Letters From Addie
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Chapter 5: A New Year in Saltillo, 1886
School has resumed at the Madero Institute, so Addie is back to her normal routine. She is excited about making plans for her younger brother, Welborn, to come visit her in Mexico. Toward the end of the year, Addie returns to Patos to continue the work begun there last year.
Jany 16th 1886
Thank God for the consolation there is in religion. Mrs. Lacy an American lady who has been sometime in Mexico for her health died yesterday. Her mother raved as a lunatic, beat her breast and pulled her hair, said there was no God, that it was unjust for her child to be taken. Poor Bertie, her daughter of about 16 years of age is inconsolable. She almost worshipped her mother. Yesterday she sat all day in one position and cried and screamed till last night some one took her by force and put her in bed.
Mr. Lacy her husband will not arrive till tonight. He was in Austin when she died. Her remains will be carried to Austin. This Mrs. Pratt her mother said, "I do wish Bertie could die this very day and be buried with her mother. Let us give her poison. It will be the very thing." I never want to witness another such death, nor hear such godless talk again. But I do not think such actions strange when there is no hope in God, no looking forward to something beyond.
Ma, I do hope you realize how much you can teach Welborn and Ruth. They are just at that age when most susceptible of being taught and what they learn now they will retain through life, whether it be good or bad. Have Welborn to keep up reading and you read for him the "History of the Bible" and by the time he is grown he will be well versed in the scriptures. Not a chapter this week another next week, but a little every day. A verse learned each day would amount to many chapters in a year.
Work has begun again on the church. It will soon be completed now. We had a few days of cold very cold weather, but it is bright and pleasant again. I can't imagine why I don't hear from home, it seems a long time since I heard but am still patiently waiting.
Jan 29th 1886
Miss Tupper and I came down on the 27th. We are taking our vacation and Christmas this week. Today at 1 o'clock we take train for Salinas. We return here Saturday and there will be a coach at depot to carry us to Santa Rosa and to Apodaca as soon as we arrive. Mr. Cardenas is with us. We are having a pleasant time. We are staying at Bro. Trevinos here. Were at Mr. Westrups yesterday. It is exceedingly warm here. Our flannel dresses that feel comfortable at Saltillo are quite burdensome here, and we long for summer "Mother Hubbards."
School at Madero opens Monday the first of Feb. so we have only a few days left. I hope I will have a dozen letters awaiting me on my return.
Love to all,
3rd March 1886
I have just received the beautiful apron you sent me made by your own hands. It is lovely. I ran in Mrs. P. room as soon as I came from church to see if any mail had come for me. She said, "Open it." I knew there is something in it but I thought it was only papers and went on to my room. How surprised I was when the apron fell out.
I am perfectly satisfied with my mail tonight. Beside the apron I received a beautiful Easter card from a young lady in Baltimore who sends it as a token of her sympathy in the work. How such small things can cheer us and make the heart glad. Only a cup of cold water in His name.
God bless you
Saltillo, Mexico 7 de March de 1886
Dear Mother and Children,
Just from dinner. We had preaching this morning and baptism. One of the school girls Pancha Salas was baptized. She was a Methodist; the first Methodist Mr. Powell has baptized since he has been in Mexico; although the Methodists have written some hard things against him saying he did nothing but proselyte. Mr. Scroggins the Presiding Elder wrote a very unchristian like article in the "Collaborator" published in Laredo in which he says Mr. Powell and his collaborators are fanatics on the subject of baptism by immersion.
The iron roof now is on the church. Mr. Powell thinks we will dedicate the church in August when we have our Association meeting though we hope to use it before that time.
Mildie, Dr. Bibb sometime since sent love to you but so long since I expect it is cold by this time.
I have never received Ma's picture yet. Received Hamblen's all right.
Does Mildie still want to go to school? I think it would be a good idea to be put in school for two years. She is now the age to appreciate the opportunity and to study hard. And among us all we can send her. I will do what I can and if she goes I hope she will be in a good school by September. I hope she will not only pursue her painting and music but other studies also. If she intends to go and if we intend to send her Now is the time.
May God Direct and bless us.
25th April 1886
I received Welborn's and Mildie's letters this week, and am glad that you received the package. Mr. Wilson starts to convention next Friday.
I went last Saturday to the association at Salanis. Took Julie Flores and Maria Mullen, came back Monday. Had a pleasant time.
