The winter holidays passed before Roy’s dad and Uncle Will saddled up their horses and rode to Guthrie, Oklahoma. There his dad filed an intent to homestead on 160 acres in township nineteen. [i]
After they left, his brother Sammy said, “We have to live on that land for the next five years before we can call it ours. And we have to have a house built by May.”
Tired of sharing his relatives cramped quarters, May, seemed like a long time to wait.
He asked his father upon his return, “How long before we can move there?”
His father fingered the ends of his long mustache, “Well, it’s going to be a bit. It has to warm up enough for us to cut the sod. I reckon it will be March before we get it built. There’s plenty of work for us to do in the meantime. I’ll start on the corral tomorrow.”
When the weather warmed enough to cut the sod, it surprised Roy how fast his dad with some help from his uncle and cousins got it built.
Roy’s Dad had brought the boys over to see it the day he and Milo hauled in the cast-iron stove. They installed it at one end of the 18’ x 24’ room. “There,” said his dad, something to keep us warm and cook on.”
He handed him and Joe paintbrushes, “Your mother wants all the walls whitewashed before we move in. I reckon it’s a job you two can handle.”
The next day his mother enlisted him and Joe to help her tack the white muslin sheets to the ceiling. After she pounded in the last tack she said, “there, that should help keep the dust and bugs out.” She nodded to the trunk his dad had set in the room that morning. “Roy, go open that up.”
She reached in and pulled out red checkered curtains. “I made these for our house in Puyallup. They will work here just as good. While I hang these, you two get the rugs out.”
He and Joe dragged out braided rugs and laid them on the dirt floor. Then his mother pulled out a gilt covered frame. It contained the likeness of both his mother and Father on some kind of certificate. “What is that?” asked Roy.
“It’s our marriage certificate.” Her fingers traced the outline of the photos. “My, how young we both looked, I can’t believe that was almost 17 years ago.” She hung it on the wall with the pictures of Ida and Bertle. Looking at Ida made Roy miss his sister all over again.
The boys helped their mother make shelves out of wooden fruit boxes to hold their dishes and cookware. She designated one shelf just for her China teapot and teacups. “There,” she said, “now we are ready to bring in the furniture.”
The two boys brought in the table they’d dragged along the trail and two chairs. The rest of them would make do sitting on wooden boxes until they could get proper seats.
In the corner along one wall they set the bedframe for their parent’s feather bed and the trundle his father had constructed for him, Richard, and Joe to sleep on. Sammy and Milo would sleep on palettes on the floor until they could build a bunkhouse.
On March 20th, 1894, the family moved into the soddy. His father took out a new ledger, dipped his pen in an inkwell and wrote the date down. “We’ll need to this to prove our claim in five years.”
While his mother was busy making the inside cozy and homey, he and Joe set to digging her a garden patch, while his dad, Sammy and Milo worked from dawn to dusk getting the fields plowed and planted with crops of corn and wheat.
Since wood was scarce. Roy and Richard often searched for dried cow chips, which they burned along with corn cobs for fuel.
Roy learned to put up with bugs, mice and snakes that burrowed through their walls and ceiling. Once while eating at his cousins Jennie’s house, she pointed to the ceiling. “Always look up before you eat. One time we had a snake fall on our dinner.”
After that, Roy checked the ceiling before he sat at the table. He also learned to never stick his feet onto the floor in the morning without checking to make sure the area was snake free. Some of those snakes were poisonous.
At first they had to haul their water from his uncle’s place. No matter how careful, the barrels always seemed close to dry. His father had to make several trips a week after it. Roy liked to ride along to help. His aunt was a superb cook, she always had something tasty he could eat, and he enjoyed talking to Jennie. For a girl, she was full of interesting stories.
Bit by bit the family added on to the homestead, first a bunkhouse, then a hen house for his mother to raise laying hens. They obtained more cattle and horses. After 5 years they’d planted an orchard of 150 trees and two thousand shade trees, fenced 140 acres and cultivated sixty-five acres.  His brother Milo took up a claim adjoining his father’s and Sammy had plans of adding to the family’s’ holdings as soon as he turned twenty-one.
Roy spent more time working on the ranch than going to school. He doubted he’d ever get enough school to graduate from the eighth grade. But that didn’t stop him from learning. Whenever they had a spare dime to spend, his parents bought him books to read and study on his own. He’d also learned to lasso a steer, dig postholes, mend fence, plant, and harvest crops, ride a horse and anyone, and build most anything one needed. Still, he cherished the moments he could read and study the most.
The info for their homestead claim comes from the actual claim when it was proved.
At time homesteaders in this area were instructed to plant trees which is why they planted 2000 trees. The scientific thought of the time was if trees were planted the rains would come.
So ends the Letters to Mona. The last letter written was by my Grandfather in September of 1915. There is one additional letter written by Roy to this Mother in Puyallup from Belle Fourche.
Both my Dad and Aunt said that after sending letters back and forth for 3 years Grandpa Roy decided he would move to the Black Hills. From these last letters written it appears Mae’s family moved to Belle Fourche sometime in September of 1915.
I know little of what they did in the next 2 years. It is reasonable to assume Roy went there after the logging season closed down in WA at the end of 1915. His last letters mention several logging operations had shut down in the area and the pay was less than it had been, all factors that may have influenced his decision to relocate to the Black Hills. The letter written below tells us he was logging out of Spearfish, SD when it was written.
If the year is correct he would have started logging soon after his arrival. But I question the year. He writes of the shack on his old logging partner Gus’ property, now in his possession and suggests his brother can live there. My Aunt Iva said Gus was killed by a “widow maker” and left his estate to my Grandfather. The problem is the letter is dated January 28th, 1916 and Gus did not die until some 10 months later. His death certificate gave his death date as Oct. 7, 1916. The cause of death a crushed skull and broken neck which fits with my Aunt’s story. Furthermore the informant on the death certificate is Roy’s mother, not Roy. The death certificate states no birthdate known, birthplace as Sweden, and no known family. For this reason I think the true date of the letter was January of 1917. It would be easy to put the wrong year on something written in January.
He also wrote of his sister’s photo in a way that suggests it had been more than a month or two since he had last seen her. The letter is below:
Belle Fourche S.D. Jan. 28th, 1916 (Author note: or is this 1917?)
Dear Mother and Sister.
Well here I am once again. Wondering how you are both getting along to day just fine tho I hope. I am well as usual and haven’t froze to death yet in fact have never suffered from the cold at all tho last Monday was nearly forty below. We didn’t know it was so cold to afterwards tho, so it didn’t bother us any. It has warmed up since then tho and is quite nice now. Has been thawing quite a bit the last two days. I would rather work in the timber here when it is cold than when it is thawing as it is drier underfoot and don’t feel the cold when you are working.
I am in Belle Fourche today as you will notice from the address. I came down yesterday to try to get the man we are working for to give us better pay.
The timber here is so poor that we couldn’t make so very good wages at the price he was paying. I don’t know whether he will give us anymore or not we may keep on cutting anyway for there is no other work here at present except in the mines. I am going to get him to pay us a little more tho if it is possible. We are able to cut only about five thousand per day and that is hardly enough. We could do better than that if it weren’t for so much rotten timber and is so small also. It is much smaller than any I ever worked in before and it counts up slow.
I got your last letter last Mond. and was glad that you were both feeling so much better and hope you will continue to improve in the future. The Philips folks are all about as usual Mae has gotten over her grippey spell so feel better than she did.
I got your pictures Sis and think it is real good. I can’t see as you have changed very much in the last year, except perhaps you are a wee bit fleshier. Guess You don’t weigh much if anymore than when I was last there.
So Joe and Dad had a bust it. Well I have been looking for that for some time now so was not surprised to hear it. I think it will be much better if Joe or Rich either would never try to work for him anymore for it never ends satisfactorily and they ought to know it by now. They ought to work for some one else and one would do better by them and Dad will do better by any one else than them. In my opinion he did the most foolish thing he ever did when he bought that truck, if he had been a young man it would have been different but for a man of his age to buy himself into a lot of trouble like that is very foolish. If he had managed right he could have lived in ease and comfort the rest of his life but the way he has managed he is liable to lose all he has got. I guess tho that it will make very little difference tho as he would never use what he had in the right way anyway.
What is Joe going to do now? If he has no other place to live he might go out and live in the shack Gus built on his place. I don’t know what kind of a house he built but suppose it is good enough for a makeshift and as it is near the car line Joe could work in town. I would much rather he would live there than have it unoccupied, as some one is liable to burn it up. If he was living there he could look after it and this summer he could clean up a little of land and raise some garden. I believe that Gus said there was an acre or so that didn’t need much work to put in cultivation. I don’t know about it myself as I have never seen it tho I have been over the ground in that section of the country so I have some Idea as to what it is like.
Well I guess this all for now. You better write me next time at Belle Fourche as I might not be at Spearfish then. Write soon and often bye-by.
