Letters From Addie
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Chapter 3: The Journey Begins in Saltillo, 1884
Addie's first post as a missionary was Saltillo, the capital of the Mexican state of Coahuila. It is located in northeastern Mexico between Monterrey to the east and Torreón to the west.
In this set of letters, Addie describes work on the Madero Institute, which is scheduled to open on October 1, 1884. Addie is a 26-year-old young woman a long way from home and is lonesome for her family. Her sisters Emma, Mildie, and Ruth were 23, 18, and 7, respectively. Her brother, Welborn, was 11.1 In each letter, she implores someone to "please write."
(4 - 7) page 1 of 2
July 11th 1884
Mrs. L. A. Barton,
After two days stay in San Antonio we boarded the train for Saltillo. Crossing the Rio Grande we pass over a long stretch of country bleak and lonely. In the afternoon we approach the mountains - huge, high and rugged. Pass several Mexican cities. After sun down we were in Saltillo. Mexicans met us at the train and Mexicans came to see us every hour of the day. Don Cardenas, whom I met in San Antonio is now in the parlor. We were at prayer meeting last night and I could but contrast it with our little "imitation" prayer meeting at home.
Stopped my letter to write for Bro. P. If the young men at home could only have heard the talks and prayers of two of our young men members last night they never would say "greasers" to me anymore. You will read in the Herald about them. One of them, Margarito, is anxious to give me Spanish lessons but propriety will not admit. I will begin under Don Cardenas Monday.
Bro. Powell and I in company with Don Cardenas, Principal of the school, visited the college building this morning. It is a massive structure. A Mexican accompanied us to carry the keys. He had his arms full. There is a fountain and plaza in center of college. The church is a little ways from the college and opens on a beautiful plaza.
Victoria and Margarito called on us this morning. Victoria looks something like Mrs. Tripis only much sweeter. Says I look like a Mexican which I consider a compliment as there are some beautiful Mexicans. The young men seem to have this advantage over the girls. Have seen several handsome boys.
(4) We passed today where they make brick for Dobies. They shape the mud in shapes like our brick only larger and lay them out to dry. It is only the shape that distinguishes the brick from the Mexican who makes it for he is so besmeared with the mud he looks like a walking doby.
(5) Am looking for some friends from Herne, Texas this afternoon.
(4-7) 96-51-380 page 2 of 2
July 13, 1884
(6) Will snatch another minute to write. Margarito Garza and a Mexican lady and myself joined the church this morning. Would liked so much to have understood Margarito's experience. He seemed very earnest in relating it.
The thermometer stood at 88° yesterday and every one was complaining of the heat. Say they never knew it so warm at this time of the year. It is quite pleasant to us from a warmer climate.
Emma, will expect you in Saltillo when we get into the college. Bro. P. thinks we will move in soon. Another Presbyterian who wants to preach came to have a talk with Bro P. today on Baptist doctrines.
(7) Dear Welborn & Ruth,
This is Sunday afternoon and Sis Addie wonders what you are doing. Your Sunday school is over but I will attend ours this afternoon. Bro. Powell preached this morning and many little Mexican children came to hear him, and they all sang so sweetly. They sing much better than American children. They come to church bareheaded or with shawls on their head. You never see the women without their shawls.
Ask Jesus to make you good children and pray for Sis Addie.
Mildie, I wish I could have come to Mexico at your age. I hope to spend my life here. This letter has been written at random. Love to every body.
August 1st 1884
Guess you would like to know something of what I am doing. Well, much of my time is employed in study or reading Spanish. Go to see Victoria most every other day in order to learn the language. Was there yesterday evening, was trying to say something about the wool of sheep but made it out the wool of the cock, only a sample of my mistakes.
Ruth, she has a niece about your age. We were going to church the other night and she ran to me saying, "Quiero ir con Adela."2 Let sister Mildie to translate for you.
Brother, have seen several nice boys about your size and age. The girls school will open in Oct. twill be sometime before the boy's school will be established. If you have any desire to come to Mexico think there will be a fine opening. If you want to come prepare yourself expressly for that purpose. I would not encourage you against your will, but don't think you will ever regret it. It suits me and was never better pleased in my life but tastes differ. You ought to see the repairing on the college - dirt! dirt! Have everything on the burros (donkey). It will be beautiful when completed.
(80) 96-51-444 (a and b)
"MEXICO FOR CHRIST."
$20,000 NEEDED TO
PUT THESE SCHOOLS
$50,000 WANTED FOR
"MEN OF ISRAEL HELP!"
SOUTH. BAPTIST CON.
"EL HERALDO MEXICANO."
Saltillo, Mexico Sept. 1884
Dear Sallie & All Home Folks,
Your letter received, was glad to hear at last from home. Bro. Powell left this morning to visit churches on the frontier of this state, had to go by San Antonio. So we are alone and not at all afraid. El Senior Cardenas called to see us this morning, the conversation carried on in Spanish. I don't mind to talk to a Mexican when Bro. P. does not hear it. He laughs at my Spanish. We've had nine accessions since we've been here - seven the first seven days. Bathrooms through which a stream of water flows are used for the baptistery. There are several in the city. We went out the other night on the Plaza. It is a beautiful place, walks and flowers and a fountain in the center. Our church when it is completed opens on a plaza. It stands between the state college and the Catholic Church. The Cathedral here is the most beautiful thing in Saltillo, cost $90,000.
