That was one of the research prompts presented by Paula Stuart-Warren at my Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy class. It reminded me of another Texan find that I had yet to document here. And you thought the Texas trip was over!
I posted earlier about undated communication between Mom and her second cousin, Melvin McBride of South Carolina. Melvin was also in touch with the Texas Williams in 1984 (and that helps me date my undated note!) and very generously sent original letters, dated 1890 through 1934, exchanged among these siblings (1):
Amanda Williams Smith
Henry G. Williams
Jesse D. Williams – through his wife and scribe, Ocie Ola Manning Williams (our great grandparents)
Dora Williams McBride
The earliest letter is from Henry to Dora dated 11 July 1890:
I’ve transcribed the first three letters, which tell Henry’s story. (1) He had tuberculosis. (2)
San Antonia Texas July 11/90
Mrs Dora McBride
Sulfur Station Tex
Dear Sister I got hear all Rite at a 11:00 yesterday but fill [very?] bad & Tired but after Sleeping 2 or 3 hours fill much better and feel al Rite to day I taken a mild & a half walk this morning This is a fine Town a bout 5 or 6 miles Squair but the St air crooked & Narrow I don’t think it would be good for me to stay in this Place it is very dusty and hot I think I will go to Burney [Boerne?] or Cotulla in a day or two Burney is 30 miles & Cotulla is 60 miles from hear I can get Cheeper Board thar and I think the air will be Better I will write to you & Amanda when I stop for good yours H. G. Williams
San Antonio Tex 8/20/90
Dear Sister Amanda
I got your highly appreciated letter of the 15 and 1 from Dora toDay was glad to hear from you Both and to know that all was well you out to have a letter at Texarkana I mald yours to that Place I have knot been doing as well as I augt for Some time I have been having fever off and on for some time but only ladown for a short time each day and for the last few days don’t goe to bed atall and feel better to day then I have for some time I Changed Drs last Saturday and think I will doe better now all though I don’t take much madison of any kind. Now I am still boarding out a government Post the houses is very thick out hear and several stories up hear and Street Cars ever 10 minutes I only go in Town every 3 or 4 days I have very nice grub fresh meats all the time and fish when I want it I have knot seen ennny of the country yet as the weather has been veary hot and having fever I got a letter from Jake Eggers to day inviting me down to see them they all live to gather at Sig[-?-]mine I think I will goe next week I went to see Sid Wood when I first Come hear but have knot seen him sinse as his store is out of my Rainge he has a fine store and seems to do a good trade I got a letter from Jesse a Short time agoe got a letter from Col Hy this morn Give my best Regards to Mr S write soon your Brother Henry
Genoa Ark. Feb. 14,/ 91
It is with a sad heart I write to you this morn we heard the sad news of Brother Henry’s death yesterday evening. Jesse got a telegram but it does not state the day of his death but it was the 10 or 11. Jesse got two telagrams one says he was live and the other say he is died. Dear sister it is sad to think we did not get to see and be with him before he died but let us be comforted in the thought that he is through with this worlds suffering and hope he is at rest and peace. A man named John Croker sent the message. I think Jake Eggars was with him when he died. I am glad someone was with him that knew him. Jesse says if Croker is the man he thinks he is he use to live at Garland City [?]. I will not write more at present if Jesse dose not see Mr Smith in town to day I will write again soon as we get a letter from Eggars or Croker and tell you the preticklars. With love to your self and family and Dora I will close. I got your letter yesterday glad you are all well. This leaves us well. Jesse sends his regards to you and the family. I remain as ever your sister
(1) Melvin wrote to Uncle Ellis Williams, Popsy’s brother, that he hoped someone in the family would be interested in the letters. Could he have imagined that an offspring of the Eastern branch would travel to Texas to uncover his wonderful gift? I’d like to think so.
(2) Transcription of McBride-Williams Correspondence, 1890-1934; privately held by Tom D Ellison in the Julia Mae Jenkins Collection, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Sierra Blanca, Texas; scanned by Malissa Ruffner, 6 October 2010, transcribed on 2 February 2011.
(3) Henry’s affliction was named in the Williams-Manning-Johnson Family Traditions, Julia Mae (Ellison) Jenkins, compiler (MSS notes, circa 1945-1970); privately held by Tom D Ellison, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Sierra Blanca, Texas; reported by Jesse D. Williams, Henry’s brother and Julia Mae’s grandfather, circa 1948.