1898 Letters

February 23, 1898 letter to Helen York from Marquis Lee

Thanks to Margaret Pryor Williams for sharing the following letter with me and allowing me to post it.

February 23, 1898

To: Helen York, Nampa, ID

From: Marquis F. Lee, Wanship, UT

Is still lame and has to us a crutch and a cane to get around. One of his girls had pneumonia and then as she began to get better she developed blood poisoning from a bite on her cheek from a cat. She has lost all her hair. His youngest daughter developed rheumatic fever and as she began to get better broke out with measles. All his children are at home with the exception of Mary who lives in town and has two girls and a boy; she lost a baby last fall. Talks about Avilda (Vorse) McCumber, whose husband “took another woman” and then got a young girl in trouble.

1898-02-23 Marquis Lee to Helen York

Wanship Summit Co

Feb 23d 98[1]

Cousin Helen[2] and all of the Family

Helen I think that I have writen to you since I have herd from you I am not shure. The last that I got from you was last April. Am in hopes that you will get time to answer this with not much delay.

About my self I am still lame as ever with not much hopes of ever being enny better have to use a crutch and cane. Can doe a few choers and that is all. 4 weeks ago one of the Girls was taken with Pneumonia bad and when she began to get a little better Blood Poisen set in. She got bit on her cheek with a cat. She is better now it has taken every Hair of her Head.

Then my youngest Girl[3] was taken with Rheumatism it went all over her it left her with Rheumatic fever. As she began to get better she broak out with Mesels. She is quite bad yet so you can see that we have been strictly in it. The balance of the Family are well all at Home but Mary[4]. She lives in town this winter near home. She has 3 children 2 girls and a boy[5]. She lost a Baby last fall. I herd from Orrin[6] of late all well. Helen I have just got a letter from her that was Avilda Vorse now Mc omber[7] She lives at Milard Idaho the first that I have herd from her in many a day. She is in trouble. Mc joined the church and took another Woman and Vill couldent stand it. Mc left her. He wasnt satisfide at that he got a young girl into trouble. Her Brothers nearly killed him. He went away was for a while finally came back. She says that he provides for her but she dont live with him. She has 2 Boys both married.

I got a letter of late from Smith Carlton he lives in Kalamazoo. He told me more about the old Neighbors than I have got in a long time. John D is at Silver Creek 6 miles North of Kalamazoo with Julian. He sayd that Jo D was with them dying with consumption. I have herd since that he is better.

I have just got a letter from Ethan[8] His father[9] is quite feble. The rest is well. Last month was a cold month this has been better. I think that we will get it again soon for the wind is blowing to Nite.

Helen I take a look at your likeness. It haint the Helen that I used to be acquainted with you have changed more than I have I think. Still there is a great change in me my Hair is turning quite fast. If I wasent so lame I could do lots of work yet. Helen did Ann Y come to see you do you hear from her often. Tell her for me that I would be glad to get a letter from her. I would be glad to know just how she is fixed. Give her my address I will answer give her my best wishes and Love. Now Helen do write soon and tell me all that you know. Wouldent I be glad to see you once more in this life. I hear that you and Adelphia[10] have 4 children. I think that is doing well for a sick woman.

Love to all from your cousin M F Lee


[1] The envelope, which contained this letter is dated 23 Feb 1898; addressed to Mrs. Helen M York, Nampa, Idaho

[2] Helen is the only daughter of Catherine Keith and her first husband, Ethan Bradley; Catherine later married George Clinton Lee, Marquis’ uncle. Helen married Joseph M. York

[3] Believe he is referring to Millie Irene Lee

[4] His daughter, Mary Jane (Lee) Eskelson

[5] Mary, David & Ruby Lee

[6] Orrin Strong Lee, his youngest brother, born 1835, and living in Idaho Falls, Idaho at the time

[7] There is a “Vilda McOmber” in the 1900 Census living at St. Anthony, Fremont, Idaho, but no relationship is known. (In the 1870 Census of Bountiful, Davis, Utah, O. McCumber age 24, Avilda McCumber age 24, and Charles O. McCumber age 1 are listed.)

[8] His cousin Ethan Keith

[9] Charles Luke Keith, Jr., who at the time was 84 years old

[10] Marion “Adelphia” York is Helen’s oldest daughter and she is the one that has four children, having just given birth in 1897 to her youngest daughter, Inez Helen Page. Adelphia lived to the ripe old age of 101, while Helen lived to be over 88, so it is unclear why he refers to either one of them as a “sickly woman.”

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