Letters from Siblings and Friends

Barrell Family Home.

Barrell Family Home.

New Providence, NJ
Sep 11, 1894

From: Ethel Barrell
To: Ruth Barrell, State Normal School, Trenton, NJ

Dear Ruthy:

We got your letter this morning or noon when I came home from school.
Old school has commenced and I am a student for the year.
There are three in our class, Edith Wahl, Arthur Kendall, and I, Arthur did not pass
the second grade, but he could not come but this year so he is going to study the grammar
grade studies at home and be with us at school.

______ Wilcox will be with us when she gets home but she is in Boston now.
Cousin Harie ___ is in Arithmetic, Book Keeping, Algebra, Physiology and General History,
perhaps he will ___ us in physics.

Garfield was to school this morning. I don’t know just what he will take.
Puss has cushioned one bag chair and is doing another. I am sitting in one now.
Cousin Harie is on a bicycle ride now with some of the town people.
I guess Adele somebody from Hoboken is Adele Walker.

Did you have a fight last night over who would have the single and who the double
bed? Father Barrell is out in the kitchen making it cozy. Did you have a good time at your
reception last night? Mer was wondering which dress you wore.

E Barrell has to get the water now.

Dolly wrote for Uncle Charley to come up next week. Puss finished some of your
pictures today and one is looking at me now.

Ruth and Ethel, 1890.

Ruth and Ethel, 1890.

Are you not sorry you did not box the baby cat up and take him along with you?

Mr Hooper stopped and asked me this noon “if you had gone or not?”

I am awfully afraid Dolly will hurt me she keeps looking out of the corner of her eyes at me.

I hope you gave your preceptor or preceptoress your right name, because you shouldn’t deceive them. I
suppose you know whether you are in for two or three now.

It seems longer than yesterday that are R Beer Barrels was with us now.

My friend did you ever have any live stock?

I won’t be a student when cousin Harie is around and so I have been up in pusses
room toiling.

My finger is sore so I can’t write much more.
I am a dear old darling, ain’t I?
Danny Deaver is an orphan, Poor Danny.
You are a little blossom – are you not?

Good Bye
E Barrels

Ruth and Florence sitting in front.

Ruth and Florence sitting in front.

86 Union Street
Jersey City, NJ

Sept 12, 1894

From: Florence Cronce
To: Ruth Barrell

My own dear Ruth:

Yours just came, and am going to commence a good big letter. My intentions were
as soon as I came home here to write you a sort of a journal to send it as soon as you
wrote, but I have been so busy that I can hardly keep my head straight.
Am so glad to hear that you are safe in Trenton without forgetting anything, at least
you did not mention forgetting anything. Hope you won’t be very homesick. Try to cheer up
and think of the fine times in store.

You may get so you won’t even want to leave Trenton. Give my love to Sadie when
you have a chance. I should like to hear from her too.

When I left you Sat I had lots of company, as you must have seen, but I missed you
even going down on the train, and missed you so much at night. Sunday I felt so lonely
too, and I was thinking of you every hour, and guess I guessed pretty much what you were
doing about 9 to 9.30 & 10 to 10.30 P. M. I did not go to church, but watched the clock and
imagined I was with you, and Monday morning I followed you all the way to Trenton from
New Providence and even yesterday, for I was in sympathy, as I was in a new place also.
Was sent for Monday P. M. at the Pennsylvania R R depot here in Jersey City, and they
wished me to take the place of their man Stern for five days. I declined, for so short a time,
but when they offered me $15 ($3 a day) I accepted. I was rather nervous yesterday, as it
is hard work and being such a big concern, but I thought of you many times and cheered
up. I get along pretty well now and know you will too in your work. You see I did not keep
the Nat’l H Co. Here’s a case of first come first served, but anyway I do not think I should
have taken it had it been there.

Sat A M last Ed Gray was my escort to Summit, then Mr Vogel to Milburn & then I
was alone.

Say, now, I like Mr Vogel. Do you know anything about him? He is certainly very
gallant, and do you know I think he was sort of apologizing for what he said about Mr H, for
he knew I was somewhat put out. I guess it is his way to be sort of flirtatious? Doesn’t it?
Didn’t you think I flirted too that night?

When you write, (or do this: write a little each day & then send it, if you have time)
let me know if you forgot any thing & is Miss Ogden is with you at Trenton & all about
studies & Sadie & etc etc.

As I came home Sat I received a letter from Mr Huysom asking me to go to West
Point by boat Sat afternoon. I was very undecided just what to answer, when I got this
position which keeps me at work until 5.30, so I think it came in all right & I have a good
excuse. I am going out to Butler to spend Sunday & perhaps stay a few days and I fully
expect to see him then if not before.

Am glad “those things” are pleasant to you to think of & hope they always will be but
sometimes Ruthy, wonderful changes occur. Since I came back, do you know I feel like                         another being. I can’t see what did it unless that brat row, but I have felt just fine & as if I                              had walked into a new mind & body.

Thurs 13th Penna R R office
I did so want to finish your letter last night but Mrs Chamberlain wanted me to go out
to a fete with her, consequently I did not arrive home till late and went to bed on the spot.
My head was so full of things to write last night and now this morning I seem to have lost a
lot of it. I wish I was near the “loon” so I could take a row in the evening. I wonder if you
would soon feel the effect of loss of exercise, still you have the gymnasium so that will be
something. I dread to think of you getting tied down to steady work all day. Hope your
health keeps up. Now here I am crying, and I know you won’t like it for me to forever

I will have to cut my letter short as I only brought this one sheet with me and so I
must condense matters. I will try next letter to send you a journal. Don’t you think it a good

I know my letters ought to be double in length now, and I won’t expect such big ones
from you for I know you are busy. Lots & lots of love & hugs from

Your own loving

Dorothy Barrell

Dorothy Barrell

New Providence, NJ
Sep 15, 1894

From: Dorothy “Dolly” Barrell
To: Ruth Barrell

My adorable sister (Barrels)

There is not that a poetical opening. Quite like a dime novel I fancy. I don’t like it but
it slipped off the pen like water off the old white drake’s back. Puss and I left home for a
“roundabout” drive this afternoon, at 4:20 and arrived home about seven, your hours. First
we went to Sue Lum’s and she was not home. Jack seemed tired to death as you could not
get him off crawl and two or three times he came to a short stop. He had been to Chatham,
West Summit and Porters in the morning, with Poppy and Ethel, and as it was a hot day, I
suppose he felt lazy. From Sue Lum’s we went to the shoe store which has a grayish tinge,
not the Summit shoe store, the “joke” about which, in my last letter, was totally lost on you.
I forgot to mention that when passing Morris Hotel, we were reminded of R (our)
absent, Beer Barrel’s. In front of the hotel two young bums were having a fight and every
female and urchin in vicinity was viewing it.

When a little this side of Summit we gave Mr Runyon a ride home.
Next stop, Gray’s (of course) then the P. O. then home. (high time).
The idea of their putting you on Model Avenue! You should have been on Middling
Ave: ask A R Frank if that is not so.

Now I would have been placed on Model Ave as a matter of course as I am so staid
and calm with a mind addicted to study and a purpose firm to “resist the call of my

Is Mrs Dinsmore, Elsie Dinsmore?
Did you ever ask her about her widowhood or her grandchildren? If not do so.
You can imagine Annie Badgley collaring a six foot school boy of twenty or twenty
one, wiping up the floor with him and then sitting on him, literally. She is down in the
cranberry bogs in Burlington Co.

Behold the whig tree, how it fittereth away.
When I took the milk down cellar tonight, the baby cat followed me and would you
believe me, walked straight into the wine cellar.
I guess I won’t send him, the baby, to you as Cousin Hi’ll had been telling us how
they treat felines in Normal School. They give them Chloroform and make mince meat of
them. No, no, baby cat for you ____ ____.

Did you tell the ticket agent at the Trenton Junction, that Bert Barrell said he was to
stop at Warier St?

Uncle C is expected day after tomorrow so there is a good time coming.
I suppose “left in the stilly night, when slumber’s chain has bound you, fond memory
brings the light of other days around you.”

I am dreading the next church shindig, or rather dog show, as I suppose I will have
to pass ice cream etc. etc. No doubt I shall spill it all, make the wrong change, fall over the
chains, upset the oil stove, and do various other damages.

I am the last rose of summer left blooming alone with ____ for teacher, a withered
old crone. I don’t mean to be so hard on her but have to make a rhyme.

I don’t take back a bit of what I said about Danny Deaver. I liked poor old Andrew
and hated to see him go by tucked up in the flag and escorted by G A R’s, S O V’s, and J
A A U A M. While that worthless piece of shapeless mist, his heir is an encumberance on
the earth.

Old Krammer was over here the other day, twanging away about Webster. He says
he has lost his right hand man in the post and gave him a regular eulogy.
You can imagine me fighting spring chickens off the table and stoop off and on all

Was your last year’s meat very lively and fond of traveling?
There was a sound of revelery last night and New Providence had gathered them,
her beauty and her chivalry, and bright the lamps shone o’er fair women and brave men.
On with the dance let bums be unconfined. No rest till morn when hoodlums meet to chase
the glowing hours with flying feet. I went to sleep last night, to the music of Bonnell’s

I do the churning since you left and consequently we have been having much better
butter than formerly.

Cousin Hi’ee saw Mr Vogel at W Summit today and he said he had got along very
well in his school so far. He has bought Mr Knapp’s bicycle.

We did not go to Prayer Meeting Thursday night but naturally it will take some time
to break off old and disreputable habits.

I suppose if you do not blow out the gas by ten o’clock you have to abide by the
consequences like Bob.

Ask Prof Bruce, who is only Mr Bice in disguise, if he won’t let you play the Scotch
Polly Song, just once. If you had been home, Sunday would have commenced an hour or
so ago but you are not where you were Ruthy.

It seems as though you had been away a year.

Is Sadie Tyndall a regular Sadie Tyndall yet and does she still wear that green and
red flannel dress? We heard nice fat little Mr Bebout was at the Normal School. Have you
seen anything of him? If he is like “our” Mr Bebout, why of course he must love to be about
also. We have quite a good many pears this year and have been canning some.
Everyday has been a ‘bizzy” day.

I tried a game of chess with Peter Swank yesterday, but chicken time came before I
could finish.

Have you seen the place where Washington crossed the Delaware, you know how
he did. When they got stuck why over goes a man.

The Mohicans are in a tighter place than ever before as the young Mohican is “in
the grave” and there is no use of being jovial. I am almost through with them, tonight I
should probably have finished them but for my present important business.
I had a duck. I had a go’at.

We went out riding in a bo’at.

The ice is all gone and Art took the last bits I believe.

I want to hear Douglas, Eileen Achora.

Hail to the Chief, etc. Couldn’t ye come back to me Ruthy. Ruthy in the old bedstead
we knew.

Won’t we have a row Thanksgiving that is if we don’t have any chills or you don’t
get displeased with me. Our ain bonnie Hanly with his hair of sunny hue and his eyes of
summer blue has been here working.

Then go, but go alone the while and view our Hanly’s ruined pile and home
returning soothly. Swear was never scene so sad or fair.

Mose brought us some coal the other day so, like Bennie O’____, we can keep the wolf from father Barrel’s door. It is ten o’clock, so goodnight.

Dorothy B

Millington, NJ
Sep 16, 1894

From: Bessie Runyon
To: Ruth Barrell, State Normal School, Trenton, NJ

My dear Ruth: Your letter reached me Thursday morning. I was very glad to hear from you so soon and quite surprised me. I should like to see you now instead of having to write all I have to say which is not very much.

I can imagine poor Will Gray Sunday night walking around not knowing whether to
go home or not. Poor fellow, I feel sorry for him. I know he hated to say good bye to his
dear girl and I don’t blame him.