Work began on the Madero Institute today. School will open the 1st of Oct. Bro. Powell has enough work to keep three men busy, beside his preaching he has to attend to work on the College and from five to ten persons are to see him every day to speak with him upon the subject of religion. He wears himself out talking. So much to be explained to them.
Margarito (all are called by given names) left with Bro. P. this morning. He is a young native minister (Presbyterian) who has joined the Baptist since we came. He is simply splendid. He and his father took supper with us last night. He speaks English a little and has been with Americans a great deal, but his father did not know how to use a knife and fork. It was with the greatest difficulty that I suppressed laughter. Left Bro. P their pictures taken together. Mrs. P said Miss Addie would like one too, said he would send me one (taken alone) from Louisville. He goes there in the fall to
(80) 96-51-444 (a and b) page 2 of 2
the Seminary. Five of the sixty members are studying for the ministry. Peppy is another young native minister - about seventeen years old. The Mexicans have splendid voices, can sing anything, only they sing very slowly. They have Band music in the Plaza almost every night. You are seldom from under the sound of a bell in Saltillo, either by day or by night.
Ma, I thought sure I had the smallpox the other night. Something broke out all over me and how I did itch. I have it yet - a kind of rash I suppose. My hands and face are all swollen, eyes and lips too. It comes and goes, think it impurity of the blood, what must I do for it? There have been several cases of smallpox but no deaths. The Mexicans think no more of smallpox than we do of measles.
Have a splendid teacher, takes quite an interest in me. He is Prof of English in State College. Rooms next to me. Take one lesson at 1:30. The next at 9 PM another day. Tell all Sisters and Bob to write. My time is all engaged in study.
Write in care W. D. Powell.
(79) 96-51-443 page 1 of 2
Sept 16th 1884
Miss Emma Barton,
Your precious letter was received this morning. I was just thinking of writing to you. I am glad to inform you and know you will be relieved when I tell you that I have not taken the smallpox. Mrs. Powell is up after a few weeks sickness, though the smallpox shows on her face yet and will for sometime. Dr. Bibb says I have fallen off fifty pounds during my scare of the smallpox. I was somewhat frightened at first but have gotten used to them now. We apprehend no more danger.
This the 16th of Sept. is the Mexicans national day, our 4th of July. Last night the Plaza was beautifully decorated and illuminated, had several speeches, several thousand people present, you can't conceive of the crowd, the jabber. At 12 o'clock all the bells in the city were rung, cannons shot, etc, a general jubilee. At daylight this morning I was awakened by the ringing of bells, of continuous report of a cannon near my window. At 4 o'clock they gave speeches again at the Alameda, a beautiful park at the other end of the city.
Well, school opens in a little while the 1st of October and I won't be at all sorry. I am getting anxious to begin work in earnest. Our college will be when finished simply beautiful. Work is still going on painting, repairing, etc. The rooms are all plastered inside and then painted, floors all of brick. Am having my room repaired to order, went down to look at some furniture for it the other day. Respectable looking set of furniture costs $300.00 here, and everything is so very, very high. Wish I had brought more things with me, but mine might have shared the fate of some things Bro Powell was bringing. He had a few groceries with him, but they wouldn't let them pass, were taken from him. Though I think it was because he also had some Bible tracts, they saw them and their prejudices were so great they couldn't miss the opportunity of doing him harm.
I didn't know until last night that there were so many nice people here, Mexicans I mean. The higher class never goes out only on extra occasions. You can't tell them from Americans, only when you hear them speak. Last night my friend Victorio had to tell me which were Americans and which were Mexicans. I am delighted with the language. In speaking it you hardly open your mouth, it is only a gentle flowing of the voice, however, I don't speak it in its purity altogether yet, but most of the time can make myself understand if they give me time. When they don't understand me, I tell them it is strange that they can't understand Spanish. I have been afraid to write while there is smallpox in the house for fear of communicating it.
(79) 96-51-443 (page 2 of 2)
This is a Mexican about 18 years of age who goes next fall to attend the Theological Seminary in Louisville. Already he has preached several excellent sermons.
Mildie, please send by next mail the Calisthenics & Marching. Most any of the girls can give the order of Marching, the little Kellar girl if she is there. Now write me out the Calisthenics. Get the best you can and send them. Write Position & Attitude. If you could only send me the name of the book Miss Sublette used. Where is she this year? Did you say Miss Cook was boarding at our house? My love to her.
Emma, I expect you to spend the winter with me.
Dear Ruth and Welborn,
Little girls come every day almost to my window to beg for books. One day I told them I didn't have any little books in Spanish and they ran away hollering, "Protestante! Protestante! Protestante !!" I then got some tracts and when they came the next day gave them some. May be much good will be done through this.
A portion of a letter follows. There are several ideas expressed that indicate that the letter was written from Saltillo soon after Addie's arrival. In letters dated Sept. 1884 and Sept. 16, 1884, Addie wrote of work on the Madero Institute. Perhaps the first paragraph on this page is describing that work. In the last sentence of this letter, Addie wrote that school opens the 1st of October, indicating that this letter was written toward the end of September. Also, in the letter dated Sept. 16, 1884, Addie had asked Mildie to send some materials on marching. She repeated that request in this letter. Addies request that her Sunday school children write to her is another indication that this letter was written soon after her departure from Salado. The children would need to write while they still remembered Addie as their teacher.
Plastered inside and out about ¼ from the floor and near the ceiling is pale blue, perfectly exquisite. All the rooms here are painted in this way. It is only one story, but expect to build it another in the course of time.
