Category Archives: Amanuensis Monday

Amanuensis Monday – Flo Ought to Be Proud of That

Irene, Lawrence, and Flo Montgomery

Irene, Lawrence, and Flo Montgomery

In the fall of 1945, when she was not yet sixteen, my dad’s second sister left home.  Irene had worked as a babysitter for a family in Idaho; when they moved to Albany, Oregon, Irene went with them to continue babysitting and complete her high school education.

Dorothy Irene Montgomery (known by her middle name) had been born 11 November 1929 in Winner, South Dakota, the daughter of Lawrence Theodore (or Conklin) Montgomery and his first wife, Antonia Marie Jelinek. Irene was four months old, and the elder sister, Flo, only two years older, when their mother died in Yankton, South Dakota.  Later that year Grandpa married Blanche Agnes Wilson (my grandmother); Grandpa and Grandma would eventually have ten more children. Aunt Irene’s letters home provide a glimpse into the life she was living far away from her family as well as her pride in her older sister back home.

Albany, Oregon
April 2, 1946

Dear Mom, Dad & kiddies,

Received your letter yesterday and was I tickled to get it.
Yes, Mom, I am feeling fine now. Am so glad.
We have 2 days of Spring Vacation.

Flo ought to be proud of that because it really [is] a great honor. We had an initiation of the “National Honor Society” last Fri. You have to have real good grades, you have to have some qualities of a leader, and you have to be quite popular, I mean you should [know] most of the kids in school. No, she didn’t write me about it, yet.

Those pictures were awful, but I just sent them.

I don’t have to wear my glasses only when I read they are for close up work now, Mom.

I will find out when [I] get out of school because I want to be there so bad for her graduation.

This coming Saturday the Band is going to Salem for our contest. We compete against all of the cities around here.

I am glad the kids can have some fun like that. Have they learned to skate real well. I can waltz with skates now, but I can’t skate backwards.

I would write to Myrt, but I have so many notebooks, speeches and etc., to get in this week and the next. We have been rehearsing for the concert at nights. Tell Myrt to excuse me this time if she will.

We have had pretty fair weather lately. We are voting for Carnival Princesses & Queen for our big All School Carnival which they have every year. We vote 3 princesses out of each class and a Queen from the Senior. I was a candidate for princess in two rooms, but didn’t get it. Must close.

Lots of love
Irene

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Amanuensis Monday – Early Diary Years

Velma This is me on horseback fording the river.

Grandma on horseback on a hunting trip

Grandma Hoffmann began keeping a diary in earnest in about 1975, and I have a separate blog dedicated to those posts.  Grandma was always a record-keeper, however, and I’ve uncovered some documents which essentially constitute a much earlier diary record.

A series of sheets of paper, about 3″x 5″, fastened together with now-rusty paper clips, each sheet covers one month and has some sections pre-typed.  It seems Grandma originally intended the sheets to track her work schedule, with “Work” typed next to each weekday, and “Work A.M.” typed next to each Saturday. Grandma then added further details about her daily activities.

At this time, Grandma was 24 years old and (I think – someone may be able to confirm for me) working for Selective Service. This, as well as the date of this month’s diary sheet, makes it particularly fitting for this Memorial Day. She and Grandpa had moved from Illinois to Idaho within the previous 18 months. Both loved the West, but when Grandpa seemed more interested in the hunting and fishing that had drawn him there, Grandma was the one who first went out and got a job. An earlier record sheet indicates Grandma began work on January 29 1941, and Grandpa on February 17.

