Monday, April 13, 2009

Jan 31, 1925: Of Marriages and Mexicans

Below is one of a series of letters my great grandfather, Melvin Van Every, wrote to my grandmother, Myrtle. The year was 1925. This is actually one of the earliest letters I have from him written to her after she had moved to St. Louis in 1920. At this point he was writing weekly, and I have no reason not to believe he wrote weekly in the five years previous. I just don't have those letters.

Minnie was Melvin's eldest daughter, and her two eldest daughters were Margie and Shirley. Josie was Melvin's second wife.

Garfield N.M.
Jan 31 – 1925

Dear Machen

Your letter received Wed. Was glad to hear from you. You say you are having some very cold weather. We are also. It freezes every night but the days are warm. The coldest we have had was 6 above zero and it hangs around 20 any night.

We have had quite an excitement among the Mexicans the past week. A Mexican man on my place give me $10.00 to take him and his girl to Hillsborough the next county seat to get married and I found out on the road the girl was only 15 and they swore she was 18 and was married. They stopped with some other Mexicans before they got home and ask me to find out how the old took it and when I got home I found them very mad. They scoured the country far and wide but did not find them. They about give them up they came to me and tried to get me tell where they were. They came home today. There was no one hurt but they may prosecute them for swearing a lie.

Got a letter from Minnie they were well. Roswell and Margie were with them and Shirley was about to get married. The man she intends marrying seems like a good fellow But

I hope you do well and get a man who can make a living. How about his parents? Do you know them? You know children take after their parents and if their parents are worthless they will prove so also. I believe Roswell will prove good soon as his parents good people and have made a success.

We went to Sunday school this morning and took dinner with a neighbor. Josie was afraid of the Mexicans and they were to come home at noon.

... We have our trees pruned and the orchard looks good. I have to spray for scale while the trees are dormant. and then several times later for other Bugs.

We are getting on nicely farming...

Love and Best Wishes Dad

In some of his letters my great-grandfather illustrates some disappointing views on Mexicans, however, his views were likely typical in 1920s Texas. Still, he was willing to help out a young couple getting married. It's not clear whether he discovered the girl was underage before or after the marriage. Considering his religious nature, I suspect it was the latter.

He repeats the advice of judging a potential spouse by their parents several times in his letters.

No comments: