These letters were sent to Miss Elizabeth Henley Nash of Waxahachie, Texas, by a number of admirers, including her future husband, Loyd Bond Smith. Elizabeth (also variously called Bettie, Betsy, or Bess by family and friends) saved them and passed them on to her daughter Elizabeth Smith (Winn Campbell), who in turn passed them to her daughter Elizabeth 'Betsy' Winn van Patten. Mrs. van Patten transcribed them from the manuscript letters in January, 1998, and transmitted them to Collier N. Smith, another grandchild of Elizabeth Nash. Collier eventually formatted and prepared them for publication on the interwebs in 2012. Comments and insertions by Mrs. van Patten are in [square brackets].
Reading these letters along with the diary that Elizabeth kept during the summer of 1901, we wonder if her social life was typical of her time and place. As Mrs. van Patten has observed, "It would be interesting to know whether most young women of her age in that area had that many gentleman callers or whether she was really exceptional. She was not a beauty, so it had to be her personality." In any case, the diary mentions most of the authors of these letters and many of the other figures mentioned in them, and together with the letters, provides an interesting snapshot of life in a small Texas town at the turn of the last century. (See the Postscript below for a brief biography of Elizabeth Nash.)
[On German American Insurance Co. of New York stationery]Waxahachie, Tex., Sept. 23, 1896
According to my promise, or rather, taking advantage of your indulgence, I am going to write a short letter. In the very beginning it is probably right that I should say I do not expect an answer to this letter. I respect too highly the wishes of your mother and of Judge Rainey to ever ask you to write to me. Pardon me tho if there lingers a hope that, their objections to your writing removed, you would write to me.
"I take it" that "whilst" my actions the morning of your departure may have been rather peculiar I should explain. Or may be you do not remember. Anyway I will explain for my own satisfaction. My horse was very restless and when I rode up to the depot it would not stand unhitched. I rode to town to hitch hoping to get back before train left but I reckoned without Time and was disappointed.
By this time you have met your school friends of last year and "some others." Association with them may cause you to forget your Waxa. friends. Pray remember, there are those at home who would fain claim some part of your thoughts and who are so selfish, yet unselfish, that they would rather be remembered unkindly than not at all.
Have you met Miss Henry from Lancaster? (Excuse the question, I mean, you must meet Miss Henry). You remember, Miss Lavendar ____[mentioned?] her to me. If she is pretty I want you to tell me so when you come home Christmas.
I received a letter from John Guthris[?] yesterday. He says he donít know what it is you want. Oh. I forgot! Anyway, he says if you are very desirous of obtaining it and if it be within his power to comply with your request he will do so on one condition. However, rather than you should comply with the condition he names, I would exert myself that you do not obtain whatever it may be.
My school begins Oct. 5. I will certainly __[be a?] recluse[?] there and one month from this date I am going to write to you again. I am going to be in Dallas the second Saturday and Sunday of the Fair if nothing prevents.
Hoping you will find some pleasure in reading this hurriedly written letter, I am,
Chas. Q. Barton
[On German American Insurance Co. of New York stationery]
Waxahachie, Tex., Sept. 25, 1896
I wrote enclosed letter Wednesday and have neglected to mail it until today so will write a "little" more. I saw Stella last Wednesday night at prayer meeting and she told me she was going to write to you. As she is "running" a joke on me and has said she is going to write to you about it I want to be the first to tell you. Thursday night after your departure I joined the I.O.G.T. [International Organization of Good Templars?]. Norman of course told Stella and she offirms [sic] I did not realize the necessity of taking the obligation until after your departure, but that now it is a necessity to keep me from drowning my sorrow in the cup. See?
Anyway, she thinks the motive is plain. Norman fell off a hay wagon evidently with the intention of breaking his neck. Walter left for Terrell on the next train after you left, and I -- wiser than they -- joined the Good Templars that the solemn obligation might aid in preventing me from going to a desperate extremity. As for Jim, he is yet to be heard from, tho it is my candid opinion that, hiding from us his regrets, he writes to you the "burthen" of his thoughts; unless, indeed, he has a consolation foreign to our mind, a knowledge of your reciprocation of his "esteem."
This is quite a long P.S. but contains secrets that you undoubtedly see it is imminently necessary I should divulge.
Sincerely your own
Chas. Q. B.
Xcuse paper and envelope ___[?] - have no other at office
Letter 3 (no envelope)
[On D. H. Thompson, Dealer in Grain - Hay - Coal stationery]
When in your presence I say that which I would not, and that which I would say I cannot, hence I write you this short letter. Your short terse "I do not" of last night -- the last words spoken -- smothered the fondest hope I have ever cherished -- the hope that you might love me -- and yet now alone and uninfluenced by the irresistible charm of your presence I can realize that it is presumption for me to entertain a single thought of love for you. Possibly I will succeed in mastering my love for you, probably not, but let me assure you that never again so long as I am deemed unworthy of your kindnesses will I bore you with a repetition of what I told you last night. Now I clearly see that you, knowing the influence that a girl can wield, exercised that influence for my good as you do other "toughs in the church." Believe me, I thank you for this, for association with you has an elevating tendency, and if in "stooping to conquer" you have conquered my heart as well, forgive my presumption and forget all I have said. Forget! An easy task for you, but for me ----
Wishing you all success in your school work, I am as you wish
Do xcuse writing.
Letter 4 (no envelope)
My dear Bettie:-
A shorter address wouldnít look well on paper of this size - Do you think? Last night I began a letter to Bettie, but just as I finished the fourth page the lights went out and in my efforts to find a match I spilled ink on the table and tablet. Tonight, I use Prof. Saunderís[?] tablet and trust there will be no occasion for the repetition of the Sunday School words he says I used. At the same time Sir Loyd Smith was writing to you and William was with you. You are right mean not to have told me you wrote to Loyd Friday night after I left. How do I know? Upon parting with Loyd Sunday night he was "going to his office to write a letter." Of course he would write to no one else at so unreasonable an hour. (I am sure I wouldnít) and of course his letter was a reply to yours. If my logic is correct and the premises are tenable, you wrote to him between Friday night and Sunday morning. How could you with the "all" I had said remembered -- and surely you didnít forget? Met Edna, Edwina, Mrs. Rainey, and Messrs. Marshall, Homom[?], Smith Davis and others at church Sunday. I saw Jim Pitman too. He deserves especial mention. Miss Smith will spend the night here tomorrow night with Mrs. Yarrell. The latter young lady and myself are "good friends" -- went celebrating tonight. She went to school with Estelle Dunlap, Tutsy Metcalfe, and Lou Ella Sims at Belmont. Bro Rosecrans and a Dr. Johnson were out to see the family Sunday, so I suppose they are all OK. The girl is anyway -- and pretty. My five girls had exchanged me for a handsomer fellow during my
entering the work or not.
I forgot to tell you that I had discovered the pictures of Misses Lurainey and Edna in the parlor. I look at them every day instead of saying my prayers. To see them suggests thoughts of you and I have been saying my prayers to you for months. Have you heard? Am not in a prayerful humor tonight -- havenít made a single request. Am going to make several when I get home. Donít like to do business at long range, and on the installment plan. When I hope for an opportunity to unburden myself of all my troubles at some early date in person and you will be gracious?
Now Elizabeth I want you to think little of my impulsive effusives of the past few weeks -- and more of the calm, deep feelings which prompt them. I want you to think little of what I have said or written you, but a whole lot of the person who is their author and who regrets only that his words can not fitly portray his thoughts. That he can not unfold to you that better part of his nature which his hidden by faults so manifest. I am sometimes good and when thinking of you am best. Every noble impulse of my nature if aroused, every thought if purified, every sigh is sanctified. This is not piety -- shall I name it? You will, and maybe I can guess what.
Canít you write -- will you? Write anything, everything -- about yourself. I expect to hear from you. With love to your mother -- if she runs the boys off at 10:30 -- I am
July 4, 1898
Letter 5 (no envelope)
[On District Clerkís Office, Ellis County, Texas stationery -- W. S. Kemble, District Clerk]
Waxahachie, Texas, Aug. 15, 1900
Dear [Miss] Bettie:-
If you canít do any better, I will be under lasting obligations to you, if you will let me call tonight or should you prefer I would be glad to go to prayer-meeting. I am very very lonesome since I have been left an orphan and I know of no one that could cheer me up more than yourself -- hence I will be very grateful indeed if you will answer favorably -- "otherwise you can pay the boy."
If Jim or Walter should have a date with you - I would not expect you to break it for me.
I shall await an early reply with fear and trembling -- in fact I am trembling now till I can scarcely write.
Your Very Sincerely,
P.S. I have neither note paper, money, friends nor credit so kindly excuse this paper.
Envelope (postmarked 2/28/02)
From: Perry S. Robertson, Attorney
Lock Box 56
To: Miss Elizabeth Nash
[In bottom corner: 216 South Alamo
Mrs. R. L. Stennis]
[On "The Oriental" Hotel stationery: "Finest Hotel Structure in the South; Thoroughly Fire Proof; Transient rates $2.50 to $5.00 per day"]
Feb. 27, 1902
Miss Elizabeth Nash, Weatherford, Texas
I received your letter yesterday just before noon and intended answering it last night but my better judgment prevailed and I did not write. I knew it was best not to write when I felt so sad. I slept none last night and at this hour of the morning, after a very busy day, I am wide awake and suffering.
I had business at Ferris yesterday but was in no condition to attend to it. I postponed it until today, and at 3:30 I left home, arriving at Ferris about five oíclock. I could get no train out of there for home until to-morrow morning, so I partially arranged for a friend to attend to my business there and took the six oíclock train for Dallas, intending to catch the 8:40 train from Dallas back home, but I met a friend and talked to him until too late to catch the train. So I am here to-night writing to the dearest of all girls, but with a broken heart. I do not censure you for anything. You are too pure to ever have had an evil thought, you are my ideal of woman. Then do you wonder that I should worship you as I do? You ask that I cease to love you. I would to God that I could admire you for your noble traits of character and worship at your shrine of beauty and not love you. But that I cannot do.
I will always love you. After years have passed I will be as devoted to you as I am now, though it may not be proper for me to manifest my love. I have always known I was not worthy of your love and the silliest thing you have ever been guilty of is to have cared even as much as you have for me -- and that was little enough. Dearest, I have come to expect nothing except pain and suffering and if you should cause me the sorrow of my life, then pass it by and think nothing of it, for it is only my fate, for which you are not responsible. I know you canít love me and I know your dear heart bleeds for me in my sorrow, but God knows best, however bitter it may be, and I know it must be best, for you deserve a better boy than I am and I pray that you may love a better -- and I know you will for I have enough confidence in your judgment to know that you could never love other than one that was a worthy young man not worthy of you -- but worthy, generally speaking.
