Friday, December 26, 2008

Unexpected Christmas Gift - 180 Year Old Letter

I had the unexpected pleasure of coming across this letter today. A young girl, niece of my G-G-G-Great Grandfather Nathaniel Healy was writing her first letter to him after the death of his brother, her father, John Healy. After reading this I feel, well, a bit uneducated and illiterate. Obviously Nathaniel Healy was impressed with this letter as well since he retained it, passed it on in the family, and it has surfaced here again 180 years later. Her handwriting is small, an example of elegant cursive almost lost today.

Dear uncle –
Since I have seated myself to address you, the most singular emotions have, unlicensed, taken possession of my bosom. They crowd into my mind unbidden and I have almost said unwelcome. Past occurrences bear no more resemblance to reality than does midnight to noonday the present itself a dream, and futurity omens the same disappointments. I cannot think you and my father were nursed upon the same lap, encircled by the same maternal arms. It looks impossible. And but for the hope of recovering my reason as I advance, I should be unable to proceed. I am, however, far from wondering at this sudden commotion of my mind, considering the various circumstances that agitate it. Conversing with one whom I have never seen or spoken with, one who lives at such a distance and what is still more absurd, one perhaps that is totally ignorant and unmindful of such a person as myself. I have heard of uncle Nathaniel Healy so have I heard of Mithridates, and Pompey that destroyed him, and Caesar that overthrew Pompey and Brutus that slew Caesar and probably had they lived in my day I should have been curious to see them, and what of that? Who would not, but this does not prove that they would have regarded me. Oh! but my uncle does not possess the wicked heart of Mithridates nor the presentation of Pompey, the ambition of Caesar or the sword of Brutus which have conspired to render them famous more than their virtues. I did not find this name upon the bloodstained page of history. The name of my uncle first sounded in my ear when playing on the knee of my Father, fondly pronounced by him and has never since failed to cast a spell upon my senses for how can that which was dear to him be otherwise than dear to me. Then since I have overcome part of my skepticism I will proceed to say your relatives are all tolerably well in this place, the connection is extensive and I cannot write particularly. Uncle Eben Healy visits us quite often, he is an excellent man and Aunt Eliza Killum [Killow or Killim also options] lives on his farm 1/a a mile, I think they must value each the other’s society highly. My mother wishes to be remembered, she remembers you with much pleasure and thinks the distance is not so great but you might visit us. My two older sisters are married, have two children each. Sister Mary the oldest wrote you immediately after the death of my brother, five years this summer, but received no answer (I hope mine will have better fortune). Sister Sally lives in Auburn eight miles from us. Brother John was married last March. Jesse is younger than myself, he is seventeen. Betsy is next in age to John, her health is not good nor has it been for two years. Hannah is the youngest of the family. So, uncle, I am bless’d with a mother, sisters and brothers, but the early bereavement of my father bids me not think them immortal, for I am sensible a great deal of pleasure has flown with him. Then every flower I beheld promised pleasure when I should restore it to the hand of my father, the crimson strawberries, the first mellow fruit that summer showered into my basket was always carried in haste to him. Now May’s roses pine neglected on the stem and seem to wonder as the retarded hand which over gathered them with so much alertness. But why gather roses since he for whom they were culled in [illegible] of me. My father too was the first who disclosed to me the fair pages of science and now I turn the leaves but slowly. I have, dear uncle, sometimes been so sensible of my loss that life seems almost divested of every charm. At other times when beholding the ungenerous world, I would not have him again witness its unkindness even if a wish were the pledge of his return. Please to remember me to your family together with my brothers and sisters. I must conclude my letter by begging of you to answer it as soon as possible. And now uncle I have a [illegible] album and although I have no claim upon your practical talents, yet I must request of you one verse of your own composition to insert therein.
Do uncle send it in my letter and you will confer the greatest favour possible upon --------
Your affectionate niece
(Dolly Healy)

Nathaniel Healy
Aug 31, 1828
PS Do write minutely respecting yourself and family, DH

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Birthday My Dear Jesus

What a wonderful Christmas! It has been quiet, just our immediate family. The day started with another gorgeous snowfall. The snow lately has been a royal pain because it has messed up traffic and schedules everywhere, but now that we've reached Christmas day it is beautiful, glorious, magnificent. What could be better than having the snuggling blanket of snow covering everything once again. And what a great day. Maybe it's just one day a year, but today nearly everyone stops to celebrate Christmas. And whether we recognize Jesus or not, His impact on the world is shown once again as we celebrate the holiday throughout our land and most of the world.

So, happy birthday Jesus. Thanks for coming here into our chaos and loving us. Thank you to God our Father, Jesus our Savior and Holy Spirit our Comforter and Guide for all you do every day providing the resources we need to live and intervening countless times when we make stupid or evil choices and need to be corrected. Thanks for creating us, redeeming us and changing us one day at a time. Thank you for never abandoning us and leaving us the prisoners of randomness on our planet whirling through space.

