Some time ago, I was given some letters that had been written by Oscar Langford to Julia Gilbert Langford, the widow of Oscar's brother Judge William Langford.
The following letter was written some 14 years after his brother died indicating that Oscar had a regular correspondence with Julia over quite a long time. I was also given another letter written in1922.
Some time after William died, Julia returned to her family's farm in Hillsdale, Michigan. She cared for her mother and ran the farm.
January 2, 1907
I should have acknowledged your kind Christmas gift of “The House Beautiful” before now, but was waiting for my IOOF 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 kinds of gifts from our local unions and from personal friends. One of mine was a hundred letterheads from 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 fifteen years old. She is now a mother of several grownup children and also a grandmother. It seems but yesterday since she and Delia were little “kids” playing about their father’s 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 except 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 she was my sister till after I found out 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, New York, and they told me 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 much, especially about their early history. Sister Harriet knew about all of them, but I never saw any 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 for 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 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 about a week or more, 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, however, 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 I hardly expected any, as Charley (so Veva wrote) has been out of work a good while, though was at work again a couple 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,