Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Frank's Intentions

A little explanation is in order before I post the rest of Frank's letter home to his mom, Agnes Tully Stevens. I suppose I should insert a spoiler alert here, so be forewarned.

To explain, I need to take a detour from the chronology of Frank's letter-writing years to the time when his mother was a young girl, herself. There, on the south side of Chicago and not too many doors down from their home, lived the man who served as their family doctor for many years. His name was Thomas McGonagle. While he lived in the big city, he happened to have a brother who was a humble farmer in a poor, rural county near central Ohio. This brother, Dennis Austin McGonagle, was happily married and the proud father of a two-year-old daughter and an eight-month-old son when his wife unexpectedly died in September, 1900.

Bereaved of his wife so suddenly and at a loss as to what to do for his two young children in such a situation, Dennis McGonagle no doubt relied on the sage advice of his brother and sister-in-law in Chicago. Little did he dream of the matchmaking prowess of Dr. McGonagle's sweet wife, who at some point realized that her young neighbor May, otherwise known as Mary Monica Tully, would make an excellent companion and homemaker for Dennis.

I have no idea what transpired between the doctor, his wife, his brother, and his sweet young neighbor, but by 1902, after a series of letters between widower Dennis and young May Tully, the couple had come to the very conclusion the good doctor's wife had foreseen. On June 3, 1902, Dennis arrived in Chicago to claim his bride, returning with her to the country life in Perry County, Ohio, where they spent the rest of their lives, joined by their nine children plus the two children from Dennis's first marriage.

Fast-forward a generation. In Chicago, Frank Stevens, the young son of May Tully's baby sister Agnes, decides to take a trip to visit his relatives in Perry County, Ohio. While he is visiting the McGonagles there, his cousin Ned introduces him to a pretty young New Lexington gal who evidently makes an impression on him.

The rest of the story, between this scene and the date of the letter I'll post tomorrow, is unknown at this point, but perhaps, someday, there will be another cache of letters to discover...


  1. Replies
    1. She was quite pretty. This pic isn't one of my most favorite, but I wrote this post while on the road, and that was all I had on file. More to come, of course (as I'm sure you suspected).

  2. Replies
    1. Joan! You're back! Thanks for stopping by...looking forward to seeing your next post, too!


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