How about your party. You did not say anything about it in your last letter.
Did Will come down? I thought about you a good many times but I could not get

Last Thursday night Stella and I went over to Mr Torrey’s for dinner. We had a
lovely time at least I did. Of course I had a different time than Stella and a much sweeter. I
would like to live about 1 hour of that evening over again.

Gray is very sick. He has such an awful caugh and he won’t take care of himself. I
expect to start for school week from tomorrow. My most dearest friend a school is not
going to come this year, so it will be kind of dull for me I am afraid.

Who are these girls that room with you. You ought to have one or have more girls in
the same room.

Well, I have 2 or 3 more letters to write this afternoon so I will close.

Yours very lovingly
Bessie Runyon

1907 Photo of Joseph with Mer and 2 Children.

1907 Photo of Joseph with Mer and 2 Children.

South Bethlehem, PA
Sept 16, 1894

From: Joseph Barrell
To: Ruth Barrell, State Normal School, Trenton, NJ

Dear Ruthy:

As you left New Providence last Monday I suppose you are settled by this time,
have decided what your middle name is and have found how much Beninial’s letter did. I
understand from home that the last week was a week of shindigs.

How much supervision do they exercise over the young ladies?

Do they march you around in a squad and examine your mail matter as they do in
the Moravian Seminary or shift your seat at table from time to time to keep you from
becoming too well acquainted with the young gentlemen as they do at Hackettstown?
I have been very busy so far this term and will find work in plenty for the next few

We had a cloud burst here last week, Sept 8th, which tore up sidewalks, carried
pavements off, flooded cellars and gave us a good old time flood.

I am well fixed this year, have two fine rooms and eat with a number of other
instructors at a private house where no one else is admitted.

Let me know, when you have time, what kind of quarters you have and the character
of the group.

Your affectionate brother
Joseph Barrell

Robert Barrell, 1887

Robert Barrell, 1887

Bannack City, Montana
Sep 21, 1894

From: Robert W Barrell
To: Ruth Barrell, State Normal School, Trenton, NJ

Dear Ruthy:

Your letter of the 13th arrived in Bannack on Wednesday, and I think I will have time
to write you one this evening if no one interferes. I got my usual letter from Mer on
Thursday saying you had got away from home and arrived at “The Normal” safely, and I
suppose by this time you have got through crying to your roommate “I want to go home.”
It‘s very well for you to underscore the supposed when you speak about no talking before
6 A. M. just as if three girls would not talk at any time during the night that they happened
to be away and perhaps talk in their sleep to. I suppose no one gets up until the second
rising bell and no attention is the paid to the first one.

Are your roommates in the same class with you or in different ones, and who are
they? I suppose by the time you get this letter you will know them pretty well. When do you
have your recitations. In the same building your room is or some others, I suppose at least
that all the buildings are some what near together. Are the boys and girls part of the school
entirely separate? Are you allowed to go any where out of school hours, or do you have to
get permission to leave the buildings? Well I expect this is enough questions to ask in one
letter so I won’t ask any more now and perhaps I will know a little more about things after I
hear from you again. I can see you marching about Trenton in double file of girls with one
“Old Dragon” ahead and one behind as we used to call the teaching at the Bethlehem

That was the way the girls at the two schools there used to take their walks.
There is not enough new here to write about since you left home. I have quit
running the “jig” and am not running a “whim,” which is what we hoist ore with out of placer
mine with a horse. I have been working at that now just a week. The horse I have is “Old
Pete” said to be 35 years old, but he is still hale and hearty anyway and works well. In a
short time we will have a steam engine to hoist with and then we will not need any horses.
Sunday evening. This is quite a jump from the 21st but I got so sleepy on Friday
night that I had to stop and last night I did not get a chance to write at all, so I will now add
a few lines and mail it tomorrow. The nights are getting pretty cold now but the days have
been fine lately. This morning the thermometer was at 20 F, which would be a pretty cold
winter day in New Jersey. I think it is best for you to take a three years course as then your
education will be much more thorough than if you tried to crowd it into two years. I think we
will be able to “stand the racket” some how.

I heard all about your Long Branch trip from Dolly but I believe that was written a
few days before you left home. If Dolly had understood fish stories she would have made
out that frightful sea monster that you saw to be a sea serpent 500 feet long more or less
and so got up a reputation. As long as you did not know what it was it may have been a
sea serpent.

I do not suppose you have any front stoop to sweep at “the Normal” but do you see
any “strings of young gentlemen.”

You must write to me as often as you have an opportunity to do so.

Your affectionate brother
Robert W Barrell

Bessie Barrell, 1880

Bessie Barrell, 1880

New Providence, NJ
Sep 23, 1894

From: Bessie Barrell
To: Ruth Barrell, State Normal School, Trenton, NJ

My dear Ruthy:

Last time they informed me the letter was up to weight so I could not write and I
have been too busy since. I have a job on hand which is more than I thought for and as
soon as I am through I have promised to have the youngsters down every week sewing for
a fair to be held some time in the winter. It will be an undertaking. Think of the racket and
music they will make. Addie asked if they were to make pin cushions? I think we have had
enough of the kind they make.

I do not feel at all in the writing mood today.

I had a card from Lu Thursday. She is in Haverhill and did not say when she would
be home. She had sprained her ankle slightly before leaving Rockland and had been
limping about ever since.

I had a letter from Bessie Runyon the day you left which I have not answered but to
do so in a day or so and send her one of your pictures at the same time.
Will has two of them which ought to be sufficient for all purposes. I asked Mrs
Hooper for your quarterly and she immediately asked if I wished it for the same use as the
last one. Did you tell her what you did with yours?

Do not write any thing home in general letters that Far might not like. I do not know
what he thinks of your writing to Will. I think you did right to do so. Sensible letters about
your everyday life will do “no ‘arm” if it does no good. Can you make anything out of that?
Use your common sense as to what to write and how often and it will be much better than
not to do so (this from experience as you know). In case you lack the aforesaid sense ask
Mrs or Dr Green or Mrs Dinsmore if you may write to Willie and perhaps it might be best to
let them read your letters and see if they were OK.

For pity sakes do not keep my scrawls, either tear them into inch bits or burn them
as we did the wreck or destroy them in some other manner. I would not want any one to
ever see them.

Before I forget it, do not you forget to send home some thing for consecration
Sunday next week. When we came out of prayer meeting this week a ghost [Will Gray]
was standing with a wheel on the usual corner and came down with us. He did not know
what to do with him self as all the boys and even Aunty [Ann Jane (Beggs) Boyd] gone so
he came down here to have a talk. He was in the house for until about half past ten and
then stayed out side another hour so he left about the same time as formerly. He was
telling me about Dave and Ed and what he was going to do this winter.

We were in the dining room and Mer said next day that Far was pretending to read
but in truth spent the whole time studying Will who had his back to him although he was
sitting down, standing up and moving around. Harry insists on calling him brother Gray all
the time. When we came home the water was rushing under the bridge by Hauleys and
Will thought Joe would not have any trouble now in tracing his water courses and laying
out his divides. Now my dear sister I must close and I charge you to remember all the
correct teaching I have given you in the past and that you may always take me for a model in everything. My conduct is such that even the dullest eye can see that I am a correct person for you to copy from and when you come home next I hope you will follow my advice in every point and you will walk very circumspectly.

Your moral advisor

Florence ended up marrying Ruth's brother, Robert in 1900. They had 1 son, in 1901. Florence died in 1902.

Florence ended up marrying Ruth’s brother, Robert in 1900. They had 1 son, in 1901. Florence died in 1902.

86 Union Street
Jersey City, NJ
Sept 27, 1894

From: Florence Cronce
To: Ruth Barrell

My dearest Ruth:

Just see how fast the time goes. Does it move along so swiftly with you? I am so
sorry to neglect you for this length of time, but I have been very busy. Not a position, I am
sorry to say, but in pleasure mostly. Papa came very unexpectedly and until yesterday I
was with him most of the time. You see my “journal” fussiness has not worked, but have
hopes, for I mean to do it this winter.

I suppose you are pretty well started with your work by this time, and are beginning
to form your opinions of things in general.

I am glad you like your roommates, and I hope you and Sadie will see as much as
possible of each other, if it is agreeable. Next time you see Sadie to talk, just say S. S. to
her and see what reply she makes. I mean tell her I wanted you to say it. I would so like to
see her and talk for a while of old times.

No, I did not want to go to West Point so very much, but any way, finally consented
to take a trip last Saturday, and in due time Mr H called for me and we started for Long
Beach, as Mr P boats were not running; but we found that L B boat did not come back the
same day, so we started for somewhere else. Missed the other boat to some other part by
his strange managing, and then tried for Glen Island boats and they were off too. Well, I
was mad. If I had been very much pleased with his company it might have been made a
joking matter. Then besides he takes such things in rather an awkward way, and I was not
feeling well and disgusted and everything else, so it was a failure. At last after wasting time
tramping in N. J. we took the 89th St boat to Brooklyn and went to Ft Hamilton. I was tired
and cross by that time, and no doubt did not treat him very agreeably, but he could not
take a hint in any form, so I waited patiently and came home just as early as possible. I
came home and have made rather a laughing matter over it, but sincerely hope he has not
felt badly over it. Anyway I am fully convinced just how much I think of him and I hope it is
vice versa with him. It will do if he has any conception of others feelings, but fear that is
what he lacks, as his sisters have spoiled him.

Please forgive all of this prattle Ruthie, but you know I just open myself to you
always. You see how it is, don’t you?

If I hear from him, or see him here again, I am going to tell him right out, and surely
he can understand then. I can’t hint any more, that I would rather he would desist in his
attentions. I know you will laugh, but it is serious as well as funny. Sometimes I laugh to
myself, and then again, I feel worried, as I fear he will really take it to heart.

Do you know it is only about 3 months to Christmas!
Just think! Ah me! It makes me think.

Where do you go to church? How I would like to take a peek at you once in a while.
Your picture is before me and it is very inspiring.The very next thing is to have you talking
to me.

I wonder how Luke is getting along. I am going to write to Bessie this week and find
out New Providence news. Ruthie don’t write me any more about the place, and you see I
am worried.

Please accept the enclosed, as I think you will appreciate it more than I, although I
do appreciate it. Still I think it will come near to your heart perhaps. Does it?

Please excuse paper and accept lots of love all for yourself from

Millington, NJ
Sept 30, 1894

From: Bessie Runyon
To: Ruth Barrell, State Normal School, Trenton, NJ

My dear Ruth:

Wouldn’t you have been surprised to have seen me last week. I came very near
getting to the Fair and of course I should have gone to see you.

Papa was going to take me last Thursday but the stormy weather prevented.
I was certainly disappointed. I had it all planned how to surprise you most.

Yes, I suppose Will writes lovely letters, I knew you would write to him even if you
did say you did not know.

That girl that I spoke about is in the Model School. Her name is Lennie Lewis. We
went to school together last year. She is quite a nice girl, you can tell her that you know
Bessie Runyon (that is if you do know her) and she will know you mean it.

Gray Lorry is a great deal better at least he was last time I saw him, which was this
morning at church.

I expect him over this afternoon. He took me to a concert last Saturday night. I had
a lovely time.

I expect to go to school tomorrow. I think I will enjoy it much better than I did last
year having someone to go and come with.

Did I tell you about May Thompson? She is a very dear cousin of mine. She was up
here last week. We had a fine time.

I will have to close as it is time to dress.


Ruth and Bessie, 1878.

Ruth and Bessie, 1878.

New Providence, NJ
Oct 1, 1894

From: Bessie Barrell
To: Ruth Barrell, State Normal School, Trenton, NJ

Dear Ruthy:

I did not get a note written yesterday so I asked Mer to wait your letter until today. I
wish to copy part of a letter I received last Sunday, it will explain itself.
“Walter has just handed to Dave and me, (Sept 16), letters that you gave him to
deliver last Sunday (9th). Had I received the one intended for me, in proper time, I should
not have forgotten all about the fact that Ruth was going away, when I saw her last at the
C. E. meeting.

