Postmark JUL 16, 1907 (“Sunday Evening + Monday A.M.”)

I want you to be my wife, “real often” all the time

My Own, my precious Darling,

This is nothing but torture, when it comes half past three on Sunday afternoon it nearly makes me beside myself with longing dearie, longing for you. It is terrible. (You will think that I am a great big baby won’t you, by my everlasting complainings, but dearie I love you I love you I love you with all of my heart dear I love you. and yes — I want you to be my own sweet darling loving wife. I want you, I want you. It doesn’t seem as though I could wait another day. No dear, I do not think that you can get along without me better than I can without you. Why you cannot get along without me, and you will not because you must not. We can neither of us get along at all whatever without the other, can we?

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Round Top Church, Providence, R.I.

I took your music down to the Round Top this morning. Mr. Sweet is away on his vacation, somewhere in New Hampshire, I don’t remember if they said when he would return but they will see that he gets the music anyway. I didn’t stay and didn’t go to church anywhere. I don’t think I could stand it. Oh! I want you dearie I want you I want you I love you!!!!!!! You are coming back with me dearie, and no! no! no! no! I will not let you leave me again! — I am crazy, desperate, and I would not be at all surprised to wake up some night and find myself travelling as fast as my legs would let me to see my Mabel, to put my arms around her, away up to New Hampshire Rhode Island [sic]. We ought to be up in that piazza out in that hammock instead of where we are. Why do things have to be the way they are and why do things happen the way they do? It is all for the best tho isn’t it. We won’t have to wait much longer — only four weeks — Oh! Oh! Do you suppose dearie for one half an instant, that I don’t know what a girl, what a sweetheart I have? do you suppose any such a thing as that? Do you suppose that I would be so desperately, earnestly and deeply in love if I didn’t know what a sweetheart I have? I know what a girl I have when she makes me fall in love with her the way you have made me fall in love with you dear. I do not fall in love with every girl I see. I love you dear, I love you and only you. IMG_3010You will love me ten times more ardently some day, you will show me some day, my own precious sweetheart, yes I know you will, I cannot wait, come back come back come back come back. Yes I want you to be my wife I want you to be my wife, “real often” all the time. I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I want you I want you I want you I need you I need you I need you I need you, I want you to be my wife, my own darling sweetheart wife, I will never never never no never and never let you go off again dearie and leave me. I love you dear, way down deep in the bottom of my heart I love you.

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p.s. (Love to all, “remember”)

I want to joke dearie, I want to make you laugh, to shriek with laughter until the tears come, but somehow I cannot joke, they seem all out of place and dry and coarse and besides I feel much more like giving vent to my feelings by having a good cry. I love you dear.

If I could only put my head in your arms, if I could only put my arms around you and kiss you if you were only my wife now then would I be truly happy.

Oh yes dear, I would stand and allow you to put your arms around my neck and kiss me before everybody + I would do the same to you. I love you. I love you!!!!!!!!!!

Monday A.M.

I love you dear!!!! No time for more. I love you dear I love you dear I love you dear. I want you Oh I want you want you want you want you to be my wife. I love you dear!!!!

Postmark JUL 15, 1907 (“#3.”)

If you don’t want me to kiss you right on the station platform, you had better not meet me

(Continued…) Sunday Evening. L  O  V  E

Let me put my arms around you dearie. Come to me now don’t wait any longer. This is the worst Sunday that I ever spent. I have been in the house the whole day long except for a few hours (about two) this morning when I went out in the back yard. Mother is playing on the organ and the music just about upsets me. Instead of writing this letter to you dear, I ought to be up on that piazza, in that hammock with you in my arms, your cheek against mine, — it makes me crazy. Come back come back come back come back.

I don’t know whether I can stand another Sunday or not. It is hard enough every day in the week. I love love you you you love love lovvvvvvvve love love love!!!!!?? Oh my own precious darling if I could only put my arms around you, if I could only feel you snuggled up close as I could squeeze you right next to my heart — “not in my vest pocket,” but right next to my heart, “O, goodness don’t you understand?” — right next to my heart.” It would ease the ache in my heart. My heart will ache just as long as you are not in my arms.

