Sunday, January 06, 2008

The first letter from Ida

The letters that Malissa received from her sister, Ida Joslin Dressler Lewis, were apparently in the possession of my grandmother in the summer of 1969 when she was visited by her 2nd cousin, Irwin Joslin, who is the grandson of Luther Joslin. Irwin made copies of the letters at that time. Good thing, because the originals were not in with the box of grandma's papers that I have. I received copies of these letters in November of last year when I went to the Joslin Reunion in Springfield, Missouri.

There is no date on this letter but Ida mentions that it is Father's birthday, May 1st. And, since Father was going to live with "Nerve" (his daughter, Minerva Knight) I think it must be 1899. His wife, Lydia, passed away on January 25th that year and according to his obituary, Lysander was living at the home of his daughter Mrs. Knight in Keighly, Butler County when he passed away on May 14, 1899 - just 13 days after this letter was written, if my assumptions are correct.

Other people mentioned are Romey, Malissa's son. I'm guessing here but the sickness referred to was probably a result of his service in Cuba during the Spanish-American War where he contracted malaria. Elnora is Ida's 16 year old daughter. In the 1900 federal census Ida and Elnora were listed as boarders and living in the 8th ward of Kansas City, Missouri.

Nerve is Minerva Knight and Dellie is Mandella Quillen, both daughters of Lysander and Lydia. Merl and Nellie are children of Minerva and William Knight. Nellie's husband was Bert Sutton, whom she married in 1897.

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[probably May 1, 1899]

Dear Sister & Family

I will reply to your letter, has romey got home? I do hope his sickness was not severe and that he is now at home. I can relize your trouble and suspence knowing he was sick and you where you could do notheing for him. I guess we all have our troubles in one way or anoter. Elnore is trying hard to make up for lost time although she has not gotten strong yet. Do you hear from Nerve - of course I don't - haven't a word from any one only Dellie & she knows nothing about them. This is Fathers birthday May 1st. They tell me Nerve will take father to town with her (I don't know which town). Merl goes on the road with his Father & Nellie & her husband will farm the place at Keighly. I don't believe father finds it as pleasent as he expected to.

I will send you a picture of our first home in K. C. the little one in front is Elnora the one with a hat on is me. Will also send the Band of Mercy program. 20,000 children were gathered together. It was a beautiful sight.

Sister you speak of us going to Chicago. I think (by what I hear) it would be the rong place for us. This is a beautiful place. Just the town for working people. So many factorys and great stores. One can always find employment. Of course thare is crime & vice but that is in the slums. We know nothing about that part of town only what we read in our daily papers.

I want Elnora to finish her education here than she will stand a better chance to get a school. She is quite a favorite with the teacher & principle man if she only holds out. The kerchief you sent me is lovely. I think so much of it. Many thanks & the tea tray is quite unique. I will get Elnora to write. I'm layed off for a few days and am glad of it. Will make Elnora a calico dress. Thare is so much I can find to do when I get home. She is not strong enough to work and some times I like a chance to stay at home a few days. We get along nicely & I have the Doctors bill nearly paid. Come soon. Love to all.

Lovingly your sister Ida.
501 E 12th
K C Mo

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