Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dorothy Chambers 1900 - 1986

More photos of Dorothy Chambers.

Last Letter and More Information

The previous post, letter number 175 from April 15, 1928, was the final letter in this series. Dorothy (my grandmother) and her then husband B.M. divorced a few years after returning to Texas. B.M. (Bruno Maxwell) died in 1964 at age 75 and Dorothy died in 1986 at age 86.

I must say I was surprised at how long it took me to get all the way through this. While I started by re-typing the letters from a photocopy of the already transcribed and printed letters, I quickly realized the magnitude of the job and had a copy shop scan and apply OCR. Most of the work then consisted of cleaning up errors, adding links, reading (of course!), and creating the actual entries and scheduling for publication.

I hope some of you out there following this blog enjoyed some of these letters. I will be posting a few photos of relevant people mentioned in the letters. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments about the congoletters blog.


Mark Evans
Ann Arbor, MI
February 21, 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

Congo (175) Antwerp, Belgium 4/15/1928 [DCS] [BMS]

Queen's Hotel
Antwerp, Belgium
April 15, 1928
My dear homefolks:
Got here on the 13th, Fri., about suppertime. My! but it was grand to get to civilization again and off the boat. It seems to me ocean travel gets worse every time we make it. Not that we had a rough voyage, especially, but neither of us are fond of the sea and are sick a lot of the time. We have chosen the Aquitania again and reach N.Y. about the 3rd of May. The Millers leave a few days ahead of us, but on the larger boat. We don't get there far behind them, as few days on the ocean as possible for me. We expect to see something of Holland in the few days we stay over and also go to Brussels to see the Buses and some other friends.
As there are other boats leaving, we hope you will get this before we get to you. We got your letter when we reached here and were very pleasantly surprised. I was afraid you would not write us here. Also Uncle Kent had written us here. It was in answer to my letter saying we didn't want to miss him along the way if he was anywhere near our route. I shall enclose his letter. If we hear that Aunt Lutie is at Lexington and that it suits her for us to make her a visit for a day or two, we may go by there. I am also writing Uncle Kent when we expect to be there. We had such a hurried visit with him the last time in N. Y. He came just the day or two before we left and our room was full of our trunks and packages for missionaries. I was afraid he got disgusted with us, for he stayed only a few hours. Surely he just realized how hurried we were.
The trees are budding here, and they say it has been quite warm, but it's snowing today; however, the snow melts as soon as it reaches the ground. We are very comfortable here. We have stearn heat and can have a coal fire also, if necessary. Max hasn't even had a cold so far. We have taken on an English woman to care for our crowd of 6 children so we can go anywhere and do anything we wish without having to take them out into the cold. We shopped all day yesterday and went to the show last night. Guess we won't go to the show again soon as B.M. 's eyes won't stand it.
Hope to hear from you in N. Y. again. If the roads are good, I hope to come by Livingston. I will hear, though, about that.
Lots of love to all.
I got tapestry and ebony elephants in Tenerife.
We will see you before long.
Dear Folks;
Dorothy has written you about all the news we have. We are enjoying our contact with Europe. As Dorothy wrote, we're planning to sail on the AQUITANIA, which is scheduled to leave Southampton, England, on April 28th, to arrive in New York about May 3rd or 4th. This will give us a few extra days here to see a bit. I had hoped to make a trip to Cologne, Germany, for a day there, but understand there is some trouble and expense about passports, so may not go, but we hope to spend a day or two in Holland.
Well, we will be hearing from you in New York, and hope to see you now in a few weeks.
With love to all.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Congo (174) Luebo, Congo 2/19/1928 [DCS]

Luebo, Feb. 19, 1928. Sunday
Dearest homefolks:
One week from tomorrow, we are expecting to start on our long trip home. From the State, we hear that Yellow Fever is finished at Matadi. The Millers are also going with their three children, so we will have company. They are very nice people. We stop keeping house about Thursday and eat with Rowena in order to get everything packed and sold. Everything is practically finished now. I still have to finish Max's suits, but there isn't much left.
Miss Wilson of the Baptist mission of whom perhaps you remember us speaking of being at the U.M.H. and a Dr. Parmer of the Swedish mission came up on the Lapsley on a visit and they are going back with us, so we will have quite a jolly party. Miss Wilson is a lovely lady, even though she is English, and they generally throw up their hands in perfect horror at some things Americans do. She is a sport, though.
I haven't gotten your last letters as the plane did not bring foreign mail last time. It comes up on boats again as it used to unless the letters have special stamps on them. We have certainly been fortunate, for air mail is practically finished now. I don't imagine you will have any more letters coming out here. Be sure and have me a letter at the Latham. I have written Nettie that we are going to try to get to Shreveport so as to go straight to Livingston. We want to leave most of our baggage there to save transport. I had so much rather come that way, too, so I can see Hickman, Nettie, and James and my friends in Livingston. Do hope the roads will be good so you can meet me. We are planning now to go by Lexington for a day or so. If the committee has any special occulist for B.M. to see, we may have to go too far out of the way. We can't afford to go much out of the way. I am going to save every cent I can so we can get started housekeeping when B.M. finds a job or decides what we will do. As Easter is when Uncle Kent is generally around Lexington, I hoped to see him, too.
Mrs. Cleveland sent the combs to me yesterday that you folks had in my Xmas package. B.M. never got his things and I am ashamed to ask any more. I didn't know until your last letter that there was anything for B.M. Thanks for the combs. I will enjoy them on the way home.
This is the last letter I will write until I see you unless we don't catch the 12th of March boat. If we don't, it's because we are trying to be careful at Matadi. We won't run any risks, so don't worry.
Goodbye and love to all,
Until we meet again.
P. S. Max is very excited about going to see Grandmother and Grand daddy.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Congo (173) Luebo, Congo 2/5/1928 [BMS] [DCS]

