The Farris Girls are my grandmother and her sister
Mellie is my grandmother and Bertie is her sister. In 1905, my grandmother was 25 and Bertie would have been 18. Both of the Farris Girls were living with other families as hired help. Their step-mother was the original evil one as depicted in the movie Cinderella (probably based on my grandma's step-mother) but that's a different story. I have copied the letters here.
None of the spelling or grammar has been corrected. I do have the original letters in my possession. The Gene in the letter is their brother who also lived in Missouri and would have been 20.
Letter from Bertie to Mellie. Postage stamped on envelope, Russelville, MO - June 25, 1905 - 8 am.
Letter and envelope to faded and fragile to scan
Miss Mellie Farris.
I will try to write you a few lines this evening as I have nothing to do. You must forgive me for not writing sooner but I dont think you would be mad if you know how much work I have to do. I will try to give you a list of what I done this week. I made me a blue lawn dress for the fourth washed and ironed done the housework picked awful big patch of raspberries every other day. besides I have went to meetings the last three nights at the Christian Church went to Sunday school this morning and to meeting at the Baptist church. Mrs and Mr Short are camellights or Christians. I dont think they like for me to go to any other church but I am going to any church I want to. Mrs. Short is always talking about religion, She said she believed the Christian church was nearer right than any other. I told her yes everybody thought their own church was the best. She has been trying to get me to join. The preacher has been here two nights and two days he give me a good talk this morning. I dont think it is any better than some others.
When are you and Mollie coming down. I can meet you at the depot any time you get ready to come. You must come for I want to see you both. Cant you both got to Olean with me for the fourth. You can get on at Enon. Me and Daisy Musick are going on the train together. I have me a blue lawn dress to wear trimmed in lace insertion a new corset and corset cover embroidery and insertion and trimmed in blue ribbon a new underskirt to tom in embroidery white ribbon for my hair neck and waist 2 new handkerchiefs am going to get me some white gloves and some slippers. You and Mollie mus be sure and go with us. Daisy is an awful pretty girl. She is as good as can be. We are big chums. She just lives a few steps away from here.
i got a letter from Gene did you. He said he was going to write to you. he said he wanted to come to the fourth. It would be nice if we could all go together. Write and tell me if you can go. There is not going to be any here. Papa was here to see me Thursday. he done the only bragging on me I ever heard him do. He said I was always good when I was at home and minded him well. I was awful glad to see him. I got letters from Maggie and Beulah. Well I must close and tell you the rest when I see you.
From your loving sister B
Letter from Mellie to Bertie. Postmarked stamped on envelope, Van Buren, Arkansas (registered letter) April 6, 1912
Mrs. Bertie Enloe
Van Buren Ark
March 6, 1912
Dear Sister Bertie
How are you. I am well. I read your card you wrote to Maude Allard. Would not give Maude the money to send for you. So Maude said I don't think she wants him to, you know how they are. Do you sill want to come down here if I was not here. I would not come. I may go to Cal next week. Write and tell us if you still want to come. If I were you, I would not say another word to Maude about coming nor mother either. They think they are smart but don't say anything. Me and Gene will try to send for you after awhile if I don't go off sometimes. I just think I wont stay in this town.
I may come back to Mo after strawberrie time. I have been working for a woman here, worked eight weeks but I am through now. I am going to send you two dollars and want you to get on the train and go down to Enloes and stay till you can hear from me again or you can go to uncle Enoch and stay. Aunt wrote to me and told me she would give me two dollars a week and you need not be afraid to go the Enloes for he told me you are welcome any time you wanted to come. If they have someone it no difference you can go there and you go say I wrote to you two letters you never got. I sent you a valentine and a letter and you never said anything about it and ask why I did not answer your letter.
Gene and Delia and my self are going to move this week. Be sure and write to me as soon as you receive this. I will send envelope and stamp and tell us all about it. Don't stay any longer if you are in trouble. You wont get any better and I would go if I was aiming to soon. Do just as you please about coming here but mother is not able to do nothing but if you had the money to come or was here you could make a living this summer.
I will close. Write soon, kiss Jewell for me. Your sister, Mellie
Mellie with Ralph 1918
Bertie with Eugene 1911
Letter from Mellie to Bertie, Postmarked December 22, 1932
Wm Rhea, RR2, Billings, Mont
Mrs. Bertie Rasmusson
Dear Sister Bertie and family
After a long time I will write you a few lines. Well here it is Xmas again how time flies why dont you write. I was sure I wrote after I was up there in June but now I am not so sure. It is almost as easy for me to take a trip to Portland as to write a letter and you know how hard it is to take a trip. How are you all by now. We have colds so much flu here now. The weather has been very cold but is warmer now. What are you all doing by now. Wm still works be we cant sell anything we raised. Have so many squash here just shriveling. I have been render lard today. We killed a hog have three more to kill, they are sure cheap. I am getting about a dozen eggs a day. They are thirty cents per dozen now.
How is times there? Now we had quite a political change in (unknown). Did Eugene vote? How is all the children. Now is Soren still planning to go to Alaska? Have you heard from Genes, what are you planning for Xmas? Guess we will stay at home may go to the show or to church. We have a nice car and plenty to eat and a warm fire for which I am thankful. With you could be with us Xmas. I am sending you a dollar buy something you want. Wish I had more to send but we still have to put our middleboard up and the floors are not all down. Well I must close. Hope to hear from you all soon. Love and best wishes for a merry Xmas.
PS there is a dime for the three little folks.
Mellie and Bertie, Billings, Montana 1950's