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~ Kathy M.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Uncle Kit Letsom and Some Early 1900's Advertisements:




This week's Sepia Saturday theme is guys in overalls and forms of advertising.  I happen to be able to give you a two-for-one special today.  

First, out of the family photo album, I found a picture of some friends of my grandmother's family in overalls:


I don't know who they are, but they sure are cute.  
The overalls on the kid on the left have seen better days.


Then, here is a bit more about my:

"Uncle Kit"


Meet my great-great Uncle Evans Willis "Kit" Letsom.  Born to John T. Letsom and Sarah Harer Lewis Letsom on December 1, 1870, he later became known as "Uncle Kit" to the Oregon communities of Scotts Valley, Yoncalla and Drain.  Uncle Kit was my Granny Talitha Letsom Hedrick's brother.  They were the last of the batch, and were only a couple of years a part.

A busy farmer on the original homestead of his parents, Lone Cedar Farm, Uncle Kit successfully farmed the productive 300 acres.  Uncle Kit never married, but he was the one who kept the large family tied together. He took care of his father, John T. Letsom on the family farm until Grandpa Letsom died at the age of 94, on April 29, 1922.  Each summer, there was a Letsom Family picnic on the old homestead in Scotts Valley, but they ended with Uncle Kit's death when another side of the family worked their way on to the property.  

My Mom remembers Uncle Kit best as he rode around the farm on the back of his old donkey, in his felt hat and overalls, and his long legs ... his feet brushing the ground as he went along.  

Uncle Kit also took over his father's job of being School Superintendent.  He was a generous man, though often behind on his paperwork, and sometimes on his bills.  He paid for others funerals, and would sometimes receive mail demanding payment for some relative or another who had charged a room in his name.  It seems that some were prone to take advantage of his good nature.

Uncle Kit died in Roseburg on July 1, 1957 and is buried at the Yoncalla Cemetery next to his sister Litha and their brother Thomas.  


Thanks to Roots Web, I just found what was stated in Uncle Kit's will.  He got it revised when he was 79, and he died at the age of 85.  It says, in summary, that after he dies his bills and funeral expenses were to be paid off.  His two surviving sisters, Talitha Hedrick and Martha Harris were to each receive one dollar.  And, though this will was "probably" not changed under duress, or anything:

"I give and bequeath unto Raymond R. Miller all the balance of my property both real and personal and wheresoever situated.  The said Raymond R. Miller having taken care of me for many years."

After reading that I am so relieved to know that all was done fair and square.  I'm just sayin'.  There is a family cemetery on the property, but nobody is allowed to visit it any longer.  Mr. Miller died in 1994, and his son lives there now (as far as I can tell, anyway.)  Mr. Miller was named the special administrator of the estate of "Uncle Kit".

I wonder if Granny Litha and Aunt Martha spent their money wisely.  It looks like they had the will contested, but seeing as the property has been handed down through the Miller family, I don't think that the sisters won.  The Millers did inherit the 300 acres, the equipment, buildings, livestock and, well just about everything and it added up to around $100,000 (in 1957) according to the Roots Web information.  It seems that they put themselves into the right place at the right time, and how convenient for them that the will was changed!  

Oh well, we did get the Letsom Letters.

My Mom commented:

 Hi Kathy,
 
Good article on overalls and Uncle Kit. You might let people know he loved his sisters. Mom said he probably gave the ranch to the Millers as they had nothing when they came to live with him.  They were the last of many who moved in with him. His sisters were taken care of. I do think the dollar deal could have had more thought. They were crushed. He also would not like the fact that there would be no more family reunions. He was very generous. He would stop by and visit often.  Aunt Martha also stayed with him often. She also spent time with Grandpa and Granny.
 
Mom
 
 

"Advertisements"


Slipped among the monthly invoices from the the local store, Stearns & Chenoweth in Yoncalla, Oregon to Uncle Kit would be advertisements of one form or another.  Here are a few of them that I found when sorting through The Letsom Letters:



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So, there you are, my friends.  If you enjoyed this story, please visit my Sepia Saturday friends by "CLICKING HERE" to find other neat photos and stories.  To read more about my family and other stories featuring old photos, memories and more, please look for this picture of me and my dad on the left-hand sidebar and read whatever else catches your fancy.  Thanks so much for visiting!


Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews



At Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy, if you miss a day, you miss a lot!  All material on this post is copyrighted and not for use without my permission ...Please click here to go to my home page and see what is happening in Mayberry today.
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21 comments:

Little Nell said...

How lucky to find those 'overall' pictures Kathy. I haven't any I'm afraid. I love the old advertisements too. When you look at the old sewing machines and then see what we ladies use today, it's a different world.

Boobook said...

Overalls are such a useful item of clothing. I wonder when they were first invented.

KathyB. said...

Very interesting. I think the last will & testaments of people are far more enlightening than one could believe, and the death of a person often reveals the true nature of the family left behind.

Wendy said...

I have an old will in which a daughter is left one dollar. I never know what to make of that. Anyway, this is a wonderful sketch of Uncle Kit. It's too bad the Millers won't allow anyone to visit the family cemetery.

Alan Burnett said...

A great collection of images - and we seem to have been sent in similar directions by our theme this week.

Helen Bauch McHargue said...

Uncle Kit sounds like a real character and the kind of relative we all wish we had. The advertisements are great. Who knew there was so much innovation going on with sewing machines?

Kat Mortensen said...

That wasn't a twofer, that was a Hat-Trick!

Your uncle Kit sounds like he was a real upright kind of guy. I love that image of him on his donkey with his feet dragging on the ground.

A generous soul too, by the sound of things - paying for others' funerals and such.

barbara and nancy said...

The Uncle Kit story was pretty interesting. I guess he didn't care much for his sisters.
Love the old sewing machines, they were real works of art.
Nancy

Mike Brubaker said...

A neat combo of thematic "folk" story with great antique ephemera. The first photo is a classic, almost a Mark Twain illustration.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Scotney said...

The kids look as though they have had some fun. Great picture of Uncle Jim in those overalls. The collection of adverts are interesting too.
Reading about Uncle Jim's will made me realise that I never knew whether my father left a will.

Deb Gould said...

What a story, Kathy! I, too, love reading old wills...they show the true character of not only the writer, but also each of the heirs! It's sad to lose family property, though; it's a tough balancing act...

Nancy said...

What an interesting story about your Uncle Kit, Kathy. He sounds like a very generous man. I wonder if he and his sisters were not close, even though he kept the family together with family picnics. Glad you found the will on rootsweb.

Jana Last said...

Uncle Kit sounds like he was such a wonderful fellow! And so generous. I can't imagine he would only leave one dollar each to his sisters. And why won't the Millers allow family to visit the cemetery? Very strange.

whowerethey said...

What a shame the new property owners won't let anyone visit the cemetery. Like it's going to hurt anyone. I do like your photos!

Peter said...

One cannot help wondering what happened between your Uncle Kit and his sisters. I mean, he seems such a nice and social man. He must have been hurt terribly by them.

Tammy said...

I love the little overalls-guy on the left. He looks like he is dangling from an invisible hook! Also had to laugh at the sewing machine and that treadle-table. My mother had one.

Tattered and Lost said...

Ah yes, something smells a little bit fishy on the old farm. Shame family is not allowed to visit.

TICKLEBEAR said...

Raising my coffee mug to Uncle Kit,
and to Albany Grease!!
:)~
HUGZ

Titania said...

Kathy, I am amazed at all the information you have got about the past and you put it so beautifully together for us to enjoy. I really like the first picture with the three pretty children. Times were not easy on the farms for many and the children had to wear sometimes tattered clothes. Your Uncle Kit for sure mad his mark, that is how I always saw the american farmer, wearing dungarees. His sisters must have been disappointed that they did not inherit the farm, it was unfair to give them only one Dollar.

Melissa Bradley said...

I love the pics and those old advertisements. Amazing the equipment they had back then. You always have the most fascinating photos and details. :)

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