Could I love another? Could I ever forget the moments we have spent together? Would you even ask me to forget them? Dearest, how can you ask me to love another? Would it not be better to tell me that each hour your heart goes up to God to have mercy upon a poor blighted life? Why did I ever come to Waxahachie? But even to-night, as sad as I am, I know I have been a different boy since I have known you. And with whatever success I meet, it is all due to you. But should I be too weak to ever accomplish anything with a broken heart -- then say that you are thankful that you did not love such a poor weak boy with no will power.
Of course, I know what you mean when you do delicately say that you wish I would not think so much of you -- you want me to love someone else. Dearest, you mean that you are tired of my love, and while you do sympathize with me, you would prefer it to be otherwise. I have not treated you right. Please forgive me, but you understand, donít you? I know I have annoyed you, but I have loved you so dearly. You have asked me, when I was at Chautauqua, not to write to you -- you told me again that it might be better for me not to call you. I have several times spoken of coming to see you, but you have, apparently, not noticed it. If you would rather I would not see you, of course, I will ever respect your wishes. I would be happy always if I could always grant every request you should make, but when you request me not to love you, then you ask me to do that which is impossible. But I can and may be compelled to stop telling you that I love you.
Within the last few days it is the common report that you and Loyd are soon to be married. If such report is true it pains me to think you would tell others before telling. Me. However much I might suffer I would like to feel that I was, at least, worthy of your confidence. And I would like to think that you knew your happiness was more to me than all the world. I do not love you with a narrow selfish love. You know that.
I have refused to heed your plain statements, but this last hint I will take, but no man ever suffered more in realizing what it means. Will not write any more, if it is your desire that I do not. I have wanted to see you, but I will not ask again, for I know now you would rather not see me. Bess, Bess, please do not misjudge me. I would enjoy looking into your eyes to-night even if the penalty was death. Many years from today I would gladly give my life, if it would add to your happiness, so I would ask that you not consider me enemy because you do not love me. You could not be the girl I have so often told you you are, if you could love this poor boy. I cannot write to you. I cannot express my heart throbs upon paper.
I hope that, before very long, you will decide that you would not object to seeing me and will let me come to see you, but if you, for any reason, would rather not see me then you need not mention it.
I will not write again unless you are willing for me to write. I should think that you understand me sufficiently well, by this time, to talk freely to me and not try to tell me with such a delicate hint.
It is almost three oíclock and as I did not sleep any last night and must catch the early train home this morning, I must stop this miserable attempt at a letter. If you should ever be willing to see me or hear from me, remember that I love you with my very life come what may, and would alway[sic] appreciate hearing from should you care to write, and would enjoy seeing you if you should care to see me (willing, I mean).
Would it not be too cold not to hear from you again? But I shall not even [ever?] write unless you say that I may.
Again telling you that your happiness is all the world to me I pray that good fortune may ever be with you.
"Though you have put all the lights out and the curtain rung[?] down has descended, can the actors go home and forget? Ah, no! They will turn in their sleeping with a strange restless pain in their hearts and in in [sic] anguish and weeping will dream they are playing their parts."
With a heart full of love, I am as always,
Letter 7 (no envelope or date)
I received your letter this morning and it is the sweetest I ever read and I have read it again and again to-day, but for Heavenís sake do not understand that I said I did not believe you. I do believe you -- I would believe anything, everything, you might say. I intended to say that you had not told me anything, not that you had deceived me or had told me that which was not true. Would I believe anyone on earth before I would you? You can answer that as well as I can. Would I listen to reports circulated in the community and not to what you would say? You do not think so. I would believe you if you were to make a statement contradicted by all the world, but when you make no statement then do I deserve rebuke for stating what I have heard?
You have never done anything for which you could justly be censured or even questioned. You have always been my only ideal and God knows it has not been shattered, but my faith has only been strengthened day by day. My faith in you will last forever and if Heaven and earth should doubt you (but no one will do that) I would never.
You ask "We will be friends wonít we?" You know I have never loved you with the love that could turn to hatred; and I again tell you that you may rely upon me as you would a brother. Your friendship is far more than I deserve from such a girl as you and I prize your friendship more than I am able to express. Even in after years you may call upon me to give up my very life, if it would add in the least to your pleasure and I would do it gladly. I have often told you that I have loved before this, but I have never had but one ideal and you are that one.
God forbid that you should ever know the sorrow through which I have been for months and months and am still suffering, but as we are to be friends I must not tell you of unpleasant things.
Of course, I want you to write to me just as often as you care to and I will enjoy every line of every letter, but I will not write very often. Donít you know it would always pain me and almost kill me to stop to-day and never hear from you or see you again? You would not have it so would you? I thank you for leaving it to my judgment whether or not our correspondence should cease. It is not a question of judgment, but I will always want to know what you are doing.
I am sorry you think best that I should not see you any time soon, but I will not question your decision upon this or any other matter. Should you ever be willing to see me then wonít you say so and I will understand that it is for my pleasure and not your own. Are you willing to forever close the relations that have existed between us and forbid me even seeing you again? Dearest, I do understand you and I know that you are trying to make it easier for me, and I thank you with my whole heart, but the result of another meeting is a matter of opinion. I respect your opinion, but I hope that you may alter it.
