Sarah Elizabeth Daniels

Libbie Daniels (1851-1931)

Sarah Elizabeth (“Libbie”) Daniels (1851-1931) was the daughter of saddler Joseph B. Daniels (1826-1874) and Annice Rebecca Love (1826-1914) of Iowa City, Johnson County, IA. They were married in Coshocton OH in March 1850.  Libbie was their eldest child, born in Iowa in 1851, making her 15 years younger than Ralph Goodrich. Libbie married John Henry Carse (1846-1933) who was born in IA; his mother Margaretta Park (1829-1910) was a native of PA and his father John T. (1818-1895) was a native of Killinchy, Down, Ireland. Though his father was a farmer, John Carse (Jr.) grew up to be a stone- or marble-cutter.

John Henry Carse (1846-1933)

Goodrich and Libbie’s love affair began while she was engaged to John Carse in late 1870 or very early 1871. Goodrich attempted to have Libbie break the engagement but she did not, afraid of causing her parent’s social embarrassment. The affair continued even after Libbie and John’s marriage, which occurred on 30 March 1871 in Iowa City IA.  The couple’s marriage appeared to be strained from the start, no doubt assisted by her illicit affair with Goodrich. The couple lived apart from time-to-time though this may have been due to Carse’s employment.

By 1900, Libbie had given birth to seven children, though only five survived. Her first child is mentioned in Letter Number 165 (below) and Goodrich even hints at the possibility that it was his child instead of her husbands. That child apparently died prior to 1880, however.  The Carses other children were:  Joseph Wentworth Carse (1875-1916), Eloise (“Ella”) Carse (1878- 1948), Jennie Daniels Carse (1880-1954), John (“Jack”) Fillius Carse, (1887-1951), and Earle Russell Carse (1890-1952). In 1885, John and Libby Carse were living at 575 Washington Avenue in Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie County, Iowa where John’s occupation is given as “Coal Dealer.”  The couple were still living together in Omaha City, Douglas County, NE in 1930.

Letter Number 146

Elizabeth [“Libby”] Daniels Carse writes to her husband John H. Carse from her temporary quarters in Camden AR.  It is apparent that John Carse was working in Little Rock, 100 miles away. The letter was written less than three months after their marriage on 30 March 1871. It is not clear how Goodrich took possession of this letter. Perhaps he stole the letter from John Carse or maybe it was given to him as evidence of Libby’s devotion to her husband as Goodrich and Libby had a relationship prior to her marriage to Carse. Unfortunately, this did not deter Goodrich from pursuing Libby for many months even after the marriage.

Camden [Arkansas]
Thursday afternoon, June 15, 1871

My dear,

Although you did not ask me to write to you today, thought I would just for spite. I got your letter Tuesday evening [and] also one from Chicago — an agency with a paper of needles for sample. Last evening I received that book from Nellie (about the Spring’s) but nothing more. It seems we both wrote last Sabbath, perhaps about the same time. But I did not take a nap, you lazy fellow. Indeed, I think you have got along nicely so far. I am so glad you will get your ring. You cannot imagine how much I thought about that. It worries me so. If you had not got it, I would not have told you. Judge Caldwell is a true gentleman, I have no doubt. Oh, if there were only more such men in the world how much better it would be.

I have got along very well this week so don’t be uneasy about me — much better than I expected too. Monday afternoon I went down to see that Jen or ____ woman and staid quite awhile. Also called on Mr. Rogers who treated me very kindly. The people here at the [Southerland] Hotel are very good to me. [They] teaze me a good deal though. Major [Samuel Hillis] Southerland said he received a telegram from you stating that you had married another girl and was on your way North, and every day at dinner he says “got another” — he is still going on, now if my wife was not here so that I could make love to you. But let me tell you the joke. Mrs. Southerland was taking a nap today and dreamed about you. [She said she] thought she saw you [and] that you had come back to take me away, and that your beard had commenced to grow again — or rather your whiskers. [She] told Major about it at the table and we had a good laugh.

