Sunday, June 25, 2017

June 24, 1917 - WWI Comes to Small-Town Topsham, VT

This letter was written to Eva here seen with her foster daughter Myrtilla. 
 This letter was written by Eva's brother Robert Fletcher Richardson
This is Rosetta Dexter Richardson, wife of R. F. Richardson. 
At the same time that George Sherwood was considering a future in the Army, his great uncle Robert Richardson was writing to his sister, George's great aunt Eva (known as Nellie).  Robert and Eva, the only two remaining of 8 siblings, were the eldest and youngest siblings of Jane, George's late grandmother. Robert had lived his entire life in Vermont. Eva, born and raised in Vermont, married, moved to Minnesota, divorced, remarried, moved to the Dakota territories, took on the foster care of three children,  moved to Washington Territory (Palouse) and lived there until her husband George  Thompson died in 1914.  In 1915 Nellie as she had become known, moved back to Wisconsin to be near her dear niece, Ella Jane, George's mother. 

I came across this letter today while working on a future WWI post and realized that this letter did have its place in the posts regarding WWI.  Robert and Rosetta (who added a long postscript to Robert's letter) were also serving their country in their own way struggling to keep their farm going when all the young men who might  have helped them were going off to war.    
1917-0624 – Robert & Rosetta Richardson to Eva (Nellie) Richardson Thompson
Washington, VT, June 24, 1917
Dear Sister Eva,
            I realize that I have owed you a letter for a long time but I find but little time for aught else only to do the necessary work on the farm; had had only one days work since last fall.  No help to be hired at any price.
            12 young men from our town have enlisted within a few days, are gone and other are soon to follow.  Charles Henry[1] has enlisted as chemist and mineral expert ready to be called on at any time for government work.  This is a terrible war and peace seems to be a long ways off.  I do not expect to live[2] to see the close of the war, for old people in Vermont are fast passing away. We have had the coldest winter and spring in Vt. that has been known since 1843.  The season is five weeks behind times, a short season unless a late fall.
            Mother and I are fast growing old, cannot expect to stay here much longer.  How are you and do you feel that you are growing old faster than when younger?  Henry’s widow Lilla[3] is expecting to get a pension[4] in a short time. Do you get more favorable news from your pension[5] of late?  Government works slow in all matters of late.  Your birthday is near at hand and hope you will enjoy it and many more.  Please write us often and I will try to answer.     With much love,

[1] His son.
[2] Robert F Richardson did, however, live until 1922.
[3] Lilla M Keyes was the fourth wife of Henry Carlton Richardson, Robert F. Richardson’s brother, who had passed away on August 15, 1915.
[4] Civil War pension as Henry Carlton Richardson was a veteran of that war and had been wounded twice. He enlisted on December 2, 1861 and was discharged on July 17, 1865. 
[5] Eva (Nellie) was the widow of George Thompson who was also a late Civil War Veteran.

June 24, 1917
Dear Sister Eva,
            I will try to write a few lines to add to Robert’s letter, he wished me to address his letter to you and I take the liberty to write a few lines.
            If I have not addressed it right please tell me how to address letter to you when you write next time. My memory is getting treacherous and I am forgetting how to spell the words, also how to shape some of the letters.  Do you wonder when you think that I shall be 85 years old if I live to the see the 2nd of next December.  I can hardly realize that Robert and I have lived together 60 years the 9th of this month.
            I have not been very well for more than a year.  I got through the winter alone but I had a neighbor come in and help me one forenoon and two afternoons this spring.  I have done my washings alone thus far but do not think that I can much longer.
            Henry was home for a few days but is now doing geological work in Vt is to return to Syracuse NY to teach a summer school before the college opens in Sept.  I think he is working too hard.
            My brother Avalyn and his wife spent the winter in California, but are now visiting relatives in different states.  He wrote me that he should be here this week.  Walter Burgin has bought my father’s old farm with much other land; he has two boys grown up to help him.
            Brother Lewis spent the winter in Fla for his health.  His trouble is a leakage of one of the arteries of the heart.  I expect him here in a few days.  He does not think he can ever do any more pastoral work. 
                                    Your loving sister, Rosetta
Please kindly remember me to Ella Sherwood.  I should dearly love to step into her home for a few days visit.  It is raining hard here just now. 

No comments:

Post a Comment