M.B. and Alice Zinn routinely took in Boarders — teachers, circuit riders, gas line walkers, and others — that were working in the area and needing a temporary or seasonal place to stay. Gay assisted her family in providing meals, laundry, and related services. Jake moved into a boarding house in Clarksburg and began working at the local tin plate mill. Their courting letters provide a glimpse into their work and home lives.
What's Happening at Work
11 Dec 1905 – Jake wrote, “I have no greater pleasure than writing to my little Gay girl. I have not heard from you for a month. I came up here [to Clarksburg] before I received your last letter. I left word for them to send my mail to me and I have not received any yet so I thought I would write and let you know where I am at. I do not know when a letter will find you, but I hope it will find you well and happy.
I am having a good time. I see Mood Ehret every day or so…I have a good job at the tinplate mills (Phillips Sheet and Tin Plate Company, Clarksburg, W.Va.) I only work 8 hours for a day. Mood works at the glass factory and he has to work 12 hours. I have a good place to board but I hafto pay 4 dollars per week. Well Gay I would like to see you, the best in the world. I don’t know when I will get to see you unless you will come up here but I don’t expect you would go very far to see me. I will ring off for this time. You must write and tell me everything that you know and some things that you don’t know. Take all mistakes for kisses. Excuse bad writing for the pencil is like myself, it is very dull.”
14 Dec 1905 – Jake wrote, “This evening finds me trying to answer your letter which I received this evening. I had begun to think that I never would hear from you again. I left word for them to send my mail to Clarksburg but they was so slow that I got tired of waiting, and Tuesday I sat down and wrote a letter to you and directed it to Holbrook for I thought maybe you had got back home [from your sister’s] by this time, and now I will direct this one to Newbern and surely one of them will find you.
I expect that I will stay here all winter. I don’t know what I will do without my little Gay girl. I am working at the tinplate mills. I like the work fine but it is a very warm place to work but I only haft to work eight hours for a day. I see Mood every day or so. We have some pretty big times together. We had our pictures taken together and I will send you one just as soon as I hear from you…I wish you a happy Xmas and I will send you some kind of a Xmas gift just as soon as I hear from you, and I hope that won’t be long. Well, as it is getting late and I hafto go to work as I work at night, I will close for this time”
28 Dec 1905 – Jake wrote, “I was down to Lewis Ehret’s (Clyde & Mood’s older brother) Sunday afternoon and found Mood in bed. He has to work every day in the week or he works one week at night and the other at day and he has to work about 90 hours out of every week. He gets $13.00 per week. I only work 40 hours for a week and I get $11.00 to start with and as soon as I learn I will get $15.00 per week.”
8 Jan 1906 – Jake wrote, “I worked the old year out and new one in. I went to work at eleven o’clock Sunday night. I never heard such a racket as there was at the factory at 12 o’clock. They just blew all of the whistles and rang all of the bells till you could not tell whether you was deaf or not.”
18 Mar 1906 – Jake wrote, “Well, Gay, I hardly know what to write. There is such a little for me to tell you. I have been working nearly all the time. I began work on Monday morning at 7 and quit Friday night at eleven and worked seven days. Can you beat that for one week? Of course, I had to work part of the time at night. One good thing, I get paid by the day and not by the week. They want me to work eight days this week. I don’t know whether I will or not. It is only how I feel.”
25 Mar 1906 – Jake wrote, “Gay, what do you think of this for winter weather? I think it is something offal but it don’t hurt me any for I don’t have to be out in it any. I only worked nine turns, or nine days, whichever you wish to call it. What do you think of that for one week? This is the old hard week. It is the night turn all week.”
8 May 1906 – Jake wrote, “I got home and right Sunday evening. It rained just enough to make it uncomfortable. Mamma did not whip me [for staying at your house for so long] but she said she thought she ought to. I came up here yesterday and went to work last night at eleven o’clock. I was good and sleepy this morning. I went to bed at eight and I never got up till six this evening, so I just feel as good as new this evening.”
28 Nov 1906 – Jake wrote, “Where are you going to spend Thanksgiving? I will spend it at work, or part of the day at least. We are going to have turkey for dinner for they are killing it now.”
7 Feb 1907 – Jake wrote, “It is hard for me to get off just when I want to, for experienced men are scarce in the mill just now. I have been doing two men’s work part of the time this week.”
14 Feb 1907 – Jake wrote, “I got a better position today where I will make more money and not work so hard.”
20 Feb 1907 – Jake wrote, “Bert is working in the mill now. I got him a job on my crew where he is making two dollars per day. He thinks there is no one like me but he don’t think as much of me as you do, does he Gay, ha ha.”
