Howe Letters - 1920-39

From Robert [12] January 10, 1920. M. Los Angeles, Calif.
Dear Aunt Margaret;
I received the camera you sent me and have taken two pictures already, one of Billy's girl and one of Billy, Josephine (Grandmas maid) and me. Daddy got the films yesterday. My other one hasn't come yet but if it does I can give it to Billy. Tomorrow, (Sunday) Billy and I are going for a ride in my Uncle Warren's racing car. Daddy got me a knew [sic] pair of skates yesterday. I had a fine time Christmas. We went to a picture show last night. Mother gave Margaret E. a coddled egg the other day. She will write soon. We have not found a house yet. I wear my shirts most of the time. I have to go to school everyday. It is about 5 blocks away. [Probably living with the Howard parents on La Salle] Mother, Billy, and I went for a walk this morning with Margaret E.
I just finished dinner. Guess I will stop now.
Lovingly, Robert Howe
P.S. Aunt Ella is coming down here tomorrow morning to live!
[Margaret Elizabeth is about 2.]
Aunt Margaret's death, written by Robert Howard Howe to his dad, George. At the time of her death Uncle Bob was working for Lybrand Corp. in Boston and auditing the Lipton Tea Company, after going to Harvard Business School.
Oda is 67, Margaret was 64, George is 62. --Tana & Mark

Danvers, Christmas Day 1934
Dear Dad:
It's too bad she has gone, but she has certainly set an example to a great many people, in fact all who knew her, of how to lead a good life and bring the greatest amount of pleasure to others. I wish you could be here and listen to all the nice things people say about her --she had a great many friends both here and in other places and none of them can speak highly enough of her.
It does of course sadden the Christmas time to have her go, and yet it is a very pleasant and happy and hopeful time. It is a time when the most outstanding significance is making other people happier --particularly those less fortunate than ourselves --and I am certain no one could typify that attitude better than Aunt Margaret did. And she was happy right to the end. I was out here night before last -Sunday night -and she said that as long as she wasn't going up to Tewksbury (where her sister Oda lived ) Christmas Day we should open our presents then. You see she had planned to have me drive down from Tewksbury Christmas morning and take her up there for dinner, but she had a little neuralgia (so she thought, but Dr. Andrew Nichols thought it was her heart) the first of the week and so decided not to go to Tewksbury because there would be so many people there to talk to and visit with.
But she seemed perfectly all right Sunday night and we opened the box from Hollywood and she remarked so many times how beautifully the presents from California were wrapped. And then we began to open them, and of course she was greatly interested in what everyone received, as you would expect she would be. And then a little after eight o'clock Uncle John (Oda's husband, John Nichols ) came and we all had a very pleasant time looking at presents and talking ---Alice, Cousin Bertha, Oda, Uncle John and I. A little before nine Aunt Oda, Uncle John and I left and they took me to Wakefield as is their custom, where I caught a bus for Boston. And Sunday she had gone to church and heard all the Christmas music and after the service went up and examined the flowers. Lately Cousin Bertha has been driving her up town and then she would walk back, and she was telling us Sunday night how beautifully the windows were decorated, and she walked through the ten-cent store and saw all the toys.
Monday about noon Mr. Perry telephoned me (Uncle John had called him) and of course I came right out. It seems not to have been unexpected by either Alice (her companion for years ) or Aunt Oda, particularly Aunt Oda, and both of them are around the house and visit with the friends that drop in from time to time. It is fortunate Cousin Bertha is here because she is very steady and talks about many things. John and Oda and our family are together having a wreath made of green with Easter lilies and some fine white flowers (the name of which I have forgotten) woven about three-quarters plain green. It should look very nice. Aunt Oda has asked that no flowers be sent by those outside the family but of course there will be some. I ordered a spray of pink carnations and fine white flowers (that kind I can't remember) and put a card on it from "Mr. and Mrs. E. E. Hatch [Ed & Ella] and Mr. and Mrs. E. B. Howard [Emmet and Alma]." (These were Mema's sister & brother & spouses ) As Aunt Oda told you in her letter the service will be tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 and will be private. Then Thursday morning we drive to Lowell where we take the 9:36 train arriving at Northfield at 3:00 p.m. Cousin Jessie wired this morning that all arrangements were made to have the train met and a short committal service at the family lot. That night we will drive on to Montpelier (Aunt Oda, Uncle John and I --Alice doesn't wish to go) and take the midnight train from Montpelier to Boston.
If things go as I expect they will I will be back on the job again Friday, because Saturday we start on the inventory and I practically have to be at the Tea Company for that.
Aunt Oda is taking it as inevitable and I am quite certain will be all right. Uncle John has been here all the time and just went up to Tewksbury for a few hours today. It is certainly tough on Alice and I wonder what she will do when the commotion is over. I'll write you again in a day or so.
Love, Bob.