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Mabel’s train station in Alton Bay, N.H. had just been built in 1907.

If you don’t want me to kiss you right on the station platform, you had better not meet me when I come. — I couldn’t wait until we could get away.

As soon as my vacation is over I think I shall try and find another job whatever it may be in my line, and wherever it may be, as long as there is a larger salary with it, I can’t stand it this way any longer. To-day has about knocked me out. Come back Come back Come back Oh sweetheart, it keeps coming upon me, that I must have you right away, I must put my arms around you. Dearie, I hope that this experience is all for the best, it is a pretty hard experience for us both. I love you, I love you, I love you I love you I love you I love you. You will never go away again dearie unless I go to [sic].

It has taken all day to write this letter, I cannot leave it. I cannot talk to you, therefore I must write to you, say something to you. Whatever it is, you are concerned. If it lasts much longer, I doubt whether you will find me in my right mind or not when you return. I feel half crazy now and guess this letter sounds crazy. I am in love dear, in love with you and desperately in love with you.

Love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love,

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Monday A.M. = I love you love you love you. Come back. I want you. I love you I want you. Come dearie, my arms are waiting.

I love you

Postmark JUL 15, 1907 (“#2.”)

Love love love isn’t it glorious dear?

(continued…) come back. Did you feel as though you must fly to me and “never-never-never” leave me again? If you had come flying to me dear, I would have caught you with both arms wide open and I would have held you so tightly that you couldn’t leave me again. I can’t let you go again it is too much. Love love love isn’t it glorious dear? — Love like yours and mine. I can’t get over it to think that I can’t go up to see you this afternoon at half past three. There is nothing that will take up my mind. I can’t go next Sunday or next Sunday or next Sunday but it will be “only for a short time” won’t it? It makes it seem a little shorter to say that and think that — but I want you, I want you I want you you you you you come back dearie.

I LOVE YOU!!!

I never thought that I would even be writing letters like these either, dearie, I hadn’t ought to get so desparate [sic] had I, it makes you feel so badly while you are away trying to enjoy your vacation I don’t want my letter to bring tears, and yet I do, Oh dearie I don’t know what I do want except you, I cannot help but get desparate, hard as I try, I want you I want you I want you. The harder I try to make my letters make you laugh, the harder I try to make them sound cheerful and bright, the more desparate I get and the letters have just the opposite effect. I want to hold that dear head in my arms and kiss and kiss and kiss and kiss and kiss and kiss and kiss and kiss those tears away. I am selfish dear, that is the matter. I am too selfish to make myself cheerful and to try and make you cheerful too. I will keep trying and perhaps you will get a cheerful letter, one that will make you laugh, one that will make you scream. When we finally do get both ends to meet, we will put them together so that they will never come apart. This will be absolutely the last time that we will have another separation like this.

I can’t tell you any news for I don’t know what is going on around here. I shall stay in New Hampshire, Rhode Island [sic] until you return. Come soon won’t you dearie. Write as often as you can, it is all that I have now you are gone. Come back dearie. I love you.

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p.s. I love you dear I love you dear I love you dear I love you dear I love you dear

Remember me to your folks and tell them that I would like to be there (you know why) I shall come, I must. Your little picture is in one of my note books now, where I can get at it easier, you know how hard it was to open my watch cover and once in a while I have a little spell that I want to see it immediately, where if it were in my watch the result might be injurious to the watch.

I love you dear I love you dear I love you dear I love you dear I love you dear I love you dear I love you dear I love you dear I love you dear I love you dear…

#3
(to be continued…)

Postmark JUL 15, 1907 (“Sunday Morning Love — Love — Love.”)

it is like tearing my own heart out — ***!!!???