This is holy week. All the bells in the city ring at once about 8 o'clock, and for sometime it is a clamorous clang. The women pass by the hundreds going to the cathedral. You never see one with a hat on - always a shawl. On the street some take a parasol and some only have the shawl.
Went to prayer meeting last night - told the janitor or rather deacon that I wanted the church key today to practice on the organ. He brought it before breakfast.
Now be sure to send the Order of Deems Bells on Marching in answer to this. Tell my Sunday School children to write me and not wait for me to write to them. Brother, please write to sister and tell her everything.
We will move in the college Monday.
Love to everybody,
Write in care of W. D. Powell.
Have gotten well of my small pox.
Nov 28th 1884
Miss Emma Barton
Your last letter received this morning. The first I have heard in a long time. Today is "April Fool's" Day. The children have been fooling quite extensively. Received one written half in Spanish and half in English. Think Miss Berlanga sent it. Mrs. Bouicy gives up the Boarding department the last of this month and I would have proposed for you and Ma to come and take it but there is nothing to be made at it. Every thing is so ordinary here that nothing is made at the price set for boarders. Teachers pay $15.00 and other boarders $10.00. The orphans $5.00. I think Bro. Powell will get Mrs. Graves to come home with him and take charge of the domestic affairs. She will not be able to make any thing only expenses.
Bro Myers went to Laredo the other day and I sent by him a box to mail for Ruth and Welborn. Let me know if they received it. Also some pictures. Mine for Ma. Angela for Emma. Blanca for Mildie. Eura for Ruth. The Cathedral for Welborn. There are three little Italian girls who are very anxious to go home with me when I go. We think a great deal of each other. The other day on Saint Adela's day they sent me a dish of all kinds of fruit because I have the same name of the Saint. I have only three Spanish names Adalaida, Adela, and Aduleta more commonly called Adalita. Miss Berlanga and her little sister gave me on that day two handsome bouquets. Bro. and Sister Myers will go soon to Patos. Miss Anna goes with them. Mrs. Myers is in very delicate health. Don't think she can possibly live long.
There is a case of smallpox in the church and the Mexicans don't want him moved. The Americans are afraid to go to church. I wish Bro. Powell would come home. Things don't move as smoothly when he is away.
We had a very pleasant little Christmas. The children in evening took up a collection to buy for their supper. They cooked it themselves and am sure they enjoyed themselves. Their supper consisted of unnelos (fried cakes) and syrup. Miss Berlanga sent me a book Espanol, and Miss Myers gave me a cup and saucer. Miss Tupper a Christmas card, but it was too warm to seem like Christmas. Today is Sunday. I guess Bro. P. is at home today. Tell him to come by the first of January. Bro. Martinez told me about Bro. Morris, and that Bro. Whipkey had left Salado. What are you doing? Are you all still dragging along doing nothing? I think we will have to send a Missionary to Salado. Welborn, please write to
Church minutes state that Bro. Morris, mentioned in the previous letter, requested that his fellowship from the church be withdrawn. He said he "could not endorse nor defend the church's Articles of Faith." Bro. Whipkey was pastor when Addie received her commission to be a missionary. He served from June 1884 through Nov. 1884.3
Dec. 20th 1884
This is Saturday and with us it is the same as any other day. I proposed to Mr. Cardenas the other day that we open school at 9 am close at 3 p.m. When he agrees to that I will propose that he give us all Saturday.
Bob, Dr. Bibb asked especially how you were. Sent best regards and wanted to know if you had any idea of coming to Mexico. His advice was to stay at home. Said Mexico was only fit for dogs, goats, burros, and Mexicans.
There is a case of smallpox in the Church. As you know the Church is only a room in a private house. I asked Dr. B. to have the patient removed. The smallpox has lost some of its terrors for me. Still enough dread is left to keep me a respectful distance from it.
××××××× (These marks are from Nellie).
Emma, why not come home with Bro. Powell and spend the winter. The winters are very mild here. If possible send by him something for my room - rugs, brackets, frames or something as it is impossible to get anything here and my room looks cheerless. Send me photographs of all and little frames for them.
Goodbye will finish this letter Christmas---
The following letter did not have a place and date stated. It is assumed to be from Saltillo on December 20, 1884. In the letter to Mildie presented above, Addie invited Emma to come spend the winter with her.
What do you think about Emma coming? I have been afraid that it was too high for her here, but if she is worrying about everything at home the climate here can't be worse than that.
If I had the money she would be more than welcome to it, but I will pay her board here. I suppose it will cost $50.00 to come. Would you like for her to come alone? Do just as you all think best. If the Lord is willing I want to be at home Christmas and I thought it would do Emma good to spend the summer here.
In the following letter, Addie's 19-year-old sister, Mildred, writes to their 8-year-old sister, Ruth. "Bro. Sam" may be their 31-year-old brother, Samuel Houston Barton. Hamblen and Blake are Addie and Mildie's nephews.
Jan 14th 1885
My Darling Ruth,
Sis Addie has just come from church and Sis Mildie is undressing to go to bed. She was vaccinated in two places and both took. It made her a little sick. She did not get up this morning till late, so this evening I telephoned to Dr. Bibb to come and see her. When she heard he was coming got up and dressed and pretended that she had never been sick.
Your little letter was received the other day. Why don't you write everyday? My dear Ruth, Sis Addie has gone in the school room and I will finish her letter. This morning a little beggar girl came to our window with the smallpox but I had gotten over my scare. I know you are studying your book to see how much you can learn while I am in Mexico. Do you want me to come home or stay out here?
