Liberal, Barton Co. Missouri
July 23d 1887

Ray Noyes was 13 at the time of this incident. Allen is noted as being in “Sunny Dale”. Where this was, I’ve not been able to discover, but Allen was in Oklahoma by at least 1889.

A Dr. Clark is mentioned in the letter. This would be Dr. J. W. Clark who arrived in Liberal in 1884. He and Dr. Gish, for a number of years, were the only two doctors in Liberal. Dr. Clark graduated from the Medical School at Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Noyes family had also lived in Ann Arbor, so it may very well be that they knew each other from Michigan.

Carrie Noyes letter 1887 page 1

Carrie Noyes letter, 1887, pages 2 and 3

Liberal, Barton Co. Missouri
July 23d 1887
Ray Noyes was 13 at the time of this incident.

Dear Allen

You said if anything happened to write you at Sunny Dale. Something serious has happened. The colt Rustus (?) kicked Ray in the belly yesterday morning between half past six and seven o’clock. We had Dr. Clark here by half past eight. He said there were no bones broken and it was not a serious case. He dont get any better. We gave him a pack last night and a pill this morning. He has pain in the bowels all the time and sometimes it is very bad for a short time. He had a pail on his arm when he was kicked and Rustus foot hit the pail and the pail pressed against the side and belly. It knocked him over, but he got up himself and ran out of the yard and laid down on the ground outside of the gate, afterwards he walked in the house. Your Father saw it all and came in the house with him. I would have waited longer before writing you but am afraid you will not get my letter if I delay as they only get mail at Sunny Dale two or three times a week. I must not spend any more time writing. Hope you are well and having a good time.

Your mother

Carrie A. Noyes

Courtesy of Nancy Benton. Transcribed by JMK.

The 1900 census for Ozark, Barton, Missouri shows Dr. Clark as Joseph W. Clark from Vermont:

43/43 CLARK Joseph W. head w m July 1850 49 married 16 years b. VT father b. TN mother b. Spain physician and surgeon
Louisa J. wife wf Aug 1863 34 1 child (living) b. KY parents b. KY
Frederick A. son wm April 1878 22 single b. MO father b. VT mother b. MO engineer (stationery?)
Macon B. son wm April 1880 20 single ” ” blacksmith and machinist
Sidney G. son wm July 1885 14 single ” ”¬† at school


Letter from Sarah Atwell Gilbert to Caroline Atwell Noyes, 1877

Sarah Ann Lydia Atwell Gilbert was Caroline Atwell Noyes’ sister.

Mention is made of a number of people in the letter. Viola, who had been apparently ill, was Caroline’s daughter and would have been about sixteen.

Sarah’s husband, to the best of my knowledge, was a dentist.

Uncle Best was Thomas Best Scagel b. 1805 in Vermont. His wife was Chloe Fisk Dillingham who died August 11 1876 in Vermont. Emery was their son, born in 1835 and died December 27 1872 at Hoosick Falls, New York. In the 1870 census Emery Scagel, a manufacturer of clap board, is living with his parents, Thomas and Chloe, their daughter Mary E., 16, and Dora, 6, and Flora, 4. Dora and Flora were children of Emery and Eliza Betsey Henry who had died March 11 1866. So Sarah is bringing up here the deaths of Mary and Emery and how they were difficult on Chloe who had died the previous summer.

Lorenzo R. is possibly Lorenzo Randolph Bryan, b. 1832 in Waterbury, Vermont to Orson Patrick Bryan and Sarah Sally Scagel, an aunt to Caroline and Sarah, sister of their long deceased mother and Thomas Best Scagel. Sarah Scagel, Lorenzo’s mother, had died Jan 7 1873 in Waterbury and Sarah Gilbert appears to not remember whether she was living or not, which I find peculiar with so close a relative. But Lorenzo Randolph Bryan is my best guess.

I’ve decided Marge/Mary Carlton is Marge (Margaret) Fisk, sister of Lorenzo, who I believe married a Major Alfred Lanthrop Carlton. He had died in Montpelier on May 29 1874.

Who Katie and Carrie are I’ve not been able to determine. I’ve checked for names like this in the Randolph, Orange County census and am finding nothing.