My Darling Love, my Precious Sweetheart, Dearie dearie dearie dearie dearie, Can’t you come home for just this afternoon, you know how I want you dearie don’t you? I love you I love you. My thoughts, my heart, my soul, my mind, my whole being is one continuous, never ending, everlasting love letter to you. Whatever is happening or has happened or is going to happen, I am constantly saying “I love you dear, I want you dear, fly to my arms, lay your dear head on my shoulder, let me kiss those sweet lips, let me kiss those precious tears away, let me hold you tight forever and forever and forever — darling I love you,” Let me look into those deep brown eyes dearie, let me look way down to the bottom. There are precious treasures way down at the bottom of those eyes for I have seen them before — I would never tire of looking at them. Just one look, just one hugg, just one kiss, just one word of love, love, love and even then I wouldn’t be satisfied, I shall always want just one more there will never be a last one. Darling my own darling, I love you, I love you, I love you.

They are calling for me to come and help make ice-cream, dearie it makes me nearly go crazy even to have anyone speak to me, sometimes I will get to talking, laughing, cracking jokes and making the others laugh but it is all a crazy nervousness. I don’t feel like laughing at anything or saying anything, but they don’t know it. Dearie, dearie I want you, I need you I love you. I hope you will feel better so that you may enjoy as much as possible the vacation, but it is pretty hard to enjoy anything, really enjoy it, even if you, (we) do feel in good health isn’t it? (Yes, dear we are going to spend our lives together, and we will enjoy our lives then, all the more for being separated now, but I don’t want to have any separations at all in the heart. It makes me throb and thrill all over and through to read your dear letters. Well I have written all this and haven’t started to help with that ice-cream — it seems as if I couldn’t stop. I love you I love you I love you I love you! — it is like tearing my own heart out — ***!!!???

Here I am, dearie back again at last, we had good luck with it, come and have some with me out in the hammock. It is a beautiful day, too good to lose. I am not dressed up for Sunday and don’t think I will for I am not going away anywhere. I had to take a Danielson car the other day to go on business (alone) and I don’t know how I ever got through with it. I love you, I love you I love you. We didn’t have to work Saturday afternoon and so I spent the time on some work for Mr. Tripp. It took me all the afternoon to do a few hours work because I would keep finding myself sitting back in my chair and thinking hard of you you you you I can think of nothing but you my “angell” my darling…

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 (to be continued…)

Postmark JUL 13, 1907 (“Love Love Love Sat. 12, ’07”)

I am going to get me a panama hat to-night, — to match yours, sweetheart

My own Dear Precious Darling.

It sent my feelings a flying last night when I came home and read your dear letter from Alton. Dearie dearie, dearie, dearie, dearie, dearie, I couldn’t eat but a little supper. It made me feel as though I could tear down hills and build up mountains, I was more happy, more joyful, more encouraged, more light-hearted, and more in love than ever if possible, while at the same time I was more sad for, precious dearie, I want you, I want you, I want you, I want you right here, now, in my arms. Oh I love you love you love you love you love you love you love you. I had to do something last night, I couldn’t stand it, I didn’t want to go away and I didn’t want to stay home, — I wanted you dear I wanted you, that is all I want, I love you.

East_Providence-Vanity_Fair-Admin_Bldg
Vanity Fair amusement park had just opened in Providence, R.I. when Chester and Elmer visited.

I finally went down to “Vanity Fair” with Elmer, Elmer had a pretty good time with me I guess for he says he wants to go again, somewhere, to-night. But darling no one knows but just yourself how I felt all the time we were there, I was nearly crazy, but I had to do something.

Dearie, come back to me, I want you, I love you. I dread to-morrow (Sunday) I cannot stand it very much longer. Everything will come out allright yes dearie I know it will, it must. Everything where love and you are concerned will come out allright. The minister is at your house I guess for I saw a light there last night (and it made me feel just as sick at heart as no light did) I can’t get myself to go up dearie, I want you I want you I want you O darling I want you to come back, I love you. I am going to get me a panama hat to-night, — to match yours, sweetheart. My folks all send their love. I love you I love you I love you with all my whole heart dear I love you.

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p.s. Dearie, I missed my car to write this for I love you

I want to kiss you dear, I want to hugg you too

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Interior of Vanity Fair, showing Chute the Chutes and Free Circus

Postmark JUL 12, 1907 (“(I love you dear) Friday”)

It is much easier to write in love than any other way

My Dear Sweetheart,

It is time for my car to go but I must write a few words to you, it is next to impossible to go one entire day without saying something to you. I love you, I love you I love you, I love you. Come back soon. The car is just starting, but I cannot stop I love you. Frances called up yesterday and wanted to know when I was going to N.H. and how long I was going to stay. I love you I love, — she sent her love to you. And I love you. My tooth aches terribly, tremendously. I want you.

