Monthly Archives: May 2013

Since Gardie Was Taken From Her

Ruth's brother, Bob

Ruth’s brother, Bob

Summit, N. J.
Dec 31, 1897

From: William A Gray
To: Ruth Barrell

My own Dearest Ruth:

This paper is not very large, but sufficiently so for my purpose in writing to-night, for
if I am to see you to-morrow I must be prepared for quite a stay, and for the necessary
preparation tonight is all I have.

I truly hope by tonight your cold is entirely a thing of the past and that you are
feeling very well.

What I want specially to say is that Dave couldn’t make the 5:40 last night, but came
out on the 6:00 with a very large package of timetables and miscellaneous railroad
literature and I find it here to-night. It is a mixed up lot and will need some sorting and
weeding out. The problem is how to get it to your home. Walter tells me our rolling stock is
somewhat out of gear, horse and all, so I thought I would write you on the morning mail
and that perhaps Bob could come over and get the package. This I suggest, knowing
Ethel’s stay is short, and her desire to accumulate as much of this stuff as possible before
returning to Albany. If it weren’t quite a bulky package, I would take it out with me in the
evening, but there is too much of it for that. If Robert can drive over it will be ready for him.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on May 31, 2013 in Family History


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Off In Dreamland Tonight

Dreamland Tonight

Summit, NJ
Dec 29, 1897

From: William A Gray
To: Ruth Barrell

My Dearest Ruthy:

Supper over, some water pumped and now for a restful little talk with you. I hope
and am led to feel that your cold is much better today, for I noticed it seemed to trouble
you less Sunday afternoon. I will be very glad to hear that it is all gone.

I didn’t hurry home yesterday, for besides having something to carry (a precious
load), I was reluctant to separate myself from you. When I went to get this paper, I took my
pretty handkerchief case from the drawer in which I had placed it and spent some time in
silent admiration of not its beauty alone but my sweet Ruthy’s sweet personality in its every
pretty tuck and fold. I could almost see your deft fingers working in and out and watch the
development of the dainty embroidery. Along with this I could picture too myself near you
and reading aloud while you worked. All this seemed so clear and realistic that I would not
have interrupted so soon, but to write to you and tell you how silly I am. Yes Ruthy, in that
Christmas present I have an excellent portrait of you, nothing lacking but your actual facial
likeness, and my mind adds that.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on May 30, 2013 in Family History


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Maybe We Can Build A Snowman


Summit, NJ
Dec 21, 1897

From: William A Gray
To: Ruth Barrell

My Dearest Ruth:

Since supper we have been singing some songs old and new and having just sung
“Juanita” I thought it a good place to stop and have a nice little talk with you, my love. I’m
afraid I won’t be able to write you a very thoughtful letter, for David is singing and yelling
like a crazy man and the noise is not conducive to pretty sentiment.

I wasn’t disappointed in my expectations tonight, Ruth and found your very nice
letter awaiting me, for which I thank you ever so much. I hope, Ruth, taking time to write
me doesn’t make it necessary for you to hurry in your work. In that case, I should try to do
without your letters however dear they are to me.

I’m sorry your Mother has taken cold and that Bessie is no better for they are
disagreeable things, at the least. I hope you will keep up your good record and not have
any this winter, as well as all winters to come. As for mine, it still worries my head, and
tonight I have a slight headache from it.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on May 29, 2013 in Family History


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I Often Wish I Could Be As Strong As Hercules

Summit, NJ
Dec 20, 1897

From: William A Gray
To: Ruth Barrell

My Dearest Ruth:

It is now a few minutes past eight and I must, before retiring, send you the good
night kisses I would have given you had I remained with you. Besides as this is Sunday
evening, my thoughts are of course more than most any other time upon you and writing
these few lines will bring me as near you as is possible without actually being at your side.

