Sunday, November 17, 2013

#4 - Brick Haven - January 13th, 1903

Brick Haven
Jan 13th, 1903

My dear darling Jeannette,

I have wanted to answer your letter before, but have so much writing to do. I have not had an opportunity sooner. I wrote to Bettie last week & hope to get an answer soon. I am miserable when I do not hear from my children regular, so please write often Jeannette.
I rec’d a letter from Vi for Xmas & a nice collar but have not answered her letter yet. I do not have much time to write, besides I have been sick. It is very cold out here & the houses are cold, but it will not be long before we will be in a home of our own to do as we please.
I have written to Bro. twice since hearing from him. Now I do not know where to write.
I will send you a picture of Cousin Mary & her Baby. She is ashamed of it, but I think it is cute don’t you?

I will have to close now, Jeannette, as Cousin Mary is waiting for me to take the baby. Write soon if not sooner to your devoted Mother.

Page 2

This is one of Alice's letters that doesn't seem to have a lot of substance. It leaves me wondering several things. Where is Jeannette at this point, and who is she staying with? She is 11 years old. 

Alice seems frustrated when she says "we will be in a home of our own to do as we please." I wonder what her living situation is like with the Swifts. Are they kind to her? Do they treat her like "poor old Aunt Alice?" Alice, by the way, was only 44 when she wrote these letters. 

What kind of illness plagues Alice throughout these letters? Was it something that contributed to her death 4 years later?

I like the way Alice refers to her son Dare as "Bro", and her daughter Viola as "Vi" in many of the letters. This gives me a sense that the Marmadukes didn't relate to each other as differently as my family does today, with nicknames & all. 

One more thing...

I guess I've left out the most important & exciting discovery. I truly don't know why it took me so long to discover this, but I am almost sure that I have a tintype photo of Alice May Sandy Marmaduke... 

If you know anything about me & my interest in genealogy, you'll know that Alice Marmaduke is the ancestor who fascinates me the most. Her letters have intrigued me to no end, and I find myself thinking about her very often.

I first found this tintype photo in the crumbling album that I thought belonged to Viola Marmaduke Cullen's mother-in-law Mary Jane Cullen. Now I believe that it was Viola's album, since it contains photos from both the Marmaduke family & the Cullen family. I never really paid attention to this photo because it wasn't labeled, and it was among other photos of people that I couldn't identify. It finally occurred to me that this one stands out among the rest.

I believe that this photo is of Alice Marmaduke for several reasons. First, the similarity between this woman & a cabinet card photo of Viola Marmaduke at about the age of probably 13-14 is striking. Viola, though, has differently shaped ears & a different nose, so I am convinced that this photo is not of Viola or any of her sisters. Also, all of the photos that we have of Viola & 4 siblings from the early 1900s are cabinet cards, not tin types. From what I understand, tintypes had started phasing out when cabinet cards became popular, so I believe that this photo is from prior to 1900, and that it is a photo of young Alice Sandy Marmaduke. The tin type is also similar in size to the tintype that we have of her husband, James Berkeley Marmaduke.

Here is a side-by-side of Viola (left) & who I believe is Alice (right):

Amazing, isn't it. I wish I knew more about the styles of dress during each decade, and that would really help identify the photos better. 

And here is is side-by-side with James Berkeley Marmaduke. Cute couple?

What do you think?