28 Feb 1907 – Jake wrote, “I thought I was going to get my nine cents last Tuesday morn. I broke a role [roller] that cost $250, but the boss never said a word to me. He just wanted to know how I did it, and I said I did not know. I supposed that it just got tired of running.”
What’s Happening at Home
4 May 1905 – Gay wrote, “I am out at my sister Fay’s on a visit. I am reading a book, Thirty Years in Hell. It is something awful to read. My 7-year-old niece [Joy Allman] is reading your letter. She said she wouldn’t tell what was in it. When I made the bargain with her, I didn’t think she could read writing. But she is very busy reading.”
Editor’s Note: Gay’s two older sisters married brothers:\ **Tensie “Fay” Zinn married “Henry” Irvin Allman. Their children are Joy, Floy, and Marion.\ Martha “Dell” Zinn married “Jasper” Sylvester Allman Sr. Their children are Ila, Ina, Edna, Bukey and Jasper, Jr.
5 Oct 1905 – Gay wrote, “I am going to Gilmer Sunday after Alco (Gay’s sister). I was talking to her on the phone today. Mother, sister Katie and my niece Floy [Allman] have gone to bed. Manley and Papa are reading and I am making marks (embroidery).
12 Oct 1905 – Gay wrote, “We have 4 boarders. Mr. Marsh is one of them. He is the biggest tease I have ever saw.
20 Oct 1905 – Gay wrote, “We play [the card game] Flinch every night till nine o’clock and then go to bed.”
5 Nov 1905 – Gay wrote, “I wonder what you are doing now. I wish you was out here today to cheer us up. Katie is asleep, all the rest of them are reading…We have been playing flinch all week. [Our boarder] Mr. Morris and I beat. One night we played 5 games and won all of them.”
10 Nov 1905 – Gay wrote, “I have just hung out my washing and am writing while I rest. I will hafto hurry as it is near dinner time.”
13 Nov 1905 – Jake wrote, “Gay while I am writing to you, Mamma is sewing and Papa is reading for her. Gracie is studying her lesson. Pearly is doing the same, what time he is not teasing me. He said he was going to beat my time, but I told him I did not think he could do that, ha ha”
22 Nov 1905 – You ought of been here last night. Bert and Eliton Powell came down and played flinch with Katie and I. Bert and I played against Katie and Eliton. They beat us 3 to 5.”
1 Dec 1905 – Gay wrote, “All of us girls went to Auburn yesterday and got our pictures taken, 6 of us. (See photo below.) If you expect to raise a corn crop next year you had better purchase one or two of them. All us girls and Mother was in Auburn and you never saw such looking as the people done. They would look at one and then the other. Some would say one was the best looking, and some the others. I am glad that they all can’t see alike.”
14 Dec 1905 – Jake replied, “[Mood and I] had our pictures taken together and I will send you one just as soon as I hear from you. You certainly will be well supplied with scare crows next year for your corn field…I suppose that you will send me one of them pictures that you wrote me about. Well, I know that it would not be hard for me to decide which was the best looking of you six girls. My little Gay is, of course. One could tell that without looking.”
18 Dec 1905 – Gay wrote, “I am out to Fay’s yet. I was going home 2 weeks ago, but they wouldn’t let me. I am going to stay out here till after Christmas and I am going home. Fay just told me she didn’t intend for me to go but I think I shall…They are going to have a Xmas tree at Newberne Saturday night and we are all going. And we are going to have a family tree Monday night…So you work while I sleep (referring to Jake working night shift.) Isn’t that odd? It has just struck nine o’clock and they are all gone to bed but Coe and I…Coe has been making the mittens fly since she came out here.”
21 Dec 1905 – Jake wrote, “Gay when you get these pictures you can put them in the corn crib to keep the rats out.”
24 Dec 1905 – Gay wrote, “I received your letter last evening and was glad to receive so nice a letter from you. And those pictures was fine. But I have spoiled them kissing them so much. And I expect you will hafto send me another one….Oh, yes, we was looking through a magnifying glass at your pictures and Fay said you look like Oaf Hickman.
Cecil Hickman was here for dinner today and I got to reading a book titled Through Missouri on a Mule and I thought him and Bert would laugh themselves to death. It was sharp shootings and conundrums.”
28 Dec 1905 – Jake wrote, “Well Gay I think you ought to be ashamed of yourself for kissing those pictures so much when I am just starving for a kiss. I haven’t had a kiss for a month.”
2 Jan 1906 – Gay wrote, “While I was down to Newberne, I was given two pictures and they are dandies. They were pictures of two jolly fellows about like you and Moode. We have got them pictures of Mothers little girls and I just tell you they are honey-coolers…Someone said I was the cutest girl he ever saw. I don’t know where he knew what cute it… I think myself you are mistaken about the best looking, for I am the homeliest one of all.”