Clark who moved to Burlington Kansas? His last name appears to begin with a B. I’m unable to id him or his family.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Before Jan 3 1877

417 Showmont (?) Ave.

My dear Sister

It has been a long time since I have written you still I have not forgotten you I think of you every day and wonder when I am to see you again I hope you & Viola are back to health and the rest of the family well – I am much better than in the summer. West is not very well – his partner was sick for near three months this summer & it was very hard for him. He is talking of selling out again although no one knows it here and if he does he will take a long rest perhaps go out west – if he was not so miserable I should feel terribly about it – he has done very well since he went back into the office and

if I could feel sure that he was going to be able to work for two years to come I should feel terribly but I don’t want him to work on the confined (?) when he is not able to be we are fated to be unsettled all the time if he does go out of business I shall try to get out of the store by the way how many (unintelligible) has been & is there a chance for another some time when you are in town wish you would work out the (unintelligible) but some good responsible person that would know what the chances would be there for the spring trade – I can’t sell to Mrs. Fill (?) because she has not got any thing to buy with and I may be obliged to take the goods somewhere to set them up and perhaps (unintelligible) & then sell out – I can’t tell what I shall do would go to (unintelligible) I could hear of where there was a good chance – there are many things I like about being in a store

but if West is going to be miserable (unintelligible) go to be here – I don’t get home until after he is in bed almost every night – I have had so much (unintelligible) for the last year that I shall like to be relieved of some of it for a while – business is at a stand still here as well as at other places – don’t expect much until the Election is settled you probably hear (have?) more than I do for you are in a democratic district I believe – West went to VT this summer went to (illegible) at Waterbury took dinner with Uncle Best – Aunt Chloe is not there any more she died the last of July with softening of the brain Uncle Best said and that it was too much for her burying Mary and Emory I never have seen her since Mary was buried – the girls were there with him keeping home & going to school West went to the school house to see them said that Dora was

quite slight and stooping but Flora was plump & very pretty. They have a little old house at the Mill Village. West met Lorenzo R. between the center & streets said he had moved and that I should know where he lived if he sold the Baxler-Whitney place but I do not – West did not ask him for his mother so don’t know whether she is living or not & had forgotten (?) he said he had five or six children – Marge (Mary)? Carlton (?) is trying to sell out her store don’t know whether she will succeed or not – she was at Philadelphia and did not see her but a little while he went to Randolph to see Katie & Carrie they have each of them a good place he said Katie was taller than I am. The man their (?) mother married does not do any thing for them and the people that have them took them out of sympathy because they had no where to go

you will remember (..) Clark (…) used to be at Bradford one year ago he sold out of Bradford and went out to Burlington Kansas we did all we could to prevent his going but he went – He thought he had got into the (…) of the world he brought him a horse a small one and after a little he bought (…) house & 20 acres of land right in the heart of the town (…) $1800 for it – then he went in to different kinds of speculations such as hogs & (…) but in Aug. he was taken sick had the fever that is peculiar to that climate – we kept hearing from them by way of his wife that he was getting better then he would be worse until news came that he had got through with this life he leaves a wife & four children its oldest thirteen its youngest little more than one (…) she probably will have about 2000, not any more, and the last we heard from them

she was sick with this fever & two of the children how she is going to get along I don’t know but Clark had never been sick in his life I am so sorry that one of us did not go to them for Clark would have come to us if we had been sick he was a true friend. I remember this (?) ago this fall (?) when West was feeling so badly and was sick that I wrote him and asked him to write him he was (always full of fun) and say something that would encourage him but instead of doing that he took the first train of course and came right here to the store that he might know just how every thing was before he saw West he staied a week and it did West ever so much good he was always read to help but (…) now he is gone I know it must have been so hard for him to give up his family – I think his will will be a poor person to get along for the reason that she can do so few things she is an excellent teacher & that is about all she can do no housekeeper neither can she doe any sewing if (….) for her if West goes out of business he probably will go out there and see if he can help her to dispense of the business then I (…) wish I was at liberty so I could go with him & go and see you – he will stop at your place if I don’t go if he goes either in going or coming – Let us hear from you just how you are & if Viola has got well wish she was a little older I would set her up in business that is if she wanted to but she ought to go to school some longer – my love to them all remember me to your neighbors (…) you think (…) sister

Sara A. Gilbert
Nov. 21

This is the last letter I ever received from her. She died January 3, 1877, was buried at … the 5 day of January.

Carrie A. Noyes

Courtesy of Nancy Benton. Transcribed by JMK.

Sarah Atwell Gilbert letter, page 1

Sarah Atwell Gilbert letter, b

Sarah Atwell Gilbert letter, c

Sarah Atwell Gilbert letter, d

Interest in Spiritualism in Freethought Settlers of Liberal, Missouri Prior the mid 1880s – Letter from N. W. Gilbert to Caroline Atwell Noyes, April 18 1879

The Noyes family of the socialist Alphadelphia Association, and the free thought community of Liberal, preserved many of the family papers and correspondence, but with the McCarthy scare in the 1950s, my Noyes grandmother, with her sister, Pansy, burned almost the entirety of the collection, fearful of exposure and retribution. A very few letters were preserved, and it has confused me how they came to select some of the few documents that survived. Amongst a very few purely personal documents, two letters make reference to Spiritualism, one shows the link to Berlin Heights, and another concerns dream precognition. It seems that the family purged nearly all associations with socialist communities but were reluctant to discard these several documents concerning Spiritualism, and I’m glad we have them as I’ve long said that I don’t believe Spiritualism was a sudden and drastic change in the direction of the free thought community of Liberal, but that there was an enduring interest in some members of its community beforehand.