DECEMBER 1941

Mon. 1 W/□ – W/o□ Work [check mark]
Tues. 2 – Work [check mark]
Wed. 3 x – Work [check mark]
Thurs. 4 – Work [check mark]
Fri. 5 – Work [check mark]
Sat. 6 [check mark] – Work A.M. [check mark] Get permanent
Sun. 7 – U.S. attacked by Japan
Mon. 8 – Work [check mark] U.S. declared War on Japan
Tues. 9 – Work [check mark]
Wed. 10 – Work [check mark]
Thurs. 11 – Work Quit working – last day.
Fri. 12 – Work Washed & cleaned basement
Sat. 13 – Work A.M. Quit working Cleaned house
Sun. x 14 – Went to Helen’s
Mon. 15 x – Work Ironed & went downtown
Tues. x 16 ? – Work Finished ironing & mended. Went to Caldwell at nite.
Wed. 17 x – Work Mended, etc.
Thurs. 18 x – Work – Got telegram – left for home [Illinois] 12:00 noon.
Fri. 19– Work – Night of Xmas party.
Sat. x 20 – Work A.M. Go Home (?) Arrived home 1:20 P.M.
Sun. x 21 – Hoffmann’s for supper – stayed at folks all nite
Mon. 22 – Mom’s birthday – Bill [Grandma’s sister Marilyn] & Fran married. Went home w/Sam & Norm 
Tues. 23 – Stayed at Marie & Herman’s all nite
Wed. 24 – Folks all nite.
Thurs. 25 – Christmas – stayed at Joe’s Mother’s all nite.
Fri. 26 – Went to Bill & Millie’s – stayed at Lee & Eileen’s.
Sat. 27 x – Came home – Stayed folks’ all nite.
Sun. 28 – Roy & Phyllis went home – Martha’s for supper.
Mon. 29 – went to Peoria – saw Ann & Mary.
Tues. 30 –
Wed. 31 – Sam & Norma’s New Year’s eve.

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Amanuensis Monday – Poor Harold Bridgman

Montgomery Family in Nebraska

Two months before my father was born in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, his grandmother, Sophie (Roberg) Wilson wrote to Grandma (Blanche) Montgomery from Winner, South Dakota, some 275 miles away. She also forwarded on a letter from another daughter, Maude Lucille, then 18 years old. Both Sophie and Maud express their concerns about the ongoing war, employment and financial difficulties, and, on a lighter note, basketball.

Postmarked February 11, 1942, Winner, South Dakota; Addressed Mrs. L. C. Montgomery, Box 675, Scottsbluff, Nebr; Return address Mrs. Wilson, Winner, S.D.

2-10-1942 Winner, S.D. Lomero [?] St.

Dear Blanche & rest must write a few words

I was so glad to hear from you suppose you got my letter about the same time as I got yours. I’m so sorry that Slim hasen’t got steady work. I know how hard it is to get long & I haven’t lost any time. And I’m always broke from one time to the next check course have Helped Maude quite a little. But must do what I can because can’t leave it all to June: I’m so sorry. I guess Clarence is gone to Rapid City for Examination hope he won’t half to go right away. Wish he would have had time to come down—haven’t saw him since Christmas hope he is feeling better all thise Poor boys that has to go to war—this war is Terrible. We are sure that Hareld Brigeman is Killed. Grandma has not herd since Wake Iland was attacked Oh its so Sad. I will send the last letter Maude wrote. Her letters are so much easier to understand. And I must answer Pearls letter its so long since I got her letter. Poor Pearl won’t be long until she will be going to the Hospetil—if I could only be with you girls for a few days when you need me the most—I would be so glad— but know it’s impossible but sure wish you could go to the Hospital—wouldn’t the county help on the Docter bill. The county sure helps People up here—Pay Docter bills: Pearl will go to the Hospital. Percy Mother will half to keep the children so that is not so Easy Eather. You said you diden’t see how Florence could be confermed. Oh I sure will do all I can for Florence. I have a cream collard dress that could be made over for her. I will see Mrs. Iver Week You send her size and tell me what coller would be allright if it was died [?] and what coller think Mrs. Week will be Kind and do that don’t suppose there would be any boudy down there that would make it over for Florence. I just love to see Florence have chance now because when she geats In to high school it’s much harder. In school Takes all the time for studying will you leat me know what you think about the dress course I relize it takes more than just the dress but will do all I can I sure love to it will be so earley that I don’t amigene they will have white dresses. Well dearest folks hope you can read this scribbling. Must close and get this up to the Post office. Would like to write a lot more but ime won’t permit so best love and good wishes to all and God Bless and Keep you well until we meat again Good by from Mother Lester and Grandma

