My Maternal Great Grandfather, Henry Mathias Routsong
I have written in the past about an incredible history book about the Routsong family entitled "From Rauenzahner to Routson, A Family on the Move.", written by John Philip Dern and Marjorie Waidner. It's one of my favorite family resource books and inside it is an item that the authors reference when writing about my great grandfather, Henry Routsong. They tell about a letter that addressed to Mrs. Mettie Harrington and that at the time of the writing of their book was in the possession of his granddaughter, Harriett Routsong Nutt. There were only a couple of sentences used in the book and I longed to read the entire letter. I didn't know who in the family would have had possession of the letter by now so I just figured it was something I would never have the opportunity to see. Until one day last year.
My mother told me she had received a package in the mail from one of her cousins in response to a request we had made regarding information about her branch of the Routsong family. I could hardly wait to get the envelope and start looking over all the paperwork. At first, I was a little disappointed because most of what she had written, I already knew. But then I saw a Xeroxed copy of a typed manuscript. In the top left hand corner was written "This letter was written by my Grandfather Routsong. Harriet Routsong Nutt"
Here in my hands was a transcription of the letter, referenced by Dern and Waidner, written by my great grandfather, Henry Routsong. It was everything I had hoped it would be. It read:
R.R. No. 2 Dayton, Ohio
December the 29th
Mrs. Mettie Harrington. I have pen in hand to acknowledge the receipt of a Posttel Card containing Christian or Christmas greetings wich please accept my hearty thanks. It is an event that attracts the attention of the world that no other event does, and well it may, we are informed that it was "glory" "Peace" "Goodwill". Those three clear notes rang out distinctly in that first Christmas song of the heavenly host over Bethlehem's fields. There was the note of jubilant Praise, the note of divine human harmony, and the note of brotherly fellow feeling, the perfect blending of these three made that song the sweetest melody to which earth ever listened, and it is true today that there is no real Christmas for any life in which those same three notes are not dominant. Now Mettie, I scarecely know where to commence to right I have so much to think about. I will commence on Post cards greeting on the 24th of November I was 87 years of age and I was reminded of the fact by receiving about 90 post card greetings, and they all wished me many more anniversaries. Well, I can't do more than thank my friends for thear kind remembrance of me, but the age that me and my wife has arrived at we cannot expect many more. I am in my 88th year and my wife 86th year and if we live to March the 27th 1912 it will be the sixty first anniversary of our wedding. We of corse can't get around like we did years that is past and gone. May espeshelly, she scarcely gets over to the girls unlefs they come and take her over in a buggy, and she has not been to see Mrs. Bradford sence she has been living at your old home. Speaking of your old home, Mrs. Bradford has caused quite a change in regard to Bildings, she had them so arranged that she got a barn, corn crib, a horse stable and corn stable all under one roof. The size of the building is 40 by 60 feet. I do not know what it cost her but I have no doubt that it cost not lefs then 2000 dollars. It is a splendid Building. I do not know wether I can write any thing more that will be interesting to you or not, but I will state that thrue the kindness of President Patterson of the Cash Register Co. we was inabled to visit the Building. It is a wonder of wonders. We was told that to go thrue the whole Building we have to walk 10 miles. President Patterson paid us a visit on sunday the 12th of November and told us that he would send for us tuesday or wednesday morning. May told him that she could not go, but he told her yes you can and you are got to go. So on tuesday here comes a lady by the name of Mrs. Conover. This lady has visited us time and again for 4 or 5 years on some busnefs for President Patterson. Well May was ingaged in baking some cakes and she declared that she could not go but he old lady said yes you shall go. Your dauters are a going that is Elly and Libey, and you are got to go with them. Of course it was an outtomobile to take us in and that a verry fine one belonging to the President. Our treatment was of the verry best. They gave us our dinner and a dinner that was good I assure you. We were told that 500 girls and then many men were imployed in making registers and averedged 300 daily. My opinion of the factory is that it might be imitated but it cannot be excelled. I do not know whether I can write any thing more that will interest you or not, but I will state that Olie Barns had there dwelling repaired by the same carpenter that built Mrs. Bradford's Barn.
The repairing cost him about one thousand dollars. It is a neat and comfortable cottage, much handeer than it was befer, she has her daughter home with her now. She is teaching school at No. 12 school House. I will now state that I was requested by President Patterson to give him the names of the first settlers of Vanburen township so far as I was able. It was quite a task, but I gave him a good many names. I believe that I am the oldest man in the township liveing at this time that was born in the township and spent my life here. When I look back to my school days, my school mates I have but one besides my wife. I will now close my letter by wishing you Mettie, and your husband a happy Crismas and New Year Greeting, hoping at the same time that we may meet each other by and by. May sends her well wishes to you Mettie, and says she would like to see you. Give a call Mettie. You and your husband. Your at libery to do so, for you and your husband worked for what you injoy today.
Most respectfully your well wisher H.M. Routsong
In this letter, Great Grandpa Routsong refers to "President Patterson", who is John Patterson, who was president of the National Cash Register Company, which I have written about previously. He also refers to "Mrs. Conover" who I believe to be Charlotte Reeve Conover, author and Dayton historian. How exciting it is for me to know that my great grandfather not only met both of these people, but actually had dinner with them and collaborated with them on stories about Dayton history!
This letter is truly one of my treasures. The only thing that could have made it better would have been to have the original in his handwriting, but I'm not complaining!