Monthly Archives: March 2020

LETTERS FROM MONA – Part 28 – July 1 – July 11, 1914

July 1, 1914

Dear diary,

My was yesterday ever a busy day for it was Hazel’s 14th birthday. Mama and I were busy fussing over the house and making the cake in preparation for her evening party. Hazel wanted a Devils food cake which has been all the rage around here this year. Mama made the pies and I made the cake. Here’s the recipe I used.

“Devil’s Food
1/2 cup of milk
4 ounces of chocolate
1/2 cup butter
3 cups pastry flour
1 1/2 cups of sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoonfuls of baking powder
Put in a double boiler four ounces of chocolate and a half pint of milk; cook until smooth and thick, and stand aside to cool. Beat a half cup of butter to a cream; add gradually one and a half cups of sugar and the yolks of four eggs; beat until light and smooth. Then add the cool chocolate mixture and three cups of pastry flour, with which you have sifted two teaspoonfuls of baking powder. Beat thoroughly for at least five minutes; then stir in the well beaten whites of the eggs. Bake in three or four layers. Put the layers together with soft icing, to which you have added a cup of chopped nuts. The success of this cake depends upon the flour used.”
Mrs. Rorer’s New Cook Book, Sarah Tyson Rorer [Philadelphia: 1902] (p. 619)

Boiled icing
One cup of sugar (granulated), quarter cup of water (cold), one egg (only white, beaten stiff). Put water on sugar in a saucepan and let it boil until it threads. Then remove from fire and pour over the stiff white, beaten until it thickens. Put on the cake at once.”
The Oracle: Receipts Rare, Rich and Reliable, The Woman’s Parish Aid Society of Christ Church, [Tarrytown: New York] 1894 (p. 88)

And if I do say so myself the cake turned out mighty fine. And since not a speck of it is left I’d say others thought so too.

We had a nice crowd over. Since the weather was warm and fine we pot-lucked it outside. And of course, everyone brought something to share. So many good things to eat, smoked ham, biscuits and bread, fresh garden vegetables as well as pickled canned goods, my cake and Mama’s pies. Hazel proudly showed off her new middy blouse Mama had made her. Everyone said it was better than store bought. I’d embroidered some tiny red rose on a new hanker-chief to remind her of all the rose beads we have been making. Ha, Ha. And Daniel saved a couple of his pennies to buy her some chocolates. And she loved the scarf Roy sent her. It was so thoughtful of him to remember her birthday. He is such a good man.

As the sun set the men lit a bonfire and we all sat below sky of twinkling diamonds swatting mosquitoes, talking and singing.

Two of the neighbors brought their violins and played some tunes while we all visited. Vera played her guitar some too, and everyone sang along to it. All the music made Hazel very happy as she loves it more than anything. “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” seems to be the favorite of everybody, not that we sound so awfully good but it’s fun just the same. And as always when the word Irish or Ireland comes up Papa and his siblings have to remind us all the Phillips money woes will disappear once their Irish ship comes in. Honestly even if was and true and his Great Grandfather, Patrick O’hara, was entitled to some great Irish estate, it would be divided so many ways by now it wouldn’t amount to much. Papa himself is one of 13 siblings and then there are all of his many cousins.

The coyotes were yowling at us by the time the party broke up, it must have been at least midnight.

Makes it hard to get up the energy to do much today. I think we will just have some leftover ham and cold biscuits for supper tonight.


Mona, Wyo
July 4, 1914

Dear friend,-
I have not received your letter yet but don’t supose I’ll get it until Tuesday or Wednesday so thot I would write any way, so you could get it.
Well I wonder what you are doing today, this is the 4th. I will tell you how we are spending it. Yesterday we started up to my Uncles who lives about twenty five or theirty miles from here. We started at seven in the morning and got off the right road and went so far out of our way. At twelve thirty we stopped for dinner and then we drove about two miles when here we meet them coming down to our place. I guess we were all sure surprised and it was fifteen miles on to their place and the roads were so rough that we decided to all come back here so started, and we ate our supper on the river then came on home got here about ten oclock last night and I was never so tired in all my life. We all were. I have not felt very good so I guess that made me worse. Today Grandpa and Grandma came over and we had ice cream and so spent the fourth at home. Aunt Sadie and Bert were not here tho. I wish they could have been. My I was surely glad to see all the folks they have a baby we had never saw and they named her Zeta Mae, so I have name sake.

Well it is getting dark. I don’t supose you can read this so will write more later, good night.

Well here I am today this is Sunday. We are still pretty tired yet. I don’t know when we will get over that trip. We made ice cream again today. I wish you were here. I supose you will be going back to Nagrom today or tomorrow.
I gave every body I saw and some I didn’t see some cherrys and I counted them all up that had some and there were forty, so you see how good they must have been. McDonald’s and Clara and all them said they sent their best regards and would like to see you and have you come see them and they had not forgotten you.
Well I will close. I hope your arm is well.

As ever,

Authors note: This photo is of a portion of the actual letter and dried flowers still with the letter.


July 6, 1914

Dear Diary,

Well the fourth has come and gone. We never did get to Hulett as they came here instead. I could have gone back with them but decided not to. The folks can use my help and I hate to have Uncle Will have to go to all the trouble of taking me back.

Oh, and I must tell you if anyone ever tells you that rattlesnakes always rattle before they strike, don’t believe them. I know because one almost caught me this afternoon. Mama had asked me to fetch some cold water from the spring so I grabbed two pails and marched off to get it. I was so busy hoping I’d get a letter from Roy today I didn’t notice the rattler until it was inches from the toe of my boot. I jumped backwards just in time.


July 9, 1914

Dear Diary,

Today I finally got up the courage write to Roy and tell him some moths got into the beautiful fur cape he gave me and damaged it in a couple of spots. Fortunately, they didn’t get into the hat or muff. Vera said I should tell him for she thought the place he purchased them at could repair the damage. I hope so and I hope he isn’t too mad. It was very careless of me not to take better care of them.


July 10,1914

Dear Diary,

Our old neighbor John came by today with the mail from Mona and a couple of Jack rabbits he had shot. My they were so nice and plump. Mama thanked him and invited him to stay for dinner which he accepted. Then he and Daniel went to work to dress them while we fixed up some baked beans, corn bread and coffee to go with them. Trust me when I say it all smelled so good and tasted good too.


July 11, 1914

Dear Diary,

The folks left this morning to go to Belle Fourche for a few days. I probably won’t get much of chance to write in you with just me to hold down the fort. Well I will have Hazel and Daniel here for some company. We have had quite a few lightning storms; I sure hope we don’t get another one while they are gone. I worry so about getting a lightning strike on one of the outbuildings or worse the house. It’s hard to be the brave one for Hazel and Daniel when the truth be told I am more scared than they are. I know I have said it before but I hate lightning storms.



LETTERS FROM MONA – Part 27 – June 19- June 29, 1914

June 19, 1914

Dear Diary,

My I have been working so hard helping Mama and then Papa with the crops. More than I have ever done before. So far this is the busiest season I remember. My hands look so stained and rough. I’m going to ask Mama if she has any healing cream she uses to spare as I could surely use some.


June 20, 1914

Dear Diary,

It’s a quiet evening. We had a cold supper tonight so there wasn’t much to do for clean-up. I am sitting out in my garden watching it grow. Hazel says I am crazy but it’s growing so fast this week I really do think I can see it grow.

For a change Papa is done for the day and enjoying one of the many periodicals we subscribe to and Mama is working on a new middy blouse and skirt for Hazel to wear for her birthday. Supposedly the blouse is the latest in middy styles. Hazel picked it out of the Sears Catalog and Mama is copying it. She’s incredible, she can just look at a picture in the catalog and then make one like it. She’s teaching me her secrets and I have to say I am getting pretty good at it. This middy will be a tan color with a red sash belt and bow tie.  The belt goes around the hip and is kept in place by slits in the fabric which the belt is threaded through. It also features a squared front collar and is rounded in back and a red bow tie. She’s going to love it.