It never entered my mind that she was to leave for Trenton the next day, and my
failure to bid her good bye was entirely unintentional and I have felt very sorry ever since I
learned of my thoughtlessness.

Ruth, I should never wish to offend, and I hope when you write her next, you will
explain the matter to her. So you see he did not intend to cut you after all. I think Ed is in a
bad way, he seems to have dropped all his best friends and taken up in another set simply
because he feels out of place with Christian people. If he would only be the fellow he was
on the 14th January and do as he said he had found was the only way he would be
happier than he is now. It is a critical period with him I think and Allie Kent and I will try and
do what we can to set him straight. Allie is coming down tomorrow evening to talk of some
plans which if carried out will take me to Jersey City, and now I want to ask you about
Florence. Is she in Jersey City? and what is she doing?

It might be I would want to be there in the evening and if so do you think I could stay
with her? She has a room mate, I believe. If possible take time to answer my questions as
soon as you can and don’t mention Ed in a general letter as we are not saying anything
about it to any one and would not want him to know anything about it.

I think some of us told you that he was living in New York, now is on the regular staff
of the Herald and works from the middle of the afternoon to midnight or three o’clock A. M.
and hard work. I don’t believe he can stand it very well. I have seen him only once since
you left (the day I took his picture) and he was looking pale and thin and had his hair
parted in the middle. You can do what Allie and I shall do, that is pray for him, that he does
not drift away but become an earnest Christian. Will was the only one out yesterday. You
want to write and thank him for the part he took in your birthday if you have not already
done so, but after don’t write very often as I don’t think his father likes his coming down to
our house so often. I shall try and not have him come until you are home. They think Willie
is too young like. Hope there is no danger of your falling out and I can keep him posted.
He always asks when we have heard from you and I give him a synopsis of your letters
when ever I see him. Last night Mrs J Bagley was asking after you and I said you had lost
7 lb. Will was standing behind me and said, “She had better come home.”

Edward Gray Family, 1910. Ed continued in the newspaper business, and later became a congressman.

Edward Gray Family, 1910. Ed continued in the newspaper business, and later became a congressman.

I hope you will go to work and gain those 7 lb back again. We don’t want you to
come home Thanksgiving looking like a bean pole and remember you will have to stand                              some rackets too, then. Hattie Marchinse, Mary Hedges and Jennie Morris all asked to be                         remembered to you when I wrote. Miss Polter and several others did the same I believe                                and said they did not know you were going away, in fact, very few people seemed to know it.

Last night Mr Runyon was to lead the meeting. The hour came and passed and he
was not there and the Marchinse had not come. When they arrived I asked Hattie if he was
coming and she said he was sick a bed so I had to march up to Mr Hooper and ask him to
lead the meeting. I did not have the chuck to ask anyone else at such a time. He at once
jumped or rather got up and gave out the first hymn his book opened to which was Happy
Day and the meeting went on as if nothing had happened. The list of names had been
forgotten also so every one took part as usual. Yours and poor Lizzie’s were the only ones
read from absent members. I was glad not to have Ed’s name read.

I have an old crow to mount after dinner. I suppose I have lots of words spelled
“rong” but seems it is only to you, it din’t matter and then the writing is so beautiful it makes
up for all deficiencies.

Yours with out woe

1912 photo of Robert, Mer, and Florence/Robert's son, Robin.

1912 photo of Robert, Mer, and Florence/Robert’s son, Robin.

86 Union St
Jersey City, NJ
Oct 1, 1894

From: Florence Cronce
To: Ruth Barrell, State Normal School, Trenton, NJ

My dearest Ruthie:

Your letter just came tonight, now I don’t mean that at all, for it came this morning;
but as I received three all at once tonight, (letters I mean).
I have it on my brain, (If you think this writing queer it is because I use a new pen at
almost every line. I hope this will suit.)

I am real glad the letter I sent reached you on your birthday, but to tell the honest
truth, I had forgotten about your birthday at that present time. Your letter was good,
extremely good, and to repay you I begin writing now, but know it won’t be finished until a
day or so.

What a fine birthday gift that book was, I know and I took such delight in reading
about it. I am very anxious to see it.

It is too bad your room mate is not in your classes. Is she farther advanced? I do not
think you let me know whether she just entered or not. I am very glad you like her, Oh! You
will soon have lots of friends I know. Do you like your teachers! I mean are you especially
taken with any of them? I suppose you have a good many. Are they very strict?
How is the meal part? Do you get enough? I hope so, and I hope the quality is
satisfying. How about the male portions? (Not of the meals.) (I have to correct many of my
breaks.) Do you meet any of the young men? Are they very strict in that line? Of course I
mean the school “strict” & not the young men.

Yes, I know where your Huylers came from and I can guess how you enjoyed it.
I enjoyed your bit of New Providence news, and as I have written to Bessie, I
suppose I will hear from her, for I asked a good many questions.

I think Will is a fine fellow, and one that wears well too, so I have nothing to warn
you of in that respect. I am glad he wrote you, for you will enjoy hearing from him.
You said Ed & Dave were in the city and I suppose you meant N Y City, for Ed told
me that there were going there. When is he coming to Trenton? Let me know your friendly

I only wish I could get a position in Trenton. Wouldn’t that be fine, but I guess it is
best that I keep myself here for the present.

I heard of a position last night that I may take in a few weeks, and I am
contemplating leaving this boarding place. Just where I will ward I am not decided yet, but
somewhere here in Jersey City, I think.

I am not satisfied in some ways in this place, and I want a room to myself if possible,
or at least not with a person so much older than I.

Well dearie, I guess I must leave you for a while and write other letters, but I am
going to send this before Saturday, so don’t be worried you will get it this week. (I wish you
could hear this now.)

Oct 3rd

Almost two days gone since I commenced this and if I do not hurry along this will be
too stale to send. Yesterday, I went out to Newark and came back about this noon, and
tomorrow I am going to Cranford to come back again Saturday. I have a position in view
now, which I may take in a week or so. It is where I substituted first after I left my old place.
I wonder what you are doing now 4:45 P M. Are you having leisure time now? When do
you get through with your studies in the afternoon?

I think I have given you lots of questions to answer in this letter, so if you can’t
answer al at once, wait until next letter.

I knew Sadie would remember S S. It was a secret Society of ours, with a
membership of two — Sadie and myself. We used to have lots of fun with it, and wore some
fine badges.

I will try to find time someday to write to her.

I know she must be busy too. I should so like to see her. If your school was in N Y
one might come in occasionally.

Have you had any opportunity to wear your waterproof coat? How does the “sun
spot” appear?

I was telling someone about them (coat, not the spots), and have been told they
were part goat. This in honest truth, and no joke.

I really think they must be first cousins to the goats, don’t you?

I was quite surprised at the news of Annie B’s teaching so far away from home. I
wonder if she is near any relatives.

The clouds are dropping a few rain drops just now, and I hope they will let lots of it
down for we need it some more. Dear me! I don’t feel like doing anything. Not even
thinking, and all things become mixed as soon as I try to make anything intelligent out of
my thoughts.

If you notice any F O in my letter wall by themselves, it is because I start to write “f”
from habit f, or as above, for when I think of it I don’t do it, but when I go right ahead I
make only an “f.”

Perhaps you can see where, in some places, I have tacked on an “o.”
What a strange and strong thing habit is! And how hard it is to take it away.
Seems to me half my life work has been doing and then undoing, and I make about
as much progress as a horse on a threshing machine.

Anyway, before long, I am going to leave this place. It is too depressing and am
going to make a change and advance in some way.

My life is to empty and I do not do enough, and have come to the conclusion that
the air will clear if I find a different place where the atmosphere is better. I am speaking

Prepare yourself for soon sending to a different address soon. I am going to try to
get near my church, if possible, and make an effort in that line.

I must now end with lots & lots of love to you my dearest friend Ruth and to my
dearest friend Sadie.
your own true

Ruth and Dorothy, 1881.

Ruth and Dorothy, 1881.

New Providence, NJ
Oct 6, 1894

From: Dorothy Barrell
To: Ruth Barrell, State Normal School, Trenton, NJ

Dear Ruthy:

Oh, the news. There’s nothing half so sweet in life as love’s young(?) dreams.
This very night I trudged up to corner and along with other mail brought home a square
envelope from Madison, addressed to Poppy.

It felt stiff and accordingly like wedding invitation but the only person from Madison who I
thought would be likely to send us such matter as present was Fred K and Miss Peck, but thought
that strange. Poppy opened it and it was addressed Mr H F Barrell and family.
On opening the envelope a wonder of wonders was disclosed.

The Bee Doctor and his Miss Purdy are going to be married in the Presbyterian Church of
Chatham on Wednesday, the 17th of Oct 1894. I wonder will he wear his brown overcoat and
boots and ride to church in his mud bespattered vehicle. They ought to pick out a very old old
shoe to throw behind. By the way we, Poppy, Gangmer and I, saw the bee doctor in Chatham
about a week ago and he got off on the bee subject but did not ask any scientific questions.
He has sent in his bill and it is only about twenty nine dollars. Good bee doctor. He thought
it only a pleasure to came and see me and so only charged for the rest of you I suppose. In Sam
Parcells store there is a notice of a horse stolen from the stables of Geo M Furman of Trenton,
horse, heavy built, light sorrel, thin, 15 ½ hands high, 10 years old etc etc and there is a reward of
$50 offered for it. Knowing your reputation perhaps you know something of how to track it up and
get $50.

I had a letter from Annie Monday night and she wants you to write to her. Her address is
Pointville, Burlington Co, N. J. She did not know your address so could not write first. I judge from
her letter, she must be homesick and I don’t wonder down in the bogs.

I don’t remember just how long it took her letter to come. I guess about a day.
Evidently your washing is done in Walkee style and I think Charlie Long could do better.
Am reading a new book by my author, by name Tostunes of Nigel. I have also learned a
new piece, The Hew, by Whittier, and that makes the third I have learned recently.
Ethel grinds out Douglas and When ye going awa Jamie on the piano.

I must repair some clothes and so will not write much more now. Gangmer has been sick since yesterday noon but feels better now. She has been down stairs much of the time however. She speaks of the “dear child” quite often.How far is it, My Lord, to Berkley now? Puss and I ask each other that on the way to Prayermeeting and answer “bout three miles.”

Last Thursday there was no one there to play at first so about five minutes after Mr Hooper
read the hymn, Deacon Potter started a feeble intro, two minutes more, Mr Hooper, one minute
more Sarah Doty and then the choir ended.

There was a profusion of Thursday night clothes.

The Chases are home but have not seen Lulu yet.

Cousin Hi’ee is sitting on the piano stool. Tonight is a business so you can imagine us
buzzing about like a stock exchange.

Good Bye
Dorothy B

Robert, 1889.

Robert, 1889.

Bannack City, Montana
Oct 7, 1894

From: Robert W Barrell
To: Ruth Barrell, State Normal School, Trenton, NJ

Dear Ruthy:

Your good long letter of Sept 30 arrived at Bannack yesterday but as the mail did
not get down here until after I had gone to work, I did not get it until just before dinner
which is my rising time. You will perhaps think that I am keeping fashionable hours for a
change but I am only working on night shift. I go to work at 6 P. M. and quit at 3.30 A. M.
and get up in time for dinner. In the afternoon I do my reading and writing or whatever else
I may have to do. At present I think I will write a letter to you as it is only 3.30 P. M. and so
should have time to finish it before I start to work. This is Sunday also but as far as work
goes it is very much similar to other days of the week. I started “running the whim” on night
shift on last Sunday night and will run it all this week and then change to day shift again
next Sunday as we work first two weeks day and then two weeks night. We have had very
bad weather nearly every night lately so it has not been so pleasant working but then we
are mostly under cover so we do not get the full effect of it. This morning was our coldest
so far and it begins to feel somewhat like fall. The thermometer was a 5 above zero this
morning, and things looked pretty icy, but we are having a nice warm day today. Yesterday
it snowed nearly all day and everything was nice and white.