What is the purpose of man asks the catechism? To worship God and enjoy Him forever, isn't that the answer? So thank you for letting me know and enjoy You as much as I can. Blessings on You this Christmas Day -- and all honor, glory and power that is Your due. Thank you for your care today and every day until my time is past. Happy Birthday to you, most Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Alpha and Omega - Beginning and End, the Bright and Morning Star.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

1916 Present to Dad

In 1916 my Great Uncle George gave his father a cute little Christmas card. Being broke it seems he had no money for a present; but being creative he came up with a plan! Apparently his dad had arranged to pay him for some major help around the farm while he was home from college so he acknowledged payment in full for any work done before or after the gift was given during the month of December.
Merry Christmas to all! God Bless us Every One!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Gossip and Fun from 1886 Wisconsin

In this entry my great-grandfather, while he was living in Elgin, Minnesota (and apparently when he met my great-grandmother, altho learning about how they met hasn't been come across yet :-)), has received a letter from his younger sister Grace who is still at home in Glendale (now Kendall), Wisconsin. This letter shows in community relationships that the more things change, the more they stay the same!!

Glendale, Jan 10 – 1886

My Dear Brother,
Your letters came among a good many others in due time. Was glad to hear you had so good a time Christmas and that you took part in the exercises as it all helps to pass away the time pleasantly. We had a grand good time at Lemonweir. Took in three dances and went to the Catholic Church Xmas morn – it was the first time I had ever been in the church. It is finished off lovely inside and the singing was very good.
I must tell you what I got for presents. First an Album from Pa, Aunt G, Mariam and Sam. A hand mirror “plush back” from Susie, handkerchief from Clara, perfume from Auntie. I think I fared pretty well, don’t you.
I went to a Masquerade New Year and had a grand time. There were over sixty numbers. I went with Levi Brown and Lew and Jimmie Gallagher’s. They went masked but I had never been anywhere with him before so that they didn’t anyone know me. My suit was the prettiest in the hall; it was to represent night in a snowstorm. Every one caught on so it must have been quite “plain” – see?
Well, Will, we have had quite a tragedy here in the neighborhood. Old Andrew Smith poisoned himself last Sun. You perhaps have heard that his wife left him a short time ago. He has threatened to kill the children but Mr. Dunning took them away from him. There is no doubt in people’s minds that he was crazy. The account will be in the
Elroy paper next week. Will send it to you. He died at Mr. Senegal’s and it gave them a fearful scare. It must have been a fearful death from all accounts. It was his request to be buried on his farm and he staked his grave out.
We were over there one evening last week and Mr. Dunlap’s folks were there. The same evening we woke up the valley over there in big shape. Sam said he guessed Old Andrew would turn over if we didn’t stop making such a noise.
Marthy says they killed him trying to make him vomit up the poison by giving him tobacco juice. She is the worst old seed I ever saw.
Harry is married and they have gone to Sparta to live and Nell’s father was cranky about the marriage but guess he will come around all right.
We were over to Cutlands today; had a first rate good time.
Susie was as well as usual when we last heard from her. And the rest are all well. I am going up to Elmer’s the first of next week.
Well, I must say good night and get some something to eat as I am hungry.
Your loving sister,

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Grandma & Aunt Dora's View of our Shared Task

Being the "Keeper of the Letters" now I enjoy recognizing some of the feelings of my grandma and Aunt Dora as I read the letter below. This was their shared appreciation of this wealth of family history that Great Grandma Ella Jane and her maternal Aunt Nellie had collected and cherished over the years. Some of them have been previously posted here and others will be in the future.

I was just ten months old when this was written ~ little did I know how signifcant their thoughts would be to me decades later. Now I have the fun priviledge of listening to the thoughts of those long gone loved ones and sharing them with those of you who care ~ enjoy!

