Friday, May 30, 2014

Eva Eula (Gailey) Fry's Final Letter

This is the final letter written by JW Gailey's youngest daughter Eva Eula (Gailey) Fry before her tragic passing on August, 6th 1930 following childbirth. This letter was written to Eva's sister Cordelia, who owned and operated a tourist camp (early day motel) with her husband Dee Lee in Merkel, Texas. Eva, huband Bert, and five year old son MC Fry were in Tom Green County near the community of Harriett at this time. Eva was seven or eight months pregnant when she wrote the letter.

Eva was born at her parents, John William and Mary Ann Ada (Bigham) Gailey's, home near where Eastland and Erath counties meet on January 6, 1903. She was the ninth and final child of JW and Mary. Sadly Mary would die July 14, 1904, when Eva was just a year and a half old. Eva's sister Mary dropped out of school to care for Eva and would continue to look after her until adulthood. In 1914 JW remarried and would eventually move to San Angelo, Texas due to health reasons in 1918. Much of the family stayed at or near the Eastland and Erath County ranch land but Eva moved to San Angelo with her father and sister Mary and her new family. JW passed away just days after Eva's 19th birthday. By 20 years of age Eva married Bert Monroe Fry and they would make their home near San Angelo on land she inherited from her father's estate.

The letter reads as follows:


San Angelo, Texas
June 1930

Dear Cordelia and Dee,

I have not heard from you in ages what are you doing for your self?  I am getting fatter and fatter each day. Do you hear from Selma and Pernia? I have not heard from them in a long time.

Our crop looks fine but late. Our old hens are laying good and I sell from eight to ten lbs of butter per week. We still have chickens to eat. Come over we are going to have red beans today.

The B. Meeting is going on at Harriett. I have not seen Mary in two weeks.

Are you doing good with your camp now? What is Nick and C.F. doing for a living? Do they have a crop or cows or working for wages or what? I do not hear from them.

M.C. is sure growing and getting so big and mean. I do not know one thing to write so I guess you are tired of questions.

Route 2 Box 208


In the letter Eva asks questions about her brother Nick (and wife Selma) and sister Pernia (and husband C.F. Jones). She also mentions not seeing her sister Mary Gailey Eubank in two weeks and they did not live far from each other. It is safe to assume that Eva had her questions answered either via a return letter or by a visit Cordelia and Dee had with her on July 3rd and 4th 1930.

It was a very rainy day on August 6, 1930. At 27 years of age Eva Eula went into labor while at her sister Mary's home and the doctor was notified and headed to the Fry household. Eva wanted to give birth to her second child in the same bed she birthed her son, so she was driven to her house. The rain made travel very difficult but they made the short journey however, the doctor got stuck in the mud on the way. Eva delivered a healthy baby girl that would later be named Eva Louise Fry. Eva Eula got to enjoy her new baby for a brief time but her body went into shock, likely from blood loss. With no doctor on site to assist Eva Eula sadly passed away. She was the first of J.W. Gailey's children to die.

This source of the letter is the MC and Edna Fry Collection.