8 Jan 1906 – Jake wrote, “Dear little shorty. Why of course you are cute. You are just as cute as a monkey. Anything is cute that is lovable and huggable and kissable, and I am sure that you are all three of them.”
29 Apr 1906 – Gay wrote, “Katie and I have been out in the yard romping and playing with violets all morning. She is getting dinner and I am writing to the one I love.”
10 May 1906 – Gay wrote, “We had company today and I have been busy as a bee. I done the work and let Ma do the entertaining.”
16 May 1906 – Gay wrote, “Ila and Ina Allman are here on a visit this week. They think they are having a high time out to Grandpa’s.”
11 Jun 1906 – Gay wrote, “I am out to Sister Fay’s. I have been having a very good time since I came out here, considering all. Henry, Fay and the children and I and Javan Bush’s family took our dinners and went over to Big Run on mamma’s farm and had a picnic. We gathered wild strawberries and such a time as we had. The farm hasn’t had anything on it this summer and the grass is waist high. We rolled on the grass under the shade of 8 sugar trees. It was just fine. While we was gathering strawberries, the sun was so hot I sunburned my arms and shoulders through my waist and, of course, I had got plenty of company today. But I have been awful busy today. I baked cakes and almost a barrel of light bread.”
26 Jul 1906 – Gay wrote, “I am upon the front porch writing and Manley, Kate and Paint Bee [probably Paul Defiance ‘Painter’ Bee] are sitting in the yard. We had company today. Otley’s mother and sis. Katie said to tell you she was going to Auburn to a Convention tomorrow. I can’t go for I have too much work to do. Talk of a time, we had one last Sunday. We had just such a crowd as we had Sunday a week, only more fun. There was 6 young men here for supper and Roy came in the evening. They all left at dark but Roy, and he stayed till 3 o’clock. I know whereof I speak. I was talking to Mr. Morris and he said all of the youngsters from down there was coming up to our house some Saturday morning and stay till Sunday evening. You might bet we will take in a time.”
2 Aug 1906 – Gay wrote, “We will almost finish harvesting this week if the weather is favorable. We have got up 27 stacks [of hay]. Katie and I received an invitation to a birthday supper the 9th, and also our sweetheart Katie is going to take Roy. Roy is coming over Sunday night. He has been here 3 times since the 4th.”
7 Sep 1906 – Gay wrote, “After you left Sunday, Okey, Howard Loyd, and Cleo Gray came and such a gray and thin time I never saw. Marion and Kate left about 5 o’clock. Ma is going to start to Tannersville on a visit in the morning and will be gone over Sunday and there won’t be anybody at home but Papa and I. I won’t get lonesome for she has just planned bushels of work for me to do.”
9 Sep 1906 – Gay wrote, “Katie came home last evening and Roy came over. They just had a time. I think Daisy and Richie [may be Richie Ireland] are coming up today. I do wish you was here today.
Howard Gray and John Turner just left. Kate is getting ready to go to bed. Kate went to Sunday School this afternoon. She told Marion about your hand. She said he pityed [sic] you.”
18 Sep 1906 – Gay wrote, “Manley is in the other room and keeps saying, “dear Jake”. He has said that a dozen times and, all the sweet things he can think of. I ask him if he was fishing and baiting with all them endearing words. I was talking to Daisy today. She says she is going down to see you Sunday. Ma is going away Saturday and is going to be gone a week and I will hafto hold the fort.”
19 Sep 1906 – Gay wrote, “I wonder how my sick boy is tonight. I would just love to step in a few moments to see how have you have got. I received letters from Coe and Kate this morning They both was inquiring about you. Kate was Roy was asking her how your hand was. He hadn’t heard of you having the fever. I was talking to Daisy today. She said Eva Law said you was her beau. Daisy told her she was going to tell me, and Eva said she didn’t care. She would settle with me when she saw me. Coe is coming home the 14 of next month to stay.”
1 Oct 1906 – Gay wrote, “I will endeavor to write you a few lines. I hope you are improving nicely. I came out here [to Harrisville] yesterday and am at Woofters on a visit. I will visit here till Coe goes home. Mrs. Woods are going home with us. I think I will stay till Friday week. I saw Agnes last evening but haven’t saw Otley yet. You tell Gracie if she writes to me this week or the first of next week to address it to Harrisville. I have been having a nice time the last two weeks. Last Friday I was down to see Eva and Ona Law and Daisy and such a time as we had. We went up to where the men was building a truck road and rode on the truck. Eva declared I was the greatest tomboy she ever met, and I thought the same by her. I was at Auburn Saturday. The day I went down to Ireland’s, I saw Bert and he asked me if I was going to see you and I told him I was. I have a lot of things to tell you when I see you. I do hope and pray that you will get along nicely and don’t get no backset. Be careful of yourself for my sake as well as yours.”