Sunday, July 20 – 52

My very precious sister – Two weeks since we reached home. I am beginning to feel myself. Was very weary – it was so hot. I do hope we did not leave you so worn out that you were ill after we left. You know dear, I too felt as tho brother did not take the same interest we did in the vast amount of material that mother and grandmother and Aunt Nellie had worked so long and hard to assemble, led by the guidance of the Holy Spirit without knowing why they should do it. Likewise, you, led by the same Spirit, had protected those things over all those intervening years. It would have been beautiful if we three could have worked together as we two did, but he just did not seem to have our feeling in the matter. Perhaps our Father has given to the women of the present day the urge to keep the records and to receive the blessings for so doing.
I know I have received great spiritual blessing for what we did and you will remember that command to honor our parents has its promise of long days in which to complete the work.
George was wonderful to me. We stopped at Leslie and Ida Atwater’s, drove over the family lot in the Burns Cemetery. Leslie called Aunt Grace Jewett at Chippewa Falls and we all drove up (110 mi) and back the next day. She was able to tell us where to find my father’s[1] grave at Mindoro. We drove past the old Atwater home where I was born, the great-grandmother home tho the house was different. She was a Post and the Kendrick name was the later husband. I also learned that Grandfather Atwater did have other brothers and sisters. Uncle Milt lived close to the Mindoro Cemetery and I remembered visiting there when Mother and I came back from Minn, before she and dad were married and it was at Mindoro I talked over a local phone for the first time. By the way the Skelton and Robinson names we ran across were sisters of G-Father Atwater (Em & Harriet), doesn’t that sound like Uncle John s’ daughters[2]? George said he planned to start a day early as we could have time for any thing I needed to do and he was so wonderful and considerate. We spent 2 nights at Leslie’s and got a really early start July 4th and through La Crosse before heavy traffic started. Ida spoke of the time you called there. They were away and only one or two of their girls and Lenore’s son were there. I can imagine they knew practically nothing about me or my family. Uncle Len passed away 2 years ago. Just walked down stairs and dropped. Since we got home went to the orchard as when you were here, picked and put up cherries and apricots. Last week the Evans family from Winslow Ariz, was in town and here nearly every day. Now I must not start another sheet. More love than I can say for you and love to family. Will write each one soon.
Your sister,
[1] Elmer Atwater
[2] John Sherwood, Dora’s Uncle, also had two daughters, Emma and Harriet. In 1880 both girls lived at home and their step mother was still alive. In 1900 Emma lived with her father and there was no one else at home. In1920 Emma lived alone. I have never been able to find out if Harriet was married or not. As the 1890 census is mostly missing due to a fire, I don’t know if Harriet still lived with her father, if she was married, or if she and Emma were living together away from home at that time.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Remembering John Q Richardson, An Elgin "Old Settler"

Following is a letter written by John Q Richardson of Elgin, Minnesota in May of 1912. He was writing to his cousin, Ella Jane Stevens Sherwood who lived in Kendall, Wisconsin. At that time he was almost 84 years old and still was a hard worker.

Elgin, Minn., May 6, 1912

Dear Cousin Ella:
I think it time I sent you a letter.
We are still moving, slowly perhaps. Delie has been having a cold but is nearly well. I have been well for three whole days and hope to keep on. When I can go a week and have no trouble with my liver I shall feel glad. At the farm they are done seeding. The silage is nearly all eaten. Thirty young cattle are turned out to pasture. Ralph has two men, good ones. The hogs – eight sows are in pasture.
But the apples are not gong to be more than one twentieth as many as we had last year. There are very flew blossom buds.
And nine tenths of the blueberry bushes were killed to the ground. Some of those will start from the roots.
[In Ella’s handwriting added along side his writing, “He set about 150 blueberry plants from here and all were alive last fall – mother.”] The first two months of last winter were very cold. I think the blossom buds on the apple trees were killed then.
Last evening Delie and I went to a show of pictures at the church. It was the Head Hunters of Borneo, and other fine sights among the Malays. It was fine.
Men began, this morning, to build a house across the street. It will be about thirty feet square and two stories high.
My work, lately, has been setting red raspberries in the woods on the farm. I get them here, where they are building that house. They will not begin to bear much for two years. Of course I have my horse here.
--10:40 AM
The clothes are washed, ready to hang out.
As for going East, I must sow some garden seeds and I must see how my health is. It will be several weeks before I can start, if I go. I want to go, very much. I want to see the old farm once more.

Tuesday morning.

Yesterday I hired a German to work today in the garden, digging dandelions with a spade. I have been digging them lately.
About a month ago, my wind vane blew down. It had been on the barn fifteen years. But was made of pine and decayed. I wanted one that would last better. So I made it of burr oak. I had to hew it out of a stick four feet long and six inches wide – the half of the tree. It was well seasoned. I was nearly a week making it. But it is a good one. I got Ralph to do the climbing.
I have been reading Darwin lately. I got the books more than twenty years ago and read them then; but one forgets in twenty years. This is a wonderful world.
I have not heard from Pine Terrace for several weeks. Please write.
This is the fifth day of good health for me -- I am very glad.
I shall go to the farm by and by and get some milk and eggs, do a little hoeing, water Prince, and get home to dinner.
I have hoed the blueberry bushes. Some of them were killed to the ground but will start form the root. A good many are blossoming. I think I shall have less than a quart of berries this year. The bushes have spread some, even in one year so that if I live I can take up some outside plants and set them in vacant places – next year.
I hear form Cousin J. J. Smith of South Newbury, Vermont, that he’s milking machines were not a success and he has gone back to the old way. He milks twenty Guernseys. He has the best farm buildings I ever saw.
4:30 PM
I think I would better bring this letter to a close and send it tonight. I am still well, but awfully old – 84 next Saturday. Please write. Yours, etc.,
J. Q. Richardson

[Ella Jane forwarded this letter on to her daughter Dora with an additional note – “Guess I’ll send this too, but you need return only Uncle Roberts. Ralph’s wife is not very chummy and John and Delie miss Grandma’s letters, so I try to write often. Their birthdays are J – May 11th, Delia, May 21st. Send them a card please. Love to you each. Mother”]