Written on 1860s "Howe Joint" letterhead - abt June 1, 1935?
Dear George,
I can't remember that we had any day last summer as hot as today! 94° and a blazing sun. The lilacs, in all their glory last week are burned brown, yesterday being hot also 92°. We spent a quiet Memorial Day, going up to Pine Knoll in the p.m.
That printed report of Guar. Liq. Corp. was very interesting and I am glad you heard it & have confidence in the officers of the Corp., that they are doing everything possible for recovery of funds. Evidently Govnr. Merriam is not greatly to be admired. Why are professional politicians so inclined to crooked ways? [Calif. Gov. Merriam defeated Upton Sinclair in 1934 in the middle of the depression, amidst massive labor unrest, particularly in San Francisco.]
That torn envelope was a sight! (Behnke money pencil) It was an old one, probably one of Margaret's but all I could find and I was in haste to send the paper. It is a wonder you received it! Of course I shall be glad when the Behnke matter is settled and would like if the check is sent you, to turn $1000 over to Bill for another annuity insurance policy, and then send me the balance part of which will go for taxes. I'll pay your & my half of this estate tax July 1 (the whole is $391.40, half is of total 195.70 and half of that $97.95 – is that right?) The rate is reduced $3 this year, thank fortune! (D. – tax. pencil) What a pity Allie's trip should be spoiled by that ill turn! Do you think it could be connected with that injury a year ago? I am glad she wasn't there alone with Bob & Margaret & guess they were also! John isn't too sure that OD case is ended (he's always sure the worst is to be!) And wants to know if an annuity is attachable – I wonder if he is thinking of taking one also? He doesn't say so! I hope Bill has received that birth affidavit – mine and yours. I am glad you all like Pat (what is her family name? I forget). Bessie brought the Manny's and their guest down from Boxford last evening and we had a pleasant call. Bob was good to write me & I enjoyed his letter so much. He must be getting some much-needed rest & I wish he could put on some flesh – 20 lbs. would do no harm!
June 2. It was a hot night but cooler this a.m. & cloudy. I plan to go to Ipswich today with Isabel for a church conference (women's) so must hustle to get ready. No news to write anyway.
Lovingly, Dode
[Annette Manny and Bessie Kobele: both Sawyers, daughter & granddaughter of Aunt Sophia.]

