Sunday, January 18, 2009

October 4, 1908

This is a very long, but interesting letter. Bessie is now in Mountain Grove, Missouri -- I assume teaching at the Children's Home. Clinton expresses his deep feelings for Bessie in regards to the possibility they might have had to end their engagement and asks her advice in regards to being summoned to serve on jury duty on the Sabbath, which is this case is Saturday. It sounds as if they managed to visit with one another on one occasion and Clinton is hopeful they will have the opportunity to see one another again soon.

Finally, the last portion of the letter is Clinton commenting on the current state of the world (as he knows it) with society becoming more Godless and women becoming more bold. Imagine what Clinton would have thought of today's world.

The envelope is addressed to...

Miss Bessie Barnhart
c/o Children's Home
Mountain Grove, Mo

Wright Co.


October 4, 1908
Hematite, Mo.

Miss Bessie Barnhart
Osceola, Mo.

Dear Sister:

Your good letter was received this morning and I was as usual glad to hear from you and that you had a safe journey.

Your letter was read with much plesure and appreciated in the greatest.

I notice you replied immediately; this also was appreciated.

It frosted here a little the morning of the 29th but injured nothing, but we have had cool nights ever since.

Yes, I understand that it is possible for our correspondence to be found out, as you said, but if you can keep it a secret by delaying to mail your reply I would rather you would do that than risk it being found out.

I am anxious to keep it a secret until the ceremony is over, if it is possible.

Not that I am ashamed of you or in order to deceive you or anyone else but for about the same reason that you have for desiring to keep it quiet.

You must ask Sister Ames to keep it a secret.

Perhaps she remembers having met me at Camp Meeting last year at Bro Somers' tent. I met Robert also and another boy and a little girl.

I am so glad that you have seen no reason to be disapproving of anything I have said and to have you express your desire to see and talk to me. May God help me to be worth of your affections and company.

Yes it is doubtful whether we could be as successful in keeping another visit a secret, as we were my first, last, and only visit; but no less aprreciated because of being the only one.

I am happy to have you say that you do not feel that you will ever regret the step you have taken that the thought of us having to cancel our engagement caused you sorrow.

I also was touched with sorrow when I wrote concerning such but I have not and cannot doubt the Lord's guidance. I am certain that he has given me unmistakable evidence of his approval and blesing, although he has permitted me to be disappointed in several ways.

Mother received a letter from Grandma today and from her letter we judge her to be worse than ever before.

My brother is still declining in health, he now weights about 40 lbs. less than when he was in his best health.

I will close for this time as it is 9:00 O'c and I must rise early in the morning (about 4:30).

Bessie I wish you would ask Bro and Sister Ames what they would do if they were summoned on a jury on the Sabbath. (7th day)

My reason in this I don't think we should serve on that day and I think that Mr. Davis who is constable (the man I have befriended and the man that has trusted me before others) will summon me through evil motives to serve that day.

My warrant for suspicioning such is this; his actions, words, and his grandaughter (Essie) said he said he would do it.

You have no idea how hateful a disposition he can manifest at times.

Give me all the advice you can and pray that I may stand firm and so live that God can use me to his glory.

I know that God will not forsake or leave me if I am faithful, and that man can do nothing contrary to his will.

My prayer is that I may be faithful under any and all circumstances any and everywhere.

I am very little alarmed, yet I know it is possible for him to do so, but not until he can get along without my helping him in his farm work.

Each day I can see more and more of Satan's influence among the people and realize that soon the winds of strife will blow.

Even the women are becoming bold, and immodest, and losing chasteness.

I will close hoping to hear from you soon as convenient.

I am still praying that I may have your company at the time appointed if it is God's Will.

"Hope thou in God."

I am ever yours affectionately and brother in Christ.

C.E. Rowe

Sept. 26, 1908

Unfortunately I do not have all of this letter, just the first page survived through the years. It is obvious in this short snippet that Bessie is going to be teaching at the Children's Home in Mountain Grove, Missouri. From the letter I gather she is concerned about people knowing she has a fiance. From what I know of those times, teachers were not allowed to be married, and possibly not even engaged.