When my Grandfather visited when I was a kid he sometimes reminisced about the days when he worked in the Homestead Gold Mine in Lead South Dakota. The Lead newspaper shows him on the “Disbursements Aid Fund” lists during the months of February and April of 1916. He received 5$ for sickness both times. And then again in May for an injury. These lists were long with over 100 names listed each month. While most names indicated either illness or injuries there were also a few deaths and suicides on each list. Mining work was dangerous and my Grandfather sounded as though he did not like the work.
There is also a brief mention in the Wyoming newspaper for January of 1916 for Mae’s father. The paper states that he moved into his cellar after his house burnt down in Donald, Wyoming and then shortly afterwards while he was away overnight his cellar burnt down too, so if he was going to stay on the ranch he’d have to camp out. The 1920 census has him living in Belle Fourche with his wife and younger children Daniel and Hazel. He is working as a teamster and she is the keeper of a boarding house. They have 3 boarders and they are renters not the homeowner. Daniel is listed as still going to school and Hazel as not working. Perhaps that is the boarding house Roy inquires if they are moving to in one of his last letters written in 1915.
On August 1, of 1917 Roy and Mae finally married. Their marriage certificate states he was a resident of Lead and she of Belle Fourche. The two towns are about 35 miles apart. They were married in Belle Fourche by a Congregational minister. Her sister Hazel and a Louis Mason were witnesses. She wore a dress of white or a pale color, long elbow white gloves and carried a bouquet of roses. I’d like to think they were surrounded by family and friends on that day with a celebration dinner held later at the boarding house. I wonder did they own a car by then or did they set off for their new home in Lead by horse and buggy?
Roy’s name shows up on the Disbursement list aid fund again in June, July, and August of 1917 in Lead for injury with payment of 4$ and 5$ for each of the months. I am assuming they made their first home in Lead as another newspaper clip of April 1918 states Mr. and Mrs. W. R. Caple of Lead were visiting the Marchant’s. It also noted that Mrs. Marchant was the aunt of Mrs. Caple. Perhaps they had visited to say good-bye as by September of the same year they lived with Roy’s parent in Puyallup, WA. At the time he worked as a wheelwright for a shipyard in Tacoma.
From his father they purchased the lot next door to their house and Roy began to build his bride her dream home. Though not finished it was livable by the time they welcomed their first child, Iva Mae into the world on Dec. 17, 1918.
While this is the end of THE LETTERS TO Mona, stay tuned, this isn’t the last you will hear of them. Next I am taking on the task of writing my grandfather’s life, the courtship years were only a fraction of his long life.
A poem that was enclosed in one of Mae’s last letters
When in my grave I lonely sleep.
And the weeping willows over me leaps,
It is then dear friend and not before
That I shall think of us no more.
Your true Friend 25.19.7 (Which translates to Mae)
Well how are you making it by now? I am just fine and hope you can say the same. It has been quite some time since I got your letter and ought to have answered it before but was to lazy I guess. That is my only excuse I have to offer anyway. I was going to write to you last Sunday but had to work that day so had to put it off for awhile.
Well how goes it in Wyoming by now? Suppose you are working pretty hard these days harvesting the crop. Suppose it is pretty warm there now also. We are having fine weather now just warm enough to be pleasant. I don’t think it will get very hot anymore this summer.
You ought to be here to go fishing with me next Sunday. It happens to be my birthday and I am going to celebrate it by going fishing. Don’t you think that is a pretty good way to celebrate? It is lucky it comes on Sunday, if it was any other day I should have to celebrate with the big saw. Well I don’t know any new to tell you as there is not much doing here and I haven’t been any place since the Fourth and I haven’t heard much from any of the folks since then either so am short of news. Well guess I will read the paper for a while and then pull in.
Maybe next time I can think of more to write.
Your pal, Roy
August 5, 1915
Big news, Papa says we are now moving to Belle Fourche as soon as September is here. I hardly think we will make it that soon with all the threshing still to do but it does look like we will move for at least the fall and winter if not permanently. I won’t mind living in town but I do wish it were Puyallup. And I don’t have to tell you why.
The Grain is ripening slowly this year no one is harvesting yet. This had been a cool, wet summer for a change. That’s why I hardly think we will be moving as soon as September. Time will tell I guess.
I wonder if there are any Book and Thimble type clubs in Belle Fourche. I am starting to really enjoy our meetings. We had a big crowd at the one last Saturday. The weather was so pleasant we held it outside under the shade trees.
August 8, 1915
I am feeling blue. Today is Roy’s birthday and I miss being with him on his special day. As it is a Sunday I bet he isn’t working either. I do hope he is doing something fun. I doubt he went to Puyallup. I know his mother would make him a cake if he did. If he were here I certainly would. This year I think I’d make him a lemon sponge cake and serve a berry compote on the side. For dinner we’d have fried chicken, potato salad and fresh greens from my garden. Making it would be a labor of love, not work at all.
Instead I had to settle on sending him a card and some nice poems. Maybe next year will be different.
Steven Giles was around this week to show off his shiny new car. Seems more and more folks are getting one. If we actually decide to live in town maybe we will end up with one too, though Papa says never. Getting around here has gotten easier since all the neighbors decided to work together to fix the roads. The county sure wasn’t doing it.
August 10, 1915
Well here I am once again ready for a short chat. Intended to write to you last evening but took a sudden notion to go fishing, so didn’t have the time. Well how are you feeling this lovely evening. Fine I hope. I am still feeling good only a wee bit tired just now. It was pretty warm today and we have an awful rough place to work, have to climb of a pretty high hill to get to it and that makes it pretty bad when it is warm.
Your last letter came last night and I was certainly glad to get it as it had been more than two weeks since I had a letter and I couldn’t help being worried a little bit. Was some what surprised to hear that you are going to move to town and so soon. I won’t get to write you more than one more letter to Mona. I hope you will like it down there and have a good time. I would surely like to be there to go with you to the fair but is so useless to make a wish like that for it is all but impossible. I may go down to the Puyallup fair this year if all goes well until that time. It is a long time yet and lots might happen before then so can’t figure much on it yet.
Is Mr. Phillips going to rent that lodging house that he talked of renting last winter?
Last Sunday was my birthday. I celebrated by going fishing so of course you know that I had a good time. Mr. Cook my partner and myself packed up Saturday evening and walked about five miles up the creek (not the same creek that we went to last time) and slept out under the stars. We got up bright and early and started angling for the shifty trout. It took us only a short time to catch enough for breakfast, we certainly had a fine feed. Mr. Cook acted as chief cook and I cleaned the fish. We fished until about noon and then had another big feed before starting back to camp. We were just about all in when we got back, at least I was and I guess the others were in the same fix.
Mr. Cook undertook to give me a birth-day whipping but didn’t have much success with it. I had a letter from Mother last night and three birthday cards, one from Richard, one from my sister in law and the other from Mother. Richard’s leg is well now. He started away yesterday for east of the mountains to thresh. Said he expected to be gone about two months. Mother is pretty well for her. She said that Lida had been away visiting for a couple of weeks. She stayed a week with Blanche in Tacoma and a week in Buckley with a girl friend she has there.
Mother didn’t say any thing about any of your folks except your Aunt Ann and all she said about her was that she had just been over for a short visit. I suppose the rest must be all right or she would have said something about them. I haven’t heard anything of Justin since he was here. Have you heard from him lately?
You ought to have been here and went to church last Friday evening. There was a meeting in the dance hall. Gus and I went over but the rest of the rough necks wouldn’t go so there wasn’t much of a crowd. Nearly all women and kids. Well I am almost to the end of my paper so will have to cut it short for now.
Dear Mae: Well here goes a short talk with my Little girl. I wonder how she is this fine evening. Well and happy tho I hope. I am still felling just so good as ever and getting along pretty well.
Am back in Nagrom again as you will notice by the address, got back Monday evening and have worked ever since. Got your last letter yesterday, it came to Puyallup after I left there so Mother sent it up to me. Of course you know I was glad to get it. Glad to hear that you were all feeling pretty good and trust you are feeling even better now. Glad you are having nice weather in Wyo. now. We have had nice weather during the past two weeks. I think it is going to be nice for a while now.
Well the Great and Glorious Fourth is now a thing of the past, and I am not very sorry of it either altho I had a good rest and quite a nice time, much better than I expected to have. I think I told you what I did up until Saturday evening. I will take up the story where I left off and tell you all about how I celebrated the fourth.
My chum and I went down town that evening and stayed until pretty late, didn’t go to the show tho, just bummed around the streets. Sunday I didn’t do very much until after noon. Mr. Cook and I went down and got a gallon of ice-cream and we had an ice-cream dinner. We also had fried chicken, new potatoes and green peas and all the berries and cherries we could stand. I tell you it was quite a treat for us after living on camp grub for so long. wish you could have been there and enjoyed it with us. There was no one there beside the home folks except Blanche Stockton and a couple of girls that are picking berries for me. They came from Winlock, Wash. and they were pretty nice girls to, at least I thought so. Sunday evening we all went down to the picture shows and had a real nice time of it. There wasn’t a very good show that evening but had a good time anyway., Monday we all picked berries most of the day. Mr. Cook and I helped the girls pick and we sure had a great time.
