Tag Archives: Mona

LETTERS FROM MONA – Part 12 -August 28th -Sept. 27, 1913

( Authors note: the logging camp Nagram was named for the Morgan lumber company and was the Morgan name spelled backwards. It’s location is now within the Green River Watershed for Tacoma, WA)

Nagram Wash.
Aug. 28, 1913

Dear Friend:

Hello Mae: How are you this fine evening? I am feeling pretty good except that I am so lonesome I got your letter last evening and kneedless to say I was glad to get it. It came just when I was feeling a little more lonesome than usual and I tell you it made the world look brighter.

I am so sorry you are having such a time with your teeth and hope you are better now. I know the toothach isn’t much fun, though I have never had any of it so far.

Well I am back in the woods again. Have been here a week ago last Sunday.  Am working at the same old job and like the place fine except that I am all alone here among strangers not a man in camp that I ever saw before. It sure is a nice place here at this time of the year. It is so high up in the mountains that it never gets very warm.

Since been here the weather has been lovely neither to warm nor to cool just like it is other places later in the fall. Quite different from the weather you are having in Wyoming isn’t it? My I wish you could be here to get a fine breath of this pure mountain air and a few drinks of ice-cold mountain water. I know you would enjoy it so much and there is so much of both going to waste.

The scenery here is fine too. The camp is located in the upper end of the Green River Canyon shut in on all sides by high ridges and higher peaks. Last Sunday I hadn’t much to do so I put in the time climbing to the top of one of the highest peaks around this part. It took two hours of hard climbing to reach the top but the view from there was worth it’s cost. I haven’t the language to describe to you the beauty of the view that spread out before me. I could see for miles in all directions but could see nothing but high mountains and deep canyons.  Three snow peaks were in sight. Mount Rainer and Adams and Mt. Baker to the north. On the highest point of the peak I was on I found a little bunch of blue flowers. They were growing right out of the bare rocks and in a place where it was dangerous to go. But I wanted to get them to send to you so I took the chance and it came near being the last thing I ever did on this earth for I stepped on a loose rock and came darn near going over a high cliff but I got the flowers and here they are.

On the return trip I found a patch of huckleberries and stopped and ate all I could hold of them. My but they were good, wish you could have had some of them.
If the weather is fine next Sunday I am going to climb to the top of another peak farther up the canyon, which is quite a lot higher than one I climbed last Sunday. It is the one that shows in the picture card I sent you.  Next time I write I will tell you about my trip up there.


September 5, 1913

Dear Diary,

I am taking a few minutes to write as I don’t want to get out of the habit. I am in Aladdin helping Bert take care of Mrs. Marchant and Sadie. Oh My, they have both been so sick. It’s the La Grippe I guess.  Both were helpless for a couple of days.  I am happy to say they are both on the mend now.  Sadie is bouncing back faster than Mrs. Marchant but I guess that is to be expected when you are her age. I surely hope she doesn’t over do it now that she is some better. I got a letter from Roy this week.  The mail arrives in Aladdin first, so I got it a day early.  He is in a logging camp up in the mountains. He sent me the sweetest little blue flowers. I am going to keep them right here on this page along with the letter.  But I hope he doesn’t go climbing anymore mountain peaks. Logging is dangerous enough; I don’t need to fret about him falling over a cliff along with a tree falling on him.


Sept 6, 1913

Dear Diary,

I’ve just a few minutes to. Last night I got word that Daniel is sick now and Mama could use my help. Sadie seems well enough to manage now so Bert is going to take me back home as soon as the morning chores are done. I made sure to to leave a hearty breakfast for everyone and I got all the fixings together for Sadie to make a pot of stew later and did a quick clean-up.

——————————————————————————————————————————-September 10, 1913

Dear Diary,

Oh, my has Daniel ever been sick. He had a high fever for three days straight. His lungs were so congested he could barely breathe. Mama and I took turns sponging him down trying to get his fever down. Along about the third night I thought we might lose him but come morning he rallied and the fever broke. Poor little chap is still weak but feeling much better.  Mama and I have been spooning him sips of rich broth to get his resistance back up.  I’ll sure be happy when I can see him out riding his pony again.


September 17th, 1913

Dear Diary,

Goodness the last time I wrote I thought I was just about done with my nurse maid duties but no sooner did I think that than Mama and Hazel took sick with the same thing Daniel had. Only they weren’t quite so sick. Still they took to bed for several days which meant I was doing all the cooking, cleaning and tending to things. I sure hope Papa and I escape it.

