Monday, March 4, 2013

Letter from Vivian Mayo Wilson of Mayfield KY

Today's post is brought to you by Vivian Mayo Wilson and her letter to Virginia, James, and Harrell Moran.

Vivian Mayo was the daughter of George Thomas Mayo and Ella Savannah McWherter of Dresden Tennessee.  Vivian was a contemporary and playmate of Marion Moran, the youngest of J.W. Moran and Sophia Riley Gunn's children.  Though the letter was sent at a sad time in the life of the writer, Vivian had lost her mother earlier in the year,  it's exciting to read that Vivian spent time at Moran Place with Marion and her father, J.W. Moran.

Vivian married William D. Wilson of Mayfield Kentucky and they had three children; William, Bettie and Tom.  William's father, also named William, is listed in the Census as being a shoe merchant.  His sons are employed as shoe clerks.  William's mother was Minnie Gentry.  I don't know if she's related to Joseph Collins Gentry or not but he was from Kentucky and married to Belle Shumate, also of Kentucky, so it's possible the Wilson's are linked to the Moran's through the Gentry/Shumate connection!

Vivian writes about about her sadness and continued "nervousness" since the death of her mother.  She also talks about the surprising death of Marion and the grief that everyone must be feeling.  The letter is postmarked Oct. 18, 1934.  Marion had committed suicide at the first of the month.  She had married Charles Henry Cobb of Union City in 1905 and they had one child, Carolyn Elizabeth Cobb.  We don't know the exact circumstances of the situation but there were murmurings among the Morans that Marion did not have a happy marriage.  Whether or not that was enough to drive her to jump off the bridge will never be known.

Since Vivian mentions a couple of times that she had not been feeling well and was "nervous" and sick it's worth noting that she dies just three years later on October 15, 1937 of breast cancer.

Quick note about the letterhead.  Part of the Wilson family was involved in a successful tobacco growing venture.  J.H. Wilson was the tobacco grower and we assume that Vivian had some of the family letterhead on hand along with the envelope for Wilson & Roberts, "Home of Good Shops", Mayfield Kentucky.

Old Kentucky
Homespun Tobacco
Direct from the Farm
Shipped by
Tobacco Growers Association of Kentucky

My dear Virginia, Jim & Harrell,
I'm sure a letter from me will do you more harm than good.  One hundred times (in my mind) I've written you three dear friends since my mother died.  I first couldn't as I've been in such a nervous condition & going down in weight & health.  You three truly know the awful sorrow & lonesomeness that is in my heart & this summer without mama has almost been unbearable.

This whole week of your awful sorrow I've grieved with you all.

Monday Oct. 15.
Virginia, almost a week since I wrote the first page of this letter.  That aft. a neighbor came in and when she left it was past time to cook super.

You know I have always loved Marion since I was a small girl & she would ask me to spend the night with & we always had fun there with Mr. Moran.  She was a fine sweet girl and woman.

Poor Carolyn, how my eart aches for her & of course poor Mr. Cobb too.

You have lost a dear friend Virginia as well as sister-in-law.

I have not had this to come to me yet & hope I won't soon for it is more than you all can hardly bear I'm sure.  I hope you three can realize how I love you & only wish I were able to say a word of comfort.  This is so hard to understand but maybe we will some day.

All three of you were the best, sweetest, and most helpful friend to me us in our deep sorrow & loss.  But you have always been that to me.

Virginia I would have come to see you this summer during the three days visit I had, but I knew we would both sit there & cry our eyes out & I felt like it would be best for you that I stay away.  You know you and I have always told each other our sorrow & joys and we have cried to-gether lots. I would have driven over just to say a few words to you dear friends last week, but I was sick & extremely nervous.

I hope all your family are well & you may be sure I've asked God to strengthen & comfort you.

Virginia I want to see you & hope to soon, I would love to get a letter from you.

Your loving friend
Vivian M.W.

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