In the evening Blanche and Lida and Mr. Cook and myself all went down to the Stadium in Tacoma. There was a play there called Colonial day and it was just fine. They showed the Landing of the Pilgrims in the Mayflower, the signing of the Declaration of Independence and a number of other historical events. They had the most and best fire-works I have ever saw before. It sure was a grand display and I wish you might have seen it. There was also a tight wire performance and other stunts in that line.
We stayed in Tacoma until midnight then we took a train out and put the girls off at Puyallup and we came up to Nagrom. It was after three oclock in the morning when we landed here, so there wasn’t much sleeping done that night. Justin met us at the train in Puyallup and came up here with us, but didn’t stay because he couldn’t get the kind of work he wanted. It was pretty much disappointed that he didn’t stay for it would have kept me from getting so lonesome and I think it would have been much better for him also for he could have got what he wanted later on. I don’t know what he intends to do now. Don’t think he has any plans for the future.
I had a letter from Mother today. She said that Richard had come home from the hospital said that he couldn’t walk yet but didn’t want to stay in the hospital any longer and was going to stay home until he could work again. I don’t think he is going to come here anymore, he says he is going down in Oregon to thresh if he gets well in time. The rest of the folks at home are all pretty well. Mother says she feels better now than she has at anytime since they went east last fall. Lida is working pretty hard in the berries. She is getting along pretty well at it. Father seems to be as well as he was before, he sure looks much better than he did. Joe is over east of the Mts. working in the wheat harvest. I don’t know just where.His wife it is staying with some of her folks. I think she is at Wenatchee, WN.
I didn’t get to see any of your relatives while I was down, was at Henry’s several times, so saw quite a lot of them. I helped Lillian pick berries for quite a while and had quite a talk with her. We talked about you to, did it make your ears burn? I saw your uncle John several times. He looks just as he did when you saw him last I can’t see as he looks much older. I didn’t see any of the rest except Hugh. He was over to our place for a little while. I did see Saul on the street to, but didn’t get to talk to him. Mrs. Henry said they are planning another trip back east this fall, wish I was going part way with them.
Well guess I have told you about all there is to tell about myself so will talk about something else. I wonder what kind of time you had the fourth. My how I wish I might have been with you but that don’t do any good I guess, I sure thought of you many times and wondered what you were doing. Hope you had a good time where ever you were. Hope you got to make that trip up to your Uncle Willies that you were planning.
Well I can’t think of any more to say so will stop and pull in as it is getting pretty late.
July 16, 1915
Well here I am once again. How are you this fine evening? This is only Thursday evening but I am so lonesome I don’t know what else to do with myself so thot I would talk to you for a little while and see if it won’t cheer me up a little bit. There is nothing special to make me feel lonely but can’t help feeling that way sometimes. I am still as well as ever and getting along pretty well with the work We have had a very sudden change in the weather this week. It stopped raining last Sat. and turned warm all at once. Monday was the warmest day of the season and believe me we felt it some to. It has been hot every day this week but not nearly so hot as Monday was. I don’t think it will last for any great length of time up here in the mountains. If it stays nice until Sunday I am going on a fishing trip. I think I have made plans to go about a dozen time this season but something always happened to prevent. I am going this time for sure tho If we don’t have to work.
I had a letter from Mother the other day. She said they were all pretty well at the present. I guess they are just about through with the berries now I think they were going to pick them for the last time today and I suppose they are glad to get through with them. Blanche Stockton is going to stay at our place through black-berry picking. I think that her and Lida are going to pick for Mr. Perensen.
Well here I am once more I had to stop writing the other before I finished and didn’t get to write anymore until now, and don’t suppose I can finish it now either as Mr. Cook and I are going fishing this evening. I am waiting for him to get ready and thot I would talk to you while I am waiting. We are going up May creeks about five miles and stay all night so we can get an early start in the morning. Well I guess Gus is about ready to start so I will have to stop and finish tomorrow night. I can then tell you about our trip good-bye for now.
Well here I am once more, how was you this evening? I am fine and dandy and hope you can say the same. I intended to finish this letter last night but Gus and I were invited out to supper and we didn’t get home until about nine oclock so didn’t have time to write any. We had quite a time on our fishing trip, didn’t catch many fish but had a good time just the same. We stayed all night Sat. night out in the woods under a big tree on the bank of a swift mountain stream and the water made music for us to sleep by. We got up at four o clock and started out to catch trout enough for breakfast. It was a beautiful morning and the scenery was just grand, wish you could have been there and seen it for yourself. We fished until seven and then we stopped and cooked breakfast. I cleaned the trout while Gus prepared the rest of the meal and then we both fried fish. We certainly had a great feed and it sure tasted fine for we were hungry.
After breakfast we went on up the creek fishing as we went until noon then we stopped and had another fish fry. On the return trip I went to climb along the cliff to get by a water fall and my foot slipped and I went into the water co-plunk and oh was it cold. The sun was shining tho so It didn’t take long to dry. We got back to camp quite early in the evening and we were some tired I tell you. We gave our fish to a family man that lives here and he invited us to come and help eat them so we went and we certainly had a good supper. After supper we had some music and singing go put in the evening quite pleasantly.
I got your letter today and of course was very glad. I looked for it Saturday, but it didn’t come so I wasn’t looking for it until Wednesday so was some what surprised to get it today. It was a very pleasant surprise tho. Am so glad to hear that you are feeling so well and hope you will stay that way. I had a letter from Mother today also. She and Lida are both pretty well and getting along pretty well. Richard is able to walk without crutches now and the Doctor told him he would be as good as ever by their first of Aug. Guess he will start away threshing just as soon as he can. I bet he is some glad to be able to walk around again. He certainly has had quite a time of it.
Father is getting along pretty well and is feeling quite will. My old uncle isn’t any better and I guess never will be. He had never recovered his health and his mind is failing him. I don’t think he can last so very long but of course it is hard to tell.
Well it is time for me to pull in so I will have to hang up and go to bed and get some sleep so I will be ready for another long hard day. Gus has been sitting here reading to me while I have been writing so if you find any mistakes you will know the reason and excuse them.
July 17, 1915
We went to the picnic and dance at Donald on the 15th. My did we ever have fun and eat so much good food. It was good to visit with all the folks I don’t see much. The boys and men spent most of the afternoon playing baseball while we women cheered and visited. They also held running races like the gunny sack and three-legged races for the younger kids. As you know I am not so crazy about dances unless a certain someone is there with me too. But I have to admit they had some mighty fine fiddlers. My toes were sure a tapping even if I did sit the dances out.
So many of the folks at the dance kept asked why I didn’t I just up and take myself to Washington. Believe me I’m temptedbut I would hate to hurt my family that way and beside Roy made Papa that darn promise so I am sure he’d still wait until I was 21 before he asked for my hand in marriage.
We have had so much rain this month it is interfering with the haymaking. Before it gets quite dried out it ups and rains again. After so many seasons of insufficient rain this year we have too much.
It’s been a very busy end to July, so busy with harvesting crops and canning. The men have been trying to get as much haymaking done as they can between rainstorms. Most of our alfalfa crops is laying spoiled in the fields due to the overly plentiful rain.
Papa has once again said he’s had enough of trying to farm out here. The Washington relatives keep writing to him saying he should come out there. I have my fingers crossed I think he is considering it. I don’t have to tell you how much I’d prefer that to Belle Fourche.
I am sitting in my garden. My flowers have flourished, they don’t mind all the rain at all. I’m being cooled by a pleasant breeze and the sweet scent of fresh mowed hay drifts through the air. In the distance I hear the yowling of the coyotes. This year these parts are being overrun with them.
China – coded letter written by Mae sometime in July or August it was included in the envelope for Roy’s letter dated July 17, 1915
Yes Roy I would like very much to be in Washington but you know I can’t as long as the folks are here. But everybody is asking me why I don’t go. But we must live in hope of being together I hope.
Vera and Hazel discovered the writing in the envelope, but it will be all right
I surely get lonesome sometimes if only I could see you once in a while I would feel so much better. But I hope and trust in God we will soon be together. It helps to look on the bright side of things you are just beautiful and I love you only
If you send any secret letters envelopes, don’t as they are looking
The busy time of year is almost upon us and I probably won’t find much time to write in you. I got a letter from Vera she said they are planning to make a trip up here to see family in Sept. I can’t wait to see her again. She is a faithful writer but there is nothing like seeing someone in person to catch up. I am sure she has lots to tell me she has left out of her letters and I can say the same for myself.
Yesterday we went over to Frank Phillips to watch the cowboy’s bronco bust for a bit. It’s always scary watching them as some of those horses really buck. While some did fall off no one was injured and that’s a good thing. Horses are selling well right now, these horses will be going elsewhere soon. I do hope they don’t have to go to the war in Europe.
We are going to Hulett to see Uncle Willie over the fourth of July. This year I hope we make it. It’s quite a way to go when the roads are so bad, sometimes I think I could walk faster.
I haven’t heard from Roy in over a week. I know it’s probably just the mail system but it still worries me. I get scared he might get hurt like his brother did though I think Lida or his mother would let me know right away if that was the case, so he is probably fine.
