Tag Archives: letters

Mom and Dad and the Ninth, a Special Day

Today marks 78 years since my parents were married–June 9, 1938–a special day.

My sister and Brother are in Arizona for a reunion. They suggested we meet on June 9th, since that was the wedding date of Paul and Harriette V. Anderson Kaser. As I wrote in an earlier post about their courtship, the Ninth of the Month was always a special day for them, since it was the date in 1933 that they had their first official date.

The Love Letters

love letters 1938

Love letters 1938- Paul Kaser and Harriette Anderson

I am looking at letters from 1938–the year they were married.  As with most of the time during their long courtship (1933-1938), they were separated during the week and met on weekends.  Unfortunately, the letters that survive rarely include both sides of the conversation. I have almost daily letters from Dad during 1935, when they had just started dating, and not very many of his from 1938, although Mother’s letters indicate that he must still have been writing very regularly.

By 1938, Dad had landed that permanent job that qualified him (in their eyes, if not yet her parents) to marry her. He had moved into an apartment in New Philadelphia, Ohio where he worked for the federal Weather Bureau.  She was teaching school in the tiny town of Clark, Ohio and sometimes living with her sister Rhema Fair and Rhema’s husband Earl, but other times spending a night or two with her parents, Guy and Vera Anderson in nearby Killbuck, Ohio.

I have edited the letters slightly and removed the most personal (and mushy) bits.

Problems They Faced

Since she had a car and he did not, she drove to New Philadelphia each weekend, or he borrowed her car. In this letter in December 1937, it sounds like he may have gotten back late, and reflects other problems.

Well I went down to the office as soon as I arrived and they were very nice about everything so that’s all fixed. The only bad thing they let one of the other fellows drive my truck today and hes kind of hard on trucks and I don’t like that very well.

Had any sign as to how things are going to go over there this week. I hope they cool off now. {probably her parents, who did not want her to marry him.}I see in the New Phila {Philadelphia} paper where a Tusc {Tuscarawas} county teacher put under a peace bond. May be that’s what you ought to do. At least you aren’t the only teacher who has trouble with the board.

I called Mbg. {Millersburg} just now and Keith {his brother} is still coming along fairly good. I sure hope nothing sets in.

Mother told me that when she told her parents she was going to marry Paul, they didn’t believe it, and “when Paul went to talk to them, Vera (Harriette’s mother) was furious.” In later years, they became reconciled and my grandmother praised my father as being as good to her as her own sons.

The reference to the school board is because the Clark, Ohio school board continued to hold back teacher’s pay, (it was the tail end of the Great Depression after all)  a problem that Mother returns to frequently in her letters.

Paul worries about his brother, who has to have major surgery. Their father had died after surgery for a hernia.

The Special Day

Mother wrote letters like journal entries, recording her day’s activities and her feelings. One letter was being written on the 10th March, 1938.

Darlin’

Please don’t think I forgot what day yesterday was for I honestly didn’t. but last night I had such a headache I came home before P. T. A. was over and went straight to bed {Harriette suffered from migraine headaches all her life.} but dear I never forget the ninth and never will in fact it will even be more important as time goes on. Did you wonder what we would be doing on our next ninth? {June 9th when they would be married} I did. And you know what I decided.

Tomorrow evening we take the B. B. [basketball] boys to Fisher’s Restaurant and Thursday we go up to Bert Geauques for super and Friday night I am coming over to New Philadelphia, or am I? We could come back and then you could drive back Saturday, or is that too much. Just as you say.

She signed the letter “Duchess”. I explained Dad’s pet name for Mother in that earlier post, Love Letters and the Course  of True Love.

 

She returns to the subject of the Ninth in May, when, despite the fact her wedding was only two weeks away, she was on a bus trip through New York and New England and into Canada with students and other teachers.

Mother on a Road Trip

Dearest Paul,

This is the first night that I have stayed in the bus but the cabins are so terrible and cost .75 per person that I preferred to sleep in the bus with the women. Helen and Mellanie to be smart wouldn’t do it. We have gone only 721 miles, but have had a grand time and have seen a great deal. Today we were at Thousand Islands.

Mr. and Mrs. Bechtol are lovely. She popped corn tonight and when anyone fixes corn they are swell. We are going thru Vermont and New Hamp. Then for home. This afternoon I had a case of homesickness but stopped it quickly but I do have a lot to tell you. And I will always be happy after the ninth {June 9 when they are getting married}. I don’t think we will get home before Monday or Tuesday, but I will {?} all when ever we do.