You are evidently now getting settled at “The Normal” according to your letter and
am glad you think it is going to be a good place. I should think the education you will get
will be well worth what it will cost. The charges all appear to be very reasonable.

So you could not stand your third room mate? I suppose the real facts of the case if
known would be that you all got into a hair pulling match and she came out on top and you
two had to vacate her room and take a second rate one which you try to make out is much
finer than the room you had and you would not go back if the other girl allowed you to.

You need not brag about grub. You cannot come up to Mrs Dunphys boarding
house at Bannack, Montana. We have the finest bread and butter too and always have
pie, pudding and fresh fruit all at one meal, and a chicken dinner every Sunday. I got a
picture from home a week ago called “Ready for Trenton” which looks very natural, all
except the “veranda.” I also received a picture or so of the “veranda” at the same time. so
now when I make my next trip to New Providence I can have these views out in one hand
as I go along and compare it with the houses I come to until I find the right one. The
“veranda” looks as if it was a big improvement in general appearances.

The boys of your class must be “daisies” according to your descriptions. I guess the
boys at a Normal school are a great deal more apt to mostly come from the back woods
than the girls are and that accounts for a great deal of their rough looks.

It is too bad you have to go without your dessert sometimes. When it happens you
should see the principal and get him to give you two pieces of pie the next time.
What exercises do you have on Saturday and Sunday? You do not say anything
about them, but I do not suppose they are the same as other days. Do you see any thing of
Trenton out side of the Normal School? I suppose at any rate you all visit the governor
now and then, and enquire after his health. What does your 4 o’clock walk consist in? Is

that outside the grounds of the school? I suppose it is something like a circus parade and
keeps to regular streets with now and then a slight change for variety. What do you do
after the gas goes out? You do not say, I suppose that is when the fun commences.
I may run this “whim” and “jig” both for a few days as we have two or three days ore
left to jig out. What do you think of that? It ought to keep me busy. What do you think of
the new double headed paper that this sheet is a sample of? I think it is a great
improvement over the common ordinary single heading.

I think I will have to see if I cannot eat my Thanksgiving dinner in New Providence,
but I cannot tell yet until the close of the month.

Your affectionate brother
Robert W Barrell

119 Bergen Ave
Jersey City, NJ
Oct 14, 1894

From: Florence Cronce
To: Ruth Barrell

My dearest Ruth:

Another change, as you can see by the above, at last I am in a place, which is
something like a home. This is going to be a new life for me, and a busy one, so if I do not
write quite so long letters, you will understand.

I start to work in a position on Monday, tomorrow, with a gentleman who I knew
when substituting for a friend of mine in August. He starts in business for himself and has
lots of money, and is going to let me have everything to my satisfaction.

Oh! Ruthy you do not know what a nice house I am in! I do like it so much this far.
There is a girl about two years younger than myself, and a brother about a year older than
she and a sister about 16 years old. I like them very much. I have a nice little room to

I can say one thing these are God’s people, I feel. They attend the South Bergen
Reformed Church, which is right near here. They board the minister & wife of that church.
I enjoyed your letter so much, I have read and reread it. Bessie wrote me that she
might possibly come down some night next week. She also spoke about some kind of
secret business, and I am very anxious to hear of it.

I guess you will think this is a hurry & scurry letter, but it is cold here in my room & I
hurry along & keep warm.

Please forgive me for being short this once and I will try to do heaps next time.
I just came yesterday and it is all strange to me yet. Say, do you know Mr Hinpsoon
was here last night. Strange! What
shall I do?

“Would that my tongue could
utter the thought’s that arise in me.”

Lots & lots of love
your loving

Dorothy, Ruth, Bessie, Ethel

Dorothy, Ruth, Bessie, Ethel

New Providence, NJ
Oct 14, 1894

From: Bessie Barrell
To: Ruth Barrell, State Normal School, Trenton, NJ

Dear Ruthy:

We arrived home from prayer meeting about an hour ago where we had what some
of them called a committee meeting. We consisted of Lu, Dolly, Dave, Will and your other
sister. We occupied the two back seats and did not rise after the meeting but sat still until
every one else had left. Ed was out also. He has been promoted and has day work now
and Sundays to himself I believe. It is court work and the courts do not have any work on
Sundays. Ed looked pale and thin but I was very glad to see him out once more. It is the
first time he has been out since you left.

Dave is as happy as he can be, no different from the fellow that was around this
summer. The ring is there all the time now. One can use it as a barometer.
Lu is just the same. She and Dolly were alone in poor old Tyler’s class to day and
“their conduct was such.” Tonight was not any better until Mr Runyon came in and set
behind them when they quieted down. Dolly winked at Ed as usual.

I told him to be sure and call on you when he went to Trenton and he said he would.
So you can look for a visitor some where in the “dim future.”

How do the girls have callers? Can people who are not of the family call on them?
and at any hour could he see you? At any rate he said he should find you. Will was quiet
as usual. I did not get a chance to see anything of him. He was not down on Friday
evening although I was expecting him also. I suppose he was busy at Summit. I am glad
you have found out at last that there is more than one store in Summit. Will’s upper lip is
looking somewhat dirty at present. It does not add to his beauty I think. Tomorrow night we
expect to go to Chatham to attend the third anniversary of the C E Society of the
Presbyterian Church. Amos is to take a load I believe.

Thursday night we have a “Book Social” at Mr Hoopers. All are to represent the
names of a book. Don’t you think Lizer will be quick at guessing the titles of the library.
Wednesday evening we are going to the Bee Dr’s wedding.

I can not think of anything but the old blue suit, brown overcoat and big boots. I
wonder how he will look? Thursday I hope to go to New York and spend the night with
Florence “Crunch.” She is living at 119 Bergen Ave as I suppose you know.

I am going to Jersey City on special business. You can probably guess what. I have
just been thinking of that promotion. We can not tell how far God’s plans are carried out in
these changes of life. Friday afternoon Bessie Runyon is coming to West Summit to stay
until Monday, so I suppose we shall see her.

Saturday we have a missionary meeting, so I have sent you somewhat of a program
of the week. What does your room mate think of your letters? The compound home ones I

I have seen Lu every day since she has been home except Thursday. She was out
to prayer meeting and asked the next day where you were. I did not feel well enough to go.
Strange how we are kept away from prayer meeting. Lu was down here Monday and
Friday to tea and stayed until they sent for her. I don’t suppose she will go to Trenton but

you can not tell what they will do until it is done. I gave her your note to me to read for
herself. She said she would like to go very much, but I think you are right when you said
you did not suppose her family wanted her to go.

Dolly expects to write you about the circus we had at church. It was “simply awful.”
The time will soon be up when you pass the half way point before Thanksgiving and
only a short time before that time and Christmas. I am almost sure Bob will be home this

It is blowing a gale which come form “Icelands greecy mountains.”
We all have dreadful colds in our heads (Pop gave them to us as usual) and you
know the effect of cold weather. I have not been in the boat since you left.

Ethel is going to get finely with her music. She grinds out, as she says, all the
Franklyn Square pieces. She seems to read them as well as if she had played for years.
She asked me to try a new exercise Saturday and she played at right off and she said very
well and turned to me and said did she not read that well. I smiled and thought if she knew
what she spent her time doing at home she would not wonder.

She plays just as well as Joe “Room for Garfield” is game.

With lots of love
Your silent sister

P. S, written on Dollys letter
You can not think how dreadful it was. Dolly was on one side of me and Lu on the
other and both of them behaved themselves finely, never smiling. Lu said afterward if it
had not been communion it would not have been half so bad. You can think how Mr
Hooper felt. He did not show it in any way except that he did not talk any during the service
and made it as short as possible. He was not out in the evening — used up I suppose.
Dolly did not finish until after Ethel was ready for school so we will mail it at Summit
where we go to the store.

By the way, Edna’s “walking stick” has been found.

1919 Eulogy on Joseph Barrell - Page 1 and photo

South Bethlehem, PA
Oct 15, 1894

From: Joseph Barrell
To: Ruth Barrell, State Normal School, Trenton, NJ

Dear Ruthy:

Your letter of Sept 18th received OK. By this time you must have got settled and
down to business. From the programme you sent I judge that they must keep you hustling
from daylight to dark and when you are not eating they are busy hammering principles into
your head. It seems to me that the study hours are very short to prepare much material,
write letters, etc.

I suppose the lessons are not very hard, however, and a good deal of the teaching
is done in the class room.

You can’t have a very extensive knowledge of Trenton if you are always required to
walk along the same streets. You must know every pickel on Clinton & State Streets by this
time, but no doubt to you they are all “Chestnut” answers.

Extend my sympathies to the poor fellows who looks like Hank Woodruff, only
homlier. You can thank your stars that Billy Woodruff didn’t make up his mind to go to
Trenton this year also.

How many are in your class and how many in the Normal School?

Is Marne Davidson as exuberant as ever and do you have any scrap over the single

I have been very busy since being back. A couple of sophomore miners dropped in
unexpectedly which give me eight more hours a week and two lectures in mining a week.
The lectures in mining take quite a little time to prepare but another year would not take
long to run over.

The lithology has taken quite a little extra practice but that is what I took it up for.
There is nothing like teaching a subject to freshen one up in it. Besides this I have another
regular work and my outside work in Astronomy and Geology. I suppose you think this all
sounds very big.

When I came back I startled half the people as they were not sure that I was not a
ghost. One fellow had even heard that I dropped 300 feet. I could tell that story in my sleep
by this time.

Kiefer and I have a couple of very pleasant rooms, a large bed room and a nicely
furnished study, 3 revolving chairs, rocking chair, bay window, portiers, sofa, steam heat,
etc. In addition to this we live on the fat of the land, so you see I am making the best of life.
One of the finest features about living here is the use of the library which is just as free to
us as a private affair. 90000 volumes and all the periodicals within reach is a great
advantage and something which would be greatly missed if a person in Graham’s Law or
Wrangle’s Law or King Wms Land.

I see there is one great advantage to your normal school, there is no time to keep
you in, so I judge that you have not had to write Mississippi backwards.

Well I will have to close but you will think that I am not equal to Georgie for he could
“talk sensibly to you and Puss though not to other girls,” but I don’t seem to be able to do
that. I am playing a game of chess by correspondence now, and move about twice a week.

Your affectionate brother
Joseph Barrell

Pointville, NJ
Oct 21, 1894

From: Annie B(adgley)
To: Ruth Barrell, State Normal School, Trenton, NJ

Dear Ruth:

I was very glad to hear from you and to get such a nice long letter. For now I know
what you are doing and just when.

I have struck a great place. Just the kind you read about. It is a small town about
half the size of New Providence, but is not connected with, or near any larger town, or
cities, as we are at home. The people are what you call “way backers,” but are very good
hearted, and do as well as they know how.

My school house is about a ten minute walk from my boarding place, and looks very
much like the one at Murray Hill.

I have 31 on the roll now, and will have more later on. They are good, bad, and
indifferent, as all other children are, I presume. In warm weather some of them come to
school barefooted. That is rather trying to the nerves, but I have to grin and bear it.
There are no girls in this place of my age at all, so I have to chum with myself. Of
course I am busy all day, and generally take a walk after school, and read, sew, or study in
the evening. I think I will join a Normal Correspondence class this winter as I have so much
spare time.

I enjoy teaching very much and am sure you will when your time comes.
Once in a while I have to punish the pupils and then I always think how we felt when
Balcorn used to go for us, and I am not so hard on them. They all mind better than we did.
I guess for they don’t get kept in as much, and none have been sent home yet. I am sure
I’d have a fit if one of them should make one step on a chewing gum maw. Verily,
“Experience is a great teacher.”

Did you get homesick? I did, terribly at first and haven’t got entirely over it yet.
Everything is so strange and different here that I may as well be in China as still in Jersey.
The children brag about who has the largest hog and such things as that, but I am
getting used to such things and see the amusing side of them which keeps up my spirits

I have letters from home or some one in New Providence almost every day, so I
keep track of all that’s going on there pretty well.