Write when you find time

[enclosed in same envelope:]

[written at top:] I’m sending Maude’s letter I know you like to read it so by by

Sioux Falls, S.D. Feb. 3, 1942

Dear Mother & all,

Rec’d your letter & money order last nite. Also a letter from Irene and $1, and a letter from Clarence. He was very sorry that he couldn’t help me out, but has to go to Rapid City to be examined the 16th. I’ll send his letter with this, I answered him right back so he would get it. I told him that was O.K. as I knew he had a hard time of it and to be sure and go down and see you before he had to leave. I’ll pay part of what you sent me on my rent but I’ll have to use that dollar Irene sent me for groceries and I thought perhaps I’d better not give her all of that as I’ll need groceries again next week. Don’t worry tho it will come out somehow. Clarence was only getting $25 a month and had to buy license and also that permit to drive which was $2. But if he has to go to the Army I think he’s foolish if he doesn’t sell that car. I sure hope he gets a good location if he has to go. I haven’t heard from Lawrence for over 2 wks. He must be in New Jersey yet tho as he hasn’t sent me his radio and as soon as they go over he’s going to send it to me. I sure wish he’d write. They tell them when they can write now. It’s sure terrible about Harold Bridgman. I’m afraid they torture the boys and starve them to death. A family down here in Sioux Falls got a message from Wake Island, “You may be interested to know your son was taken prisoner at Wake Island.” Wouldn’t that be terrible to get that message and not be able to do anything about it.

It’s about 2:30 and I would be in school today but I guess I’ve got the flu. I’ve such a bad cold and it affects my eyes and neck. It’s so hard to get rid of a cold down here. I feel sort of dizzy when I get up. Mrs. Mellenbrendt called up Roberts & told him I was sick in bed, she also invited me down to dinner and gave me some cough medicine & Listerine. I think I’ll be able to go to school tomorrow so don’t worry, everyone seems to be having bad colds. Lorraine Hight from White River is going to Nettleton College down here she called up the Beauty School and wanted to talk to me so they had her call here. She is coming down at 4:30 to see me. I ran into her one day in Kusge’s [?] store.

I fixed Mrs. Small’s daughter’s hair and her sisters in-law’s hair also awhile back & they wrote up to Witten & told Pearl I did a very nice job. Pearl, I guess told the Long girls, as Romane wrote it to Dorothy McManigal. I fixed Gweny’s [?] hair last Sun. nite.

I sure wish I could see Clarence before he has to leave. They’re really drafting the boys fast around here.

Gee, it’s hot up here in this room but I’ve just got to keep covered up.

Hasn’t the weather been nice. We haven’t had such a bad winter yet but it still takes plenty of fuel tho.

Tell Lester I guess Winner’s B.B. team isn’t doing quite so bad now, I saw in the Argus-Leader where they beat Gregory.

I wonder what the Witten B.B. team is this year.

Excuse the writing I can’t do very good when I’m laying donw.

Write when you can Mother & thanks so much.

Lots of Love

Maude

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Amanuensis Monday – “So I’m Getting Old Now….”

Roy and Martha Anderson

Four years after Pearl Harbor, Martha (Roberg) Anderson mailed a birthday card to her cousin, my grandmother, Blanche (Wilson) Montgomery. Grandma would turn 37 ten days later.

