Letters From Addie
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Chapter 4: Addie in Patos, 1885
As this chapter begins, Addie is in Patos, a small village in Coahuila now known as General Cepeda. It is here that Addie will spend her first Christmas away from home. Addie writes her younger brother and each of her younger sisters a personal letter in which she encourages them to be good, obedient children, and do everything possible to make their mother happy. She also asks them to send her specific items that she can give as Christmas presents to her coworkers.
Nov 6th 1885
I had just sit down and had written "Thursday" to begin a letter to know why I haven't heard when Willie brought me Emma's (and one from Gen Hawthorne). I am exceedingly glad to hear, and to know that all are well.
The examination still goes on. Mr. P is busy raising money for the hospital. He will go as far as San Antonio with Mrs. Graves, will start Monday. Miss Annie was quite sick the other day but is all right again. I presume by this time you have received my letter with the money enclosed. I will be in Patos a few weeks. Bro. Hawthorne writes about the organ. Guess we will buy a Baby Organ.
Please all write.
Mildie's letter received.
In the following letter, Addie refers to Mr. and Mrs. F.M. Myers, of Kentucky, who were missionaries in Patos and Parras. Mrs. Myers (Mary Lee Thompson) died at her father's home in Kentucky on Nov. 7, 1885.1
Nov 25 1885
Miss Kate Pendleton
Your letter just received. I must answer soon so as to get it off in tomorrows mail. Am glad all are still well and that Ma is going to Burnett.
Received a letter from Mr. Powell saying that he was coming up this week. They are having protracted meeting in Saltillo this week. I can't tell yet till Mr. Powell comes how long the school will continue.
Bro. Marion will be here soon I think. I was sorry to hear of Mrs. Myers* death and yet I could not believe she could ever get well.
Mildie please send me several Christmas cards. Beautiful ones. I want them to give to friends Christmas. Can't you send me something for Mr. Cardenas. He taught me so long I feel under obligation to give him something. Can't you paint his initials, J. M. C. on a silk handkerchief for me. Send in a letter.
I am just from the school room and must mail this. Please write as soon as you receive this. Ruth, your letter was mighty sweet and nice. I will answer soon.
The following letter is not dated, but Addie's other letters indicate that she was in Patos in November and December 1885.
(81, 82, 83) 96-51-445
Miss Tupper and I are in Patos teaching. We have a splendid school and are having a splendid time, are happy as birdies in their nest.
I teach our most advanced classes in Spanish in the morning and Miss T. the little ones. Then in the afternoon I take charge of them and Miss T. devotes her afternoon to English. After school we visit among the people. We are much happier here than we would have been in Saltillo doing nothing.
My Dear Darling Angel Ruth,
Sis Addie would give the world to have you with her, but I know it would not be best. It is best for you to stay at home and go to school, and when you are through school you can come to Mexico. Always be a good girl and obey Mama, live to do good to others, and at school always speak kindly to all the little girls, and if there is one whom the other girls do not like, go and speak a kind word to her.
I want to see if you can't write me a letter with your own little hands before Christmas.
My Darling Little Brother Welborn,
I know you are going to school and studying hard every day, and practicing your music lessons. A boy who has such a talent for music as you have ought to cultivate it. When Mama wants you to study, you must do everything to please Mama.
If you are a missionary some day in Mexico, how much help your music will be to you. They all love music so much. If God has given you a talent in His service, you must write me a long letter and tell me everything that has happened since I left. Give my love to your boyfriends, to Emerson especially. I don't know how long we will be in Patos. Give my love to everybody and write soon to
Nov. 26, 1885
You wrote such a sweet nice letter. I gave the kiss to Miss Mamie and she sends you one in return.
I will tell you in this letter about one of our little girls. Her name is Flavia. Her father and mother used to live here but they have gone out on the frontier where her father is preaching and they left Flavia in school here. Flavia is a smart girl and she can learn when she tries but she loves to play and talk in school, and I have to punish her nearly every night in the study room. But last night she came in very sober and sad and commenced to study her English lessons. I saw the tears stealing down her cheeks and she would put her head down on the desk and cry and try to study. I called her to me and asked, "What is the matter, Flavia," although I imagined the cause of her grief and she said, "I was thinking about Mama." Then I put her head in my lap and kissed away the tears and Flavia was a good girl in the study room last night.
