These are some of the old letters I purchased recently at the monthly flea market at the Expo Center. I hope they inspire you to consider saving and sharing historic letters in your family and pass them along to your grandchildren that they might thus connect with their heritage.

These are some of the old letters I purchased recently at the monthly flea market at the Expo Center. I hope they inspire you to consider saving and sharing historic letters in your family and pass them along to your grandchildren that they might thus connect with their heritage.

Tragic News

Rye NY, Oct.28, 1912

“Your letter received pleased to hear from you & to hear you are well. Sorry to hear; John does not feel quite right. It is strange that I have always been so neglectful in writing to you and then to have to relate to you my most unfortunate experience. Yes Sadie I have lost my entire family. My dear wife & children. Were swept away from me in an instant. They were all drowned here on the place where I live the Fourth of July. It will be a fourth for me to remember the longest day I live. They went in bathing children got beyond their depth Mother tried to save them & all were lost. I found them myself after the tide had gone out lying dead on the beach. If that wasn’t the most cruel thing any man could meet I want to know. They were all buried in grave one on each side of the Mother. I have a wonderful strong constitution or I would be there with them. I have held up through it wonderfully. I don’t know how I stood it Myself but I have gone through the worst although at time it stings me yet.” [Remainder omitted, personal.]

V-Mail

The volume of mail to soldiers in Europe in WWII became so great it displaced huge amounts of supplies needed there in the war effort, so In1941 the British began using microfilmed messages, a method we copied in June 1942 with V-Mail [Victory]. Being 1/4th the size of a sheet of paper, it reduced the bulk of letters 75%, freeing room for war supplies on overseas flights. It was written 2 months after war’s end meaning his unit was doing occupation duty. It is from Pvt. Curtis G. Yule to Mrs. Leslie Smith dated July 5, 1945 and written from a village 25 miles north of Augsburg near Geislingen., Germany [During wartime unit locations redacted.]

Dear Edna and Smitty,

“I will tell this a day after 4 July & is the 5th. I’ve had a battalion parade and a 45 [?] gun salute yesterday the 4th It was considered a holiday here and to [?] that birth [?] day up pretty well. It was held in Geislingen & all co. is in a little town called Donnzlof that I [?]. I was transferred to 100 Div as I got here Mon night & am in 325 Engrs & Co.C. The 63 Div is being sent back to States to be disactivated [?] and that’s the end of the 63rd Div. When I was transferred there pretty much all strange faces. This Div. the 100 say is supposed to come back to states but nothing different & its all rumors as yet. So don’t know [sic] nothing as yet but the 100 Div isn’t occupation . But civilian [?].” [ Remainder personal, omitted.] Signed, Curt.

Tribute to Grange Founder

The following was written by three members of the Grange in Philipsville, PA . It was written to her widower husband soon after the death of a fellow member. The Grange was established in 1867 by seven men and one woman and membership was always open to any woman or teen old enough to draw a plow. Women were further reinforced by the requirement that four of the elected positions could be held by women only. This lady was referred to as a “charter” member and died only 33 years after the national Grange was founded 55 miles north in Fredonia, NY. So she was clearly one of the earliest members of this national organization. In 1875 they had 858,050 members, but membership steadily declined as farmers moved to town. For many rural communities the Grange along with churches were centers of civic and social life. [The Grange was founded to be active in national agricultural politics.] Now, with less than 2% of the population in agriculture, it is essentially defunct. Their one-room meeting halls are often lovingly preserved and used for civic functions. It was a vibrant group when this was written..

“Whereas: Our Heavenly Father in his wise providence, has seen fit to remove from our midst our worthy sister, Mrs. Ann Rankin, who departed this life February 4, 1900, be it therefore

Resolved: That by her death Philipsville Grange No.147 P of H has lost one of its charter members who was always ready to do her part, until failing health and declining years prevented.

Resolved: That that we tender our heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved, and commend them for consolation to Him whose “ways are perfect” and who “doeth all things well. “

Resolved: That as a mark of respect for our departed sister, our Charter be draped in mourning for a period of thirty days; also, that a copy of these resolutions be placed in our minutes, that a copy be sent to the bereaved family, and that another be sent to the Wattsburg Sentinel for publication.

Signed, Mrs. Sylvia Titus, Mrs. Elizabeth Gifford, and Mrs. Nettie Wood.

[Hand delivered to Mr. Judson Rankin, Philadelphia, PA]