That prior interest is evidenced in the below letter written by Norman Gilbert to his sister-in-law Caroline Atwell Noyes. Liberal wouldn’t be founded until 1880. Settlement wouldn’t begin until 1881. Caroline was still in Illinois and the Noyes family would stay there until 1882, though having purchased land in Liberal in 1881. Caroline’s sister, Sarah Ann Lydia Atwell Gilbert, had died in 1877 in Boston. Two years later Caroline was communicating with Sarah’s surviving husband, Norman West Gilbert, that she was interested in making a visit. We don’t have her letter but we do have his response, and in it he mentions having been to a seance, which he believed to be a fraud, but the letter seems to at least indicate an interest and perhaps a belief in Spiritualism. My assumption is that he communicated this to Caroline because of her own personal interest, and we know from a later letter from her son, Victor Hugo Noyes, written in 1885, that the family was very interested in Spiritualism. I also know this just from being a member of the family and the passing along of family stories. James Allen Noyes, Caroline’s husband, was certainly a Spiritualist, and associates at Alphadelphia had been as well.

My belief is that the Noyes were of a type of free thoughter that saw no conflict between free thought ideals and spiritualism…or even agnosticism, if they were agnostic. The Noyes Family Constitution, written in 1882, at Liberal, shows they were using the dating system advocated by the National Liberal League, which was followed in Liberal. They were no doubt believers in separation of church and state. They were not Christians, and likely felt some stress from immersion in Christian society, else they wouldn’t have moved to Liberal where churches were initially banned. But to say that Liberal was thus only an atheist community and that its turn to Spiritualism was disappointingly against original ideals? I think it’s more likely that perhaps a fair number of settlers instead hoped for a living situation outside the constraints of theisms and codified religion, feeling there was ample room in freethought principles for science residing side by side with an individual belief in some sort of after life and Spiritualism. After all, these believers in Spiritualism partook in the initial settlement of Liberal, sending their children to schools where religion was not taught.

O. E. Harmon, a son-in-law of the Noyes, in his book on Liberal testified to this mixed assortment of freethoughters who simply wished to live “unmolested”.

He (Walser) had broken away from the Calvinistic religion, and had become a Free-thinker. It dawned upon him one day that it would be a good thing to found a town where Free-thinkers could live in a sort of colony and enjoy their belief in a quiet, unmolested way.

Various shades of Free thinkers first settled in Liberal. They ranged from out-and-out Agnostics to the more spiritual minded Deists and Spiritualists. Mr. Walser, himself an Agnostic when he founded the town, became in the course of years a Spiritualist, and there was quite a group in the town minded the same way.

* * * * * * * * * *

620 Tremant St.
Boston Friday April 18, 1879.

My Dear Sister –

It is a long time since I heard from you, but longer since you have heard from me. Your letter of November and December reached me in a short time, being forwarded from Northfield to me here. I came here in December, and after a few weeks opened an office in the house where we used to live. I haven’t come to stay, however, as I like the country too well to want to stay here, and besides, I have not the physical ability to endure the confinement and strain of a long continued city practice.


But what I did come for was to start an office here, and after a little while let another man enter it, and I slip away and go back into the country. I don’t (?) but my scheme will prove a failure, but am in life’s net. I shall finally go back to Northfield by (?) and let the Northfield man live this. We don’t say that yet but that was the plan between him and me, as I had acquaintances here and we thought I could start a place better than he could. A great many of my old customers are dead and moved away and changed so I can’t find them but I have found some of them.

So much for myself and what I am doing. I got the house where we used to live ready furnished, so have not put very much money into it, so will not lose much if I don’t succeed; but


shall make it succeed if we can.

I was very glad to hear that you were thinking more or less about coming east once more. And hope your plans in reference to it may be carried out, and that you will come. But why not come before “next Fall” – or is the weather too hot for you in the Summer. If you will come towards the last of June – or sometime in June – and stay here till first of July, I will go with you to Vermont, though I don’t suppose I could be with you much after we had got up there. I shall probably be up there the most of July and August, and may not come back though I may have to come back and stay a while longer. But if you don’t come till Fall, of course you will come and stay with me a while wherever I am. I want to see you, and would be very glad to have you come to New England again.

