Sunday, October 13, 2013

#3 - My Dear Bettie - Jan 7th, 1903

Brick Haven, Va

Jan 7th, 1903

My dear Bettie:
Your very welcome letter was duly rec’d & was very thankful of the money, but am afraid you needed it your own dear self. Never mind Bettie I think we will all be together again soon, so keep courage darling children. I know you have had a hard time and our trials have been severe, yet I know they all must be for some purpose & for our good in some way, so lets have courage to the end of the battle.
Be a good girl Bettie & do the best you can which I am sure you do. Oh Bettie,

I do want to see you & Jeannette so bad! I will write Jeannette soon, had intended to write tonight, but it is so late & all are getting ready for bed.

I have not seen May for some time, as the weather has been so bad I could not get to town. I rec’d a letter from Vi a  few days ago & she sent me a very pretty collar.

Bettie I will have to close with lots of love & kisses for you & my darling baby. Write soon to your devoted

Let me begin by observing several things in this letter & the prior letter from my last post.

This is letter #3 in my collection from Alice. It was written January 7, 1903, about 2 weeks after letter #2. I would imagine that there were even more letters written by Alice to her daughters, but these are what remain. 

In letter #2, Alice refers to Aunt Janie, Cousin Mary, the baby, & Cousin Johnny. Aunt Janie is Alice's sister Mary Jane Sandys, who remained unmarried until her death in 1920 at the age of 74. She was 56/57 at the time that these letters were written. From what I can tell from my research on & other sites, Alice was staying with Aunt Janie in Brickhaven, Alexandria County, Virginia (I believe just outside of Washington DC). Aunt Janie also appeared to be living with her niece Mary Sanford Swift, daughter of Janie & Alice's sister Rosalie Vashtie Sandys Sanford. The Sanford name is fairly prominent in Virginia, so I will be exploring that more very soon. Mary married John Clinton Swift on December 1, 1894 in her mother's home in Stafford County, Virginia. John Clinton is called "Johnny" in these letters. 

Coincidentally (or maybe not), Alice's son Dare Marmaduke married Johnny's sister Louise Swift in 1906. Louise bore Dare 3 children, & then in 1925 she committed suicide by drinking Lysol. Yikes! So Alice had a Swift as a daughter-in-law & also as a nephew-in-law. Interesting!

Here are photos of Mary & Johnny - they were added to by Louis Shomette, my awesome 3rd cousin 2x removed that I have collaborated with some on 

Anyway, back to the letters... I do have the envelope from this particular letter, which shows that Bettie & probably Jeannette were living in Belfast, NY. It is my belief that they were living with their Uncle Eddie (as future letters may hint) in New York. I'm currently going through the US phone directories to pin down where Uncle Eddie was living in 1902 & 1903. I know that he was in Brooklyn, Kings, New York in 1910, and had married a woman from New York in 1901/2, so I'm safely assuming that he was living in New York in 1902/3. I'll keep looking though. 

This letter & the one previous emphasizes the desperation in Alice Marmaduke over not being with her children. As a mother of a toddler myself, I cannot imagine the heartache of being separated from my child, especially in circumstances beyond my own control. Heartbreaking! 

The next letters are much more interesting, so stay tuned!