“Ted, We Burried Ma Yesterday” – June 16, 1944 Letter from Mendenhall, Mississippi


Part Two

“Sure had a lovely furneral and such a crowd of people… Just like an association”

“Ted we burried ma yesterday”,  wrote Cudn’ Hattie’s. I am “tickled to death” that we get to hear from Hattie Maybell directly…in her own “voice”.  In a previous post I indicated that Cudn’ Hattie kept letters that SHE wrote to her husband while she was away from their home in Jellico, Tennessee. Who does that? On June 19, 1944, she was writing from her ancestral home in Mendenhall, Mississippi while she was there to attend her Grandma Lucy Harrison Williams’ funeral.  The historical  information is this letter is invaluable in that it provides the EXACT date of my great-grandmother’s funeral, June 18, 1944.

The letter is touching, filled with news and questions and nary a question mark. (Who needs ‘em anyway?)  She, not unlike others in the collection, used little to no punctuation.  I was impressed with  her use of “an” in the correct place.  Her penmanship is excellent in my opinion though there are a few misspelled words…so inconsequential, I think.  I am unsure if she attended school past the 8th grade.  Anyhow, I think she is a great writer despite having been born in 1898 in the rural south. According to the Census of 1910, Hattie Maybell was enumerated as living with her her grandparents and working on the family farm. I don’t necessarily take this as gospel.  I am convinced that she was still attending school at and past  the age of 11.  This family believed in education.  

She mentions:

  • a few tidbits re the funeral (strange, no elaboration on such an important event…more to this, I’m sure)
  • the oppressive heat
  • her very ill Uncle Elie (Aunt Sophronia’s husband)
  • her flower garden and the hogs in Tennessee
  • the details of her trip to Mississippi

She moves from one subject to the next without missing a beat.  Still, the letter seems to flow and this one is counted among my favorites in the collection. So sit back, “unlax” (as our Daddy’s Cudn’ Carrie used to say)…and “listen” to her as she does what she did best.

June 6, 1944 Letter from Cudn' Hattie to her husband, Theodore L. Wallace
June 6, 1944 Letter from Cudn’ Hattie to her husband, Theodore L. Wallace

pg. 3 pg. 3


June 19-1944      mendenhall, miss Mr. Theodore wallace My dear husband how are you this hot morn Ing, i do hope you are just fine and all Is well and fine here at ho me but Aunt sophronia husband uncle elie he has glan trouble bad but he wont go to the hospital he wont give up just keep trying to go he sure looks bad and Ted we buried ma yesterday which was Sunday sure had a lovely funeral and such a crowd of people Just like an association and the preacher sure did preach a lovely sermon and I had a grand trip down got a seat in Knoxville nice cool car never was over crouded but the train was I hour late when we got to Hattiesburg but I still had plenty of time to get the Bus station but they was so crouded untill I could not get out on the first bus  at 905 but they run an extry at 130  and and I came out on it you never witenessed  surch a hot day Ted it was the hottiest day I believe we have and it is hot today well I guiss Ted we will start to get things  streight soon 2 But your aunts sure does look worried But uncle Charlie has ben to see Tax colector smith and he no not smith the To told you about that told them About the will that ma had made and He combed it all out and treeded smith and it was so plain uncle chartie said The man told him well I don’t see any way to get at him for he was going out And the next man was so sorry that He was put out of office that followed Smith so there is no grounds left but To sue them for trespassing in it before They came in persession of it and he Told uncle Charlie that I could do that and Wen the sute so that is what I am going to do  if they don’t let me have it and I will give the lawyer half of what I sew for to get it what do you thank about that that is what uncle Clarence and uncle Charlie say that is the best thing to do if I want anything out of it and auntee Armildia  and uncle Charlie said hellow  and be sure and hold every thang down till I gt back and Ted you send me one of Edwards envelops and Charles and Raymond address I got one of Roys letters and if I get a letter from Roy send it to me and I am gointo write to him and tell The folks hello and I am gointo write to them later in the week  love Your wife Mae 3 I started your letter yesterday it is still hot honey has my flower seed come up How is the garden and the hogs tell Helen and grandson and geneva I said Hellow and the stones Cora and Bill Miss Virginia Norman and the boys Curnal and Ella is Mrs stones still Helping Mrs Clara and Ted has the Black Berries all ripened I do hope I can get there time enough to get some so we can have some wine and Jellie they are gone here and the huckerberries are gone to if you get out of shirts you get mrs stones to wash som for you and under ware and I will be home soon as all is cleair and you send m some money and I you send it Sateurday I will get it Monday or if you send it Monday I will get it Wendnsday and when you send it send it registered so I wont have to go to town to get an order cashed all sends best wishes. to you and Ted aunt sophronia husband Is sure on a low limb but he wont give up he is suffrning with glann trouble he cant hardly make water but he go to the field every day I sure feel sorry for him well  you write soon and have I  got any mail All from your little wife Love Mae”

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Family historian, amateur genealogist, collector of vintage family documents and photographs. A descendant of enslaved people on paternal and maternal sides.

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