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.