Monthly Archives: October 2013

It’s Tough to be Away from Such a Dear Bunch

The Grays and extended family spent time renting out the Reynolds place the summer  of 1913

The Grays and extended family spent time renting out the Reynolds place the summer of 1913

Albany, NY
June 2, 1913

From: William A Gray
To: Ruth (Barrell) Gray

My dearest Ruthy:

It is now 9:20 and I have just finished a letter to the company. So will try briefly to
recount some of my experiences since leaving you Sunday morning.

Arrived at Chatham on time but on account of wreck on Rutland railroad had a wait
there of ever 2 hours and arrived at Petersburg at 7 o’clock instead of 4:31, according to
schedule. The station agent phoned to a livery man who in due time appears with a rig and
drove me to Mary’s. The day was just about fading away when I arrived at the Reynolds
place and they having no advice of my coming, (I couldn’t get a wire thru), were caught
entirely unawares. Mary is the eldest of three sisters, a woman of 45 summers and
perhaps a few more winters and seems to be the boss of the institution. Another sister (I
couldn’t say which was the older) is the cook, and Jessie the baby of the family, not far
from 40 is the farmer. I was informed later that the brother whom I didn’t see was not
especially competent and I think they keep him in the stable with the cows and horses.

Well, to go back there is nothing you can say about the scenic beauty of the country
that adequately describes it. As you will see from the postals I am enclosing, Petersburg is
located in a narrow valley or pass, with high hills or mountains rising on either side. There
are a number of shallow brooks winding about and mountains and mountains and
doubtless would be a fine place for the youngsters.

The Reynolds place of course is not as fine as we were led to believe from the
Madam’s letter. It is an old house in not especially good repair, with the usual sloppy out
buildings, etc., etc. It stands back about 50 feet from the road and in front of the house is
the railroad. There is a high wire fence separating road & railroad. There are few trains a
day, so I suppose there is no particular danger in our slumber when their heavy freights go
rattling by.

I dismissed the hackman upon arrival at the house and tried the front door bell. It
wouldn’t ring. I walked around the house and got a nod from Jessie who was herding
geese or something in the back. The cooking sister let me in with a broad smile on her
apparently toothless face and ushered me into the sitting room, which was anything but
neat. Pretty soon (in about 10 minutes) Mary came along, and gave me the glad hand,
saying she had been thinking about me and making apologies for everything in general.  Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on October 31, 2013 in Family History


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We Are Sure to Win

1910 car

New York, N. Y.
Feb 20, 1913

From: William A Gray
To: Ruth (Barrell) Gray

Dearest Ruthy:

Wish I had time for a good old fashioned love letter, but as it is will have to hurry to
get to the “dinner” in time.

Hope all the kiddies are going to have a good night and that you too will rest well.
Will be back with you tomorrow night with renewed devotion to fight together the
battles that are before us, and keeping up the old love. We are sure to win — as always  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on October 30, 2013 in Family History


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Philadelphia Town

Philadelphia, PA
Aug 2, 1911

From: William A Gray
To: Ruth (Barrell) Gray

My dearest Ruthy:

It is a good while now since I have written you a letter, but I find the same old
feeling of lonesomeness away from you still exists and I must write you a few lines before

Arrived here about 1:30 P.M. and interviewed a sales applicant for about an hour
and a half, then went out to see if I could scare up any envelope business. Was not
successful in booking any orders, but got some promises that may develop in the near
future. Have a few other calls to make tomorrow morning and expect to get back to Newark
in the late afternoon.

Saw Ed Reynolds and he introduced me to their purchasing man. Am to see him
again tomorrow regarding some envelopes they are now in the market for and may come
away with an order. So much for the business.

Have been thinking a great deal about you. What a great good little woman you are
and how bravely you stand up under all the burdens I have imposed upon you. I hope you
had some luck today in getting a maid. Keep up your courage, Ruthy, will come out on top
of the heap some day. I suppose Florence thinks I am down town in good and earnest
today, not showing up when night comes. Every sort of effort is worth while considering the
dear family we have, and as far as I can judge from the appearance of others I see from
time-to-time, we are standing up pretty well under the heavy load.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on October 29, 2013 in Family History


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Your Always Sweet Thoughts

The Republican Club
Feb 16, 1911

From: William A Gray
To: Ruth (Barrell) Gray

My own dearest Ruthy:

Have just a few moments before meeting the next engagement of the day and will
take the opportunity of writing you, which will probably be received before I see you again.

I met Mr Logan and Mr Day of the U. S. Envelope at the Waldorf at the appointed
hour and chatted with them until within a few minutes of noon.