This is Herbert Bridgeman Jones, son of Han and Roys, stayed in Clinton his entire life.
Clinton, Ia., Jan. 10, 1936
Dear Cousin George,
Am indebted to you folks for a very pretty Christmas card and I deeply appreciate the kindly greetings it contained. Christmas was indeed a joyous one to me; I spent it with Elaine [daughter b. '99, but I don't show her married] and her family over at Winnetke. Their baby boy was sixteen months old on Christmas day; a sturdy healthy youngster, doing his best to try and walk alone, but not yet quite confident enough. I had quite a time getting over there; leaving here over an hour late, we were held up by a freight wreck just east of Fulton, and had to back up to Clinton again and go to Chicago over the Milwaukee, making me four hours late reaching my destination; but it was ideal Christmas weather, snowing and with zero temperature; you probably wouldn't relish experiencing such "ideal weather", you have been so long in California. We still have plenty of snow and cold enough to keep it from thawing, and the kids are having wonderful coasting on some of the hill streets; it brings back old and happy times to me.
I hope that you were all and still are in good health, and could be together again for the holiday season; it must have been a real joy to Bob, as well as the rest of you. But to Oda it must have been a rather lonely time. Don [probably Donald Leslie, son of Martha and Jim] hasn't been very well of late, and has been compelled to be away from the store a few days at times, but seems to be better now, though he gets pretty tired. Jim [must be another son of Mattie and Jim] has about recovered from his long illness, and is on duty every day now, but is being pretty careful, doesn't go out much if at all as yet. Martha [must be his daughter b. '02] is just about as busy as one person can be, with her school work, and her own study course; but she manages to find time now and then to enjoy the New England brand of winter. I imagine that her love of the season is inherited from her dad. Kenneth [son b. 07 and married to Theressa; have kids David and Anne born about same time as Elaines kid. Probably living in Pasadena.] is carrying on as usual, and between him and Terry I am kept pretty well informed of the familys' doings, which of course makes the distance between us seem not so far.
I wish that you would tell me if you can whom I should communicate with in order to secure the stock certificate of those shares of N.E.Y&T. stock which Margaret left to me. The stock was registered in my name Nov. 5, 1935. I have received the first quarterly dividend; the company informs me that the certificate carries the number 156054. Am sorry to trouble you about this, but I do not know who else to call upon.
With love and best wishes for a Happy New Year to you all,
Your cousin,
Don wishes to be remembered to you all.
(On the back of the letter is written "Bert Jones" -Hannah & Roys's son)
Since George and Ali were living in Hollywood, how could they not have been in touch with Kenneth and Terry?

I think Susie Ellsworth was the "girl" who worked for them in Clinton. She is mentioned as getting over being homesick and making better coffee in 12Mar74 letter; would have been 26. Maybe she is the "Susie" sometimes referred to when it couldn't have been Susie Sawyer.-- Mark

In shaky handwriting:
To: George A. Howe, 1622 N. Martel Ave., Los Angeles, California
From: S. T. Ellsworth, 28 Linebrook Rd., Ipswich, Mass [she is 91]
Ipswich, March 1st, 1939
To my "dear little George"
I am getting thawed out, as you will observe, after receiving a letter, so long overdue. We are having a warm spell, which is just lovely. We have had a very disagreable winter, after a lovely one, a year ago, & a nice long Fall last year too, with exception of the hurricane, which did us no harm whatsoever. Have had a freakish one, so many dark rainy days, heavy dense fog, some cold & snow, but treacherous has been the ice for the travelling public & the roads are bare once more. I have arthritis, and my hands do very nicely, until the cold comes, then they are pretty well cramped. None of our family ever had it, and it must be due to old age, old age comes creeping on. So much for weather report of 38 & 39th winter so far. Now I will go back two months, when I had such a big & sweet surprise, in your letter & Xmas card. I hoped to hear from Little George which I prize highly. To think of my introduction to "Little George," when he was only "4 yrs of age"[1876? -- more likely 1874 when Pepa was rocked to sleep by Oda and Susie was less homesick. ltr 12Mar74] in petticoats, at our "Light Hous Home", with his Pa & Ma & sweet little Daisy girl, seems a long long time ago to me, & much has surely happened in your family, as well as in my own, the changes in this "Life". Next, we said "Good Bye" to our Eastern relatives, & found ourselves in the state of Penn. taking in "the celebrations of 1876". "Little George" was dressed up in a seal brown velvet plaited skirt, & Eton jacket, & a nice white blouse, you certainly did look very swell, in your Mama's eyes, & mine too; then we left Penn, and you was dressed in a real boys suit at that time, navy blue trousers & waist like. Your Daddy beamed satisfaction ever afterward in his pleasant eyes, he really had a Boy. for you never was dressed up afterwards, to look like little "Lord Fauntleroy", instead of "little George." I was in Salem & some relative took me over to your new home there, I saw your Papa for the last time, as he was quite feeble then, and saw you & all the family. I often have thought of our wonderful voyage (fresh water) from Chicago to Montreal. I stopped off in New Hampshire & visited for a few weeks. My mother was a "Titus", born in Lisbon, N.H. on a big farm of over 600 acres, families were big as well as farms, Grandpa Titus had a lovely farm house, full of company all summer & didn't they have lots of good times & plenty of milk, butter, cheese, honey & etc. & they didn't know the meaning of nerves, didn't know what people down country were talking about, my mother never had any. She was even disposition, always. I well remember your mother, your sister Mary, her husband Mr. White, & Miss Baker the dress maker coming to the Beach, one day, lovely day. Then one day, I went by train, went to Danvers, had dinner with the family & took Miss Baker back home with me for a visit at the Beach, we had a nice time talking over old days, old times, old friends out West & etc. How well I remember "Little George" musical talent, would stand by his mothers knee & sing, she sat & listened with "rapturous delight", and the encore you reed. in hugs & kisses. I wonder you grew to be so tall.
This is your little piece (rather short break you were.? I should like to die, said Willie If my Parpa could die too But he has so much to do -repeat -But he says he isn't ready, cause he has so much to "do." I remember Mamie (Mary was also called Mamie) as being quite mature for her age, & a companion to her Mother. You & Daisy were inseparable chums, happy to be together, Daisy was so sweet & cuddly. When I was with your family, they all went down to Photographers & had a family group picture taken. They gave me one, I still have it, so all down the many years that have flown by, I have looked at the picture & lived over all those associations, while in Iowa. (This family photo must be the one taken in 1878 that you cousins now have a color copy of.)

