flowering almond. If you can, without too much trouble, get small plants of any other shrubs, I should be very glad, possibly a green-briar. They used to grow half way between Bryan's and Villa Grove....and any perennial that would be likely to live.
I would like you to put in 2 or 3 artichokes and if the Allegheny vine is showing above ground, please take up a root and send it.
If you can do these up right, they can be sent by mail very easy. The artichokes can be put in a small pasteboard box, wrapped in paper and well tied with twine. If anyone has seeds, they could be put in the same box. Postage on plants and seeds is 16 cents a pound.
P. S. If you have any sunflower seeds, please send me a few.
Your affectionate daughter, Mary.
The Bryans referred to here would be the Ellis Bryan family who lived in the brick house in what was, in 1883, Bryan Mills, now Bryantown, in Wolfe Township, Lycoming Co. This house was built soon after the water powered woolen and grist mills were built along the mill race coming down through from Muncy Creek. Mary was comfortable with her request for the large flag, as Ellis Bryan's wife, Sarah, was her aunt, sister of her father, William Rogers.
Villa Grove mentioned here is on Route 220 in the area of the Villa Grove school house below Bryantown, a short walking distance from Bryan Mills.