Now I will tell you about a big girl. Flavia was a little girl but Natalia is a big one.
Salomie kept Natalia and two other girls in after school yesterday, and as soon as supper was over after being kept in all the afternoon they had to go in again at 7 o'clock, our study hour, and they wanted me to excuse them from study, but I told them I could not do it. Then very reluctantly they came in and sat down. I looked up and saw Natalie kneeling down by her bench. I asked what was the matter. She said, "Adelita I am so tired sitting down," and I guess she must have been tired when I went to the girls room after all had gone to bed, Natalia was soundly sleeping with all her clothes, shoes and stockings on.
Gen. A. T. Hawthorne, referenced in the following letter, was the Texas Agent for Foreign Missions. His primary role was to consult with prospective missionaries and to collect money for the funding of mission projects. Addie spoke of Gen. Hawthorne in her Life History (see Chapter 2).
(30 and 31) 96-51-402
Dec 6th 1885
This is Sunday. We have just finished dinner. Mr. Powell and Trevino are here. We are having a precious meeting. Friday afternoon we had baptism for five candidates. This afternoon we have another, three more and others have presented themselves who will not be baptized now. Mr. Powell thinks it best in some cases to wait and let them prove themselves. "By their fruits ye shall know them."
The woman who said to me as I left Patos to go home, "May the Holy Virgin Mary bless you," joined last night. Francisco Trevino is simply splendid. Such sermons as he has preached this week. He is such a practical speaker. Just suits his people.
Monday noon - I have just received a letter from Gen. Hawthorne saying that Bros Daniel and Puthuff with their brides and Miss Mina Everett would sail from Baltimore in a few days.
We will receive the organ before very long.
In the following letter, Addie requests the music for "Harvest Bells No 2," which was an evangelistic hymn written in 1885 by J. M. Hunt and well-known evangelist and musician, Major William Penn. Major Penn conducted a revival meeting in Salado during the summer of 1879. It is very likely that Addie heard the hymn at that meeting. This hymn is still available today and can be heard on the Internet at The Cyber Hymnal.
Patos, Mexico 9 de December de 1885
Miss Emma Barton
I received a letter from Bob yesterday - was glad to hear that all are well. I hope Mama will improve while in Burnet. The meeting has closed and Mr. Powell and Trevino have gone home. It was indeed the best meeting we have ever had in Mexico. Twelve were baptized and more await baptism. About 200 persons were present one afternoon to witness the baptisms, more than I ever saw at a baptism in Mexico. We are doing more real missionary work now than ever. We visit every afternoon from house to house, and how eagerly they listen to the glad tidings.
But, I have never told you of Felicitas, our Bible woman. She is the most zealous worker I ever saw. She goes out into the "highway and hedges" and compels them to come in. Every few days she visits some of the ranches three and four miles distant, walks all the way, prays and distributes her tracts, does not know how to read, but her little boy, 8 years of age, reads and she explains, returns late in the afternoons tired, but never weary of her work. We are still here, our school increasing every day. Don't know what is to be done when the school opens in Saltillo. Can't you send me "Harvest Bells No 2." I want to get Mr. Westrup to translate some of the songs. I have not received the "Robie."
Please write often. It takes so long for a letter to come now. The last I heard from home was Nov. 25.
Mr. Powell intends returning here soon. He thinks something of going to Northern Texas on business soon, but it is very doubtful. I presume Miss Tupper and I will spend our Christmas in Patos.
Patos, Mexico 11 de December de 1885
Mr. Welborn Barton,
Mr. Dear Brother,
I have anxiously awaited to hear from you since my return but no letter from my dear brother has yet come to cheer me, but I know how much you have to do. After school you have to practice your music lesson then the cows and pigs are to feed. Then comes the milking, at night your lessons are to study, that you have not much time left for writing. But I hope you do all your duties cheerfully without having to be told. Boys at home can not realize what good homes they have unless they could see some of the homes here. The poor boys here are so ragged and dirty, but with all that they have good hearts. You never see boys fighting and quarreling here as some boys in the United States.
