Letters From Addie
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Chapter 8: Back Home in Saltillo, 1898
Addie returns to Saltillo and learns about the death of her nephew, Randall, the son of her brother, Sam Houston Barton, and his wife, Nancy (Pinkie). She writes letters of comfort to her family and asks them to "see the hand of the Lord" in Randall's death.
In the Barton Family plot of the Salado, Texas cemetery there is a tombstone with the following inscription: "Randall son of S. H. & N. A. Barton, Born Feb. 11, 1878. Died Feb. 15, 1898. In life beloved, in death lamented." Samuel Houston Barton was Addie's and Ruthie's oldest brother. Ruthie would have been 21 years old at the time of her nephew Randall's death.
(97) 96-51-464 (a-d)
Friday, Feb 25th 1898
My Dear Precious Ruthie,
Your long sweet letter just received. It was a full letter telling me everything about the death of the dear boy - it is all right. God always does the right and best thing. Even if he was killed God could have prevented it if it had been His will. Not even a sparrow falls to the ground without our Father's knowledge. It is so consoling to think how sweetly he died - how sweetly he fell asleep and was borne on angel wings to the blessed Savior who gave His life for him, but rejoice with him.
I was sorry not to have been with him - but that was your mission - and how bravely and faithfully you fulfilled it. I am sure I could not have done so well. Now I think you are prepared to do anything in life. You ask who will take care of you. I think you are fully able to take care of yourself and half the world beside. Did you ever read that little piece of poetry, "Those who lean and those who bear?" It represents half the world leaning on the other half while the other half has to bear up those who lean. Well, I think you will be one of the bearers who will have to bear the burdens of others. Some one so weak they can't bear their own burdens much less those of others. Then that is the happiest life.
Anyway, when we are administering to others that is the Christ life. When you go over home read the Christ Life. I sent it to Brother Sam. I feel that the Lord is calling Bro. Sam to his Christian duty and we ought not to mummer or complain or even grieve for Randall* especially when he went away so happy. Let us let the Lord do anything that will bring us nearer to Him and prepare us better to live with Him. He has to awaken us all to our duties sometimes. And He always does it in love. He knows just the thing it will take to awaken us. He had to awaken me in the death of little Eva. And he had to awaken you in the death of Randall. But that is all right. Let us thank Him for it. Thank Him for His great love for us - and just say - Lord what will thou have me to do for thee? I am ready - only let me know what my duty is and I will follow thee where thou dost lead - only go thou before me.
Don't try to study too hard these four months. If you get through it is all right and if you don't it is all right. Don't take things to heart. You have plenty of time yet to get your education. Don't think you've got to get it all in four months. The first thing we have got to look after is our health. We haven't any rights to break that down just to come out ahead in our examinations. It is all right. And I would rather see you fat and rosy than with the highest honors. Let us not strive after the honors of this world. Only to be meek and lowly like the blessed Jesus, that is the highest honor that we can take with us into the other life. The honors of this world are left behind when we leave the world.
(97) 96-51-464 (a-d) pg. 2
My highest aim in life is to be like the Master and that is in reach of all of us. And that is reached not by striving and doing and working but just to let Christ into the heart, and He will do it all. He will take up His abode there and take out everything evil and rule there Himself - and what peace He brings - a heart wholly surrendered to Him is what He wants. All that He asks is just to let Him in, and He will do the work Himself. He doesn't expect us to do it. He knows we can't, that is why He is so anxious to come in and do it for us. Just let Him in Ruth. Work will be easier. Life will be sweeter and death will only be a entering into life eternal.
Mrs. Rudd has just received a postal from Mrs. Chastain saying she and the children will be here tomorrow (Saturday). I am glad she is coming. It is so lonely there for her and the children have had a siege with the whooping cough. But I must go to my class. I have been neglecting them recently because I could feel no interest in them while I knew all were so sad at home.
Yesterday was Mr. Rudd's birthday and the girls all wanted a holiday. They had prepared a little program - music, recitations, etc. and had it in the parlor yesterday afternoon. He received some beautiful cards and we helped him celebrate with cake and dinner. You all had better celebrate Dr. Wilson's birthday and thus get a holiday.
Well, you have shown yourself a dear brave little girl. I am not afraid of you getting through whether it be getting through examinations or getting through the world. Yes, I have prayed for you and shall continue to do so. Let not your heart be troubled - just set it firmly on Jesus. He is our hope. With Him we can conquer the world. "Without me ye can do nothing."
If you don't make up in your classes, you've done something grander and nobler so don't worry about it.
Feb 25th 1898
Ruth's letter came just this morning telling me all about Randall. I feel satisfied that it is all right for his good and for the good of all that he was taken. Even if he was taken in the boxing it could not have happened without the Lord's knowledge for not even a sparrow falls to the ground without our Father's knowledge. The very hairs of our head are all numbered. We are very precious in the sight of Him who loved us and gave Himself for us and nothing happens to us by chance. He knows it all. And let us learn it all with Him. He knows best.
I am so glad Sister was there. I hope she can stay sometime. I have written to Sam and Pinkie nearly everyday. I hope to comfort them and do them some good by letter as I could not be with them - Oh, if they can just feel that it is all right and see the hand of the Lord in it. Dear boy - he has done for them in his death what he could not have done for them in life.
Wed. March 2 - 1898
Dear Mother and Home Folks,
We had a delightful rain last night which was something very unusual for Saltillo - the first good rain since last summer - and there was seen a little snow on the mountain this morning - but if a cold spell should come now it would kill all the fruit as most everything is in full bloom. We had no winter - it has been the mildest winter I ever knew in Saltillo - I received another letter from Bro. Hodges - I send them to you to read.
Later --- It is still getting colder. Mr. Rudd has been a little sick for almost a month - not well, and not very sick. I hope you all are well - hope no one was sick after so long a time of anxiety and sitting up. Give my love to Pinkie and tell her to write to me. If any of you get sick please let me know and don't keep it from me so long. The first letter I received about Randall was the day he died.
Are you all coming to Mexico this summer? I hope the fruit won't be killed.
This chapter concludes with the last of Addie's known letters to her family. If other letters have been preserved, they are housed some place other than the Bell County Museum. This last letter, dated March 3, 1898, is addressed, "Dear Mama."
Miss Ida Hayes joined the missionary staff of teachers at the Madero Institute of Saltillo in 1894. She was later named associate principal of the Institute.1
Addie's last letter to her family.
March 3 - 1898
The 3rd of March and a big snow. Ruth says you are grieving over Randall. Why do you do it - It is best for him and best for all. He has done more for his family in his death, than he could have done in his life. Now don't grieve over it. I am so glad sister has been with you.
Miss Hayes is waiting for me to go out with her - and I just wrote you a word so you would get it by Saturday mail. I will write again. Everything was so beautiful this morning and they have had such a fine time snowballing today - something unusual - the first snow this winter. I guess some of the fruit was killed but the microbes were also killed which will make up for the fruit.
I received a long sweet letter from Ruth this morning written from home. Guess she has gone back to school. She is a dear sweet child. May the Lord use her in bringing souls to a knowledge of the dear Savior.
By Charlene Ochsner Carson
Page last updated: December 17, 2018