Monday, September 14, 2009

Amanuensis Monday: January 24, 1926 - Marriage and Brother George

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

The following letter was written by Melvin Van Every to his daughter Myrtle (my grandmother) on January 24, 1926. He lived in Garfield New Mexico, just across the border from El Paso, TX. She had been living in St. Louis for 6 years. They sent each other weekly letters; though I have none of the letters she sent him. All of his letters to her began with "Dear Machen", likely a term of endearment meaning either 'little girl' or 'little woman'.

Garfield N.M.
Jan 24th - 1926

Dear Machen

Your letter received Wed. As usual was glad to hear from you and was glad to hear you were well as I had been worried that I did not hear from you the week before. We are about as well as usual tho I have a bad cough that stays with me both summer and winter. We are having a lot of cold weather this winter the coldest since we have been on the project.

It seems that you thinking of marrying and I writing advising you to marry in my last letter was a coincidence. I have been thinking for a long time that it would be the best thing for you if you could find a man with a future. The man Murry you were going with would be nothing more than he now is and would only make life miserable for you. You are now old enough to make a choice and for working a few years to make a start is alright if it is used right. [...]

We went to Sunday School this morning and will have Methodist Preaching this evening. The preacher and wife stayed all night with us last night. He preached at Hatch today.

There is so many new people moved in we don't know half of them.

Had a letter this week from Bro George and sister Cal. He is 78 and she is 74 they live with Marnie at Knott Texas. Marnie is their daughter. Her husband's well off and have everything fixed up fine they live in a 10 room house with a porch on two sides and he has a 1280 acres in farms and pasture they are 31 miles from Big Springs.

George and Cal sold their home in California. They are too old to work but he is thinking of buying a small farm. He said it would make him feel 20 years younger to work on a farm.

Love and Best Wishes

It's unclear whether "Murry" is the last name of Jack, a man Myrtle was married to very briefly in approximately 1919 -- or a different beau altogether. There is a Jack Murry in the 1920 El Paso, Texas census, 7 years older than Myrtle, and a hired hand. I'm still trying to track down a marriage certificate.

Melvin had twenty siblings, so it's not surprising that even though Myrtle was 26 years old, he wasn't sure she knew the name of a first cousin. There were probably several cousins she didn't know well. George and Cal (likely his wife, Carolyn) lived 4-5 more years, moving to Douglas County, Missouri at some point prior to 1931. (I discovered both of their death certificates online at the Missouri State Archives.)

If you choose to join me in Amanuensis Monday and post your transcriptions, feel free to add a link to your post below, or in the comments.


Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

Twenty siblings! Coming from such a small family I can't quite fathom that.

Anonymous said...

Your accounts are such an historical glimpse into Mother's family's life. Aren't we glad she never threw anything away?

Love, Mom

John said...

I am definitely glad -- and it shows me where I, for better or worse, got the trait from.