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My words and photographs are copyrighted, and may not be used without permission, even on Pinterest.

~ Kathy M.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Letsom Letters: A Sepia Saturday Post

On our way home from our Texas trip a couple of weeks ago, my Mom came and picked us up from the airport in Eugene, and we spent the night with her.  In her living room there were two old cardboard barrels and a box full of hundreds of vintage postcards.  Mom said, these are The Letsom Letters, and I want you to take them home, because I know that you will do something with them.  Oh! Thanks, Mom, that is quite a vote of confidence, and for me, a gold mine of information on family and early Oregon pioneer history.

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

I didn't even know about these, for some reason, so this was all really a surprise.  They were never a secret, and I can't figure out how I missed the fact that Grandma T. and Uncle John had been keeping them safe before they made their way down the generations.  Mom talked to my aunties, and they said it was fine for me to have everything at our house.  My Nanny is busy gathering the stuff that she has to make it's way over here soon.

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

I haven't even dug down to the bottom of the barrels yet.  There are thousands of newspaper clippings, tons of letters, many receipt books, and all kinds of other stuff!  I could easily get overwhelmed with the task of organizing, scanning and, mostly, putting things into some kind of chronological order.  But, instead, I am so excited! Also, I've given myself the gift of time; the letters have made it here all in one piece after 100 years, and I don't have to get this project finished in two weeks or anything.  It is good to have goals though, and I think that I will aim for some sort of family book/CD package by this Thanksgiving.

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

I did sort through the postcards by name, and most of them were sent out to my Great-Great Grandfather, John Letsom; sent to him as birthday cards.  There are many postmarks for 1906 and 1916.  He turned 87 in 1916.

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

I found the surnames of many cousins that I had never heard of before.  That should come in handy someday.

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

Because my Great Grandma was Talitha Letsom Hedrick, there are some letters in there written to her husband, my Great Grandpa Benjamin E. Hedrick in the mix as well.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

Check out this telegraph postcard and handmade wedding/party favor to celebrate a special occasion on March, 6, 1909.  This is all so cool!  

I have written about some of these family members over the past couple of years, and have submitted the stories to Sepia Saturday.  This is my extra credit post for this week.  My other post is about The McPherson Opera House in McPherson, Kansas.

Here are some links to my stories about The Letsoms: 

To read wonderful posts from my friends over at Sepia Saturday, please "CLICK HERE".  If you enjoy old photos and historical stories, please consider joining us!

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L. D. Burgus said...

This is overwhelming but it is so cool. The jump back in time is right there all over your table. I didn't begin to get this much stuff from my parents and I am still going through it all. I found a pillowcase the other day that I had thrown letters and things into and I had not remembered doing it. It is up in the store room ready for me to work on eventually. Good luck.

Bob Scotney said...

You have an archivist's job now for life. The scope and scale of what you have here is an historical find and a geneologist's dream. I look forward to seeing your posts on the contents.
That Telegraph Postcard says it all about the future. Good luck - you'll need it Kathy.

Grammy Goodwill said...

What a treasure you have there! You have quite a big job ahead of you, as well.

Gloria (The Little Red House with the White Porch) said...

Wow, Kathy, what wonderful antique items you have! You will get lost for hours when you start reading all of the letters and books. I saw an old songbook there or something which looked like a wonderful piece to have. Let me know if you find any little cookbook or any hand-written recipes, that would be great for you, and you can try them and post them! Well, enjoy yourself, Kathy. You will be in heaven reading up on all of your old ancestors.

Kristin said...

Whoooo Hooooo! this is an amazing gift and vote of confidence in you from your family! Fun.

Little Nell said...

You are so lucky to have all this wonderful material, but you certainly have your work cut out collating it. We look forward to some extra special Sepia Saturday posts!

Wendy said...

Definitely the Rosetta Stone of family history. Congratulations!

Anglers Rest said...

What a wonderful, wonderful family archive. How exciting!

Joy said...

What a treasure trove, AND more to come. This is a wonderful resource both historical and family. You have many hours of enjoyment and discovery ahead of you.

Postcardy said...

What a treasure. My family didn't save much stuff.

Christine H. said...

It's like opening a time capsule. these things would be interesting to anybody, but when they're family artifacts it's especially wonderful.

(Queenmothermamaw) Peggy said...

Oh you lucky gal. I would give anything if I had had access to my grandmother's things but when she passed all my aunts took things and never even asked if wanted them. I probably would not have appreciated them at the time but I know now what I was missing by not keeping many things. Great post. I enjoyed reading.

Mike Brubaker said...

A fantastic gift of love and family heritage! Don't get discouraged at the effort, the story will grow one card at a time.

Rob From Amersfoort said...

It's an amazing gift, I'm jealous. I hope you' ve got enough free time to sort it all out.

Teresa Wilson Rogers said...

Overwhelming yes, but every family historian's dream come true - I am truly envious! Take your time and enjoy!

Alan Burnett said...

What a treasure. I can only imagine your sense of anticipation. I look forward to sharing some of your discoveries

Karen S. said...

What a most wonderful package of priceless wonders you have! Lucky, lucky you! You could and will be lost in hours of tracing and tracting and learning....for quite a long time! ..and Eugene has an extremely good traveling music group, I listened to a few summers back at an open air theatre at Lake Harriet in Minneapolis! They were excellent!

Who Were They? said...

I heard that in order to get rid of bugs or mold you can microwave old papers then store them in Tupperware. My sister has done that with some of our old papers but then we have gotten into the containers, so I don' know if that cancels it out. What a fantastic treasure. I would be over the moon!!

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Hello, My Friends! Thank you so much for your lovely comments full of congratulations, well wishes and encouragement. I am really excited to go through everything. I just need to rearrange our office to help me get organized and then I'll get going.

Along with The War Letters, I am curious to see where this will all lead myself.

You guys are great, and I am so happy that I got to share this with you, because I knew you would understand what this all means.


Kathy M.

No Copying!


Links to My Oregon Blog Posts (Except for Central Oregon):

"Oregon Bloggers"

"Sepia Saturday, Postcard and Stamp Blogs"

"Writing and Poetry Blogs":