Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Father's Last Letter

My cousin, Tim, found this envelope in a family scrapbook. The writing on it belongs to his father, David Jewett Crabtree, Jr. 

Inside the envelope was the last letter David, Jr. had received from his father, David Jewett Crabtree, Sr.--Tim's grandfather and mine. It was written from Stockton Springs, Maine, a small coastal community near Belfast and Waldo, and was dated October 9, 1953 (although at first glance the date looks like 1963). David, Jr. was living in California when he received the letter.

David, Sr. died six months later on April 17, 1954.

I have typed the text (as I understand it) at the bottom of this page, with some added punctuation for clarity.

Stockton Springs
October 9, 1953

My Dear Boy David
I received your most welcome letter today
and will send you my naturalization certificate.
As soon as you are 
through with it send 
it to me. I am feeling 
very good my heart
is not very good 
since I had that 
Shock. Would like
to come out there

and see you all 
and that little Timothy
and his mother (1) all the
rest. I am still at
the Cape & see Cliff (2)
often. He is fine
and the family are
nearly all  grown
up. Wonderful childr-
en. Dave and Hazel (3)
are in their last 
year in college.
Charles (4) is a big 

and little Char-
lotte Ann (5). Was there
to a big convention
last week. Have
not seen Glayds [Gladys] (6)
lately. Bess (7) was
up, she was fine.
Dave, do your
best to live good.
Looks like a big
change in the
earth right away.
May God help each
one of us.

Will close.
Give my love to
all around there
and to yourself.
Good Bye,
from Dad.


Mentioned in the letter:

1. "Little Timothy and his mother," Timothy Crabtree, David Jr.'s son and David's wife, Muriel

2. "Cliff", Clifford Crabtree, David Sr.'s son

3. "Dave and Hazel," Clifford's children, David Clifford Crabtree and Hazel Crabtree

4. "Charles," Clifford's son, Charles Talmadge Crabtree

5. "Charlotte Ann," Charlotte Ann Crabtree, daughter of Clifford Crabtree

6. "Glayds,"  Gladys Crabtree, David Sr.'s daughter

7. "Bess," Bess Crabtree, David Sr.'s daughter

Clifford with his wife, Helen, and their children the year after Grandfather's letter was written
Photo courtesy of Patricia Pickard


  1. Duffy, I nearly cried when I read this letter. Thank you, Tim, for sharing this. I always thought my grandfather had died before I was born, but I guess not. Silly me for not paying better attention to dates. Weather's comment filled in a couple gaps also. Thank you again for sharing.

    1. My cousin Cheryl (Mickey BlueEyez) calls me by my childhood nickname, Duffy, and is referring to a comment from another cousin on Facebook regarding this post:

      Heather Anderson Smith [writes] "great post Clair! It's interesting to think what was happening in the lives of the people he mentioned. My Grandfather, Murray had passed away 18 months prior. My grandmother, Gladys, fell into a deep depression and spent some time in a Sanitarium. At that time my mother, Marilyn, went and stayed with the Clifford Crabtrees and my Uncle Wayne stayed with David Sr."

      Thank you to Tim for sharing the letter. Thank you to Cheryl for reading and commenting.

      Thank you to Heather for giving us some further context. By the time all the cousins compare the bits they know about our family we'll have a pretty good picture!

  2. Sorry...I meant Heather...stupid spell check


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