Robbie Fee-Thomson

Document #4

Lydia Lord Davis Letter to “Dear Ones”

[Oberlin]; November 4, 1897

L, A: Oberlin College Archives, Lydia Lord Davis Records Group (RG 30/80), Personal Correspondence Series III, Box 3, Letters Sent by Lydia Davis, 1897 Folder



This letter was written by Lydia upon her return to Oberlin in the Fall of 1897, when the family left the mission field for a furlough due to health reasons. Records indicate that the family visited Lydia’s relatives in Ravenna, where she gave birth to fifth son Lewis in September, before returning to Oberlin in November. This letter indicates that Francis arrived in Oberlin before Lydia and the children. Francis returned to the mission field in late 1899, but Lydia and the children remained in the United States.


Nov. 4 [1897] [Oberlin][ii]

Dear Ones: -

Arrived safely. Mary & Lizzie[jj] met me & were so kind. It would have been hard without them. Baby[kk] was good most all the way. They have not much cold. Mr. D.[ll] was a little late in going to the train so did not meet me. He watched the coaches but I was in one with other passengers & went first to another part of town. A man on the coach knew where the house was. Of course it was locked but he took me to his house two doors away. Louis soon came & let me in though a back door. Mr. D. had the house nice & warm & lots of food bought.

He did not come for two hours. Thinking that I would not come till the next train He was very sorry.

Baby has cried a good deal, still no more than usual perfhaps. Wm. is very good. Louis was here last eve.

The house is nice. A new house & nice things but it sadly need cleaning. We are working at it. Worked all yesterday P.M. baby was not down for the night until 9 P.M. I caught a glimpse of John & Ed at Newburgh[mm] but they did not see me.

I sigh for you all & the clean home but this will be better after awhile but we can only have it a month.

Louis looks very well.

How are you all – and dear little John[nn] does he miss us?

Much love in great haste


The house is 223 N. Pleasant St.

Mr. Smith[oo] was on the train coming here to bring his baby


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[ii] While on furlough for health reasons, the family visited Oberlin in 1897.

[jj] Unable to locate information on these individuals.

[kk] Lewis Eleazer Davis, born in 1897 in Ravenna, Ohio, soon after the Davis’ returned on furlough to the United States. Lydia Lord Davis biography, OCA RG 30/80 Finding Guide.

[ll] Francis W. Davis.

[mm] Unable to locate information on these individuals.

[nn] Unsure of the identity of this individual. In this letter, Lydia mentions her newborn son “baby” (Lewis) and her older son William, but not her middle son John. This could be referring to him, possibly left in Ravenna to visit with her family.

[oo] Unable to locate information on this individual.