There is also a sad note about two friends, Joe and Mary. From what I can gather Joe is quite ill and won't recover yet they are very much in love and want to be together (I'm sure in marriage). I am really sad that this letter is not complete to learn more of these two. Maybe more will be revealed as the letters progress.

Hematite, Mo.
Sept. 16, 1908

7:00 p.m.

Miss Bessie Barnhart
Osceola, Mo.

Dear Sister:

I was glad to hear from you soon and appreciated your prompt reply.

I received your postal the same day your letter came, and am so glad you are to teach at Mt. Gro. May the Lord be with you in your work is my wish and prayer.

I willingly consent to not put my name on the outside of the envelope.

You need not be afraid of me telling what you said concerning Joe and Mary.

I feel certain that she is as anxious as Joe to unite, they were holding back with the hope that he would recover but that being very doubtful they are wishing to enjoy one another's company at least during his last days.

I do not blame them for thinking so much of each other, but I think they out to act through priniciple. I know that if I cared as much as he does for her I would consider her future welfare more

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sept. 10, 1908

I managed to get this letter transcribed today and wanted to get it posted. You will notice that at the end he does sign this letter Clinton. He is a very righteous man and wants to do nothing that would upset Bessie or make her think any less of him. I can't help but fall a little in love with this man myself. :)

Sept. 10, 1908
6:15 p.m.
Hematite, Mo.

Miss Bessie Barnhart,
Osceola, Mo.

Dear Sister Barnhart,

A neighbor brought your letter out about 15 minutes ago and I was greatly pleased to receive a letter from you, I hardly expected to year from you until tomorrow. I feel grateful to you for replying so soon.

My brother is in St. Louis but he might be sick in bed for all I know, I telephoned to see if he reached his destination safe, and he had, but I know he is very poorly for he just compelled himself to stand the trip and when I took him to the station he would catch his breath at every little jostle of the rig.

Mother and my sister’s little boy just left for our neighbors on a visit and they expect me to shortly follow.

I have just returned from feeding and looking after the chickens, one reason for which I did not accompany them.

When we decided to go I did not expect to write a letter before going but after I received yours I made up mind to answer it immediately so Mr. Davis could mail it tomorrow, as I expect to go to his place in the morning.

You asked me to join you in prayer concerning your teaching. I have done that in the past and when I read our letter and learned the possibility of you going to S.C. I could not help but feel downcast, Bessie I am not speaking through emotion only, and I hope you will not consider me silly, as it is no more than right that I should have such feelings toward you since we are engaged.

[------------------] and my nephew had gone I knelt in prayer and sought God’s guidance and blessing for you.

I know he will do what is best but I cannot help but be anxious about you going so far from and among strangers.

Sometimes I think maybe I did wrong in asking you to take the place of a wife as it will take a faithful servant of the Lord out of his work. I hope though that he sees a way to use you even though we do marry. I sincerely hope so. But my faith is in the Lord and I believe [--it] have [-----------] him for you to be my helpmate he would not have permitted us to become engaged.
“Oh! how good he has been to me and what an unworthy one I am, may he be merciful unto my unrighteousness” and continue to grant me favor in his sight.

You can rest assured that you have a special place in my prayers.

I must draw this to a close as I want to hitch up the horse so that mother will not have to walk home, it is downhill going but uphill on the way back.

You must excuse mistakes as I am in a very big hurry.

When I read of the probability of you passing through St. Louis it made me wish I could have the pleasure of meeting you at Union Station until your train left for S.C. Do you think it would be out of place for me to do so? Of course it is doubtful whether I can but if I could would you give me permission to do so?

Oh: I would love to have the pleasure of it. But I will not build on it [---] I cannot tell one day [-----------------------] next, since my brother has been home.

I must close for this time.

May god bless, guide and keep you is my earnest prayer.

I remain your true friend and brother in Christ Jesus.
C.E. Rowe

Write soon and let know about what time you would reach St. Louis if you should go. Goodbye

It is 10:30 p.m. and we have returned home and I have been thinking of you ever since your letter came and since I wrote, I have wondered [---------------] done wrong in expressing myself so freely, so I ask you to forgive me if there should be anything herein which you cannot approve of.