Gladstonemap
Mabel (116 Gladstone) lived just up the street from Chester (79 Gladstone) in Cranston, R.I.

I hate to look up to 116 Gladstone St. I want you to come back to me, I love you. Haven’t heard from the tunnel yet but it may come in a little while and it may be months you know. I love you.

Well darling, I cannot delay any longer so will close, will bring to an end, in other words, this letter. Very extremely reluctantly, unwillingly, needless to say, I could keep on writing all day, as much as I used to dislike writing and as hard as it seems to be. It is much easier to write in love than any other way. Dearie, dearie I love you. 

The end. but continued tomorrow.

Love to all and to you dear.

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p.s. In addressing your envelope just now, I started to write My Dear, instead of Miss Mabel. I love you.

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She was on vacation with her parents in Alton, N.H.

Postmark JUL 11, 1907 (“1907 Wednesday 10. July”)

My heart is aching as well as — or rather as badly as — my tooth

I am now in Rhode Island, New Hampshire [sic]. it is a very strange place, I can’t seem to tell exactly what anything is or what it is or how I feel or anything else. My Darling, dearie sweet love.

My tooth is throbbing, throbbing, throbbing, throbbing and throbbing, it is a jumping toothache. Nothing whatever will cure it. It ached so badly this morning that I went off and forgot my dinner, and to [sic] tonight I wanted some gingerbread and milk, but when I got the gingerbread I went and buttered it instead, with the little lump of butter on my plate, — I didn’t notice until I began to eat. Dearie, dearie, dearie, dearie, I want you. I love you I love you I love you I love you. Oh if I could only put my arms around you and draw you right up close and snug, and kiss you, once, twice, three times, a hundred, a thousand, a million — times without number — My heart is aching as well as — or rather as badly as — my tooth — teeth. I can’t think now when work for the day is over — “I am going up and see Mabel to-night” – “just as soon as I eat my supper.” — It is a terrible feeling — there is a mighty longing for something, a something that is everything to me.

ProvidenceHouseDirectory
Chester and Mabel lived down the street from each other in the Arlington district of Cranston, R.I., just outside Providence.

I’m afraid David will have to come down here if he wants to see me, I can’t stand it to go up there again unless you dearie are there, to come to the door and say to me with that roguish darling smile “who are you?” I want to be with you, I want you to be with me. I love you dear I love I love I love I love I love I love you dear, from the bottom of my heart to the top, with all my might. I am trying to be cheerful, light hearted and gay but it doesn’t seem to be much use, but then “it is only for a short time” dearie, isn’t it and I will keep trying for your dear sweet sake. I love you. I hope everything will happen to make you all have the best and most enjoyable time possible. I hope the same for everybody and for you darling. I love everything, birds, flowers, hills mountains, and people and you you you dear. Send those letters every day it is all I have.

Love to your folks and love to you dear.

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CranstonDirectory
City directory lists Mabel as a music teacher boarding at 116 Gladstone Street.
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Chester lived with his parents and three brothers at 79 Gladstone Street.

Postmark JUL 9, 1907 (“Monday, 1907”)

I managed to eat a little supper  — (it nearly made me choke)

Dearie, dearie, dearie, dearie, dearie, dearie, this is about the toughest trial I have had. I love you, love you, love you, love you dearie. When the train started dearie, I thought I would explode, it seemed as if I could not stand it. Do you know darling that I very nearly took you in my arms and kissed you kissed you kissed you kissed you and kissed you. Everything turned black and whirled around.

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Mabel took the train to Alton Bay, N.H.

Let me kiss you dearie — just once — and let me put my arms around your darling sweet self. I am nearly crazy. Love, love, love, yes I love you. It seems as if I must put my arms around you before I go to bed tonight. I want you dearie, I want you I want you I want you I want you. Everything has been a blank all day. O dearie, dearie I want you right here right now, right in my arms, I want to feel that dear sweet soft cheek against mine, I want those dear loving gentle fingers smoothing my hair back from my brow, I want those dear sweet lips, I want, I want, I want you. I love you dear — I love you dear.