We have had no school since Wednesday. This is holy week and [Incomplete]
May 30, 1886
Your letter received this week. I had seen in the Journal that Bee was to be married to Levi Anderson but who is Levi Anderson, a granger? After reading it I waited to hear from home but you didn't even mention his name. I wouldn't even have known that if I hadn't seen it in the Journal. What became of Luis Butler, she was crazy about him when I was home in October.
Emma, I began you letter Sunday but did not finish it. I sent it as it is.
Write every day,
Mildie, I didn't mean to write to all and leave you out. It was accidental but never mind I will write you a longer one next time.
P. S. Please write oftener.
June 1st 1886
I just received this morning the sad intelligence that my Darling Ruth was so sick. It was quite a shock to me. I telegraphed immediately to know how she was but guess I cannot receive an answer till tomorrow. Don't keep anything from me. If she is dangerous let me know all. Mr. Wilson has just stepped in and said he would go to the office to see if an answer had come as they would not perhaps deliver it tonight.
If Ruth is very sick, dangerous, telegraph and though my work must stop till I get back for everyone else has their hands full. I will come home to see her. But I have hopes that she is better or you would certainly have telegraphed before now.
Oh, the relief has come and I am trembling so with joy I can scarcely write - the telegram just received bearing the joyful tidings that Ruth is getting all right. This has been a long day, but thank God it has ended so well, "all things work together for good to them that love the Lord."
Mr. Coleman, the lecturer, called this morning with a party of excursionists, he called for me but as I had just heard of Ruth's sickness and did not care about seeing the rest of the Americans, I had him to come to my room. He only stayed a few minutes. I would like so much to hear him lecture.
We had such a splendid rain today. Mr. Wilson was not appointed to Patos. They will go as soon as he learns more of the language.
Please let me hear every day how Ruth is. Julia Floris sends love to Mildie.
(51 & 52) 96-51-420
June 1st 1886
My Own Precious Darling Ruth,
How glad I am to hear that you are better. How I would love to wait on you while you are sick and sit up with you. I never would get sleepy or tired, and I could go up and down stairs all day and never feel it, but some times the little Mexican children are sick and I can wait on them. They perhaps do not appreciate it as you would but if it is done for Jesus sake he knows how to appreciate it.
I was just interrupted by another of the girls coming in to congratulate me that my little sister was better. She kissed and hugged me and said she was so glad that you are better and sends you a kiss. Her name is Maria Recio. They all came in to congratulate me as soon as they came from the study room and said now you are happy again. We don't like to see you so sad as you have been all day but how glad you are now.
I hope you will soon be well enough to write me one of your sweet letters, but until you are perfectly well, have some one to write me a letter every day yes every day that I may know how you are.
My sweet Darling
I know you are waiting on little Ruth and as attentive to her as you can be. Give her a kiss for me the first thing every morning. Now you have a good opportunity to show your kindness when any one is sick they appreciate small favors more than when well. Let us see how much you can do for our sweet little sister.
In 1880, a Texas couple, William "Buck" Bagby and Anne Luther Bagby, were appointed as the first Southern Baptist missionaries to Brazil.1 A year later, 1881, Kate Crawford Taylor and her husband, Zachary Clay Taylor, were commissioned by Salado Baptist Church to also serve as missionaries to Brazil.2 The Taylors were the second Southern Baptist missionary couple to go Brazil. The Bagbys and Taylors served together for a number of years. Kate and Addie grew up together in Salado and attended Salado Baptist Church together.
July 8th, 1886
Yours and Ruth's letters received last night. We are having such good rain today. Mr. Powell lifted Miss Tupper out of bed today. She sat up half an hour. The first time her bed has been turned over in three weeks. She is improving but very slowly.
Whom shall I look for on the excursion? You spoke of sister coming. I hope she will. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson want me to go the Patos with them 'till they know something more about the language. I have no continuing city. I am first here. Then there, but if I make a change for good from Saltillo, I prefer to go to Zacatecas. The Lord's will be done, but I can't go there now for the reason that Mr. McCormick is not married, but he returns for his bride in a year or so he left in Alabama.
I am glad Ma enjoyed the convention. I would loved to have seen the missionaries. What did Annie Luther say about Kate? Miss Annie went to Corpus Christi, Texas on the excursion to lay in a supply of provisions. She returns tonight.
We are having service every night. Mr. Westrup writes me that his new Spanish Hymn Book will be out soon. They have a new missionary at their house. His name is Joshua. Yes, I received the Robie some time ago and would always forget to acknowledge the receipt when writing home.
July 28th, 1886
If I am not mistaken I promised Welborn when at home last that he should come on this excursion. I have prayed over the matter that you all should be guided in who should come and my convictions as far as I know them rest upon Emma and Welborn.