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Last of the Generation

Two weeks ago today my dear Uncle Bill passed on. He is by far the main reason I have been transcribing hundreds of old family letters and the fact that he is no longer here to read them is a great loss to me. He was the last of the four siblings born to Herman August Ludwig Weber and Susan Rosina Sherwood. He was the first to arrive in their family and the last to leave. We will miss him greatly. He was a generous, warm hearted man. In honor of him, I thought it would be fitting to hear his Uncle's thoughts from the day he first learned of William Philip's coming advent. Uncle Bill -- we will never forget you. (In this photo, Bill stands on the right of his siblings and his grandfather, William Sherwood a few years later. The others, Left to right, are Mary, Robert (my dad) and Carl.) His uncle, George, here writes from Luxembourg after WWI armistice.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Echternach, Luxembourg
February 22, 1919

Dear Ones ALL
Since reading today’s mail, I’ll never forgive Bill Hohenzollern if I don’t get back by the middle of June. By the way, Mother, this cancels the necessity for answering my “Confidential Note.” Don’t you all think I’m a pretty keen kid. Now Sister, do not blame Mother for in case you didn’t see what she wrote it was only a remark wondering if she could get away to Aunt Nellie’s Birthday Party?!?! Of course I was crazy for more information, for while I had hardly even thot of the possibility before reading that, the first thought that came to me was “I wonder.” But having not even a ghost of a reason to think I was right I searched the letters all carefully and found not even a hint. Then I thot I was probably crazy but occasionally a little bird seemed to whisper, “you're right, you're right,” and then when I read Susan’s letters of the last of Jan suggesting a secret, of course I knew my hunch was right, tho I rushed frantically on to her Birthday letter to get verification in her own dear words. Now I know I’ve got to get home to celebrate the Birthday Parties – How’s that? Oh, folks – you don’t know how proud and glad I am. I feel just like I did a little over a year ago when sister let me in on advance dope of March 12, 1918. Herman, I hope you won’t be jealous or vain either one if I say that the only thing which can make me happier than when I got you for a brother-in-law, will be the safe arrival of a little niece or nephew.

Sister, I’m sure glad to be let in on this too, and as luck would have it the news came just when we were preparing for the usual kind of an Army Holiday plus homesickness & Spring fever. Now in spite of the preparation necessary for the coming inspection, and the work to do, and the rain etc., etc., I’m feeling as cozy and happy as its possible to feel “On this side of the Pond,” when you want to be “On the Other side of the Pond.” Compree?

I think this letter will mean quite a bit to you, but if it is censored very close they will have me up on the medical carpet examining me for Insanity. Oh! Well, probably that is the only grounds I could get a discharge on at present!

Got a letter from Mayme Finnican today too. As I just sent her a rather bum letter telling her I wished she would write, you had better tell her I got it next time you see her, but that I’m just as anxious to get an answer to this last one I sent. I also received Aunt Nellie’s letter, which I’ll try to answer soon.

All I can really say about when we will get home is that things look as bright now as they ever did for us to hit there by the 4th of July. And believe me, you bet if I’m in the US I sure will make an effort to be Home. The longer I wait the more things to celebrate seems to pop up. I guess you’ll have to fat up three or four “calves.”

So my letters prove “intensely interesting.” That is consoling but I’m afraid the General Public will not or rather would not appreciate it. Ha! Ha! Bet if I really did write something good you would all die of delight. By the way, what is the latest news from Ed Schultz. And how is his mother. You know there is a little hitch between the two arms of service, especially the Great Lakes Training Boys and the Army fellows over here. The best name I’ve heard applied to them yet came out this week remarking on them as “Ladies Home Companions.” Of course we realize that many of them really wanted to see some service, but so many of them squeezed into that as a bomb proof job to escape the draft and then were coddled in Chicago during the war that it gets under our skin a little to see the Hero’s praised for the “Terrible Battle of Great Lakes” as we call it. And for every enlisted man you see in an advertisement, or posing by some fair damsel on a Magazine Cover you see forty sailors. There is a little element of truth and irony in it at that for as far as most of the Great Lakes Gobs go, that is about all they did. However, I’d like to know what Ed’s address now is and I’ll try to drop him a line as he doubtless has worked hard. I dropped his mother a card from Aix-les-Baines. Hope she received it OK.

A couple of Dutchmen just came in with a pass to Germany to be vic’d and I had to trail off down to the town Majors with them, but in spite of the rain I was even whistling when I came back all because your letters had made me so happy. If this one to you could only spread as much joy I would sure be glad I wrote it, but I’m having a lot of fun writing it anyway. (Now there’s more reason than ever to be very careful of yourselves so I’ll leave it up to the Webers to keep good tab on the Sherwoods and vice versa.)

