Central Texas Storybooks

Central Texas Stories and Legends

Letters From Addie

Preface and Table of Contents

Previous page: Chapter 6: Missionary Zeal in Zacatecas
Next page: Chapter 8: Back Home in Saltillo

Chapter 7: Good News for Guadalajara, 1893

Guadalajara is the capital city of the state of Jalisco. The city, founded by the Spaniards in 1530, lies approximately 300 miles northwest of Mexico City. At one time it was a placid provincial town, but due to an industrial boom, it is now a modern metropolis second only to Mexico City. One of the main vacations spots of the area is Lake Chapala, the largest freshwater lake in Mexico.

Addie writes about a four-day trip the missionaries took to Lake Chapala. The best part of the trip, according to Addie, was that it was sponsored by a wealthy Baptist couple and did not cost the missionaries a cent. In another letter, Addie expresses a desire to go the World's Fair in Chicago but is unable to go because of her work load.

(94) 96-51-459

Guadalajara Mex
Sunday Morn. Jan 7th 1893

Dear Emma,

This is Sunday morning and I will write you a word before going down to Sunday School. We have services in the house and it is very convenient - we only have to go down stairs to Sunday School.

I received Ruth's letter last night and enjoyed it very much. She didn't say anything about you but I guess you are still at home and still working yourself to death.

We had just gotten through the first course and the servant was going out with a tray of china. We heard her throw the dishes down and the children still screaming - We all jumped up and ran and then coming out of the bedroom was this woman in a solid mass of flames leaping several feet above her head - We finally succeeded in extinguishing the fire but she was badly burned and the poor soul after suffering agonies died the next afternoon. Not one of the children were scorched even. She threw the baby under the bed and thus saved it. I never saw such frightened children. One poor little fella came up to his mother after it was all over and said, "Mama am I going to die too?"

The Congregational Church will be dedicated next Sunday. There will be several American missionaries here. We will take some of the delegates - I will be as busy as a bee this week getting ready for Saltillo. Will leave about the 20th. Send you a New Year's present.

Love to all,

Our Christmas had a very sad termination. We all - the American ladies of Guadalajara - were taking tea with Mrs. Arrington. There also were several children there. We were at supper and the children were in the bedroom with the nurse - a Mexican woman - and she was sitting on the floor with the children around her entertaining them with tales when the window blew open and knocked the camp oven on her. We heard the children scream but thought they were playing [incomplete]

The year of the following letter is not given, but it is known to be 1893 based on Addie's reference to Mrs. Duggan's illness. The Foreign Mission Board's annual report states, "Mrs. J. P. Duggan, of Guadalajara, has been in Richmond, under medical treatment."1

(92) 96-51-457

Jan. 27th

Dear Mother,

This letter was written and put aside for the handkerchief and I kept neglecting to get it. Now you will have to take it for a birthday present.

Well, after all perhaps the Lord does not intend to send me to Saltillo. Mrs. Duggan who left for home two months ago will perhaps not be able to return. She is in the hospital in Richmond, Va and there is no one else to come here as far as we see now. So I am waiting at Jerusalem, waiting for the manifestation of His will - Whether I go or whether I stay it will be all right. Direct me at Guadalajara.


(108) 96-51-473 (a-d)

Feb. 10th 1893

Dear Mother,

We have all just returned from a four days trip to Lake Chapala. By all, I mean Mr. & Mrs. Goldsmith and Babies and nurse, Mr. & Mrs. Sheldon of Chicago and I. We left last Tuesday. We rode about an hour on the train then took a street car for a mile then on to the stage coach about ten miles over mountains and down the valley - up hill and down hill and we reached a most beautiful lake about 80 miles long and 30 wide. We reached there just as the sun was sinking behind the mountains. Sunset on the water! It was glorious. I sat down on the beach and drank it all in - not the lake but the sunset.

We were all tired after the days ride and found lodging in a Mexican inn. I was serenaded all night by the snoring of my room mate - the old nurse. We were all up the next morning early to see the sunrise on the water. Then we took a sail boat and went up ten miles to the village of San Antonio, where Mr. G. shot duck and Mrs. Sheldon gathered flowers. She is a great botanist - and the rest of us prepared the lunch and had a regular picnic and a good time. There was not much wind in the afternoon and the three sturdy sailor boys had to row very hard to get us back.

The next day we took our same sail boat and went in an opposite direction 8 miles to a small island, fried fish and killed ducks all day - had a fine wind and reached port at five in the afternoon. The lake is full of the most beautiful transparent white fish. This morning some went across the lake. The rest of us rested up from our trip home.

The lovely part about the trip was that it did not cost us - the missionary crowd - a cent. Mr. & Mrs. Sheldon are wealthy Baptists. Mr. S. has consumption and is boarding with us down here for his health, and they gave us the trip. We reached home this afternoon found Emma's letters awaiting me. Sorry to hear of Bro. Smith's death.


In the following letter, Addie refers to James Edward McKendree, the husband of her sister, Sallie. The McKendree family lived in San Antonio.2

(96) 96-51-463

Madero Institute
Oct 2nd 1893

Dear Mother,

Mr. McKendree's letter just received. I might go and see Sallie but course I could not stay all winter as I have to be in Saltillo before Feb. 1st. But I think Emma ought to go. It will be a nice trip and a change for her. She has been so close at home all her life. Let her go. I will go with her if I have the money.

School closes the 8th of Nov. We have set the time up. I am very busy now. Miss McDavid has gone to the Chicago Exposition and I have double work - the housekeeping and teaching 6½ hours a day.

We are going to have a splendid school next year. There will be another change in the faculty. Mr. Rudd of Zac will be President. No one likes the present President and two teachers left on his account. Miss McDavid was going to leave this year, but at the annual meeting the brethren proposed to the Board to have Mr. Moseley changed, and Mr. Rudd to take his place, and the Lord's hand moved it all. We are expecting prosperity next year.

Today is the anniversary of the college. Just nine years since it was opened. We will have a concert tonight. I have not yet written for permission from the Board to go home but guess they will grant it.

Your daughter,

Annual Mission Meeting, Saltillo, Sept. 1895
Annual Mission Meeting, Saltillo, Sept. 1895.
Front row (l to r): Children, J. G. Chastain, Jr, and Courtney Rudd, Mrs. Rudd, Dr. Rudd, Addie Barton, I. N. Steelman.
Middle row (l to r): Mrs. Martha Wright, Mrs. Chastain, J. G. Chastain, Mrs. McCormick, Miss Hayes, Miss Cabaniss.
Back row (l to r): Powell, Watkins, McCormick, Gassoway, Dr. Willingham, Miss McDavid, D.A. Wilson, Baby Henry Wilson, Mrs. Wilson.

By Charlene Ochsner Carson
Page last updated: December 12, 2018


  1Forty-Eighth Annual Report of the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board, Accession No. 2651, May 12, 1893, Nashville, Tennessee.
  2Nally, Robert Dacus, The Barton Book. Genealogy Publishing Service, Franklin, NC, 1994.

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