I went out this afternoon and got this $20.00 bill. I send it tremblingly but if I do not send it now wait to register or get a draft it will not reach Welborn in time to come. I think the trip will be pleasant and profitable to Welborn. He is just at the age to take in every thing and enjoy it and then he will be thrown in good and intelligent company all the way. It affords me unfounded pleasure to be able to contribute to his pleasure and I hope his trip will be a source of great happiness.
Emma, I hope you will not be foolish enough to lose a good trip because you are not "ready," but Ma if you do not feel able to send Emma now Welborn can come just as easily with Bro. Smith or any one from Belton or Bro. Maxwell. Put him under the care of some one and he will come all right. He can stay with Bro. McCormick after he gets here, so he need not be encumbered with much baggage, only a shirt or two, wear a nice suit and it will do him.
If it is so that I can not be at home this winter I hope we will all spend next summer together in Mexico. I would love to be with you all in Dec. and January. I will if the Lord wills.
The following note was evidently included with the preceding letter, in which Addie mentions sending a $20 bill to Welborn so he could come to Mexico.
Welborn if this does not reach you in time to come put the money in the Bank and it will do good long years after if you put it to the right use.
May God grant it a good mission is the prayer of one who loves you.
The war Addie references in the following letter is probably the Yaqui war of 1886, in which thousands of Yaqui Indian warriors revolted against the Mexican government for seizing their land. The Yaquis were soundly defeated, their land taken, and the Indians themselves were "resettled" in Yucatan and sold as slaves. The United States government supported the Mexican government in this war.3
Aug 9th, 1886
The War has about subsided. Things seemed a little dangerous a few days but has all quietly settle. None of the Mexicans here are of the opinion that anything serious will occur. They say that Mexico will give cutting up. Mexico is not very anxious to fight with the United States. I think Texas is getting too smart wanting to do all the fighting alone.
We have not been at least disturbed in our minds about it. We had decided that if anything should happen to take the first train for the United States but now all is quiet and we apprehend no danger whatever.
They seem to think here that war is impossible.
It would be death to our work. I don't suppose we would be able to return, at least for several years.
I hope you all will not be uneasy about me. Much love to Maggie and the boys. It is now past midnight.
Write to me at Patos.
Although Addie did not indicate the year or her location in this letter, she obviously wrote it from Saltillo in 1886, for in it she anticipates her return to Patos, which took place on August 11, 1886. She also writes, "Everything about war has subsided," which echoes a thought expressed in her other letter from Saltillo dated August 9, 1886.
My Dear Mother,
I received Emma's letter tonight. Never was so surprised at the mistake some of us have made and I wish to correct it.
I have never dreamed of going to China. The idea is ridiculous. I am only to be supported by this Society instead of the general funds of the Board. I am so sorry my letter was not understood and that you all have been laboring under this mistake. I hope it has not been circulated. Instead of sending away our missionaries from Mexico to China we are wanting more to come. I am only to take Miss Roberts place in the Society not in China but this week I go to Patos with Mr. & Mrs. Wilson to help there. It will be a change and rest for me.
The Association met Saturday and adjourned today. We have a great many delegates from the different churches in the state. The dedication sermon was preached yesterday by Bro. Westrup - house was crowded. Tonight we had the ordination of two deacons. Next Sunday will be the dedication of the church at Patos. They all go from here to Patos. We will go up Wednesday to have all things in readiness for the delegates.
I am so glad at the idea of going to Patos. Here I am so closely confined over the piano all day. There I can do more missionary work visiting from house to house. I feel I can be more useful there. Mrs. Wilson is such a sweet good woman. She hangs on to me, is so anxious for me to go.
Everything about war has subsided. I have not thought of being uneasy, but we had decided should anything happen [incomplete]
Aug 14th 1886
We came here on the 11th, six years from the day little sister Eva died.
We are now settled in our new home. We have a splendid house fronting on the Plaza. Mr. Wilson only intends to stay here till January then goes to Guadalajara, state bordering on the Pacific coast.
Mr. Powell, several Mexican preachers and others come from Saltillo today and we dedicate the new church house tomorrow. We have three rooms and a hall in our church, two rooms for school rooms. I am going to have the best school here in Mexico. My intention is to put $75.00 in a book fund for the school. I sold my watch and washstand for that purpose.
I believe this climate agrees with me better than that of Saltillo. I already begin to feel better. I have a nice room here. I am looking tonight for two Mexican girls to come the dedication, one from Monterrey, the other from Montemorelos. They come from Saltillo today.