3 Oct 1906 – Gay wrote, “I am just having a fine time out here [in Harrisville]. I saw Mr. Morris in town, and he told me you are getting better, and I am awful proud of it. Tuesday there was an educational speech at the Court House and yesterday General Harris funeral and there was a crowd of people in town.
We went to the meat shop Tuesday evening and was weighed. Burns weighed 140, Coe 135, Agnes 130, Otley 125, myself 120. Aren’t we large? I told them them scales didn’t weigh feelings as I would have been the largest instead of the smallest. Mildred [Woofter] and Mary [Woofter] say Jake Spiker is their beau. Miream Woods also says you are her beau. Otley is going to leave town. She is going to Salem. Cousin Bertha Bush is coming here this evening to stay all night on her way to Fairmont. Agnes wrote 46 pages to her beau this week. How does that strike you for a sample. If I write 6 I think I have done exceedingly well. There is a divorce case in court and Mr. Woofter just teases me all the time about it.”
6 Oct 1906 – Jake wrote, “I am lots better. I can set up and walk a little bit, but I just stagger like a drunk man, I am so weak…There was 11 different girls here to see me and some came 2 or 3 times, and lots of boys, and lots of old people. What do you think, Sarah Riggs was over to see me and Hazel, June and Eva. Well Gay I am glad to hear you are having such a fine time. I wish that I could be with you, but I can’t. I want you to hurry up and get them pictures taken for I want one offal bad. Well my dear girl, I will have to close for I am just give out.”
10 Oct 1906 – Gay wrote, “You don’t have any idea how glad I am to know you are getting so much better and can come up. We are going home Friday. Kate is coming after us. I wouldn’t let Gray come after me for I am tired of being gray so much. I can’t hardly wait till you get able to come up for I want to see how you look. I have gained 4 lbs since I came out here.
The Rev. [Emery Judson Woofter] and I have a great time. I gave him a spanking the other morning. They all want me to stay 2 more weeks, but I can’t stay away from home so long. Mildred and Mary [daughters of Emery Judson and Alice Gay (Bush) Woofter] are so close to me, I can’t hardly write. They both cried when I told them this evening that I was going home Friday. I just think of so much to write but will be too tedious. I will tell you when I see you. “
12 Oct 1906 – Jake wrote, “I certainly am glad to hear that you are so well and hearty. You weigh 6 lb more than I do now. I was over to the store yesterday and I got weighed and I weighed 118 lbs and I have gained lots.
Gay you hain’t half as anxious to see me as I am to see you. I wonder if I won’t have to serve (spank) you when I see you like you did the Rev. but it will be all in fun. And I am offal glad to hear that you are getting no grayer, for you know no one likes for his girl to look old, ha ha. Your new school teacher [Mr. Britton] stayed all night here one night this week and he said that he would call me up on the phone Tuesday evening, and if he does, why can’t I talk to you after he and I gets through. Gay if I should not come up next Saturday, I will come Sunday morning. If I get to talk to you Tuesday, I can tell you when I will get to come. Tell all of my sisters that I said hello.”
24 Oct 1906 – Gay wrote, “I hope you arrived home O.K. and not feeling any the worst for your trip. I have been having the most fun all to myself these days. I had a call from a swell fellow over the way. He wanted to call Sunday to see me especially. I told him he was perfectly welcome to come as a friend of the family but not as my friend especially. It wasn’t Gray either. I never told the girls anything about it for they would tease me. Ma was here but she didn’t hear all of his conversation. I also received a letter from a fellow at Auburn wanting to correspond with me. Now what do you think of that for a sample of this week, ha ha. [The schoolteacher] Mr. Britton said you didn’t stay long enough. He said he didn’t get to play with you a bit. Mr. Morris had a great tale to tell about them beaus I burned. He said he smelled them as he came up just on this side of the school house and Mr. Britton said he smelled them down there. Well I must close and go to bed for I am tired and sleepy. I washed today and have to iron tomorrow.”
28 Oct 1906 – Jake wrote, “You ask if my trip hurt me, now you bet it didn’t. I am just as fat and harty as a pig. I will be able to take my own part when I come up the next time. Yes, I think you are doing pretty well to have so many dear friends in one week. If I was of a jealous nature, I would be very jealous. You never told me their names. You tell J.L. Britton and Wesley Morris that I said if they could do two things at once that they could do better than you and I, ha ha.”