Vera was over this afternoon; we sure had a good chat. She says the new ranch hand working at the place across the road from them is smitten with me. She thinks I should pay him some attention. So handsome she said and more importantly lives here not in Washington. I did talk to him for a bit at the young people’s meeting and he is easy on the eyes but I absolutely am not interested in courting him or anyone else around here. I told her she could have them but she laughed and said no way she has has found her guy. Clarence is her one and only. I told her it was the same with me, Roy is my one and only.

I’m kindy afraid I feel another one of those sick headaches coming on again. I hope not, I can’t stand them and have been having them too often lately. When they get bad I can’t do anything, not study or even eat.


Mona, Wyo

June 22, 1914

Dear Roy-
How are you today? I surely hope you are fine and that your arm is well am sorry you are having so much trouble with it. I am pretty well except have a terrible headache today but will get over it I guess.
Bert and Sadie were here today they just left a little while ago they are going down home. Aunt Sadie is some ancious to see how every thing look in her garden. She just planted it and came up here. Bert just go back from shearing, Saturday. I am alone just now Mama went over in the field to where Papa is working and Hazel and Daniel are at school. I got a picture of Lillian and their big boy Saturday.
I really almost went crazy over it. Was so glad. I also got a letter from Lida, she wrote a nice letter.
Vera was up day before yesterday and I was down there the day before that.
I helped Papa in the field a little last week and want to help him some more soon as I can. My garden is looking fine, I stay in it half the time. I just have lots of comfort watching it grow.

 I suppose you are working hard today in the woods. Grandpa has a great time looking throu his glasses at that big tree in that picture. I wish I knew where to get a few pictures of some more large trees he enjoys looking at them so much. Justin said in his letter he was thinking of going to Buckley to work, so perhaps he is there now.

 Got your letter of course Saturday. I guess we will get our mail at Mona from now on and then I don’t know when we will get as we won’t be so handy but perhaps John will get it for us as he is always going.

Well my headaches so I will have to stop for now will write more tomorrow as this is only Monday. Good by until later.

Here I am this morning but don’t feel like writing very much so you will just have to excuse me this time. hope I can write better next time. Will not be sure of the mail either way from now on as you can never tell when you can get the mail or send any. I have a dreadful headache over my left eye. Well I will close now.

Best Wishes as ever Mae.

P.S. Don’t get worried if you do not hear from me regular for it is not always I can send a letter, but always do the best I can.
Excuse this poor letter.

(China letter included with this letter translate to : “Don’t say anything about me not feeling well but I must have to tell you I have felt pretty bad for a week, have got the blues too but don’t worry about me just think of you and I will be fine.”  


Nagram, Wash.

June 26th, 1914

Dear Mae:

Well here I am again to bother you for a fiew minutes with my foolishness as I have nothing else to do this evening. Wish I could see and talk to you for a little while instead of writing. I think it would be much nicer and I can talk better than I write and I am not so very much on the talk either.

Well how are you getting along by now? I got your last letter last Sunday and of course I was glad but sorry you were not feeling very well and hope you are better now. You must be careful with yourself and not get sick any more than you can help for you don’t know how it hurts me to here of you being sick.

Richard isn’t here now, he got hurt last Monday and went to the hospital. It isn’t anything serious tho. He got hit on the leg with a cable, which bruised his leg quite badly. Haven’t heard from him since he left so I don’t know how he is getting along. I think he will be alright again in a couple of weeks. We sure miss him here, for he was playing for us on the violin every evening, and it has seemed awful lonely since he went away.

Tell Hazel I would like to be there to give her a good threshing for her birthday. Hope she will like her scarf. It seems funny to give a present like that in the summer but it is something that will last until cold weather come around.

I am not feeling so well this week as usual. Have had a pretty bad cold for a fiew days and it makes me feel pretty bum I tell you, and the weather is still pretty bad, rains a good share of the time, has been raining and early all day today and is coming down like sixty or sixty-five just now. I wonder if we are going to ever have any summer, it sure doesn’t look like it now. If we don’t has some sunshine pretty soon I am afraid it will be bad for the rasp-berries. They have begun to ripen now and should have some dry weather. I had a letter from Mother the other day and she said they had picked quite a fiew already.

Lida has been sick with mumps but is just about over it now. Blanch Stockton is staying with the folks now she is picking berries. Mother said that Lillian and you’re your Aunt Ann were going to pick also. So guess that Justin and Lillian must be back in Puyallup. I would sure like to see them and I suppose I will in a fiew days now. I hear that the camp is going to close down next Friday, that will be the second of July, and it will start up again the following Tuesday so we will have only three days to do our celebrating. But guess that will be plenty of time for us to get drunk and blow in all our money.

Don’t expect to do any celebrating this year. I think I will stay home and have a good rest. I have been at home so little in the past two years that it is pretty nice to get to be home for a while. Think I will enjoy that more than any other way I can spend the time that I will have to spare.


Mona Wyo

June 28, 1914

Dear Roy –

This is only Sunday but I thot I would write a letter to you as I a kindy lonesome. I wonder how you are today. I hope your arm is alright by now. I am afraid you did not take good care of it did you, you must be careful. I have surely been on the sick list for a week or more, think I am some better today. I am alone today Papa is hunting horses and Mama, Hazel and Daniel went to church. I didn’t feel like going today. I sure hate to miss going but I just could not today.

Vera is alone too, so she said maybe she would be up. I hope she does, for then I would have good company. She was up yesterday to see me, but I was so sick I didn’t get to say much to her but if she comes today I will make up for lost time. Wish you were coming.

Well I got your letter also those other things. And oh how good those cherries are they are the best I ever saw they just kept fine and there was not one mashed or nothing wrong with them they just came in time as I had not ate anything yesterday and I ate quite a few. My there were fine. I sure wish I could help you pick them but I am afraid I would be more bother than good, as I would eat so very many. Well here comes Vera so will stop and write more later. Good by until then M.E.P

Monday 29

Well here I am to bother you some more. I wish I knew how you was this fine day. I am pretty good, feel better than I had that is for several days.

I will send this up Nagram as I think you will be there by the time this gets there. I suppose you will be home for the forth I hope so as it won’t be so lonesome there. Am glad Lida got along so well.

I think maybe we will go to Hulett for the forth. My uncle and Aunt lives there. I hope we can as I am anxious to see them, it has been a long time since we saw them. We are going Friday if we go as it is about 25 miles from here, I may stay a week or so as I think I would feel better if I stayed there a while as I may stay. All the folks want me to. Mama’s aunt and Uncle were here today and I gave them some cherries and they nearly went wield, over them.

Vera and I had a fine time yesterday as the folks did not get home until late.

Oh yes I have been going to tell you for the last several time how Aunt Sara Waddington is, she is not well by all means as she is in town yet. And Uncle Will has been awful poorly this spring and summer, he could scarcely stand to take treatment at all. I feel so sorry for them all. They have had quite a bit of trouble.

Hazel and Daniel are hunting for strawberries as they have to hunt for a hour or two for a cup. But they are sure good when we do get them.

I am glad your berries are so nice but sorry your Uncle got hurt. Your cherries must be nice too this year, those you sent were fine. I believe they saved my life as I have been feeling better ever since. I got a letter from Frank Risher, he is doing fine I guess.

Well I wish you was going to be here the 4th but you are not so must make the best of it, I will try to write while I am up there if I can.

Well I will close as there is a terrible storm coming Thank you very much for everything you sent.

