May 22, 1914
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.
May 23, 1914
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
(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.
May 25, 1914
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.
“Guess one really needs to cherish the good moments, as nothing in life is for sure.” These words were true then and now and I am sure well into the future. I could not help but think that in just four years from the dates on her letters she will go through the great 1918 pandemic.
Yes, that’s been on my mind, too. My family was lucky to come through that pandemic unscathed. I recall my grandfather saying they’d hear someone had contracted the 1918 flu and think for sure they’d be a goner as they were older and frail, only to find that person lived and it was the hail and hearty young guy who died.
Mae wasn’t so lucky a few years later when she contracted measles during an outbreak. It left her with severe asthma which led to her death 10 years later.
This is such wonderful history. Poor Mae’s being left alone in such a remote place must have been terrifying. The code is so interesting and like a young person might do today.