Again I tell you, that if I ever accomplish anything it is all due to having known you, and if I never amount to anything then you may be thankful that you did not love such a poor weak boy.
I am in no condition to write to you now, for I have some fever and Heaven forbid that I should even suffer more. But please do not allow yourself to think that I have been deceived or misled. You have been honest with me and you have never given me an opportunity to misunderstand, but you could not be the girl that you are and have done otherwise. This is the last letter in which I ever expect to mention my feelings in this matter, but I wish that I could talk to you instead of writing.
Dearest, from this hour please remember that I love you more dearly than my own life yet I must not tell you so any more, but there will be an understanding between us and you will know, though my life is a miserable failure that that [sic] I love you so dearly that your happiness is all the world to me.
Do not think I will allow this, the sorrow of my life, to make me morose and disagreeable, for my feelings are too sacred to show to the world. Our relations have always been sacred to me and I will ever cherish the memory of every happy moment we have spent to-gether.
I realize that it is best that you do not love me, but instead of deriving consolation from that realization it only forces me to realize how great is my loss, but you are to be first considered and when I do that myself is lost.
I promise you, as you request, to play the role of a friend and I am sure you know you will never have a truer one, so from this hour a most devoted lover is to assume that he is no more than a true and tried friend. It is not assuming when I say I am your most loyal friend for I am that, but it is assuming when I pretend that I am only a friend and no more.
Your letter and your wishes have not, in fact, and cannot change our relations. I know you think as much of me to-day as you ever did and I appreciate it, God knows I do -- and you know that I love you just as dearly as I ever did, but I must lock my love, as it were, in a cold dark tomb where it will starve and thirst and suffer through the coming years and yet not die.
I know you will understand the circumstances under which I am writing this letter and then you will not wonder that I have so poorly expressed myself.
I hope you will continue to write to me just as often as it is convenient for you to do so and I will appreciate every line you write me, but I will only write in answer to each letter you write so I can assure you that you will control the number of my letters to you.
I hope you will visit Waxahachie before May or if you do not that you will decide that I may come to see you.
With a heart full of love I am a poor broken hearted boy but so far as outward indications are concerned, though I love you dearly, I am only,
Do you remember that I think you
promised me one of your pictures? Since
I cannot see you I am more anxious than ever for it and it seems to me you
could very easily send me one. I will
not ask again, and furthermore, if you prefer, for any reason, not to give me
one, this will be the last time I shall ever mention it.
[Most of Loydís letters are written on his bankís letterhead, which has the date 1901 printed on it. In some cases he has crossed out 1901 and substituted 1902, but internal evidence indicates that he forgot to make the change in other cases.
This first letter is mentioned in Elizabethís diary on 14 June.]
Dallas, Texas, June 14, 1901 [postmark - letter is undated]
My Dear Dear Girl,
Your letter came this morning and when I say everything has been dark to me this day I only mildly express what is in my heart. I cannot say that your letter made me think the more of you for that is an impossibility as you are to me all in all and the guiding star of my existence. You my darling have put yourself in a nobler and a purer light in my eyes than ever before and I can appreciate most thoroughly the spirit that prompted your letter. You are above all blame, but I am not for there must be some thing in which I have lacking that my great and true love has not met one as strong in return.
Wonít you tell me my precious girl just wherein I fail to be just what you dear heart tells you I should be in order to surrender to me. I have hoped that you were loving me more and more as the days went by and that in your own good time your heart would be entirely mine.
This hope has not as yet passed from me and knowing you as I do, I donít think there is any need that it should for you say you love me and that no one stands between us. You know me well enough to know that what I now say is from my inmost being and as true as God himself -- I had rather go down to my grave in death than to lead you as my precious girl to the altar in marriage if you heart was not entirely mine and I was not the only man in the world for you, the one that so completely rounded out your whole being. This I will be God being my helper if the true philosophy that like causes like for that is the love that I bear to the dearest woman in all creation, you the only [one?] I do or have ever loved.
Forgive me my darling if I have been too insistent. I am satisfied with the love you do now give me but fear that I have been so anxious for that love to increase while I should have bided your own dear time. My dear you place me on entirely too high a pedestal and praise me too highly. I only wish I deserved one half as much as you say or even had one small part of the attributes you attribute to me. In days of old Jacob served 7 years for Rachel, why should I not be willing to serve as long for you untold times more beautiful, lovable dear and attractive. Promise me this my dear that until the time comes and God forbid that it ever shall that you find me unworthy or a greater love for a much more worthy man comes into my [sic] life and I am not saying one half enough when I say I pray God that may never [happen?] but pray rather than that greater love may be for me, that I may occupy the place I now occupy. My heart is just a great deal sad tonight, because I had built my "castles in Spain" and can now see wherein I have erred. I now am building a new lot of castles on a surer foundation and in every one of them your sweet face is the central figure for I can build no castles without you as you now fully occupy my heart. We are I think nearer now than we have ever been as these two letters -- both from hearts of each one of one [sic] to the heart of the other have drawn us together and time will make everything I trust as is best for us.
My darling let me help you, if I can with my
clumsy fingers, weed out this garden plot of yours if there be any thing but
blossoms of the most exquisite fragrance, and strew your pathway with the
[them?] and guide your feet from the thorns which will try to injure you in
your way through life. With my heartís
true tender and most devoted love.
