Handwritten Letters Hatch & Bailey Families Perry Ny Keokuk Iowa Buckeye Foundry
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Handwritten Letters Hatch & Bailey Families Perry Ny Keokuk Iowa Buckeye Foundry:
All three of these letters are addressed to Florence Hatch of Perry, Wyoming Co. New York. One has a different address of Chicago Illinois. The first letter is from May (or Mary) in Keokuk Iowa and dates July 30th, 1872. This letter is 3 long pages. The second letter is from August 10th, 1873 and also from May (Mary?) in Keokuk. The third letter is from Hattie and dates September 11th, 1873 and Hattie is in Chicago. This is also a long three page letter.
I found the family on the web but I don’t have time to research them thoroughly to learn the connection between the authors and the receiver. It’s rather important too because one of the letters, the one with the “Buckeye Foundry Machine Shop” letterhead, is an incredible two page letter all about the courageous death of little Edward. I’m trying to figure how Edward is related to Florence but again, I don’t have time to devote to the family history but here’s what I did learn…..
Florence Hatch was born on October 8th, 1849 to the parents of Samuel and Matilda Harshaw Bailey Hatch. She had four brothers: William H., George H., Samuel Albert and Arthur G. Here’s where the McElroy name from the letterhead comes in. Miss Mary Bailey of Keokuk married David White McElroy on January 17th, 1872. Notice Florence’s mother was a Bailey so could the author of this letter be Florence’s aunt? You’ll better understand when you read these letters as to why I would love to know who little Edward is. There is another letter that I mentioned above which I didn’t quote from dated July 30th, 1872. In this letter Mary says, “I am increasing much in size within the past two weeks but it is time now, 2/3 of the time being up. I am getting on so nicely thus far, I ought to be thankful.” I think Mary is pregnant when she says this and her first child, according to the genealogy sites, is born on October 24th, 1872 which makes her “2/3 of the time being up.”
And here is the reason I’m so drawn to these three letters especially the Buckeye Foundry letter……
“Aug. 10th, 1873
My Dear Flo, I have intended writing for some days to inform you of our precious Howard’s critical condition but it just seemed as though I could not find the time. During the week past we have hardly expected him to live from one day to another and Friday evening when we went down I did not think he would live an hour. He had seemed to be dying all afternoon and the Dr. told Sam he might live 24 hours, possibly 36 but there was no hope. It would be a miracle for him to recover. I never saw anything so touching, the little darling asked for each one of us and bade us all good-bye. His mind was as clear as any and his voice quite strong. He said he would rather live but if his heavenly father wanted him he was ready to go. He said he was not at all afraid. He talked considerable and in the most beautiful manner. Later in the eve he seemed to revive and then he went to sleep. We all thought he would die at twelve o’clock, but surprising to all he was much better yesterday morn and all day and still today and is taking more nourishment than for a month past. Still I hardly dare hope it is more than temporary. The Dr. was as surprised as any and says he has the most remarkable constitution he ever knew and that now he may pull through. Poor Sam and Maggie are crushed, you know how they have idolized him. It seems like taking their very life and it is so hard for Maggie just now but I think she is more resigned now and seems so subdued. Sam made such a beautiful prayer at his bedside when we supposed him dying. Poor man, he could not be hurt in so sore a spot. Howard is his pride and I do hope our prayers may be answered yet and he may be restored to health. He has not suffered. It is his bowels that has brought him down. His leg had been better. It is worth much to have the privileged of knowing so remarkable and lovely a child. I do wish you could hear him talk. He seemed so peaceful just dying away. I have not much time to write now. I will keep this open until after we have been down home to see how he is now. Aunt Margaret and Uncle Sam here. Also Mary Mason and Lide Malcomn. Maggie expects to be sick in Sept. and Julia in Oct. (Does she mean pregnant?). Alice Rix Stafford had a baby born dead last week. Had a dreadful time. Mrs. Ogilvie died last before last after giving birth to a large boy. There are a great many babies on the way now. May keeps well, stands alone and says papa, mama, bye bye and many little words since she was eight months old. We are all well aside from anxiety. All send love to you all.”
Sadly, the letter does not end there. There is a side note that she writes the very next day….
“I came down last night after writing this and concluded I better not send until today. I was sure I would have the sad certainty to write. I was not mistaken. Oh Flo, our darling little suffering died at 9 minutes of 3 this afternoon. Poor darling suffered much in his bowels all day. His mind was so dear it was wonderful. He did but gradually died away. Such a beautiful change came over his face just before death. The suffering look left it and such a sweet light came to his eyes and face. He was willing to go. All day yesterday he talked so much and he would have his father and mother say the Lord’s Prayer and then he said “Oh father that sounds so sweet. It is the best prayer of all.” His conversion was lovely and I think the dear little angel has been leading his father and mother heavenward. Maggie so subdued, not at all rebellious and it was such a comfort to her to feel his willingness. I cannot write more now. Ma received your mother’s letter today. Will Hicks is not coming North, family sick and cholera so bad. Write soon. Yours in love, May (or Mary).”
Is that not the most precious and sad letter ever. This letter is in great shape but the others have a bit of foxing as do the envelopes.