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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Family Secrets Chapter 2 or Snail Mail Dating

Letters from my scrapbook to Granny Chapman from a widower asking her to come to Dimmit, Tx. to be his housekeeper
My great grandmother, Bettie (Elizabeth) Maddox Chapman Another photo of Betty with her husband, Peter Chapman and her daughter, my grandmother, Euda in 1912

My second cousin once removed, Clark, who wrote to ask me when Bettie died and where she was buried. He is a retired professor of music and currently is a church music director. His wife is also a church music director. Their cute twins with the great smiles are 8. I did not have the correct date of her death, but after hearing this story, he found her records and she was buried near Dimmit, Tx. I had asked my mother about her when I was making my scrapbook with the photos I had that belonged to my grandmother, Euda. I have a letter from my mother telling me what happened to Bettie (Granny Chapman) after her husband, Peter died.
"When Granddad Chapman died in '43, some neighbors told Granny Chapman about a widower in Dimmit, Tx. He had 2 teenage daughters who helped him lure his prey. They persuaded Granny C. to come and live with them as a housekeeper. She and the old coot were soon married. She was a simpleminded, naive person. She was told before hand the he was probably a con man but she didn't listen. They did persuade her to transfer her money & property out of her name. She came back for a visit to OK, during the summer of '45 & I knew the minute he showed up that he really was a crook. There were a lot of problems - a court trial to get the property (80 acres)etc. After that, one of Mom's cousins who lived at Durant, got a letter from her saying, "Help, I'm in trouble". Before anyone could do anything, Granny was dead & buried. The widower got the money, anyway. He had buried 2 other women besides the girls' mother. It might be interesting to see what the cause of death was on the death certificate. She took digitalis for her heart."
I don't know why Granny decided to ride the bus to Dimmit, Tx. to be a housekeeper, but we can learn from this that people were leaving home to meet strangers before the Internet.