Brick Haven, VA
Feb. 25, 1903
My own dear Bettie & Jeannette:
I know you have been looking for a letter from me for some time in answer to yours but it is not through neglect dear children for you are on your mother's mind continually & seldom a night that I do not dream about my darlings. Oh Bettie what a blessing to have a dear heavenly Father to carry your troubles to & one who is able & willing to hear & bear them! Continue in prayer darling one & He will surely answer some time. It does me so much good to know that you have this faith Bettie.
Janie & cousin Mary have gone in town today with the Baby. You wanted to know his name. It is John Clinton & we call him Clinton. We all make a great pet of him & he is real cute.
Dare has gone to Pittsburg again & came over to see us. He is looking well but it made me feel very bad to have him go.
Viola never writes to me anymore. I can't imagine the cause but hope she write often to you both.
May's address is 1127 9th St. N W.
Jeannette & Bettie must write to Mama again very soon. Your letters are a great comfort to me. Hope I will feel better soon & can write oftener.
With much love & many kisses, I am your devoted mother.
Alice M. Marmaduke.
I don't have a lot of commentary on this letter. Nearly a month has passed between letters #5 & #6. Of course, if any letters were written in the meantime, they may have been lost.
I mentioned in my last Alice post that I wished I had more of the envelopes. Good news! Uncle Ralph (my grandmother's brother) brought over many boxes of photos & some papers. Several envelopes addressed by Alice are in a box. I believe that they match up. I need to sit down with them to confirm, but those letters will help to determine where Bettie & Jeannette were living throughout this time frame, as well as who they were living with.
A 3rd cousin (a Hilldrup!) has just responded to a letter I sent recently. One of my most important research tools is to contact any known living relatives, especially those who may have been living at the time I'm researching. There aren't many left, and those who are left may not be interested in digging up the past. But I found a goldmine of information from this cousin. He mentioned that his grandfather was sent to live with the Marmadukes (likely Alice's mother & father in-law) as a boy because his family could not afford to feed him following the war. That leads me to wonder if that is the reason Alice's children were separated from her. Was she unable to feed & care for them financially? I suppose I will have to be satisfied with that assumption without any more information.
I am thankful that Alice was unashamed of the Gospel. She boasted in the power of God's comfort and peace even while separated from her children. Reading her words about God reminds me of the verse in Hebrews. Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Amen and Amen!