[Postmarked Newman Grove, Nebraska, December 7, 1945; Addressed Mrs. Lawrence Montgomery, Marsing, Idaho. R.#1; 3c postage; birthday card; message written on back]

Dear Blanche. We all wish you a very Happy Birthday. How old are you now? I am 38 years old now. So I’m getting old now. Alfred is 40 years old. Roy is 40. I suppose your kiddies are looking for-ward to Xmas and Santa Claus. My kids are busy planning too. I been busy crocheting for Malinda. She isn’t a bit well. I suppose you heard about Olaf. I suppose she has wrote and told you. All her troubles. Poor Malinda. I sure feel sorry for her. Hope these few lines find you in the best of health. Write soon.

Your cousin
Martha

Martha Ingrid Roberg was born 31 May 1907 in Nebraska, the oldest daughter of Severin and Inga (Nelson) Roberg. One of ten children, she married Roy Anderson on 21 October 1925 and had two children of her own. One of Martha’s brothers was named Olaf, but I’m not sure if this cryptic reference is to him or not, as I can’t seem to identify Malinda or the troubles she was undergoing. Martha died 9 November 1996 and is buried in Newman Grove, Nebraska.

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Tombstone Tuesday – Joshua Ousley Montgomery

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One of many family graves seen during last year’s visit to Mansfield, Illinois, was that of Joshua Ousley Montgomery, a first cousin twice removed. Grandson of my great-great-grandparents John and Belinda (Simmons) Montgomery, he was born February 3, 1893 in Mansfield, to Thomas Milton and Frances May (Hoover) Montgomery.

His World War I draft registration from June 1917 lists him as “Joshua Oozley Montgomery,” age 24, of medium height and build, with light blue eyes and light-colored hair. In the four censuses in which he appears, he is enumerated with his parents. By 1930 he is listed as divorced. Cousin Janet Alvis indicates that his wife was a Leona H. Brooks, born about 1902, and that Leona and Joshua married May 6, 1922.

Janet has also provided the following obituary information for Joshua on the Find-a-Grave website:

Joshua O. Montgomery, 44, World War veteran and life-long resident of Mansfield was instantly killed at 10:50 pm Sunday, March 28, 1937, when he was struck by a car two mile east of Mahomet on Rt 150. Services were conducted in Mansfield Wednesday afternoon with burial in Mansfield cemetery. 

He was born on a farm near Mansfield, the s/o M/M T. M. Montgomery. He had just started construction of a home near his parents’ residence in Mansfield. Besides his parents he leaves two brothers: Fred of Chicago and Thomas of Mansfield; three sisters: Bertha Thomas, Stella McIlvain and Hattie Hannah, all of Mansfield. He was unmarried.

Amanuensis Monday – The War News Is Sure Terrible

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Sometime in the early 1940s Grandma Blanche (Wilson) Montgomery wrote to her sister Mildred. The letter is partially lost now but somehow found its way back to Grandma in an envelope addressed to her mother, Sophie (Roberg) Wilson. This is the same envelope that contains a number of recipes from a “Mrs. Dickinson.” Grandma and Grandpa and their children were living in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, where Uncle Gene (Alwin Eugene, born in November 1940) was apparently doing his fair share of tumbling and falling. The letter is full of family news and inquiries but touches on the horrors of war. It was also baking day – what I wouldn’t give for Grandma’s bread recipe!

[no postmark, return address, or stamp] Addressed: Mrs. Sophie Wilson, Winner, S.D. 628

[two pages missing; remaining pages labeled “3.” and “4.”]

…radio. I’m sure glad you write for Mamma as I know its hard for her to write. Hope she doesn’t have to work as hard as she did last winter. Yesterday was Pearl’s little girl’s birthday wasent it. I wanted to send her something but I didn’t think of it in time.

Do you still have the girls at your house. Am glad Herman has a new job.

Where did Monte fall from read it in Maude’s card. Alwin has fallen a lot he has a sore eye most of the time lately. I don’t know what’s wrong. He must have hurt it.

Be sure and tell Mamma & Lester hello from us all. Glad Lester likes school so well. What subjects does he take?

The war news is sure terrible. Even thinking about it makes you shiver.