If it is not too late to send congratulations to Viola on her accession to the married fraternity, she will please accept mine


I hope she has a happy life before her, and that her husband will prove to be a good one, and will succeed in his profession when he gets ready to practice it. Please remember me kindly to them, as well, as to Mr. Noyes and the rest of the children. As ever yours,



Of course you always remember when the 18th of April comes, that it was Sarah’s birthday. Today she would have been fortyfive years old. And do you know how unattractive old age looked to her. Not in other people, as I know of, but she looked upon it as it slowly approached her, though yet quite in the distance, with great disfavor. Will, it never came to her in this life, and perhaps now she is where nobody grows old. I was at a Spiritualistic circle — by invitation of the man who got it up — and it was whispered by what purported to be a spirit that she was there, but I was satisfied that the whole thing


was a cheat and a fraud. I have gathered a little testimony lately, however, that tends to show the spirits communicate, but does not prove it by any means.

I am quite strong in my faith in a hereafter, but can get (?) that will remove the everlasting doubt. However, if there is none, we never shall find it out, and nobody can ever prove that there isn’t.

Please write me and let me know how you get along, and about your coming east. I suppose you are picking strawberries – or nearly ready to pick them by this time. They are here some now but come from the south. The season is very cold and backward. Has been snowing a little here today, though only a few stray flakes. It rains when it doesn’t snow. That the sunshine will come by (?).

Truly yours, N.W.G.

N. W. Gilbert letter, 1879, 1

N. W. Gilbert letter, 1879, 2

N. W. Gilbert letter, 1879, 3

N. W. Gilbert letter, 1879, 4

June 6th, Ray Noyes letter to Bettie Noyes

Dated with a month and day but no year, I have vacillated back and forth on whether this letter from Ray to Bettie Noyes would have been written during Bettie’s 1902 June visit with the family of Allan Noyes (a brother of Ray) in Oklahoma. Bettie’s first letter to Ray (at least the first of her two surviving letters) was written May 30th, and then another was from June 23rd, and I was given the impression she wrote frequently. However, Ray’s letter, written in response to one from Bettie which hasn’t survived, mentions that her letter had been dated the 12th but not postmarked until the 14th, which would be May 12th and May 14th. So, is this from another year? Or is it possible that the dates only appeared to be the 12th and 14th, and were so transcribed, when instead they were the 2nd and 4th. It seems more likely to me that the dates were June 2nd and June 4th. Mail traveled and was delivered quickly. Bettie could write a letter to Ray and seemingly be certain he had received it the following day. Also, I’ve a difficult time imagining that Ray, who prompts Bettie in this letter to get her mail out more quickly, would have waited more than half a month to respond to her. Not only this but Ray appears to mention his brother, Paul, taking the cattle to “the nation” at the same time Bettie left, which would be the Osage Nation. It’s difficult for me to imagine Paul would have been gone for that long a period of time to take the cattle to the Osage Nation. He had his own farm to which to attend.

Yet, Ray states also that he had “set a hen” the week Bettie left and he imagines she will hatch some time that week. If it takes about 21 days for chicks to hatch then if the chicks were expected to hatch some time around the 8th (the 6th was a Friday), he would have set the hen around the 18th of May.

The letter is primarily concerned with answering inquiries Betty had written concerning their farm–which seem to be the only inquiries she’s made as lists his answers numerically and there are no answers concerning anything else. The letter, however, seems playful. Ray does a nice job describing his meal for the evening and teasing Bettie with how good it was.

Liberal MO June 6

Dear Girl, Your long welcome letter arrived today seems like yer were rather long getting it mailed the letter was dated the 12 and the (illegible) postmark was the 14, I would think when he is harrowing (?) wheat yer could get a letter mailed any day. Well I will answer questions first No. 1 The garden looks real nice the sweet corn is in tassel

No. 2 the blackberries are very fine the largest early harvest that I ever saw but there


wont be many of them

picked 22 qt. today and took them to town and sold them got $7.75 easy I think they will all be gone in 10 days more picked 3 qt of red raspberries and caned them and they made three pt. after they were caned. No. 3 Your chickens are doing real well considering their master but the old hen down at the cattle shed has had some bad luck and her brood has thinned out a good deal they all live on shelled corn now I set a hen the week after you left so you would have something to do when you got back she will hatch some time this week so I guess I will (illegible)


a job. You have just four little ducks left.

No. 4 The timothy (?) looks real nice but not a great big crop but a good average will likely comence setting about the first of next month.