Dolly writes me all sorts of things and I tell her her letters do me more good than
one of Dr Cory’s blue pills.

I took the teacher’s examination two weeks ago, and was rather more successful
than we were in Cranford, as they sent me a diploma. I don’t expect to get home before the
holidays, and presume I shall see you then. Do you go up on the Central? I have to go on
the Penn or else change in Trenton, so I suppose I’ll have to go to Newark and change
there for the D. L. & W. unless some one meets me at Elizabeth or Metuchen. I think it
would be nice to go home together at Christmas if we can arrange it, but I don’t know
anything at all about where the Central Station is in Trenton. However there is plenty of
time between now and then. I always thought it would be nice to have no one to please but
myself but sometimes I get pretty tired of it and don’t know what to do.

I thought of writing to Amos, just for the fun of the thing, and then happened to think
his father might get it, as he did once before and make the poor fellow feel bad.

Sometimes I would be glad even to see Artie Doty, thou the thought of his big sister
rather appalls me.

I hear that Mr Knapp is to be married next Thursday. Wish we were home to give
him a skimmerton. I think there ought to be at least half a dozen more weddings at home
this winter.

Marne ______ to elope before I get back, but I’m sure I don’t know who she’ll take
along unless its Sam Tyler and he’s too much of a kid in her estimation.

Well, I’ve come to the end of the paper, so I’ll close, as I haven’t enough to say to
fill another sheet. Write soon.

Annie B

Ruth and Bessie. 1894

Ruth and Bessie. 1894

Providence, NJ
Oct 21, 1894

From: Bessie Barrell
To: Ruth Barrell, State Normal School, Trenton, NJ

Dear Ruthy:

I will not have time to write much to night as it is twenty minutes to eleven and I am
sleepy. I have been to bed only one night this week (Friday) before twelve o’clock.
If it is clear tomorrow I shall go to Orango Co with Gangmer, if not I shall finish a
letter to you telling all about my trip. I will enclose a few questions from Mrs Hooper which
she gave me today. As usual they are on the back of mission leaflets. If we go I shall not
have time to write you tomorrow but will do so from Orange Co.

Oct 22
The day is dark and cold and dreary, so we do not go today.
Last Tuesday we had a very pleasant time at the social. We went about eight
o’clock, that is the time we left home. Harry went with us, and when we arrived there we
found the rooms full.

Dave and Will were there and Lu. I wore Frank as “Hard Cash” like this ___ with
some of the green ribbon we used at the Hastery Pudding Party drawn up with a shirt
string around it and tied in a bow. It was very pretty. Lizer was one of the first to see it. I
wore my green baze waist and black skirt which looked very pretty together and Frank
hung from the front where the lace is drawn up.

Dolly as “Hand and Glove.” She wore one glove. Harry was “Never too late to mend”
and had a glove all torn to pieces pinned to his coat.

I have not time to tell of all the rest. Lu was “Miss Lu” and dressed as usual. I will
wait until you come home to tell you all the details except Art. When the peoples were
asked to come to the dining room for refreshments, Art came across the room to Dolly and
said “Miss Dolly have you been invited to supper,” with a graceful bow, and then he offered
his arm and Dolly and Art disappeared. Lu and Mrs Alden sat on the stairs and I occupied
the piano stool with my feet on the first stairs and Will was stretched full length in the
reclining chair drawn up to the stairs and Dave was in that large arm chair covered with
leather. You can not think of any one more comfortable than those two boys. We had the
hall to our selves with the exception of Hattie, Lizzie Wilcox, Sadi B and Addie who were
seated on four chairs close together in a row at the front of the hall. Dave would say in a
high falsetto voice, “Now girls I am the teacher and you are a class, now girls spell cat,
can’t you spell cat?”

Why was George Washington buried at Mount Vernon, etc. Lizzie looked as she did
that night at Bambridges. Dave is as nice as he can be. He was talking for a long time to
Mrs Hooper and also at another time to Mr H. He and Lu seem to be just where they left off
which seems almost strange after all that has been said.

Wednesday morning I went to Brooklyn. In the afternoon I went to Carries and spent
two or three hours. In the evening Frank, Mary and Georgie Reynolds called at Aunt
Libbie’s, so I saw them all. They were all well except Aunty Libbie who is very weak and worn out. Thursday I left after lunch and went to Jersey City. I made two very satisfactory calls and reached 119 Bergen Ave about half past six. Florence had not yet reached home. I had a very pleasant visit with her. We went to a lecture in her church which was fine. After, we went all around that part of the city. It is beautiful. I had no idea J C was so pretty. I think Bergen Ave is the prettiest street in the city. She has a nice place to board but I suppose she has written all about it. Will tell you when I see you more fully about my visit.

Friday afternoon Bessie Runyon came to West Summit. Saturday evening she, Lu
and Dave spent down here.

Yesterday all four boys were out in the morning and again in the evening. Just
before the meeting closed Ed made a prayer of the old sort. He was more like himself. It
was good to hear and see him.

The girls behaved themselves. Dave, Bessie and Lu were in the second seat. Dolly
and I in the back and Will and Ed in chairs behind. We had the corner to ourselves and
kept it until every one else had left. Will came down with us. He was in a dilemma. There is
a small boy of seven in Summit that had fallen in love with Douglass and Will had to
promise him one.

He just came in the store when Will was out and Mr Gray told him he could have it
for a dollar not supposing he really wanted it. He stayed and hugged him for a time and the
next day came back with his mother. She said the boy had done nothing but talk about the
doll they had in the window and she had come to buy it.

Will told her that nothing would induce him to part with that doll but finally he said
he would make one for him, and after he had spent an hour in hugging and kissing and
playing with him he went away happy in the promise that he should have one on Thursday.
I came to Wills assistance and said I would dress the one we have for him, so this
afternoon I shall be in the tailor business again.

Will will have another department the first thing he knows. “All men besides are to
me like shadows. Douglass, Douglass, tender and true.” Will said he was the most ardent
admirer he had had yet.

What will his history be. Willie couldn’t part with his baby. Gangmer was so sorry,
when she heard him down stairs that she had gone to bed, she wanted to see him so
much. This amusing to hear her talk about him. I am so glad Ed is on the return tack.
My paper is full but I am not full and Cousin Hi’ee and Ethel are home or will be


P. S. Squint eyes is going by and all I can think of is “My skiff is by the shore, etc”
He has his gun, and buttermilk.

Ruth, Mer, Dorothy- 1910.

Ruth, Mer, Dorothy- 1910.

New Providence, NJ
Oct 20, 1894

From: Dorothy Barrell
To: Ruth Barrell, State Normal School, Trenton, NJ

Dear Ruthy:

Good Bye

Dorothy Barrell

P. S. Oct 21st, 1894

Will write a bit to you before going to Sunday School where Lizer will instruct me
about a whole “routine” of servants.

Bessie Runyon is staying over Sunday at her brothers and was down here last night
but I guess Puss tells you about the shindigs.

Puss went to Brooklyn last Wednesday and after gadding about came home
Sunday so Poppy drove Ethel and I over to the bee doctor’s wedding. We were late but
heard all the ceremony which was very short, so short that Poppy had no time to come in.
The bee doctor had on a nice black suit and looked very neat and smiling while Mrs
Bee Doctor was dressed in white with a train and veil and held her head down looking very

Two days after when Mer’s butcher boy was over he told us the sequel to the
wedding. The reception was at Mrs Purdy’s, at which there were about a hundred guests,
and all during it the coach stood outside to take the bride and groom to the train. The boys
had arranged to give them a rousing send off with ice and old shoes and a general din
when they should come out to take the train. They waited patiently outside and presently
the brides maid and best man came out and got in and the coach drove on while the bee
doctor and his Louise walked back of the house and came out in the road quite a ways up
when the coach, as before arranged, stopped and took them in and drove them to Madison
to take the train. While the bee doctor laughed all the way there to think how he had
outwitted the boys, who, on the return of the coach were still waiting in front of the house
for the couple. Pretty smart in the old bee doctor wasn’t it? But he will catch it on the return
from his trip.

Must join Lizzie.

Ready for C E. Will now explain why this letter is all P. S.
I got as far as Dear Ruthy last night and although I had plenty of subjects to write
on, I did not feel in the humor and so fooled around and did not write at all last Monday

Amos took fifteen of us C E’s to Chatham to attend the second anniversary of the
Presbyterian C E Society. Dr French, the one who spoke at one of our anniversaries gave
the lecture which was very good. The secretary of each invited society was supposed to
give a few suggestions about something which their society was doing. We did not know
anything about it so Allie Kent got up and made a few very good offhand remarks. The
Afton society was there and their secretary’s words flowed gently. The secretary from Hanover was also there but refrained from saying aught of poor old Kitchelt who is “asleep by there slumbering stream.”

There was the queerest looking little dump in the corner of the section in front of us.
She was about the length and breadth of Aunty, late, ___ but she had the queerest face
and a neck as large around as her head, watery blue bilge eyes and oh, an awful homely
dour face which I cannot describe.
“Terah or Bullfrog.”

Puss says she was nothing like as tall as I said and come to think about it, she
wasn’t as where she was standing up I thought her sitting down.

Lyman Caddington came with the Madison society and it was strange to see his
familiar face among strangers. “Your mother’s butcher boy” sat four seats ahead of us.
The Chatham society has a female president as Joe would say. It was a beautiful
night and we had a nice ride both ways, but it was cold and there was only one horse
blanket to put over all our laps and so did not reach the full length of the wagon and
consequently there was some good natured squabbling. Deacon Potter, Mrs Deacon and
Carrie Concelyea sat across the front while Allie Kent, Jennie Dickinson, myself and Puss
were sitting across the back and the remainder along the sides.

Allie Kent got a hold of a corner of the blanket and pulled but Deacon Potter held on
for dear life, imagine the grip his puny fingers must have had, and held his own. That
blanket never got away from Deacon, no not much.

Puss is going to tell you about the social and will no doubt include a funny episode
about Deacon Potters hat of life long fame. No doubt. Its home, its home and its home ye
would be, though the cloud is in the left and the wind is on the lea, for the sun through the
wind, blinlar blithe on mine e’e I’ll shine on ye again at Thanksgiving. I will frame the Bore
family and you can leave it for Christmas.

Ethel and I went up to Murray Hill Saturday night to get a bundle of merchandise
that Puss had brought from N Y. Among other things were a pair of gloves, pencil ties and
outing cloth for a dress, for me also a felt hat, ecru in color.

Douglass [a doll] is sitting on the desk, no doubt he is thinking how tender and true
he is.

Must stop now but if I get a chance will add another P S.

Good Bye
Dolly B

32 S William St Aly
New York, NY
Oct 24, 1894

From: Florence Cronce
To: Ruth Barrell

My dearest Ruth:

As I sit here with no work nor anything to occupy my mind for a time, I think I will just
pen you a few words, now, and then if they do not become too stale, send them to you

My work is hard here at first, though not because I have so much to do, but it is so
wearing, so I have to attend to the business part.

Your very welcome letter came Monday and I was so glad to get it. It was to me like
oil is to troubled water, for I felt then near nervous prostration, and it was so comforting to
hear from you. I am in a miserable state of mind. Yesterday I thought I should give right up,
in despair, but I feel a little better today.

Bessie spent last Thursday night with me, and no doubt you have heard of it by this
time. It seems such a short little visit but I enjoyed it very much.

If you are homesick I can sympathize with you from the bottom of my heart. I have
had the worst feelings since I came to my new place. I can’t even think of a home to go to,
or to cheer one on, and when I make a change, I always have the same feeling.
Bessie said Lulu had not fully decided where she would go to school, and I think it
would be a fine thing for her to come with you at Trenton, but I suppose it would not be
enough polish to the education there.