July 4, 1902 [handwritten date]
My Darling Girl,
The name on the front of this tablet that I am writing on says it is a "World Beater" -- I canít endorse this appellation but as it is the best at my command this rainy disagreeable morning I venture to send it you with my loves message. As is usual on the Anniversary of our Independence today it has rained and stormed and just now gives but poor prospect of any sunshine.
I am so sorry my sweetheart that you are not well.
Weatherford seems not to agree with you as you were not in the best of health last winter when you were there, were you. Dallas is far the better place donít you think.
Mother has just passed through the room and says "Give Bettie my very best love and tell her that I have heard so many nice things about her since the wedding and that one woman was so completely captivated that she almost forgot the bride." The lady was Mrs. Thruston and her daughter says that when she came home the night of the wedding she could hardly take time from talking of you to tell of the wedding.
My precious girl all these true things, said because of true appreciation make my heart beat with more assurance and must convince you that when I tell you that of all the women on earth you are the queen, the fairest sweetest truest and best sweetheart man ever had that I most ___[?] am correct. I am a queen lover my dear as you by this time doubtless know but they say you know that "love is blind." It is but blind only to the desire to be with or to care for other than the object of that love, but more keenly alive and alert to the manifold charms of the sweetest girl in all creation and she by her love given to the man of her choice reveals manifold graces and attractions that to the world are denied.
You are so good and sweet to tell me such nice things as you do about my letters. I know that the efforts from a literary point of view are but bungling attempts at writing but my dear love prompts them, look to the motive my dear more than the words themselves.
Two more express packages came for Maude [Paine] today. It seems that there is to be a long extended free will offering to this pair.
They seem as happy as they can be but they canít ever really attain to the heights of happiness that are to be mine when I make you my lifeís companion. While I have been writing the Sun has shown his face and the afternoon bids fair to be a beautiful one. I shall fill it whatever it may be with many thoughts of you my dear one. If bright so like you. If gloomy, such a contrast to your sunshiny self.
The dinner bell is ringing and I must list to
its stern call to duty not as pleasant as the [one] I am now engaged in which
is so delightful that it has ceased to be a duty if it ever was in such a
class. With a heart full of adoration,
love is surpassed, I am yours my darling.
"If no letter comes to me today I shall fear you are really ill."
[On National Exchange Bank of Dallas, Texas, letterhead]
Dallas, Texas, Wednesday [no year but probably goes in envelope postmarked Dallas on 8/14/02 and Weatherford on 8/15/02 -- sent to Weatherford and forwarded to her in Dallas]?
My Dear Dear Girl,
I donít know just where to send this letter but am going to risk it at Weatherford as I must write to you. I didnít write on last night as I felt that I would have a letter from you today telling me where you were.
I have been sick yesterday and today and donít feel the best in the world as yet but think I will now pull through. I was afraid of finer[?] on yesterday. Dallas is hotter than I have ever known it to be and there seems to be no prospect of a "cessation of hostilities." Little one I canít find it in my heart to complain about it but I worry a good deal when I donít hear from you and I have had but one letter since the week began. I am afraid you are sick, the days feel twice as long when I donít hear from you my sweetheart. I am not finding fault with you but simply chafe at my discomfort.
You have been in Mineral Wells now for some few days. What is the name of the new victim of yours [sic] dear ways and is at your feet. You know dear one that they all fall in love with you as soon as they see you or at least as soon as they know you.
But I never worry about even the possibility of a rival as I know that my girl loves me and loving me what more could I even desire -- for love such as is ours is founded on perfect trust is it not darling. I am going out to Maudís tonight to supper and she says she has prepared the very best that she can concoct in the eating line -- it will surely be good -- is all I can say for it.
Goodbye dear one with love all the love in the
world to you in all the intensity of which I am capable.
[On The National Exchange Bank, Dallas, Texas, stationery]Dallas, Texas, Wednesday, 1901 [actually probably July or August 1902]
My Own Dear Girl,
At the close of another day of hard hard work I come to write you a few lines that will break in to some extent on your pleasant visit for I know that interruptions are not the most enjoyable things in the world when one is having a jolly good time.
I tried my best to get to the train on last evening to see you but was just too late so went home to thoughts of you the sweetest thoughts in the world, but then if we could but at all times have just what we most want we might not value those things that are now so valued by us. I donít think I told you as fully as I should how sweet and dear and beautiful you looked on Monday night -- but it is not strange that you should look that way as you grow more beautiful every time I see you and each dying day finds me loving you my darling more than its predecessor found.
You said something on Sunday about our boarding with Judge Rainey this winter. Was that in earnestness or not. You know that would please me much and I think be so very agreeable to you.
Father rented our place today and is to give up the house on Sept. 5th.
Mother says she is going to store all our things and let us four young people take what we want to of them and the remainder she will dispose of when the "taking" is over which she thinks will not be much that she will have the disposition of.
I have already begun to decide on some things that I want that I think will be useful. Father and Mother are going to be at Uncle Oliver Thomasí house for about a month or six weeks while they are in Chicago where they go in a few days on account of Uncle Oliverís health.
Little one your last visit to our city was such a delightful one to me and to all of our family as all of them saw more of you and were more with you than even was their privilege to be before and enjoyed you so much. You know I think I have the nicest parents in all the wide wide world and they think I have one of the two nicest girls in the world. Of course the other is none other than their own girl.