Puyallup, Wn July 3rd,1915
Hello girlie! How are you today? Just fine tho I hope and trust. I am having a pretty good time hope you are able to say as much.
Well I am at home now, came down from Nagrom Thursday evening and have been taking life easy ever since. My chum came down with me and is going to stay here while the camp is shut down. That won’t be very long tho, as we go back Monday//.
Richard is still in the hospital. I was down to see him yesterday afternoon. He was hurt much worse than I thought at first, his leg is in pretty bad shape as it may be quite a while before he will be out of the hospital. Poor kid, it is pretty tough to have to be in the hospital while the rest are out having a good time. I feel sorry for him.
Yesterday Mr. Cook and I went out to the Point and had a good swim in the bath house and later came back to Tacoma and had supper and afterward went to see a show. It was the best show I have seen in a long time to. Wish you could have been along and helped me enjoy it, but of course it of no use to make any wishes of that kind.
Today I haven’t been doing much but rest and eat berries and I am so full now I can almost touch them by putting my finger in my mouth. I have tried to eat enough for you and me both and guess have pretty nearly succeeded. The berries are poor this year and won’t amount to very much. I guess it is from the frost. There is only a fiew cherries and the kind that I sent you last year is a entire failure so guess I can’t send you any this year. I am so sorry to for I so wanted to send you a fiew.
Justin and Lillian are at Mr. Henry’s now. I saw them both for a little while today and I was glad to see them. I tell you don’t know if they were glad to see me or not. Baby John is some boy now, don’t look much like he did when I last saw him. He doesn’t look much like either his Dad or Mother, looks more like a Swede than any one else, he is so light. (Author’s note: Mae’s cousin Justin was married to the Henry’s daughter, so Baby John is Justin and Lillian’s son.)
I saw Hue and Saul for a little while this morning. Saul isn’t so very well yet but is able to work some and said he was getting better all the time. Hue and Lodie went to Rosedale this P. M. to spend the 4th. Henry’s folks are going out to the Point to celebrate the 4th. They wanted me to go along but I don’t think I shall. If someone that I know was here I would be perfectly willing to go tho. Justin is going back to the camp with me to see if he can get work there and I am pretty sure that he can. (Authors note: all of the folks he is mentioning here are Mae’s relatives)
Well supper is ready now and I must go eat, after supper Gus and I are going down town so I guess I will have to stop now and tell you the rest next time. Here is wishing you a very happy time for the 4th.
Mona, Wyo. July 8,1915
Well how you was today? I am pretty well only tired we got home yesterday about six oclock; had a nice time and a dandy visit, we never went anywhere only to Uncle Willie’s but Oh what a good visit we had. They were so glad to see us. They nearly went wild. Mama hadn’t seen them all for a year. They was so afraid we wouldn’t come for it was raining so Sunday, but we went anyway and it stopped raining about noon that day, but my we nearly froze to death. It was more like xmas than the 4th of July.
It was pretty warm the next day tho. It is so changeable you can freeze one day and nearly die with heat the next. But we haven’t had much hot weather so far, but supose we will from now on. It snowed some on the 3rd. Grandpa and Aunt Sadie and Bert and Iretha were here that day. They went home Sunday. My I don’t know when I’ll see them again now. It will be such a busy time from now on I supose.
I wonder what you are doing today, picking berrys I supose tho. I wish I was there to help you. How is Lida and your Mother. I supose they are busy too. Is Blanche there now? (Authors note: Blanch was Lida’s best friend but Mae knew her from when she lived in Puyallup)
I never got any letter from you yet this week, it will soon be two weeks since I heard. Tho the mail is perhaps delayed somewhere. I surely will get one tomorrow night. If I don’t I don’t know what I shall do.
Frank Risher called me up this morning, he got home last night, but I didn’t know he was there and it sure surprised me, glad he is home tho. He will be here until Sept.
My wish you could seem my potatoes they are surely fine all of our potatos are just grand they are lots larger now then we had at all last year. We got about a five pound pail full out of one hill and never got near all of them just dug in the side. I never saw such large ones for this time of the year. Everything looks fine. Papa’s grain is doing fine and the grass is nice and green yet and is about as high as I ever saw it. I guess higher than it has been for a good many year.
We drove Drummer and Ben up to Uncle Willies and Oh what bad roads so they are pretty tired, I believe it is thirty miles from here. They were sorry they never got to see you. I wish you could see Zeta their baby she is seventeen months old and is so sweet, just as sweet as Iretha so you know how nice she is. Ha ha.
I supose you have a nice visit with Sade. I wish I was there to go with you.
Every one almost goes wild over Hazel’s scarf, wish you could hear what they say about it. Aunt Lib is about the same I guess. She don’t get any better or worse. I feel so sorry for her. How is your uncle, and father? Where is Joe and his wife? And also Richard?
Uncle Willie has a phonograph and Hazel kept it pretty busy playing the latest songs they had a lot of the latest ones. She almost learned two of them. She knows about a dozen new ones I guess.
I heard Aunt Ann was going to pick berrys for you this year, so I supose she will soon be busy. Well I have almost run out of news so will say good night and finish later this week.
Well here I am to bother you some more, with my scribbling. We are busy straighting things up. Today it is kindy warm but not bad as there is a cool wind. I hope I get a letter tonight. I had aught to have two but maby I won’t get the other one until Thursday.
There’s going to be a picnic down to Donald and a dance in the evening. I supose we will go, wish you could be there too. Uncle Willie May come down. Helen Baxter was here last Saturday, she is home now. Well I don’t know any more to write I guess. I supose you got disappointed as I should have wrote so it would gone away Friday but I never got home until Wednesday evening and was so tired and didn’t feel very good either so I never got to send a letter, but you will get will get this next Saturday so you won’t have to wait very long.
I have to send the letters with the kids to school and they go so early I have to write the day before. I may write more when I get your letter. by by for now.
Well here I am this Sunday forenoon, Gertrude Guy wants us to come up this afternoon so I guess we will go, if it don’t storm, it is a little cloudy but I don’t believe it will rain very soon. We haven’t had a rain since Wednesday night the longest time we have had without rain this year.
I am sorry there isn’t so much fruit there this year, but what is to be will be. So maby it is for the best. As far as the cherrys don’t you worry about them for I can get along nicely without them.
I got two letters from you on Friday night, of course I was glad. I don’t see how come I never got one before, but there is nothing sure about the mail now as there is so much wash outs this summer and so it delays the trains sometimes.
Sorry Richard got hurt but hope he is much better now. I sent the last letter to Puyallup and supose you never got it there for you went to Nagrom sooner than I thot you would.
I have never answered Lillian’s and Justin’s letters yet but will in a few days. I didn’t know where they were for so long. I supose they didn’t speak very well of me, but I will make it right with them. Did Justin get work there?
Daniel went to a party today over near where you folks went with the sled that day for corn. He never has went anywhere like that alone so we all kindy worry about him. I guess he will be alright tho. He rode his pony.
Hazel and I went horse back riding yesterday. Well I have written a news paper so will stop my foolishness.
Well here I am once again to bother you for a little while. I wonder how you are this fine evening. Well And happy tho I trust. I am still as well as usual and am getting along pretty good.
Your letter arrived today and of course you know how glad I was to get it. Was awful sorry to hear that your aunt Lib is so bad. Poor old woman, it sure is to bad that she has to suffer so much. It doesn’t seem to me to be right that anyone should have to suffer so much and so long, but I suppose there are lots of things in this life that are beyond our understanding, about all we can do is try to believe it is all for the best but it is sure hard to think that way sometimes. It certainly must be awful hard for Mrs. Plummer and of course the rest also. I feel sorry for them all. You must be careful not to over do yourself or you may be sick to.
Am glad you are having so many nice rains this season, maybe it is going to be a good crop year. I sure hope so anyway for it has been dry about long enough. No, I don’t think you are getting our Wash. rains in Wyo. for we are getting our full share. Since the first of May there had been lots of rain and I never did see so much cool cloudy weather. There has been very little sunshine since in April. Such weather is fine and dandy for working as it is so nice and cool but it is not the best for crops. It has almost spoiled the strawberrys and if we don’t have more sunshine pretty soon I think it will be bad for the raspberries also. It is quite a little while before they will be ripe tho, so maybe the weather will change in time. If it had stayed nice like it was in April I suppose the raspberries would have been ripe now. As it is I don’t think there will be many ripe before the first of July.
I wish I could help you work in your garden. My wouldn’t we have a good time tho. and I would like to help you eat some of it to. I haven’t had anything green to eat this spring, except the day I was down home. I get hungry for something fresh that I can hardly stand it. I will certainly make up for last time when I go home the Fourth of July. I expect to be home for a week or two then. Tell Daniel that I intended to send him a present for his birthday but forgot when his birth-came. Am sorry and will try to make it up at some other time if he will excuse me this time.
Well I guess I can’t think of anymore worth while so will stop. Some of the boys are playing cards in the room and making so much noise I can hardly think so you must excuse me if you find any mistakes.