10 Nov 1906 – Gay wrote, “I am going out to sister Fay’s this afternoon. She called me on the phone Tuesday morning and Wednesday and Thursday to know when I was coming. Mama says I can’t stay but a week or two for she can’t do the work. Ma went to Spruce yesterday to see one of her aunts. She won’t be back till Sunday evening. Oh! I heard a royal good joke on you the other day. If people keep on, I will know all about you. What do you think, Coe has took Marion away from me (jokingly referring to Marion Gray.) He bought his home Tuesday and he told her he wasn’t coming to see me anymore for I had a beau. Coe asked him if he hadn’t known that all the time and he said yes, but he was coming to see me too often to suit him. And he told her he was coming to see her Sunday. There is no love lost. I am certain I will be gone when he comes. Well, this is all the nonsense for this time.”
14 Nov 1906 – Jake wrote, “Gay I hope you may have a nice time out to your sister, Fay’s for it pleases me to know that you are enjoying yourself… Yes, we board at the same place that Bert does. I told him about you all being mad about those post cards and it seemed to hurt him offal bad. He said he did not think of making you all mad, and I told him he ought to have known better. He went right straight and got a nice one and sent to Coe. I am very well pleased with the trade that Mr. G. made. I don’t object to having him for a brother, but I do for a rival, ha ha. You tell Fay that I said that I would do all I can to get Mr. G for her brother-in-law just as long as he don’t interfere with me, ha ha. Okie Gray is up here now. I have never met him yet but Bert said he saw him this evening. I saw Moode Saturday. He is all O.K. and was wanting to know how you girls were getting along. He said he would like to see you all.”
20 Nov 1906 – Gay wrote, “I was glad to hear from you. I received them postals and think they are nice. Henry said you must be rich in tender greetings to send so many to one person and I told him I was the only one that you send them kind of greetings to. I am having a nice time out here. I am at Fishers now. I came over Sunday and they won’t let me go away. I think I shall go up to Della’s this morning.
Vada [Fisher] and I have some times together last Tuesday. Fay, Henry and I went to Sinking Creek. I went to see after papa’s cattle. Henry went to see after his cattle. They all declare I will hafto stay out here all winter and Mama says she can’t do without me. I told them if they didn’t quit easing me about staying, I was going to leave and never coming back. Vada is teasing me and wants me to let her write a little note and tell you how bad I am. She says if I don’t, she intends to write you a letter. Tell Moode I said Hello. I don’t want you to tell Bert anything about me. But I bet he will tell you all he knows about me. That joke is too good – or bad – for me to write.”
22 Nov 1906 – Jake wrote, “You can tell Katie when you see her that I have met her sweetness, O.G. and I like him, first rate, for what acquaintance I have with him. Oh, yes, Bert has got him a girl up here. She is from over near Auburn. Her name is Campbell, a sister of Earnest Campbell. Bert was with me when I received your letter and he wanted to know what you said about him, and I said nothing.
You tell Henry, what did he think we had been doing these last two years if we couldn’t send one another a few thousand tender greetings once in a while. You just tell him we have got enough love for one another to last a life time…You tell miss Vadie that I said I would appreciate a letter from her or any other nice girls and if she writes me I will be sure to answer it, that is if you have no objections for you know that I would not do any thing that you would not want me to do, ha ha. Gay you must not stay out there till after Xmas. I will get a week off for Xmas and I will want to come to see my little girl and I could never find the way out there.”
22 Nov 1906 – Gay wrote, “I am so glad you are going to get a vacation Xmas for I am just dying to see you. I was over to a sale on Sinking Creek Thursday. I made 2 or 3 mashes, ha ha. I saw my Allen Goff, the one that wanted to come and see me. I told you about the last time you was up. We renewed our acquaintance, ha ha…They played Squirley. Vada and I wouldn’t play. I think everybody in the ring came and insisted on us playing but we thanked them. I told Vada I didn’t want any kisses, especially the kind that was there.”
28 Nov 1906 – Jake wrote, “I saw O.G. Saturday evening and we both was wishing that we were over to M.B. Zinn’s with our little girls. O.G. is a fine fellow or I am mistaken. You and Vadie must be saving with your kisses for you know that Manley and I will want them all ha ha. You both would have played if we had a been there, wouldn’t you sweetheart? Oyes, how is Roy and Katie getting along and Mr. G and Coe or have you heard. When you see them tell them that I said hello.
Bert, Pearly, and I, we went to church Sunday night. Bert was wanting to show Pearley his girl, and don’t you think, she was there with another fellow. You would have laft [sic] yourself sick to have seen him. You know how he can draw those eyebrows down and how sour he can look, well that was just the way he was looking when we came out of church. And Pearley, he began teasing him and showing him how he looked till I laft [sic] till I cried.”