Maude says she already loves you more than she ever thought she would love a sister in law and to put it in her own words, "Brother, I love her just like I know I should have loved a sure enough sister." I expect I shall stay with them until "5 of 11 - 02" do you know what that means. I hope for a letter from you tomorrow and you tell the pres[?] and the boys that I shall lay it all on them if you donít write often as you told me that only would prevent. Let me know as soon as you decide as to whether or not I am to see you in Wax. on 31st or not.
Ed McLaughlin asks to be remembered to you. He rather intimated that he would like to call on you last Sunday but said he guessed I would worry you as much as you should
[rest of letter missing]
[On The National Exchange Bank, Dallas, Texas, stationery]
Dallas, Texas, Saturday, 1901 [actually probably August 1902]
My Own Dear Dear Sweetheart -
Another week has gone with all its pleasures and pain. My life has this week been a pleasant one for it started so well. You remember you were here Monday -- the only trouble was that you left.
Today has been a busy day with us as the cotton season has opened up in earnest. We are shipping more money now than we were a month later than this last year and we hope that the work wonít be so long drawn out as last year. How do you like Italy [a town near Waxahachie] and how are you enjoying yourself as well as you thought you would.
You know I have been thinking of late a good deal about you and am fully convinced that the good Lord above us has let me love you that I may have a glimpse of what Heaven is. No one can tell nor our words express just how good dear and beautiful you are.
Love deifies so the ancients say but you donít need loveís blindness so called to make you beautiful. You will never look more beautiful than you did on last Monday night my darling until you stand at Hymens altar to plight your troth.
Tomorrow is Saturday and I only wish that I could spend it so altogether delightfully as I did last Sunday but the contrast will be very marked donít you think but if I get the expected letter from you it will be a bright bright spot in a dreary day but there only will be 10 ?em more that I shall spend alone had you thought it. I am counting weeks and days instead of months as I have been. Are you?
I must go home now sweetheart. Pleasant dreams to you my dear and all the
love in the world to the sweetest woman in all creation.
[On The National Exchange Bank, Dallas, Texas, stationery]
Dallas, Texas, Wednesday, 1902 [probably August]
My Own Darling Girl,
The day is done and another dayís honest toil is over and it is time that man has to come to those he loves most dear for joy and comfort and so to you my greatest joy I come but can not but use ink to say what I want to say to the dearest girl in the world.
I know that my visit to Italy will be a pleasant one and I would like to ask you did I ever go to see you when it was not pleasant but pleasant does not hardly express just what those visits have been. Rather say they have been Heavenly in their enjoyment.
You will please say to Mrs. Dunlap for me that there are not very many things in this world that I wouldnít do for her but if she [knew] just how lonesome I get and how very much your letters tend to allay the lonesomeness she would give you time for at least a short letter. You know the days are dreary to me dear one and donít let any one deprive me of the sunshine for your letters are sunshine to my heart for they are but you speaking to me.
How am I to find where you are in Italy. Ask the newsboy? Or better write me just how to get to Mr. Dunlapís house. I donít think I can get away on Saturday night but will come on the early train Sunday morning and Monday is a holiday. You know that means I can stay, of course if agreeable to you, over Sunday night.
And will you please to remember that there are only 10 or at most eleven more of these Sundays until you will be my own dear wife.
You know your memory has placed the eventful
time several weeks later at times and I only wish to remind you lest you
forget. Goodnight sweetheart, there is
very little in this letter [indecipherable phrase] but every word is more than
full of love to you my queen of queens and my own dear girl.
[On The National Exchange Bank, Dallas, Texas, stationery]
Dallas, Texas, Friday, 1901 [probably actually August 1902]
My Own Dear Girl,
Your dear letter came to me today and was just about the dearest one ever written but you only write that kind of a letter. I must say though that you still have too exalted ideas of the kind of a man I am. I only wish I were half as noble and half as good even as you think I am. You are going to be disappointed darling if you donít remember that I am only an ordinary boy and one that is very ordinary in most respects. The only thing especially remarkable about me is that I have won the love of the dearest girl in all the world.
You by this time have my letter telling you that I will be there Sunday morning -- but I am just very much afraid that I am to very much disappoint Mrs. Dunlap as she looks with an impartial eye while you have told her so much that is not as she in all probability will see it, but she must see me as I am must she not and who knows what the verdict shall be.
There is to be a meeting in West Dallas tomorrow night to see about a street car line as Mr. Bonta seems to want to build one even where most if he puts it where I want him to [????]. We will be fixed as to a home that is certainly ideal.
But I will tell you all about it Sunday.
We are just about ready to move. All the furniture is up stairs packed away and the house looks like a deserted castle. If I cease this just now I can get it taken to night and it must go to you as I didnít get to write last night.
So Good night Sweetheart. Pleasant dreams to the queen of queens.
[On The National Exchange Bank, Dallas, Texas, stationery]
Dallas, Texas, Tuesday, 1901 [actually probably early September 1902]
My Darling Sweetheart
I feel ashamed not to have written you on yesterday but when I explain the circumstances you dear one will understand.
I worked until about 2:30 and went to eat a little lunch intending to come back and write you a letter but while I was gone only 3/4 of an hour all the boys left the bank and locked the front door. My key I had left at home and not a boy that had a key could I find so I was in truth locked out and could not get in by any means.
