Genealogytrails Harrison County,
|Stories of former Bethany residents who wrote letters to the editor
from their current locations around the world.
Letter from Arkansas:
From Mrs. Eva Crossan-Vandivert
Editors Clipper- We have had the plesure of reading local town papers in a number of states in the Union, and I have never found any that were better than the Bethany papers, and very seldom were they so acceptable. Bethany owes much to its wide awake and efficient press. The Bethany papers are active in every enterprise for the good of the community and they know how to express their approval, and on occasions their disapproval so it counts.
And this opening of the pages of the Clipper for a sort of written reunion of those of us who are "far from home and those we love," to enable us to get in touch with old time friends is a most gracious and lovely thing. We shall surely enjoy the Old Home number, and are deeply grateful to you for it.
The Judge has written of himself and family, and it occurs to me that it is left for me to reminisce. And for us who lived in Bethany, in the days of my girlhood, for Manda Ramer, Joe Hillman, Jo Willis, Sally Devers, Matty Spencer, reminiscing surely brings to our minds the thought of one of the kinliest, friendlist human creatures that I think I ever knew, Mr. Martin. Whether we recall his patient and painstaking efforts in training a bevy of hoidenish girls and boisterous boys to understand and fittingly portray on stage the best types of legitimate drama, or listening with gently humorous interest to our confidences, Ed Martin was at all time for the young folks of forty years ago, and an ever present refuge in times of worry and trouble.
The Bethany Dramatic Club under its various names, but always managed by Mr. Martin, in those days was quite an institution. We called ours the Thespian Club, I think, and the rights and title in that club had been handed down to us by Dave Heaston, Maggie Monson, Sade Newan, et al.
A few days after we, my father's family, reached Bethany, we attended an amateur show given in the old court house. Mr. Martin in charge. I recall how impressed I was with Sarah Devers' realistic acting. In a very highly colored and ultra Indian costume, with her jet black hair streaming over her shoulders, sh dashed across stage and at teh risk of hoving her pretty face smashed, she flung herself in the way of a murderous weapon in the hands of a perfect picture of a red man of the forest and saved Bob Ford, who impersonated Captain John Smith.
How many of you recall the Centennial Fourth of July celebration? The young folks were the major part of the entertainment at John S. Allens grove. Worth Vandivert read the Declaration of Independence. The music, patriotic songs, with Mr. John Kenyon as leader, was sung by a chorus of young people, the girls very pretty in Martha Washington costumes, and the boys very valiant and fit looking in the uniform of their Centennial forefathers. And do you recall how Alice Lewis looked exactly like the pictures of Martha Washington? And how shyly proud we all were of her, and how perfectly unconscious whe was of what we were all thinking of her.
I wonder if Ed Durham remembers the day he and I sang Little Fraud to an audience of one, and how we spent the afternoon in picking out the notes and time so as to send a copy of song to a little girl far up in the country?
In that time we lacked many of the things that now seem a necessary part of even comfort. We had no movies. Our shows were not sent to us by parcel post and ground out with the help of electricity. When we had any fun we generally acquired it by right of conquest. Our libraries were on the co-operative plan. When we bought a book, we bought what the other boys and girls didn't have, for we had read all of them. But I wonder if the high school boys and girls, in the small space of time left from Industrial Training, Basketry, Basket Ball et all, get as much of genuine pleasure from their reading. Most of the crowd in which I counted myself read and were interested in Dickens, Shakespeare, Thackery, Byron, Burns, etc. We played the Lady of Lyons, and that year we read everything we could get of Lytton's. So it can be seen that we were not dull, we were a big family and there was a lot of comradery and honest affection among the old boys and girls of that time long gone by.
A pleasing memory comes to me in this, that when we were students in Bethany, the business and professional men of the town universally welcomed the questioner after knowledge or information to his store or office. They were never so busy that they made us feel unewelcome. In this connection I recall the many kindnesses of Judge Howell, Judge Heaston, Dr. Walker, T. B. Sheare, Judge Alvord, Dr. R. H. Vandiver and my own father C. Crossan. Since being away from Bethany, I wonder if the business man of today in Bethany keep up this tradition, and have the same unobtrusive, non critical interest in the boys and girls now growing up in my old home town?
I do not desire to consume too much of your desirable space, kind editors, and shall close my letter in the fashion I use to my own. To the big, big, family of Old and New Bethany, my warmest love to all of you, and as I alway have been, I am, affectionately yours.
Eva Crossan Vandivert.