I managed to eat a little supper  — (it nearly made me choke) — and then I went to search for David. I left as weak as a rag. When I got into the house, I went straight as I could to your dear room first — and I just through [sic] myself on your bed and nearly cried my eyes out. Dearie, dearie, dearie, dearie, it is too much for me. I believe I kissed about everything in the room. I love you dear, I love you dear. I went from one room to another but there was no Mabel, no Mabel to answer my call, no Mabel to come running to my arms, no Mabel for me to kiss, no Mabel no Mabel anywhere — dearie — it was all too quiet and lonesome, it seemed as if my heart would break and my head would split. Come to me dearie, I want you, I love you, I love you. David was on the fence when I came out and we both felt pretty sober. He rubbed his back against my hand and said he was lonesome “as the Dickens” and I told him that I was. He said he didn’t see why things had to be so, and I said I didn’t either. He said he wished you would come back and I said I wished you would too. He said he loved you and I said I loved you too. He said it seemed as if you had been gone all summer and I said “yes it did.” He said perhaps it is all for the best and I said “perhaps.” Then we both said “good-night.” He said he couldn’t help but cry and I said I could’t either. We have both grown thin. He sends his love.

I went up at 4:30 and handed in my application for the railroad tunnel. It may be a few days and it may be months, but dearie it is there. He said not to get my hopes too high, for prospects are not very bright at present, but dearie my hopes are high for your dear sweet sake, my hopes are high. It doesn’t seem as though I could wait. I love, I love, I love, I love you. Come back to me dearie. I don’t believe I can get myself to go up to the house again. I will get desperate. I love you. I say, I feel, I think, I do, I glory in that love, love without bounds.

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Chester applied for work on a railroad tunnel; this one was under construction in Providence in 1907.

Epilogue OCT 16, 1907

On October 16, 1907, nine weeks after the last posted letter and ten days before his 23rd birthday, Chester Daniel Jones took Mabel Claire Ledlie to be his lawfully wedded wife. They were married 59 years.

Chester’s letters, documented here, span one chapter of their courtship in 1907, in which a family vacation separated the young lovers. Mabel’s replies are lost to history.

The photos and visuals were researched 111 years later.

Chester and Mabel had one child, Ledlie Prescott Jones, born August 16, 1911 in Suffern, New York. Ledlie never married. His World War II enlistment card indicates he was single with no children and had completed two years of high school; occupation: photographer. He died December 14, 1999 in Brunswick, Maine.

Chester was born October 26, 1884 in Hopedale, Massachusetts, the oldest of four boys. His parents were Walter Bailey Jones and Flora Ethel (Mason) Jones; brothers Lloyd, Bertram and Elmer.

Mabel’s information is scarce, and less certain. She was born March 13 or 28, 1882 in Illinois. Her parents were James Russell Ledlie and Caroline (Johnson) Ledlie, and she had an older sister, Mary Gertrude.

Mabel died in 1966; she was 84 years old. Chester died five years later, at the age of 86. Chester, Mabel and Ledlie are buried at Riverside Cemetery in Yarmouth, Maine.

Chester Daniel Jones age 9
Chester, age 9

 

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Chester’s WWI draft card has him living in Kings County, New York with blue eyes, light brown hair, medium height and medium build. Occupation: mechanical design engineer, Western Electric Co.
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Mason family photo circa 1900. Chester stands fifth from the right.

Acknowledgments

Many thanks to Jim for inspiration, encouragement, and a very good eye; to Debbie for keen editorial advice; to Charlie for expert technical assistance, and to Susan, flea market companion beyond compare. 

Special thanks to Kim, Chester’s cousin twice removed, for family photos and insights. And to Linda Borg at The Providence Journal:

http://www.providencejournal.com/news/20180709/111-years-later-melodramatic-love-letters-from-cranston-man-hitting-internet

Chester’s letters will be donated to the

Cranston Historical Society