I feel we are going to do a great work here. We hear nothing more about war, but don't be uneasy. We will start home immediately if there is any danger. There is a law allowing us forty days to leave.
The following undated later was written some time after the marriage of Annie Tyler, daughter of Judge O.T. and Caroline Tyler, who was married on March 17, 1886.4
I forgot to mail my letter this afternoon so will write some more. I have just read the death of Kate Norton. How sad for poor Mrs. Norton. She will not live long I fear, and the same paper bears the news of the marriage of Annie Tyler. I was so surprised. I expect it was a brilliant affair. Did she do well?
Poor Kate. I can't realize that she is dead.
Mildie, what is the name of the vocal exercises we used with Miss Cooke?
We have been having church every night this week. Mr. P is gone so much of the time that he makes up for it while here. I think Mr. Wilson is going to be the very man. He goes ahead like he means business, talks Spanish whether he knows it or not, was educated at Independence, was roommate of Mr. Taylor of Brazil.
Emma, what was it about Clara Hill? I read nothing of her.
Sept. 20, 1886
Dear Dear Mother,
I am perfectly well only a little sleepy as I didn't sleep much last night.
Mr. and Mrs. Wilson want me to go to Guadalajara next year with them. Last Sunday eve he said he hoped the papers would read next year "D. A. Wilson and wife, and Miss Addie Barton, Missionaries Guadalajara."
Mr. McCormick writes, "Are you not going with us to Zacatecas. Certainly I do hope Miss Addie that nothing may prevent for I have my head set on it and Miss Perry (his intended) is exultant at the thought. Whatever you do don't get any other idea in your head than going to Zacatecas about January."
But what is to become of Patos - to be sure it is a small place and not the opportunity of doing so much good here as in a larger place, but the souls are just as precious and I had hoped to stay here this time till we got the work on a firmer basis and then I would have to stay alone - the only American I mean - but I would not mind that for a while but it might get monotonous if I were to undertake for a life work here.
There is no comparison between Zacatacas (or even Satillo) and Patos. Zac is a beautiful city of 62,000 inhabitants and of course it would be more pleasant to live there as far as the temporal comforts are concerned, but I hope none of these things influence me - this is what makes me hesitant, when I am convinced that it is the Lord's will. I will cheerfully, gladly go.
Guadalajara is estimated at 68,000 inhabitants, oh, how many thousands of souls there are in Mexico and how few to lead them or tell them that Christ died for them. You may form some idea of the great want of workers from the fact that some want me - and what am I - to stay here. Some want me in one part and some in another. The new missionaries do not know the language well yet and in that is where I can be useful to them. My life is dedicated to the Lord, surely He will lead his own.
Sept 30 1886
My Dear Boy
This morning an American gentleman came in the schoolroom with some maps to sell and said "Senorita tengo algunas mapas de Mexico." I said, "Yes sir." "Oh, you speak English," he said. "Yes, I speak it a little," I told him. I knew as soon as he said the first word that he was not a Mexican and I could not keep from laughing all the time he was talking to me. So I am getting to look like a Mexican I guess.
Welborn you are in real earnest about that mule aren't you, but dear how could I send it. I expect I could get one very cheap but it would cost a great deal to ship it. Let us wait till next summer and you and Ruth and Mama are coming to stay all vacation with me, excursion or no excursion, and then may ride a "burro" to your hearts content.
You are in school now and put all your time on your books, and don't be thinking about riding now till vacation comes again. Let us see how much you can improve this session.
I am sure you carry your little sister's dinner for I know you would not allow her to do it. But the dear sweet child would carry yours if you would let her. How much pleasure it would give me if I could only fix one dinner for you and Ruth.
The weather is beginning to get cooler. Thermometer stood at 64 late yesterday evening. Do write me a long letter and tell me about your teachers and especially your studies. Who is your Sunday school teacher? Mr. Caskey I expect. Have you begun your music again? You must by all means keep it up. You have such a good chance to practice. Don't forget your Spanish lessons.
A kiss for Mama.
Jose Maria Gamez, mentioned in the following letter, was the native pastor of the church in Patos. Parras is a city in Coahuila, where the former governor, Evaristo Madero Elizondo, had donated a piece of property to the Baptist missions.5
Wednesday, Oct 13, 1886
What can you all be doing at home. I was sure I would get a letter today. I try to console myself with the thought that you would surely let me know if any one was sick. It would be so easy it seems to me for some of you to write a postal at least once in two weeks just to let me know that all are well.