Letter from California
from Z.T. Rose
Dinuba Cal. Feb. 4, 1916
Dear Clipper Editor- Enclose the needful for the Clipper another year. It is so helpful in keeping us in touch with our Harrison county friends. We are so sad when we see so many are passing away. California is getting a share of the storms that are sweeping over the country. More rain in this valley than for many years. I also send you a statement and souvenir of the bank where I work. The first will show the volume of business done by one of the two banks, the other is handy for pins or pens and will remind you of your old friend "Zack" Well as usual. With best wishes, sincerely yours.
Letter from Canada
From Minnie Pryor-Hall
Endon, Alta., Can, Feb. 14, 1916
Dear Ada- Having received a copy of your paper, I see where you ask us that have lived in Bethany to write a letter back home to be published in your Old Home Edition. To tell where we are and what we are doing? Well in the first place, we are in the prairie of "Sunny Alberta," about fifty miles from Medicine Hat (called the gas city). We are farming and have 480 acres of land with a coal mine and natural springs. We were favored with a large crop this year, and owing to som many going to war, peo;le could hardly get their crops taken care of We were most fortunate as we had help from Oregon.
There are some within three miles of here that never got any threashing done at all, as people had such enourmous crops and help so scarce. The railroad has built in here and they have started a new town about five miles from us, which I assure you was very acceptable, as we had to go 30 to 35 miles to town. The named our new town "Etzicome... (Ets-i-come).
We have a post office, two restarants, laundry, butcher shop, bake shop, rooming house, 4 stores, 2 hardware stores, large livery barn, 3 lumber yards and elevator. But this is no place for a doctor, for no one hardly ever gets sick. Our school house is 1 1/4 miles from here.
Well, isn't this war terrible? Will it never cease? Several from this neighborhood have gone. One of our nearest neighbors, a young man living about 40 rods from here has gone. We are anxious for spring to come, and it looks today as if it wouldn't be long as it is warm enough this morning to have the door open. We have prize winning S.C. White Leghorns, White Orpingtons and R.R. Reds, all pure bred, and just think we are getting eggs the very coldest weather. Eggs and butter have been 40 cents per pound and dozen all winter.
Well, Ada, as you know I am no writer. I have often thought I would write you a few lines, then I would put it off and let others do the writing. But I know you will be glad I have written and understand that I will expect your paper the very first issue.
I will close, wishing you success.
Minnie E. Pryor-Hall
Letter from Kansas
From H. B. Armstrong
Wellington Kansas, Feb. 18, 1916
Dear Clipper Editors-
I want to help swell the list of letters and think it is a kindness of you to publish the letters of former residents of Old Harrison County.
We have had a fine winter here; snow and only one sleet and it did not last but a few days. The weather is fine for February.
The prospect for a wheat crop is good at present time.
Crops of all kinds were very good last year considering the amount of rain we had, which was double the amount of any ordinary year.
Many of our old time friends around Bethany have answered the roll call and makes us think that time is passing and reminds us that we are getting older. As for myself and Mrs. A we can say that we are enjoying good health and we often think of our good friends in old Missouri.
I am in the grocery business and it keeps me pretty busy-that busy part is what I enjoy. Now I won't take any more space this time. Mrs. A joins me in giving our regards to you and all our friends.
Letter from Kansas
From Mrs. Mary A. Garton
Hutchinson, Kansas February 5, 1916
I have such a great interest in the Old Pioneer letters that are to be published, I can hardly wait for that paper to come. As I a am somewhat of a pioneer, I want to write a short letter.
I came to Harrison County with my parents in 1847 and have lived there ever since with the exception of two years. I have been spending the winter here with three of my children, Mrs. Maurice Noah, B.W. Garton and Mrs. Albert Garton. While I enjoy the winters I always look forward to spring when I can return to dear old Harrison County.
As I came out here this fall I stopped off at Kansas City and visited at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Mathews. Such a splendid visit as I did have with them. I reached Hutchinson at 3:45 in the morning and found my son in law Maurice Noah waiting for me. I was sorry to read in the last paper about so many folks having broken bones from falls on the snow and sleet. It is very slippery here. I haven't hardly been out of the house for fear I would fall. We are all well except Maurice, who is in Colorado for his health. He has been sicl all winter but wouldnt give up until about three weeks ago. We are all hoping Colorado climate will soon help him.