Your dear letter came to me today and made this busy day bright and my work seem easy. But I so wish that you had told me just what I did that so increased my stock -- wonít you tell me in the next letter.
I caught a fearful cold last night and today am in a weeping condition.
Little one I am glad for your sake that I was at least pleasing to Mr. and Mrs. Dunlap.
Never have I had the pleasure of meeting anyone that I liked more nor did I ever spend a more pleasant day, as they seemed to want me to make myself perfectly at home and it was a most delightful home.
I found myself wishing and dreaming on my way up on the train of the things that are and are to be and I am so happy in your dear love sweetheart in the present as well as I am to be in the future that I sometimes wake with a start as it were and wonder if it is all a beautiful dream but when I think just a moment I know it is a strong living reality and that the dearest woman in all the world is to be my own dear little wife in 9 weeks. Just think of it.
I went to get the candy for Mrs. Dunlap but they tell me that will have a shipment in tomorrow fresh from the factory, and my order is in so it will go to her on the morrow.
My moving day is tomorrow and I am a poor lone orphan for a while.
I love you so much my dear that I can hardly wait for November to come, but if I must must I not my sweetheart.
I am so tired tonight my dear I must go home
now. But my own dear one all the love I
have is yours.
[On The National Exchange Bank, Dallas, Texas, stationery]
Dallas, Texas, Sept. 19, 1902
My Own Dear Girl,
I should have written you last night but just simply must confess that I could not possibly find even time for a note. Today has been a record breaker with us and it is not over yet as we are all here yet and its 10:30 now. Ted Pittman has been put back in the remittance department and my work has been cut just about in half. This of course makes me feel better as I had been doing more than I could stand up to very long. The Boss seemed to realize it and hence the change.
I am to "call" on my mother and incidentally take supper tomorrow night and am to take her driving afterward. She likes to ride behind Larry and he sure is looking fine these days. I have decided that he is to remain yours and shall not be sold now at any rate.
Mother told me the other night that nearly
every one she sees seems to be very anxious to know just when we are to be
married. They will all find out wonít
they in the near consequently. I am
afraid that my letters to you are getting more uninteresting even they [than?]
they have always been. For I have gotten to the place where I go absolutely
nowhere at all and donít usually see anybody but home folks. So if their [sic] is little else in my
letters now dear one know that there is in my heart never a beat but that is
not full of love for you my precious one. And ever am I anxious for November to come and give you to me for a wife
and the dearest wife in all the wide wide world.
[On The National Exchange Bank, Dallas, Texas, stationery]
Dallas, Texas, Sept. 23, 1902
My Darling Sweetheart
Your letter came today and was of course enjoyed even more than I ever anticipated. Another case where realization exceeds anticipation.
Your mother need not be alarmed about me. I ask for no sympathy whatever as the sympathy if any there be is or should be for you.
If I make one half as good a husband as you make a wife I shall do more than I think I can possibly do. Do I seem blue darling. Let me right here assure you that if I am now blue with all the happiness in my life that there is there, what would I be if that happiness
[rest of letter missing]
[On The National Exchange Bank, Dallas, Texas, stationery]
Dallas, Texas, Monday, 1902 [probably late September or early October]
My Own Dear Girl
I wanted to but did not get the opportunity of writing you yesterday and it is so late now that I fear this canít get to you until tomorrow.
We have been busy today and everything had been in an uproar. Mr. Adams is out of town and as usual things donít run right.
I was at Maudeís yesterday all day and took dinner for the last time before they go back to boarding. The more I see of this happy pair the more do I think that anybody that can and donít get married is not real smart.
When do you expect to come to Dallas again. If you wonít be here soon I will be there if I may on next Sunday or rather Saturday night if I may.
Not many more Sundays to go to see you you see and I am so hungry for a sight of you for "I love you my honey yes I do."
Does anyone know when Edna and her ___[better?] half will leave for her winter home. Everybody asks me as if I would know about it and seem very much surprised when I tell them I know not.
I will write you again tomorrow sweetheart and hope for a letter from you but as it is so late I will go home.
With all the love in all the world to you my
own dear one.
[On Southland Life Insurance Co. Stationery]
Dallas, Texas, Nov. 5, 1912
My Dear Wife,
It will be ten years, and ten years is a long long time some ways, in about 30 minutes since in the eyes of both God and man you became my wife and all in all to me. Thinking over the married life of us too [sic] I can see some things yes many things that could have and should have been different, can see many places where the way could have been smoother for you but thats looking backward because backwards is the only way we can look at our mistakes. I feel tonight that I have had so much the best of it these past ten years that the partnership has been a very unequal affair.
When you gave to me yourself, your life, you gave me more than it is or was possible for me to give you. You did it willingly and gladly and it is needless for me to say to you that this giving and my receiving is the best, biggest grandest thing that came or can ever come in to my life.
We are neither one the same as then. We have more years to our credit more responsibilities and more joys. Life with you was grand as merely wife. Life with you as both wife and mother is grander and the greatest happiness that can be mine.
During the next ten years Henry will become almost a man and if a mother of the highest type can make a man of the highest type he will be that kind of a man. Our baby will be a baby no longer but let us hope will be following in the footsteps of his older brother and that the footsteps will be good ones to follow. As for ourselves, let us sincerely trust that we may both find something more each day that we live to make us dearer, if that be possible the one to the other. You today are more beautiful and an hundred fold dearer to me than ten years ago tonight and will continue to be as long as we both shall live. My prayer hope and every endeavor is that I may be able to do more and more each day of our several more tens of years to make you happier and more comfortable and to give you more of the material as well as the flowery things than I have in the past.
