56 Sherwood Street,
March 22, 1924
The Campbell Correspondence Day has come again I see,
and Cousin Will and Cousin George have written each to me,-
and Mary S. and Florence B. both sent a word or two
to tell me I must hurry up if I my duty do.
So here I sit me down to think, and take my pen in hand
And try to write a letter to broadcast o'er the land,
From Oregon1 to Maplewood2, from North to old St. Pete3,
My very fondest love I send, my Cousins all to great.
What shall I write about I ask, a task I would not shirk,
Although I want to say to you, it seems a lot of work.
My family I will tell about as you have told of yours
And as I tell it I will try to leave out the detours.
Shaw, my husband's name, his weight two hundred ten,
Mortician is his trade you know, but lately now and then
We spend much time together at home or in the car
In trying to enjoy ourselves before too old we are.
just twenty-one will be in April fifteenth day,
One hundred eighty pounds he weighs and I just want to say
Some cooking I have had to do to make the things we ate
For I confess to you my friends that I'm no featherweight.
A joiner I have been for years and interested quite
In every new progressive move that stands for what is right.
The Presbyterian Church of course4 comes first of all to me
And I have found a place to work in each society5.
The Temperance Cause comes next I think and here I'm glad to say,
That in the fight for God and Home a part I've had to play
State Superintendent of the S. T. I.* in the W. C. T. U.6
And at my desk from day to day much work I find to do.
* Scientific Temperance Instruction in Public Schools and Colleges7.
1. Mabel's first cousins: Frank,
Horton lived in Oregon. [wbt]
2. Will Selph, organizer of the Campbell Cousins Correspondence Club, lived in Maplewood, N.J. [wbt]
3. Mabel's uncle, Tommie Campbell, lived in St. Pete. [wbt]
4. "of course". When the Campbells immigrated to Pennsylvania (from abt, 1776 until 1810), as good Scots, they naturally all were Presbyterians. By 1924, thanks in part to several generations, most of the "Cousins" were still Presbyterians, but some were Methodist, Baptist, Unitarian, and perhaps some "free thinkers" (as doubters were called then). I don't think at that time any were Catholic, although that came soon after. The inclusion of Jews and Muslims (and probably other religions) into our family is quite recent. [wbt]
5. "society" --- i.e. organization. [wbt]
6. Women's Christian Temperance Union. As the name implies, the organization started out urging "temperance" (moderation in drinking) and working against drunkenness. But as often happens in organizations, a more extreme faction took control, replacing the founders, and switching the target from "drunkenness" to alcohol itself. [wbt]
7."Scientific Temperance Instruction in Public Schools and Colleges". The WCTU pressured local school boards to allow them to present lectures on the evils of drink in school classrooms during the school day. Reportedly these talks were mostly propaganda, were not science based, and contained many distortions and much misinformation. The WCTU's early campaigns had little impact on adults' behavior. But the school children they indocrinated in school were crucial in passing the Prohibition amendment to the constitution. Perhaps there's a lesson to be learned about what groups and messages we should grant school time to. [wbt]
The D. A. R.8, the Club9, and then the Guild10
for all the poor,
The Nurse Association too and politics galore,
But Campbells are alike you know and at the top will be
A back seat they will never take in their community11.
and her two fine boys just live across the way
And it is such a privilege to see them every day.
We miss my Mother very much, but we are glad to know
That she is well and happy where they do not shovel snow.
The sunny South is where she's been two months with Uncle
And doesn't even say a word about her coming home.
The Southland has a lure to us and in a year or two
We'll join our southern Cousins where the skies are always blue.
To Cousin Will, the pioneer of this our Cousins Club
We send our words of thanks and say, - He surely is the hub
But wheels will fall to pieces if no spokes in them are found12.
Let's help our officers each time the year comes rolling round.
As I close my little letter and send it by the post,
I want to say God Bless you all and may this be our boast,
That every one of us shall hitch his wagon to a star
For it is not what we have or do. God sees us as we are.
8. Daughters of the American Revolution.
9. the Club --- ??? [wbt]
10. The Guild --- a charitable and social organization within many Presbyterian congregations.[wbt]
11. A great many of our early Campbells were leaders in their communities or prominent in their fields. As the generations went on, the genes became more diluted, the number of descendants vastly increased, and times changed. So naturally, the percentage of our family that are "prominent" may have decreased. And sad to say, a few of our Cousins have even ended up in prison. But many still do play significant roles in their fields or communities --- even well into their 80s or 90s. So, they're still some good genes in our family and good marriage choices have enriched our gene pool. [wbt]
12. Then as now, helpers are needed, both with our reunion association and with maintaining and expanding our website and family tree. Things fell apart with the original Campbell Reunions after 50 years, the Cousins Dinners ceased after 10 or 15 years, and the Correspondence Club expired after 4 years. Please don't let it happen again. Volunteer to help. We enjoy the fruits of Will Selph's labors, but his efforts were not continued. I restarted the Campbell Reunions, created and publish our family on-line, and created our website. But I'm a geezer and hope others will do their part and keep things going after I no longer can. You can start helping now.[wbt}
Copyright © 2001, 2012, 2013 Wm. B. Thompson. Commercial use prohibited.