Luebo, Congo Beige, Africa
Feb. 5, 1928
Dear Will:
This is just a short letter to let you know about our plans. We will probably leave here about the first of March for the States, reaching New York along the first or middle part of April. We are due to stay four years this term, but as I have been having trouble with my eyes for about a year now, I am coming home to have them examined and new glasses fitted. The trouble seems to be that my eyes have changed from the glasses I have been wearing.
All of us are quite well otherwise. Max is doing as well as we could wish for, and growing fast.
Hope you folks had good crops this last year. I believe you were going to move this year to a new place, but as I haven't your address am writing you at your old one.
If you get this letter in time, we would appreciate having a letter from you when we reach New York. If you write the first part of April, it will no doubt reach us. Address us at LATHAM HOTEL, New York City. Or you can just write us at Dorothy's home, where we will first go; address us at PINCKNEY, TEXAS.
Trust this finds all of you well and that we will hear from you. With love to all.
Your brother and family,
Bruno and Dorothy

Friday, February 5, 2010

Congo (172) Luebo, Congo 1/18/1928 [BMS]

Luebo, Jan. 18, 1928

Dear Folks:

Just a few lines before we close this mail. Dorothy has written you about our plans. We expected to be at Lubondai long ago, but it seems that everything has turned out for the best. Just when we had planned to leave here, the glasses ordered for me arrived, and Dr. King (who was to try them on me) came a few days later. There are about four combinations that he has to try in case the first do not fit; we have tried two sets, but these two give me no relief at all, and as he chose the most likely at first, it is hardly possible there will be anything in the lot to help me. So we are planning to go down on the next trip of the Lapsley; it left here this past Monday for Kinshasa, and will be back here, if all goes well, about the 21 st of Feb., and leave about the first part of March. This would put us in Belgium (leaving Matadi on the steamer for Antwerp about March 19th) about the 6th of April, and in New York about April 20th to 30th. We will have another mail in which to write you 18 days from today, and we may be able to give you more definite dates at that time. I suppose we will have two more mails to leave here before we do.

In regard to the yellow fever. We have just had a wireless telegram from Matadi giving information about the fever. It seems they have it well under control; there have been no cases reported yet at Kinshasa, or Thysville (this is halfway between Matadi and Kinshasa). As they had an epidemic of it there (Matadi) about 4 or 5 years ago, they evidently understand how to handle it.

The Stixruds are due to sail from New York on Feb. 25. All of us are quite well, and trust you are all the same.

Love to all,


The Dr. Cousars, who are at home, announce the arrival of a daughter in Nov. We shall no doubt report something similar from the Longeneckers here in next mail.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Congo (171) Luebo, Congo 1/1/1928 [DCS]

Luebo Jan. 1, 1928

Dearest homefolks:

A note before the mail closes. I have had the Flu for the last three days so don't feel strong enough to write much. I have not been very sick, just a little fever, but it has left me very weak, even though I have not been in bed all the time. There is a lot of it in the village and among the missionaries, too. One thing that has been hard on me has been trying to pack and the uncertainty of our going to Lubondai. We have about decided to wait until the glasses come after all. I wonder if you can realize how hard it is not knowing what is going to happen next. I had almost torn up housekeeping, but we did not get off to Lubondai when we expected to B.M.'s eyes hurt him badly when he uses them, and the occulist told him not to use them, but they put Miss Black as station treasurer and she can't get on to the job and expects B.M. to help her all the time. He feels sorry for her and it's hard for him to refuse. That's why we need to get away.

There is a committee in here to look over the Lapsley. There have been some changes made and some felt they made the boat unsafe--Mr. Pettis, Bibanga, Bell Anderson, Lubondai, and Mr. Daumery, Mutoto.

Max had a perfectly wonderful Xmas. Rowena helped me fix his tree. She had all the decorations, including candle holders. I had some crepe paper and bells and the room just looked beautiful. I have not tried to count the presents he got. Every person on the station gave him something besides I had quite a lot to give him. He got two guns and Mr. McMurry gave him a garage with five cars, the kind Aunt Nennie sent us last Xmas. He is wild about the set and plays with them all the time. I have put some of the things away, for he just got too much for his good and breaks them up so badly. It hurts me, for I can't ever remember breaking my things just for the fun of it. I wish you could have seen him, though,when we brought him in to see the tree. He was just too precious for words. It's at times like this that I do wish you could be with us. It was the first Xmas we have celebrated in our home since we married. Of course, the reason is Max is old enough to really enjoy it. We ate our dinner Xmas day with Mary, then the station had a big dinner at Rowenda's Monday night. The Lapsley got in just in time for Xmas with the Savels, Miss Headen, & two new ladies. Georgia and Mr. Watts hadn't been up for over 6 months, so we had great rejoicing. Georgia is expecting a new arrival in April, and perhaps I wrote you Dorothy Anderson expects one in Feb.

The Lubondai people seemed very anxious for us to come there and we may go yet if the glasses fit. If the glasses fit, we may resign at April Ad Interim Meeting, or I may come home alone. I do wish we could talk it over with you.

I can't help but wonder why Nettie does not write me. I wrote thanking her for getting the Xmas things and asking the price and about the patterns and she never wrote me. Everything came except the patterns. I suppose I wrote you that LeNoir got my package by accident and wore all three pair of stockings before she found out they were not hers. I got them just before we left for the lake. I just can't remember if I told you or not. I thank you ever so much for the stockings. They are beautiful and I will certainly write Mrs. Drew soon. I haven't memory an inch long these days.

Love to all,