Well, I have had a busy life, our latch strings were always open, the beach was a wonderful one, 5 to 6 miles around it, so nice & white was the sand & so quiet & lovely; now it is all a public sporting place, the meadows are built up for parking autos, to accommodate seven & eight thousand people on a warm Sunday & through the week, no more quiet privacy to old fashioned people. We always had lovely neighbors, even if they were a little ways apart, tall farming people & 5 miles to the village, we had clam bakes & picnics & a good time. Father was in his 90th year when he passed on, he took a cold & never recovered from it. He was called one of the most youthful looking of men, also in spirits. The grandchildren had some lively times with him. He served under many noted officials in government services. Commander Dewey, Schley, Green, Wilder, Newell, Admirals L. H. Engineers, Brigadier Gen. Walker was at the "Head", and many many others, they were fine gentlemen. Our last one was Comm. Selfridge, he was there three years and very kind to us. We were there through many terrible storms & wreaks, especially in our earlier years. Father was a great "Seaman", knew no fear on land or sea, no matter what the weather was. Our last big blizzard storm, was in last week of Nov, 1898 when the "Portland" went down, with all on board. Nothing ever washed ashore on the beach, or any other to tell the tale. We had one of my brothers with us as assistant. He had a tough time of it getting to the La Houser? & back.
I had almost as much Christmas as Birthday, think my California picture very nice & pretty. Now I am going to congratulate you, on your nice family, think you are wonderfully blessed to have them all so near you to enjoy. Hope Mrs. Howe will find something to help her, so she can sleep better. No one ever wakes me if I am asleep, no matter the time of day. Think it is a great in prolonging old age, especially in my case. I hope you will receive this some morning when you don't have much cooking to do, or dishes to wash, so if you weary of reading it you will have time for a little or short nap. I am yours
Sincerely Susie Ellsworth

The beach they refer to 5 miles from Ipswich village. The loss of the Portland in '98 is famous. Susie Treadwell Ellsworth; 1848-1949. Lots of history here. – Mark
Benjamin Ellsworth was appointed keeper of the Ipswich Range Light by Abraham Lincoln in 1861 and remained in the post until his death in 1902. His daughter Susan lived with him and also tended the light.
Keeper Ellsworth received a medal for saving two men from a vessel near the lighthouse in 1873, and a second medal in 1892 for rescuing two men he saw in the ocean from a capsized boat while he was visiting Salem.