I am so sorry for Lulu. It isn’t those who have money that enjoy life, is it? Every one
seems to have some kind of discouragements.

I wish you could meet the son of the family where I am now living. He is one of the
most peculiar characters I ever met. He is about 19 years of age, and smart as a man of 30
and acts a boy of 15 or 16. I really cannot make him out. One can’t help liking him too, for
he is rather taking. He loves his home more than anyone of his kind I ever met.
He is attending Law School and goes to business part of the day.

I think so many changes are taking place. This world is mad, and yet how narrow
too. Sometimes I think I will never get beyond self. Then I seem to lose myself in others.
I see it is only, well not quite, four weeks to Thanksgiving. No doubt you are
counting the days and soon it will be that you will count the hours and minutes. I think you
will surely have a Thanks — giving Day, if your brother Bob comes home.
And this, do you know I notice a difference in your writing already.
I suppose you will be so learned that I will hardly know you.
Are you well? Do you find you are losing flesh yet? Keep all you can.

How do you like your gymnastics? Do they give you muscle? If you see any queer
expressions in this letter, and misspelled words, please excuse them for my head is all
wrong. I can’t even think any thing straight, let alone expressing it.

Bessie was telling of Ed Gray and his unsteady convictions and I am so sorry for
him, but I feel sometimes just that way, and know about what it is.

I feel as if I would like to give up everything; that I am not worth having a bit of life in
me, but I live some how.

What kind of talk is this for you, because I know as well as anything my next letter
may be just the contrary. I think I need some of Dr Green’s, or Scotts Emilson, or Mr
Beckman’s, or possibly some of Beechan’s. I expect I am hard for 20 years yet no doubt
but I am strong in my weakness.

Give Sadie my love and sometime I hope to have time to send her a note of

Oct 26th
If I do not hurry along I fear you will not receive this before Sunday, and I do want
you to get it before.

Since Bessie went home, she sent me a picture of you, taken on the front steps,
also a blue print of Will & Walter. I prize them both very highly, of course yours more

My room is pretty well filled now with pictures, or will be when I get them all in grand

I am afraid I have left out something that you asked me about, or some such thing,
for your letter is home in my room, and have been wishing and wishing for it, but it is of no
account, to wish any more. Seems to me wishes ought to come true sometimes, don’t you
think so?

One thing I wish for today, and that is an umbrella, but, sad to say it won’t come

For two days I have been congratulating myself upon being so nicely fixed with
rubber and umbrella, but today, as I supposed would be clear, so I left both at home, and
now the rain has begun again. I have on my best dress too. Oh! This is a sad, sad world.
Well, so much for this trash. I am ashamed of myself for trying to make something
out of nothing, so now end with a big kiss and hug from

Your own

P. S. I sent word to Will not to be despairing for Thanksgiving was soon to hand.
The clerk here just called me Miss Crousir. I go by all names now. The office boy
said Mrs Crousir the other day.

Back: Joe, Bessie, Ruth. Front: Dolly, Bob, Ethel 1895

Back: Joe, Bessie, Ruth. Front: Dolly, Bob, Ethel 1895

New Providence, NJ
Oct 29, 1894

From: Bessie Barrell
To: Ruth Barrell

Dear Ruth:

I have only time for a few lines as dinner is all most ready. I have just finished
sweeping my room and am waiting for the dust to settle. You know what a job it is to do my
room. I have been at it ever since breakfast.

Dolly told you about my loosing my train. At 3 o’clock I started down for Chamber
street to get the valise and walk to Barclay St. It was not there and I had to go to the
general baggage office of the Erie road and have a man trace it for me. He looked over a
pile of reports about two feet high and did not find it. Then he went backwards over them
again and about half way down he found it and told me it was at 34rd St. So as I was
inside the gate I went over of the Erie boat to Jersey City and then still inside took the 23rd
boat and went there and found the valise and returned on the same boat all without any

It would have been very pleasant if I had not had any thoughts of a muddy walk in
the dark before me. I had given myself three quarters of an hour margin, but all this took
an hour more. When I reached Jersey City, again I took a horse car to Hoboken, had to
transfer once but did not have to walk a step. I was going to leave my valise and a bundle
at Gray’s and take the West line train for West Summit which left in about ten minutes. I
was very much surprised to see Dolly and Jack.

Dave, Will and Walter were out last night. Will was sitting next to me and when I
had finished reading your selection I laid it on the seat with some stuff I had between us
and he reached for it and studied it for about five minutes. He must have committed it to

Dave was the only one out in the morning. Ed was home all day but did not come

Will’s lip grows a shade darker as time goes on.
Didn’t Ezra have a fine time. I laughed all day over his luck.
I think I shall drive to Millington ___ __ some time this week.
Dinner is ready.

With much love.

A dollar bill goes with this for _____.
Gangmer expects to send you enough to bring you home. Write if she does not.
Sam Purello baby died Saturday. It was a good thing as it would never have know
anything. Been something like the Kendall girl.

32 S William St, NY
119 Bergen Ave, Jersey City, NJ
Nov 2, 1894

From: Florence Cronce
To: Ruth Barrell, State Normal School, Trenton, NJ

My dearest Ruthie:

Your lovely long letter received, and now I do so want to send reply before Sunday,
but fear I shall not be able to do so. My life is now sort of a hurry and scurry, especially this
week. I cannot tell how much I enjoyed your letter. I was feeling a little blue and it just
touched my heart to read your words of love.

Passions deep are throbbing in my breast now, and I would give worlds to have you
near me, don’t think this a selfish desire, but no, you can think it just what it is — selfish
desire for me to want you all to myself.

Can you wait until New Years? If so, I can, but it is hard.

Do you know I have strange Motions. This is one, that I cannot answer your letter
freely, unless I have yours right in front of me, and I have left it home, I must try to make
sense of this without it, if such is possible. I fear I am inclined to be —— well no more of

I had a lovely box of flowers sent me from the country this week. It came from
Lebanon, NY where I visited this summer. It was mostly chrysanthemums, etc. I think I
know how you must feel when you receive any thing from home, for these flowers brought
up so many past memories. Lebanon was where mama died, and is buried there, and it is
the last place I lived where it was a home with Papa, Mama and my brother.

How glad you must have been to see Mr E Gray & the others. I understand just how
you felt when they left. I am just aching to see some one familiar face. Aunt Sallie is
coming tonight to stay with me a while, and I am so anxious to go home, but suppose I will
be later than usual just when I want to go. She will have to wait, that’s all.

Sunday Nov 4th

Just see now how I have neglected you. I feel so badly to think I could not get this
mailed Friday but something just turns up when I intend doing anything. I brought your
letter home, (this one), and was going to finish it at night and read yours over first.
But now, I must really and truly send you my very best, and stop fooling. I dreamed
of you last night, and about Trenton. It was very peculiar and confusing.
The first thing I notice in your letter is the writing, and I think you have improved
very much indeed just in these few months.

I know you are looking forward to the last of this month. This is such a beautiful day that I am longing to be off in free breathing place. I wonder if you are going out to enjoy it.
My mind is a blank today in spite of the beauty of the atmosphere.
I need a renovating and think I will take a walk with you in my mind.
O Ruthie, I thank you so much for your sharing of your home, and indeed I do feel
very much at home with you. I some times think that — well I guess I won’t say more.
I saw the notice of Dr R’s marriage in the paper and was much surprised.

I have received a letter from Mr Huysoon asking me to go to the Metropolitan Opera
House to a concert. I want to go, but do not think I am right to go with one I do not care
very much for, now what shall I do. I suppose, in the end I will go, and scold myself ever

Do you know Ruthie, my heart is getting softer than it used to be. I guess because
you send me such true love and kisses. Then do I know it is better to live here in a family
with growing people.

I really feel I have given you of my most this time, and please forgive such awful

From your own dearest

Robert and Mer, 1925.

Robert and Mer, 1925.

Bannack City, Montana
Nov 3, 1894

From: Robert W Barrell
To: Ruth Barrell, State Normal School, Trenton, NJ

Dear Ruthy:

I received your letter of Oct 19 a few days before I went on night shift again, and as
I have had very little time since then I have not answered it yet, but will try this afternoon.
We started up our steam hoist and Engine on Oct 26 and then I went on night shift
on the 28th. I will give you my hours of work so you will see what little time I have to do
anything except work, eat, and sleep at present. I go to work at 6 P. M. eat lunch at 11 P.
M. and work until 7 A. M. Then get breakfast and go to bed about 8 A. M. Get up about
3:30 P. M. and get supper at 5 P. M. So you can see the one hour and a half from 3.30 to 5
P. M. is all the time I have to myself out of the 24. It is now 3.45 P. M. and I have only been
up about fifteen minutes, and cannot spend more than fifteen minutes more on this letter.

I expect to work here up to Nov 10, or just one week more. Then I will commence to
think about Thanksgiving and if every thing goes well, I may be able to start for a town
called New Providence about the 15th. I see in yesterdays paper that “R___, G____, spit
all over.” Say Nov 29 shall be Thanksgiving, so I suppose it will be. I gave Mr Curin “the
boss” notice that he would have to find someone to take my place after the 10th.

Of course I am on the right side of Mrs Durphy and everything I say has a go. If I
ordered ice cream or bananas they would have to appear immediately. I have got the
picture of the veranda down fine now and I think I will be able to find it with out inquiring. At
least I will try to first without doing so.

When I take my eastern trip, I expect to now, to go first to Salt Lake, then to St
Louis via Denver, and then to New York.

I am sorry to learn of your being so wicked as to get off of the beaten track, that you
are required to take, and hope it will never, never, happen again. Just think what might

Our weather here has not been as cold lately as it was some time ago, but it is likely
to get frozen up any time now. I do not want it to get very cold before I leave here.
I will have to quit now as my time is about used up. Perhaps you better not answer
this unless you answer it as soon as you get it, as I will probably be ready to leave before
it would get here. I will not leave before the 15th anyway so if you write before the 10th I
will get it all right.

With love from
Your affectionate brother
Robert W Barrell

New Providence, NJ
Nov 5, 1894

From: Bessie Barrell
To: Ruth Barrell, State Normal School, Trenton, NJ

Dear Ruthy:

“Your ma” is in Brooklyn so you will not get a letter from her this time.
She went on Thursday noon and will stay until the last of the week. I think the
change will do her good. Dolly is running the house now and feels very big. Yesterday we
had the old red rooster for dinner and he was good. We put him over to broil the day
before and broiled him until the fire went out and then the next day he went over again
before breakfast and broiled until dinner. He was so tender all the meat fell off the bones.

Lu was down on Friday morning & spent half an hour in the sitting room and then I
said I had to go into the kitchen and help Dolly get dinner. She did not go but insisted on
going into the kitchen also. So she poked around there while I took the butter up and
salted it and made the stew and finally left about twelve o’clock. She came down to the
school in the afternoon and we walked to the Kents. I had a letter for Allie asking him to
lead the meeting last night and thought I had better not wait until Sunday morning, (you
see I am improving). No one was home so we poked all around the house, looked in the
windows, tried the doors and when we were satisfied we could find no one tucked the letter
under the kitchen door.

On the way back I stopped at Lu’s and she showed me the contents of her
grandmother’s trunk that was left to her on her eighteenth birthday. She received it when
she came home. It contains all sorts of things, a handsome velvet coat old fashioned
shape, an old silk dress that has never been worn, white and grey very pretty, a silk bed
spread not very pretty, a wool shawl some thing like the one Gangmer gave me years ago,
a bright green pin cushion, three bronze vases handsome and valuable, a dozen tea knits,
a beautiful little silver tea set and silver, two sets of old fashioned black carved beads and
one cross, a box of handsome lace and last of all a primary certificate to Lulu Chase from
the N P public school. This is all I remember, a queer collection of queer things, and the
last the queerest of all but no doubt highly valued by its late owner. The trunk had been
packed four years.