I love you dearly,

Harriette

Waxing Poetic

My Dad was a great reader, and in later years my Mother said one of the works he was introduced to by his friend Delmar Alderman was The Lady of the Lake by Sir Walter Scott. He must have been under Scott’s Arthurian Romance spell when he wrote this one!

To the Duchess, From Paul, Greetings

By this token do I acknowledge My indebtedness to Thee, Fair Harriette. Thy acceptance, know then, Will but place me further in Thy debt.

For Friendship, graciously bestowed, do I thank Thee.

For Companionship, indispensible, thank Thee.

For My Mind, awakened to the good meditation, thank Thee.

For My Soul, aroused to pleasant dreams, thank Thee.

For My spirit, refreshed anew to the content of life thank Thee.

For all that thou wert, for all that Thou art, for all that Thou canst be to me, do I offer my heart I gratefulness.

Receive then, carrissime, this earnest of my obligation as bearing My whole being, an unworthy, but willing gift. And grant me yet this one prayer, that I may be Forever

Thine

Paul

The BIG Special Day, June 9, 1938

Despite the ongoing problems she had with the Clark school board getting paid and despite his over the top romantic longings, they were finally married on June 9, 1938, as I explained in Love Letters and the Course of True Love.  And she did not regret resigning from the Clark teaching job.

 Coshocton Tribune June 1938

Coshocton Tribune Article, June 15, 1938

She had hoped for a real honeymoon trip, writing from her own road trip,

We aren’t crowded in the bus and so far I don’t believe the trip will be very expensive. At least I will try to keep it from being, because there are several things I want, I wish we were on our trip now. I bet we can have a nice trip and not spend much in fact I would even like to stay in a tourist camp with you.

However, they spent their honeymoon one night at the Neil House hotel in Columbus, paying an outrageous $4.50 for their room and more to keep the car in the garage. Her memories included the smell of peanuts from the peanut vendor outside the front door.

Neil House honeymoon

Neil House hotel in Columbus Ohio and parking garage receipt for the night of their wedding.

Then they spent a few days at 4-H cap Hervida in Washington County, where Dad had been hired to lecture about weather because of his job with the Weather Bureau. There he lectured on weather subjects and she did First Aid. She noted that she had learned First Aid when she was a basketball coach.

Despite the problems and difficulties that plagued their five years of courtship, the marriage lasted the rest of their lives, and for the rest of their years, they grew nostalgic about the 9th of any month. Dad addressed anniversary cars to The Dutchess for decades.  In 1988, we celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary–marking that special day.

Paul and Harriette Kaser

Paul and Harriette Kaser, 50th Wedding Anniversary, June 1988

Guide to Civil War Letters from Henry Allen Butts

Henry Allen Butts

Photocopy of a picture of Henry Allen Butts from a Butts Family Photo Album given to me by Jane Butts Kilgore.

Here is a handy finding guide to Henry Allen Butts’ letters home to his wife, Anna Maria Smith Butts. Henry’s 2nd tour of duty with the Union Army as a private in Company F, 43rd Ohio Volunteers, found him marching with Sherman’s army through Georgia on the famous March to the Sea and fighting his way north through the Carolinas before the end of the war and Grant’s triumphant march through Washington D.C. Fortunate Henry, who saw men die and fall wounded all around him, returned home sound of body, and apparently unscathed emotionally.

Each letter is accompanied by a history of the troop movements and some details of Henry’s personal life.

43rd Ohio Volunteers

43rd Ohio Volunteers

Letter #1: Dear Wif

Letter #2: After a Long March

Letter #3: Water Up to Our Nees

Leter #4: Henry Loses His Temper

52 Ancestors, Letter #1: Dear Wif–Civil War letter to Anna Mariah Smith

Anna Marie (Ann Mariah) Smith 1835-1917

Henry Allen and Ann Marie Butts

I am having great difficulty finding definitive information about Ann Mariah or Annie Smith, my great-grandmother. (To make it even more fun, her mother was Mary Smith–yeah, you try to find the documents for Mary Smith!!) I have Annie’s picture when she was an older lady, and I know that she married my great-grandfather Henry Allen Butts, who wrote to her in these Civil War letters I will be sharing.

However, her name is in question (Anna in some census reports, apparently called Annie by her husband and family, Mary, Marie or Mariah middle name in various family trees. Although I have not discovered a birth record, everyone (including my father’s notes and the 1900 census) agree she was born on April 12 1835 and her maiden name was Smith. Census reports say she was born in Ohio and her parents were born in Maryland. When did she die? My father’s notes say 1915, but the Ohio Deaths index says April 23, 1917.