(Feb 23rd, 1919)
Just got that far when I had to stop as per usual. But here we go again on a beautiful sunny Sunday morning, the sun fairly blazing down on me thru the open window of the office. So I’ll just send my love along with him as the moon hasn’t showed up lately. Say, you nearly ruined me. I went to bed last nite at about eleven P.M. and then I started to think about your letters and going home, etc. and before I knew it I was going over and over the trip from Echternach clear back home to that cool white bed. Bet I made the whole trip at least 20 times, never twice the same. And you have gone and busted one of my fondest hopes. With my little sister threatening maternity, and a mother with heart trouble, how do you suppose I’m going to dare try to surprise you. No, that is another busted bubble. But guess there wouldn’t be much chance anyway as Chicago will probably advertise our return enough. But of course don’t expect me until you hear from me even then as it takes about two weeks to muster out after we hit camp. Gee I’m raving as tho I was there already and there is no chance that I can see to get to Chicago before June 15th or so.

Love to you all again & again

Corp. Geo Sherwood
108th US Engineers
American Exp. Forces

(Censored by) C. L. Thompson
Capt. 108th Engrs
Amer. Ex F

Friday, October 31, 2008

Greeting the Saints on All Hallows Eve

Six days ago I was standing in a golden carpet of fallen leaves and looking at the resting places of my great-great-great-great-great Grandfather Church Tabor and his wife's mother, Jane Steel. A few hours after that I also visited a few miles away the final resting place of my Grandmother Elizabeth (Betsy) Steel Tabor. The first two rest in a large cemetery in South Hero, Vermont next to two of his grandchildren, Church Tabor Healy and Sally Drusilla Healy, children of his son-in-law and daughter Nathaniel and Jane Tabor Healy. Church Tabor had reportedly died in a house fire in January of 1835. The story is that he got out of the burning building, but then tried to save some things and died in the attempt. Not surprisingly, the ephitaph on his marker reads, "Be ye also ready for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." It is obvious why those particular words were selected. Church's mother-in-law rests next to him. She passed away on September 15, 1821. The words at the bottom of her stone are less legible, but appear to read, "Depart my friend wipe off your tears. Here I must lie til Christ appears."

We then drove to the top of North Hero Island and back over to the mainland to W Swanton on Hog Island. We had read in a history of South Hero that there was a private Tabor Cemetery there and that was where Elizabeth was buried. We found her there in the quiet place, buried next to her son, James Madison Tabor and his wife Mary. She had lived until July 10, 1845. On her stone the comforting words, "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord."

I am so blessed to have had so many men and women in my ancestry who have loved the Lord and who have lived their lives with faith in God and who have faced death with the same faith that they lived. When standing before the stone of Jane Steel, I thought of those who had followed who had faithfully shared their love of Jesus with the next generation.

On this All Hallow's Eve, I want to thank Jane Steel, Church and Betsy Tabor, Nathaniel and Jane Tabor Healy, Robert and Rosina Healy Richardson, David and Rosina Jane Richardson Stevens, Will and Ella Jane Stevens Atwater Sherwood, Herman and Susan Sherwood Weber, and my dear parents Bob and Bernadine Weber (she's still here) and all the other aunts, uncles and cousins of long ago for their faithfulness is showing to each succeeding generation the amazing love of God.
I look forward to seeing them all when the last trumpet sounds.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gems of Thought by Susan Sherwood

This is a little tiny booklet -- about 2 X 2 inches, tied together with string. Poem hand written on the little pages. Obviously my grandmother had heard many stories about all the relatives dear to her parents and grandparents and the thought of them surrounding her was not a scary, but a comforting thought. This was probably written around 1905, at least sometime during Susan's elementary years if her handwriting is any indication. I don't know for sure if she wrote this or if she copied it from elsewhere. I couldn't find it on the internet.
1905-0000 – est. date unknown poem by late elementary age Susan Sherwood

Title on front cover:

Gems of Thought

Inside front page:

To mama and papa
From Susie.

Sleep little child
Dream, O mine own!
Winds may be wild
Thou’rt not alone
Mother and sire
Watch o’er thy dream;
Soft burns the fire
Out of its gleam
Back come those eyes
Dead long ago
Back come the sighs,
Laughter and woe!
Round thy small bed
Gathers a host
Drawn from the dead
Each a dear ghost
All of thy race
Watch o’er thy sleep
Breathe on thy face
Benisons deep
Sleep little child,
Dream, O mine own
Winds may be wild
Thou’rt not alone.

Rumor Has It -- George Meets the Love of His Life

This letter was written from Dora to her sister and family, but really was meant for their parents Will and Ella Jane Sherwood and likely Aunt Nellie Thompson as well. Nellie lived in Glendale, but the Sherwoods and the Webers lived on Spring Brook Farm in Kendall, Wisconsin together.