I wish I knew how you were my dear. Don’t work too hard please. I hope you have done well with your Irons. Have you sent for the oil? I don’t know about that rocking chair. You must do as you think best. Do you think there are enough persons here that would take it to justify you in bringing it? Mrs. Carse will take one when she goes to housekeeping, just to encourage you. I asked Mr. Jordan if I could borrow some books from him. So in the evening he brought me two new books. Both had his name in [them] but I know he had bought them just for me to read. Very kind of him, was it not? I did not write home this week, but will write to Pa next Sabbath. Guess I will write to your folks this week. Pretty good advice your father gave us. Is it very warm there? But I presume it is about like it is here. It has been pretty warm this week until today. It has rained since noon.

I am glad you have got a good place to board. Do you think you will take me to Little Rock? Well almost anywhere to be with you for I find that I think of you instead of home. Now don’t say I love you better because you are away. If you do, I won’t love you a bit when you come back just to punish you for saying so. Do you think of me as much as you did before we were married when you were away from me —  or in other words, am I what you expected to find me or have you been disappointed? Please answer candidly. I will admit I would rather have you write it than tell me, but I want to know what you consider my greatest faults so that I may try to correct them, both for your sake and my own. Now dear, I am in earnest about this and hope you will think of it when thinking of me. Do you think you can come a week from next Sabbath. I hope you will for I have been thinking about it all the time for you know although the people are very kind, it is not like having you with me. And I can’t help getting lonely some times and wishing you were here Oh so much. But then I suppose it is all for the best and I will try to be as submissive as I can for I know you don’t want to be away from me any more than I do from you. Nor would not be if you could do otherwise.

I was just thinking today how nice it would be when we go to housekeeping what a prim little wife I will make, and what a dear good husband you would be (don’t smile at my adjective) until my thoughts almost carried me away. You said you would write to me this evening. Be sure and write Sabbath too and I will do so. Then we will both get our letters Tuesday evening. It is almost mail time and I will send Henry to the [Post] Office as it is raining. Hope he will bring me several letters. I will not seal this until he comes. Here he is and no letter. Oh dear me. It is too bad. But it is getting late.

I feel very anxious to hear from home [in Iowa] since you told me about the storm. I hope it did not come near our house. I have written a great deal and have not said much either I expect. I will tire you reading such a long and uninteresting letter. I would so much rather talk to you than write, but then who wouldn’t. Send me a kiss indeed. Sir, you are very stingy. Wonder that you did not send me only half of one. To show you what a liberal woman you have, I will return good for evil and send you twenty or more.

Goodbye darling. From one who loves you.  — Libby

Letter Number 147

Elizabeth [“Libbie”] Daniels Carse writes to Goodrich expressing disappointment in his conduct. It is obvious that Goodrich was struggling with alcoholism. Notwithstanding their former familiarity, it appears from this brief note that Libby is attempting to distance herself from Goodrich and to warn him about retaliating against her husband.

June 19, 1871
Monday morning

Mr. Goodrich,

I was very much distressed at your conduct for a few days and I do trust that grace may be given you to free yourself from the power of your great enemy.

Accept my kindest regard and deepest sympathy for the great trials you have had sent upon you. I have every confidence that all will now be right and my husband’s interests will be guarded.

[Libby Carse]

Letter Number 165

Goodrich writes a love letter to Libbie Carse, the wife of John H. Carse. It is obvious that Libbie has been having an extended extramarital affair with Ralph and that he has fallen head over heels in love with her. The letter was written while visiting his mother and other members of his family, including his two-year old daughter Jennie, in Owego NY. After his wife’s death, Goodrich took his infant daughter to Owego where she was raised by his mother and sister Sarah.

Owego [New York]
July 14, 1872

My love, my life.