I still haven’t heard if Roy is going to accept our invitation to visit this winter.  The waiting is driving me crazy.


September 20th, 1913

Dear Diary,

It’s the first day of fall but it looks more like the first day of winter. I am sitting near the window watching big fluffy snowflakes fall.  Can you believe that? Summer has barely ended, and we have two or three inches of snow already.


Sept. 26th,

Dear Diary

Unlike the last time I wrote I am sitting out in the yard feeling the warmth of the sun on my shoulders. It feels so warm and wonderful. I’m happy to report all the snow melted fast and we are back to normal fall weather.

Mama and I decided it was a sign we needed to get busy and finish with harvesting the rest of the tomatoes. We have spent the last 2 days picking what is left in the garden and getting it stored in the cellar or canned for this winter. I have to say our pantry shelves look so nice lined with all those colorful canned goods. We should have plenty to eat this winter.

I got a letter from Roy yesterday. I was so glad to hear from again especially since he accepted my invitation to visit. He said he wasn’t just sure when the logging would end for the season, it all depends on the weather, but he expects to be here by Christmas. And he also sent me a likeness of himself. He said he had it taken the last time he was in Puyallup but just got them in the mail from his Mother. It was so nice to see his face again. I’ve tucked it safely under my pillow so it can be the first thing and last thing I see each day. I’ll write more later. Vera has just galloped up here on her horse. I’ve got so much to share with her now.


Sept. 27, 1913
Mona Wyo
Dear Friend,
Well Roy just got your letter yesterday, but it has been here for a few days.  I was down to Aunt Sadies for over a week and just got home yesterday.
Aunt Sadie was sick and so of course I have go. I can’t stand unless I do so went down and then after I was there a few days Daniel got sick and I nearly worried my self to death over him and then Hazel got sick so I just came. Aunt Sadie is lots better tho. Hazel is better to now.  I sure hope I don’t get down but am afraid I will.

I got your picture and can’t tell how pleased I was and think it is pretty good of you only I don’t think you are so fleshy as you were when I last saw you are you?
You must be working to hard. You must be careful. I am glad you like that place it must be nice there.  It is always so nice and green while it is so dry and brown here.
You must have had a nice on that trip to the mountain.

We sure had a cold spell. I almost froze it snowed to quite a bit sure looked like winter. Mama is shelling beans today and Daniel want me to help too. Vera was here yesterday when I got home was sure glad to see her. I can’t stand it long with out seeing her. I sure think lots of her.

I think it would be better for you to move than to try to move the states for we would have quite a time.
I am glad you like your partner. And hope you always get along good.  But I would like to see you but don’t hurt your arm find some other way. I never forget the time we picked berries or never will I don’t think.  I would like to hear from Lida and Blanche.  We got a letter from Aunt Kit the other day she is pretty good to write.  I wrote to Aunt Ann if she don’t write I never shall write again if it a hundred years yet so see how I am.

Sunday 28
Well Roy I will finish today. I suppose you will look for this a few days before it gets there as I wasn’t home a have done the best I knew how. Well I cannot stop hoping to hear from you soon.

Mae Phillips

LETTERS FROM MONA -Part 8, May 3 -May 25

May 3, 1913

Dear Diary,

Sadie is now a married woman. I am real glad Hazel and I got to go. Grandma and Grandpa took all of us in their wagon to Aladdin and then we joined Bert and his mother, Mrs. Marchant, and caught the train to Belle Fourche. I sat next to Mrs. Marchant on the train and she told me all about the sad day, 4 years ago, when her husband drowned in a flash flood. I felt so bad for her. I know she really wanted him with her to see their son get married.

Sadie looked so pretty in her blue lace and voile dress. Bert picked a bouquet of wildflowers for her to carry. It was a busy couple of days. I have been all tuckered out since returning yesterday.


May 8, 1913

Dear diary,

My birthday was yesterday. I am now seventeen years old. We had a little party at the house last night. Just a few of the neighbors and Grandma and Grandpa Smith. Grandpa made me a hope chest just like Sadie’s. They also gave me cut glass vase to go in in. It was the best gift they could have given me and I will cherish both pieces forever. I can’t wait to start filling it with things I will need when I become a married lady.

Papa came home just as the festivities were starting and besides bringing me several cards, there was something from guess who?  Yes, Roy! He sent me a big box of chocolates. I was going to share but everyone said no, they were meant for you. So I shall enjoy one chocolate a day, from my sweetie, until they are gone.


