An email, a text or a letter? Which would you rather receive? My vote would be for an old-fashioned letter any time! I believe I have every letter ever written to me! All my love letters from my husband, letters written to me during my college days, letters I received during my younger days, cards with notes written inside, notes from my children when they were very young – and letters from them now – all are in hat boxes in my closet. Some of the most special letters are in a zippered pouch that I carry with me.
The lovely thing about a letter is that someone took the time to sit down and write that letter. They chose paper and pen, gathered their thoughts – and wrote – with perhaps fine penmanship, or just a chicken scratch. But either way, it is a part of themselves, a tiny piece of that person committed to paper. And you can pull those letters out at any time and re-read them, remember that person, cherish them and bring to mind memories. An email is deleted and the contents are gone. And even if you printed it out, it’s not the same. As for texting – I don’t. If someone really needs me they can call.
Not only do I have letters written to me, but I have become the recipient of letters written to others through the years. Many of the letters Hugh Walter Linton wrote to my great-grandmother, Frances Barber Linton Montgomery, his cousin, are in my possession. They wrote often, their love of genealogy coming through every letter – but also bits and pieces of family life during those years just before and during World War II.
June 24, 1941
Dear Cousin Frances:
I am very much delighted to receive your letter and the old picture of my great-grandfather, Benjamin F. Linton, and his sister Ann. Sunday the 22nd we had the annual Linton reunion at the old home place near Russellville, in Logan County, with about 30 of men, wives, children present. I took this picture along and all of us spent a lot of time talking family history, all of them were very much pleased to see the photographs.
Be assured I and mine will treasure and try to take good care of it for the future generations. Cousin Lucy Wooldridge of Minnesota last fall gave my brother Jim (County Judge Logan County) a copy of what I take it is this same picture, and we had just had that copied by a local picture man, but I give first place to the original you so kindly sent me.
I am glad to hear through cousin Mag of the dates of the death of Benjamin F. and his daughter Millie, and to know she knew him personally. My brother Warder (J. W.) says in 1902 he visited up there and thinks he recalls being at your father’s house and at this same graveyard. Warder was born in about 1875, 8 years older than I. My oldest brother, Procter, died last January, nearly 69, leaving seven children and several grandchildren near Russellville.
On the little family tree I have the name of Maggie Offut – is she the same as the Mag O’Brien you mentioned? You say she is a granddaughter of Captain John. I feel sure she was born after his death, but I wonder if she ever saw a picture of him, and if she knows of any, in the Edwards family or elsewhere, I would be glad if I could get it copied at my expense. I would be very much pleased if I could find this if one is in existence. I was with my older brother in 1902 up there at the Edwards home, but I think I didn’t go with my brother around the neighborhood any. I was then about 19 years of age.
With best wishes and again thanking you for your gift, I remain,