I could not resist the temptation to write again to you from my old home. I have longed & sighed & wished so much to be with you – thought of you so constantly that like yourself, the sight of old & dear friends can not dispel the gloom that oppresses my heart. I have kissed [my daughter] Jennie often & often & thought of you. I know you would love her. She is so loving & gentle. There is nothing rude about her. She is kind even to her kitten. But Jennie does not occupy all my thoughts, nor all of my affections. There is a place here in my heart she cannot enter – a void she cannot fill. Why do I say a void when you fill it, when you have entered there & sway as powerfully as a queen? Yet, my love, I call it a void because you are far from me. I cannot press you to my breast, I cannot drink the dew on your lips, I cannot feel your bosom heave & throb with the love that is welling up & bounding toward mine. I long to hear those soft sighs, those words so full of love, “Oh Ralph, how I love you.”

But you are far away, groaning in spirit, wasting your sighs on the unpitying air, hoping perhaps that some kind breeze may waft a kiss or bear some words of faith & truth over the distance & print it on my lips or whisper them in my ear. Oh Libbie, I did not know that I loved you so much as I do. We never know the strength of our passions until they are tried. We never know the power of love until we feel it. We never know its influences fully until we are separated from the object or lose it.

Tell me if my other letter was such a good loving one as you hoped for. If it was not, I can only say that I am so brimful of love for you that I cannot find expression for it. Libbie, last night I dreamed we were loving – as of old – [and] he did not enter into my dream & you were all my own.  Oh what a disappointment when I awoke & found it nothing but a dream. Have you dreamed any like that?

Write me as you did – I like it. I have read that letter over till I have nearly every word by heart. What do you think of the suggestion in my letter about speaking to Alder or someone else for me to address my letters to you to him. It will blind the hun & we can write to each other directly occasionally for a blind also. I am continually on the go [and] if I was not, I would be supremely miserable. [My brother] Steve half thinks I am in love with you [as] I have talked & praised you up so much. I have given him & [my sister] Sarah two of our pictures.

My love, my darling Libbie, remember your promise. Your native tact & ingenuity such as have aided us on former occasions will guide you to success. How is your baby? Kiss her & think of me. Why do I say think of me? Can you help it? Can you draw your mind & affections entirely from me & forget me? I feel that we are bound together by a more sacred & holier bond than the marriage rite ever consecrated. Do you?

Think of the filthy _____. Was your marriage to him a sacred rite? God forbid! Oh, I wish you never had been polluted by his touch. I don’t mean that you are polluted, but that his touch is polluting. Libbie love, I am nearly done, but I am not half through. Believe that when you get this, you receive a long, long kiss full of love, full of desire & full of happiness. Let it refresh you, revive your drooping spirits, add freshness & bloom to your cheeks & health & strength to your body. My love, one kiss, one embrace, & I close. Send it ye breeze & bear it to my Libbie – mine only mine.

– Ralph

Have you ever thought of the last night at the University & similar occasions? Libbie, I am true. No tempter or temptress could succeed. Write a letter as you feel, a long one [and] fill it with love. You cannot be soft to me. I wish I could go back to Iowa City.

Letter Number 166

Later on the same day as Letter 165, Goodrich wrote yet another letter to Mrs. Sarah E. Carse. Perhaps both letters were sent in the same envelope, Letter 165 intended for her eyes only and Letter 166 for her to show her husband or her family in an attempt to conceal their relationship from them. This letter suggests that sometime during the summer of 1871 and 1872, Libbie Carse moved to Little Rock to live with her husband and that, quite possibly, Goodrich boarded with them or at least in the same boarding house.

Owego [New York]
July 14, 1872

My dear friend [Mrs. Sarah E. Carse]

I suppose you will be surprised to get another letter from me so soon, but I promised to send you a picture of [my daughter] Jennie. What do you think of it and of her? I have been on the go ever since I came. There are no prettier girls here than in Iowa City. I believe they are scarce everywhere.

Jennie wobbles about a good deal and talks more. She has taken to me in earnest and [my brother] Steve has a baby. It came Friday evening – is a girl and weighs six and a half pounds. The mother is doing well and Steve is tickled to death. I shall go back to Little Rock with the intention to save money as it seems that an unfortunate speculator of the administration of mother’s estate have left us but little and my sister is not feeling very well over it. I saw my aunt in New Jersey. She does not speak so highly of Thatcher as Thatcher did of her.