No. 5 how I get along batching well just Burn (?) but to tell you what that means I will tell you what I had for supper tonight and then you can guess To commence writing I had light bread with cream, Honey, Syrup and jelley to eat on it next I had Grape (illegible) and fingersnaps and some awful good minced ham, drank milk so you see I made no fire


now was that not good wages for any body would you not of liked to of ate with me. No. 6. No have not sold (illegible) more haven’t tried to (illegible) (person’s name illegible, Paul?) took his stock out of the pasture and went to the nation about the time you left he never said (illegible) about the pasture bill either

No. 7 a fellow by the name of Ray has (rest of page illegible)

P.S. I f this aint long enough will lose more

1902 June 23 letter, Bettie to Ray Noyes

This is one of two surviving letters sent from Bettie Brewer Noyes to Ray Noyes when she went from Liberal, Missouri to Oklahoma to stay with Ray’s older brother, Allen, and his wife, Susie. It wasn’t a pleasure trip. Allen and Susie’s daughter, Carrie, is mentioned in the second letter, so Bettie was there subsequent her birth in 1902. But Susie had also been ill and in the hospital. The letter doesn’t give an indication of the nature of her illness, which appears to have required surgery, but whether the surgery was essential is unclear as Bettie states she felt Suzie’s stay in the hospital did more bad than good. Bettie does mention Suzie’s experiencing headaches. However, Bettie’s visit there seems to have less to do with Suzie’s having been ill than a subsequent, nearly immobilizing depression. Perhaps Suzie was actually suffering from postpartum depression.

The mail was fast back then. It may as well have been email, it was so fast. Bettie states that she imagines by now Ray has gotten the letter she wrote Sunday. June 23rd was a Monday and she’s writing Ray at about 10:00 at night. The Sunday letter would have to be the one she had written the day before. I have the impression that she was likely mailing him nearly every day.

Having been helping out with Allan and Susie for a full three weeks, Bettie’s patience was wearing thin between Suzie’s crying spells, which had not abated, and the arrival of relatives of Suzie’s which meant the descent of two continually crying children on the household. Bettie must not have been used to such behavior from her own children, which would fit with what I’ve heard of them running a very formal household. Also, Bettie seems to have gathered no understanding of the reason for Suzie’s crying spells, and appears to even be dubious of them. The household is in such a state of upset that she wonders how her brother-in-law can get farm hands.

Miller Okla. June 23

My dear Boy

I will write a little to you tonight. Joe Reynolds folks came and if nothing happens I will be at Home Sunday night.

It is awful hot here now. Allen is still cutting oats he has six men besides his self. but I don’t mind the work very bad but Joe Reynolds kids both squall ALL OF THE TIME and I get sick of that they don’t hardly let Carrie sleep any in the day time


I don’t know what they will do when I am not here to do the work but I dont feel that I am able or that it is my duty to stay and do for them all by myself.

I told Allen I wanted to come home and he said all right I thought maby he would try some more to get a girl but he has not. I don’t think there has been any change in Susie she has worried lots since Joe’s come. She takes a spell of crying most every day when the men come in to dinner. I think it strange that he can get any hands. How would you like to


go in to dinner and hear a woman crying and talking and two kids qualling as loud as they could every day.

Allen says it gives him the head ache and I have had a headache so much since I have been here though never so bad as to have to go to bed. We all want to come home awful bad. I expect you got my letter I wrote Sunday by now. We went and took it to the Office were all awfully tired when we got back well it is 2 and 1/2 miles up there but we got so lonesome here by ourselves


Well I will quit and go to bed and try and sleep a spell, it is so warm I don’t know whether I can go to sleep or not – but it is getting late for it was almost 10 oclock when I got through with the work. so by bye.

Go to the May 30, 1902 letter, Bettie to Ray
A letter from Ray to Bettie, dated June 6th, unknown year

1902 May 30 Bettie Noyes to Ray

1902 May 30 Bettie Noyes to Ray
Miller, Oklahoma Territory

This is the first of two surviving letters sent from Bettie Brewer Noyes to Ray Noyes when she went from Liberal, Missouri to Oklahoma to stay with Ray’s older brother, Allen, and his wife, Susie. It wasn’t a pleasure trip. Allen and Susie’s daughter, Carrie, is mentioned in the second letter, so Bettie was there subsequent her birth in 1902. But Susie had also been ill and in the hospital. The letter doesn’t give an indication of the nature of her illness, which appears to have required surgery, but whether the surgery was essential is unclear as Bettie states she felt Suzie’s stay in the hospital did more bad than good. Bettie does mention Suzie’s experiencing headaches. However, Bettie’s visit there seems to have less to do with Suzie’s having been ill than a subsequent, nearly immobilizing depression. Perhaps Suzie was actually suffering from postpartum depression.