Young photo of gangmar (grandma)

Young photo of gangmar (grandma)

Lu then shared me some of her mothers things, a perfectly beautiful Chinese work
box which is utterly beyond my ability to describe, filled with dozens of curious carved ivory
objects supposed to be of use in sewing. She also showed me some of her mother’s
jewelry, a full set of pearls, a diamond ring, three diamonds, and a most exquisite set of
carved cranes bill, which is amber colored, and gold medallions. The carving especially on
the bracelet could not be improved on I should think. She has just received a box of things
from her and Rose’s wardrobe, a seal skin cape, silk evening dress and smaller things.
She is also to have a diamond necklace.

This is not merely all, she has quantities of dresses of her mother, etc. She says
that all her life she had been receiving such things until the novelty has worn off.
All she has, can not make up for some thing, she does not possess which money
can not buy. I hope she may have a happy home of her own “some day.” I am afraid Will is
going to cause them trouble. He is too big for Sunday school now.

Yesterday Dave and Lu came down to the S. S. and we met Mr W coming from over
the river with Rufus and Ray Dickinson. I knew that when Lu went home he would catch it
from his mother and in the evening she said Will had cried and said he could not stand the
class, they all made so much noise and he could not sit in the same class with my idiot.
What do you think of Will’s excuses? He is so quiet himself and studious and the other
boys do bother him so.

Jane Tyler and Mr Young were witnesses of Ed. I have not seen Ed since then but
one of the boys said they thought since the Spencer case was decided for $12,000 instead
of the $50,000 he sued for that Ed would settle without bringing it to trial. He did not think
he would get much if Spencer who is a helpless invalid only got $12,000. The late Mrs
Basinger had selected a maiden lady of about her own age for Mrs B no 2. Some one they
knew out west and tried to make the Dr promise her he would marry the one she selected if
he ever married again. Mr Jett is not at all pleased with it but Mrs is very much so thinks
“our daughter is provided for whatever happens.”

Harry seems to think the Dr has more money than people around here give him
credit for. He said he knew he had quite some property out west and he owns the place
here. He is such a mean old thing he would want every one to think he had nothing. The
bride has fallen in every ones estimation.

Dave says he studies people’s feet and Miss Jett (I should say Mrs B) has a very
common foot short and ____ and no instep the sort of a foot no person of such refinement
possesses. You see what every one who gets shoes of Dave has to pass through.
I think Florence Ackerman and Delphy is much worse I cannot believe it. The
Summit Herald had a note saying that old Duryee was going to lead to the altar a young
lady of Union Co 25 years of age. I do not know who it can be, we will not be surpriesed at
anything now.

I don’t know what Mer wrote you about a hat or coat. I bought a hat some time ago,
the only question is which one I shall take for which. I got two black ones, a blue one and a
drab one. I expected the blue one for Ethel the drab one for Dolly and the black one for
you and me but now I have changed them all around.

Lizzie gave me her coat and wants me to have it for some reason, did not think it
would fit you etc. I wanted you to have it as it is blue and would match your clothes and
does not ____ and I could get along with my old ones.

I am doubtful about the fit as it is not any to large for me. Since writing the above I
have decided to keep the blue all round. Far thought the coat looked very well with my
green dress and I do not believe it would fit anyone else, so I have just trimmed the blue
hat with part of the blue ribbon you had on the old fur hat and those brown velvet flowers
Aunt Lizzie gave us and the velvet ribbon of the same color (golden brown) she used for
strings in a roll under the brim. All this must remind you of Jennie Morris blue, green and
brown but they look very well together and the hat is very pretty and only cost 49 cents and
all the trimmings is old. The one I think I shall trim for you has a brim some thing like your
daisy hat with a small crown about three inches high it is a shape much worn this winter
and I shall put some blue in the trimming and I think it will suit your style of beauty to a T or
a tea or tee or whatever it is.

Lu has been wearing her light green hat with the black lace and feathers and every
time we see each other we say “straw hats are in.” I began it two weeks ago down to her
house after S. S. Dave was there too and I made the remark she took it off and fired it at
me, it went behind the sofa. I just received a letter from Florence “Crunch” she has your
picture and a blue one of Will and Walter on her bureau. Those two young men were down
after evening meeting last night. Will has a new over coat, light gray and long and he looks
twice his usual size. Walter has his first holiday since he began tomorrow and if clear he
will spend it in the corn field and enjoy it too he said. He has work on Saturdays the same
as other days. I must tell you some sad news now. Jim is dead. She had been losing flesh
for some time and lately could not use her legs well. They would almost give out under her.

Dolly has been petting her and she was as nice as she could be. She has had heavier
feed than Jack and grass and extras. Far found her dead in her stall Tuesday morning she
had died without a struggle. Spinal meningitis Uncle Sam said it was, sort of a paralysis
and think painless. Far never told us what was the matter but was going all over the
country getting some one to bury her etc. Dolly and U Charley had gathered some grass
for her and Dolly had it in her lap and went in and found her dead. It was a dreadful shock
to her. She came in hurried through the kitchen so Mer did not see her and said to me as I
sat sewing in the dining room “Jims dead” and was up stairs in a moment. She cried as if
she had lost some dear friend, said all her old pets were going, etc. She would not come
down to dinner and we all looked a sorrowful lot. If Far had only told us it would have been
so much better.

She is buried by the brook in the Rizer lot near the elm tree in the lane. I suppose
tomorrow will be a holiday for you. Do you have school just the same as you do and any of
you have to vote. You have never said anything about Eleanor Alden. What kind of a girl is
she, do you like her?

You ought to see the shoes Will got me some time ago. They look like this __ are
actually no broader than ____ at the tip. They are the best fitting pair of shoes I have ever
had. He measured my foot and brought me a pair he thought would fit and they do as if
made on my feet. They are 4 B laced beauties I think Mer calls them tooth picks.

I just remember I wrote all that this morning perhaps I have something else in ____
also. Florence must come out for New Years, but do you think she could come at
Thanksgiving and spend Sunday. (Ethel just gave me her pen and said I must use the ink
on it and if we save the pennies the dollars will take care of themselves. I hope you will
think on some of the maxims your sister to repeat to you.)

Ethel, 1902

Ethel, 1902

— or would you not want to ask her with all the others home. We had a letter from
Bob of today saying he expected to start east by the 10th. Joe will be home from
Wednesday afternoon to Saturday afternoon and Wm will spend all the time he can. He
has not had many days off since you left. They have been very busy all the fall and no man
at home and Mr Gray can not take time off to do the work so the women do the work. The
other day I sent by and Mrs Gray and Jane amd Lizzie were all husking corn.

I am spent out. With love to yourself. I was going to say to all.

P. S. Dear Ben Aniah is going to visit the school tomorrow.

New Providence, NJ
Nov 5, 1894

From: Dorothy Barrell
To: Ruth Barrell, State Normal School, Trenton, NJ

Dear Ruthy:

I had to get dinner and attend to my other household duties yesterday so had no
chance to write to you.

I am making, or rather have made, an indian pudding which I hope will turn out
better than my first one. At any rate I shall expect better things of it and report to you later.
We had an awful long strung out business meeting last night and kept some poor
old sainted Methodists waiting up stairs for an age. They are having revival meetings at
Union Village and consequently there are no meetings at the M. E. Church in New
Providence and so some of the old land marks drifted in to our room.

A good many were there before the business meeting commenced and finally the
old saints wife says “lets go home.” Whereupon the saintly one said no they would stay out
the first meeting.

When we at last arrived I went in and in the seat in front of them in the corner next
to Lulu with Mrs Chase in the outside end, in front of us sat Walter, Will and Dave, the last
of whom sat on the outside. There were quite a good many there and by and by “aunty”
came in and sat down between Lulu and Mrs Chase.

Lulu crowded up against me and we felt, or at least were, quite by our selves. Mr
Hooper talked quite a while but when he sat down I supposed the end was in sight but,
horrible to relate, a self conscious, smiling voice alas, too well known, came from behind
me and Saint Burrett gassed (as Joe would say) for about an hour so to speak, of course
about his sanctified self, until I felt about wild and passed several insinuating remarks
about him to my seat mate, the seat, or I cannot deny, shoes at times whereupon the
sainted ones wife and aunty would glower in our direction. The evenings subject were on
Sabbath keeping and Mr Hooper remarks on the subject were stiff enough to stand alone
and the hypocritical saint condescended to agree to them including one about not having
your married children come to see you on Sundays as it distracted your mind from
brooding over Biblical subjects, while all the time Carrie Badgley was sitting in the seat
with them (had evidently come with them) enjoying it.

When in the middle of his effusion and getting off some stuff about not working on
that day, Dave leaned over and whispered “haying” to Will. At last after many minutes he
resumed his seat when deacon Potter, “may his tribe increase, awoke that night from his
deep dream of peace,” and gave out “empty me of self.” I say brought out to be tendered a
vote of thanks.

Puss and I went to Prayer Meeting last Thursday night and you could almost count
on one hand the number that were there. I know it is a sin for me to sit and grin at them
there. But Deacon Potter’s hat and his fingers and all that are so queer.
Chick the baby is on the lounge preparing for a long winter’s nap. I thought you
would like to cuddle him he is such a “mighty fine baby cat, sure.”
The old man still has his “heavy tread” and by the way, I am learning that part of the
Lady of the Lake now while I peel vegetables, iron, etc.

The indian pudding was much better today although I did not think it quite so good
as Mer’s.

I have stirred up my first bread but do not know whether I shall be allowed to mix it
or not.

Cousin Hi’ee (who, by the way, is a lusty driver) is perusing a Cosmopolitan by the
side of me.

All eyes was turned on Hi’ee. There stood hi’ee, with dizzy brain, Between the sea
and ski’ea. He little cares who I am writing about. He just got up and left, perhaps he
does. Here he comes again. Hail to Hi’ee, who in triumph advances.
There are some white chrysanthemums on the mantle piece.

The idea of calling me a “young one.” I am a young lady not a hoodlum who makes
herself and ‘upside down Turk.”

We h___ ____, __ ___, ___ ___, etc. Uncle C was up but alas no Scotch Polly
song, Evening Bulls, Saber song, Anna Louise or Warren.

When you wrote your ghost story was it entirely original or did you write up some
you have read as for instance who riseth slow from the ocean came and stormy surf?
The phantom pale sits like blackened foot on the flesh.

Just read cousin Hi’ee graduation essay which was on Martin van Buren and found
it quite interesting.

I suppose Julia Fanon knows more about b____ and one horse shays than anything
else, unless it is chocolate cakes.

Do you study “chromatic sections?”

I think Puss has told you about poor Juno. All I can say is that I would give a great
deal to see her hand her head over the fence and whinny to me again.
I have lots of letters to write so I must stop soon.
The baby cat is sleeping the sleep of the just with his fluffy tail curled under his little

When Thanksgiving comes we must have a fine cuddle, only I suppose your newly
acquired learning will make you feel superior in every way morally and physically.
Hi’ee’s pen goes scratch, scratch over his page.

Schiderman has moved the rest of his old barn and, with the material it contained, is
going to slap a lean to on his new one.

Hi’ee says to tell you that Hanley is wearing his whiskers longer.

Good Bye
Dorothy Barrell

P. S. Puss is singing over some ____ of her “own invention.”

P. S. How far is it My Lord to Berkley now. You should say Brickley.
Just cuddled the baby cat and sang to me and gave my fingers two licks in return.

1899a WAG _ REB Bessie Barrell_ _ _

Millington, NJ
Nov 12, 1894

From: Bessie Runyon
To: Ruth Barrell, State Normal School, Trenton, NJ

Dear Ruth:

Perhaps you are looking for a letter from me today, but you won’t get it.
I generally write to you Sunday afternoon, but yesterday I had company. I have told
you about Harry Cornish have I not, he is one of my friends, and came home with us
yesterday to dinner.