9 Dec 1906 – Jake wrote, “Well Bert had got his girl back again. He and Moode was out in town with their girls last evening. O.G. and I was together. We told them just to wait till we brought our girls to town and we would show them how to cut a swell, ha ha.”
18 Dec 1906 – Gay wrote, “I received your letter all O.K. The girls are teasing me (referring to Gay’s sisters.) They are trying to see what I am writing. We have been teasing Mr. Britton to a finish. He went to a box supper up on Bear Run and some of the girls said he was a swell head.
Just a week from tomorrow is Christmas. You must let me know just what day you are coming up. I am getting awful anxious to see you. Manley said if you came down Xmas, you would hafto go rabbit hunting with him and Mr. Britton. I told him he would hafto go fishing (as in fishing for a date) and Britton would go Martin hunting (for a particular girl whose last name is Martin.)
We had a fine time Saturday night playing Flinch. Marion came over Saturday evening and I met him coming, so I went after the girls at school (they had school Saturday) and he went to school with me and came back with us. And we played Flinch. Marion and I, Coe and Mr. Britton, Kate and Manley played together. We just had a royal time. We are all teasing each other, even Papa.”
20 Dec 1906 – Jake wrote, “Tell Manley that I would enjoy rabbit hunting with him but when I come up there, I would sooner to DEAR hunting, ha ha.”
30 Dec 1906 – Gay wrote, “I received your letter Saturday and was glad to learn that you arrived at your destination O.K. We went down to the Irelands after Daisy Wednesday…[There was a] birthday party. They said there was a good crowd at the party for such a bad day.
We are going to have a box supper Thursday night. I wish you could run in and be here. Coe is writing to Ancil [Zinn].Manley is setting here talking about the box supper and his girl. Pa and Ma is not at home. Just us kids to keep house. I had a time talking to Roy after you left. I teased them a while and I went to work. Mr. Britton came about 5 o’clock. He met Roy going home. We told him Roy came over Sunday evening and he nearly went straight up. Roy told him how long you stayed.”
2 Jan 1907 – Jake wrote, “You just bet I would like to be there for the box supper. Bert, Oak, and I was at a Flinch party last evening and we just had lots of fun. Edna Campbell and I were pardners [sic] and we got more games than anyone else. The party was down to the place where Lena stays. Oak and Bert are going home on a visit in two or three weeks, and they will tell you all about it. Tell all of the girls that I said hello.”
6 Jan 1907 – Gay wrote, “This beautiful Sunday evening I will try and scribble you a few lines. I am at my sister’s tonight. I came over yesterday in the afternoon. Fay rang me up on the phone. Said it was such a pretty day she was going to look for me out. I hadn’t though of coming for a week yet but I just gathered up and came. It is just 7 o’clock and there is no one here but the children and I.
One of the neighbor women fell and hurt herself and they phoned for Fay and her and Henry went up there. I rocked Marion to sleep and Floy and Joy are here by the stand wanting to know who I am writing to. They have asked me a hundred times if I ain’t going to stay a long time.
We just had a time at the box supper. I got to eat with an old bachelor, Dan Richards. Roy Bee ate with Coe. Marion Gray with Daisy. Manley ate with Katie. We got the best joke on the teacher. He ate with Addis Bush. He took her home. He was the only person there that took the one home they ate with. I will tell you that joke when I see you. I bet he will never heard the last of it.
I would like to have been to that Flinch party. I was up to the prayer this morning and I read all afternoon. Oh, yes, Clyde Ehert was at the box supper. He said he was coming over to our house soon. There wasn’t a box traded. Dan said Ray Wade wanted to trade with him but he wouldn’t do it. Well dear, this is all for this time. I must close and put the girls [Joy and Floy] to bed.”
8 Jan 1907 – Jake wrote, “I will now try to answer your very nice letter which I received this morning. It is now one o’clock P.M. I just finished eating dinner and now I am writing to the one I love. Gay, I hardly know what to write that will interest you. I was over to Fred and Minnie Ireland’s Sunday Minnie asked me if you was never coming up here and I said that I had been trying to get you to come. She said she thought it was your turn to come to see me, ha ha.
Oh, yes, I could not get that book. I have searched every book store here. None of them seem to have it.
Oak and Bert are going home next Sunday and they both say that they are coming over to your house. I could tell Bert that I don’t think there is any youse [use] for him to go but I never cary [carry] tales. I will let him find it out himself. Oh, yes, I did tell him you were all mad about those postals.”
14 Jan 1907 – Gay wrote, “I have been having a very nice time. I was over to Coxs Mills Friday night to Literary. I went over and went with Vada. We had a time. I was invited to a birthday party tonight, but the roads are so bad and it was so rainy, I didn’t go. Vada phoned over and just insisted on me to come and go with her. I knew it would be so dark, I didn’t want to go. There was 125 invitations sent out.