There is a family living here by the name of Snode who were reat friends of ____Fay. One of their daughters , Miss Adda died yesterday morning. She was deaaconess of the Hadley Methodist church here and also Sunday School superintendent. Almost the entire city feels a personal loss in her death for she was such an earnest worker for the cause of right. We failed get three copies of the paper and their was wailing in the household. Anyway, thats what they said I did. I am so interested in all the folks that I hate to miss a single copy of the paper. I would be so glad to hear from more of the folks. I do wish they would write to me. My address is 203 First West. Thanking the Clipper folks for this opportunity and for their time and labour, I am, Your Friend
Mary A. Garton
Letter from Montana
From Mrs. Walter Shepard
Hysham Mont., Feb. 10, 1916
Eds. Clipper- As your are asking all Harrison county people who are away to write to the Old Home Edition, I thought I would write a few lines.
We have been having some pretty cold weather. Some of the old settlers say it is colder than it has been in 18 to 20 years, while some say less. Although the cold doesn't seem to hurt us any worse than in Missouri. Everything is a good price. Oats, $1.50 per cwt; wheat, $1.05 per bushel, the last I heard. One can scarcely get hay for love nor money. Horses and cattle are also high. Hogs are 10 cents per lb. dressed. There are not many hogs in the country. Those that have them won't sell them any way but dressed.
This country is settling up fast. All the land around is taken. There is still some of the coal land left. It is called coal land, where there are signs of coal. The homesteader only gets surface right, while the government gets any mineral vein, should there be one. There is some talk of opening the rest of the Crow reservation for homesteading, but the Indians are protesting against it.
I like the country much better than when we first located. Don't mind living so far from town since we are used to it. But still think of the old Missouri friends and relatives, and would love to see them all.
I see in the Clipper a great many are coming west and hope to see a great many light on Sarpy Creek. We have several close neighbors and all seem to be fine people.
Enclosed find check for $1.10 for the Clipper another year, and also the Kansas City Star.
Mrs. Walter H. Shepard.
Letter from Nebraska
From Harry D. Skinner
Ohiowa Neb. February 12, 1916
Bethany Clipper - find enclosed $1 to apply on subscription. I enjoy the paper from my old home town and enjoy the letters from old time friends. This has been a good crop year with us. Will be glad to see any of my old time friends if they ever happen this way.
Harry D. Skinner
Letter from Nebraska
from Mrs. John Van Cleave
Panama Neb.- Miss Ada- Just a few lines to my dear home folks. We have been having some very bad weather. On January 11th we had a terrible blizzard and it was 25 below zero. Such a time I have never experienced, and it has been very bad and cold since. Practically all trains arriving in the town were late.
We had a fine wheat crop here, also a good corn crop. Alfalfa is a great crop out here. They get from three to four crops a year. Butter is 25 cents a pound, eggs 25 cents per dozen. We had a big crop of apples and pears this year.
I like it out here, but like old Missouri much better. Success to all Harrison county friends, especially the dear old Clipper.
Mrs. John Van Cleave
Letter from The Ozarks
From Arthur Riley
Noel Mo. Feb.2, 1916
As I have been absent from Bethany for a few weeks I will write back through the Clipper to my many friends of Bethany and near Morris Chapel. I left Bethany for this country the 22nd of December, 1915. This country has been like spring since I came down.
I am stopping at my mother's Mrs. Amanda Lovitt, near the little town of Noel, Mo. in McDonald county. It is located on Elk River, 200 miles south of Kansas City.
There has been plenty of rain down here. The rivers have been overflowing for quite awhile, 21 foot raise in 24 hours. The strawberries have been in bloom for the past three weeks. The peach buds, also the elm buds, are swelling greatly. There are lots of pretty ferns to be seen along the cliffs.
We are having a Sunday School and preaching at the church known as the Mill Creek Baptist Church, of which I have been engaged in since i came as a bible teacher, and also preaching.
I have been having a nice time here with my old friends. I will be down here with friends and relatives for a few weeks. In the spring I will return to Bethany to see my good old friend in the Best Town on the Map. Hoping when my friends read this they will all be well of the grippe and scarlet fever and all other ailments that may be in their homes.
I send my best regards to all, Sincerely yours,
Letter from St. Joseph
St. Joseph, Mo Feb. 22, 1916
Dear Clipper Folks and Readers-
Thought perhaps some of my absent friends would like to know that we had left old Bethany. We moved to St. Joseph six years ago last September. Like here real well, but I would rather live in Bethany, but can't get C.F. to go. He is carpentering. There has not been much work this winter, but work is beginning to open up now and if the weather stays good carpenters will have all they can do and of course that is what we want.
I am anxious for the Clipper next week, for I know it will be so nice to real all those letters and know where so many are that we have lost track of and often wonder where they are. So wishing all the Clipper readers and Clipper force good luck and prosperity. I am, very resp.
Emma Dodd-Cornelison, 2712 St. Joe Ave.