1919 Letter from Tom McGrath 
to his future wife Nellie Schuler
 
 

About Us

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“... life is more comparable to the log across the creek from which the careless wayfarer easily falls and over which many can go safely and cheerfully when given a helping hand to simply balance them or imbue them with confidence.” 

                                                        Tom McGrath 1919


En Route

                                            March 18/1919


Dear Nellie,

    This train is crowded.  I got the last seat there was at Waynesburg and at the rest station a family got on and two of the children rode with me until just now.  They looked pale and hungry and dirty and are going home to West Virginia.  The ride out from the farm was cold and not pleasant and altogether something was wrong with it.  Your mother was really sorry to see me go and put her arms around me.  I suppose I should have kissed her good bye but I have a foolish religion about such things.  I wanted to but just could not.  I was awfully sorry to say good bye to her, as I like her for two reasons.  I am sorry Nellie that I was so ugly to you and I am particularly sorry that I was ugly to you yesterday morning.  The time remaining to me at your home was so short I should have been more graceful about matters but for me it was a memorable St Patrick’ day.

2

There is no way Nellie , dear, that I can thank you for the little things you have done for me and whom no one before has done, there is no method of paying for such acts unless it is by the friendship they have built and the many memories that will cling to them.  It has been quite a revelation to me to have a real family and and it has been a treat of the rarest kind to have seen so much of a girl like you .  I did not know there were such genuine girls in the world.

3

I wanted to see more of you last night but I was tired and terribly discouraged all day and was not able to get myself under control until about half past nine.   A dry hole there meant more to me than that - it had a whole chain of things hanging to it and when I stopped that drill yesterday I said goodbye to many hopes.  In fact, while I knew its importance to me, I did not fully realize until I got over there yesterday morning exactly how much it meant and the minute I saw the bit lifted I knew it was dry but could not stop then just then.  I came back to my room to sit down and think and fight my mind.  I would have given anything to have had been able to talk to someone then and last night and the idle chatter about dry holes had my goat

4

This train is surely jolting a lot. How did you get along with the harrowing (?) today and what did you do in the evening.  Did you drink some of “our” white ribbon beer.  The next time you do I hope there will be a silent little toast in your heart for the absent one who helped you to make it. We have just crossed the high bridge.   The last time we crossed it together and I had such a splendid time reading to you.  It reminds me of the bridge of life over which all people cross from birth to death only the one of life is more comparable to the log across the creek from which the careless wayfarer easily falls and over which many can go safely and cheerfully when given a helping hand to simply balance them or imbue them with confidence.

5

I do not know exactly what my plans are and will not until I have gone through the letters and messages awaiting me at the Phoenix but what I know to do is get the Mayborer (?) lease drilled (?).  Pending that I would like to personally look over the Green River country and will do so after a couple of days at Lexington unless there is some serious reason for remaining at Lexington so as to be in touch or for going back to New York where all is not going properly.  I would only remain in New York a day or two at this time so will not go unless it is imperative. 

6

I asked the Waynesburg post master to forward my mail to Lexington but that package came to the house yesterday.  I suppose they only forward first class mail.  The papers you can keep.  When I know where to send them I will have the publisher change the address.   If any packages come will you please open them yourself and let me know the contents.  I will then tell you what to do with them.  When you want any photo supplies you will let me know so I can send them.  Also the other little things we have talked about.  You have promised me to take good care of yourself and to me that is a very serious promise.  My time spent at Schulers, Nellie, will always be one of the sweetest memories on of the green spots in my life.

                                                                                                    Tom McGrath


Darragh, Ireland, maybe the place he was searching for in Kentucky