Everybody here thinks I look a hundred percent better than I did last year when here. I hope I do, and I tell them it is the result of your good house-keeping and motherly care of me. Please accept from all of them the expression of their kindest regards and gratitude, and they tell me that if they forget you, I ought not to.

Well I wrote this only to go along with the picture [of Jennie] & did not intend to write so much. With my best wishes to your father & mother, Jim & all. But I forgot to say I start Monday or Tuesday for the Rock & trusting that I shall hear from you.

I am as ever your sincere friend. – R. L. Goodrich

Letter Number 246, 248, and 247

Mrs. Sarah Elizabeth [“Libbie”] Carse wrote these three consecutive letters approximately one week apart to her husband John H. [“Henry”] Carse. At the time of these letters, the couple’s marriage was strained, forcing a separation. Libbie and her baby daughter were living with her parents in Iowa City, Iowa, while her husband was living in Little Rock, Arkansas.  It appears that Goodrich may have been boarding in the same residence in Little Rock as the Carses prior to the couple’s separation and that he was at least partially, if not fully responsible for the couple’s marital problems. These three letters written to her husband suggest that she was not yet ready to give up on their marriage despite her husband’s accusations and expressed jealousy of Goodrich. It is surmised that Goodrich stole these letters from Carse in Little Rock in an attempt to find out whether Libbie had stronger feelings for her husband or for him.


Country Home [near Iowa City, Iowa]
July 7, 1872

Dear Henry,

Indeed I was surprised & astonished after reading your letter which I received last evening. I had a very pleasant time during commencement. Have been in town a good deal. Have a pleasant home on the farm almost like the one in town. But everyone seems struck with my looks. I am so thin. I weight just 100 pounds.

So you have been to Mrs. Fitch’s?  I expected as much & knew she would tell you about our talk. Also invited to Mrs. Work for her to stuff you & it seems from your letter that you intend to go by what they say although you admit one lays the blame on the other.  Still you will take their word before mine?  Mrs. Fitch need not have said [that] about me working, for anyone with a bit of feeling about them knows, or ought to, that I have been in no condition to work the past year, and do not intend to if I do not get better. It does not matter one bit to me what they say about that. It is no one’s business but my own.

Indeed, I am surprised when you say that Goodrich shall leave. I think I am to be consulted a little about such matters. The reasons you give are perfectly absurd. The idea of Mrs. C. being afraid of him! Which has done the most for us, her or Ralph? The ignorant thing. Let her go if she is such a booby. And their speaking of his example before the baby! It will be at least two years before she takes notice & then his example in some things is good. I am not afraid to trust her with him about. Don’t speak of temper. We all have our share. Yours, although different, is no better than others. And the last reason, how foolish! I consider I did perfectly right in allowing Ralph to fan me. No one would think otherwise except ignorant fools, except yourself, and I am surprised to think that you gave it a second thought. Don’t you know that that is an act of politeness & that no gentleman would think otherwise. I will tell you this – that during commencement, Ralph fanned me in the presence of Pa & Ma & all my friends & was thought nothing of.  If I was with any other man, I should expect him to do the same if it was a hot day & [I] had no fan. It makes me so angry when I think for such foolish things as the above you say you intend to let Ralph go after all he has done for us. And then too it looks as if you doubted me.

I can’t tell what my folks think of you. They have not said a word about you in that way. Of course they would not to me. Indeed, I did not tell them about our circumstances. I am a little too big feeling for that. Yes, Darvin told Pa, so I heard, & Pa was very angry. No, they have said nothing about money but I know they do not intend to say anything soon because they have built [recently] & have none to spare.

Baby is well. Took her to doctor yesterday. Will not have that {  } taken off her head as it will not harm her. Ma takes all care of her. She is fat already. I hope to hear from you immediately – a far different letter from the last.

Bye, Bye, — Libbie

P.S.   Our folks know nothing about the trouble [between us]. I would not have them know that you think so little of me as to believe or accuse me of doing wrong.


Iowa City, Iowa
July 14, [1872]

Dear Henry

Received your letter. Have just a few moments to write before going out to Grahams to spend several days. I am pretty well but very weak & thin. Baby is well & fat.  It is very hot here. Cannot be more so there.