When were she and Henry married? My father’s notes and other family members and family trees say August 23, 1863. However, the 1900 census, taken in June of that year, says she and Henry had been married 35 years. Furthermore, Homer Blubaugh’s history of the family reports that the marriage license on file at the Knox County Probate Court, they were married on August 23,1864. If that year is correct, they would have been married only one month before the birth of their first son, Giles Allen. This could point to a scandal of sorts, and clarify their accepting attitude when daughter Mame later got pregnant out of wedlock.

At any rate, less than a month after baby Giles Allen (called Allen in his father’s letter) was born, Henry Allen  joined the Union Army. (Enlistment date: October 16, 1864). Three months later, December 18, he writes the first of the surviving Civil War letters to his bride.

Dear Wif, it is a pleasure to me that I em permited to seat myself to anser your ever welcom letter which came to hand yesterday. i was glad that you and dear little Allen was well. your letters found me well and enjoying myself as well as i can enjoy my self better since i herd from you for it hes bin a long time to me.

This Civil War letter is written during the Siege of Savannah.  Henry Allen Butts was part of reinforcement troops joining General William Tecumsah Sherman and after training in Ohio, they had taken steamboats south and  between mid-November and mid-December they marched across Georgia, in Sherman’s destructive March to the Sea. See more about his troop movements here, and details of the 43rd Ohio here.

Henry Allen Butts joined Sherman’s Army in November, in the March to the Sea. From WikiMedia Commons.

i must tell you the reason i did not hear from you sooner we started on this march the 15 of november and landed hear on the 10 of this month we had no comunication all that time but it all right now we have had a hard march over three hundred miles. some nights we did not get time to lay down and hardly time to eat but we ar through and i em glad.

Although Henry Allen is not strong on spelling and punctuation (I have added periods at the ends of sentences for clarity) he gives a vivid picture of his battle experience, and shows us a kind and thoughtful husband.

i did not think that i wold write to you this day for we laid under the rebels fire boath Saturday and Sunday and the shells and balls flew thick and fast. thear was one shell bursted about ten feet from me and broke three of our guns so i begin to think that was coming rather close and i got behind the fortification. i was out on the bank at the time getting a drink. thear was 7 of our regt wonded. none in our company. we came out safe and i hope we always will. i don’t think we will here eny more fighting before Savanah for after the fight last Sunday we moved 15 miles to the right to guard the steamboat landing perhaps we will stay hear some time.

Two days after Henry Allen wrote this letter, the Southern General William Hardee fled Savannah. Meanwhile, the infantry private was glad to stay in one place for a time. We know from historic reports that Sherman’s army was running very low on supplies, and as either the Southerners or the Union army had destroyed most resources, could not live off the land they occupied. I was amused to see that Henry Allen agrees with Erasmus Anderson, whose letters I printed last year, about the Southern sweet potatoes. And obviously missing home, he nevertheless plays down the danger he faces.

Sherman's March to the Sea

Sherman’s Headquarters. Drawing from Harper’s Weekly 1864.

we have a nice camp and plenty of good water and plenty of coffee that is the only thing i like the army for.  this is the most beautifull cuntry i ever seen. it is all sandy land and nothing but pine timber. this is a grate of state for s(w)eet potato we have plenty of them to eat. i wich you had some but you and me will have some wen i come home. i hope that day is not far distant . my dear don’t think hard wen you don’t get a letter for thear is times we can’t send a letter. i will write to you as often as i can.

Henry Allen does not frequently mention other people in his letters. But in this first surviving letter, he does mention “Henry.”  A distant cousin, corresponding with my brother, identified “Henry” as the older brother of Annie Smith Butts. “I. Stull” [Stall] might be a relative of Henry Allen on his mother’s side. I have not identified “Landon,” nor traced Henry or I. Stull (who could be Jerimiah or William Stull, both listed with K Company.)

you stated in your letter that henry had bein home. i was glad to hear that he got home to see his dear littel ones.  you also stated that Ma cs [?} wanted you to come and live with them. i don’t want you to go thear or any other place. you stay wear you ar. i can make enough to keep you without living amoung strangers. i want you to stay wear you ar if i have to pay your bording all the time i am away. i don’t want people to say that my wife had to work out amoung strangers. dear wife i want you to send me four plugs of navy tobacco as soon as you can. the boys is all well. I Stull is with the company. give my love to all friends. landon got a letter.

 As was the case with Erasmus Anderson’s letters, Henry Allen closes with some instructions for his wife and a request for some tobacco so he could roll his own cigarettes.