Mr. Powell is going tomorrow to try and establish another school. Tell Mama there will be seventy-five coming on the excursion and we are going to look for her and Bro. Bob. Has Hamblen come home? I am nearly crazy to see him. Sis Addie said today if she could see you she would rat you up. I think she wants to see you and Brother worse than anyone. Is Bro. Sam living with you all now? Tell Blake I will bring him a little mule when I come. Well, Sis Add and I are going to call on Miss Bibb this evening and will close.
Jan 24th 1885
Your letter received some few days since it was hailed with gladness as it was the first news from home in a month. This is such a lovely beautiful Sabbath morning - so warm.
Mr. Powell has been off all week preaching at different places. We expect him home tomorrow or next day. Then Miss Tupper, Mr. Cardenas and I are going to Monterey and other places in the state but will be gone only a week as school opens the 1st.
Bertie Tulley whose mother died last week is still in bed. Will take no nourishment only when forced. Miss Nannie, Miss Annie and I have been taking time about staying with her at night.
Miss Withers our Matron we have all learned to like her very much. She is exceedingly quiet and good.
Miss Cockran of the Presbyterian school is in Monterey and Mr. Beall Presbyterian minister of Saltillo are to be married soon so says Madam Rumon. Mr. B's wife died last April.
Feb 18th 1885
My Dear Mother,
I have just returned from giving English classes in the city. Mrs. Graves is staying in my room till hers is painted and I am staying with Miss Tupper. All the Missionaries are initiated in my room. Mr. & Mrs. Myers kept it a month.
After the excursionists left we continued the meeting a week resulting in 26 additions to the church. Our church now has 107.
Please send me my church letter as I have never had it though I joined this church soon after my arrival here. Send me a copy of each "Quarterly" and some Sunday School papers and cards that you use. I want to translate for our Sunday School. We have no Spanish Sunday School literature. Mr. Powell is at work translating the Theological work. We have so much to do and so little to do with.
We have five prayer meetings a week held in different parts of the city. One of them for ladies only which meets here this evening at 5 o'clock. We attended with Mr. Powell last night one of the prayer meetings. The street in front of the door was crowded, all were very quiet and attentive.
I guess that Milda has told you how well I am pleased so don't give yourself any trouble concerning me. I have all I could desire. Mr. Powell is too kind for anything. Since Mrs. Graves came we have American cooking and enjoying it too. Well, there is nothing new. We have the same routine of duty each day. Mildie has seen and can tell all about it. I presume she has reached home safely as I have not heard.
Don't know whether you take the "Heathen Helper" or not. Will send you part of it. Every Baptist religious paper in the United States is sent to us. We are having delightful weather. If I come in May I expect Senorita Salomé will come with me. Don't see how I can leave but Mr. Powell wants me to go to the convention. Be ready to go.
Salado Baptist Church, Addie's home church, had a membership of 100 during 1885. Church records show that Addie's church letter was sent March 14, 1885.4
Feb 19th 1885
My Willie Barton
My Dear Nephew
Your letter was quite a surprise. I had no idea that you could write such a good letter. I will expect you now to write me once a week every Saturday night, it will be a great benefit to you and a pleasure to me.
I hardly know what to tell you that would interest you as most everything is losing its novelty for me. A load of wood on a Burro's back seems quite natural but if I were to see a wagon load it would look real funny to me. I would not know what do with myself in the United States.
What would you think of Aunt Addie if she couldn't talk English when she came home. An American young lady asked me the other day what the sign "Panaderia" meant. I told her a place where they cooked bread but could not think of the word Bakery till she told me how it was called in English.
Tell Mama to write often.
Feb. 19 1885
Mr. Welborn Barton
My Darling Brother
Yours and Willie's letters received a few days ago. Every Thursday evening we have to take the girls out walking. Yesterday I took them to the San Francisco plaza but Mr. Powell sent a man with us to protect us. There is a school of boys near the plaza and they were just coming out of school. How they did scream and laugh when they saw us, just because we are Protestants. It makes one feel kinden cheap when they know they are an object of diversion.
You must write how you are getting on at school. Who is your teacher? Who is your Sunday School teacher? Are you taking music lessons?
Tell Sister Emma to write. You and Ruth must have your pictures taken together and send me in your next letter. And see if they preserved the negative of my pictures, if they did order me a dozen.
Love to all your little boy friends.
Your loving Sis Addie
Feb. 21st 1885
My Darling Brother
Your letter received several days past. We had a splendid rain last night. The first in a long time. Today is dark and gloomy and I do not feel different from what the weather looks. No, I will modify that somewhat. I am perfectly well and have reason to be happy and contented. It must be lonely and quiet at home now, only four children. How different it used to be. Make home pleasant for those who remain.
The girls are all back this year and happy singing all the time. Everything here would seem very strange to you, all they do and all but nothing seems strange to me now.
Miss Withers is a lovely good woman and makes the girls stand around. "Ada has not come yet."
March 3rd 1885
Miss Emma Barton
It is noon. I was lying down but got up to write and inquire what you all are doing. I have not heard a word I think from home since Mildie left unless I received Welborn's and Mildie's letters since she left. Mildie why don't you write? It is becoming monotonous - my answer to Dr. Bibbs daily interrogation - Miss Barton have you heard from your sister yet?