As ever, Mae

LETTERS FROM MONA – part 26 – June 2 – June 17, 1914

June 2, 1914

Tonight, I hiked across the road and up a little hill to my favorite spot to go on summer evenings when I can spare the time. It’s a big old rock I started calling my pet rock when I was a little girl and Mama and I would go there. It’s the perfect shape to sit and enjoy the view. The prairie isn’t all flat like a lot of folks think at least not here in the Bear Lodge Mountains. Here the land slopes and rolls gentle-like until it bumps into the tree covered Black hills.

Last night’s sunset was spectacular. As the sun set behind the mountains the sky filled with yellow, reds and purples. Grazing on the nearby hills I must have counted 40 antelope and deer. So many rabbits were hopping around too. I’d sure like to catch the ones responsible for eating some of my garden.

I got up to scurry back down the hill as the sky began to darken and the meadow larks sang their last sweet song. Once back in view of the house I saw Hazel sitting alone on the porch hugging her knees.  I joined her and together we watched the moon rise and the sky fill with twinkling stars. It was so beautiful it moved us to start singing a bad rendition of, “Home On The Range.”

It’s evenings like last night that make me glad I’m a Wyoming girl if only my logger was beside me. And yes, I do mean logger, not a cowboy.   


June 4, 1914

Dear Diary,

Today is Daniel’s 11th birthday. Mama had me make his favorite sour cream chocolate cake. The heavenly smell of chocolate baking drifting out the door to where I sit writing, is enough to drive me wild. When it cools I will make a rich vanilla cream frosting to go on top. My mouth is watering now as I think of tasting it. Can you tell it’s one of my favorites, too?

Mama is out in the yard plucking a chicken. Yes, another favorite of mine, we will have chicken and dumplings for our supper. After supper a few of the neighbors promised to come over and help us celebrate. And on our last visit to Aladdin we got some lemons so we will have lemonade to go with the cake.  

Hazel and I pooled our money together and bought Daniel a new baseball as his old one got lost. Mama and Papa got him a baseball mitt and we already have a bat. He won’t get to open them until after supper. I guess we all spoil him a bit but he is the baby of the family. Right now, he and Hazel are still at school.


June 5, 1914

Dear Diary,

We had a nice little crowd at the house last night and it was nearly 11 before everyone left. The folks exclaimed about how good my cake was and one of the neighbors brought warm cinnamon buns and a batch of her famous oatmeal cookies so there were plenty of goodies to go around.

Most of the menfolk went out in the yard for a game of baseball so Daniel could break in his new mitt. You should have seen him when they finished, his red hair sticking up every which way and smiling from ear to ear. I guess you could say his new mitt was a homerun.

I was up early as usual this morning so I am kind of tired but must get to work on my garden. It’s a real chore to keep it weeded but I’ll have a nice crop if I succeed in keeping those pesky rabbits out. I’ve had to reseed a few things because of them and I do hope we have enough rain to keep it all growing, too. I tell you being a farmer is not an easy business.

Papa is still so busy with farming both here and in Donald. There are no hired hands to be found anywhere around here. When Mama can spare me, I try to go out and help him the best I can which means I have very little spare time. I guess it’s just as well as it keeps me from thinking of you know who quite so much. Except, it also keeps me from studying and that’s not so good.


June 10, 1914

Dear Diary,

I just got a letter from Roy and I’m some worried. He was writing because he had the day off due to a sore arm but he didn’t say what was wrong with it. He just got over that bad infection in his arm so I’m afraid it might have come back. Logging is such dangerous business almost anything could have happened. Hopefully it’s just a pulled muscle or something simple like that and he’s already back to normal as I write these words. Still I’m going to fret over it until I hear he is well.

Lida sent me a box of the loveliest rose petals. The sweet scent was intoxicating as I opened the box. Vera called me a bit ago she said she could come over and we could talk while I work on making some more beads.

June 14, 1914

Dear Diary,

Well today was the day Miss Kendall and I held our first young people’s meeting. Let me tell you I was some nervous about it but I guess it turned out all right. Yesterday we carried buckets of water and a broom over to the Mona schoolhouse and mopped and dusted everything good. We even washed the windows, cleaned the blackboard and polished the stove, so everything looked very nice. We made lemonade with the lemons Miss Kendall ordered up from Belle Fourche. We also took up plates and glasses for around 20.

Both of us made cakes. I put some pink coloring Mama bought from the Watkins man in mine and it turned the batter a lovely pink color. But when we cut into the cake we found the color has sunk to the bottom. So instead of being pink it was red on the bottom and white on top. I felt my cheeks turn red as the bottom of that cake, I was so aghast, but it tasted fine and everyone loved it and thought I’d done it on purpose.

We had a pretty good crowd. I think everyone enjoyed themselves but many said they were too busy to commit to coming to regular meetings. On top of that Miss Kendall and Clay Massie announced they are getting married soon. I doubt she will be able to help me with meetings much longer so wonder if we will ever have many.


June 17, 1914

After I did my morning chores for Mama I went out to the fields to help Papa. The hot sun beating down on my poor head made it hurt and now my head aches so bad especially over my left eye. I do hope this isn’t one of those nasty ones that last for days. It hurts so now; I can write no more.    

LETTERS FROM MONA – Part 25 – May 27,1914 – May 31,1014

May 27, 1914

Dear Diary,

Sadie and Bert stopped here yesterday on their way to Grandpa and Grandma’s. My but they both looked all done in, this past week has taken a toll on the both of them. Sadie was digging for her hankie more than once as we talked here in the house. She is going to go stay with Grandma and Grandpa while Bert finishes with the sheep shearing. She said she was afraid to let him leave but knows she must as they will surely need the extra money with the wee one coming this fall.

I suggested she and I take a stroll and we went down to Deep Creek where we use to play as children. We took off our boots and stockings and for a few minutes pretended to be little girls once again as we let the water dance and swirl around our feet. Then we splashed back to shore, sat on the big rocks warmed by the sun and let the drumming of a woodpecker and the whirr of insect wings lull us into a gentle sleep. Less you think we dozed to long I assure you we didn’t because before long Daniel and Hazel arrived. Already barefoot they stomped in the water and sprayed water at us, soon we were all laughing uncontrollably.

I think it did Sadie a world of good. I hope so anyway.   


May 28,1914

Donald, WYO

Dear friend,

Well this is only Friday but I thot I would start this any way. I supose you get tired of my packed up letter but I just thot I would write a few lines now and finish later. I am awful tired at present and did not know no other way to rest so thot I would write a few lines to you and let you know I am feeling pretty good and I do hope you are well and as happy as can be.

I have been busy today cleaning house, ironing and sewing and I am awfully tired for some reason. I suppose you are still working every day. Where are you going to be the 4th? You had better go down home for you can be with your folks and have a good time and they will be glad too, I know. You have worked quite a while without a vacation haven’t you?

Hazel and Daniel are still going to school. They are going to have a nice program at the school tomorrow, wish you were here to go. I may go I don’t know for sure.

Aunt Sadie and Bert were here day before yesterday. Papa called last night and he said I had a letter from Amber and one from Aunt Lodie. I wonder what is going to happen? I am anxious to get them and I will have one from you so I will have quite a lot of mail.

Well I must go help Mama with supper and will write more later.

Well here I am again today (Saturday). We went to the entertainment and just got back. I am really tired tho. It was so hot today just terrible. Well I wish I had the letters, Papa will soon be home tho.
I saw Aunt Sadie today she is sure lonesome I had to talk like a “preacher” to get her cheered up. What do you think, we are going to have Sunday school and Church tomorrow at our school house, aren’t we getting good. My I hope we can have it every two weeks. And I think Miss Kindall and I will start a young people meeting to, soon. So maybe we will have something different to do so not to get so lonesome this summer.

I had planned on how I was going to start this meeting for so long and I do hope we have good success with it as we all need something to put our minds on and leave off the dances. I do hate the dances worse than any think and don’t think I will go to one very soon again. Most every body is going tomorrow and I do hope they will get interested enough to have it all the time.