I am sorry you think I don’t write often enough – also that I am careless. Well perhaps I am but I do not mean to be so. Does Mrs. C. do any better cooking? It seems not as you say you cannot eat. What presentment did you have? Tell me all about it.

I begin to think you are nervous. People are very good to invite you out. Are they not better than when I am there? Anna says to tell you that you owe her a letter & she wants you to answer it. I have been there several times. I like it on the farm, but it is rather lonely. Have you heard from home since I left? I think I am pretty good to write so soon after receiving your letter.

Wonder if you will go to church today? Of course you will. It is quarterly meeting out to Grahams. I will be there. Write soon & excuse short letter. I receive a letter from Lou James last week. Am in a great hurry for have to get baby & myself ready. Be a good boy. Did you get my photo? I sent it. Must go to breakfast. Good morning, — Libbie


Iowa City
July 22, 1872

Dear Henry,

Was out to Graham’s all last week. Have been very sick yesterday & today. Can hardly write now. Ma said I must not, but I thought you would be anxious. Received your letter but not those papers you spoke of. I hardly think you ought to have insured your life. If you have one bit of regard for my feelings, you will not break up house keeping. I think I ought to have a little to say about such things, especially when it is in regard to my home. I will not, cannot, write more, Must go to bed. Baby is well & growing. Bye-bye. My head swims. I am sick. Will try & be better soon.

Write to me, — your Libbie

Letter Number 167

Goodrich writes a letter to Mrs. Sarah Elizabeth [“Libbie”] Carse, the wife of John Carse, with whom he had been having an affair. She was living in Iowa City IA with her parents at the time, separated from her husband. This letter, like all of those written by Goodrich, are mere handwritten copies of letters that he kept for himself. Most of the originals of these copies were probably mailed to whomever they were addressed but there is a chance they were not. This one, in particular, may never have been mailed as Goodrich expresses a variety of feelings — love, hurt, anxiety, anger, and  even impugns her character.

Little Rock, Arkansas
August 18, 1872

My dear, dear Libbie,

Bob Burton has just told me that Carse has gone up to Iowa City & left here a week ago last Wednesday. You don’t know, you cannot imagine, how badly I have been feeling ever since. When I went to P.O., I asked Pollock if it was so. He said yes, but he did not know that he was going until after he had gone. Pollock calls him a fool & there are more than one here who call him a thief.

Oh Libbie, I hope you did not – nor your folks – write to have him come up. Did you Libbie? What made him go? If it was absolutely necessary for him to go, what a fool he is when he owes so much.

Oh Libbie, I feel so bad. I imagine everything. Don’t, my love, deceive me. Tell me all. And Libbie, did you keep your promise – never to let him touch you?  That is what he went for, or to get some money from your father. Oh Libbie, write me all. Don’t keep back anything. How did your folks receive him & what they said. Libbie, if I did not love you as I do, I would not be so anxious. I would not be so much worried. I would do all to have you & him make up, but I cannot.

Oh Libbie, it is awful to me – terrible. I am trembling as if I had the ague. You have been with him a week [and] I suppose slept with him, and kissed him. It seems sometimes as if I cannot stand it. I am glad I did not hear before that he had gone. It has saved me a great deal of suffering and sleeplessness. And God knows I have too much of the first and too little of the last. The people here are astonished at the little sleep I take. Oh Libbie, they would not wonder if they knew what was on my mind and heart. Tell me all about him, what he went for, what did he tell you & your folks? What did he say about me – lied, I suppose, and Oh Libbie, I hope and pray that he did not get what he wanted most – your compliance – you know what. Did you sleep together? My love, my darling, write me all.

Oh I hope your letter will dispel all my gloomy imaginings, and I hope your folks hate him more and more, and that you see yourself how terrible it will be to you to live with him. Tell me how you acted toward him. Did you even seem to love him?

