Patten Letters

Click the link to read the letter, which is in PDF format.  After reading it, click Back to return to this page.

11011904_Julia_to_VCP_before_marriage:  Written by Julia Anne Gordon to Vernon Cole Patten before their marriage on 01/11/1905.

These next letters were written to Vernon Cole Patten, M.D., who was serving in a medical capacity during World War I.  The country and the whole world were suffering through the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919, which killed more people than World War I.  It has been estimated that up to 50 million people died of flu or its complications. It has been cited as the most devastating epidemic in recorded world history.  Known as “Spanish Flu” or “La Grippe” the influenza of 1918-1919 was a global disaster.

081919_Julia_to_VCP:  Terribly hot today; Margaret is peeling tomatoes; beans and corn are all dried up; mentions accounts due and statements going out.

08221918_Julia_to_VCP:  Billy has been pretty good until the last two days; Elizabeth came up and Margaret is going back with her; bought the rugs but they cost too much; Mother (Margaret Hoffman Gordon) is going to Newport News.

08271928_Julia_to_VCP_Bill_misbehaving:  Billy went home with Edith tonight; he has been letting everything Julia says go in one ear and out the other; he cut a big limb off the apple tree; Margie is running errands; Marian is in overalls, playing on the gravel pile by the barn.

09021918_kids_to_VCP:  To VCP from his children, Margaret, Billy and Marian.

1918_Maggie_to_VCP:  From Margaret to VCP.

08291918_Julia_to_VCP:  May go to Aunt Kate’s house for a few days; girls want to go to the fair.  Marian saw his photo and asked who it was.  Billy was killing killowats (caterpillars).

09191918_Julia_to_VCP_goodby_at_train:  Tearful goodbye at the train station.

09241918_Julia_to_VCP_Billy_in_trouble:  Dressing in front of fire, possible trip with Marian, Billy gets in trouble, Harold may go to France.

10041918_Julia_to_VCP_flu_Kaiser:  Mentions the flu pandemic and hanging Kaiser William.

10101918_Julia_to_VCP_flu_talk_flying_Dutchman:  Talk of flu and several people who are ill.

10171918_Julia_to_VCP_Marian_arm_1:  Marian’s broken arm, Billy’s nosebleed, very worried about the flu, gloomy weather, Marian sends a kiss to Daddy.

10181918_Julia_to_VCP_Marian_arm_2:  Marian’s broken arm, not getting much sleep, ironing day.

10221918_Julia_to_VCP_Marian_arm_3:  Went to the farm, getting ready for winter, fresh air craze due to flu, Marian is doing better.

10301918_Julia_to_VCP_Marian_Billy:  Marian & Billy make a jack-o-lantern, ‘Big M’ & ‘Little M’, Marian feels funny when she is away from home.

11031918_Julia_to_VCP_war_almost_over:  Margaret wants to go to school, leaky tent, ‘Vern is a dunce if he comes back to Morristown to practice,’ war is almost over.

11041918_Julia_to_VCP:  The flu situation in town is more serious than before.  Schools will be closed for a while.

11081918_Becca_to_VCP:  To VCP from his sister Becca.  Sister Etta (Juliette) made him a pair of socks.  Mrs. Talbert is losing her mind.

11111918_Becca_to_VCP:  To VCP from his sister Becca.  Afraid she might get the flu; Marian is staying with her.  Marian said, ‘We are keeping the home fires burning.”

11131918_Becca_to_VCP:  To VCP from his sister Becca.  Three funerals at the same time; the men got hit by a train.  Starting on 15 pairs of socks.  Marian is coming to stay with her.

11131918_Julia_to_VCP:  She and the kids stayed at her mother’s (Margaret Hoffman Gordon) for a whole week.  Mentioned the terrible train accident that killed 3 men.  Charles (brother of VCP) thinks it would be dangerous for Julia to go see Vern.

11261918_Belle_to_VCP:  To VCP from Belle Linville and her mother, Ann Linville Zike.

12071918_Julia_to_VCP_money_worries:  Dear Old Man, warrior bold, money worries, talk about moving south.

Tragically, on September 1, 1921, Julia Anne Gordon Patten died from food poisoning.  She left behind her husband, Vernon Cole Patten, M.D., and three children:  Margaret, age 14; William, age 11, and Marian, age 9.

09031921_Harold_Blanche_to_VCP:  On the sudden death of Julia Anne.  Blanche was Julia’s younger sister, by 6 years. Harold and Blanche lived in St. Louis. Pgs 1-3 were written by Harold; pg 4 was written by Blanche.

On October 11, 1924, Vernon Cole Patten married Anna Mauzy Moore.  A few weeks later, their Morristown, Indiana,  home was destroyed by fire.

10141924_Marian_to_Maggie:  From Marian to sister Margaret while Margaret was at Illinois Women’s College.

11081924_VCP_to_Maggie_rebuilding_house:  From VCP to Margaret while Margaret was at Illinois Women’s College.  Rebuilding the house after the fire; Aunt Becca went to Aunt Etta’s; Marian went to Howard’s to stay until Sunday; Billy is at work at the house, helping with the foundation.  Dad wants Margaret to make the most of her school in every way.

09111929_VCP_to_Maggie:  Ted and Maggie are married now and Maggie has found a job in Indianapolis.  VCP says, “I’m sure you will be better content if you are busy.  Doing nothing all the time is a difficult undertaking.”  Marian is now a worthy senior (in high school); Billy is working at the canning factory.