Feb 19, 1920
From: William A Gray
To: Ruth (Barrell) Gray
My Dearest Ruthy:
This morning dawned without rain, but it was very cloudy and a heavy fog hung
about. We had planned an auto ride to Lake Weir, but on account of the stormy aspect
and wet roads, put it off. So we hung around town until afternoon. The fog passed off and
the sun broke through and by noon the weather was well nigh perfect.
I received your Sunday letter this morning and was glad to see your familiar hand
and phrase. It brought to my features the nearest thing to a “loud smile” that I have had
since arriving. That was a most original saying of Charles and he ought to have it
From your letter and newspaper reports should judge you have had some variety of
weather since I left. As Hickson is fond of ocean trips you ought to invite him out when the
cellar is full and ask him to get a scuttle of coal.
After lunch we went to the opera house (movie theatre) and heard Colonel Bryan
talk in the interest of the Anti Saloon League. The latter is going on with necessary work
notwithstanding the Federal Amendment and needs money and Uncle Bill was helping
them raise it. I did not subscribe, not being 100 % in sympathy with the cause so I am
enclosing the card thinking you might wish to dispose of some of your surplus change in
W J B [William Jennings Bryan] had lunch here and sat at the next table from me.
Naturally I watched his table manners. I can’t criticize him very much except that he ate
hurriedly, mostly because his time was short. He seemed fond of celery and ate it with a
stalk in each hand. He drank only water.
In his talk about the opposition to the prohibition enforcement he referred to Gov
Edwards of New Jersey and Smith of New York and said the selection of either as
Democratic candidates for the Presidency would be a disgrace to the party. He said the
only way the Republican party could, in the event of Edwards or Smiths nomination, get
any of the mentally depraved vote would be to select an ex-horse thief or burglar for its
standard bearer. Bryan made 2 speeches, one a sort of introduction. We left at the end of
Ben Conlon, Overland agent took us for a 35 mile ride in one of the new 100 inch
wheel base, 130 inch spring base Overlands. We visited first “Belleville” where we visited
a man whose hobby was game chickens. To entertain us, he staged 3 cock fights. These
were very exciting, if not elevating. Conlon wanted one of the cocks, which he brought
away in a bag.
We then went to Summerfield. Nothing there of particular interest.
It was 8 o’clock when I got back to Ocala and after 9 when I finished my repast of
omelet — spinach escoloped tomatoes and tea.
The murder trial is still on, because after supper, I stepped out and was first
introduced to the State Attorney, then the Chief of Police. They said the trial was still on.
Tomorrow we go to Lake Weir and elsewhere. Have seen a good deal of country
here abouts. Mostly woods and some few farms. They have only in recent years awakened
to the farming opportunities in this country and the land is gradually being cleared off.
Land that was bought in its rough state at 10 or 15 dollars per acre has sold as high as
$100 per acre. I haven’t seen enough of the farming advantages yet to enthuse over it.
One great draw back, especially to the male member of the outfit, and one which puts him
on the common level of the women folks is that he can work 12 months of the year. What
has appealed to me about farming heretofore is that there should be at least 4 months
when there shouldn’t be much for the farmer to do.
Here I am using up good ink and paper that is very scarce, and I guess I’d better
Haven’t told you anything about the mountains here because there are none, or the
oceans, because I haven’t seen any, but just the same I send you mountains of love and
oceans of kisses, and if you feel you can spare any, pass it around to the next generation
because of which, I can’t have you at my side this minute.
Ever your Will