Well here I am on Sunday, I am getting ready for church, but will finish. I got your letter last night. I was sorry to hear about your sprain and hope it is well by now. I also got a letter from Amber and Aunt Lodie and Sade so got quite a lot of news. Amber was telling me all about her wedding and wants me to come be a brides maid. I sure wish I was going to be there but guess I won’t. You said your thot you wrote to often but no I want you to write on just the same, for I always depend on your letters. I supose when papa quits carrying the mail we will get it at Mona.

I wish you were here to help me start my young peoples meeting for I feel kindy shaky, but will do my best.

I was sorry of your partner getting so bad again. You must be careful when you are working with him.

I am glad you got your beads alright. Frank is in Belle Fouche selling beads now.

Vera say hello. I was down there last night; I rode Drummer and took my quirt for the first time. Well I will stop and get ready for the church.

as ever
Mae P.

(Note: Amber lived in Rosedale and was the daughter of Andrew Winters. Amber married Orion Henry who was the brother of Lillian who married Justin Phillips. The Henry’s were distantly related to the Phillips by way of Patrick O’Hara.

Miss Kendall was the teacher in 1914 at the school in Mona she also had her own homestead claim. She is found as a single woman boarding with Otto Lundblad family in the 1910 census in Hay Creek, Crook County, Wyoming. She married Clay Dawson Massie on June 28, 1914. Their first child a boy they name Ken was born April 1, 1915 in Mona, Wyoming and died the same day.)


May 29, 1914

Dear Diary,

I am getting worried. I usually get 2 letters a week from Roy but this week it was just the early one and in it he wrote that he had a sore arm and that his partner had been drinking. Goodness being a faller is dangerous enough without having a drunk partner. I know there are lots of other good reasons to not have heard from him. It’s not like the train and mail schedules are 100 percent reliable, or he has just been very busy. Still I worry.

I must turn my mind to better thoughts. I guess I will give Vera a ring and see if she’d like to go riding with me and Drummer for a while.

——————————————————————————————————————————-Puyallup, Wash.
May 30th, 1914

Dear Mazie:
Hello Girlie! How is the world using you today. Fine and dandy though I hope. Haven’t had anything from you this week but expect there is a letter at Nagram. I have been in Puyallup since Tuesday. Have been having quite a time with my arm. What I thought was a boil proved to be blood poisoning. It was so bad I couldn’t work so went to Tacoma to the hospital. The doctor said if I had waited much longer I stood a good chance of losing my arm. So, you may be sure that I am glad I came down when I did. Have been staying here at home but have been down to the hospital every day to have my arm treated. It was sure pretty bad for a while but is lots better now. The doctor says the danger is past and that it will be good as new pretty quick now. I hope he is right and think he is to.

The folks here at home are all pretty well at present and everyone else so far as I know. My brother Joe left the first of the week for east of the mountains. My other brother is still working at the mill, same one that Justin works at. Lida has been visiting in Tacoma yesterday and today but is home now. She is pretty busy preparing for the commencement exercises. She got the beads you sent alright and thinks they are just dandy. They just match a new dress she has. Wish I had brought your beads here with me this week, expect I could have sold some of them but I didn’t think to bring them.

Have been over to see the new baby a number of times. It sure is some baby. I am not going to tell you who he looks like for I can’t tell. All babies look alike to me. Lillian and Justin are some proud and I guess some of the rest are to. Mr. Henry has made up with Justin since the baby came and is as good as mince-pie now.

Amber is staying with Lillian. Guess she is going to stay there until the wedding. I think that will be about the twenty-fourth of June, at least that is what I have been told. Was over to the Henry’s yesterday. They are pretty well. Mrs. Henry almost talked my arm off as usual. She said the Adventis were going to baptize several converts Sunday and that Lodie and Amber were among them. The rest I do not know.

Frank and Justin went fishing today up to Lake Tapps. I have an invitation to go over tonight and eat fish. Won’t you come along?

Every-thing is looking lovely here now. Wish you could be here for awhile. The weather is just perfect and the flowers are just at their best. The gardens and orchards are looking fine. Looks like there was going to be a heavy fruit crop. The strawberry season is on now and there is going to be a tremendous crop of them. The raspberry picking will begin in about three weeks. My patch is looking fine. Am also going to have a lot of cherries this year, several times as many as there has ever been before. The cherries on that tree in our back yard are ripe now, was just out there trying them awhile ago. They taste just like cherries. If you will come over you can have all you can eat and enough to fill your pockets and you may bring your friends with you.
“Sunday morning”
I had to stop writing yesterday to eat supper and after supper went over and spent the evening with Justin and Lillian so didn’t get to finish my letter. This sure a fine morning, though it may be a little to warm a little later in the day. I have been grinding some rose petals this morning. Have quite a bunch of them gathered and am going to send them to Frank Risher. I had a letter from Frank last week and he said he was about to start away on a trip around the country to try and sell some beads, hope he has good success.

I wonder if you and Hazel would care for some rose petals. If so just say the word and I will send you a bunch.

I have been going to Tacoma and back every day by auto-mobile. Since the first of April there has been a line of auto stages operating between Puy. and Tac. Now there is two lines and they are bucking each other to they are carrying passengers for 10cts. each way. There is one leaving about every 15 minutes and they make the trip in 30 minutes. It looks as though the street car would have to go out of business for no one rides on it anymore. I took dinner the other day with your little Jap. at the Japanese restaurant in Tac. That is I guess your Jap is still there but I can’t tell for all Japs look alike to me.

Well I can’t think of anymore so will stop for now. Think I shall go over to the river after while and see Amber and Lodie get baptized. Would you come with me?

Best wishes to all the folks.

As ever Roy

P.S. am going back to camp this evening the doctor said my arm would be all right if I was careful for a while.

LETTERS FROM MONA -Part 24 -May 17- May 25, 1914

May 22, 1914

Dear Diary,

I feel so bad, I must write in you. Just a little while ago Aunt Sadie called hysterical. It seems Mrs. Marchant, Bert’s mother, just got up from her lunch at her daughter’s and keeled over on the floor, dead.

Mama is in Donald with Papa today, so I was all alone when she called. Thank goodness it didn’t take long for the rest of the folks on Mona line to listen in and start to act, because I didn’t know what to say to comfort her.  Grandma and Grandpa Smith are going to Aladdin and are going to pick up Mama in Donald on the way. So, it looks like I am left here alone to hold down the fort.

 I feel so bad, I really liked the dear lady. I wish there was something I could do. Bert is out sheep shearing somewhere it might take a while to track him down. He will be devastated when he hears the news. She seemed like such a vigorous lady too. Guess one really needs to cherish the good moments, as nothing in life is for sure.

Hazel and Daniel will be back soon from school so I best get my chores finished.  


May 23, 1914

Vera came and spent the night with me last night so I wouldn’t have to be alone with my sad thoughts. I was sure glad as we had a terrible storm.  And you know how bad those scare me especially with Mama and Papa away. She had to leave first thing this morning and then Hazel and Daniel came back from the barn and said Betsy, our milk cow, had disappeared overnight. They searched the yard everywhere but she was nowhere to be found. So, after a quick breakfast I sent them to search for her on their ponies. I am going to write Roy a quick letter and if they aren’t back then I will have to saddle up Drummer and see what they are up to. I certainly hope they find her well and chewing her cud.    


Donald, Wyo
May 23, 1914

Dear friend,-
I will write you a few lines as I am kindy lonely. I am alone this afternoon. I am pretty well and hope you are very well.

Mama went down to stay with papa Wednesday so there for I had to stay alone in the day time. I got kindy lonesome but I kept pretty busy and that keeps one from getting to lonesome, doesn’t it?

Vera was up and stayed all night we sure had a good time never went to bed until eleven oclock and then there was a terrible storm.

This is Saturday but Hazel and Daniel are hunting for our cow we can’t find her no place they have ridden all day and are not back yet.

