I have two final letters from J.W. Johnson in my files. They are both dated early 1921 and are hand-written by J.W. himself. His handwriting reveals both his age and a Swedish accent. The text of both letters are at the end of this post.
J.W. was my great-grandmother Clara’s wealthy uncle. He lived in Laramie and lived a fascinating life on the Western frontier. I just got an email yesterday from the curator of the museum in Hanna, Wyoming. She had come across another old article – this one about a surprise Silver Anniversary celebration in 1904. It’s not possible to link to the document directly, but if you go to wyonewspapers.org and look for page 3 of the March 2, 1904 edition of the Laramie Republican you can read it. Or contact me and I’ll send you a PDF.
Curiously missing from the guest list described in the article are P.W. and Clara Pearson. I know they were living in Laramie at the time – my grandfather was born in Laramie later that same year. Perhaps they were in Nebraska visiting family at the time of the big celebration.
This first letter was written to Herbert Brodd “and all the folks”. Herbert was Clara’s nephew; the letter must have been passed around the family and it ended up in my grandpa’s papers. The women mentioned in his letter, Tillie and Evelyn, are J.W.’s daughters.
305 Garfield St.
Feb 3rd, 1921
My Dear Herbert & all the folks,
I hope this finds you all well as it leavs us. I think I had a letter from you Long time ago. You must forgeve me if I did not reply. When I was Lookin over my xmas cards I found a Letter from August of Dec 22 last. I can not remember if I thanked him for it or not so you Pleas tell him i got it alright.
You Pleas tell you Ma Tillie and her famely has ben her for 2 weeks and was devorsed last sumer and was remarried here the 18 of Jany and Went to San francisco wher they ar now live as happie as any young folks could be. Ther daughter 17 years old is in business colleg in Denver. Expect to get through 4 or 5 months.
Evelyn get along alright. Her babe boy was 9 months old the 22nd Jany. He is bright and smart and good has no teet jett.
We have nice winter her and all kinds of the stock got along good but the[y] all complain of Low Prices and hanrdly no demand for any kind of stock. So the ranchman is all hard up for Payin thier obligation. You Pleas Tell you[r] Grand Pa and Grand Ma to not think anyting wrong of me for not writing. I lost ambation to write.
Please Extend my best wishes to all and oblige
The second letter is addressed to Clara and has an interesting mention that the Ceresco Bank “went wrong” – a little bit of Googling reveals that it did in fact go into receivership in 1921.
305 Garfield St.
March 2, 1921
Thank to all the young folks, Herman, Edna and all. I see Grand Ma & Aunt Annie ar visiting with you. I bet you have good caffe Rols or Bread & Butter. I wish I was ther. I never get to go[o]d Caffe Butter & Rolls as I do when I am in Nebr. If I was Grand Pa I would be with you. Well we are geting along nicly. Baby ar 10 months old and is good. Evelyn get along O.K. I inclose a letter from denver so you can see how thear geting along.
We have good weather all the time. Well Pleas send me few lines now and than. I see your Ceresco Bank went wrong while.
Pleas Extend my Greeting to all the folks.
I am yours,