Ma, get the recent numbers of the Advocate from Mrs. Henton and read what the Methodist minister here says about us. The Baptist mission is doing by far the great amount of work, indeed it is wonderful, and I fear the other denominations are somewhat jealous. They need such men as Powell. They accuse Mr. Powell of stealing members from other churches. I only wish there were others as free from such an unfair way as is Mr. Powell.
I expect I will begin soon to give English lessons to Gov. Cervantes. Mildie you remember him - the little governor and the way he is a widower, so I don't know how I will terminate the English lessons. You know my affinity for widowers.
Emma, I expect you and Ma to go with me to the Convention and if I don't go, go anyway. The time is so near and I feel that I have accomplished so little, and don't see how I can possibly leave, so don't be disappointed if I don't come. I have [incomplete]
Our new flower garden in front of the college will be beautiful next summer when you come to see us. Will have a fountain and summer house in center.
I suppose you have read all the glowing accounts of the excursion. By the way, General Hawthorne has been to see you, hasn't he? Heard through Dr. Turner that he went to Salado. I suppose that he and Mildie told so much about me that you don't think it necessary to write anymore.
Hamblin, Sis Addie thinks of her little boy as she closes this letter, how she would like to see him. Do you tell your little brother that you have a Sis Addie whom he has never seen?
Was so good to hear from Mrs. Orgain.
Mar 6, 1885
Miss Mildie Barton
Why don't you write? Dr. Bibb stayed here two hours this evening begging Miss Annie to tell him something that some one had told her and that she had promised not to tell. He asked me why you didn't write, "Quien sabe."
Mr. Powell went to Patos this morning to see Marion and Mary Sue. I wanted to go with him but it was uncertain when he could return. Ponfinia went with him. Mr. Cardenas I suppose will preach Sunday. I love Mr. Cardenas and Ponfinia dearly - it does me good to be with them. Mr. C. is very busy drawing and painting a map for the school.
Well times are about the same when you were here. It is first one thing then another - no rest for the wicked. I am miserable if I am not in a rush and going all the time. Our garden is exquisite. Think of having summer house and fountain in front.
Mar 14 - 1885
My Dear Mother
Mildie's letter received was glad to hear from home. Mr. Powell has just returned from Patos and has been sick ever since he came home but is better and will be up today.
A young man in the Railroad employ from New York has been sick some time with Smallpox died day before yesterday. We sent to him every day his dinner.
I went home yesterday with La Senorita Saolmie for dinner. Everything was served in style, plates changed at least if not more than six times. Three young Mexican gentle men, the Bon-Tons of Saltillo dined with him. Not less than half a dozen bottles of lager beer was toasted at the table. I indulged more fully in the Pulque - a Mexican drink. I could partake of every thing that was given me and really enjoyed it but when I was asked to have a cigarette had to politely refuse.
Mildie has put out some false impressions concerning us Mexicans. We don't all steal. Had a revival at Patos, and as a result several idols were burned. Mildie if you remember Juanita, she and all the family were converted. Had been very strict Catholics. Juanita said sometimes if she was where she could not worship she could make her a cross of some sticks and kneel and worship that, but after her conversion she set fire to all their idols. Am sorry you all are looking for me in May for I think that I can not go.
Our garden in front of the Madero Institute is attracting considerable attention. Some predict that some fine morning we will wake up and find it completely demolished.
I am glad Bro. Hawthorne went to see you. Know you enjoyed his visit. He is a dear old soul. Calls me his little Miss Ionary. I have written twice to him since he was here but have not heard from him. Presume he is traveling.
Please send me Bro's and Ruth's picture.
March 23rd 1885
I received a good long letter from sister yesterday. Why don't you write more often? Am sure you would if you could appreciate how welcome is news from home.
Mr. Powell is away from home traveling in other parts of Mexico in interest of the Gospel. We are more or less uneasy when he is away. Last night two men came to the door and made several excuses to get in. Said they wanted a Bible. Then said they wanted to talk through the telephone but the pastor would not permit them to enter. So, Mr. Cardenas stayed with us last night in case we needed protection.
Miss Anna and I were on the street the other day and a very nice dressed man passed us and as he passed said something but we did not understand it, so when we had arrived at home found that he had turned and followed us all the way and was peeping in at the window trying to catch a glimpse of us. That frightened me more than anything since I have been in Mexico.
Sallie, why not come on the excursion the 11th of April. If Mr. McKendree cannot come with you, you and Lessie come. You will find plenty of company. Coming to Mexico is nothing. I would as soon go alone as not or would you rather go to the convention in Ga. and to the Exposition.
Have just returned from church so will finish my letter. Several Americans were here this morning looking at our building. A great many Americans are coming and going more. When I first came seldom saw one.
We never have to go out of doors for anything. Sleep, eat, teach and go to church all in the same house, have plenty of exercise walking around the corridor, a gallery all around the house inside.
I feel that I can accomplish more good here than I ever could in the United States. So Mexico is my home if the Lord wills. I wish you could see our house - our college. If I don't get to go home in May I want you to be sure and come on the excursion. Bro. Hawthorne is coming. It is only $5.00 from San Antonio. Look in the Herald - will find what it costs.
The excursion is only to Monterey and two dollars extra to come to Saltillo, but will meet you in Monterey. If you come write me immediately. Write immediately anyway.
March 24 1885
Mr. Welborn Barton
My Darling Brother,
Your letter received last night. I was so glad to hear from you. Am so proud of my brother. I hope you will take great interest in your Latin especially when you become a Missionary in Mexico. It will be a great help to you in learning Spanish. Latin and Spanish are very much alike.