Oh Libbie, I am afraid you will not keep to your promise – that you will forget the sweet bye & bye. Write me my darling and tell me my imaginings are all groundless [and] that you love me more, and despise him. Does he think you love him as of old? Does he believe your old love for him has returned? Oh I hope his eyes are opened, that the fool can see how matters stand, that he is not loved, and never can be by you and let you alone – leave you. Libbie, I feel I almost know that something disagreeable is going to happen [and] that you will give up to him in every respect. Oh Libbie, have courage and will of your own. Remember your promises to me. Think of that slovenly, dirty, lickspittle & how does he differ from a liar and a thief. How has he treated me? Where would he have been if it was not for me? Will you go with him? But he has been with you a week. Can you imagine how I feel? You cannot.

Have you talked and laughed with him? Has he tried to love you, hugged and caressed you? My Libbie, what an idea. How terrible to think that stinking goat is caressing my darling. Oh my love, I hope, I pray, I beseech from the very depths of my heart that it was not so. I hope you have not swerved one jot or little from the promises you made me.

Oh my sweet darling, will you give me up for him? Can you? If you can – if you do – I never, never shall believe in woman again. I will forget the past. I will wipe it away with my tears & close my heart to every kind & gentle feeling for the sex and go my own way. Oh my love, I do not know what I have written. My head is so jumbled up.

After your solemn promise – your pledge of truth and everlasting faith. Libbie, if you live with him as man and wife, do you believe that I could ever respect you – could ever love you? I love you so much it would be hard for me to say what I would do. But now it seems if you did that, I could neither love or respect you. He appears to me like the foulest and beastiest of bruts – whoever associates with him closely & intimately – whoever consorts with him in that mysterious union which should link together husband and wife – that one, in my eyes, in my feelings, becomes degraded, polluted. And if that person is a woman, she has lost the noblest part of her being – her virtue. And if that person be you, Libbie, however dearly I love you, however strong your visage is impressed upon my heart, you could fade from there [though] it would break my heart. But I could never love you. You would be polluted & what would be worse, because you would not resist, you would be perfectly willing to be polluted. You have said that you would not marry me if I drank. I would most respectfully decline a union with you when you went with him & I have the better reason than you.

Libbie, haven’t you written more letters to him than to me since we left Little Rock? I know this now – it is so strong a belief with me now that it has become a part of my nature. You cannot be Carse’s wife & love me. The two existing at the same time are inconsistent. You ought to annul or break off one or the other. It is the duty you owe to me. If you cling to him, tell me so that I may know the worst at once. If your courage falters & your resolution fails you – if you cannot fulfill your promises and plighted faith to me, tell me so and let the crash come. I have gloomy thoughts, Libbie, can you blame me? I ought to have got a letter from you Thursday night and here it is Saturday night & after the mail and none yet. Have you forgotten me? Has he so occupied your time and attention that you could find no opportunity to write me?  Can you blame me for feeling hurt, sorrowful and wretched?

Libbie, what did you marry that fool for? He would disgrace an angel – and your father – stop, hesitate to break away from him. Where is your courage, Libbie? No, I am all wrong. It is duty & the fear of disgrace. You wrote to Carse from Camden [Arkansas] longer letters than any you have written to me. I begin to doubt that you love me. If you did, you would act otherwise. But in your connections with the beast, think of us “Thy Libbie” & “My Ralph” – you will have pleasant memories  and delightful reflections such as a devout, virtuous, high-minded Methodist ought to have – especially the wife of such an ignorant booby and fist-manipulator as your husband. Isn’t it delightful, Mrs. Carse, to have such things known outside of the family? Wouldn’t it be nice for Mrs. Work to know absolutely to be true what she asserted on [your character] — that you were a lewd woman? Even Bob Burton says you are soft and silly & your husband is a fool & a knave – pleasant terms aint they? Now don’t let your temper rise for I am not yet done. Pa & Ma shall have a taste & brother Clinton & Alder & each get from him, break the sinful tie.