May 12, 1913

Dear Diary,

I have been gone for several days. I hitched a ride with the Baxter’s to see how Sadie and Bert are settling into married life. From the glowing looks in their eyes I’d say just fine. For now they are living with Mrs. Marchant, but they have plans to begin building a house on Sadie’s homestead claim. I must say I really enjoy visiting with Mrs. Marchant. She was born and raised in England. She has the most delightful accent. I love hearing her tales of life there and how she came to live in Aladdin. I found time to visit my Aunt and Uncle Waddington and the other Phillips relatives living there, too.

Uncle Waddington gave me a ride home this morning. He teased me about my box of chocolates to no end. He says someone must be sweet on me. While I denied it to him, I certainly hope it is true.


May 20, 1913.

Dear Diary,

The Plummer’s stopped by here today. The wanted to know if I ‘d be willing to stay at their place for 2 weeks while they are gone on a trip. I was sure Mama and Papa would say no but instead they said I could, if I wanted to. I said yes and I am so excited. It will be the first time I will truly be on my own. It will give me a chance to show how mature and responsible I have become. I won’t be going until June 4th.


May 25, 1913

Dear Diary,

My garden is coming up nicely, but it is awfully dry out. I may have to start hauling water if it doesn’t rain soon. Today is spring cleaning day. Soon Mama will put all of us to work even Daniel. First we all have to work together hauling all the feather beds and furniture out to air while we dust and scrub everything indoors. My job is always the floors. I have to sweep the wood, then damp mop it and finish with a splash of kerosene.

I am hoping I will get another letter from Roy in this week’s mail. It seems I just live for mail day, if there is a letter I am filled with such joy and if not with despair.

LETTERS FROM MONA – Part 3, Dec. 22, 1912 -Jan. 30, 1913

Dec. 22, 1912

Dear Diary,

Well we arrived back in Mona last Friday. Cousin Clifford took very good care of our animals and place. You could barely tell we ever left. We loaded up on supplies before we left Belle Fourche. Grandma and Grandpa Smith and Sadie were there to meet our train on our arrival in Aladdin. It was good to see them again, especially Aunt Sadie. I have learned my 2 best chums, who lived nearby, have moved away. So, Sadie will be my only chum. She may be my Aunt but since she is only 5 years older, she is more like a big sister. At least I will have her to talk to. And surprise she has taken a homestead claim of her own just north of Aladdin. Isn’t she the plucky one?

I told her all about Roy and she said she understood how I felt, for she has fallen madly in love with Bert Marchant. She’s hoping he will ask her to marry soon. I never thought of them as a couple, so it came as a big surprise. And it made me miss Roy even more. Tomorrow after church I am going to write everyone in Puyallup a letter. The weather is turning cold probably won’t be long before we get our first snowfall.


December 29th, 1912

Dear Diary,

Christmas has come and gone. I didn’t have much time to write because Mama and I were busy making lots of cookies and cakes. We went to the program the school put on, if we had been back earlier Hazel and I would probably have would have been part of the production. They had a good crowd and it was nice seeing everyone again. It snowed for two days before Christmas so we had a white one. Christmas day dawned clear and bright. We hitched up the team and took a sleigh ride over to Grandma and Grandpa Smith’s. Uncle Will and Aunt Minnie were there also. My how my little cousins had grown in a year.

We sang Christmas carols, enjoyed oyster stew and ate plenty of the cookies and cake that both Mama and Grandma made. On the way home the moonlight glistened on the snow like glitter. Oh how I wished Roy had been there to share it with me.

There will be a dance down at the Phillip’s barn New Year’s eve. Guess we will go if the weather holds.

———————————————————————————————————————————————January 30th, 1913

Dear Diary,

It’s been a while since I wrote in you. I must get back in the habit, I think for I have so few to talk to around here about my deepest thought.

My the weather has been cold. Makes me really wish we were still in Puyallup where it never gets this cold. We did go to the dance on New Year’s eve. Most all of the Phillips relatives were there which made it fun, I hadn’t seen many of them for so long. But I didn’t care so much for dancing.

It would have been different if Roy had been there. I got a letter from him, but he didn’t say much and it was ever so proper. I keep telling myself it’s because he knew Mama and Papa would read it but then again, maybe all he means to be from here on out, is a friend who once lived next door. It makes feel so blue. I don’t dare say that around Mama and Papa, I’m sure they wish I’d forget all about him. I never shall never forget him, no matter what the future may hold, of this I am sure.