Note:  According to Wikipedia definition of “Navy Cut Tobacco“: Navy tobacco is a Burley leaf pipe tobacco. In colonial times sailors twisted tobacco into a roll and “tied it tightly, often moistening the leaves with rum, molasses, or spice solutions.” Stored in this way the flavors melded. To smoke it a slice was cut, known as a “twist” or “curly”. Eventually all twisted tobacco, and then pressed tobacco, became known as “Navy” “because of the convenience for sailors and outdoorsmen who favored its compact size “and long-lasting, slow-burning qualities.” Navy Flake tobacco is pressed into bricks and sliced into broad flakes.

From Henry Allen’s Letter, we know that his wife Annie is loved and cared for. The four letters that survive are spaced close together, so I suspect there may have been more. We also learn that she has offered to go to work in someone’s home so that he will not have to pay for her room and board, and that his pride prevents that possibility.

After Henry returned from the war in May 1865, he purchased 12 1/2 acres of land for $400 near Millwood, Ohio. Despite the fact he now had his own place, Henry continued to work as a laborer.  According to family recollections compiled by Homer Blubagh, they had a large vegetable garden and she was well known for her beautiful flowers. She and Henry had five more children. The last child, Rebecca Jane (Jenny), was born in 1874 when Anne was 39. Jenny is the only person of that generation that I remember meeting. I was very young and she must have been in her late 70s when my family visited her in Mt. Vernon Ohio.

Later in their lives, Henry and Annie lived near the grain elevator in Danville Ohio.  From later recollections of relatives, we know that Annie was very devout, frequently walking several miles to church down a country lane, carrying her youngest at the time.

  • Their oldest, Giles Allen, known as “Uncle Golly,” (b. 1864), did not leave home to marry until he was 23.
  • In 1891 their daughter Mary Isadore, “Mame”, “got in a family way” and she and Henry Allen took in Mame’s illegitimate daughter to raise.
  • A year later, her next son, Monas Isaac, “Mon”, (b. 1867), was married, and Mame married Clifford Kaser (my grandparents).
  • Son Francis Cerius,  “Frank” (b. 1872) was married in 1894.
  • Daughter Rebecca Jane, “Jenny” (b. 1874) was married in 1898.
  • The next year, Annie and Henry’s daughter Ann Elizabeth, “Bessie”, who was engaged to be married, died of appendicitis (“inflammation of the bowels”) at the age of 26.

My great grandmother Annie Smith Butts died in April 1917 at the age of 82, and was survived by her husband, Henry Allen Butts.

How I Am Related

  • Vera Marie Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Paul Kaser, who is the son of
  • Mary (Mame) Isadore Butts Kaser, who is the daughter of
  • Ann Mariah Smith Butts.

Research Notes

  • Letters home from Henry Allen Butts. I do not have the originals or copies of the originals. I only have transcripts which my brother obtained from a man named Colopy who had the originals and lived in San Diego. There was a Colopy who was a grand daughter of Ivan Henry Smith mentioned in the letter.
  • Letter from Marie Smith to my brother, Paul William Kaser (1983). (copy in my possession).
  • Hand written notes (circa 1970) by my father, Paul Kaser, made about birth,death and marriage dates .
  • Transcripts of a Butts Family Bible provided to me by Jane Butts Kilgore in 2003, owned at the time by James E. Butts. Other carefully researched information on the Butts family was also sent to me by Jane Butts Kilgore.
  • “A History of the Henry Allen Butts Family” by Rev. Homer Blubaugh, Saint Mary Church, Lancaster, Ohio.  This is a combination of documented and anecdotal information about the Butts family from Ohio. Some was gathered at family reunions. Some is downright wrong, but some is quite interesting. My copy was sent by Butts descendent Helen Findon in 2003. The document says Revised May 11, ’92 – Rev. Homer Blubaugh. Copies in the authors’ possession.
  • For information on the 43rd Ohio: http://www.ohiocivilwar.com/cw43.html (consulted 1/13/2015)
  • For rosters of Ohio Civil War soldiers: http://www.ogs.org/research/results_ohcwss.php
  • A Compendium of The War of the Rebellion, Vol III, Regimental Histories, page 1599 and page 1517. Relevant copies of pages provided by my brother from library copy.
  • Letter from The War Department,  Adjutant General’s Office to Mrs. Truman Bucklew, Killbuck Ohio, December 6, 1934. In the author’s possession.
  • Application for veteran’s tombstone (from Ancestry.com) and personal visit to St. Luke’s cemetery in Danville, Ohio.

This is the 2nd in my 2015 stories in the 52 Ancestor’s Challenge.