Bettie must have ridden down by train. The locations mentioned are fairly confusing. There is a town by the name of Miller currently in Pushmahata Co. OK in the SE portion of the state, but Bettie mentions being picked up at Oklahoma City in Oklahoma Co. An 1895 map shows a town of Miller in Oklahoma Count, in the Spring Creek area, toward the center of the state, below Logan and west of Pottawatomie. But she mentions Yonkers, which is in Wagoner Co. in the NE portion of the state.

Bettie and Ray’s children, Pansy and Cora, would have been only about 7 and 5 years of age respectively. In the second letter, Bettie says “we want to come home” which leads me to believe that Bettie had brought Pansy and Cora along with her.

Miller Okla. May 30 1902.

Dear Ray I got through allright had a fine trip. Allen met me at Oklahoma City the River was up and they could not get to Yonker (?). It has been raining every day for I don’t know how long it rained on us. Coming out just sprinkles though and we did not get wet we stayed all night in Oklahoma City and drove out the next morning

They seemed real glad I came but of course I


cant be sure whether they aimed for me to come or not the girl that is here is expecting to have to go any day I told Susie I would just as soon do all the work if I stayed and she said she wanted me to stay and they would let the girl stay untill she was sent for. I asked the girl what wages the girls got down here and she said from 250 to 600 a week and I asked Susie what they had to pay the girl and she said she did not know 200 dollars she guessed they had not ask her.

Susie took on so when I


got here untill I almost wished I had not come but she has a bad spell 2 or 3 times a day every day they say. She seemed awfull well this morning laughed and talked with me all morning but when Allen came in to dinner she had a bad feeling spell she dont never talk that way when Allen is not in I cant tell for sure How long I will stay Susie says they would like for me to stay but Allen has not said any thing about it and I have not asked him Susie dont take any interest in any thing or do any thing only what she is told so Allen could not


get along with out some body. When she was at Hospital several died and she saw them carried out and she thinks a good deal about that and talks about it and I think going there did more harm than good. Allen said they took her to the operating room twice first time they chloroformed her and she did not know it but next time they did not give her any thing and just took her by force and she just screamed and hallowed. I am awful sorry for Susie she complains all the time with her head hurting just like mine did that fall when I was sick I wanted to pick the ducks this evening but Susie wants me to go to town with her so I dont know what Ill do. I forgot to say it had cleared up.

by by until I write again.

Go to the June 23, 1902 letter, Bettie to Ray
A letter from Ray to Bettie, dated June 6th, unknown year

Edna Stark Noyes Letter to Bettie Noyes, April 13 1897

Below is a letter from Edna Stark (b. 1872) wife of Paul Noyes (b. 1869) to Elizabeth “Bettie” Brewer Noyes (b. 1877), wife of Ray Noyes (b. 1874), a brother of Paul’s. The letter shows that at the time they were living in Whiterock, Oklahoma. The baby picture that Edna mentions as having received from Bettie would likely be one of Pansy, who was born Dec. 8 1895. Grace also mentions two of her own children, Grace, who was born in 1892, and Ormal, who was born in 1893. They had another child, Garrett, but he isn’t mentioned.

Enough is written that we may glean some information on Edna’s garden and Paul’s farming, the weather, their hopes and the hopes of the community.

By 1900, Paul and Edna were back in Barton County, Missouri, living a couple of households from Ray and Bettie.

Whiterock Oklahoma
April 13 1897

Dear Bettie Noyes,
Liberal MO

Dear Bettie. Your letter and baby’s picture was received last Thursday and I was glad to get them the baby looks so fat and healthy. Grace and Ormal have grown quite a bit since you saw them. They just stay out of doors all the time when it is nice weather.

We had quite a rain Sat. night Sun. morning since it made everything look nice the wind is from the


west today and is cool. I hope it won’t frost because my garden is all up nicely peas are three inches high. The last frost got part of my radishes but they are coming out. I am not having any luck with chickens I have had about one hundred hatch out but they have almost all died.


We have two Sabbath Schools here now Saturday and Sunday we never have gone on Saturday but go once and awhile on Sunday.

Paul is breaking sod now on the school grounds (?) he takes his dinner and stays all day it gets lonesome for the children and I to be alone all day.


The wheat is about three feet high in some places there certainly will be a large wheat crop here this year and the people surely need one if they do any where The prairies are covered with flowers and Grace and Ormal go out on the lin (?) side and picks their hands full I am making them some dresses and I will have to stop and go to work.

Your Sister,

Edna Noyes

(Envelope postmarked Whiterock April 14)

Nellie Strake on the McKenney Family

The below letter was written by Nellie (Nona) Lenora Reynolds, daughter of Charity Alice McKenney.

