CCC Vol. 3 p. 57 William E. Selph, Jr.

217 Broadway,

New York, N.Y.,

April 8, 1925.

Dear Cousins:

So very many things have transpired in the past twelve months that it is rather hard to know just where to begin and what to say that would be most interesting to you all. Perhaps the first thing that might be mentioned would be the genealogy chart - a copy of which was sent to each and every first and second cousin of the Campbell family early last summer. I sincerely trust that these charts were all received in good condition and have already been protected by suitable frames. hardly seems that another year has passed since we wrote our last letters. To some it has been a year which has brought sorrow and we wish to express our deep sympathy with those cousins who have lost loved ones.

About the first of June each year we migrate to our cottage at Mt. Tabor, from which point we start on our vacation trips. Last summer, in company with a couple of friends from Maplewood, we drove out to Cape Cod and spent a very delightful ten days. We also had the pleasure of another ten day sojourn at Ocean Grove. These two vacation trips together with a few shorter ones and the time spend on the golf links on Saturdays during the golfing period, made the summer and fall slip away before we knew it. Then, about October first, we migrated back to our winter quarters at Maplewood, and the winter has likewise slipped by all too quickly.

Another important event occurred on October fifteenth last when the Annual Cousins Dinner was held at Charlie Congdon's place at Marshall's Falls, Pennsylvania. A total of twenty-two cousins sat down to dinner, and we all enjoyed a very pleasant time together. Edith was suffering with an attack of bronchitis just at that time and could not attend the Dinner, but I had the pleasure of going up with George and Anna Buck in their new Packard, and as the day was perfectly gorgeous , we enjoyed the ride very much indeed. On the return trip that evening, my sister, Jennie, and her husband, together with Stella Wilbur, also came back with Cousin George and for the next few days we had a smaller reunion in Madison and Maplewood. Cousin Edna Wright joined us a little later, and we certainly did have one royal good time visiting, sight seeing, automobiling, etc.

Three of the cousins whose names appear on our genealogy chart have been called Home during the past few months, and to each and every member of the families afflicted I am sure we all extend our heartfelt sympathy. The last one to be called to her reward was cousin Jennie Bosard, who died on February third. As you know, Cousin Ann Owlett had been with

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Cousin Jennie from the middle of last November. Needless to say, Cousin Anna's help and cheer in the Washington home was very much appreciated and has gone a long way toward making the burden of Cousin Mary and Cousin Florence very much lighter. I had been keeping in touch almost daily with Cousin Mary and was able to arrange my business affairs so that I could attend the funeral service.

On March seventh it was our pleasure to have Cousins Ann Owlett and Mary Snavely come over from Washington and spend a week with us in New Jersey, and I feel sure it did Cousin Mary a world of good to have this diversion, and as Cousin Ann had never seen our city before, I feel that she will always carry with her many pleasant memories of things she did while she was here. Edith and I have been very glad indeed to be favored with the visits of so many of the cousins since our last letters.

Another item which I feel quite sure will be interesting but quite a surprise, is the fact that about ten days ago our daughter, Doris, announced her engagement to Philip W. Drake of Morristown, N.J. Doris has now returned to college and will finish her second year in June. It is more than likely that before another exchange of letters she and Philip will be married and will make their home in Morristown. It might be said that we have known the family for years as they also spend their summers at Mt. Tabor. The young man is of high calibre, a worker in the church, a fine violinist and bass singer, and comes from a very substantial family of fine character. By profession he is the paying teller in one of the largest banks in his town. Edith and I, acting as a Board of Censor, gave our consent, and we all hope that the forth-coming union will prove to be a happy one. While we were just a bit disappointed that Doris should not complete her other two years of college, yet there are many compensating features to be considered and we feel that no mistake has been made. Morristown is only five miles from our Tabor cottage and fifteen miles from our Maplewood home, so that with good telephone and automotive service1, we shall see Doris and hear her voice as often as desired.

Our plans for the coming summer are rather indefinite, and will depend a little upon Doris' plans, and providing, of course, that all of us, including Edith's mother, are in good health, so that we can get away on a couple of trips in case they are planned. Personally, I want very much to again drive up to Tioga County and visit the cousins up there, and again travel over some of the old territory or my boyhood days, especially at Osceola and Nelson. The strenuosity of life in a big city like New York makes every business

1. It  may seem stange to modern readers to see "telephone service" mentioned because we pretty much take it for granted. But in 1925, many of the telephone companies were small, "mom & pop" operations. Getting a phone installed after moving could take a long time. "Private lines" (one household per phone #), which we now take for granted, were very rare. Most phones were "party lines", i.e. 4, 6, or even a couple dozen houses might share the same phone #. So, you couldn't make a call --- or receive a call, if someone else was using their phone. But if you wanted to know when the line was available, you could just stay on the line and listen to their conversation! The operators used distinctive rings so that you could tell if an incoming call was for you or for someone else. In 1925 urban phone companies had a single button that could be pressed multiple times (e.g.to call '25' you would press the key twice, pause, then press it 5 times), or a dial, allowing local calls to be placed without operator assistance --- but all "long distance" calls required  operator assistance. Therefore how many operators a phone company "manning" their switchboards had a big effect on the adequacy of their service.

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man wish at times that we could just fly away and be up on the old farm togged out with an old shirt and a pair of overalls, plugging around and getting his mind absolutely away from his business. Whether or not I can manage this during the coming summer remains to be seen, but I am going to try hard to do it. We also are going to try to reserve time so as to be present at the next Cousins Dinner to be held at Minnie Clark's in Osceola, even if it is necessary to go and come by train. These family gatherings are certainly very fine and go a long way toward cementing the families together.

I must not make this letter too long or Cousin George will scold, but I cannot resist the temptation to tell you how glad I am that he very kindly and unselfishly came to the rescue and will edit and compile our book of Cousins Letters this year inasmuch as the cousins in Washington could not assume this responsibility.2 We are indeed to be congratulated on having the president of our organization - Cousin George - on the job. His business is that of publishing books and I know you are going to be delighted with the book this year. George and I have had many conferences regarding our book, the last one being late yesterday afternoon, when we spent another half hour together going over the matters. You will be glad to know that through George's efforts the cost of the binding, as well as the entire book, has been reduced considerably, which means a little saving for each of us. Cousin George will doubtless tell you more about the book itself in his own letter.

Today is April eighth and about one-half of the letters are actually in. It is my earnest hope and desire that when the book is finally closed and ready for binding that at least seventy, or possibly seventy-five, letters will be contained therein. We do hope that from year to year more of the the cousins will interested themselves in our Correspondence Club and do all they can to make it a permanent success.

I trust none of the cousins will be offended at being reminded three or four times to get their letters in, but the fact is, if we do not have the letters we cannot have the book. Let us all, therefore, keep sweet and cheerful, and do our little part, knowing that if each one does his or her part, the whole thing will come through in just the finest kind of shape.

With love and best wishes to you all, believe me

Sincerely yours,

COUSIN WILLIAM E. SELPH.

2. Sisters Mary BOSARD Snavely and Florence BOSARD [later Neal] were to have done it but their mother's fatal illness precluded that.

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Utilizing Sandy Buck Garrett's 2012 partial transcription.
Copyright 2013 William B. Thompson. Commercial use prohibited.