We have just returned from prayer meeting in the lower part of the city. Mrs. Powell returned from the States last Sunday. Left the Baby with her Sister. Think she intends to return in May, go to the Convention and from there for her baby. Mr. Powell returned this evening from Patos and Parras, leaves again Thursday for other parts in Mexico. Tell Bro. Bob and Sister Maggie to come on the Excursion to Monterey. I will be there, then they can come to Saltillo too. It is only a few hours run. Write soon too
Mr. Powell returned this afternoon from Patos and Parras where he has been on a visit in behalf of the cause with most flattering prospects. We will soon establish schools at both points.
The Governor lives at Parras is a very warm friend of Mr. Powell. Gives him his Ranch with several houses in which to establish Missions. It is perfectly wonderful the way things are progressing. We can scarcely believe. Of course it is the Lord's work. It is He who brings it all to pass but He helps them who help themselves and surely Mr. Powell goes with his whole soul in the work. Oh, for ten Powells just now - what a revolution we would work in Mexico. We are needing several more Missionaries in the field immediately. Missionaries of the right kind. Want none but the best.
Received a letter from Mrs. Wilson. Atlanta wanting me to write a letter for the Women's Missionary Meeting during the Convention.
The following letter is to Addie's older brother, Robert Wilson Barton, M. D. Dr. Barton practiced medicine in Salado and Temple for more than 50 years. Sarah "Sallie" Margaret "Maggie" Hamblen was his wife. Dr. Barton, born in 1856, was two years older than Addie. Dr. Barton died in 1936.5
May 3rd 1885
Church is over and we English speaking people have been singing Gospel songs tonight. Have just returned to my room and will answer your letter I received today. Received with it your postal from Hutto. Am sorry the excursionists had such a hard time getting home. It has been decided for me to go to Patos a few months in order to open a school or Maggie could come and room here with me. Miss Anna and I are going to take rooms in a Mexican family home and have our own cook. Keep our house and it would be the very thing for Maggie to come and stay with us, but don't know about the climate there for asthma. Mrs. Myers has weak lungs and could not live there. Had to come back to Saltillo but can write you more when I know more of the climate.
Dr. Bibb says I am looking very bad. I asked him if he wouldn't give me a certificate certifying that I needed rest and a trip home. I am just getting over my trip to Monterey. It was so much warmer there than Saltillo.
Mrs. Myers has been quite sick today. Mrs. Beal the wife of the Presbyterian Missionary died here a few days since. Her baby died today. She was placed in a vault here till he could carry her home for interment. They were from Ohio. Her death was very sad. Died so far from home, so unexpectedly and in a foreign land. Yet she was perfectly resigned and willing. Mrs. Corbin the wife of the Methodist Missionary has been very sick but getting better. Dr. says she will have consumption. Mr. Falkner, Waco, one of the excursionists promised $100 for the piano but wrote to him to give me an organ for Patos instead.
The train begins running through tomorrow without stopping in Monterey. Were you glad to get home and see Texas prairies again after so much mountain scenery. Received a letter from Editor Lampasas Dispatch asking me to write for his paper.
I don't know when I received a letter from Emma. She used to write more than anyone. Tell some one to write. "Muchos recuerdos a' todos," which means much love to all. Maggie, why don't you write?
May 13, 1885
I received the papers and Quarterlies yesterday. I looked all over them in search of just one word from home, had laid them aside, picking up the "Journal" there I found your message.
Mr. and Mrs. Myers left this morning for Missouri, U. States. Both very sick when they left, one was hardly able to wait on the other. She was getting worse all the time and they were afraid to wait longer though at time she is very hopeful and thinks of coming back. I doubt if they ever return. Mr. Myers may, but don't think Mrs. M. can possibly live long. They were reluctant to leave their field as they left they would not return.
Work is going on in the church but don't think they will finish it in three months as contemplated (I don't know what I am thinking about. I made so many mistakes). We are looking for Miss Addie Breedlove, Brenham, to take charge of the music. We are not having much music in the school as we haven't received the piano, nor can we rent one, "Pobre Protestantes." I have a very bad cold - never had as sore throat in my life. Don't think I ever had a sore throat before.
The other night two children came and told us to fasten our doors well, that some were coming to attack us that night. We didn't suppose they were going to do us much harm or they wouldn't have sent us word. So we awoke the next morning as safe and sound as ever, didn't hear anything from them.
Mrs. Graves is still in Brenham, didn't go to the convention. Mr. Powell will return next week. We are here all alone doing as well as if they were at home. If Miss Annie and I go to Patos we will be entirely alone as Mrs. Myers has gone, but the people are not so fanatical there as here.
I am translating Dr. Pendleton's sermon delivered in Monterey at the dedication of the church. The Journal is sent me from the office now. Guess Bob had it sent. There, the clock strikes twelve, all on the streets take off their hats at this hour.
Am sorry Emma is sick. How is she? Mildie why don't you answer my letter? Dr. says tell you he is always asking about you and the apple blossoms. Why did Sam go to Arkansas, is he in very bad health? Please write. I haven't heard this month.
May 29th, 1885
I received the children's pictures the other day and have done nothing since but sit and look at them. They are splendid, but oh! How they have grown, how sad it makes me feel that I can't see them again just as I left them. Already they have changed. Ruth much more than Welborn. He is the same only larger. They are both angels. I look at them and would give anything to hear them speak.
