I came across this letter written to Nellie Thompson, my great-great grandmother's youngest sister. The author of the letter, Florence Ida Richardson Wallace, was the daughter of Nellie's brother Robert Fletcher Richardson II (named for his grandfather, not his father). Nellie, the youngest of the siblings, was born in Vermont in 1847, married George Thompson and lived in the Dakota Territory and later in Washington Territory, over on the Palouse. After George Thompson (in 1914) and their daughter Myrtille (1902) had both passed away, she returned to Wisconsin to live near her niece, Ella Stevens Atwater Sherwood, my great-grandmother.
Florence Ida Richardson Wallace to Eva (Nellie) Thompson Richardson
Dec 7, 1924Dear Auntie:
Yes, I can get you the book you wanted but they didn’t have it at the store where I got the other one so cheap. I sent to the publisher at
When I was a girl I read a lot of Pansy books. They had them at the East Orange S.S. [Sunday School] library but I couldn’t find but four or five at our S.S. library here inWaterbury. I wanted the children to read her books so I began to buy them when I had any money to spare. Have given the children each one for their own. The girls have more than one but it was hard work to find boys stories enough to go round. Do you remember the names of those you reading Dakota? Was wondering if they were any of those I have read. I can remember 35 that I’ve read. I wish I had every one she wrote.
I am sorry Ella doesn’t get strong again. It is so hard to have stomach troubles. Hope Dura doesn’t get cold again. But it’s a good job done where her teeth are out. Mine used to bother me so that I was awful glad when the last one was out. Lelia will be home Friday I expect, but is so far William won’t try to come, fare is so much.
Love to all,
* * * * *This particular letter was written in 1924. While dealing with our parents estate, my brother and I came across some of the Pansy Books referred to in the letter and the ones I have are in the photo above. I don't know exactly where the letter is, but I have another letter where some relative or another is rejoicing that prohibition has passed and that future generations will not have to deal with the terrible consequences that come with alcohol.
The Pansy books were a strong force in the prohibition movement. The author used fiction stories to tell the tales of the destruction and havoc that alcohol brought to families. The stories center a lot on the victims of alcohol, particularly the wives and children who were impoverished because of the hold that the need to drink by their breadwinners brought to their families.