Monday, October 17, 2011

Amanuensis Monday: Judson Van Every - Manchester Journal - 1915-1917

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

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

I began this project back in February of 2009, and since then, many others have joined in on the meme.  Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others. If you participate, feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments.
This week, I share more transcriptions from The Manchester Journal (Manchester, OK).  Judson Van Every, the brother of my great grandfather, Melvin Van Every, appeared often in the pages.  These transcriptions were originally written down by Wayne York, a grandson of Judson Van Every.  I found the transcriptions attached to an entry on an Ancestry Public Member Tree belonging to plnjmw. They are shared with her permission.

Last week, we saw Jud and his family left the Manchester area in April of 1910 for Idaho.  But his travels didn't end there.

Dec 3, 1915

Last Thursday, November 25th, Jud Van Every of Heyburn, Idaho, dropped off the train here to visit with friends and relatives, before continuing his journey to San Marcos, Texas, to visit his brother and other relatives whom he has not seen since he left there some thirty years ago. Mr. Van Every lived northwest of Manchester for several years and then sold out and moved to Idaho, where he seems to be mighty well satisfied. He brought a dozen or more apples of his own raising consisting of three varieties, one of which for size, flavor, and general appearance was notable. This variety is known as Stark Delicious, and is very fine. He said that these were the first apples he ever raised, although he had planted several orchards and these were the first crop on his new orchard. A failure of crops of the varieties suited to the climate is never known. He had photos of his home which show that he is comfortably situated. He has gone extensively into hog raising and fattens them on barley, wheat, etc. The nights are too cool generally for corn to do well, so they substitute other grains which are ground and cooked with cull potatoes. This, he says, makes a good ration better than corn for growth on fattening hogs. He said that cholera broke out but the government sent experts that have stamped it out, so there is no risk to run from that source.

Dec 10, 1915

Jud Van Every left Thursday morning for San Marcos, Texas, where he will visit friends and relatives. When coming back here he only expected to stay three or four days, but he found it impossible to tear himself away and was compelled to stay two weeks in order to visit with only a part of his friends.

Dec 8, 1916
Letter from Idaho.

Rupert, Idaho
November 27, 1916

E.A. Wood
Manchester, Oklahoma

Friend Pete:
It has been some time since I wrote you. When I got home from Texas last spring it was time to go to work, and believe me, I have not had time to catch my breath until it froze up this fall. This has been a freak year here. We had a cold late spring and on May 10th when the alfalfa was about a foot high it froze off to the ground. All the tree fruit was killed, and nearly all the berry crop. Everybody thought we were not going to make much, but later on it turned warm and everything got a move on itself. We made about as much as usual.

I cut my alfalfa three times and got six tons per acre. Prices of nearly all farm crops are about double those of last year. Present prices are: $12.50 per ton for hay in the stack, wheat $2.50 cwt., spuds 2.00 cwt., barley 2.00 cwt., oats 2.00 cwt.

One of my neighbors has just sold the hay from 50 acres for $2,950, but as usual the farmers did not get the high prices that are being paid now. Most of the spuds were bought for 1.50 cwt., and the biggest part of the hay was sold for 8.00. I sold part of my spuds for 1.40, part for 1.90, and some for 2.00 cwt. I have 200 bushels in the cellar.

On November 12th the ground froze up solid. Caught lots of sugar beets in the ground, also a few spuds. We have been having nice weather for the last two weeks; it freezes every night but the days are pleasant.
I had a nice visit in southern Texas last winter. It had been 36 years since I last saw my folks there. With the exception of the few northers they have there, the climate is fine in the winter. The changes are so sudden that a person nearly freezes to death when it does turn cold. An old Texan, in telling me about the sudden changes in the weather, said he had a Mexican plowing for him with a yoke of oxen. It was so hot that one of the oxen died with the heat, and while he was skinning it, a norther came up and froze the other ox to death.

I am alone on the farm now. One of my boys has a farm of his own, one got married, and one has gone to California. I am going to start for Arizona on the 29th. My daughter, Lella, is at Somerton. I will stop there for a short time, then I will go to the Rio Grande project in Mexico to give that project the “once over” with the view of locating there if it suits me. From there I will go to southern Texas and probably stay all winter. This is the best farming country I ever lived in, but since I have begun to get old I do not like so much cold weather.

I enclose $1.00 on subscription for the JOURNAL, if you will send me a statement of my account to Somerton, Arizona, I will remit the balance due if any. I have no idea how we stand. Wish you change the address on the JOURNAL to Rupert, Idaho, as my mail route has been changed.

Hoping you are well and enjoy life, I remain as ever,

Your friend,
Jud Van Every

Oct 19, 1917

Jud Van Every and family of Rupert, Idaho, were in town Monday. They made the trip of over 2700 miles in a Buick six with a trailer to carry their camp equipage. They have sold their Idaho holdings and are on their way to southern Texas where he has a brother. Jud used to live a couple of miles northwest of town, where he farmed and worked at carpentry in the winter. They have many friends here who were glad to see him.

Oct 26, 1917

Jud Van Every called at the office last Saturday before starting on their trip south and renewed his subscription for another year. Their first stop will be at Lawton, where Mrs. Van Every has a sister with whom they will visit for a few days before going on to El Paso, Texas, where Jud has a brother engaged in farming on an irrigated project. We asked Jud why he was leaving Idaho and he replied, “To get away from cold weather.” We suppose a dislike of cold weather grows with us as we get older, but then perpetual summer has many things that are not pleasant, especially the persistent production of all kinds of insects to prey on man, beast, and crops. The bugs and extremely heavy dews, and sometimes the “northers” are severe in southern and central Texas, even if the mercury does not reach the freezing point. We believe the best climate and country on earth lies south of the Arkansas and north of the Cimmaron Rivers, with less personal discomforts than any place we have known. We hope Jud will find the Arcadia he is seeking.


1) The brother in San Marcos, and the brother in El Paso, were the same - my great grandfather, Melvin Van Every.  I don't know if there was cause for the 36 year separation, beyond Jud's wanderlust.  Several generations of Van Everys had an urge to travel.  Samuel, father of Jud and Melvin, brought the family from Canada, to Michigan, to San Marcos, Texas.  Melvin moved across the state to El Paso, which is a good 600 miles.  Melvin's daughter, Myrtle, my grandmother, moved to St. Louis at age 20.  Myrtle's brother, Samuel, lived at various times in Texas, California, Florida, and Missouri.

2) El Paso wasn't Jud's final stop.  He left El Paso in 1922 for Mesick, Michigan, where he died in 1923...just about 100 miles North of where he grew up in Middleville, Michigan.

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