Mr. Powell has been at home from the convention about a week. He has been kept quite busy since his return. I have been writing all evening for him. He is very anxious for another minister to come and take Bro. Myers place, or did I write to you that Bro. & Sister Myers had returned home. Poor woman, I think her hopes of returning will be in vain.
The material with which the church is to be built are the old walls of the Cathedral, but our order was sent us from the Chief Judge prohibiting the walls torn down, so almost out of material. The work is about to stop on the church. Don't know what will be done. Miss Anna is quite sick from vaccination. Another missionary is here - Miss Calhoun. Bob knows her, an excursionist.
Don't hear much about Patos. Don't know when will go.
June 17 1885
I wrote you a long letter Sunday replete with foolishness, have tired myself down looking for it, but can't find it so will begin another. Several unfinished letters are scattered around here. Found one commenced to Emma the other day dated Dec. 1884.
Mr. Powell has been sick but is going all the time. Has his hands not only full but running over.
Miss Nannie has taken cold and cannot speak above a whisper. I have all her classes and mine too.
Much love to Cousin Bell. Am sorry that she is in bad health. But let me tell you, I write this letter with the express purpose of letting you know how I am and to send you the inclosed letter for you to forward immediately to New York with $1.50 inclosed. I have waited two weeks trying to get American money and cash. So the capital idea seized me of sending it to you and it wouldn't cost me anything.
Our school is doing splendidly. I haven't heard from Mary Sue and Bro. Marion since they arrived in Mo.
This is my week to keep study hour at night but asked Mrs. Calhoun to take my place. I am in school all day and don't feel like going again at night.
This is the address. [Address not given. It must have been on a separate piece of paper.]
Send me some Warners pills loose in your letter. You brought me a bottle but must have taken it back. I can't find it
Don't hear much about Patos. Don't know when will go.
In the preceding letter, dated June 17, 1885, a Wednesday, Addie wrote, "I wrote you a long letter Sunday replete with foolishness, but can't find it." The following document may have been a part of that letter.
Miss Annie has just rushed in to tell me something that happened to her while she was sitting quietly at her table reading - near the window - something worse than that which happened to me the evening we went to buy the pottery.
Ma, please send me word all about the lawsuit.
Peppy who is in Louisville wrote his mother a letter in English, his father came to see me this evening and brought it for me to read. In one place he says, Oh Mother I have a girl she wills me and I will her. The verb "querer" (to love) has several meanings.6 They invariably get the wrong meaning as the gentleman said to me, "Will you sugar me?"
Well I have written all the foolishness I could think of - have set the example. Please write me something about every one in Salado. Is it really true that Huling and Miss Cook are married at last. Write me all about it.
My Darlings Ruth and Welborn, Sis Addie sends a thousand kisses.
The Dr. Tupper referenced in the following letter was the corresponding secretary of the Foreign Mission Board in Richmond, Virginia.7
June 19th 1885
My Own Dear Mother,
Enclosed find a letter to Salado Church begging them to partake the support of a poor girls in Madero Institute which I have written with much fear and trembling for fear they will refuse me and if they do - well was about to say I would never ask for another thing - but if they do will never cease begging till they grant my request and This will be the least of any. So to support this girl will be the cheapest thing they can do.
I have written so much for Mr. Powell that I have become a regular beggar. I am sure that with the existing Missionary element of Salado the church, Sunday School and Anna Luther Society - she can easily raise $6.00 a month. A town that can raise $30,000 for Baylor will think nothing of giving $60.00 a year for a poor orphan girl. I will not have a refusal. Tell Mrs. Rose, Mrs. Crawford, Mrs. Smith and all that this girl must be supported by Salado. Let it be done in the name of the church, if the church cannot or does not do it, the Societies and Sunday School may assist. Please don't debate the subject six months and then write me, "owing to financial embarrassment we are sorry that we can't undertake the work in which we are all so interested."
We are still having trouble about the building of the church. Received a telegram from Dr. Tupper last night saying that he had urged the United States Government to immediate action. They have threatened to put Mr. Powell in jail, but we do not fear them. They have been having quite an exciting time in Monterey over the election for Governor. Several men killed, but things have subsided. Monterey is not in our state.
Tomorrow we take the girls to San Lorenzo Springs about a mile from the city to spend the day. What a glorious time they are expecting. They are never allowed to go out only to church on Sundays and walking Thursday evenings chaperoned by two or three teachers.
I went calling with Senorita Salomié on a nice Mexican girl, gradually we are gaining on the higher class. One gentleman whose wife and family are one of the strictest Catholics in the city is sending his children.
June 19th, 1885
Dear Salado Church,
I have just had a conversation with a Mexican gentleman who sent for me to talk with me about putting his daughter in Madero Institute. He lives in Patos. He's too poor to pay for the tuition of his daughter, but is very anxious that she should receive an education. He is a Catholic. Has one daughter already in our school who is supported by the Galveston Church.
Now I am impressed to write to the Salado Church whom I believe is willing and able to support this poor girl who is so anxious to be in school. Of course, she goes in the Orphans' Department and will be supported at $5.00 per month with about $1.00 extra for washing and other expenses. The Orphans' Department is not confined to orphans alone, but children of poor parents find a home here and are supported by churches, Missionary Societies, Sunday Schools and by individuals of the United States.
Why should not the Salado church fall in the routine and help carry on this grand work in Mexico. You cannot afford to lose this opportunity. I am aware of the fact that you have done a noble work and are still doing for Mexico, but let your efforts be concentrated upon a single object and you will accomplish twice the good. Who can tell the good that may result from such a work. With God's blessing this girl may some day be a Missionary to her own people.