Our school is a girls' school, but some boys of five and six years of age come too. There is one boy about 8 years old, Victoriano, who persists in coming anyway. We tell him he is too large to come but he comes anyway. He is very much devoted to us and is very obedient, and tries to make the other children so. The other day I told one of the children to take the wax out of their mouth, not obeying immediately Victoriano said, "You will do me the favor to take that wax out of your mouth."
I have just received the Journal announcing the death of Mrs. Lyles. I was so sorry to hear it. Her work in this life is over. She was old and I expect had many troubles, was often tired and sick, but she was a Christian and now she is with Jesus and happy. I do pray that you will grow up a good and useful man, for this I pray every night. Give my love to your teacher Miss Julia, tell her not to forget her promise.
Lovingly Your Sister
The Bro. Weaver referenced in the following letter was pastor of Salado Baptist Church from March 1885 through September 1887.2
Patos, Mexico 17 de December de 1885
Mr. Cardenas came up yesterday will stay a month perhaps or until we close the school, which will be the first week in January. We will then have an examination and give vacation. I don't know what Mr. Powell intends to do with school next session. Whether he will still want me to keep it or not. I think I am willing to work where ever God calls me. Miss Tupper is not feeling very well today, has been in bed all this afternoon but will be all right by morning, she has taken cold. In a letter which I didn't send she sent love to you. She would very much appreciate a Christmas card from you. I wish you would send one. I wish you would get what is called the Teacher's Bible, leather back extending over the edges, have Welborn Barton 1885 put on the back in gilt letters and present it to him for me. Bro. Weaver perhaps could have it done.
Mr. Cardenas wants us to go to Monterrey on a visit with him as soon as school is out. Perhaps Mr. Powell will have to go to the city of Mexico to arrange about the church matters. I would give anything to go with him. A merry Christmas to one and all.
For Ruth, please get a little book "Daily Bible Readings," has a reading for each day in the year and give to her for me. Don't let them know till you get them. If I was in Saltillo could send them something but there is nothing here.
The following letter was written prior to Christmas. Addie's other letters indicate that she was in Patos during November and December.
My Precious Darling Ruth,
How I would love to be with you and Brother Christmas. Wouldn't we have a good time. We would have a party and invite all of our little friends and how we would play and we would have cake and what a good time we would have baking the cake, but this year I hope to make glad the hearts of some of the dear Mexican children. Two of my little children had to leave me and go to the Catholic school because the Priest wanted them to.
I am sorry you had a boil on your face, hope it is well now. I hope Brother and Henry will have a good time on their hunt if they go.
I have a nice little fireplace in my room now and am quite comfortable. I want to do a great deal of translating these long winter nights by my little fire. How I wish I could see my Darling little sister tonight!
Dec. 18th 1885
Dr. Bob Barton
Your letter received some time since.
It hardly seems so near Christmas, one reason because you seldom hear it spoken of, another because the weather is so pleasant. I presume we will close the first week in January with a grand examination.
January 4th 1886
This letter as you see was begun some time since and not finished was begun last year.
Mr. Cardenas and Mr. Powell came today. Tomorrow begins the examinations then we - Miss Tupper and I, Mr. Cardenas and family are going to Monterrey on a visit.
What are all doing at home, I have not heard in so long. Why don't they write. Today was mail day and I thought sure I would get a letter but none came but I will get one tomorrow I guess.
It has turned real cold. The first cold weather this winter.
Much love to Maggie and children.
A portion of the following letter is addressed to Lessi McKendree, the daughter of Sarah "Sallie" Barton McKendree, one of Addie's younger sisters. When Lessi was a young lady, she visited Addie in Mexico and wrote an account of Addie's life as a missionary.
Dec. 19th 1885
Your letter rec'd this morning, first I had heard since Nov. 25th. It takes ten days for a letter to reach me. It will be next year before I hear again.
