Week 50: #52 Ancestors – Lines
By Eilene Lyon
My favorite lines in genealogy are the ones inscribed by hand on paper—family letters. I didn’t always save the letters I received, but I do have a nice representative sampling from many ancestors and relatives.
I’ll begin with my immediate family and my ancestors, then I’ll share some samples from other relatives, particularly the oldest writing.
Clip from a letter I wrote home from college when I was attending The Ohio State University in Columbus, 1983. My handwriting is much the same today, but usually sloppier.
My older brother, Steve, wrote to our Smith grandparents in 1989. Like me, my brothers also chose printing over cursive handwriting.
My dad’s handwriting from 2014. It has remained pretty consistent over the years.
Mom’s handwriting from 1991.
Reatha (Gusso) Halse from 1997.
Laurence M. Smith from 1994.
Clare (Davis) Smith from 1994.
Mabel (Cutting) Halse to the Everett Halse family in Corvallis, Oregon in 1945.
Walter E. Gusso to his daughter, Reatha, written in his later years (date unknown).
Letter from Stella (Crandall) Gusso to her daughter, Reatha, in 1961, shortly before her death.
Clara (Ransom) Davis composed this essay while attending the University of Idaho in 1897.
Clara suffered from myasthenia gravis in her later years and it affected her handwriting considerably as seen in this letter to her daughter, Clare, in 1945.
Postcard sent by Alice (Fawcett) Cutting to her sister-in-law, Jessie Butler, in 1910. She lived in Oregon at the time, so must have been visiting family in Mabel, Minnesota.
The left-hand side of this postcard was written by Olive (Springer) Gusso (date unknown).
Sarah (Livengood) Davis wrote to her son, Sterling P. Davis in 1922.
Robert Ransom wrote in his memo book in Trenton, Indiana, in 1861 to keep track of what customers owed him.
Andrew Livengood wrote to his daughter in Missouri, Sarah Davis, in 1878 before the Davis family moved to Idaho.
Henry Z. Jenkins wrote to his wife, Abby, in 1851 while he worked in the California mines.
Abigail (Bedford) Jenkins wrote to Henry during his time out west (1853).
Ann W. (Zane) Jenkins wrote to her son, Henry, while he was in California. She was in her 80s and nearly blind and deaf (1852).
My uncle, Nathan Halse, wrote this letter while serving in the marines in the early 1960s.
June (Davis) Wickward, my great-aunt, wrote to her sister, “Bobby” (Clare Davis Smith), in 1957.
Henrietta (Bedford) Perrin related some family history to Clara (Ransom) Davis in 1925, writing from Cincinnati.
James Henry Ransom wrote to his sister, Clare (Ransom) Davis, about family history in 1921.
Thomas Bridges Davis, who was a minister, wrote this letter in 1920 to Clara and Sterling Davis.
Dr. William C. Ransom, brother of Robert Ransom, wrote to his daughter, Marietta Haines, in Oregon in 1893, shortly before he shocked the country in 1894.
Clara Bedford wrote to her aunt, Abigail (Bedford) Jenkins about her trip to Philadelphia shortly after the end of the war in 1865.
Cordelia Ransom, daughter of William C. Ransom, wrote to her cousin, Lizzy Jenkins, in 1864, about the death of her brother Lewis from diphtheria and scarlet fever.
Feature image: Letter from Edith Hockett of Kansas to her cousin, Clara Ransom Hockett, in Moscow, Idaho, about 1905.