Tuesday, December 30, 2008

June 28, 1907

This letter is much shorter than the previous one, but you have to give credit to Mr. Rowe for making sure to answer the letter he has gotten from Bessie in the recent past. It is probably the letter answering to the first one I posted. Only one fold in this letter has been eaten away by time and exposure to the elements so I was able to to transcribe it more clearly than the earlier letter. This one was written in pencil and I have to say the author has very impressive handwriting. As a fifth grade teacher I often lament at how much less emphasis is placed on handwriting skills because of all our other academic requirements. This man has graceful, easy-to-read handwriting even when he seems to be in a hurry. The next letter is dated 1908 so there seems to be a large gap of missing letters. I hope to have it transcribed within the next few days. Enjoy...

June 28, 1907

Miss Bessie Barnhart
Joplin, Mo.

Dear Sister,

I received your ever welcome letter some days ago and while I am in quite a rush I will scribble a few lines to you but not [-----]. I am finished greatly with my work. I have some oats down and I must get them in for today is Friday and I can not leave them out.

I wish I had the time to write at least a reasonable reply to yours but you must excuse me for I can not.

I read your letter with much interest and assure you [-----] long letter was not in the least tiresome.

I will not take notice of anything contained in it at this writing but will next time I write if possible.

I guess I will have quite a newsy letter next time I write.

I must say again that the Lord is and has blessed me and my [-----] for which I praise him. I am moved to think of how he of old time blessed the heathen people when even only of his people were among them and it seems as though God has ordered the weather in a way to bless me. Also he has provided means which I did not look for.

I must close [-----] of God bless you is in my prayers. Write soon for I am always pleased to hear from you.

C.E. Rowe

Sunday, December 28, 2008

June 13, 1907

This letter is the first one in chronological order. The folds in the letter are torn and blackened with age so there are missing words here and there. I can use contextual hints to fill them in but have shown the missing words with [--------]. I will let the reader fill in the blanks themselves.

June 13, 1907
Hematite, Mo.

Miss Bessie Barnhart
Joplin, Mo.
Dear Sister Barnhart,

[--------] yesterday and received your welcome letter, and was glad to hear from you again.

I will answer yours tonight so that if I should take an unexpected notion to go to town tomorrow I can mail it.

I suppose you are acquainted with farm life enough to know that going to town is to a great extent governed by circumstances.

[--------] I say [--------] home for several days and something occurs (often) that I sometimes that very day.

This is the busiest time of the year for me, and we have had so very much rain this spring that the weeds are getting a good start.

I managed to [--------] of an acre of ground this afternoon but it was none to dry.
It has been thundering a little [--------] with rain all around [--------] this evening. I thought for sure it was going to pour down but it didn’t.

I hope it will not rain before I get the seed in the ground.

I have often been constrained to lift my thoughts with praise to God for, what has seemed to me, [--------] in my farm work.

True it is that seems he has chastened me to some [--------] that a com------] instead of discouragement then we “despise not” the “chastening of the Lord.”

“Happy is the man whom the Lord correcteth.” Job 5:17

The verse you drew my attention is full of comfort and encouragement and causes me to praise God for leading me to his [--------] who love to “speak often [--------] the godly fear.

Yes I received the regular and special numbers of the instruction for which I thank [--------] with interest.

I do hope I might attend camp meeting but I am so afraid the rain has set things back so it is doubtful, but I will hope.

I wish you success in your studies and selling the Signs.

If you go the Joplin High School [--------] not be like our schools, will it? It will be a school world[--------].

[--------] wonder if [--------] folks do like worldly teachers, that is, become an efficient teacher and then marry and cease to teach.

I can not say that I condemn it but it seems so unprofitable to spend money and energy to become an efficient teacher and then stop.

I think that should be left entirely with the teacher and the Lord.

I will close at this time hoping to hear from you soon and that the Lord will fulfill his promise in Luke 21:15 in you. “And I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.”

Yours for truth and righteousness.
C.E. Rowe

This is Monday and I have not been to town but Mother is going, and [--------] was not [--------] in reaching you as it has been, but better late than never.

But this makes me think that we can be to late in accepting salvation.

I hope to hear from you soon.
C.E. Rowe
your friend in brother in Christ

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Letters to Bessie

My much-loved grandmother, Bessie (Barnhart) Moothart, died a few years back. She'd lived a long and productive life and is still missed by those of us in our family. Imagine my surprise to receive a phone call from a gentlemen saying he had letters to a Bessie Barnhart that were dated 1908-1911. He had called some Barnharts in the region and was given my name and phone number as her granddaughter. At the time I didn't question the dates on the letters, I just assumed they were letters written to my grandmother that had somehow gotten tragically left in an apple bin (of all things) and eventually given to a local historian to see if he could find the family of the lady in question.

Recently those letters were left in my possession. What a treaure they are! Unfortunately, as I looked through them, the dates, the addresses, the names -- I began to question that they really were MY grandmother's letters. Sadly, they are not. So begins the great mystery. How did letters written 100 years ago in Missouri addressed to a woman with my grandmother's maiden name end up in Washington state not 50 miles from where my Grandmother lived most of her adult live? Even more coincidental was the fact that my grandparents were apple orchardists so the fact that something may have been accidentally thrown out in a bin during the retirement move they made in 1975 was fairly plausible. How long these letters were out in the weather in this bin is anyone's guess.

These letters are truly a wonderful gift for the family they actually belong to. So...here's my plan. Each of the letters (there are about 24) will be dutifully transcribed and posted here on this blog. I will be going through them carefully and putting them in chronilogical order. It is my hope to post some of the pictures of the envelopes and actual letters too. Maybe someone out there will be doing research on the correct Bessie Barnhart and this blog will pop up on their search. Stranger things have happened. In the meantime I will carefully store these letters and in time if nothing happens I will turn them over to a historical society, possibly the local one but more likely to one in Missouri where it seems these letters originated.

I think this will be fun!