Saturday, May 2, 2009

May & Leonard.. the story continues

Leaving off with May having "run off" with "THAT Anderson", I now would like to share a letter that I found from her sister.

When my Grandmother Edna Keener passed away in 1995, my Father took possession of her many papers and such. It was also around this time that I took a keen interest in our family history. Through my entire life, I never once heard my Grandmother mention her mother. This could be because by the time I was old enough to actually listen (or care) she was no longer living near us - I saw her only twice while I was an "adult". I was so anxious to know more about her family. One afternoon I was at my parents home and my folks pulled out the box of Grandma's things. Among the many items was a small bible. I had heard from other genealogists that many a fact can be gleaned from a bible so I immediately picked it up and began thumbing through the pages.

That's when it happened, a letter fell from between the pages, written in pencil, the paper browned from the passing of time, it's ruled lines barely visible - but a letter no less from my Great Grandaunt, Marie Kidwell to her sister May Kidwell, my Great Grandmother.

The letter, gave me images of a hard farm life. But also highlighted a family issue that I didn't quite know anything about, nor understood. At the time this letter was written May was with a man that her family didn't approve of, living in another town and apparently her family wasn't exactly sure where.. read on.

I've copied the letter verbatim below. All grammer & spelling errors left in tact. The photograph I've included here is of May's mother Bertie/Birdie Horsman Kidwell and two of her sons, Leon b. 1920 & Marshall b. Aug 27, 1918.

Vienna, VA
Dec 1, 1928
My Dear Sister I will write to you to let you hear from me and all. Well are all well hoping you all the same. Why havent you wrote to us. How is dear little Edna, Pauline, and Russell. I would love to see them come home so I can see them. you ought to come home you would hear some sad news. little Gladys and Ethel are sick. have you still got that coat + dress you said you had for me.
Mamma is cutting up hog fat and you know that is a job. pappa killed 8 hogs mamma is nearly work to death and run to death mamma said she love to see you and the children. we would have wrote to you long ago but we didn't know your address. she said it is a long time do with out seeing one of her children she said when Edna grows up and turn her back on you. you will feel like mamma does about you. Mamma said she is sorry she didn't have that money because she had done bought her a new stove and didn't have any lima beans this year to make any money. If she had it she would send it to you. If you don't want to see her or not.

Dear brother was here to see you but we couldn't find you. Mamma said Mrs Anderson knew where you was. but we don't know when you'll see him again. he said he would love to see you and the children we ask Mrs Anderson but she wouldn't tell her. Mamma said if you give her your right address she will come and see you when she come in town.Kiss Edna + Pauline for her and also Russell

Earnest Kidwell wife is dead Little Earnest. her name Mabel Jinkins. he has a little baby girl

Well good by
From Marie and Mother

Reading this letter even today gives me chills. The way she speaks of May turning her back on her mother, and the fact that they've asked Mrs. Anderson where May is, but she won't tell them. Needless to say, this letter confirmed my previous suspicions, that May had already left Fairfax, her husband (who died in January after this letter was written) and her family, and gone to be with Leonard in Washington D.C. It's a very sad thing that there was such a divide between these two families, and the story of May isn't over yet.... to be continued.

To see the previous posts about May and her story, go to the labels list on the right and choose "May's Story"


  1. Thanks for sharing this story of May and Leonard. I look forward to reading future postings.

  2. Cindy,
    I enjoy reading your stories. I have chosen you to receive the "One Lovely Blog" award. You can pick it up at Genealogy Fun.