Gamez couldn't go this week so we have postponed our Parras trip.
Mr. Powell was gone 2 or 3 weeks visiting ranches and comes back with the report of 52 persons for baptism. It seems almost miraculous. We are so thankful for such good results and it inspires us on to greater zeal in the cause. Mr. McCormick sent me several newspapers to read and now if I had had a letter from home would have been perfectly happy today.
Rev. H. P. McCormick, referenced in the following letter, married Miss Anne P. Perry, of Marion, Alabama, on December 16, 1886.6 Belton, the seat of Bell County, is about 9 miles north of Salado.
Patos, Jan 1st 1887
My Dear Mother and
Precious Sisters and Brother,
A bright and Happy New Year to all!
Mr. Wilson returned from Laredo yesterday, said he expressed your Christmas presents, a dress for Mother, work box for Emma, case for Brother and cushion for Ruth, shawl for Sister. I am afraid that you will not receive them as there is no express office at home but hope they will get to Belton all right and you can enquire after them there. (Belton is the first town north of Salado, about nine miles north). I will anxiously wait to know if you have received them. I am so sorry that I could not send Mildie a bridal present but had to trust these selections to others and too I was afraid it would not pass through Laredo.
What a time Mr. W. had. Had to pay duty on the dress I sent and they took nearly everything from him that he had bought to bring over. I sent for about $20.00/$25 dollars worth of things and they took everything but one pair shoes, one undershirt and a few little things such as camphor ice, a pair of gloves and a fine comb.
But I was so thankful for my shoes as I was barefooted that I did not complain. They took 5 pair stockings and were generous enough to leave me one pair, with one shirt, one pair stockings. I will not be troubled much about a change this winter.
Mr. McCormick has come with his bride and every one speaks so highly of her. She is a fine musician. I am crazy to see her as we will work together this year.
Hope you received my money a draft for $50.00 for my clothes but keep it till you hear from me again.
That God may abundantly bless, guide and protect you all through the New Year.
The "little Brazilian baby" Addie refers to in the following letter is probably the child of Kate Crawford Taylor and her husband, Zachary C. Taylor, missionaries to Brazil.
Feb. 15th 1887
My Darling Ruth
I am very sorry to hear that you have been sick. Why didn't you make some of them write to me? What does Sister Mildie have to do all the time? She has written to me once since she was married. Tell her I am sorry Jarrett takes up all her time. I wish I could have you with me in Zacatecas but I would not deprive Mama of so much pleasure then I know it is best for you to be at school.
Tell Mama to let you and brother have your pictures taken again for me. I can't imagine how you look with school hair. I will send you mine as soon as I get to Zacatecas.
Have you seen the little Brazilian baby yet and does it look like American babies? Give my love to Bro. Taylor and Kate. I received a letter from Hamblen.
Patos, Feb. 17 1887
My Dear Brother Welborn,
I have been thinking sometime of the five cents that have lain idle so long in our dear Eva's trunk, and I have wondered if we could not use it some way in the Lord's cause. "Though dead she yet speaketh." Let us use the money that she has made with her own hands in some good work and through it may be a small beginning. We cannot tell how many may be blessed through this instrumentality.
Let us pray and think over it well and when I go to Zacatecas the Lord may open some way there for us to use the money. "Though dead she yet speaketh," in all I do for Mexico for she was the instrument in God's hand to lead me here.
Write me as soon as you receive this how much money there is. Emma writes me that you are as tall as she is. I can't realize it, but my prayer is that you may concentrate your whole life to the Lord's work and don't wait till you are grown to begin but now is the time.
May you be a pure and useful man.
A kiss for our Precious baby Ruth.
By Charlene Ochsner Carson
Page last updated: November 22, 2018
Footnotes:1International Mission Board, "150 Years of Partnership" (page is now offline; link is to the site's home page)
2Church Minutes Book 1, 1864 - 1890, First Baptist Church Salado, Texas.
3Fehrenback, T.R. Fire and Blood: A History of Mexico. New York: Macmillan Publishing Col., Inc. 1973.
4Limmer Jr., E. A., Editor-in-Chief, Compiler, Story of Bell County Texas Vol. 1, Austin: Eakin Press, 1988.
5Mexico Missions, Southern Baptist International Mission Board Report, Accession No. 2640, May 6, 1887, Louisville, Kentucky, p. 24.
6Mexico Missions, Southern Baptist International Mission Report, Accession No. 2640, May 6, 1887, Louisville, Kentucky, p. 23.