I am busy with the Saturdays work but I am so tired or (lazy) I don’t know which I can’t do much.

I took a nice big ride on my dear horse yesterday went over to our neighbors about four miles and back.

I thot Drummer was to mean for me to ride but I rode him any way and got along fine. I wish I could ride oftener and I think perhaps I might from now on.

I may go down and stay a week with Papa for I don’t think I can let Mama go very much it is to lonely for me here.

I think Holly Barber got the mail contract I am not sure. Well I will get a letter from you tonight and you will get one from me.

Mama says I got a letter from Sade Henry. I am anxious to get it too. I hear that Henry and Amber are going to be married soon.

I suppose you will get the beads today and oh how much trouble that will be for you. Well I must go and get to work again have got to scrub and churn by.

Well I will write a few more lines while I rest I just got finished scrubbing two floors.

Mrs. Marchant the old lady died yesterday morning. Oh dear I feel so sorry for Bert and Aunt Sadie and all the rest of them. I am awfully sorry, I liked her so well. She was so nice.

I have been so nervous since I heard I can hardly stand it. It was so sudden she just fell dead. Bert was away shearing and had quite a way to come.

I wish I could see you Roy but it don’t do much good to wish does it when one is so far away.

Clara and Holly are living on her place now.

We are having there is Vera calling ———–

Well here I am again today.

My we had the dreadfulest storm last night and just Hazel and Daniel and I here. I was some scart, it was the worst storm I ever saw.

I got your letter last night and a box of nice roses from your mother and Lida, my but they were fine. I am going to make some beads out of them. I also got a card from Lillian and Justin and telling about their baby boy. I got a letter too a few days ago.

You said you wished you had been to the dance but might have spoiled my good time. What made you say that Roy? I would have had a lot better time if you had been there. I would have liked joined that fish fry you spoke of.

Lida never wrote but I believe she has her beads or she would say so. My I sure enjoyed my flowers they were so pretty and smell – so nice makes me lonesome for Wash. and to see all the people.

I bet you did miss Joe. I hope you send me that picture you spoke of.

Well I have written a book so will not bother you no more

as ever,

(The China note in this letter decodes to “I was afraid by the                             
way you wrote in your letter you was mad or  something. Tell me”)

Note: Mrs. Marchant mentioned in this letter was Bert’s mother and died in Aladdin, Wyoming May 22, 1914 at age 67.

39011383_130127429876.jpg (151×211)
Anna Fear Marchant

 May 25, 1914

Dear Diary,

Yesterday was a busy day as we all went to Aladdin to attend Mrs. Marchant’s service and what a nice one it was too. The church was filled with so many friends and family. Her husband once managed the coal mine there and he was also on the county commissioners board so they knew all the folks for miles around. The floral arrangements were so lovely and full of the springtime flowers she loved. And Rev. Tracy spoke such a nice tribute of her.

They ran a special train to take the family and friends who wished to go and see her laid to rest next her husband in Belle Fourche. It was coming back the same day but we didn’t go as Papa is still so busy with the farming.

Sadie looked so sad. I wish I could have had some alone time with her. But that was impossible with all the friends and family constantly surrounding her and Bert. Maybe later in the week, I hope so anyway.

LETTERS FROM MONA – Part 23- May 10 – May 19,1914

May 10, 1914

Dear diary,

Tonight, just after supper Papa told Daniel and Hazel to go tend to things in the barn without him. Hazel knew something was up so she said, “but what about my dish chores, don’t you think I’d better stay here and help Mama?”

 “No,” said Papa, “Mae and Mama can handle it,” and he shooed them out the door.

 My heart plummeted I knew they must have heard the rumors about me running to Washington and I was about to face a wrath of questioning.

Mama watched them go to the barn from the window as soon as she was sure they’d gone she turned to Papa and said, “I think we’d all best sit down at the table to talk.”

My bottom lip quivered as I sat with my arms hugging my chest. Why I was so afraid I can’t say for I knew I’d done nothing wrong. There was no way I’d let them stop me from writing to Roy.

Papa sat with his arms firmly planted on the table. “Mae there is no easy way for me to say this, we’ve heard Roy has sent you money to go to Washington. You know we have forbade you to do any such thing before you are 21.”  

“I know,” I said. “I’ve heard the rumors too. But they aren’t true, I would love to go back there to live but I never would go without your blessings. Besides, Roy has never suggested I should go, let alone send me money. It’s all a bunch of nonsense, you know how folks like to gossip.”

Papa folded his arms and looked me in the eyes. “You do know Mama and I have nothing but your best interests at heart. Running off to Washington to chase a man at your young age is nothing but plum foolishness.”

“But I just told you I am doing no such thing,” I said, almost knocking over my chair as I got up to flee. Mama put her arm on me and said, “Mae, sit back down we aren’t done.”

Papa folded his arms across his chest, “I sincerely hope you are telling the truth; Roy seems like a good man but you have no idea how hard life can be.”

I braced myself for the usual lecture on how hard life can be, how Grandma Jessie was widowed with 13 children left to raise, when Mama interrupted. “Alex, I can tell by her eyes she is telling the truth, if she says she is not leaving for Washington then enough has been said. She rose from the table and handed me the hot kettle of water from the stove.  She turned toward Papa and said, “It’s time Mae and I get the dishes done. Shouldn’t you be checking on what Daniel and Hazel are up to in the barn?”

And with that Papa strode to the door his jaw clenched and headed to the barn.

Fighting back tears, my fingers shook as I poured the hot water into the dish pan and started washing while Mama dried, neither of us saying a word. As soon as I was done I grabbed you and escaped here to where the babbling creek could hide the sounds of my sobbing. How dare they treat me as if I was still a child for a child I am not. If only Vera or Sadie were here to talk, I think I would feel better. They’d understand what the folks can’t seem to. And thank goodness for you dear diary without you to pour my thoughts into I think I would go plum crazy.

I guess I’d better dry my tears as dusk is starting to fall. I sure don’t want Hazel to notice I’ve been crying. She’d want to know why and if I told her she would tell her friends who would tell others and make me feel all the worse.  


May 16, 1914

Dear Diary,

Tis washing day or at least it should be if it weren’t snowing. Yes, snow, I think there must be a good 4 inches out there now and it is still falling. It started yesterday and has been falling off and on ever since. I hope the cold doesn’t hurt my garden. I think it will be fine though, as it hasn’t sprouted anything yet. Guess it’s going to be an inside sort of day; I do believe I will spend some time writing Roy and maybe some of the other Puyallup folks. In his last letter he said he’d heard of the rumors about us and wondered if he should stop writing for a spell, a thought too hard for me to bear. I must reassure him I am okay and he must keep writing.


May17, 1914

Tis ironing day except Mama and I did the washing instead. As cold and snowy as yesterday was, today the sun is out bright, the breeze warm and all the snow has vanished.

Not long ago the sound of a motor attracted my attention as I was hanging the clothes out to dry. I walked to the end of the clothesline and looked in the direction of the noise and what should appear but a blue automobile. Mr. Plummer waved at me as he turned and entered our yard. He jumped out and waved me over to take a good look at his shiny new blue car. After I had oohed and awed over it he joined Mama on the porch and gave us the news that Clara Cady and Mr. Barber had married.  Course I already knew they were doing that but Mama was sure surprised. He said he intends to spend the summer at his ranch. And with that he left  to show off his car to someone else. Mama laughed and said those contraptions will never make it out here. I don’t know, while our roads are plenty rough alright, I think the automobile is here to stay.

Guess I’ll devote the rest of the time I have left today to stringing rose beads and get a letter off to Roy. So, I best end this and get to work.  


Donald Wyo

May 17, 1914

Dear friend,

I received your letter last night and of course I was glad. I am pretty well and hope you are the same only better.

I am glad you are working not very hard as you say, but I don’t know whether to believe you or not in that case.

