Monday, November 7, 2011

Forgotten Letter Found

Did he forget the letter or did it fall out of a box? Why did he place it in the attic? Over one hundred years ago, Charles Irvin Moss, age 31, received a note from his mother on July 10, 1909. It was a sweet letter and one that he obviously chose to keep, but somehow the note, still in its envelope, fell below some floorboards in an unfinished attic in a small cottage at 108 South Audubon Road. There it remained for decades until some recent electrical work revealed the post once again.

Charles Irvin Moss, affectionally called "Irvin" by his mother, boarded along with his wife Bess, 28, and their newborn son Robert with the Anderson family. He worked as a bookkeeper for the Home Brewing Company. The tiny cottage where his new family dwelled must have been very crowded because not only were Dr. John Anderson, 49, and his wife Anna H., 49, living there, but Mrs. Anderson's sister, Sarah McElwain, 60, a servant for an Irvington family, also called the Audubon Road cottage home. Across the street dwelled Grace Julian Clarke and her husband Charles in a large Italianate villa.

The letter, mailed from Culver, Indiana, is a newsy update on life in the Moss Family. The mother is quite playful at times and reproachful in a few lines. I just felt like you was coming last Sunday a week ago and so I stayed home from church watching for you but did not see you. In another part of the letter she encouraged her son to think about moving to Oregon. She is clearly frustrated with her husband for not taking a similar action. If I was the one that wore the pants on the outside I would have been in the West by now.

Clearly, more research is needed on this interesting family. Did they move to Oregon? What became of the infant Robert? Were they happy? We only have one small artifact found under some floorboards of their existence in Irvington, but with some detective work, more information could be forthcoming.

It is now late and I must close hoping to hear from you soon. Love to all, Your Mother

This wonderful artifact is courtesy of Suzanne E. Katt.

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