With all the love in the world
Devotedly your husband
P.S. A package was sent you from Sangers[?] today.
[On The City Hotel stationery: Cool, Clean Rooms; good Home Cooking; Two blocks from depot -- one block from Square]
Denton, Texas, Nov. 5, 1913
My Dear Girl,
To write what is in my heart tonight that I would like to write you I should feel better than I do. I caught cold last night not much but enough that I donít feel as chipper as I have felt at times in my life. It has been eleven years since we were married and started life together and it seems not long in one way and a long time in others. When I think of what I was before, how little of responsibility I felt I give thanks that the better fuller life came to me and in coming brought you to be with me and mine. You know I love you have loved you long and today you are infinitely more dear to me than when you came to me a bride. In appearance the years have dealt lightly with you dear and I hope you feel as young as you look. On last Saturday I looked and thought of how you had changed and every change that I can see is for the better.
Eleven years is a long time to some people and in some ways. Itís a third of an average life. But its not long to me with you as my otherself and I pray that at the end of another 11 years we will be just as much more happy as we now are over 11 years ago. Then last but not least and a part and parcel of our or at least my joy are the youngsters. I am foolishly proud of them, too proud I suppose but I donít care, they are ours and I donít fear comparison do you.
Goodnight dear, lots & lots of love to
you, more than a bridegroom to a bride the love of a father to his wife, the
mother of his children.
Poem written by Loyd to commemorate the birth of daughter Elizabeth in 1915
The Why and the How of Elizabethís Coming
A dainty little maiden
Came to Betty's house one day
And announced to "Loyd" and "Betty"
That she had come to stay.
She said from Heaven's playground
She had noticed four big boys
And saw that they possessed
A most amazing lot of toys.
And she'd watched the school boy brothers
Treat the baby boys so well
That she knew t'would be a lovely place
For a little girl to dwell.
And she'd have the dearest Grandpa
And the kindest - Best - grand dame
And a second father and mother
In Uncle and Auntie Paine.
While as for mother "Betty" - well!
She knew she'd never find
A loving cheery mother
More exactly to her mind.
So she begged her guardian angel
To take her down to earth
And let her live a mortalís life
In this house of love and mirth.
The Angel was quite willing
And said that she'd come too
And guard and guide her little maid
Her earthly life time through.
The loving Father gave consent
The Angels bade "God speed."
And tenderly they showered the tot
With all they thought sheíd need.
For well they knew the earth way
Is a hard old road to tread
And little feet may stumble
Used to Heavenís flowery bed.
So they gave her first - endurance
Then they added heavenly love.
Enough of each to make old earth
More like her home above.
They told her if sheíd use these gifts.
Sheíd find they would unfold
A hidden storehouse filled with tools
More precious far than gold.
They cover faith and wisdom
 Judge Anson Rainey was Lu Rainey (Nash)'s brother, who became a kind of guardian of the family after the death of Newton John Nash.
 Probably Perry S. Robertson, a Waxahachie attorney
Elizabeth Henley Nash lived in
Waxahachie, Texas, about 30 miles south of downtown Dallas. She was born there
on 23 January 1879, to Newton John Nash and Lu Rainey (Nash), who were married 2
August 1871. Her father was a lawyer, and the mayor of Waxahachie from 1874
until 1879, when he was appointed and later elected County Attorney. He also
seems to have been a postmaster at some point, either of Waxahachie or of the
small community eight miles south of town named Nash. He died of two strokes in
the summer and fall of 1881, only 31 years old, when Elizabeth was 2. The
family included sisters Lu Rainey (born February, 1877) and Minerva (aka
Minnie, Mimi, Mim, born 1873 Ė 1874), and a brother, John Jr. (born July,
1881). They lived at 414 N. College St. (between Oldham and Parks Avenues) in a
two-story frame house built by (or for) N. J., apparently around 1874 Ė 76, and
which is still standing. The children's aunt and uncle Minnie Burton Rainey
Yeager and Elija Fisk (Frank) Yeager died in 1893 and 1890, respectively, and
Elizabeth's mother took in their two boys (Charles Franklin and Anson Blake)
and four girls (Fanny Lu, Mary, Lillian and Winnie Davis) and raised them alone
with her own four children (and operated and taught in her own private school,
Elizabeth was called Bettie by her family, and in later years, "Muh" by her son Loyd's children, and "Mushie" (rhymes with "pushy") by her daughter Elizabeth's children. She died on 2 February 1957, in Dallas, Texas, and is buried in Grove Hill Memorial Park, Dallas.
Loyd Bond Smith, whom Elizabeth married on 5 November 1902, was born on 28 April 1877, to Henry Hinde Smith (a vice-president of the First National Bank in Dallas) and Ellen Bond (Smith). He worked for the National Exchange Bank of Dallas at the time of their wedding, and also was a CPA; he died on 9 April 1938, in Dallas. Their children were Henry Nash Smith (29 September 1906 Ė 5 June 1986), Loyd Rainey Smith (25 December 1911 Ė 20 May 1963) and Elizabeth Smith (Winn Campbell) (26 March 1915 Ė1 June 2000).
©1998, 2012 Betsy Winn van Patten & Collier N. Smith