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Letters

On page 66 of her book, Mrs. Duke states "According to Courtney/Haun family history, there was very little contact with James L. after he left Kansas in 1871 and made Texas his new home. But, according to my grandmother and Grandpa's diary, he was always sending letters back home. It was just that the Courtneys (Hauns) weren't his parents and the letters sent 'back home' went to Missouri and Zerelda Samuel, not Kansas". There is not one footnote in this book, so one must wonder where Mrs. Duke got this information. Now, let's look at a few facts, okay?

James L. Courtney was a real pack rat, and many letters that he had received and family photographs were found in his trunk after his death. I won't quote the letters in their entirety here, I will just give the dates, salutations and signatures:
1. March 29th, 1872 - Dear Brother and Sister - (lots of family news) signed T N Haun to J L Courtney (this would be his brother Theodore Napolean).

2. August l0th, 1872 - Dear Brother and Sister - (again describing family activities) signed Your Brother Theodore.

3. February 3rd,1873 - signed T N Haun to J L Courtney.

4. A long letter dated March 1st, 1909, full of family news including the illness of his sister Harriet, then signed "Your mother to JLC"

5. From Parkerville, Morris County, Kansas, December 21st, 1909, "Dear Son ....(family news) signed Your mother to JLC"

6. An Easter card, sent to Mr J L Courtney, Troy, Texas, from Parkerville, Kansas, in 1913, signed "Your Mother". This card may be seen here in the Documentation section and may also be seen on http://www.andruss.net/courtney.htm.

7. Robert W. Haun, brother of James L Courtney, died March 19, 1928 at his home in Pawnee, Oklahoma. His obituary lists among his survivors two brothers, J.L. of Troy, Texas, and T.N. of Parkerville, Kansas, and one sister, Harriet E Black of Yates Center, Kansas. The youngest brother, John, had died in 1920. A letter from Pearl, daughter of Robert, was among those found in JLC's trunk. I will quote part of it here. "Dear Uncle Jim, I'm writing to let you know that poppa passed away the 19th, he just fell over, he had a heart attack..." Pearl then describes her father's funeral, gives JLC the addresses of herself and her brothers and sister, and closes by saying, "Write us at Pawnee Oklahoma soon, from momma and all love, Mrs R. W. Haun and family. P.S. Please don't stop writing to us as we want to know how you are, and if anything happens to you, let us know because we would love to keep in touch with you".
The death certificate of Harriet Courtney Black is interesting, at least to the family -- it lists her mother as Dianna Andruss. In the space for the name of her father, there is no given name, just two surnames "Courtney, Haun".

Now let's backtrack and see all the diary entries that JLC made regarding his mail.

On September 3, 1871, he mentions that he had written a letter to Uncle Jacob Haun. On November l0, 1871, he writes that he had received a letter from Jacob Haun. On the twelfth, he wrote to "Unkle" Jacob Haun. The diary entry for February 1, 1872 says "Thirsday morning at Bs & went & taken Miley home & Ellen went home with her & I mailed 2 leters one to T. L. Haun and the other to E. L Andruss & I returned here..." . On March 13, "...in the evening I received a leter from E. L. Andruss stating that Ellen was married on Feb the 29." (The Andruss family website tells us that Ellen Andruss, daughter of E. L. Andruss, married Coleman Wilson on 22 Feb 1872 in Cass County, Missouri. Erastus Lafayette Andruss, "Uncle Rat," was Diannah's brother.) On March 14, "...rote a leter to E. L. Andruss and to Jacob Haun (the name Jacob Haun had a line through it). In November, 1882 JLC wrote a touching tribute to his father, Andrew Jackson Haun, who had just died. This will be seen in the Documentation section.

JLC had received a letter from his cousin, J. R. Andruss. It had been written on the stationery of J.R.'s new business; he now was a partner of a Mr. Whitsett. They owned and operated the Whitsett & Andruss livery stable. This letter, written Jan 11, 1887 can be seen in the Documentation section. It begins, "Mr J. L. Courtney, Your letter at hand, will say I think I have answered all of yours ...." The letter mentions family news, the illness of his mother, and comments on the weather. It ends, "...I will close for the present. Your Cousin, J. R. Andruss."

It seems that JLC wasn't the only pack rat in the family. His cousin, Mary E. Taylor, saved four letters she had received from him. These letters were transcribed and copies sent to all Andruss and Downing family members. I was given a copy of these transcripts by Howard Downing of Chilhowee, Missouri, a grandson of Mary E Taylor.