Well I just got started last night and had to stop to make a fire and supper, after supper we had one of the worst storms I ever saw. And of course, almost scared me to death so did not write any more.

Mama is going to the office today and I may go down to Davidsons as Vera wants me too. She was here yesterday all day. We had a real nice time. I wish you could have been here too.

My we sure had some rain have had lots this spring and last Sunday and Monday we had a great big snow storm the snow was about six inches deep in some places.

Papa is not quite through farming down to Donald and then he has to do our place up here it sure keeps him busy.

Oh yes, I must not forget to tell you about the wedding that took place the 11th of May. Can you guess who? Well I will tell you Holly Barber and Clara Cady were married on that day. I was not surprised as they told me. I was the only one who knew tho. Wasn’t they good? I knew a long time ago but did not tell any body.

Harvey Plummer was here today he is going to stay out here on the ranch. He as a new car now. You know he is the owner of the blue sedan.

Hazel and Daniel go to school. Miss Kendal is teaching again.

I guess Mama will go down and stay a few days with papa this week and I supose I will be alone in the daytime.

Well Roy we are sending some beads. I hope to bother you so we are sending more than we intended but maybe you could sell them sometime. They have been selling for a $1.00 per string and .75 for the bandeau but you can sell them for whatever you can get. We made them all last week so was real busy.

I am sorry Joe went away as I supose it is lonesome there for you. I went up to the barn with a rope and picked a couple of flowers, here they are Thank you for yours. I think them fine.

As ever


P.S. We thank you very much for your trouble with the beads and hope you will not have much trouble selling them. Frank said he got your letter. Vera said to tell you hello.

Friendship is a golden knot,

Tied by a loving angel’s hand.

(Author’s note:  the following long China letter was hard to translate so it made sense. Part of it seemed to say there are so many stories so I would not pay any attention to them. Vera told me one but don’t say a word in the letters. Just what stories she is referring to are impossible to say as most of this does not translate into real words but it sounds like Roy must have heard of them and perhaps suggested he shouldn’t write as often.)

May 19, 1914

Dear Diary,

I feel so blue. Just a bit ago our phone sounded that special ring that tells us we have a call for all to hear. A neighbor was calling to play us a song on his new Victrola. If only it hadn’t been the song Roy and I had claimed as ours. I can feel his arms around me now as we danced and swayed to the lyrics.

       “Let me call you sweetheart, I’m in love with you.

         Let me hear you whisper that you love me too.

         Keep the love-light in your eyes so true.

        Let me call you sweetheart. I’m in love with you.

Oh, if only he was here right now…

LETTERS FROM MONA – Part 22 – May 1, 1914 -MAY 9,1914

Donald, Wyo

May 1, 1914

Dear friend-

I received your letter Wednesday and of course I was glad. But sorry to hear you had not been feeling well and do hope you are well by now.
I am feeling a little better today than I have for the last week. But not very good yet. Well I think I can do better with a pencil as I am laying down at present. I have a dreadful headache. Well the folks got home Wednesday. I was glad to see them come for I was getting pretty lonely but was so glad to see them feeling so much better. I think that doctor is a wonderful fellow, my they both look so much better and he is going to cure Aunt Ellen and that is sure doing something good, he has helped her wonderful now. She went back to town I guess she will stay for a long time. I think we will move to Belle Fourche this summer or fall if papa don’t get the mail route. We are going to move up home tomorrow night after papa comes home with the mail He is so very busy he can’t spare the time any other day, so if we are able to go we will be up there soon I will be pretty well pleased to get home but I hate to leave Papa here all alone. When he has so much to do. but I supose Mama or I either one will be here part of the time. I haven’t got to study any to amount to anything yet am getting pretty discouraged for every thing goes against me, sickness and everything. I don’t know when I will be able to study now. I was down to Mc Donalds a little while today. They have a new man working for them now he is a cousin of theirs. Clara, Mr. Barber and Lela and Mr. Cady were there to see me the other night I was pretty glad for I was alone. Well I believe this is all I can write this time I feel pretty bum. Hope your are well now. I wish you would write so I can get it on Saturday instead of Wed as it won’t have to be written so long before I get it. but do as you please and you will please me. As ever M.E.P.


May 4th, 1914

Dear Diary,

Be it ever so humble there is no place like home. We moved back home to Mona last night and am I ever glad for it is here I like the best. Mama and I have been busy getting everything settled and now this evening I am happy to report it feels like we never left. Daniel is fussing at me; he wants me to play a game of checkers with him so I guess I will end this for today.


May 5, 1914

Dear Diary,

Only 2 more days until my 18th birthday. Oh how I wish I could go away to Washington but the folks will have none of that and I haven’t the money to go on my own and as I have said before I wouldn’t want to hurt them by doing that anyway. I am taking a bit of a rest from my morning chores. But soon I will get up and start chopping in a new garden. I think Papa is too busy to help me this year but I can manage on my own.  Last year’s garden did well indeed but this years shall be better yet as I have learned from the mistakes I have made.

I have been thinking of starting up a young people’s meeting to give some of us something social to do during the summer months. I am tired of the dances and it would be nice to be with just some of our age group besides.


Nagram, Wash.

May 7,1914

Dear Hazel,

How are you feeling this fine evening? I am feeling just fine and hope your are in the same predicament.

Got your letter quite a while ago and hope you will excuse me for not answering it sooner. I have so many letters to write and so much reading to do that it keeps me pretty busy all my spare time.

Well I suppose you are having a good time this evening as tis is Mae’s birthday and she told me there was going to have a party.

You ought to be here Hazel. I think you could get all the dancing you want, they have two dances here every week. Wednesdays and Saturdays. They don’t dance the grape-vine here but they have another dance instead of the two-step. It is somewhat like the grapevine only it is more raggey. I don’t know what they call it. They also dance the hesitation waltz some. Richard has been playing for them a number of times wish you could hear him, he does just fine. He is sitting beside me now playing for me as I write. Just now he is playing “It a long way to Tipperary.”  (Author’s note, Richard is Roy’s older brother and was a fine violin player who could play by ear I am told)

Wish I could hear you sing some of your new songs. Wish there is a phone line from here to there, so you could sing some for me over the wire.  (Author’s note: The folks on Mona Road were connected to Aladdin via phone lines in 1910)

We are having lovely weather now. I never saw it nicer. Hope it is nice in Wyoming to.

Well   this is enough for now so will stop.

Think of me at the party tonight and maybe that will help me some.

So long

As ever

W. R.C.

Mae’s sister Hazel Phillips


Donald Wyo,

May 7, 1914

Dear friend,

Well I thot I would write a few lines to you while I was resting and tell you we are down this far as tonight is the dance and we are very busy we did not get here until 5 0’clock  so we are very busy getting ready. I don’t know hardly what I am writing so I guess I will not write much and will write tomorrow and maybe I’ll say better things.

I know one thing tho I got one of the nicest presents I ever saw tonight. My I was so surprised when I walked in the house this evening and saw that.

Friday morning.

I just got that far when they called me for supper and never got to write any more. Well I feel pretty good this morning only tired and sleepy of course. We just had a lovely dance, I sure wish you had been there to see we some times have a nice crowd too, they all behaved so well and there were lots there. We did not get home until four this morning and now we have to go on up above and never left here until seven and so it was so late when we got home about 9:30. I think we were glad to get there but awful tired.

My I can’t hardly thank you enough for the present. I just think them fine. I never saw such a pretty box of stationary as this is and the candy is fine.

Well I can’t think of no news hardly. Aunt Sadie will soon be up in our country and I will surely be glad. Bert is going away Tuesday I think. We are having fine weather now. I hope it is nice there and there is no more snow. We have not had any snow yet this spring and I hope we don’t any either.

Are you going down to Puyallup when you said you had better for that would be nice.

Maybe Hazel and I will send you a half dozen strings of Beads before long.