Do not let your courage fail you or your resolution falter. Do not be worried & harassed into submission. Keep up your courage & if you love me, reflect on how strong & enduring is the love I bear you. Think of the sweet bye & bye, & never yield, never make concessions to him that will shut you off forever from me. Oh Libbie, you have determination & resolution; then exercise them. Keep up your spirits, never once doubt me. Look hopingly, longingly to our bright & happy future & let the reflection give you so much peaceful rest, that his entreaties upbraidings or threats, or the lectures or commands of parent, or scoffs of relatives or friends cannot darken your life, cannot move or influence you to go against your heart-yearnings. Can you do this, Libbie?

Oh, I love you so deeply, so profoundly, my darling. I pity you for your suffering. You are dearer to me for your trials if you withstand them. You are linked to me in bonds that would take life-blood if they were broken, for the kind & loving words you have spoken, for the earnest & hopeful faith you have in me, for the caresses & love you have bestowed upon me & fed my heart, & your promises of faith and purity, your solemn assertions to live only for me. Don’t let a mistaken idea of duty, don’t let that foolish & nonsensual notion & fear of disgrace bind you to him & wean you from me who dotes upon you, loves you beyond the expression of words, and worships you as devoutly, as sincerely & as truly as one human being can another. Oh, my love, my life – when they assail you, when they endeavor to lure you away from me, then think, just think over our past & let those sweet memories enter your heart. Let those delightful scenes so beautiful in our love come before your sight & let your promises come rolling & a welling up and knock at the chambers of your soul & deter you from putting on his yoke again & spading me on. When? My darling do you long, does your heart yearn for me as I thirst for you? Oh, break the fetters, tear asunder the bonds & scatter them to the winds, & if you cannot, Oh Libbie, let us be happy together. We can, I know it.

Letter Number 168

John H. Carse writes Goodrich a note requesting that Goodrich return his wife’s personal effects to him.

Little Rock, Arkansas
August 24, 1872

Mr. R. L. Goodrich,

Dear Sir:  You will oblige me by delivering those things that belong to my wife such as silver ware, books, &c. to the bearer Armstead Scott which is done per her request.

— J. H. Carse

Letter Number 169

Goodrich writes to Elizabeth [“Libby”] Carse, the wife of John H. Carse, seeking an explanation for the abrupt termination of their affair. A note in the margin of this copy suggests that Goodrich never sent this letter.

Little Rock, Arkansas
August 27, 1872

My dear Libbie (may I call you so?),

I begin at the beginning. You owe me two or three letters. You have not seen fit to answer. I would like to have an explanation. Your husband made a visit to Iowa City. He returned. During the time, I heard nothing from you. I wrote to you supposing you would answer. I have gotten no answer. The damned thug Carse returned here and demanded all your things that I stored away for him, because it did not cost him anything, & put in the demand that you requested it. Well Libbie, I suppose you settled it. I suppose you condoned with the dog & made up in all & thought the best thing was to let me go.

Very well, Libbie. If you can go back on me in that way, I will forgive you. But Libbie, will you let me call you my darling? I hope and sincerely pray that you are a coquette and fickle-minded, that you do not think a straw of me, and that you fooled me but did not know it. That you did not love me as you said but imagined you did. This, Libbie, I hope is the truth. If you did not love me, then I will have pity on you. I will even have commiseration on your fallen condition. I will forgive you. I never can think ill of you. I will ever love you, but you have wrecked my life. I know it now. I will not lay it to your blame. I will hold myself accountable for my own death. For my own peace, I hope I may be able to forget you.

It is proper, it is right for you to refuse any explanations, but Libbie, what [we] have been to each other you know. I forgo to make any comments. I hope you can appreciate. If I did not love you as I do, I would say you were a fool.

Oh Libbie, excuse me. I write as I talk. I do not mean often what I say except when I said I loved you. You have made your choice. If you consider yourself authorized to answer this, tell me what you intend to do & what your intentions are to me. If in the vulgar language you have gone back on me, say so, but I can’t go back on you. So farewell. — R

Letter Number 170

John H. Carse writes Goodrich a surprisingly cordial note given that he has become aware of Goodrich’s affair with his wife.