Ran across Mr Judd, my host for the evening, and lacking any other company,
lugged him here for lunch.

While we were looking over the building after lunch the suit case arrived and I have
unpacked it and hung the coat on a chair, etc.

Of course one of the first things I spied was your precious little note which is now
tucked in my coat pocket right over my heart, and my eyes will scan your always sweet
thoughts just before I go to sleep.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on October 28, 2013 in Family History


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I’ve Been True to You and Always Shall Be

Six Gray Kids

Worcester, MA
Feb 9, 1911

From: William A Gray
To: Ruth (Barrell) Gray

My own dearest Ruthy:

The train is bumping along between Springfield & Worcester. Will arrive at the latter
place about 8:25. It is now 7:35. Have been thinking much of you since leaving NY. Wish
you were here with me. It is getting harder all the time to be away from you and I hope the
time will come and we must try to so shape it so that we can be together most of the time,
because in that sweet companionship lies the only real happiness I enjoy. Such sweet
sentiment and bum writing makes me sick. Will finish when I arrive in the town of
envelopes and fakirs.

Feb 9, 1911

I have arrived at Worcester and am safely incarcerated in room 319 of the Warren
and I never felt more lonesome, “for you Dearie,” in my life.

You and I have grown so close together, particularly of late that there is no room for
a separation of any kind and the burden of my hope is now, as it was when I tried to tell
you in some pen scratches on the train, that we may so shape our plans or circumstances
on some plan where separation is unnecessary.

The idea of my ever being short or impatient or grouchy with you is preposterous.
The girlie who has made success in my life possible and almost in sight — and from this
night I do not want to even utter a cross or impatient word to you — the light of my life.
You understand me dearie, you know that I love you as well as any man could love
— that I’ve been true to you and always shall be, and you’ll forgive.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on October 27, 2013 in Family History


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Whatever Adds to Your Pleasure

Albany, NY
June 16, 1910

From: William A Gray
To: Ruth (Barrell) Gray

My own dearest Ruthy:

I have just written a long letter to B & J telling of my experiences in Poughkeepsie,
and now a “love letter” to my Ruthy before going to bed.

What do you think? I just read for the first time your letter returned from
Chattanooga and it was all just as sweet and fresh as if written yesterday. It is so sweet to
read of your little purchases and the interest you have in everything that concerns our
mutual welfare. I am delighted for you to have just what you want in apparel, and you are
so modest about it all that the trifling cost doesn’t amount to anything at all.

You know I am always with you in any of your plans or purchases and what ever
adds to your pleasure also contributes to mine.

I have quite a cold in the head and it annoys me quite a bit tonight. I feel as if
constantly on the verge of sneezing.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on October 26, 2013 in Family History


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A Most Beautiful Place

Washington, D. C.
May 20, 1910

From: William A Gray
To: Ruth (Barrell) Gray

My dearest Ruthy:

I received your letter mailed last night at the usual time this morning. Am glad to learn of your
happiness and the good health of the little flock. Thanks for kiss and Florence smile, the sweetest,
purest, little Blossom of Love ever born. How I would like to look at her this minute and hug her close to
me, or take both of you in sweet embrace as I sometimes do when you are holding her.

The unpleasantness with Mrs E. W. G is characteristic of that individual. The best thing to do, I
believe, would be to drop entirely the idea of using any of that second hand junk. We do not want to
desecrate our home with any such stuff. I would not be happy after the way the lady has talked and
the fact that sick children and dirty maids have been using the furniture to have it in your home. I say
your home in the sense that you spend most of your time there and the association of the place must all
be in the line of our pure love, with no discordant feature. What things we have, such as they are, are our
own uncontaminated by any such filth that will always possess the junk in question, wherever it is.

Dearie, I think you will agree with me that it will be best not to admit any of the stuff to our house.
Why wouldn’t this be a good suggestion — move Aunt Jane and the walnut furniture into the East room,
(which furniture could be put in good condition when Aunt Jane gets through with it).

Then buy for the spare room a nice white enamel single bed with good mattress, a nice little
dresser and wash stand of fair grade which will give us a very decent guest room. Mother Barrell could
occupy this as long as she wants to remain and then Billy could move into it in the fall. This may not
appeal to you, but at any rate I would buy new things and forbid the other from entering the house under
any consideration. Your judgment on these matters is always most sensible and any way you decide will
please me, for my supremest pleasure is in satisfying you: “Our credit is good at Halmes.”  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on October 25, 2013 in Family History


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