It is too lonesome a time for me just now as unusual it is to be away from you on this night
as it is the one in seven we have always depended upon for each others company. I’m
sorry it had to be so tonight for I love to be with you at the evening meetings and without
having accompanied you to Christian Endeavor Service I feel that my entire duty now
toward you has not been completed for the day.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Family History


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My Thoughts At Times Like This Travel Far into the Future

1925, Brooklyn

Future Will, as President of Gray Envelope Company, 1925.

(Two letters from this day….)

Dec 13, 1897

From: William A Gray
To: Ruth Barrell

My Dear Ruth:

I am going to steal some of the company’s time and stationery, also the use of their
typewriter, while I write you a few hasty lines. I have a lot to do, so must not take long.

Tell Bessie Christian Hahn, whose list she gave me this morning, has been dead for
several years and has no successor. I found one taxidermist in that locality who kept
artificial eyes, but he was so stiff in the price that I told him to keep them. I went to a
couple of other places, and not finding them in the last, asked if they knew of where I could
get them, and was directed to Demuth Brothers, 89 Walker street, where I got some, but
whether they will do, so far as the color is concerned, I don’t know. They told me the yellow
ones were correct for most owls, but thinking they ought to be darker, I took some brown
ones as well. Not knowing anything about it myself, and being confronted by a box full of
all the colors in the rainbow and a few more besides, it was a rather difficult problem to
solve. I sent them to Bessie by this mail, and if they are not right in color, tell her to
describe to you the exact color and you can let me know what it is, and I will secure the
proper ones and exchange the others.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on May 27, 2013 in Family History


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Distance Never Changes Your Position In My Heart and Thoughts

Summit, NJ
Dec 8, 1897

From: William A Gray
To: Ruth Barrell

Dearest Ruth:

I have just a few minutes to spend talking to you, Love, for I have some things to do
before going to bed, and that you know must be early to make up for last night.

Well Ruth, how do you do tonight? A little sleepy, aren’t you? I am not very. Would
be glad to be near you tonight to spend a few pleasant hours in your company, but must
make now what preparations necessary to remain with you Saturday for as I told you, I am
going to Queens tomorrow and will not be home again until the next time I see you.

I am wondering if my last letter turned up yet and whether this one will be subject to
the same delay.

It was 9:15 o’clock when I reached the office this A.M., the fog delaying the boat
about fifteen minutes. Luckily for me, owing to the fog also there was a rear end collision
on the L road which delayed my employer and made his appearance at the office very
much later than mine, thereby saving me from the bad impression my tardiness might have
caused.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on May 26, 2013 in Family History


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Hours In Your Company Would Be As Minutes

Summit, NJ
Dec 7, 1897

From: William A Gray
To: Ruth Barrell

My own Dearest, Ruth:

I owe you a hundred apologies for not having written you before this and the only
reason I can offer for not having done so is the almost constant rush I have been in since
Monday morning, which seems to have been like one long day interrupted by a couple of
intervals of sleep only.

Ruth, my Dear, sympathetic Love, I am better thanks, got up at 5:20 A.M. Monday
morning feeling still a little tired but without aches of any kinds and cold seemingly much

I came home last night feeling assured of a letter from you awaiting me. Something
told me you had written, and when I found nobody had called for the evening mail, retired
feeling very much lost without having received what you intended for me last evening.

So Ruth, your two letters came to me today and O how grateful I am to you for them.
I am always at a loss, on occasions like this, for words to express all I feel in return for
your thoughtfulness and love for me. Is there anything you can do for me, you ask. My
Own, don’t you do more than anybody else in the world could do by just loving me as you
do? I ask no more and can never repay you by all I can do in return. My life long, O, if I
could but be with you tonight, to thank and kiss you for all your goodness to me. My walk
home Sunday night was a very lonesome one to me and seemingly so much longer than
usual. Each step seemed to take me farther from my Love, by whose side I love to linger,
more perhaps at times when I am not just well, displaying the human weakness of wanting
the caresses of the one I love best. I am afraid, Ruth, were I with you tonight it would be
very late before I could give you up, for I know the time would go its fastest and as I feel,
hours in your company would be as minutes.   Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on May 25, 2013 in Family History


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