(a) These letters are in pencil, mostly on poor quality paper. Some words are hard to read, especially at the folds, and where a questionable guess has been made the word or phrase in question is enclosed in [ ]. I think that most of my guesses are more or less reasonable.
(b) No attempt has been made to "clean up" the spelling or to put it into modern form. With a tiny bit of study even the most obscure meanings come clear. Some of the misspelled words are also found in correct form elsewhere in the letters, and so one supposes that they are just accidents of casual letter-writing. The others reflect on the writer and give understanding to the details of his life.
(c) An attempt has been made to insert punctuation only where it materially aids the flow of reading. My interpolations are enclosed in [ ].
Pictures of Alonzo and Susan: The tintype of Alonzo is dated 1878. The picture of Susan is marked 1886, and is the original. It was made available, along with several other items including the tintype, by Laura Jean Kolberg, nee Shanks, from material gathered by her mother Katherine Ellen Shanks, nee Ragle.