Asking an interest in your prayers I will close for the second time.


May the “peace of God keep your heart and mind through Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:7

Saturday, January 10, 2009

September 5, 1908

This has been an interesting week. I've receiving great help from two readers, Kay and Nancy. Kay has sent me census records showing Bessie and her parents in Missouri in 1910 and then later did some digging to find them in Washington in 1920. Nancy found Bessie and Clinton's burial location in Loomis, Washington. I so appreciate these acts of generosity from you two. This was my first week back to work at school and to be honest I haven't had much energy to do extra research.

I notice in the 1920 census records that Clinton and Bessie are 37 and 36 respectively and they had no children. It makes me wonder if they ever had a family of their own.

There is a pretty good gap between these last two letters. In the April, 1908 letter Clint writes of trying to get his corn in the ground fighting rain and wet fields, while in this Sept. 1908 letter he write about it being time to cut the corn and his surprise at how well it did despite the lack of rain. It must have been an interesting summer, but there aren't any letters that survived to tell us about it. Darn! Also in this letter it becomes clearer that Bessie is indeed planning on becoming a teacher. Clint is happy she has not taken a position further south, which I surmise would have taken her further from him than he would have liked.

Again, if you have questions or comments don't hesitate to email me at oktwigsATgmailDOTcom.

Hematite, Mo.
Sept. 5, 1908
after Sab.

Miss Bessie Barnhart
Osceola, Mo.

Dear Sister,

The Sabbath being past I gladly reply to your ever welcome letter which I received Friday morning. I am always glad to write to you and receive an early reply.

May the Lord guide you in deciding your school affairs, and use you to his glory, is my sincere desire.

I will be more anxious about you if you leave home, more so than I would if you remained at home, because I know your folks will care for you better than outsiders. But if you do leave home I know God will care for you. "if in all our ways you acknowledge him." Prov. 3:6

Yes, Bessie I do know you have a reason for not going south to teach and I rejoice that God has permitted you to be so minded toward me, but do as you think the Lord would have you do, he will bring everything around for the best although we may not see his purpose clearly.

If I am not mistaken, I told you in the same letter in which I said mother had gone to St. Louis, that she returned and my sister had gone home. See if I did, for I may only imagine tht I told you.

My sister left her 9 year old boy with us so that if mother had to go to St. Louis he could stay with my brother when I was away.

My brother had intended going to St. Louis last Wednesday but he was so ill that he could not go. He feels pretty good one day and very ill the next day.

He is that way about religion. Sometimes he is of a mind to give up all for Jesus and again he is more or less rebellious but I feel certain that he is growing more and more sincere as time passes.

How often I have wished I could make everything so plain that he would not waver from the Lord.

He has set his mind on going the 8th but just now (a minute ago) said that if he feels then, like does now he will not go.

Of late he lies down considerable during the day.

Grandma is a bit weaker than she was, but about the same otherwise.

I will finish this in the morning before I go to town. Good night.

It is now 7:00 O'c the 6th and a beautiful morning.

I will soon have corn cutting to do. I am surprised at how well the corn has done that your father gave me, when I consider the small amount of rain it received. I find the yellow a week or two earlier in matureing than the white.

Thinking of nothing of interest to write I will close for this time hoping to hear from you soon and that Lord will bless you in every respect.

I remain your true and affectionate friend in Christ Jesus.

C.E. Rowe

"Wherefore beloved seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace without spot and blameless." "and account that the long suffering of our Lord is salvation" +++++ beware less ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness." 2 Pet. 3:14, 15, & 17.

Monday, January 5, 2009


I got a lovely comment from Nancy today about my last letter. She did a little research and found the cemetary near Loomis, WA where it looks like our Bessie and Clinton Rowe are buried. Looks like they finally did tie the knot!

Thank you so much Nancy. What's fascinating is that another reader (Kay I believe) emailed and did a bit of research on the Rowe side of the family and commented that she thought she had found Bessie's family via a census. The parents are Conrad and Sallie Barnhart. Guess what? They are buried in Mt. View Cemetary near Loomis too! Looks like we got a match and I am amazed at how kind people are to do research online for something that really doesn't apply to them, but they just like to do the digging.