Mona, Wyo. June 13, 1915
Dear Roy- I received your two letters today. My I was beginning to think I was never going to hear from you again. I didn’t know what to think as I never heard from you from the 24th of May until I got the two letters today. I never got any last Friday or any last Tuesday but got them both today. I was surely glad to. Was glad to hear you was all right any way and hope you are the same now. We were over to grandpa’s today and got the mail. I got a letter from Uncle Sol too. Well it is so dark I will have to finish later; I also have a headache so good night and pleasant dreams.
Well here I am this morning. How you were this fine morning. I am feeling lots better than last week I was about all in with the La grip, and such a dreadful cold in my head and lungs. I still have a cold but feel better, only my lungs hurt so bad today but will be all O.K., soon.
We had a dreadful rain about three days and nights it just poured down but it is nice today and was yesterday. I guess we will have good crops of every kind this year.
Am sorry your mother was feeling not so good as usual hope she is better now. I am glad you father is so much better tho.
Aunt Sadie and Iretha are both well. Bert will be home soon I think. Aunt Sadie will be over this week. I will be glad but will surely be lonesome when they go down home.
We were glad to hear from all the folks. They are not very good to write and so when you tell us how they are it surely helps out. Wish I could see Justin’s baby. I always thot so much of him for he was so sweet when we were there. I haven’t written to Lillian and Justin yet, but will soon. I wish I was there to eat strawberrys and cherries but you will have to eat my share this year, that will help some.
There is going to be a lot of wild strawberrys here and lots of fruit in Spearfish. Papa is going to start for town today going to Uncle Tom’s. He started last week but that rain came so he had to come back home.
Aunt Lib is about the same. I saw her yesterday. Mrs. Plummers daughter is out visiting now. She is Mrs. Oliver, lives in South Dakota.
What are you going to do for the fourth of July. I don’t know for sure what we will do yet. Wish we could spend it together but I don’t supose we can. You must go and have a good time tho for you are where you can. You mustn’t stay at home this fourth. Was glad your folks liked my picture. Wish I could see them all. I got some more papers from Sade. She hasn’t written for some time.
I got the roses they are sure tiny little things but awful nice. We sure have lots here.
Well I can’t think of anything today. I started my letter last night in the dark. I don’t know if you can read it or not. Now be sure and don’t disappoint me again with a letter, but I know how it was. And you write so regular, but I couldn’t help be worried.
Well Best of wishes, as ever Mae.
June 14, 1915
Yahoo! Finally I heard from Roy and not just one but two letters came yesterday. I am so relieved and happy to tell you both my mind and body feel better today than last week. After I last wrote to you it also commenced to snow. Can you believe that? What a mixed-up season. First it’s too wet followed by too dry and then it’s too cold, followed by it’s too hot. It’s a wonder anything grows.
June 20, 1915
Hello Girlie! How are you this morning? Just fine I trust tho. I am feeling fine and dandy as usual and hope you can say the same thing. I looked for a letter yesterday but did not get any. Perhaps I will get it today tho. I will sure be disappointed if I don’t.
Well I haven’t much in the way of news to tell you this week as I haven’t heard from any one in Puyallup since I was down there and everything here is pretty much the same at all times, about the only change we have is in the weather, so it is pretty hard to think of much to write. I have a new partner now. Mr. Cook thot the work was to hard so he left me. He is here tho, is working at another job. My new partner is a young fellow, twenty-two years of age and is a pretty nice boy and I think we’ll get along fine together. I worked with him a for a little while once before and we got along fine.
We are having some pretty disagreeable weather now. It is pretty rainy and cold. The coldest I have ever seen June. Seems to be getting colder all the time. Guess we are going to have some more winter by the looks of it. The warmest weather we have had so far was in April. It rained hard nearly all day yesterday and we got pretty wet. It is cloudy and cold this morning but isn’t raining, looks as if it might begin any minute tho. I would have went fishing today if it had been nice. I have been planning that trip fora long time now and always something turns up to prevent. Looks now as if I wouldn’t get to go before the fourth of July as there is only one more Sunday now.
Well how is everything in Wyo. by now. Hope you are having better weather than we are. I guess tho you are having some wintery weather also, as I was reading in the paper that there was six inches of snow in Sturgis S. DAk. and I suppose that there must have been some up in Wyoming to. If is pretty late in the summer for as much snow as that isn’t it? I suppose tho it will help with the crops some.
How I wish I could be with you on the Fourth of July. I know I would have a good time. How are you going to spend it? There will be a dance tho I suppose. Here is hoping that you have a fine time what ever you do. I haven’t made any plans as to how I shall spend it, as yet. If I go home I probably will put in the time picking berries or else take a trip to PT. Defiance Park. Wish you were here and could go along.
I suppose Burt will soon be back from shearing, guess Sadie and Tootie will not be sorry either. Expect you will be tho as you won’t get to see them so often then.
Well guess I can’t think of any more to write so guess I will stop and go do up my Sunday work and then put in the rest of the day reading. Tell Daniel to not forget to write to me.
Best wishes to all, As ever, Roy
June 20, 1915
Hazel and I are over at the Plummer’s. We are keeping Miss Guy company; she’s boarding with them while she teaches at Mona, but I am also responsible for caring for my Aunt Lib. She said she’d be okay if I’d stay with her but oh my does she ever demand my attention. Thank goodness she had drifted off to sleep for a bit so I can have a bit of a break. She is completely bed ridden. Is it ever work lifting and propping her up into a more comfortable position what seems like every other minute. Not to mention all the fetching fresh tea or water to sip. I do wish she’d let Hazel and Miss Guy help some. Still it makes me feel good to know she thinks so well of me.
The Plummer’s came home today so I am back home. My did they bring back a wagon load of fine fruit, so many cherries and strawberries. They dropped quite a few off for us as our payment for looking after their place. I am going to mix up some shortcakes and cream to go with them in honor of the summer solstice. Strawberry shortcake, if ever there was the taste of summer, that is it..
Tomorrow Mama and I will turn the rest of the berries into jam and can most of the cherries. I surely will miss the ones Roy has sent the last couple of years but this help make up for missing those. Except they do make me feel kindy extra lonely for him, at the same time. I mustn’t dwell too long on such thoughts. I’ll just distract myself with summer chores. Aunt Sadie is here, so we will have a good time cooking.
Mona, Wyo June 22, 1915 Dear Roy-
Well here I am again for a chat. I am feeling more like my self now but was pretty near in. I hope you are well and happy and still getting along fine. I hope the weather is good. too. I got a letter from you Saturday and of course was glad. Plummer’s went to Spearfish last Friday and Hazel and I stayed with Mis Guy while they were gone, we came home yesterday. Aunt Lib said that Cynthia could go if I would come and stay with her. We got along fine. She seems to feel so good when I am near. My I don’t know what to think, she wants me to wait on her and no one else will do when I am near. She is still pretty bad. I don’t believe she will ever get up again, but I hope she will never have to suffer so much again. Mrs. Plummer’s picked a lot of strawberrys and we sure had a feast. I supose you will soon be going down home, so I may write to Puyallup next time.
Well today is clean up day for me so will finish this later. Hazel and Daniel are visiting. Mama is sewing. Aunt Sadie and Iretha have been her since Sunday and you know what kind of time we are having. Wish you was here. Bert will soon be home I guess, and I will be so lonesome I will nearly die. I feel like that lots time any way but I know I mustn’t so don’t. ha ha.
Well I don’t know very much of any news and I don’t know when I will get to send it. But I do the best I can so you will excuse me. Well I will close for this time I am feeling kindy blue and I can’t write very cheerful letters when I feel that way. Hazel and Daniel are not going to school this week. We have had some bad storms lately. I am so afraid of them but we have been pretty lucky so far. Well I will close and maybe write more before I get to send this. best wishes, as ever Mae.
We got a letter from Aunt Ann the other day and she said uncle Sol was quite sick. My I hope he is better. Miss Guy was down today my she is a dandy girl, I like her so well and it seems so nice to see a decent girl again. There hasn’t been one near here for so long since Vera left. But she is a Washington girl so maybe that is the reason she is so nice. ha ha
Wednesday 23, 1915
Here I am and will write just a little more. We are all well today but Aunt Lib is so much worse so we are going up this afternoon. So, I will take this letter along.
Well I will have to get dinner. Iretha is sending you a flower she picked it herself. It is a honeysuckle. We have a lot of pretty flowers now and lots of roses. Well I am sorry to disappoint you, but I could not write before and so that is the way it goes. Well, good-by
June 29, 1915
The phone rang a bit ago. It was the MacDonald’s. Lela went to Belle Fourche over the weekend to visit with friends. She went out into the yard and got shocked by lightening when it struck their home. She’s okay, it was just a slight shock. But I hate lightening, it frightens me so. We certainly have had more than our share of bad lightning storms this past week. I am so thankful she wasn’t hurt bad or worst killed.
Papa has been gone for a few days. He’s off with his Phillips brothers to search for horses the military might want to buy. It seems like even here in this quiet little neck of the world the war still touches us.
I still haven’t heard from Roy and it worries me some. I know it’s just he’s very busy or the mail has been held up for some reason. All the same I can’t help fretting that he might be sick, injured, or worse. No, I must not let my thoughts go there. He’s just working hard, that’s all.
