“Hellow Hattie Dir”
Postmarked FEB 17, 1915 OAKDALE & KIRBYVILLE LA
The sender of this 99 year old postcard card is Burnham Craft, the stepfather of Hattie Maybell. She was 16 years of age at the time of this correspondence. Although most of the postcard wording penned by Mr. Craft tends to begin and end identically, there is always some new information imparted, albeit clipped and brief. This time, the message notifies “Cudn’ Hattie” of his impending visit “to spend a few hot dayes” Mendenhall some time that summer of 1915.
Note: Cudn’ Hattie used several variations of her name(s), therefore I will attempt to honor them all. These names and the possible reasoning for the variations were mentioned in a previous post.
Feb 1915 Postcard from Burnham Craft to Hattie Maybell
Oakdale,and Kirbyville LA- FEB 17, 1915 (postmark)
Oakdale, La 2-14-15 (Written on Valentine’s Day)
Hellow Hattie Dir How are you this leaves me felling Just so But i trust that these few lindes will finds you the same i will Bee out to spend a few hot dayes with you all from Yours truly your father
As always, he conveys affection Hattie her in some manner. For example, he refers to her as “dir” (dear) in the postcard. May I mention that the myth of the crude, backwards, “unaffectionate” southern Black man (of this era) is definitely challenged by Mr. Craft’s obvious affection for her. I submit to you that Mr. Craft was not an oddity. I believe that there were many Black men like Mr. Craft. There aren’t necessarily surviving tangible evidence to prove this claim. Still, I contend that southern black men of this era, did not hesitate to express their affection for their children and other loved ones. Included in this list are Cudn’ Hattie’s husband (Theodore L. Wallace) and two great uncles (Clarence S. Williams and Giles Williams) who wrote very affectionate letters to her. These letters will eventually be published in future posts.
Personally, I am impressed with Mr. Craft’s literacy and am interested in when and how he was able to attend school. I also admire his tenacity for correspondence. He did not forsake, the daughter of Ada Williams Epting Craft (his deceased wife). It appears that after the death of her Hattie Maybell’s mother he was determined to stay in contact with her. At some point he remarried and traveled quite for work with the railroad company (evidenced by the various different postmark locales). Mr. Craft not only resided in a different town, but also in a different state, Texas!
Information gleaned from other letter indicated that Mr. Craft was decidedly human, which will be subsequently shared. His missteps and flaws are documented in the several letters to Cudn’ (written by him and other relatives) and explained to me in detail by Cudn’ Minnie (1912-2002).
How unfortunate because I was ready to rush out and have him fitted for wings AND a halo.
As always, stay tuned…The next soon- to- be published postcard is dated 1917. It will refer my paternal great-grandfather and great grandmother. Thanks for reading.