Oct. 26,1916

I reseived a letter from Cos. Lon OBriant some time ago and he gave me your address the first I have heard of any of the family in a number of years. I left your house in Feb 1871 and came to Texas and settled in a mile of whare I live now. Lon said that you was inquiring to no if my mother was still living. She was a few weeks ago and aunt Marget is still living I recon and unkle Charley to but I don't know whare either is now. My ma is 96 years old the 19th of last Sept. Paw died in Nov. 1882. All the children is living. I was to see ma about a year ago. She was in good heth only Rhumatis in her feet and legs the 3 other boys was there all well Harriet wasant there. John ways over 300 lbs I was the smallest of the 4 and I way 190 all of us is 6 feet hy well whare is all of your brothers Jim George and Ed whare is Lily who did she mary does any of the family live on the old home Place your pa came to see me and aunt Margret OBriant a long time ago I always wanted to go to see him but was so poor I couldant while he lived what did he do with the land he owned in Kansas whare is Harves wife and children?

My children is all grown and married and scattered pirty bad.

Well for fear I weary you with so many questions I had better quit I use to get letters from Brisbern and Harvey Davis they lived in Washington Teritory then but I havt heard of them in years Well if this meets with you agreeably Please answer and give me all the news of the connection hoping to hear from you soon I remain as ever your cosen

J. L. Courtney
Troy Tex
R.1, box 37



Jan 15,1917

Dear Cosin
After so long a time I will try to answer your letter that I got misplaced. I was glad to hear from you all again and to no that you was well. I hant no news of interest to write it is cold here the last few days. It sleeted some here yesterday and it dry here hant rained in 4 months grain is dying for want of rain.

You asked me about aunt Marget OBreant I don't know I hant heard of none of them in years I was sory to hear that Lily was dead I hanta heard of cos. Lean OBriant in some time my children is all grown and maried and my first wife is dead and I married again we raised 8 children I have 3 great grandchildren now You asked me how old I was I was 70 years old the 31 of last October When I rote you before my ma was living but She is dead now She died the 8 of this month She was 96 years 3 months and 10 days old when she died. She was born the 19 of Sept 1821. The rest of my conection is all well so far as I no so write when you can as ever your cosen

J. L. Courtney, Troy, R.1, Box 37, Tex




April 2,1917

Dear Cos and all,

I have forgot whether I answered your last letter or no so I will rite a few lines this morning. It is still dry here no rain to amount to anything. We had a shower this morning the corn that was planted will half to be planted again when it rains nothing doing any good to dry no garden planted yet part of the peach crop is killed the grain is dying for want of rain.

I got a letter from Cos A. OBriant all well but dry there I got a letter from one of my bros in Okla. All well but dry there I have a boy in New Mexico dry there it seams as though it is dry nearly every whare. One of my girls that lives in Ft Worth Tex live close to two of uncle Rats girls there he was killed a good many years ago in a storm at Savoy Tex Cos Lon OBriant said that Cos Dock Heaton was confined to his bed and had bin for months I think he lives in Indiania well the weather is nice and warm the Timber is put out pirty and green and the grass is getting up so young stock can live well as this is all I no I will close for this time so write when conveniant
as ever yours
J. L. Courtney




June 25, 1917

Dear Cosin and all

After some dilay I will try and answer your letters I was glad to hear from you all and to no all was tolerable well. I hant no news of interest it is very dry here lots of the corn is dead in this part the corn that hant dead is suffering bad for wrain it rained a little shower here yesterday but just did run off of the house. Oats was nearly a failure only made 10 and 15 bu to the acar so dry wheat was sory to cotton looks fine so far but if it don't rain this week we wont make no corn attall so I don't know what to do I have some children in Oklahoma and some in New Mexico and they say that it is dry there and wont make nothing.

Well I hant heard of A. OBriant since I rote to you nor none of the rest. How is the war feavor in that part of the country it taken Woodro along time to get us into war but it seams as he has it now he sent 100,000 men to Mexico to Katch Villie and near seen him and now he is going to send l00,000 men to europ to get King William I think we had more of our own business here than we could do but the Dr says take the medisan and so we will.

This leaves me tolerable well as ever yours
J. L. Courtney

It is interesting to note the details of the Courtney/Haun family with which the writer of these letters was familiar. He knew JLC's birthday, the death of "Uncle Rat" in a tornado in Savoy, Texas in 1880, and the date of his mother's death on January 8, 1917. Mrs. Duke claims there was a close connection between the Courtney and James families. We'll examine that claim in Just The Facts.

 

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