Monday, April 5, 2010

Amanuensis Monday: McPherson History, Letters from Uncle Ralph

Amanuensis: a person employed to take dictation or copy manuscripts.

I read about Amanuensis Monday in Heather Rojo's blog "Nutfield Genealogy," who read about it in  Randy Seaver’s blog “GeneaMusings” and he read about it on John Newmark’s genealogy blog “TransylvanianDutch”.  That said,  for me this is a great way to transcribe and post my Uncle Ralph's letters.

Mondays are my days to enter transcriptions of the letters my Uncle Ralph wrote to his sisters.   The following  letter was written to his sister Olive Lorraine.  He mentions her husband, and his sisters, Bertha, Helen and Verna, as well as a bit of family history from Minnesota and Wisconsin. This letter is also one of his shorter missives - just a four-page letter to keep in touch with his sister.  To the left is a  picture of Ralph taken in the mid 1940's.

Dear Olive & Norman,
Received your letter the day after I had mailed you one so to keep the record straight I'll write again today & besides I got more idle time than you have,

Norman thinks I have a good memory. Well I have & I also think that the times of life also have something to do wit it. Everything was so much slower and relaxed 50 or 60 years ago that think the impresions get imprinted on your memory like years ago when the roads were so bad & we were driving trucks with poor brakes after about the 2nd  trip we knew every bump in or where to slow or speed up. To show you an example  Bertha & I both started school at the 5th Ward schoool in Madison wis & the 1st grade teacher there also taught our mother when she started to school when she was 6y yrs old.

Our Dad drove a wholesale delivery wagon for Gold-Wells&Blackburn wholesale grocers & his section of town to deliver in was called little Italy. For all of this he received $1 a day 5 1/2 days a week which at that time were considered good wages, he quit them & went to work as a marble setter when they were finishing bldg the Capitol at Madison.

The problem I have now & have had for years bringing something to mind like I"ll introducetwo people & I'll know their names as well as my own but at the time can't think of them.

You know as I look back I know a lot of Grandfather’s (James Burns McPherson) brothers and sisters & also some of his aunts and uncles & no where has there been much illness. They either had to get killed or die of old age & I mean old in the nintys, of course generations ago when people never got 50 mi away from home in their life time there was some pretty close relationship along the line although none of them were deformed like the royalty in Europe altho there were some like one of Dad’s cousins with two thumbs on each hand and a few more like that

No you dont get much impressions in todays world you drive along the highway you don't actualy see it or anything else

Our weather is still nice but the nights are getting a little chill to them but I can cut down on the electricity which is good

Had a letter from Bertha this last week but she doesn't say much

Write to Verna this a.m. & should drop Helen a line. Guess she is in a vile mood if she's quit smoking it bothers me too.

Ralph & Sally


  1. Joan, i love this faithfully transcribed letter! love yr blog! again it touches the heart in the parallels to my own family history. How much of life we think belongs to us alone but somehow it is to be shared, and in the process the amazing discovery that so many of us travel along the same pathways... of heart and mind, soil and toil and...Love always, rebecca

  2. Thanks for the comment on my blog. I was happy to see on your blog that you are also posting for "Amanuensis Monday." There seem to be more of these amanuensis posts this week, so perhaps it will gain momentum in the geneablogging community!

  3. You are the recipient (again I guess!) of the Ancestor Approval Award! Pat & Judy at genealogygals\blog

  4. Joan, I had to look up Amanuensis which is great because I love to learn new words and I think it's a wonderful unique prompt for us bloggers. I plan on incorporating it into my blog also. Nice job.