Feb 21, 1920
From: William A Gray
To: Ruth (Barrell) Gray, New Providence, NJ
My dearest Ruthy:
Another day gone, the last in this berg, for tomorrow afternoon we go to Crystal
River and try for the sportive fish. They say fish are plentiful there and we should have
Today was as warm and pleasant as yesterday and in midday a vest was a burden.
There is no question about the climate being a great relief from the severe Northern winter.
As I size up Florida it would be a fine place to spend 6 to 9 months of the year. Outside of
meat, living is cheaper here. Fresh eggs 55 cents a dozen and chickens plentiful. Oranges
2 cents a piece and grape fruit about the same.
Am glad you received my impromptu Valentine. It suddenly occurred to me in
Jacksonville that it was Valentines Day and then I thought it would be nice to send my
sweetheart a Valentine. So I went in search of one. I never dreamed that I would find
anything so appropriate. Your letter, as an answering valentine, fully repays me and makes
me glad of the unusual thoughtfulness.
I picked up some pretty postals which will show you something of Ocala and Florida
in general. The choo-choo train is for Charlie and with it a few kisses and one of his bear
It is funny, they should have an epidemic of “flu” here. The schools are closed on
account of it.
Tell Jack we will try and get a little farm down here and raise oranges, etc. We ran
out to a livestock farm about 8 miles from here this afternoon. I drove an old Maxwell we
borrowed. They had some 2700 acres, 2500 of which were cleared and under fence. We
saw hundreds of cattle and pigs and many horses, mules and sheep.
Have seen most of the country around here for some miles, and will come away with
a fairly well informed impression regarding it.
If you were alone you would be with me but it is nice to think of you surrounded by
sons and daughters, each of whom contribute something to the interest of life.
My next letter will tell of arrival at the fishing grounds, and the next of the first day’s
Good bye sweetheart. Much love and many kisses for all.
Yours as ever
P S Am sending this mail copy of “Ocala Banner.” You will laugh at the notice they
have given my arrival.