I would like to be at home when Oakey comes out but I won’t be, I reckon, for I am going to stay 3 or 4 weeks out here. I received a letter from Lena Friday. She told me lots of news, ha ha. I feel tired tonight but I haven’t done much today. I sewed a little. I just spent most of the day romping with Marion and Henry. They tied me to the bed post this afternoon. I told Henry I wished it would quit raining so he wouldn’t say in the house so much. I can manage Marion when Henry isn’t around.
Manley was out here fishing Saturday and Sunday. I told him it wasn’t fair for him to go to see his girl every 3 weeks for I didn’t get to see my sweetheart only every 3 months.
I was over to Della’s yesterday and last night. We had a time. We popped corn, ate apples and cracked hickory nuts and exchanged fish tales for amusement. Jap won the laurel – he told the biggest one. I laughed myself hoarse. If you had of heard me scream just now, you wouldn’t of thought I saw very hoarse. Fay had slipped up behind me and was reading what I wrote. They are just laughing their best now.”
16 Jan 1907 – Jake wrote, “You ought not mind being tied to the bed post. Just wait till you are tied to me and I will be harder to get loose from than a bed post, ha ha. But maybe that you won’t mind it so much, ha ha. Tell Fay that I said that I was just a little mad at her for looking while you were writing to me for I know that you was going to say something sweet, ha ha.
Oaky went home Saturday and Bert went Sunday and they are having a very bad time for visiting. Oak said that he was going over to your house before he came back. He and I have got to be great friends, or at least he pretends to be a good friend to me. And you know that I am a friend to everyone who is a friend to me.”
20 Jan 1907 – Gay wrote, “Henry and Fay are a romping. He is spanking her now and such a racket. Fay said to tell you that you look better now. But you didn’t look as good as Marion, ha ha. She says she is been suggesting things for me to write you but she don’t believe I am writing any of them and she will quit and go to bed. And I haven’t wrote any of her saying and don’t think I shall, ha ha.”
22 Jan 1907 – Jake wrote, “Okey told me all about being at your home. He said that Coe would not meet Bert at all but Katie did meet him. I tried to find out some things by Bert but could not. He said that it was so rainy that he never got to go anywhere but I knew better for Oak had told me. But I never let on to Bert as though I knew a thing for I did not want to hurt his feelings, for I know that he is very sorrow for what he has done.
You just ought to see Pearley now. He is just tickled all over. He just received a letter from Eva Morris. He had not heard from her for nearly a month. She is at Greely, Colorado, 60 miles from Denver. He said that she said she liked the country fine out there, but she said that the boys was not half as jolly out there as the eastern boys was.
Well, I will bring this nonsense to a close, for supper is going to be ready in a little while for I hear the Mrs. grinding coffee. Well I don’t care how soon for I am hungry. Don’t I write as though I was? Ha ha. And as soon as I get my supper I am going to the P.O. office to mail this letter.”
27 Jan 1907 – Gay wrote, “Mama told me she didn’t approve of the way Coe served (treated) Bert. But I ain’t going to pass my opinion either way. Tell Pearley he mustn’t be too greatly built up by Miss Ova’s letters, for two of my cousins received letters from her last week as I know of, ha ha.
Henry, Fay, the children and I went to [the protracted] meeting in the sled today and tonight…I have just arrived home…Henry is teasing me and I told him, go to bed so I could get time to devote a few minutes to my intended before I retire. He said, I pity him, ha ha. Fay and Henry held me yesterday and made me swallow two heart pills. They said I had heart trouble and was looking bad. Henry almost broke my nose, so I thought. They made me take them just for pure meanness. (Referring to candy “pills” for the heart “trouble” of missing Jake so much.)
Joy and Floy both wrote you a letter this afternoon for me to send to you when I wrote. They are asleep now. I will just keep the letters for myself and they will be just as well off. The girls have attended a party or two since I came out here.”
30 Jan 1907 – Jake wrote, “You said that Fay and Henry held you and made you take two heart pills. Well, you got off better than I did. The boarding Mrs. gave me two and I felt like I would of liked for someone to have helt [sic] me, ha ha. They were the kind that B gave you, ha ha…You said that you were at a meeting twice last Sunday. Well, you done better than I did. I was not out of the house all day. I was sick. I took a very severe cold and I am not over it yet. I do make it out to work and that is about all. Oak, Pearley, Bert and I were together, and we romped so much that I think it is what helped make me sick. I just wish that I could be out there to go to church with my own little sweet girl for I would sooner see my sweetharte [sic] than anyone else in this world. Pearley said for me to tell you that your cousins could not cut any ice where he skated, ha ha.”
