Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Courtship Letters From 1914

In 1914, my grandmother Murril was living with her mother and younger sister in Winona, Minnesota, and working at a shoe factory.  My grandfather Ross, who had 11 brothers and sisters, lived on his father's large farm in Fort Recovery, Ohio.    He put an ad in what was called a "marriage paper".  A copy of this paper was passed around among the girls at the shoe factory and for a dare each of the girls picked an ad to answer.  Murril chose the ad Ross had put in.  She signed her letters as "Winnie Marr" at first, not wanting to give her real name. 

After they had exchanged letters for awhile, Ross made a trip to visit Murril, and when he got back home he stopped writing to the other girls who had answered his ad (he had had over 50 responses) and sent Murril a letter asking her to "be his girl always".

Murril's mother had been married five times (divorced 4 times and widowed once).  Murril wrote to Ross and asked him if he was sure?  When Ross responded that he was real sure, she wrote back and said, "Well, alright, I will be your girl always but always is a long time and I hope you didn't make any mistake and will never be sorry you asked me."

Ross wrote to her on May 29, 1914, and told her, "Yes, Murril, always is a long time but that is just how long I want to live with you."

They were married for 54 years, and lived together through 2 World Wars and the Great Depression.  Ross was a Christian, and Murril was baptized into Christ about a year after they married.  

In his letter of May 29, 1914, Ross had written to Murril, "We are not going to live to see how much money we can make but we are going to live together to make our selves feel happy and pleasant in every way."  They didn't ever have much money, and they had their share of troubles and problems, but they did have a happy life together, and their "always" did not end until Ross died in 1968.

14 of their courtship letters are posted here (a few are missing): 

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