Tonight I will have the opportunity to actually visit with a lady who has lived in Loomis for many years. I'll be picking her brain about the Rowe family and see if there are still members who might be in the area. There are Rowe's living in the local area but I think I'll start in Loomis for any contacts.

Anyone who has any interest in this is welcome to email me at oktwigsATgmailDOTcom.
Thanks everyone!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

April 29, 1908

In this letter we finally get the first name of our mysterious writer. His name is Clint Rowe, which surprises me as I didn't think Clint was a common name of that time.

This letter was quite long but the paper was in good condition. There was literally only one word I could not make out so that was a nice change from the first two letters.

Note that this letter went to Osceola, Missouri while the first two I transcribed were to Joplin, Missouri. There is quite a time span between these letters so it looks as though Miss Barnhart has finished school. I wonder if she is teaching other than "Sabbath" school, which is mentioned in this letter.

April 29, 1908

Hematite, MO

Miss Bessie Barnhart
RFD 2 Box 34
Osceola, Mo.

Dear Sister Barnhart,

Having been in town this morning I received your ever welcome letter and was pleased to hear from you again.

Well sister I wish I could have said as you hoped I would, in my last letter, viz: that I was coming but surely you cannot hope for it any more than I, really I have been ashamed to write and so often that I come not come, but I will come as soon as possible.

No sister I did not take a wrong view of what you said concerning our marriage, but I was afraid you might [---] such certainly in the time of it.

We must wait and let time tell a thing or two. (I will say more when I see you)
You spoke of winter-like weather. We have been having it for fully a week and so much rain that plowing is hindered. I must get my corn all planted ere I start for your place and as long as the weather is wet I cannot plow.

That is why I wanted to call on you in February, but I have tried to be patient, under my disappointments.

And another reason why I wanted to call on you sooner than this is that I knew if my brother gets too ill it is hard telling when I will get to come.

I have prayed and prayed that I might get to call on you soon if it was not against the Lord’s will, and while I have been disappointed in not getting to do so ere this, yet I cannot help but think that God knows, and will do, that which is best.

My brother is not required to be in bed but he is quite weak, and does little or nothing. If he walks 500 feet he is tired out. You might say he lives and that is all.

I do not like to be away from home at night because of his aptness of having a serious spell of sickness, and he gets lonely and uneasy at night, and dreads the thought of being alone should he become seriously ill.

For these reasons I came home instead of staying at Mr. Davis’s tonight. I will be glad when Mr. Davis returns.

I earnestly hope your Sabbath school will bear fruit to the glory of God.

I do not remember whether you spoke of Ethyl or not, but I think not.

The thermometer registered two below freezing this morning and has several times since the fruit was on the trees. I wish we could have fruit as it is half or at least a third of our living, but if we do not it is our place to be content with such as we have.

I will be happy when I can talk with you instead of writing.

May 2, 1908
after sundown

You will notice that I started this letter the 29th but not having the opportunity to finish it, it is now the 2nd of May.

I am sincerely sorry that I could not have replied sooner and trust you will pardon my delay.

Mr. Davis came home Friday the 1st and I was glad too.

I plowed some that day but some of the ground was very wet, today has been a nice day but it is cloudy around now.

When I came home last night or rather yesterday afternoon, mother was lying down, she is feeling very poorly. Grandmother is about the same. Joe is also about the same.

Oh how I wish we could have two weeks of nice weather so I could get my corn in, then if the Lord permits I will pay you a visit.

I will be uneasy about home affairs to some extent while away though.

If it was not for my work I would come the 4th but it is impossible.

It may be that I will not get to let you know in time to meet me or even know I am coming as I will have to snatch the first chance that comes as my work will crowd me very much.

I must close for this time hoping to see or hear from you soon.

I remain as ever your brother in Christ,
Clint Rowe

“My soul fainteth for thy salvation but I hope in thy word.” Ps 119:81

“before I was afflicted I went astray, but now have kept they word” 119:67

“I know, O Lord that thy judgments are right and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.” 119:75