My I saw so many of my cousins I had not saw for so long until last night.

I have not heard from Lida and don’t know if she got her beads or not am getting anxious to hear if she got them alright. Well I will stop for I am so dizzy I can’t hardly write. Write soon. And don’t work to hard.

as ever,


When in my grave I lonely sleep.

And the weeping willows over me leap,

It is then dear friend and not before

That I shall think of thee you no more.

 Your true Friend 25.19.7    (code translates to Mae)


May 9, 1914

Dear Diary,

Goodness did I ever have a lovely birthday. So many people to help me celebrate and such fine food.

Mama made me my favorite chocolate cake. She and Papa gave me some fine yardage of corduroy fabric and a nice piece of white embroidered lawn I should be able to make a nice skirt and blouse from them.

Hazel gave me a hankie she had embroidered with pretty pink flowers and Daniel made me a card from colored paper.

Grandma had my quilt finished. I can see it now spread out on my finest bed. But for now, it waits in my hope chest.

But oh, the surprise from Roy was the best of all. The card, stationery and box of chocolates would have been plenty but the box also had a beautiful bouquet of dried flowers, Roy had collected. I put the bouquet next to my bed to see as I blow out the lantern before I sleep.

I couldn’t help but feel a little spoiled. Now it’s time to go back to reality for the cow still needs milking and the chores need doing. I guess that means I need to end this nonsense for today.

LETTERS FROM Mona – Part 21- April 8 – April 28th, 1914

Mae’s mother, Martha Smith Phillips

April 8, 1914

Dear Diary,

  My heart is bursting, I got a letter from Roy. Funny how a little piece of paper can make my day but then it  isn’t the paper, it’s the person who penned it, isn’t it? But oh, how homesick reading it made me because it was filled with news of our Puyallup family. I sure miss seeing them. Letters aren’t the same no matter how nice they are.

And oh, how lovely Roy’s description of the spring color was. In my mind’s eye I could just see all the trees abloom. When I look out the window here there is nary a speck of green grass yet.

I have decided to study for the teacher exams in earnest. It will be a lot of work, but Aunt Sarah says I can do it and she will help me if she can.


April 13, 1914

Dear Diary,

Just a few words now I haven’t written in a few days I will have to be short though as I have many chores still to do. Mama and I did the laundry earlier today though she ought not to as she is feeling rather poorly again. 

Fortunately, today the weather is fine and sun is out bright. I do love looking at it is blowing on the line mainly because it means it is done. Soon I will be out taking it down to save for ironing day.

I spent the night over at Edna’s Sunday night and Rob gave me a ride back this morning. Edna seems to be all over whatever her mad with me was about. Maybe it was just she felt different now that she’s and old married lady. But she isn’t old at all for we are both the same age. She has decided to study for the teacher’s exam, too. It will be nice to have someone to study with.

Frank Rishor was over and left Hazel and I some of his Rose Petals to try our hand at making beads. I hope we can sell some. It would sure be nice to make some money of my own.

That’s all I have time to write as it is time to put the rising bread into the oven to bake. Then I want to scrub the floor before Mama gets back from visiting Aunt Sarah.  Mama still looks peaked, but nearly as bad as Aunt Sarah.

P. S.

Here is how to make rose beads:

1. Gather the rose petals and place them on old tin sheets in the sun all day.

2. Put them through a mincer to grind them up with a 1/2 cup of water for every 2 cups of petals.

3. Heat them in a cast iron fry pan over a medium fire, stirring with a wood spoon. Do not let them boil, if you do they will lose their scent.

4. Roll them in balls about the size of a marble as they will shrink to half their size as they dry.

5. Use a hat pin or stiff wire to pierce a hole in the center. Let them dry on the wires to ensure the holes say stable and place in a warm dry place for 3 or 4 days.

6. Thread a needle and thread the beads onto thread and add a clasp. If they are stored in a wooden box they will retain the scent.

I am going to use the wooden box Roy made me last winter while he was here.


Donald, Wyo

April 16, 1914

Dear friend,

I will now write you a few lines and answer your two letters which I received the two last Wednesday.

You said you suposed I got tired of your writing so often, and I know you do not supose any such thing and just said it to suit the time for you know how glad I am to get a letter every Wednesday and I can always depend on it. So, you must not think anything like that. I was glad to hear you was getting along so nicely and did not have to work too hard.

I am pretty well today, but Mama has been pretty sick for three or four days, she is some better now. It seems as tho we have had our share of sickness this winter, hope we get throw the summer all right. The rest of the folks are pretty well tho now.

Was sorry to hear of your mother being so sick and certainly hope she is well by this time.

I am glad you are having good weather there. It has been pretty good for a long time here but have had no rain yet, just a little sprinkle is all. Everybody is wishing for rain.

Papa has not heard from his Bid on the mail route yet but aught to hear any time now. Mr. Holly Barber put in a bid too so he is not sure of it. I don’t care a great deal if he get it for it is not a very good job for winter time.

Yes Bert is going shearing soon. Aunt Sadie is going to stay with Grandma, while he is gone. I expect she is going to be very lonely tho.

I guess it will be about the last of the month before we will be up home for good.

Vera is counting the days and hours, ha ha.

Aunt Sarah is a little better now. They have got a new doctor now and think he is going to help her. I surely hope so for she has been sick for almost two months.

I would love to have more of the pictures of some of those large trees that you had cut down.

I am writing your letter today (Thursday) for I am going to be busy and did not think I would get a good chance to write. I want to wash, scrub and clean house tomorrow and so I will get a good start today.

I am glad Joe is there with you for I know it won’t be so lonesome and I am glad that your partner don’t drink like he did if he get drunk you must not work with him for you might get hurt.

I was over to Rob Waddington Sunday and stayed all night and I had a fine time. Edna and I are quite chummy again. We are both going to study for the teachers examination this fall and she is going to Huelett with me she is going to take all the subjects and I am only going to take half or six or seven subjects. I will start studying on Monday. I will sure have to study some to get throw. Have had the head ach for so long that I could not study until now. Of course I have it yet, but must study any way. I don’t think it will be very hard.

Well I will stop for today and write some more tomorrow.

As ever,



I supose you think I will never get my “say out” but always think of something to write to you. I was talking to Frank and he said he needed a good scolding but he has not wrote to any one for he is so busy, says he will write Sunday. And I was talking to Aunt Sadie and we both said we were about ready (to go to the Spring) we thot no body who would hear us, would know what we meant, for you were gone, and grandma spoke up and said don’t you do it, so we changed the subject. Aunt Sadie is going to stay with me next week. I am awful glad to.

Well I will stop again



April 17th, 1914.

Dear Diary,

I am sitting here by the window watching some much-needed rain fall. We surely need it but it looks like it won’t amount to much. I was going to try and do some laundry but it will save for another day. There are plenty of other indoor chores to do like ironing, churning, sweeping, cooking and so much more.

Mama has still been feeling poorly so last night Hazel and I said she could stay in bed today and we would take care of the chores. Hazel isn’t that good either with all the sore throats she’s been having. Papa said he thought a trip to Belle Fourche might be in order. I told him I could hold down the fort here. It might be kind of lonely here all alone but it would give me a chance to do a big spring cleaning here in Donald before we head back up to Mona.

I want to get a letter off to Roy this morning. And oh, dear I must go, we have a visitor, Mr. Price.


April 17,1914

Well Roy, – here I am this morning. It is raining so can’t wash, so will write you some more. It seems as tho I write long enough letters doesn’t it?

Well I am feeling pretty good this morning, but so worried about Mama she was worse last night and this morning.  I just worry so; she is so weak. I think she will go down to Belle Fourche about Wednesday and maybe Hazel will go too. Hazel has been having so much trouble with her throat. So, I am going to try to get them to go for I know that new doctor will help them for he is just wonderful. I supose I will be kindy lonly then, but will be glad to have them to go.