Little Rock, Arkansas
October 19, 1872

R. L. Goodrich,

Dear Sir:  Upon examination, it seems that I have a sheet belonging to you which I will send to you tomorrow or next day. At that time, you will confer a favor if you will send me a sheet in return which I think you have in your possession by mistake — also my wife’s hat brush and my Dictionary and noting on a piece of paper how much I owe you.

Yours, — J. H. Carse

Letter (from Fred J. Herring Collection in Arkansas History Archives)

This undated fragment of a letter was clearly written by Ralph L. Goodrich to “Libby” (Daniels) Carse. It probably dates to 1872 and was written shortly after Carse demanded that Goodrich return Libbie’s personal effects.

You can judge from this that I love you, Libbie. When I moved, Carse threw away a great many things. I saved and put in my trunk one of your old haggard kerchiefs, an old pair of stockings that you had footed, an old palpatator, and a baby’s bind, also the boxes for papers. He goes along as if it was nothing — no sigh or groan, while I pass a sleepless night. I had an awful time moving. It was hot and I nearly killed myself. He never offered to help. You know I paid for our last moving. He says nothing. His sole aim is to get rid of me. Libbie, can you doubt me? Could I feel as I do if I did not love you? Do you believe I could so act a lie? Oh the happy times that we have had.

Libbie, the Judge [Caldwell] got to talking about you the other morning. He spoke of you highly. From what he said, I know he is sorry for what he did last year. He spoke with the utmost contempt of Carse — called him a fool and stupid ass. He said you was as superior to him as light is from darkness, and that if you had a different husband, it would be far better for you. It did me good to hear him talk so of you. He judged you from Carse. He thinks a great deal of you. I have never heard any one speak well of Carse, even his friend Work blackguards him…

Letter Number 215/6

Goodrich writes to Mrs. Elizabeth [“Libbie”] Carse from Little Rock AR.  This letter is not dated but it was probably written in late 1872 following Carse’s visit to Iowa in August to visit his wife who was staying with her parents in Iowa City.  Goodrich appears to be experiencing extreme hardship in accepting the rejection of Mrs. Carse who has decided to terminate their love affair. It is not clear that an original of this letter was ever sent to Mrs. Carse.

Little Rock, Arkansas
[no date — probably late 1872]

My darling Libbie,

I wonder what you are thinking of. Is it of me? Oh how I long to see you again. Are we ever to see each other again? If you do not return and [instead] consent to go with him, have you ever thought of what is to become of me?  If you love me as you say you do, living with him will make you miserable. Then why make two unhappy when you can render them supremely happy. In a year or two, we can be happy if you will resolve, but as soon as the resolve is made, from that time we may be happy henceforward in the consciousness that soon we will be one.

Carse says that when you left he thought you did not love him, but now, since you have got away from me, he believes your old love for him has returned. What egotistical vanity!  Shall I say it?  Libbie, can you put on the semblance even of love to him?  I hope you cannot.  The Worth’s & the Fitches have him body & soul. I wish he would run off or do something else. Worth is cold to me. His guilty conscience tells him that he and others have done us an injury. I have seen Mrs. Leslie. She was glad to see me. She does not think I am a viper nor you a soft silly girl, easily fooled, and more easily tempted to do wrong.

Libbie, my heart yearns for you. I have been in my walks & revisited many of the places we were in and talked love — one straight up the road on the hill where we sat down — and I have tried to imagine that you were there up the street when we had familiar and loving converse. And now, Libbie, do you think I love you? Doesn’t your own heart tell you that I do?

The people here are just laughing about Carse. I did not know that everyone who knows him had such a hearty contempt for him. They think he is the biggest fool out of bedlam.  Libbie, how can you remain with him? Knowing what you do & also knowing what sensible people think of him? To live with him will not speak much for your taste or good sense. But I fear you have condoned. I know you love me & would do anything, but Libbie sometimes I doubt your courage & resolution, and I fear you have yielded to him & granted what you solemnly wrote you never would. I hope your letter will dispel these fancies & imaginings but if it does not, Oh Libbie, what will become of me. I trust you implicitly & do not deceive me. Do not let me lose confidence in you.

[– RLG]

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