Friday, January 25, 2013

Oscar's Letters to Julia Gilbert Langford

Oscar Langford apparently kept up with his sister-in-law, Julia Gilbert Langford , after his brother and her husband, Judge William G. Langford passed away in 1893. A pair of his letters have survived in the hands of family members.

Oscar Langford
Charter Member of
Dayton Typographical Union, No. 57
Reorganized in 1866

Colorado Springs, Colo.
January 2, 1907

Dear sister-
I should have acknowledged your kind gift of "the House Beautiful" before now but was waiting for my I. O. O. F. (International Order of Odd Fellows) certificate before writing. The card contains a whole sermon of precious truths and I have hung it up in my room so that I can keep its lesson in mind. Thank you.

Well Christmas and New Year's have come and gone, and we at the home have received numberless and all kind of gifts from our local unions and from personal friends. One of mine was a hundred letter heads from the Dayton Union, of which this sheet is a sample. I received from the St. Louis Union $5.00 cash, as did the five other members of that union at the home. I received handkerchiefs, etc., from different friends and have got a big enough stock on hand to keep my nose clean till next Christmas at least. Mr. and Mrs. Graul, living at Dow City, Iowa, sent me their photos and a pretty handkerchief. Mrs. Graul is a niece of mine, and the younger sister of Delia Wilcox. I was surprised to get a letter from her about three weeks ago, as she has never written to me before. I have not seen her for about forty years when she was then Mary Wise and I think not over 15 years old. She is now a mother of several grown-up children, and also a grandmother. It seems but yesterday that since she and Delia were little "kids" playing about their fathers house at Elk River, Iowa. You know Delia and Mary are daughters of my sister Jeanette, one of the dearest, sweetest women that ever lived, and who died early in the fifties.

Delia Wilcox is almost a perfect picture of what her mother was and Mary looks like her father. Mary wrote me for information about the birthplace of her father and mother. but I could tell her nothing but that her father was born in Canada. You know, I was the youngest of eleven children. My mother died when I was about three years old, and I was adopted by a farmer named Griswold and thought that was my name till about ten years old. My father went West and I was introduced to him when I went to sister Jeanette's in Iowa when I was about 18 years old.

Jeanette lived at Fredonia, New York, near where I was raised, but I never knew that she was my sister till I found out that my name was Langford, though she often came to see me when a little boy, "down on the farm." My foster parents told me her name was Walker. I remember I was mighty glad when I found out the relationship for I was very fond of her. My father was such a "rolling stone" that I never knew where I myself was born till I became a young man, when I visited cousins in Erie County, N.Y., and they told me that I was born there. The rest of the family became scattered all over the country, and "their long lost brother" had a terrible time hunting them up and getting acquainted. So I wrote Mary Graul all I knew about the Langford family, which wasn't very much, especially about their early history. Sister Harriet knew all about all of them, but I never saw a family record.

Mary mentioned her sister Delia Wilcox but did not write whether she was still at Mount Vernon, Iowa, or not, from which I infer that she is. I have had no letter from her in over a year though I wrote to her last. The last letter she wrote she complained of bad health and that she was wearing herself out sewing for so many people, who were tiring her to death, and she seemed rather discouraged. I wrote her an encouraging letter, telling her to put her trust in God and to be more cheerful. But she never answered the letter.

Well, our holiday weather has been more like spring than like winter. We have had no snow to speak of since November, when we had a severe blizzard and bad weather for a week or so., but December has been mostly a pleasant month, the sun shining almost every day. It tried to snow yesterday a little but quit the job in a few hours. I expect we will get plenty of winter weather yet, because the stormy times come late in the season here.

I got no holiday gifts from either of my sons, and hardly expected any, as Charley (so Veva wrote) has been out of work a good while though was at work again a couple of weeks ago. I hear that Harry and his wife are both in poor health. I sent Veva some magazines, their little girl a doll, and Charley some cigars and tobacco.

You must be rather lonesome trying to run the farm yourself, but I suppose there isn't much to do in winter. I hope and pray that you may continue to be healthy, prosperous and happy. I want to hear from you often. My health is about the same. Will be 70 years old Feb. 20. God bless you and keep you.
Your affectionate brother,

And, the second letter was written fifteen years later indicating that they had a regular correspondence for a long period of time.

Union Printers Home
Colorado Springs, Colo.
June 20, 1922

Dear Sister Julia, Hillsdale Michigan,
Last month I had some "Kodak" pictures of myself taken, the face being a little too much shaded, but I will now mail you one of them in this letter that you may see how I "show up" in the poor "Kodak" form, taken the date I was three months past eighty-five years of age. Today I am four months past eighty-five, being born February 20, 1837. Please make the best of it.

Since you became disabled, I seldom hear from you. My daughter-in-law, Veva, in St. Louis, Missouri, cannot write from a similar affliction, but her daughter Vivian, and some other relatives write me occasionally. I often think of you, and will not forget your past kindness. Weather, sun shining, warm all this month.

Owing to my handwriting not being first class on account of my poor eyesight, Jason E. Haynes, a roommate union printer kindly writes this for me. He has his arm off since thirty years of age and had his left hip socket injured, causing short left leg, when forty-nine years old by two separate train accidents, yet full of life and intellect. He was born October 22, 1854. Now eight months past sixty-seven-an American and a Missourian, long time a printer and an editor.

Hoping this will find you in good health, I remain,
Your affectionate brother,
Oscar Langford
(resident Union Printers Home)

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