So you think Gray Torry thinks a good deal more of me than that other fellow I
spoke about does. Well, you are mistaken I think. Gray and I “made up” at a ball last
Friday night but we do not think of each other as we did before, at least I don’t.

I had a lovely time at the ball, just splendid. Nearly all the rich fellows were there
and we had lots of fun. Last Saturday night Gray was over and spent the evening. We had
a real good time there part of the evening. We both got hungry and we went to get some
apples in the dark. You can imagine what followed, can’t you. I know you had been there
“lots” of times before you went to Trenton.

I think you are awful mean now Ruth Barrell not to tell me what Will Gray said about
me. I am not going to West Summit again now, so he can’t say anything about me. See!!!
I suppose it will not be very long before you will be in New Providence, then you will
have fun.
We are going to have a sociable next Thursday night. I expect to have lots of fun.
Mr ___ is going to be there so he said last night about 11 o’clock.
I must stop now and go take a ride.


New Providence, NJ
Nov 13, 1894

From: Bessie Barrell
To: Ruth Barrell, State Normal School, Trenton, NJ

My dear Ruthy:

I received letter this morn and after reading it thought the best thing to do was to
hand it to Mer to read herself. Mer was in the same condition at one of the schools she
attended. We all thought you had best come home at once and see the Dr and you would
be all right most likely by Dec 3.

You are right in thinking that is the matter with you and it should be attended to at
once if left to itself it might result in something serious if you take cold or had any sort of

You can tell Mrs Dinsmore what is the matter with you. Far wrote Dr Green that you
had not been feeling well for some weeks and he thought it important that you should see
our family physican at once. Mer commenced at once when I opened your letter “is she
sick,” “what is the matter with her” etc but as soon as she read it she was all right. Scarlet
fever probably has something to do with it. Your six months were not up and Bee Dr said a

I think two weeks of chocolate “melk” and harmony will set you square on your pins
again. Mer laughed over your serious question. Now it is solved is it not. Deep scheming
on my part.

You know Far likes Will.
He likes all of the boys, but Will the best.
Mer says you need not bring any underclothes except undershirts and drawers.
Bring what music you want to practice and any books that you can use at home so
as not to get any farther back than necessary.
Any way you will only miss eight days school and gain almost two weeks home.
We sent for you Friday so Mer could go to Chatham with you on Saturday.
Now you need not write to Will. I must stop now and mail this.
We will see you soon and can talk.

With lots of love. Hope you will feel all right to come home.

Have you your name about you in your pocket book, as you might possibly be faint
as one is apt to be affected that way. A good dose of turkey air will make you all right if not
a good sized roll will I am sure. Yes Bob starts for home this week. He told Dolly to meet
him in the Mormon temple in Salt Lake on Tuesday next.
What a grand old time we will have.
Be sure and do as we say and come on Friday.

Some of the Gray boys, who are so often discussed.

Some of the Gray boys, who are so often discussed.

Destroy after reading

Jersey City, NJ
Nov 14, 1894

From: Florence Cronce
To: Ruth Barrell, State Normal School, Trenton, NJ

My dearest Ruthie:

Your letter came last evening just when I needed it so badly, and I only hope this will come
to you in just the right time.

My! But I can see such a wonderful improvement in your writing. If you are making such
progress in all other branches, I think you have reason to feel much encouraged.
You inspire me, so that I am going to try to give you my best writing.

I am sorry my last letter was delayed, but was afraid it would be so, and I was very much
provoked with myself for doing it. I trust this will reach you in due time.

I thank you and Bessie very much for your kind invitations, and you know I would love to
come, but you see I have many relations that are expecting me with them at various holidays, and
as I have let them know that New Years is already promised, I feel that I must take my
Thanksgiving dinner with Aunt Mamie’s & Uncle Steve; but now as I think of it, it falls on Friday
29th, and are you going to stay over until Monday? I suppose New Year’s is coming in on Tuesday
this time, and there will be but one day at that time; still Ruth I cannot promise anything yet, except
N Year’s night, and the day, so I will not want to have you disappointed, if I could not come for the
Thanksgiving Sunday. I should like nothing better, and as to that you are well aware, but if I feel I
cannot it will be only from duty elsewhere, or cause other than not wanting to come.

I envy you the ten page letter, and are the returning ones as long? Perhaps they are
twenty pages. I do not see what you can find to write about, but still I might know there is always
something in such cases. You well may be proud to receive them from such a one as Will Gray.

As to going to the Metropolitan Opera House, I have done it now, sure. You know I had an
idea, in fact I know, he thought I did not care to go to the theatre, or such things. Well, I wrote I
wanted him to understand my feelings and told him I had been and liked to go, but of course I only
cared for good plays. Now he dislikes anything of the sort, so no doubt he is shocked, for I have
not heard from him yet, and it is nearly three weeks ago. I ended the letter by saying I should be
glad to go to the concert, and I guess he is having a hard time, for I had surprised him with my
letter I know. Don’t you think I am dreadful?

Ruth have you any good ideas to give me? Do you think I am not acting as I should. You
have had experience in such things, and what do you think. They tell me I am foolish and silly, that
I jump at conclusions, and I am hard hearted and that I ought to be ashamed, etc. Now I really
think something is wrong, and as one says “I am going all wrong in my too earnest effort to go
right.” I have always said that trifling with affections was wrong, and I am trying to make this young
man have a fair idea of matters, for I do not in any way care for him outside of as a friend, and it
seems to me is pretty far along in matters, for the slightest thing in the way of kindness or anything
that I do, fairly upsets him, so I am going to be cranky & cold and show my worst side. As yet I
have not had the slightest awakening of a feeling outside of friendship; and, well, I am not going to
go on with this subject. I wish you could meet him again.

Saturday I went out to Morristown and spent Sunday with my cousins. How my mind
returned to that ride we took, as I passed the houses we noticed and remarked upon. Do you
remember? I tried to look for some familiar faces Monday, but I saw none.
I had my usual good time out there, of saying “How de do” and “good bye,” all in one
breath. My Sundays fly away like the seconds on week days.

Will Day, jr, is going to be married one week from today. She is one of the sweetest girls I
have met. Sweet in looks, as well as manners. If I was a man I would envy him. I expect she is
counting the days one by one till the great event takes place.

The daughter of the lady house, at home, is having such trouble with her young man. I feel
very sorry for her too, but she is such an innocent thing, that is quite laughable sometimes.

Thursday 15th
Here it is another day, again, and for you so much nearer Thanksgiving. I have such a
delightful time to myself here, as I came in this morning about ten minutes of ten, and they have all
gone out, and I am having it all my own sweet way. I am greatly in need of an ink bottle, for I have
to get up and take about five steps every time I want a dip. I have a big pen, fortunately, so get it
full and it lasts some time.

I am going to make an arrangement, and it is this, — As I may, from time to time, mentioned
the members of the household. I am going to give each a name, so you can tell them so I won’t
have to explain matters as I go along.

The oldest daughter, Meta, I shall mention as Fair Innocence, the next one Edna, will be
Auburn, (as she has lovely auburn hair & eyes to match), the son will be the Unexpected (he is
always doing something unexpected). and the lady will be Ma’dame, (not plain Madam but
Ma’dame) understand? The father, well I guess, as I will not very often have cause to mention him,
so will be plain Mr M.

Now, the Unexpected is one who is so changeable that any name might suit, so I may have
reason to change the name as well. He named me all sorts of queer names at first, but of late he
has not spoken to me. I doubt if he has said one word since I came from Morristown. It is certainly
“unexpected” sort of treatment. Indeed I would like to put the whole family in a book, but I am
forbidden, yes, I am forbidden to write books, for my brain won’t allow it.

Sad, but true nevertheless, for as you know I am under the power of my mighty brain.
I wish you could meet Fair Innocence, she is 18 years, but one would take her for about 15
or 16 to hear her talk, and to look at her sometimes one would think she was 23 at least. She is
real bright and pretty, and is fair with bright red cheeks (sometimes) and blue eyes, light fluffy hair,
pretty dimples, etc etc. Poor Fair One, she droops her head and weeps when her lover treats her
badly, or is cross. It reminds me of a withered flower, to see her in her anxiety and suspense.
I have been trying to think what flowers she reminded me of and at this time of year, I think
she would be a cosmos, fresh and pure, but withers so quickly.

I think her lover is mean to do so, and would like to give him a scolding. I think Auburn
reminds me forcibly of a dahlia; one of those variagated ones. She is certainly hardy, sturdy and

The unexpected will be named later, after further study and examining.

Don’t you like to compare people with flowers? Just try it, if you have time for spare

One very rainy day, a week or so ago, I said before I started in the morning, that guessed I
would not go to the city, it was so rainy. It just poured, but I went, and about 11 o’clock as I was
sitting at the store trying to dry my dress, in walked The Unexpected, who merely said, “You came,
Did you get wet?” Stood a few minutes and walked out, after I asked him if I could do anything for
him. Now he is trying to be mad at me.

Do not think I am going to out do Will in writing a 16 pager, but I just counted and find it is
almost that, so I had best end. I guess I am highest on record now. Am I not? Well. I want to pay
up for what I have not done.

Lots & lots of love from
your own lover
F Ecnerolf [Florence spelled backwards]

You are my Rose, (Does it suit)
My La Frana now

Burn This!

Normal Hall
State Normal School
Trenton, NJ
Nov 20, 1894

From: Adele Cazan
To: Ruth Barrell, New Providence, NJ

My dearest Ruth:

You do not know how badly it me feel to think that you are not coming back. I was in Miss
Worths room last night when the mail came, I had been expecting to hear from you by every mail,
so I knew who the letter was from right away.

I can almost imagine how glad you must have felt, and how difficult it must seem to be
home. We have got down to counting the days now — eight days now — and think I do not want to
think any farther for I know that I can not even imagine how happy I shall be.

The examinations are over and I feel as though I want to breathe once more.

November weather yesterday were just terrible, the questions were long and hard, I wrote
till I thought my back would break and my head burst, when I got home I was foolish enough to
have a good cry, it makes me mad to think I was so foolish but you know me half the time I don’t
do what I want to. Today examination was awfully long too, I wrote twenty two pages of rough
notes, but heavens knows it that is enough to get me out, I do not. I am going to try and do as you
say and not worry about them any more, but it is pretty hard work.

It seems so strange without a room mate and, Ruth, if you will believe me, I have not been
able to take care of myself, for I have caught a horrible cold, it is nothing, seems only just enough
to make me feel stupid and ugly. You ought to be thankful that you are not here, because I am just
as ever as you make them today.

Wish you were here just the same and, for my sake, not for yours.
Ruth, I want you to forgive me for every time I was not nice to you. I could punch myself for
being such a fool, yes, that is just what I mean as not to see that you were lonesome sometimes,
and I know there are lots of times when I know there are lots of time when I should have tried to
cheer you up, but like the foolish thing that I am. I did not have sense enough to see it, this world
is a queer place and no mistake.

I gave Heather your love, wish you could have seen how pleased she looked when I told
her you sent it especially to her. I am sure she would just love to hear from you.
I agree with you about loving Martha, but Ruth, I know I am not half what you think I am
and if you had staid here long enough I verily believe you would not love me the least little bit.
How I wish you were coming back, just think you have left me roommateless and that is the
worst condition you ever heard of. I keep engaged on the door about all the time, so the girls won’t
think I am entirely forsaken.

I suppose I shall have to ask Cassie to room with me now. I do like her ever so much, but I
am worried about how I shall get my lessons let alone how I am going to check. Trials and

No, Mary Brown did not wear my coat to church, my coat was real bad and staid home all
day. I expect to give it a good lecture before next Sunday and see that it goes.
You ought to be thankful that you get something good to eat, sausage for supper last night,
_____ for breakfast this morning, all I wanted was to have it kept at the other end of the table.
Ruth dear, I must stop writing for my eyes feel like lumps of bread, and must get ready for

ll the girls wish to be remembered to you, Eleanor and Martha send love.
And so does your friend
Write more soon


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