I do wish it would rain. I know we have had lots this spring but not in the past few days. We need some soon if our seedlings are to take off. Some of our neighbors are now talking of moving to Sheridan the unpredictable weather here in the Bear Lodge mountains just makes it hard to farm.
Sadie and Bert surprised us with a short visit yesterday as they were on their way to spend the evening with their good friends, the Bates. I loved getting a few extra minutes to cuddle and play with Tootie. She’s getting to be quite the crawler; I am afraid there is no more sitting her on a blanket and expecting her to stay put.
Nagrom, WN June 1st, 1915
Well here I am once again. Am a little late with my letter this week but better late than not at all so they say. I went home last Sat. evening so didn’t have time to write. I didn’t think I would go down before about the first of July, but I had a letter from Mother and she was feeling kind of blue so thought, I would go down and see if I could cheer her up a bit. She isn’t so well as she was a while back has been just about down with the grip for a week or more. I was home all-day Sunday and it seemed quite nice to be home again. It sure looks nice around Puyallup now, everything is so fresh and green and there are so many flowers in blossom. The strawberries and cherries are ripe to so you may know that I had a feast. Wish you could have been there and helped me eat some.
I saw all the folks except Justin and Lillian they were all well except Lode, she was feeling bum she said, but I guess it wasn’t anything serious. Saul and Hugh are not living where they did they have moved into the little house right south of Mr. Purkensen’s berry patch. (Author’s note: The Purkensens were another one of Mae’s aunts and uncles). I went over and had a nice visit with Henry’s folks. They seem to be getting along fine. I showed Mrs. Henry your picture and I thot she was going to have a fit over it. I showed it to all the rest of the folks to and they all said it was just dandy. Mother and Lida seemed awful glad to get it and said it was good.
Sunday evening I was over to Mr. Purkensens and had a nice visit. It was the first time I had seen since I came back from WYO so they had lots of questions to ask me. Justin and his wife are at home tho. Justin has a team and is working on the county-road. You ought to see Justin’s little boy. He is just awful cute. He and Iretha are just about the same size and I guess they’d have a great time playing together. Henry’s said they expected Justin and Lillian to show up in Puyallup at any time now. I expected to get to see them as I thought they were already in Puyallup but was disappointed. Will get to see them before so very long tho I suppose.
My Father is pretty well now, he looks ever so much better than he did when I last saw him. He is able to go out with the team now and do quite a little work.
I got yours and Sadie’s letter Saturday and of course was very glad. Sorry that you Mother wasn’t very well and hope she will be better soon. I expect you were some glad to see Tootie again. I would be glad myself If I could see her now. Many thanks for the picture. I don’t think it looks much like her tho, for I know she is much prettier than that. I sure would like to see her with her new shawl, bet she is some cute.
Sorry you have been having such disagreeable weather in Wyoming. Hope it will be nice pretty soon. It is still pretty well here. we have some rain almost everyday. Rained pretty hard this afternoon. I sure hope June isn’t going to be as wet as May was.
Well I think I have told you about all I know so will stop and pull in as I am getting awfully sleepy. Give my regards to all.
Here is the first little wild roses I have seen this season. I found them in the woods where we were at work the other day.
We had a meeting of the Book and Thimble club today at the Massies but it was so wet and foggy not very many folks came. Those of us who were there had a good chat. We agreed to postpone our book talk and try and meet again next week. Unfortunately, the meeting ended on a sad note when the phone rang to inform us that Grandma Rishor had died earlier in the day from a stroke.
June 5, 1915
Well how is my Little Girl this fine evening, just fine tho I trust. I am still feeling fine and dandy and hope these fiew lines will find you in the same fix. I received your last letter Wednesday and you know I was glad. I wasn’t looking for another letter so soon so was somewhat surprised. It was a very pleasant surprise and I wish you would surprise me again in the same fix. Was so glad to hear you were feeling better and your Mother is better to.
To bad the frost injured the wild fruit down there. I hope it didn’t kill all of it tho. It would sure be a shame if it did. This has been a bad season for frost here also. There is going to be very fiew cherries or apples and I think the raspberries are hurt some to. Just how much I can’t tell yet. It is to bad but I guess it cannot be helped, so it is no use to cry about it.
I hope I can get enough cherries from my trees so I can send you a fiew. I have only two trees that will keep long enough and they are the ones that got frosted the worse. I went over and looked at them when I was down and there was only a fiew left. They will be ripe about the first of July I think. No, I didn’t rent my berries to anyone this season. Am hiring them tended and am going to let Lida tend to the picking. It doesn’t pay for me to do it myself. Wish you could be here and help in the picking. I suppose the camp will be shut down for about a week the Fourth of July so I will get to pick some myself and of course eat quite a fiew also.
I got a letter from Justin the other day, the same day that I got yours. He was still at Oysterville, digging clams. He said he would have to quit that pretty soon tho, as it is against the law to dig any after the first of June. He is talking some of renting some land down there. Said if he didn’t do it he would be up to Puyallup soon, and would come up here after the Fourth of July.
There is a dance here tonight, Richard is going to play. Don’t know if I will go over or not. I worked pretty hard to-day and it was pretty warm, so I am somewhat tired. Am going to have to work tomorrow to, so I guess I hadn’t better go to any dance. I bet Hazel was some disappointed that she didn’t get to go to the dance at MC Donald’s. If she was here she could get enough dancing I think. I am going to bring my clothes with me after the Fourth and see if I can’t learn to dance. They sure have them often enough and have some good dancers here so I will never have a better opportunity to learn. Richard is practicing on some new music.
I am sorry I forgot the date of Daniel’s birthday for I intended to send him some little remembrance. I suppose he will feel a little jealous now because I sent Hazel a present after forgetting him.
Tell Hazel that I made a mistake when I put the ribbon in her shawl and got it on the wrong side and didn’t find it until it was to late to change it. She can change it herself if she wants to.
I found the flowers in your letter and think they are nice, many thanks for them. There are lots of wildflowers here but not so very many tame ones. Am glad to hear that there is prospects for good crops in Wyoming this year and hope the weather continues favorable.
I suppose you and Sadie and Tootie had a great time together last week. You will surely miss them when they go home again. Will they go before the Fourth of July?
Well it is getting so late so guess I had better pull in, as Daniel says and get some sleep so I can stand another long weary day. Tell everyone hello for me.
June 6, 1915
I feel so bad, this morning we woke to a blanket of frost on the ground. Unlike the one at the end of May this one I fear is a killing frost. I am afraid we will need to do lots of replanting. Farming in these parts is just too hard. Seems like we either have too much rain, or not enough or it’s too cold or hot.
Just heard a car go by. Since the roads have finally dried out there has been a lot of joy riding going on around here.
Today’s going to be a scorcher, freezing one day, pouring the next followed by a hot, that’s a Wyoming summer for you.
Yesterday we all met over at the Bates for a combined birthday party for my Uncle Bill Smith and Daniel. Of course we acknowledged Daniel’s real birthday, too. Hard to believe he is already 12.
Mama wasn’t feeling well so she stayed home but the rest of us went. Jim and Phoebe Bates cooked us a delicious meal out in the yard using their camp stove and we ate under the of the trees. Sadie and I brought cakes, a chocolate on for Daniel, and a lemon one for Uncle Willie.
There was quite a crowd of us with the Smiths, Marchants, and Bates combined. Tootie and Zeta are close in age and were so fun to watch playing on the blanket while the rest of us visited, played cards, and sang around a campfire. Uncle Willie said it was the best birthday he’d had in a long time.
June 12, 1915
Maybe it’s the unpredictable weather we are having but I have not felt will since Uncle Willie’s party on Tuesday. I have spent most of the of the week in bed with the La Grippe, I guess.
If I had to pick a week to be sick I suppose this is better than most since it has done nothing but pour since the party. The Belle Fourche river is running so high none of us from Mona will be able to make today’s book and thimble club meeting.
Papa says the roads are pitted mud baths again. We are so in need of road repair. I bet that tax collector riding around here is getting an earful.
I still haven’t heard from Roy; I am nearly losing my mind with worry.
Well how goes it with the girl by now, hope you are just fine tho. I am well as ever and still getting along first class. Your last letter arrived last Tuesday, and I guess it is unnecessary to tell you that I was glad. It got here a day ahead of time, so I was sure surprised. It was a very pleasant surprise tho, so I am not kicking. Am awful sorry that your tooth is bothering you yet. I so hoped it would be alright after it was fixed and I guess you hope so too and it is too bad that it isn’t.
Tell Sadie that I was sorry to hear that she wasn’t well, and hope she is alright again now. I hope she didn’t have to miss your party for I know that would be quite a disappointment for you and for her to I suppose.
Am glad to hear you have been having such nice rains in Wyoming perhaps it is going to be a better season for crops than usual, let us hope so any way for it is about time.
