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

Monday, September 1, 2014

Finding Tim

When my sister and I were little we spent a lot of time with our cousin, Timmy, who was the son of my mother's youngest brother, David and his wife, Muriel.

We loved Timmy like a little brother--maybe even more, because there was no sibling rivalry. Since he was younger than both of us, we got away with a lot where he was concerned because he was always willing to do whatever we asked him to do. We dressed him up as the Avon lady and got him to ring doorbells around the neighborhood. He always greeted the homeowner, who was no doubt surprised at seeing a miniature cross-dresser on the doorstep, with a cheery "Avon calling!"

Timmy showing off his muscles

When Timmy was around 8 or 9 his parents were divorced and his mom moved back East with Timmy and his little sister, Kathleen, to be close to her family . We lost track of them and never saw Timmy again, but we never stopped thinking about our lost "little brother."

In my family history research I have received help from others time and time again, so I decided to explain this problem to the Facebook group I made for my cousins and others interested in my mother's family (Descendants of David Jewett and Edith Rae Crabtree). I posted this photo (above) and my query on July 28, 2014 and within an hour had the information I needed to contact him. 

By the next morning Tim and I were in touch and a lively and thrilling reunion by correspondence began. The little Timmy I remember is now a great-grandfather, which is pretty hard to get my mind around. I try very hard to remember that he's all grown up now and that I must call him Tim, not Timmy. 

Once again, Sheila Antworth Lafferty, who has been thanked on this blog before, was the heroine! She has given us a wonderful gift in helping to reunite my family with my long-lost cousin-like-a-brother. Tim knows now that we never forgot about him, and is learning more about his dad's family through this blog, the Facebook group of cousins, and the family tree pages on Ancestry.com. 

It took over 50 years of wondering and then just an hour to locate the right person with the right skills and knowledge to find the answer that finally solved this family mystery.