1921-0827 – Dora Sherwood Lindsay to Susan Sherwood Weber

Castle Gate, Utah, Aug 27

Dear Sister. . .
I’m wondering tonight what frame of mind you are all in tonight. I presume you have heard from George and wonder if his letter to you is an un-explanatory as the one we received a day or two ago. He had written it the day after sending yours but we had had no mail for days owing to the widespread wash-outs. Truly we don’t now whether he has committed matrimony or is merely contemplating such a thing but I wrote to them both and asked them to come up and think if they do I may learn the facts. George wrote a beautiful letter which left no doubt that he is very happy and proud. We’ve talked that sort of thing many times and of course after having fallen in love in fifteen minutes and married on the price of the next meal only. Guy and I have always told George that he would meet his fate quite unexpectedly some day and there was no use in figuring it all out in dollars and cents and years. I only hope his experience will be just half as satisfactory as mine has been – he will never regret it if it is.
Guy just called from Price to say he would not be home tonight. He dashed in about 4:30 to say he was going to Sunnyside (40 mi.). The railroad was out and would not be repaired for days so the Sunnyside pay had been unloaded here and an auto load of guards were taking it to Sunnyside. It was a good many thousands in cash and they were taking no chances. I was very glad to hear from him and know they got over without accident or adventure. The country is full of idle, discontented and vicious men and in no place do they gather more than in the vicinity of these big industrial centers, manufacturing, mining, etc. I presume that nowhere could you go into a picture show and see a more varied group than at Helper. One night long ago Guy and I commented upon the fact that every race (color) and dozens of nationalities were presented in the house.
The kiddies are sleeping. It is so seldom that I can get a quiet moment free from all these unless it is a very late hour. After I’ve gotten the two elders to bed, Marjorie usually wakes for a little while, sometimes an hour or so. But then they are all very good babies and we are so happy with them. I do have to laugh at the funny little lock which sticks up on Marjorie’s crown just like her dad’s, and even the wrinkles and creases which match his. It does seem almost too bad she was not a boy since she is so like Guy but now we have known her we would not trade her for all the boys in the world. Besides being long she is a very active little person and at 6 weeks could not keep her feet pinned up. I’d made her dresses all short 20 in (only a few left over pieces being enough and those only to be worn once or twice for associations sake) so now she is out of pinners and in shorts all at once. Her little legs look so cute in hose and booties and she loves to lie and kick – and wiggle and grunt.
I’ve been trying to make some calls for two weeks and every afternoon it rains. The first trains from the east went thro here this morning, just a week out of Denver and tied up at Price unable to get either way. (See clippings). Oh, I failed to mention that near neighbors who have known Atha all her life say she is a very sweet girl.
Good night now, Lovingly

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

In Honor of Barb - self-explanatory to her!

July 31, 1921

Dear Folks: - I know I’ll not finish but perhaps can make a beginning before Guy comes home or Marjorie wakes for a late lunch as she usually does about 11 PM. She is so good we scarcely know we have a baby in the house. Mrs. Thomas will help me wash and general clean up Tuesday otherwise I find the work no great drag. Am so strong again. I’ve had lots of company ever since baby came which has taken some time but has been a great joy to me too. I don’t see how any one has pep to go out this hot weather. Did I tell you that the club gave me chain and locket for baby. They have usually sent flowers etc., but we like the other better. Every one has been so lovely to me. Oh, you asked so many questions. Marjorie was born July 16th, length 24 inches, weight a little more than 7 lbs after subtracting clothes. She looks a lot more like her daddy than either of the others. Has quite a lot of dark hair, quite the usual number of features generally. A few more than average dimples and a heavenly disposition. Both her sisters think she is the most wonderful. Yesterday after I washed Frances for her nap, she climbed up by baby and went to sleep. Margaret will sit and hold her till the busy little muscles must ache but it’s her baby

Monday night – another few minutes before bed time. We had such a very lovely letter from you today. We do enjoy your letters. So sorry you had to wait for our letters. IT seems simply impossible to write when the children are awake. They always discover me and want to help till I give it up. You spoke of scarcity of fruit. Some kinds have not been plentiful here but I never do put up small fruits. “Did” a bushel of berries. The canning fever has not struck me. When Mrs. Davis mentioned apple jelly I hated the idea. Believe I’m getting soft. This summer I did not seem able to care whether or not we raised any garden if we got a few flowers. Guy has done everything outside. And inside I didn’t even want to bother to think what we should eat when I did not have to cook. Worst of it is, it’s pure laziness for I’m so well in every way. When doctor was here he spoke of my being in such good flesh and everyone nearly speaks of how well I look. Won’t it be awful if I get fat and lazy with the years. Horrors! I’ll lose a perfectly good husband if I act like that.

Friday, Aug 5th. Guy went to Provo to make proof on the 480 A [acres]. You see we did not have to live on it, just put 1.25 per A improvements on it. At present prices the fencing quickly ate up the required $600. Things surely have changed the past year. Why a year ago it was almost impossible to hire a man to do anything now there are hundreds of idle men everywhere. Things seem to be picking up in the camps tho – mines are running 5 days a week for the first time in months. I’ve seen George only once since baby came. She was only a few days old when he came up for some things. He was then working for a ranchman near Woodside and told us to forward mail there. We have done so – but he does not favor us with any remarks. He seems to think no one need worry if they don’t hear of his “taking off.”