She was born 1877 April 22 in Minnetonka, Minnesota and died December 6, 1963 in Coos Bay, Oregon. Nellie first married (1) Oscar William Peterson abt. 1900 in Lincoln Co., Oregon. He was born about 1873 in Wisconsin. She married (2nd) Frederick William Strake, son of John Strake and Augusta, on October 4, 1914 in Waldport, Oregon (by C. E. Linton, J.P., wit. C. M. Johnson and Dolores Johnson). He was born October 23, 1885 in Wassau, Wisconsin and died May 9, 1973 in Lincoln County, Oregon.

The letter is addressed to Doris. This was Doris McKenney b. 1908 in Montana, daughter of George Ellis (Bob) McKenney and Rachel Adeline Arnold, who married Lester Matson.

* * * * *
Waldport, OR
Oct. 26, 1960

Dear Cousin Doris,

Your letter came today. This is all very intriguing. You of the Minnesota McKenneys and knowing my names so well–and also my mother’s must be a relative. You did not say what your father’s or your grandfather’s Christian names were, but I think the latter must have been my Uncle John McKenney. He and Aunt Annie had two boys, Roy and Bart, and one daughter, Lena. Could she be the Aunt Nell you mentioned. In my Mother’s Old album, which my daughter Rose now has is a photo of her in her confirmation dress. I have one of all three children when they were quite small.

Nellie was wrong on this first guess. Doris’ grandparents were Samuel Bartow McKenney and Ella Addie Fryer, Samuel’s second wife. She correctly lists here John and Annie’s children, Nicholas Roy, Lena and their own Samuel Bartow.

Roy was born not far from here, about 3 miles south of Walport, my mother attending his birth.

Nicholas Roy was born June 20 1886.

Uncle John and Aunt Annie had eloped and married and come to Oregon and bought land and built a nice house about 1/2 mile from where we then lived. He taught the Waldport school and was my second teacher. I had been to one term of school before.

Now this is a surprise to read that John Eugene McKenney, b. May 7 1853 at Council Bluffs, had eloped with Johanna “Anna” Roth. They were married 1884 Nov 22 at St. Cloud, Stearns, Minnesota. I know Johanna was born Nov 3 1865 at Meridian, Connecticut. I have that they were residing in Oregon in 1887 but were back in Minnesota by 1891.

I was 4 years old in Minnesota when Uncle Samuel McKinney was killed in Louisiana. Bart was two. Uncle John went down there and brought Bart back–his mother had died when he was an infant and later Uncle Sam had married Bart’s mother’s sister, Harriet Lagsau. Bart’s mother’s name was Antionette. They were French women. So Bart was 3/4 french. He grew up as my brother and his children and grandchildren called me “Aunt Nona”. The reason for “Nona” is when I was little I couldn’t say “Nellie” I pronounced it “Nonie” so that is what my family and friends always called me. I added the “a” instead of the “ie” but some of my Reynolds relatives have always called me “Nell” being named for my mother’s youngest sister.

Antoinette Lagroue was Samuel Bartow McKenney’s 3rd known wife. We have no evidence that he ever married Henriette, and in all documents we have she went by the name Lagroue. Their family was “French” but had been in the Louisiana bayou for several generations.

Now, if you are not Roy’s or Bart’s daughter, then there is still Alden McKenney, youngest son of Sam born in Louisiana. He went back to Louisiana, but later came back to Oregon, married, and had a family, but I never knew his family, tho a son of his, also a “Bart” lived in Salem some time ago.

In any case, you have a cousin, Floyd. This cousin I started to tell you about is Floyd C. McKinney–son of my adopted brother Bart. There seems to be a difference in the way the McKenneys spell the name. Some–Uncle John, for one, spelled it with an “i”, but I see you–and also Floyd spell it with an “e”. Floyd’s father died when he was 4 years old and his mother married again–a mean man–and Floyd came to my home when in his early teens and he says my home was the only real home he ever knew. He looks like his father. Those big dark eyes and is such a good man. His wife and 2 teenagers adore him.

Samuel Bartow McKenney Jr. and Frances “Fannie” Lorena Peek had 4 children: Clifford (1904-1921), Harry B. (1906-1958), Floyd (b. 1909) and Mildred (b. 1915), so it seems Floyd was the only one remaining a live at this time.

The “Bart” was for the French name “Bartow” tho I believe it was originally spelled “Barteau”. My mother’s mother was French. Years before the Bartows had come from Quebec and grandfather McKenney was Irish from New York State.

As far as I know her ancestor Elijah Bartow moved from New York to Ohio. If her information is correct they’re from Quebec. But the McKenneys were Irish and from Ireland>Pennsylvania>Ohio.