We have had considerable rain during the past week, rained some everyday, just spring showers tho, one minute it would be raining like sixty and the next the sun would be shining as bright as if it had never rained. I got pretty wet several times but it was so warm and nice that I didn’t mind it much. They had a late frost down at Puyallup, I think that it killed most of the cherries and hurt the berries some to. There is going to be only about half a crop they say. I guess the strawberries have started to ripen as they are on the market now. It is nearly a month earlier than I ever knew them to ripen before, so you may know what an early season we have, I think there will be ripe raspberries in a month from now. I don’t know whether I can send you any cherries this year or not as the frost may have killed all of that kind, and there is no others that will keep long enough.
I had letters from Mother and Father both this week and they are both getting along just fine. Father has gained thirty pounds in weight since he got back to Wash. My uncle isn’t any better than he was tho, poor old man, I guess he never will be either. I don’t look for him to last much longer.
Mother gave me scolding for not sending her your picture. I didn’t know at what time I might be going down so thought I would keep it until I went down. I don’t know now when I will be going down suppose tho I will have to go down when berry picking starts.
I don’t know anything about your Uncle John’s place so couldn’t say whether he still has a chance to redeem it or not. I hardly think so tho.
Tell Hazel she ought to be here tonight for there is a big dance on. They are going to have some fancy music from Seattle so suppose it will be a swell affair. I am going over and watch them for awhile but I won’t try to dance as I have no clothes with me but my working uniform. Well this is all I know so guess I will stop. Give my best wishes to everybody.
May 17, 1915
I am sitting outside surrounded by the sweet fragrance of the white blossoms springing forth from all the orchards.
Earlier this morning the folks hitched up the wagon and left for their spring trip to Belle Fourche. Sadie and Tootie left with them to be dropped off in Aladdin. Sadie wanted to be home before Bert returns from sheep shearing. The two of them had been here ever since my birthday and with Hazel and Daniel off at school it seems awful lonely here now. But I will busy myself as I have plenty of chores to do.
Seems like more and more folks in these parts are talking of moving but I guess we are going to stay put. Really I can’t say for sure, one day Papa wants to move the next stay put. At least with the plentiful rain we have has so far this spring there is hope for good crops.
There is going to be another dance in Donald on the 29th. It’s the first one since St. Patrick’s Day. I guess we are going and I don’t mind for it will be nice to see everyone again. We have been so busy planting and doing spring chores there’s been hardly any time for visiting.
May 22, 1915
Well here goes a few words to let you know that I am still among the living. Am fine and dandy as usual and trust you can say the same. Your last letter arrived last Tuesday and of course you know I was glad to get it. Sorry tho that you were having trouble with your eye. Wonder what could be wrong with it. Hope it is nothing serious tho.
Glad to hear that you are having such nice weather in Wyoming. I would very much like to see that country now. I don’t suppose it looks much like it did three months ago. It was pretty white then and now I suppose everything is pretty and green. We are still having showering weather, but not rain enough to make it uncomfortable. So far May hasn’t been so warm as April was, suppose we will have some warm weather pretty soon tho.
I haven’t had any letters from Puyallup this week so don’t know anything in the way of new to tell you.
I have got my old job now. My friend Mr. Cook and I have been falling together since last Saturday. I like falling much better than bucking as it is not so lonesome for there is always two together. We happened to get into a bunch of big trees this week so had to work pretty hard. I think we will have it easier in a few days. I wanted to go fishing tomorrow but I have to work so can’t go, so far we have worked every Sunday this month aren’t we wicked tho.
Was glad to hear that you had such a nice time at your birthday party and glad you received so many nice presents, you must have lots of good friends. I hope Sadie likes her shawl as well as you seem to like it. Guess I will have to make one for you sometime. What says you? I wish I had taught you how to make them last winter so you could make them yourself if you wanted to.
I haven’t heard from Joe since he left here, but I heard that he was working in a camp near Selick, that is about twenty-five miles from here, towards Seattle. I don’t know what he is doing.
There is going to be another dance here tonight. Richard is going to play for them. He went over to the hall just a fiew minutes ago, so suppose they will soon be shaking their feet. Well Mazie I can’t think of anymore worth saying so had better stop I guess. I haven’t read the newspaper yet so will read that awhile and then pull-in as Daniel says. Oh yes I forgot to thank you for the pansies. I think they are nice, thank ever so much.
Give my regards to all the folks.
As ever, Roy
May 30, 1915
I am plum tuckered out today. We went to the dance last evening. We were still traveling home as the sun started to rise. By the time we got here the morning chores needed doing so not much resting occurred. Wouldn’t it be nice if Roy’s brother Richard came to play at our dances and of course he’d have to bring his brother? Ahh, such dreams.
The Book and Thimble club meets this afternoon but I don’t think either Mama or I have the energy to go, besides, I am only halfway finished with the book. We have another meeting the second week of June, hopefully I will make that one. Anyway, we have church tomorrow at the Mona, schoolhouse, it all makes for too much traveling.
I didn’t get my usual letter from Roy yesterday; I hope I get one this coming week. I fret so when I don’t get one. I tell you sometimes I think I just live for his letters and nothing else matters.
Once again it is raining like sixty turning our turning our rutted roads into massive mud holes. It makes it so difficult to get around whether by wagon or foot. It’s about time the county and state give us some help repairing them. Folks around here have enough to do without having to maintain the roads too.
Daniel rode his pony off to the Mona school this morning, it just started up again last Monday. I bet he was drenched by the time he got there. It surely will be going late this year; I don’t envy him having to go during the hot days of July but we had trouble finding a teacher to come any sooner. The new teacher’s name is Miss Guy and she is boarding next door so I must try and get to know her better.
Bert and Jesse Phillips stopped by here yesterday. I guess their fishing/camping trip on the Belle Fourche river was a bust. They barely got enough fish to make a decent fish fry for themselves.
I believe I am all over whatever ailed me. My throat feels so much better than it did a few days ago. Mama says I should take it easy another day or two so I am going to take her up on the offer while she is feeling generous. I think I will go call Sadie and see if she is feeling better, too.
Nagrom Wn. May 5th, 1915
Dear Pardner Daniel:
Well here it goes a few lines in answer to your letter which I got some time ago. Ought to have answered sooner but was to lazy I guess that is the only excuse I can think of to offer so it will have to go. Well how is the World using you by now? And what are you doing with yourself?
Going to school tho I suppose. It will be pretty late before you get out this time won’t it? You had a good long vacation and I expect you were glad to get to go to school again. Who have you for a teacher.
Well were having nice weather now, just like summer time and I suppose it is pretty much that way in Wyoming by now isn’t it?
I may go trout fishing next Sunday if the weather is good, better you come along and I will show you some fun. There is a dance here to-night, Richard is playing for them. He has played for them twice before. He is getting to be quite the musician, you ought to hear him play some. If you will come over after a little, you can help us eat strawberries and cream. Mr. Cook and I got some berries from the store today and are going to have a feast. I guess they are California berries as Washington berries are not ripe yet.
Next time you write to me I want you to do a better job of it for I know that you can beat that all to smash if you try. Wish I could be at your place Friday evening for Mae’s party but as my air-ship is broke guess I can’t. Tell the dog and cat and the rest of the folks hello for me.
May 7, 1915
I am relaxing on my garden bench. I can’t tell you enough what a source of delight this space provides for me. As soon as I am done with my morning chores I come out here to pull weeds and coax my seeds to commence growing. From where I sit I can see the tiny wisps of onion seed and radishes sprouting. My cabbage plants are growing in size now I just hope the darn rabbits don’t decide to feast upon it all.
The trees and bushes along our road are painted in fresh coats of emerald while the wildflowers are busily popping up in artistic displays. It took its sweet time but spring has definitely sprung.
Today I am another year closer to the longed for 21, I am now 19. Hazel is off collecting wildflowers to decorate for my party tonight. Mama is inside bustling around getting ready for this evening. My grandparents, Sadie, Bert and of course little Tootie are joining us for supper.
When I left the house, the sweet smell of a vanilla cake already filled the air. Later it will be topped with my favorite rich chocolate frosting. My mouth is watering already. After supper, our neighbors are going to join us for coffee and cake. It will be so nice to see all of them again especially little Tootie. I can’t get enough of that little angel.
John said he’d drop any mail we had by later this afternoon. I sure hope I have a letter from Roy for if I don’t this is going to be a blue, blue birthday.
May 8th, 1915
Well here I am again. How are you feeling this lovely evening, fine tho I trust. I am feeling first class and am getting along just fine. Am feeling better everyday. We are having such perfect weather now that one couldn’t help feeling fine. It is sure great. I don’t think I ever saw so much sunshine in the springtime as we have had this season.
I don’t know much in the way of news to tell you this week, as I haven’t had any letters. I had a letter from Justin over a week ago and he said he was going back to Puyallup and would be there he thought by the first of the month, so guess he must be down there now. I wish I was down there so I could see him and Lillian. It seems a long time since I saw them, in fact it has been almost a year now. I am going to try to get Justin to come up here after the Fourth of July. He and I could sure have some good times fishing together. I haven’t got to go on any fishing trips yet. Was planning one for tomorrow but can’t go as we’re going to have to work, will have to put it off for a week. I guess I hate to miss getting to go fishing just about as bad as Hazel hates to miss a dance. You know how bad that is.
