Death of Ruth’s Mother

04 Feb
1912 photo of Mer with Robin and Robert (grandson and son). Robin's mother was Ruth's good friend Florence, who died when Robin was a baby.

1912 photo of Mer with Robin and Robert (grandson and son). Robin’s mother was Ruth’s good friend Florence, who died when Robin was a baby.

Summit, NJ
Jan 2, 1926

From: Ruth (Barrell) Gray
To: Robin Barrell

Dear Robin:

Mer had this enclosed letter started to you and Ruth when she was taken with a chill
on Monday night, followed by severe pain in body and limbs. The Dr. said grippe with a
touch of pleurisy in her right side, but she had no temperature at any time, and heart action
was strong and regular at first. Mustard plasters and the Dr.’s medicine relieved the pain
and she felt “quite comfortable” to use her own words through Wednesday and Thursday
but I could see the growing weakness and felt yesterday morning the end was near. She
was herself in mind to the last and knew Aunt Dolly when she came in early last evening.
Between ten and eleven o’clock she dozed or slipped into unconsciousness, and the end
came peacefully at 12:20 this morning with Dolly and I at her bedside. Our messages to
your father got mixed up by Western Union in some way and he received the final
message before our night letter telling of her very low condition.

We think it was just the final breaking down of a worn out body rather than any
disease. Haven’t heard from your father yet but we have planned to have the funeral at 3
o’clock on Monday Jan 4th unless he wishes it changed for any reason.

The family here is quite well. Your Uncle Will is much better but not very strong. He
has planned to start for Florida to visit some old friends on next Thursday if he does not
change his plans. 

Love to all and Ruth

From Aunty Ruthy

1907 photo of Mer with son Joseph and grandsons Herb and Joseph Jr (children of Lena). Joseph Sr died in 1919.

1907 photo of Mer with son Joseph and grandsons Herb and Joseph Jr (children of Lena). Joseph Sr died in 1919. He was a professor of Geology at Yale.

New Haven, CT
Jan 8, 1926

From: Lena (Bailey) Barrell, 279 Willow St
To: Ruth (Barrell) Gray, 249 Boulevard, Summit, NJ

Dear Ruth;

Ever since Mother died — almost a week — I have wanted to write you.
I was very glad that Joe could go down and help carry Mother to her last resting

I was really glad the doctor would not allow me to go for I could not stand a funeral
again soon.

Herbert could not lose any more time from work. He lost almost a week when Billy
died, and Joe was the only one who could go. I was glad that he was still having his
vacation, so that it was possible for him to go. He said he saw many relatives who had
been only names up to that time.

He reported Mer as looking better than she did the last time he saw her alive.
I am so glad she could go peacefully and without any long painful illness. Also it
was wonderful to go while she still was in possession of all her faculties.
Still she had such a remarkable mind that I doubt if she ever could have failed as
her mother did.

She was a most amazing woman for her years.

I so well remember the summer she was here when she was 75 years old.
She said then, “Do you know Lena I am beginning to dread crossing New York
alone.” I know I answered then that she was the most amazing woman I knew. To begin
dreading when 75 years old — what I had dreaded for a number of years myself.

You will miss her terribly I know, but none of us would call her back if we could. She
had borne her years nobly, thru many sorrows and troubles and I keep thinking of the
wonderful reunion — Mer – Far – Charlie – Little Billy – Ethel – Joseph – Bessie – then
Charlie’s first baby – your Florence and Jack and lastly my Billy.

I want my Billy so terribly, that often when I am alone I fear my mind may snap. It is
almost unbearable.

I wish we were all there too. Even with the three left me, I dread going on.
Joe says he thinks that you think it was Billy’s death that caused Mother to let go
her hold on this life.

Dear Mother, she was such a strong character and with all so gentle.

She certainly showed to us all a goal of character — well worth an effort to copy.

Will you ask Bob if he can’t spare us a visit before he returns to St Louis. He hasn’t
been here but once since Joseph died — and we would like to see him. Summer he has
been so busy seeing Robin’s relatives as well as you all that he hasn’t had time for New
Haven, or else we have been away.

Perhaps he can spare a couple of days now.

My love to you all


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Posted by on February 4, 2014 in Family History


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