Honestly, I’m happier about George this summer than I’ve been at any time since he came out here. While he never did anything to worry us, in common with so many of the young men of the day, both those who had been in the army and those who had been making a great deal in industries, he found it very hard to get his poise again. He realized it and talked of it and even when he had filed on the land he did not at first seem to have that nerve to take a long chance and win in spite of odds. But that trip to Pueblo helped him. He says he feels more like himself again, that in some way conditions there were quite as horrible as anything he saw in Europe. The counter shock of that – meeting different people and realizing more how much the mass of people are up against to begin to succeed – etc., has done worlds of good. We older people had gotten ours in the world of hard knocks and were seasoned to bear the unbalancing effects of the past 7 or 8 years. We can’t blame the younger ones if it hits them harder.

Well I must close. Nearly bed time – Love to “you all” from “us all.”

As ever, Dora

Don’t forget to give our love to the Glendale family.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A letter from Dora while in Vermont

I'm so excited about finding a new distant cousin that I'm running around in circles wondering what I should post next! As I have been very random recently, this is a good trend I believe.
In honor of finding (nearly) a descendent of Aunt Dora, I am posting a letter from Dora to her mother from 1904. To my new cousins perhaps surprise, Dora was engaged then to a cousin Albert Richardson at that time. Have never figured out what happened so that they didn't get married, but it all worked out years later when she met and married Guy Lindsey -- partly because of a hotel fire. But I'm getting ahead of myself :-)!

But back to Vermont (and to the fun of being able finally to share her letters with her great-grandchildren). All her earlier relatives were from Peacham, Topsham, Groton and other nearby Vermont towns. She had gone up there to teach school for awhile. . .here is one of her letters home:

Peacham, VT, Sept 27, 1904

Dear Mother,

I will write you a few lines to let you know that I survived my operation and am getting on nicely. I have just had six inches amputated from the length of my hair and did not take ether strange as it may seem.

Why don’t you write to me? Don’t you know that I have worried nearly crazy about you. Not a line from any one for three weeks. Or are you so sick you could not write? If you can’t write, have some of the rest write. Just a line, for you know how anxious I am over my dear mother. Did you think dear that I would not come to you if you needed me? No, indeed. Only that if you were not so sick that you really needed me that I had better stay here awhile. I have looked every night for a letter from you and have put off writing hoping to hear from you.

I have written to grandma all about Mrs. Ferguson and how sick she is and she will tell you about it. I keep pretty busy but also keep pretty well. My stomach has not troubled me for several weeks. Every one is very kind to me. Mrs. F asked me one day what young people I knew and when I began to innumerate she exclaimed, “Why you are in the cream of society.”

I will have to tell you about the “Thank You” social given by the C. E. last night. Perhaps you can use the idea there. Each girl was requested to bring two aprons, preferably kitchen aprons. After the ice was broken by a game or two, every lady and gentleman was requested to don an apron and the fun began. Every time any one speaks to you or you to the, you must precede the reply by Thank You. For example, if I ask, “How are you feeling this evening, Miss B.” she replies “Thank you, I have a bad cold.” And I say “Thank you, I am very sorry.” If any one fails to say thank you the party to whom they are speaking gives them their apron and goes without. Every ones object is to get rid of their apron and not get another one. At the end of an hour judge and police take their places and every person having one or more aprons on his person is fined two cents each for them. Of course some will have several and some none, but you may be sure there is no lull in the conversation.

The played the vacant chair. As many chairs as players are placed in a circle. There is one vacant chair and one person in the middle. Each person is responsible for keeping the chair at the right filled, hence when A slips into the vacant chair at his right, B slips into A’s and C into B’s before the person in the middle can get it. If B fails to get A’s chair when it is vacated before the person in the center takes it, B must take his place in the Center. As Sue Williams said, the boys like to play it because sometimes the girls inadvertently sit in their laps and possibly the girls like it for the same reason.

Albert and I have not been to St. Johnsbury yet but will go tomorrow if it is a fair day.

It is time for me to fire up and get supper. I wish you could taste the dandy cake I made this morning. “Self-praise.”

Do you all write to me now. You little people let me know how mother is won’t you? And mother, you may as well tell me just how you are for I shall know anyway.

Oh, how I should love to be with you all. And yet I am happy and contented as anyone could ask for haven’t I my boy? The boys are both very good to me. A lady whom I met not long ago herself the mother of two young men, said to me, “Your cousins seem always to think of you first in every thing and they always speak so loyally of you that I know you exert a refining influence over them." She could have said nothing to please me more.

You will pardon me if I am conceited in writing such things.

Oh, my Supper!!!!

Love to each more than I can tell of heart yearning.


How fun! This morning I happened to scroll down to see if anyone had left any comments (I usually don't because there usually aren't :-) ) and WOW a distant relative has surfaced! And even more exciting, on the side of the family that I didn't have any email connections to send letters to. I've been typing up old family letters and sending them out to a group of extended family to read. In honor of this exciting discovery, I'm delighted to share photos of Dora at 5 months and Ella Jane at 16 years.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Great Great Great Uncle Henry C. Richardson

I'm amazed at all the family history that I've discovered in the past few years. Uncle Henry was in the Civil War for nearly four years and was injured twice. I was also pleased to discover this photo of him.