Please write me and tell me just which branch of the McKenney family you come from. I would be most happy to see you. Do you drive? If not get some one to bring you over–let me know before you come so I’ll be sure to be here. You could call me at L17-3173. I’m just a bit over a mile north of Yachats, on west side of hiway–just opposite an old dairy barn near the road on east side–a side road goes to the beach past north side of my house. It’s (house) brown with stone fireplace on north end and lots of small porch posts–part way up–I’m also opposite the last point of rocks north of Yachats–where ocean beach starts and runs on the mouth of the Alsea Bay. My name is on top of the big mail box by hiway in front of the house. Its not a hard place to find.

I’m unable to locate this on a map.

That article of mine in the Statesman caused a lot of repercussions–another letter today from an old friend I had not seen for 20 years, and Monday a man and wife I hadn’t seen for 30 years also living in Salem, drove clear over here to look me up.

Please let me hear from you.

I flew back to Minn. in ’52 and was there during Aug. with a Barnes relative. The Barnes were no blood relation, but had intermarried with the Reynoldses and my stepfather was Cal Barnes, so they were always Uncle, Aunt and cousins all my life. This Bessie Wiley with whom I visited lived on Lake Minnetonka not so far from where I was born near Wayseta. I tried to locate some McKenney or Bartow, but did not find any. I didn’t get to go as far away from Minneapolis as Melrose. I attended the State Fair in St. Paul and got to see all the wild birds, animals and fresh water fish and some wild flowers, even water lilies, that I remembered and the autumn colors. It was a very wonderful trip and I got to see a lot of territory–Portland to San Francisco to Chicago and back via Phoenix, Arizona.

Speaking of the fall colors of the hardwoods, on the north side of Alsea Bay on the home place of my mother and stepfather is a beautiful sugar maple that Uncle John sent to her years and years ago in a cigar box. There were a lot of tiny trees all of which grew except the oaks. They won’t grow west of the coast mts. This sugar maple, the last time I saw it was 35 or 40 feet tall and aflame with color. My granddaughter from L.A. was so intrigued by it when we passed that she was to take color pictures of it on return trip, but it was too dark by then. She and family were up again this summer. They live in Los Angeles, they had no time to go over there this time.

If you want to contact your cousin Floyd McKinney they live at #1045 Shipping St. N.E. in Salem. They both work so the only time would be weekends or in eve. He is foreman now and she is private sec. for Commissioner. She comes from Aberdeen, Wash. and is a very sweet person. One beautiful daughter, —-, looks like her Dad and son, —-. Just home from navy. Floyd has never seen any McKenneys so couldn’t answer your questions, tho I’m sure he would be glad to see you.

I hope I haven’t talked you blind. Anyway, I’ve let my fire go out while I was gabbing and it’s bedtime anyway so bye for now.


Nona Strake

* * * * *

Nona was 83 years of age at the time of this correspondence. Floyd would have been 51. Both are long since dead. Have struck out Floyd’s children’s names as I don’t know about them, if they could still be alive. It’s been a long enough time that I figure it’s all right leave Floyd’s street address of the time.

One wonders if the sugar maples she writes about are still there.

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Marion Isaac Hennesy – letter 1944

Here is the text of a letter written by Marion to his nephew, Esmond Edward HENNESY, 28 March, 1944:

Houston 11 Texas,
March 28th, 1944

Mr. E. E. Hennesy and Family:-

Dear Folks:- Please pardon me for not writing sooner, we were very glad indeed to hear from you, for we often think of you.

We are well as usual, I am well of my broken hip, but am very in (sic) the side that is parilysed (sic), I guess it will get worse as I get older, also my eyes, are failing fast, the Drs. say that it caused by high blood pressure, and there is no chance for improvement. so I guess they will go like your Papas did, maybe they will hold out as long as I live without going out.

Well we have had a bad winter here, not much cold but cloudy a and rain, but it is nice now.

This good spring weather makes me want to go, we have been thinking about a trip to La. but we think maybe some off (sic) the children might come, Vanda came last month and stayed about ten days.

Kirby is still in Aberdeen, is Asst. Yard Master in the Rail Road yards, he likes it very much.

Clarences boy and Levys boys are in the Navy, we are expecting them to get J.D. later this year, hes (sic) at San Diego Calf.

We stay in most of the time, and dont learn anything, as we no (sic) nothing to write, Nettie Wood was in the Hospital for an operation, she wrote me that she was improving, I think Etta is very well satisfied with married live (sic), our bunch are all well, Levy is here he is the only one we see very often.

I think Truman was drafted, and went march 21st, Nannie is getting along very well.

I hope you and your family are all getting along alright. I never hear from Jewell and Zoe, or Lucille, if you know where she is, please let me know.

If we go to La. we will not go to Franklinton as it so hard for me to ride a bus, and the gasoline is so scarce.

Well as my eyes are failing, I will have to quit, Write when you feel like it.

Love to all the Family.

We are as ever your Uncle and Aunt.