We would like to take a trip up to Denver. Do you know if Clara is still there? Esther didn’t say.

I am baking bread today so must close & get busy. Am afraid it’s too cold in here as I let the fire go down.

With Love & Best Wishes May God bless you all. Blanche, Lawrence & children.

P.S. No we haven’t seen any of Carrolls. There are lots of S.D. cars but 14 or 15 thousand people in Scottsbluff, You seldom see many you know.

[at top of page 4:] I canned around 200 qts so that helps some.

Amanuensis Monday – Jobs Are Scarce

Myrtle Mamie Bessie Elta Montgomery

Elta Freeman

It’s interesting to note themes that repeat themselves in family history over time. This can be seen in the two letters I selected to transcribe, more or less at random. Grandpa Montgomery received a letter from Elta Grace, the youngest of his four sisters, in late August 1941. Though the youngest of the four Montgomery girls, Elta was thirteen years older than Grandpa. Both were born in August; when Elta wrote to him Grandpa would have just turned 40; Elta 53. Elta, with her husband William Gladstone Freeman, was then living in Van Nuys, California, and had just returned from a trip to Fort Collins, Colorado. Grandpa and Elta’s father was living there with his new wife (another letter written by Charles William Montgomery in July 1941 mentions Elta’s upcoming visit).

[Postmarked Van Nuys, Calif., Aug. 27, 1941; Addressed Mr. Lawrence Montgomery, Scottsbluff, Nebr.  Box 675; 3¢ stamp; Return address label on back flap:  W. G. Freeman, 14108 Victory, Van Nuys, Calif.]

Van Nuys, Calif.
Aug. 27, 41

Dear Lawrence & All:

We got home from our trip O.K. Everyone was well. Sure would like to have met you at Ft. Collins. There is lots of work around here now, especially at the Airplane plants. I don’t know about the pay. Some men get jobs at once; others are not so fortunate. I don’t know why. Will & Clyde have the same jobs as when we first came here. Once thing: here you can work outside the year round. Hope you are all well as are we.

Love
Elta

Of Will and Elta’s seven children, only four survived to adulthood. The Clyde Elta mentions is her only surviving son, Clyde Samuel Freeman, born November 29, 1911 in Brownell, Kansas. Her youngest child had been another son, William Emmett, born in 1930 but dying a year later. Twins Nina and Tina were Elta’s firstborn; Nina lived only 12 days, dying October 14, 1907, and Tina lived only three months. The four surviving children fell between the twins and baby William:  Laura Fern (b. December 6, 1908); Clyde; Maurine L. (b. October 4, 1913); and Dorothy Willa (b. December 21, 1916).   William, Sr., would live less than five years after his wife wrote to her baby brother, dying April 11, 1946. Elta lived another ten years after her husband and died April 4, 1956 in Northridge, California. They are buried in Inglewood Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Another letter, this one unfinished, focuses similarly on employment and on travel though it was written some thirty years later. It was written by Grandma Montgomery to her mother in March 1972. The Emma Satree Grandma mentions was her best friend while growing up and was two years older than Grandma. A webpage containing history on the Bad Nation District No. 19 school lists both Emma and “the Carl Wilsons” as early pupils.

Caldwell
March 1972

Dear Mother & Grandma; 

Just a few lines, I am feeling much better now. Spring has come at last. The sun is shining and the birds are singing again & I see some bees out. 

Mike & Linda Lea moved to Eugene, Oregon. Guess they haven’t got a job yet, but I sure hope they get one soon. Jobs are so scarce. Lots of people out of work everywhere.  

Pearl wrote and said she plans on going to So. Dakota in June. Sure glad if she can. We are planning on going through Montana and see Emma Satree (Seiverts). I haven’t seen her for 36 years. Do you remember when Mrs. Satree, Emma & you came up to our place when we lived in Winner and I was sick in bed before Marvin was born. Mrs. Satree said You take care of her, Montgomery.

Sophie Roberg Wilson