Henry C Richardson was the son of Robert and Rosina (Healy) Richardson of Topsham, Vermont. He was born November 20, 1838 and died Aug 15, 1910.

Rosina, his mother, wrote a poem for Henry when he left to go off to war, although I don't know that she actually gave it to him; she may have just written it for her own comfort. Henry enlisted in the Army in December 1861 to fight in the Civil War; so this was likely written before December of 1861. He came home in 1864. He was married three times, his first wife died within a couple of years, but they did have two children. He then marrried Lydia Whitehill who was his dear love and next to whom he is buried. They had six more children, Robert, William, Mary, George, Margaret and Albert.

To Henry

Pen can’t portray nor Language tell
How hard it is to say farewell
Yet your Country calls and I bid you go
A Mother’s grief you will never know

Shun temptations, be of courage strong
I trust the conflict will not be long
Choose your associates; bind your Bible to your heart
And from its Holy precepts ne’er depart

And though on earth we meet no more
May we united be on that blessed shore
Where parting, sorrow, pain and woe
In that happy home we never shall know.

A Mother’s prayers shall ascend each day
To God to guide you on your way
And if it is “His will” may you return again my son
If not enable us to say “Thy Will be done.”

Sunday, April 20, 2008


The Pacific Northwest is doing it's part to show that weather happens and it doesn't mean the sky is falling. Chicken Little had nothing on the news media, that's for sure. I am all for recycling and not wasting the resources of the earth, taking care and being responsible. However, it seems to me that people fall on one side of the argument or the other -- either we believe God is real and we can count on him to take care of us and watch over us, or we think we are inhabitants of a random, impersonal cosmic mutation that can disappear as easily as it showed up. After all the hype of global warming, now changed to "climate change" to take in any variation, we've enjoyed 4 and 3/4 inches of frozen rain during our spring. I opt for God having a sense of humor when it comes to weather. In 1919, I read yesterday in a letter from my great-uncle, Montana "burned up" -- it was so hot all the crops died and there was no work for his friend who joined him in North Dakota to thresh. Weather is weather and we can always count on it to change. And people are being diagnosed with eco-anxiety. I opt for trust in the Lord. Attached are visions of global warming in Seattle area on April 17, 2008 :-).

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Great-Great-Great Grandmother's Thoughts

I came across a poem written by my grandmother's great-grandmother, in her own handwriting. It was definitely written after 1855 and before 1872 which was the year when she passed away. It is likely it was written around 1871. She was married to Robert Richardson born in 1805 to 1889. He was the son of Robert Fletcher Richardson - "the two Richards."

Her children:
Rosina Jane Richardson Stevens 1835-1912
Mary Elizabeth Richardson Welch and later Dexter 1839-1879
Robert Fletcher Richardson 1832-1922
Nathaniel Healy Richardson 1837-1908
Henry Carlton Richardson 1838-1910
Evalina (Nellie) Irene Richardson Thompson 1847-1926
Cornelius Warren Richardson 1834-1835
Coraline Lorane Richardson 1845-1846

A Mother’s Thoughts

Silent and lone, Silent and lone
Where, tell me where, are my little ones gone
Who used to be playing about my knee
With their noisy mirth and boisterous glee
Who littered the carpet and misplaced the chairs
And scattered their playthings all unawares?
Who called for their supper with eager shout
And while it was getting, ran in and out
Who kept all the apples and nuts from spoiling
And never saved jackets and pants from soiling
Had ever a want and ever a will
That added a care to my heart – until
I sometimes signed for the time to come
When they’d be big and go out from home.
Silent and lone, silent and lone
Where, tell me where, are my little ones gone?
There’s no little faces to wash to night
No little trouble for mother to right
No little black eyes to be rocked to sleep
No little playthings to put up to keep
No little garments to hang on the rack
No little tales to tell, no nuts to crack
No little trundle bed brimful of rollick
Calling for mother to settle the frolic
No little soft lips to press me with kisses
Oh! Such a sad, lonely evening as this is!
No little voices to shout with delight
“Good night, dear mama, good night, good night!”
Silent the house is, no little ones here
To startle a smile, or chase back a tear.
Silent and lone, silent and lone
Where, tell me where, are my little ones gone.
It seemeth but yesterday since they were young
Now they’re scattered the world’s paths among
Little ones, loving ones, playful ones, all
Who went when I bade, and came at my call.
Have you deserted me? Will ye not come
Back to your mother’s arms, back to your home.
Silent and lone, silent and lone
Where tell me where are my little ones gone.
Useless my cry is! Why do I complain?
They’ll be my little ones never again!
Can the great oaks to the acorns return

The broad rolling stream flow back to the byrne?
The mother call childhood back to her knee
That in manhood went forth the strong and the free?
Nay, Nay no true mother would ask for them back
Her work nobly done, their firm tramp on life’s track
Will come like an organ note lofty and clear
To lift up her soul and her spirit to cheer
And though the times fall when silent and lone
She’ll know it is best they are scattered and gone
Silent and lone, silent and lone
Thy will, O my Father, not my will be done.

Rosina Healy Richardson