Feb 21, 1910
From: William A Gray
To: Ruth (Barrell) Gray
My own dearest Ruthy:
Your Saturday evening letter was received this morning and very glad I was to hear
that all was well with my dear little family at home. Very sorry to hear of your sore finger
and hope it gave way to treatment and was better on Sunday morning.
This morning dawned bright and clear so a ride was in order after breakfast. We
rode to New Market, a distance of 15 miles. It took about 3 ½ hours to make the journey
and while enroute the sky clouded and a light rain set in. We arrived at New Market about
12:30, not very wet, but covered with mud. I had the same appearance the auto has had at
its worst. I was dry and hungry and did thorough justice to a very good meal we found at
the hotel. The trip across valley and mountain was a very picturesque one and the scenery
was beautiful indeed. If I only had the power of pen of Henry van Dyck I would like to
describe it all to you. New Market is an old town located on historic ground. About 200
yards from the inn stands a gate post in which is embedded a 3 inch shell shot there by
Federal troops under Gen Sigel on May 15th, 1864, at a distance of 1200 yards. Mounted
on his horse within a few yards of where the shot struck was General Breckenridge and
just behind him his staff. This was a close call for Gen B, but I believe on this occasion the
Yankees were beaten with great loss of life. The latter information was volunteered by an
old Confederate vet, several of whom held down chairs in the hotel, to the exclusion of
guests, and divided their time telling about Civil War events and spitting tobacco juice
behind the stove.
W. M. [W Matlzger] & Chester want to ride tomorrow and I am in doubt as to what to
do. Don’t want to cripple myself so it will take a week to recover. If I am too stiff tomorrow
morning, I will lay around instead of riding. The plan now is to leave here tomorrow night
as originally out lined arriving in Newark about 8:30 A. M Wednesday morning.
Well dearest, I will spend a great deal of the evening thinking of you, Pet, and all
the little Pets, and I only wish I could annihilate distance and get to your side this minute.
That is what I want to do more than anything, and the gap made by our absence one from
the other will soon fade away in the joy of reunion.
I forgot to tell you how it cleared off about 6 o’clock just as we were working our way
down the East slope of a mountain. The sun came out, but was so low as only to shine on
the mountains which ranged ahead of us and to our right. The scene was magnificent and I
wished then that you were at my side to enjoy it with me, and in order to bring you close as
possible, and while the horse was working his way carefully down the hill, with free rein, I
took out your letter and read it over slowly, communing with my sweetheart amid this scene
of natural magnificence. Isn’t this romantic enough for a pair of young lovers? This picture
is original and all for you dearest.
Kiss and Hug Billy, Ethel, Ruthy, Katherine, Jackie, Florence for me, and ask them
to each kiss and hug you many times for me, as my substitutes during my absence.