Praying that you may undertake this work and that God's blessing may rest upon you and upon the orphan for whom you labor I
Am yours in the Work
Addie, personally, was supported by the Sunday schools of South Carolina.8 An entry in the Salado Church's Minutes Book 1, 1864-1890, p. 245 gives the following information concerning Addie's request for their support of a Mexican man's daughter.
July 18th 1885 3 o'clock PM
Clerk read a letter from Sister Addie Barton asking this church to assist in Education of a Mexican lady. After some discussion the matter was deferred.
José Maria Garza Galan served as governor of the state of Coahuila during the presidency of Porfirio Diaz. He was governor from 1885 to 1889. The note that "today Gov. Galan takes his seat" means the letter was written in 1885.
We are all as busy as bees, we are going to have such a splendid school this session. A Mexican young lady is teaching at Patos. We have more than 50 already in the school here. Next Thursday we will have the "Distribution of Premiums." Will have music and speeches in connection.
Dr. has just been here and vaccinated us all again. Think there is some small pox in Laredo, but that does not disturb us. Mr. Powell is at Apodaca near Monterey, went to organize another church. Our church house looks splendid. Work still vigorously going on.
Today Gov. Galan takes his seat. Much love to every body. Emma's letter received.
Mildie, Montiniama made you a shawl. I will send it in a few days through the mail. Will send by some one going to Laredo and they can mail it there.
Addie came home to Salado in October 1885. This letter was written upon her return trip to Saltillo. Dengue is an infectious disease transmitted by mosquitoes.
(27) 96-51-451 a & b
Oct 22nd 1885
Dear Ma, Emma, Sallie, Mildie, Welborn, Ruth, Mack, Lessie and all,
I arrived here at 11:30 this morning. Left Holland at 3:45 this morning. Am at Mrs. Bracy's boarding house. Have bought the medals. Had to take silver as there were no gold. Am afraid Mr. Powell will not like them, but I am not going to fret about them. Telegraphed to Mr. Powell to meet me at Laredo. Worded it to make him think it was very important that he should come. So I guess he will meet me.
Tell Seymour that he missed it all by not coming to San Antonio. Today is Volks Fest - the Germans Feast day. We would have had a good time. The town is running over with Germans. So was the train from Austin. I wish some of you could have come this far with me as I guess I will be here till 11 tomorrow and I can't enjoy it alone. Miss Jeanie Bracy is sick with dengue.
They will have the fire works tonight. Don't be the least uneasy about me. I only wish a few more were as contented as I.
Hope all are better and getting on all right. Write immediately to Saltillo.
Love to everybody,
Nov 2nd 1885
Dear Mother and all at Home,
This is the first day of the examination. It begins at 3 o'clock this afternoon. The girls are all busy this morning cleaning up and as they always do on every occasion no matter what, are putting up Mexican flags all around. The school room is beautifully decorated Mexican style in Mexican flags.
Now Ma I want to tell you and don't want you to be uneasy. I went to Patos this week to bring down some of the girls for the examination and with the intention to close the school, but they are very anxious for me to continue. I felt as I had gone there and told them of the great things we intended to do and only stayed two weeks that it would hardly be right to close the school, that it would greatly retard the work there, and that they would not believe us again if we wanted to open a school there next year.
So I feel under the circumstances that I must teach there 'till December anyway but if you are still opposed to it I will not do it. I do this of my own accord. Mr. Powell wanted me to go up and bring the girls down and told me to close the school but I felt we ought to keep it open. So I will remain here this week for the examination and return there with the girls on Monday the 9th. Please say just how you feel about it.
I have not yet heard from home but presume all are well or I would have heard.
Did I write that I came through all right with my trunk? It was scarcely examined at Laredo. They did not lift the second tray. It was not opened in Saltillo at all.
There are so many of you. I might get a letter at least once a week. Answer immediately before I go to Patos.
All well and happy,
Mildah Mildred "Mildie" Barton, born 1866. Eight years younger than Addie.
The Home of the Welborn and Louisa Barton Family.
The Barton House, located at 101 North Main Street, Salado, Texas was built in 1866 by pioneering physician Dr. Welborn Barton and his wife, Louisa. Addie and her nine brothers and sisters were reared in the house. Addie was seven years old when her family moved to Salado.
Salado Baptist Church building with Masonic Lodge hall on top, built in 1878.
Located on the northwest corner of Main St. and Salado Creek. Dr. Barton and wife Louisa became members of the church in 1867 while the church was still meeting in the Salado College building. Addie united with the church in 1879 after a protracted meeting conducted by evangelist Major W. E. Penn.
Picture postcard featuring Salado Baptist Church, 1908.
By Charlene Ochsner Carson
Page last updated: November 8, 2018
Footnotes:1Nally, Robert Dacus. The Barton Book. Franklin: Genealogy Publishing Service, 1994.
2"I want to go with Adela."
3Church Minutes Book 1 1864 - 1890, First Baptist Church, Salado, Texas.
5Nally, Robert Dacus. The Barton Book. Franklin: Genealogy Publishing Service, 1994.
6Querer means "to want" or "to love."
7Mexico Missions, Southern Baptist International Mission Board Report, Accession Number 2665, May 5, 1881, Columbus, Mississippi, p. 2.
8Mexico Missions, Southern Baptist International Mission Board Report, Accession No. 2643, May 11, 1888, Richmond, Virginia, p. 27.