It’s time to help Mama get dinner on the table, more later.

Voices FromThe Past

By default I have become the historian and keeper of the family photos and papers. Among this collection are the courtship letters my Caple grandparent’s wrote 100 years ago. In the process of getting ready to write about and share these letters, I began rereading the stories my Aunt Iva, their daughter, wrote of her family memories.Written mostly in the 1980’s these stories also deserve to be shared. Below is the one she titled “My Mother.”

The photo is of my Grandparents William Roy Caple and Mae Edith Phillips on their wedding day August, 1, 1917.


    My Mother

by Iva Bailey

When I think of my mother, I think mostly of a girl of sixteen whom my father met when her family moved next door to his family in Puyallup.

The Phillips family came to Puyallup one day, when my mother was barely fifteen. They came from Wyoming. I’m not sure if they came with the idea of making their home here or if they came to visit some of my grandfather’s family who had come earlier.

It must have been love at first sight for my mom and dad because there was never any one else for either of them.

The family remained in Puyallup for a little over a year before my grandmother became so homesick for her family they decided to go back to Wyoming.

It was to be four long years before mom and dad married.

Dad worked in logging camps in and around the Puyallup Valley. Some of the winters  would be so snowy and cold they would shut the camp down until the snow melted in the spring. When this happened my dad would go to Wyoming to visit my mother and her folks, some times he would stay until it was time for the camps to open up again. In between those times the courtship was carried on by letters.

After my dad passed away in 1972 at the age of 86, I found a lot of the letters mom and dad had written through the years before they were married. From the letters I got to know the girl who was to be my mother. The girl my Dad addressed in the letters  as “Pet”, “my little Mazie” and “my little Wyoming girl.”  From the letters I learned of their loneliness when they were apart and their happiness when they were together. I could see and feel my mother grow from a young girl to a young woman. I learned the things that made her happy and the things that made her sad.

The letters told of things that happened on both sides of my family during those years. I got to know some of the relatives I had only heard mentioned once in a while when I was growing up, relatives that had died before I was born. In those letters I found dried flowers my Dad had picked in the woods while he worked and sent to his little Wyoming girl. In turn my mother had sent wild prairies flowers to him.

 They had worked out a code that they carried on a little private correspondence with. They called it their China letter. It consisted of numbers. We have tried every way to figure out this code but so far we have failed. Just about every one of the letters contain a small sheet of the numbers. It was their way of saying to each other what they didn’t want he rest of the family to hear.

Dad finally went to South Dakota to work in the Homestead gold mine in Lead which was close to Mona, Wyoming where the Phillips family lived.

After a time, on August 1, 1917, they were married. They lived in Lead until later that year in a blinding snowstorm, they left South Dakota to make their home in Washington.

At first they lived in an apartment in the Scott Hotel which was located a block away from the home, my dad soon built for his little Mazie from Wyoming, and I grew up in. He built the house himself. The front porch was built of cobblestone he carried from the Carbon River stone by stone in a pail. It must have taken a long time because there were a lot of stones in that porch. The house had all the conveniences that other houses built at that time had. Dad often express his regrets in later years, that my mother never knew the conveniences added through the years, but I am sure she was happy in that house.

My mother had beautiful black hair and pretty brown snappy eyes. She was about 5 ft 6 and never weighed more than 120 lbs. When I was young my desire was to grow up to look like she did.

I was born while they were still building the house. Dad was working in the Todd ship yard in Tacoma while he was working on the house so it went slow. This was the time of the first world war.

My brother Verle was born when I was nearly 4. My Mother had the measles shortly after that and from that time on she was to suffer from Asthma.  The attacks she had were so terrible she had to fight to breathe. Now they have oxygen and drugs that would have relieved her but then the remedies would help for a while but soon have no affect at all. I remember the powder she would burn in a little container. I think it was Beladona leaves made into a powder. It smelled terrible. The smell would wake me up at night and I would know my mother was having an attack. It was a helpless feeling knowing I couldn’t help her. Dad tried everything possible to get help for her.  We moved to another climate for a time but she only got worse so we came back home again.

There were times when she would feel real good and we would have such good times. She liked to sew and could make anything she put her mind to. I remember the pretty dresses she made for me. She never used a pattern. She could look at a dress in a catalog and make one just like it.

As I look back it seems like such a short time. I was fourteen in 1933 when her heart could no longer stand the strain of the asthma attacks. She passed away Nov. 10th of that year. She was just 37.