I got your last letter Wednesday; awful sorry you had such a time with your throat and hope it is all right by now.
Joe isn’t with us now. He went away last Wednesday. He said he wasn’t feeling very well so suppose he went home. I don’t know if he will come back here or not. I hardly think he will tho.
Richard is still with me tho and I am going to try all I can to keep him here. He has been sitting here playing the violin ever since I started this letter.
Well I have now told you all I know and some I don’t know so guess I had better let you go. Give my best wishes to all the folks and keep some for yourself.
As ever, Roy
May 9, 1913
I didn’t write in you yesterday as I was feeling pretty bushed out from my birthday party the night before. My did we ever have a nice time; it would have been absolutely perfect if only Roy had been here to share it. Nevertheless, it was far nicer than I expected.
As it was a warm day, Hazel and Daniel set up tables for us to eat outside. Hazel made three gorgeous bouquets out of the wildflowers she collected. I didn’t know the pale blue of Iris combined with blue eyed grass, white crazy weed and yellow sweet clover could be so artfully displayed.
Late in the afternoon John came with the mail. I had cards from Roy’s mother and Lida as well as from Vera. But best of all was the box, from yours truly. Inside was a beautiful card and a leather-bound book of poetry. Oh, I just love it so much. Wildflowers were pressed between four of the pages. He said they marked the poems that best spoke from his heart. Such beautiful words I never read and to think he thinks of me this way.
Mama and Papa gave me a new book to read, it’s the one for our mid-July book club meeting, “The Price of Love,” by Arnold Bennett, I think I am becoming a book worm. Must be the book club or perhaps it is Roy rubbing off on me. Never a day goes by without his spending time with his nose in a book or newspaper.
Grandma and Grandpa gave me the loveliest tablecloth to go in my hope chest. It’s made of damask with pretty pink rose embroidery. I can envision it now on my table, set with a matching bouquet of roses and fine china. Hmm, maybe I will have myself a rose garden so I can have endless bouquet of roses, now wouldn’t that be something.
Sadie gave me a blue polka-a-dot scarf. Hazel and Daniel picked out pretty cards with flowers adorning them. Hazel said she used the cards for inspiration for the bouquets she’d arranged. That made them even more special. She also embroidered yellow flowers on a hanky for me. She’s getting rather good with her embroidery. Floyd and the rest of the Waddington’s gave me a box of stationary, with their fetching our mail so often they know how many letters I write.
Well how are you this fine day, fine tho I hope. I got your letter today, John went to the office last night and Floyd brought the mail up this afternoon. I was very glad to hear you was well and getting along good. And I hope this letter will find you the same. I am pretty well with the exception of a headache. I have had that a lot this week and has almost got me down yesterday and today but I have wore it off pretty good so far. I think it will soon be all ok. I hope so.
Yes the weather is just grand now has been for a week or more. It gets almost to hot some times, but warm weather is what we need to make our crops. It looks awful nice now. It is so green and there is getting to be quite a lot of grass. I have some of my garden made but not all. We have quite a lot of potatoes and lots of corn in. Most every one is busy putting in their crops. My I wish you could see our yard it looks so nice the grass is so green and we have it all cleared and straightened up. I think we have the nicest yard in the country. (not bragging at all)
Grandpa and Grandma went down to Aunt Sadie’s today and Mama and Daniel and Hazel went over there to stay, so Papa and I are here alone. Floyd just went home. My I wish you could have been to the party at Plummer’s there wasn’t many there but we had a nice time only stayed until about five O’clock. (I guess that accounts for my headache) although I had it while I was there. We surprised Floyd pretty good altho I think he was expecting it some. My I wish you could be to mine. Oh, if you only could but you can’t so will have to do the best I can with out you, and look forward to later.
It seems kindy lonesome here since the folks went and papa is up working on the fence and I am alone. I have been pretty busy tho. I scrubbed and cleaned things up this forenoon and am baking bread too. I wish I could hear Richard playing some of those pieces and I supose they do make you feel pretty lonely, but you must not get lonesome, for that is a bad thing, I know. There isn’t much news to write now days.
Iretha is as sweet as ever and I am nearly wild to see her. I can hardly wait until she comes up. I guess they will come to my party and then Aunt Sadie and Tootie will stay until Bert comes back from Shearing and then she will go home and I will be lonesome again.
But don’t say any thing about it but we may not be here, we are thinking of going to North Dakota this summer so I don’t know when we will, don’t say a word tho. I hope we do go.
My I wish I could see you. tomorrow is Sunday don’t know what I will do but the same old thing I supose. School starts Monday, my it is sure late. It will be pretty hot to go to school in July, but they could not get a teacher before.
Well I’ll stop and call Aunt Sadie up ——– Well here I am again I got to talking to Aunt Sadie and I could hear Iretha laughing so much it made me so lonesome I had to hang up and shed a lot of tears. Oh, I get so lonesome sometimes. But with Gods help I can stand it, with the thots of better times.
Good-bye as ever,
Sunday morning,- Here I am again, I thot I would say a few words and tell you I am alright this morning, but had a dreadful headache last night but I am feeling lots better today. My it sure is warm, like July. Mama and Hazel and Daniel will be home some time today I think. My I wish you was going to be here today, but you won’t so there. Well I will stop now and seal my letter. Hope I get to send it tomorrow. I don’t like to disappoint you but I just have to some times. You are faithful tho. Well by bye.
With best wishes M.
April 18, 1915 Dear Mae, Hello girlie!
How are you this beautiful Sunday morning? Fine and dandy though I hope and trust. I am feeling just dandy at present and getting along fine. We have had the loveliest weather here lately you can imagine. There hasn’t been a cloud in the sky for ten days and the air is so soft and warm and everything is so green and pretty that anyone couldn’t help feeling well. I got your last letter yesterday also the pictures. And course you know I was awful glad to get them. I think the pictures are just splendid so natural that it seems you ought to speak. I am not going to try to tell you how glad I was to get them for I haven’t the words to do it. I will keep the other one until I go home I guess. Am awful sorry to hear that your mother is so poorly and hope she will be better soon. Isn’t anything that can be done to stop those terrible head-aches?
Was glad to get Hazel’s and Daniels letters and will answer them soon, haven’t time to do it today as I am going to help Joe fix up a tent as soon as I can finish this letter. He is going to bring the wife up here and live in a tent for a while unless he changes his mind before he gets the tent up. He changes his mind so often you can’t tell for sure what he is going to do until he does it.
I would sure like to be there for your birthday party but of course I can’t. That is I can’t be there in person but my thoughts and best wishes will be with you.
I haven’t heard from home this week so don’t know how things are down there guess the folks are getting better slowly thou, and that is about the best than can be expected.
Am glad that Sadie and Tootie are feeling well. Tell them both hello for me. I will make Tooties shawl as soon as I can. Will have to send away for the yarn tho, so it will be sometime before I can finish it. I suppose Bert will soon be going shearing will he not? I have forgotten what time he goes but guess it is about the first of May.
Yes, I sent Miss Blake a card telling her about losing their picture but don’t know whether or not she got it. Suppose she did tho. Well I guess this is about enough for now so will stop.
As ever Roy
P.S anytime you want another half doz. of those pictures just let me know and I will get them for you. Oh I forgot to mention the flowers you sent thanks for them. Glad to know your going to have spring W. R. C.
April 22, 1915
Our spring weather has continued to be fine; everyone is going full blast with their farming. The folks were thinking of maybe going up to North Dakota and renting a farm Uncle Tom told them about. They have decided to stay here as it looks like a good growing season. I am not sure whether to be happy or sad about it.
The roads have improved a great deal, so later this week Papa and Mama are going to make their semiannual trip with the wagon into Belle Fouche to fetch supplies.
My Phillips uncles are busy bronco busting. The European Armies are clamoring for fine horses. Oh, how I wish that dreadful war would hurry and come to an end.
I am feeling so blue today. Actually, I feel more than blue for my throat aches so and I feel bum all over. Mama has made me some warm tea with lemon in it and insists I spend the day resting. I sure hope I get over this fast. I would hate to be sick for my Birthday.
We had our first spring meeting of the Book and Thimble club today over at the Knowles. We read Penrod by Booth Tarkington. I thought it was quite funny. I could imagine Daniel getting into the same mischievous trouble as the boy in this book did.
Mrs. Knowles decorated with sprays of wildflowers all over the house and served us lemonade and the Honey Cake Dorothy Gish has made popular. It was very tasty. I would sure like to see a movie again. How I long to live in a town. The last one I went to was over 2 years ago when we were still living in Puyallup and guess who I went with? Will I ever get to go to another one with him?
Sadie just called she is feeling as miserable as I am. Sounds like we might have the same affliction. She was hoping I could come for a couple of days and help her take care of Tootie. I so hated having to turn her down because the only person I enjoy spending time with more than Tootie is Roy. Speaking of which I should write him a letter so it’s ready to go when John comes by on his way to fetch the mail in Mona later today. I hope the next time I take pen to you I am in better spirits both in mind and in body.