31 Jan 1907 – Gay wrote, “You tell Pearley, my cousins are nice, handsome, black eyed boys. Don’t look much like their cousin Gay and they may thaw the ice when he skates and sink him beyond hope.”
3 Feb 1907 — Jake wrote, “Gay I can hardly write for Bert and Pearly. They are trying to tell me what to write. Pearley is sewing a button on for Bert and they are just having a time.”
7 Feb 1907 – Jake wrote, “I just read a letter from J.L. Britton. He sent Pearley and I our invitation to come to the last day of his school. He says that they are going to have a swell time but I don’t think that we will get to come.”
11 Feb 1907 – Gay wrote, “I had a time yesterday. Jap and his family were all over to Henry’s, Jennings Law and Dulcie Post. They all tried to make me stay but I overruled them all and came. I arrived home late last evening. Manley was out fishing and I came home with him. It is snowing and the sun is shining this morning. Coe and Kate are teasing me and I can’t hardly write. I wish you was here to help me spank them…Isn’t this swell paper? It is Katie’s. I forgot and left my paper out at Fay’s.”
14 Feb 1907 – Jake replied, “I guess that was pretty swell paper, but just think what a swell fellow received it, ha ha. And you just bet if I were there, we would spank Coe and Katie if they needed it. Roy Bee was here last week. He came and called me up out of bed Saturday and then I made him stay with me till after supper.”
17 Feb 1907 – Gay wrote, “I have just finished reading 3 or 4 chapters of Frank Mortimer’s Marty’s. It is still getting worse.”
20 Feb 1907 – Jake wrote, “My dearest girl. This beautiful morn I have no greater pleasure than writing to my little girl. I received your letter just one hour ago and now I am answering it. Don’t think hard of me for writing so soon, for the sooner I write, the sooner I get to hear from my little sweet harte [sic].
I was at the show Saturday night. Pearley, Bert and I went and what a time we had. And the best part of it was there was a girl sang on the stage that looked just like you. She was just as near your double as ever I saw. Bert and I wanted to go up and shake hands with her. Bert said, that surely is Gay, but I knew better. And when I went to work, all of the boys was bragging what a good looking girl that was that sang. And Bert told them that was a match for my girl and they said that they did not believe that I had that pretty a girl. I said for them to just wait and see.”
4 Mar 1907 – Gay wrote, “Clyde and Pearl Ehret just left. They came yesterday morning and such a time as we had, I wish you could have been here. Clyde said he was coming up to Clarksburg soon.”
6 Mar 1907 – Jake wrote, “Of course I wish I could have been down there Sunday, but I had a find time Sunday. I was wishing that you could have been with me. I was out to Mr. J.C. Maples for dinner, and it was a fine dinner, too. We just had everything you could think of. And when dinner was over, we went into the parlor and had music till you couldn’t rest. They are offal nice people. I want you to get acquainted with them. I know you will like Mrs. Maple. She is so common. I work for Mr. Maple.”
9 Mar 1907 – Gay wrote, “We are going to have company this evening or in the morning. Frankie Leggett, Bessie Jonesand Marion are coming out. I received a letter Thursday from Aunt Rosetta Zinn (Rosetta Lowther Zinn who was at that time probably living w/her son, Samuel Gandy Zinn) at Harrisville. She is 87 years old and can write a pretty good hand. She wants to see me so bad.”
24 Mar 1907 – Gay wrote, “Mama and Papa went to Gilmer yesterday. We have had company all day. Marion and Howard Gray, Frankie Leggett, Bessie Jones were here. Just left. We had a time. Howard had the sick headache and I doctored him. The rest of the kids went to hunt geese nests. They found 14 eggs in two or three nests. They all came back carrying 2 or 3 eggs a piece. Marion had 5. They had lots of fun. I told them they ought to of waited till next Sunday to resurrect the eggs, ha ha.”
31 Mar 1907 – Jake wrote, “Gay you just tell some of the kids out there, if they don’t quit teasing you, I will spank them when I come down, ha ha. Oh, yes, tell Katie that I still have got that piece of over lace that she gave me , ha ha. You tell Manley that I said for him not to make too much noise or he won’t be able to catch any fish, ha ha… Oak Gray and Mood Eheret both have been here today and we have just romped all day. Oak came home with Pearly last night and stayed till this evening. He and I slept together. I saw Lena last evening and she is just the same jolly kid.”
9 Apr 1907 – Gay wrote, “Kate is making the organ hum. That is her daily task. We girls all received Easter Greetings from Clyde Ehret. I forgot to tell you that in my other letter.”