We now come to a sequence of letters pertaining to the very sad and tragic death of P.W. Pearson.
Sometime in 1919, he was diagnosed with cancer in his mouth, which later spread to his throat. The family desperately tried everything they could to save him, including mortgaging the farm to pay for his radium treatments. I understand he suffered terribly. A doctor came out to the farm to administer morphine shots in his final days. He died on June 24, 1920.
Clara was widowed at the age of 43; Elmer was 17, Herman was 15, Edna 12 and Irvin 11. Somehow the family managed to keep the farm going and pay off the debt. I know that my grandfather Herman had to sacrifice a high school education in order to help on the farm.
News of P.W.’s death reached the Johnson family in Laramie. They immediately telegraphed money for funeral flowers, and a condolence letter followed a couple of days later. The money was “wired” to the Farmers and Merchants Bank in Ceresco. The head cashier, Fred Mostrom, sent notice of receipt and his own note of condolence to Clara. (I have to mention that Fred’s wife Ida is my first cousin twice removed on the Rudeen side of my family.)
The family sent the following letter:
June 25, 1920
Dear Clara and all:
Your message came as a great shock to us and we would like to extend our heartfelt sympathy to all of you at the loss of your dear husband and father. We are might sorry we were unable to assist you in any way – but if there is anything any of us can do, please do not hesitate to ask it of us.
Yours very truly,
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Carruth
We are telegraphing $5.00 to you. Please buy flowers.
Note that Mrs. Frank Carruth is J.W. Johnson’s daughter Evelyn, author of the previous letter.