I've just received a telegram from Mr. Powell asking if they may use my room in Saltillo temporarily, don't know who has come - hope it is another missionary of the masculine gender.
We are going to have the examination of the season. We haven't been here two months and the idea of having an examination... We feel like running into some hole til it is over, but Mr. P. wants us to close with an examination so as to attract attention to our school. I think we will attract attention, but that which will be detrimental to the school.
Mr. Cardenas is a great comfort to us during our sojourn here. He assists us in the school and will be the examiner. I am sure you would love him if you knew him and would talk with him.
Dear Sweet Lessi,
Aunt Addie often thinks of you, my sweet child, and prays that you may always be as pure and gentle as now.
The song book received.
Dec. 24th 1885
10:00 o'clock P.M.
"A Merry Christmas to All"
How funny and out of place to hear these words. They find no echo in the heart but seem as idle words wasted in the desert air. We try to make believe it is Christmas but we cannot convince ourselves that it is really so.
We had anticipated a trip to Parras during the holiday with Mr. Cardenas and Guadalupe, had made every arrangement, hired a coach etc., but some of the good brethren were out of sorts about a trivial matter so we thought it best to forgo the pleasure of our trip for fear they would have no church Sunday. (Rom. 8:28) Mr. Powell comes again tomorrow. Presume he will bring Christmas with him.
Dec. 25, 1885
What are you all doing today? We are having a beautiful day, quite warm indeed. We have had no cold weather yet. My Christmas presents were a beautiful card and a bouquet of pretty fresh violets from the plaza presented of course by Miss Tupper.
We together gave Mr. Cardenas a beautiful card sent to Miss Tupper from home. Am sorry I did not receive the handkerchief. [See the letter dated Nov. 25, 1885.] We went out last night looking for something to give each member of the family here, but nothing is to be found in Patos. We gave one a handkerchief, and to the Senora I gave 8 packages of cigarettes and Miss T. gave her a small picture. We are playing like we had Christmas.
Mr. P did not come today, but telegraphed that he would send us something by the stage. I enclose a letter to Welborn to Mr. Cardenas as written by his little boy 9 years of age. Also send translation.
I have sent cards to all on the place except to Ma and Lessie, so I hope these will arrive in time for New Year. The last shall be first and Vice Versa.
Mildie, Sallie's and Welborn's letters received, so this is for all and for me.
May God bless you all. A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Dec. 27, 1885
Mr. Welborn Barton,
My Darling Brother. We are almost at the close of another year, perhaps before this reaches you the old year will have passed and the new be upon us. Time is swiftly passing away and we are growing older each year. If I could impress upon your young mind the great importance of employing well of your time while young I would feel that I have not lived in vain.
Now at the beginning of the new year is the time to begin a new life. Begin this hour to try to control your temper. When you feel like you are going to get mad with any one, even though they should give you cause to be angry, stop and say I am not going to get mad all this year. We are only happy when we make others happy. Now see how many you can make happy this year, each day try to do something for someone even though it be ever so little.
There are so many little things that we can do to make people happy. If you should see Ruth carrying her bucket or books you could make her feel happy by saying, "Ruth I am older and stronger. I am a boy, let me carry them for you." Then she would think what a nice brother I have so you both would be happier; or if she is crying always find out what it is about and try to soothe her. Talk to her about something else until she forgets to cry.
Endeavor not to let a single day pass without making Mama happy. Let it be your first thought every morning when you get up, what is it I can do first thing this morning to make her happy.
And if you are always kind to the boys at school, they will always know that they can find a friend in you. Make all the boys love you, let it be said that Welborn is a favorite because he treats well all the boys. Never forget to be polite to a girl or a lady even though she be ugly and poor.
Now I want to tell you how you can make yourself loved by every body. Every morning say,"Oh, God make me a good boy today." Now won't you try this rule, it is so easy to say and does not take anytime, and I will say it every morning too. Write me if you will try this rule all this year. Keep this letter and read it often.
Dec 28th 1885
This is Monday noon, the stage has just come and brought me no news from home. I expected lots of letters today but still look tomorrow. Many of my letters come by El Paso instead of Laredo, so will receive them or expect them tomorrow. Received Welborn's and Ruth's dear letters this week. Miss T. has just read me two letters from her sister, Miss Annie. They are such sweet letters, so full of love. I know she must be a sweet girl.