Frank got your letter and I think he has answered it before now.

We sent Lida’s beads to her, Sat.

We are getting a little rain today but not very much. When we move up home you must write so it will get to Donald on Saturday and then Papa can bring it up then and it won’t be down here so long.

Well I don’t know if I told you or not but Mr. Price is going to give a dance the 7th of May for him and I, wish you was going to be here. I guess we will go.  Will close now.

As ever,


April 18, 1914

Dear diary,

I never got a chance to get back to you for after Mr. Price left it was time for me to get moving on the chores. The reason for Mr. Price’s visit was to tell us he was organizing a dance to be held on May 7th in honor of both of our birthdays. It’s nice that he thought to include me but without Roy being here I am none too keen on dances. I suppose I will go, wouldn’t be nice to do otherwise.

I am happy to report I did find time to read the first chapter in one of my teacher training textbooks last evening. So many subjects to take – methods and organizing a curriculum, measurement, geography, music, English, history, mathematics, reading and so many more. I decided to start with organization and management of a classroom. Seems like there might be more to teaching than I thought. Aunt Sarah makes it all look so easy.


April 26, 1914

Dear Diary,

I am feeling pretty lonesome here by myself today and that cursed headache has been back in full force, so much so I haven’t gotten any new studying done.  All I want to do is close my eyes and wish it gone.  I swear some of the time it feels like a vice squeezing my left eyeball and temple. It’s all I can manage to take care of chores and get some beads made. My though, those beads do look nice and smell heavenly.

Yesterday afternoon the McDonalds came over and kept me company for a time. We sure did some laughing. My head aches so now, I much go, but before I do I must tell you the secret Clara Cady told me. She and Holly Barber are getting married. I’m the only one she has told so I must keep it hush, hush for now.

She also whispered to me she had heard a rumor about me. Seems someone is saying that I have plans to disobey my parents’ wishes and run away to Washington just as soon as I turn 18. I can tell you nothing is further from the truth. I would never hurt them that way. If I ever do leave for Washington it will be with their blessings. I love my family too much to just up and leave them. I can’t understand how some folks are so mean spirited to talk behind someone’s back like that. I sure hope the folks don’t get wind of it.

They should be back from Belle Fourche tomorrow.

LETTERS FROM Mona- part 20- April 4, 1914 -April 7, 1914

April 4, 1914

I am back from staying with Grandma and Grandpa Smith. I went on Thursday and Grandpa dropped me back this morning on his way to Aladdin.

As usual I had a good visit. Grandma and I made cookies and worked on her newest quilt. It’s going to be a beauty. And guess what? It’s going to be mine, to put in my hope chest. I can hardly wait until I can give it a place of honor upon a bed. Guess I will be waiting a while though, won’t I?

It’s done in the World’s Fair pattern. She’s using only 2 colors, a creamy white and soft green print of tiny flowers. I love how easy on the eye it is.

I took the logging picture Roy sent me along to show Grandpa. And Oh, my did he ever love looking at it. He kept exclaiming, “What a sight it would be to see a forest like this.”

Roy Caple is the man on the right with his partner Gus.

Then he got out a photograph to show me. It was a man in a Civil War uniform. “This is Isaac Smith, my father, that makes him your great grandad.

Isaac Smith – photo taken Dec. 1863. He served in the 28th regiment, CO D of Iowa Infantry from Dec. 1863 -Nov. 1864. He was discharged due to ill health and died April 1865.

I exclaimed over it and Grandpa told me his father had died from an intestinal illness during the war and then he got up abruptly and went out the door mumbling about chores to do outside.

Grandma said Grandpa doesn’t much like talking about his boyhood on account he was only 10 when his father died leaving the family destitute. To survive his mama married a man who turned out to be an abusive drunk. I guess it’s all kind of hush, hush but she finally had to divorce him.

Matilda Fowler Smith and her husband Isaac Smith. This photo was taken around 1852 either before or just after arriving in CA. Matilda was born in 1835 and Isaac in 1824.

I wondered why they had gone back to Iowa so I asked Grandma.

“On account,” she said, “of Matilda wanting to go back to her mother when she found out she was in a family way again. So they gathered up their meager savings and went back to Iowa and that’s where your great Uncle Addison was born in 1860.” Grandma fingered the picture and added, “I guess it took all their resources to get back to, leaving them pretty hard-up. She once showed me a small gold nugget she kept wrapped in a handkerchief. She said it was the only thing left of their time in California. She did go on to have 2 more sons by her second husband. She lives with one of them now.”

Do you think I could write to them,” I asked intriqued to know more.

“Don’t see why not,” she said. I’ll give you the address before you leave.

“But here’s something else for you to see.” She pulled out another photograph, this one of and old man and woman. Course I thought they were Isaac and Matilda but then I remembered he’d died during the war. Grandma said the man was Matilda’s twin brother and they were both still alive. I guess the photo was taken for a newspaper article about them being the oldest living twins in Iowa. She said she and Grandpa hadn’t seen them since they moved from Iowa in the 1880’s.

Matilda Fowler Smith and her twin brother William.

Then she chuckled, “Mae you had better watch out you’ve got twins running through both sides of your family, you just might end up with a set of your own.”

While I am looking forward to having a family someday, I’d just as soon skip twins.


Donald, WYO

April 7, 1914

Well Roy I will try and write you a few lines to let you know I am still alive, and I am pretty well. I got your letter Wednesday, was glad to hear you were well. And hope you are yet. We are all, almost over the La grip now, and are awful glad. Mama is not so very well tho yet. And Daniel has the headach so much.

Hazel and Daniel are still going to school down here. There was so much school lost on count of Aunt Sarah’s sickness and so it won’t be out until the first of May or later.

School started up home yesterday. I think we will move up there about a week from Saturday. I will be very glad to get home again. For “be it ever so humble there is no place like home.”

We was up there Sunday but Hazel and I went to see Vera and did not go on as it was to far to walk back. We had a nice time there tho. I was so glad to see Vera. Clarence was there too. “Ace” Lathrop was there too and oh my what a scolding I did get for not coming up when we were at Aunt Sadie’s and he would not let me make no excuses, was the worst of it.

Was glad your partner was back again. And supose you were glad to see him.

Frank Risher is home again, I was talking to him today he says he had good luck down there selling beads he sold $23.30 worth and is going to sell a lot more.

Hazel and I have got the bead notion now. Can make them lots better and we were just thinking maybe there might be some people there that would like some if Frank hasn’t said anything about it. Hazel is just wild to make them. I am going to send Lida a string and a Bandeau, will send them Saturday I think.

I have a string of light blue that are pretty good.

Papa is busy farming has quite a bit done and lots to do yet.

We are having pretty good weather and the grass is starting pretty good now. I am surely glad to see spring once again. 

Do you hear from Justin often? I wrote some time ago but have not got an answer.

Was surprised to hear about Gladys Clason and that uncle of hers.

Edna was here last Wednesday and stayed all night.

Aunt Sarah is not much better, Mama and I was over there Wednesday. Oh my she looks so bad. It made me feel so bad to see her look so. I hope she gets better tho.

Aunt Sadie and Bert are both well, haven’t seen them for a time tho.

There is not much news to write, I guess I had better go get dinner now and finish later.

Well here I am again, just got throu with dinner. How is the weather in Nagram? Hope it is better.

It is kindy cold today we have had pretty good weather tho.

I am still reading my Bible. I was glad I was so far ahead for when I got sick I could not read for quite a few days, so had to read again and am ahead quite a ways now.

I supose you hear from your folks quite often. I will write Lida Saturday.

Well I guess I will close this time.

Write often,

As ever, Mae

Frank and all of the folks was just here and Frank says he got your letter and said it was a nice letter and he is going to answer it soon.

(did your ears burn today, ha ha)

China letter:

15. translation: (don’t worry about me for I will get all right soon, Mae)