Mr. Cardenas and Guadalupe went down to Saltillo today. Will return Wednesday. And the Wednesday following we have our grand examination at which we are expecting to be present Julie Martinez, Salomi Berlanga, Mr. Powell, all from Saltillo. It is customary here to send written invitations. So, Mr. Cardenas will get cards for that purpose while in Saltillo. So you see we are going to have things in style.
Mildie please write me in full every word you heard in Burnet, and do write oftener. I am so disappointed not to get a letter. Mr. Powell intended to come up Christmas day but we telegraphed him that we were going to Parras, so he will come to the examination and we will have another series of meetings. I don't know what his intention is about the school, this one I mean, only. I know he wants to run it on beginning the last of Jan. with the next session giving only a week or two of vacation. So if it falls to my lot to keep it, will write you all about it. Miss Tupper and I could do a splendid work here, but I think Mr. Powell intends for her to return to Saltillo to teach English.
I cannot offer you any inducement only the thought of doing good to a poor ignorant class of people. It will be very lonely, but at the same time you could learn Spanish and could teach it while at school finishing your painting.
But I don't know how it will turn out. I will write you when Mr. P. tells me what he wants me to do this year. May God guide us.
Sunday Morning - Dec 1885
My Darling Ruth,
Your sweet letter received the other day. I am so glad you had such a nice time Christmas. I imagine my little girl at a party. I don't think I have written you about little Trinnie, a little girl at Patos who loved so much to come to school every morning. She would say, "Mama fix me up nice and let me go to school. The Senorita don't like for me to come dirty." She was taken very sick and we thought she would die, but she said she was not afraid to die she would go to Jesus. And all night she would talk about us and say, "Mama, I see Adelita and Senorita Maria dressed in white. Oh, how pretty they are."
We had to leave, but I hear she is getting well again. She is a splendid little girl and will make a good and useful woman. She sings so sweetly and while she was sick would sing so beautifully.
I expect it is too cold for you to go to school now but I hope Sister Mildie is giving you music lessons and you must write every day and read too. Write to me at least once a week and tell me all about your sweet self.
Mrs. Powell's baby, Nannie is as sweet and pretty as can be.
In the following letter, Addie asks about some books and refers to her letter dated December 17, 1885. Her question to Welborn about whether he remembered 1875 refers to her graduation from Salado College, which took place in 1885. Welborn was two years old at the time.3
Saltillo, Mexico 30 de December de 1885
Our Christmas came today. Mr. Powell sent us a basket of good things, fruits candy etc, and Miss Tupper received from home an express package, a stocking filled with all manner of nuts, candies, raisins, so we have been feasting.
I hope Ma will be able to get the books for the children I wrote about. Did you have a good time Christmas? What happened and what did every body do? Mr. Cardenas and Guadalupe return this evening. Just a week from today we will have the examination but perhaps will be here another week afterwards to hold a meeting. Our organ has not yet come, am afraid it is still in Laredo. There are so many of you I think I ought to have a letter every mail day.
The New Year will soon come in another two days 1886, and only one more and this year will be numbered with the past. It always makes me feel sad. What have we done in all this year, perhaps a little good but does not the bad, the wasted opportunities out balance the good?
It is now 10 years since I graduated, 10 years seems an age but it only seems a few days since then, what a world of good I ought to have done in all these years. I do hope I will live at least 25 years more in Mexico.
Love to all,
A sweet and pleasant
Welborn do you remember 1875?
By Charlene Ochsner Carson
Page last updated: November 15, 2018
Footnotes:1Forty-First Annual Report of the Foreign Mission Board, Southern Baptist Convention, Accession No. 2636, May 7, 1886, Montgomery, Alabama.
2Church Minutes Book 1, 1864 - 1890, First Baptist Church, Salado, Texas.
3Nally, Robert Dacus. The Barton Book. Franklin, North Carolina. Genealogy Publishing Service, 1994.