1940 Letter from William Passmore Davis

William Passmore Davis was the son of James T. Davis and Elizabeth Edna Passmore.  William’s grandfather Jacob Davis III was a brother of  John B. Davis, my gg-grandfather.

William Passmore Davis was born in Marshall county, Iowa on 12 Nov 1881 and died 21 Jul 1959 in Murdo, Jones county, South Dakota.  He married Florence May Coleman, daughter of Eugene Coleman and Emma Weeks on 24 Dec 1907 in Wessington Springs, Jerauld county, South Dakota.

A few months ago, I received a letter written in 1940 by William Passmore Davis to his cousin Edith (Wills) Dettmann.  Thank you Judi for allowing me to share the letter.

Letter from William Passmore Davis to his cousin Edith (Wills) Dettmann in 1940

Transcription of letter:


Murdo, S.Dak.
July 14, 1940.

Mrs Edith Dettmann:
Dear Cousin:-

We received your letter and have been slow answering.

I have met your father in Nebr., when Aunt Sarah (your mother) was visiting my mother before your folks were married, and your brother George Wills was here one Summer and of course, I am acquainted with your sister Olive and her husband Andy Bahr.

Uncle George Passmore was with us lots 54 or 55 years ago. Uncle Will Passmore lived with us for several years before he went back East and married.

Aunt Ella Passmore Hoagland went to Nebraska with us 56 years ago, so I have watched her family grow up. Her hair was black and so was mine and the folks all asked if I was her boy when we first came to Nebraska, and she always called me her boy.

Hannah Morris Durin, Mother’s cousin (I called her Aunt Hannah) lived near us when Ida Durin was born, a sweet little girl with real dark hair. I remember her well. Cousin Hannah Morris Durin is buried in Bloomfield, Nebr., beside Ida’s brother Wilson Durin.

We moved from Nebr. to Wessington Springs, S.Dak. in 1904, and in 1908 Florence Coleman and I were married. We moved to Murdo 19 years ago. We have 4 children living. Our baby died when he was 3 months old. Eldon is 30, and single. Edna is married to Cecil Myers, lives here near Murdo. Has 2 children, Ronald- -6-, and Roberta- -4. Enda- -28. Ida- -26, married to Glen Thomas. Lives in Rapid City, has 5 children. Gwendolyn- -8, Floyd- -6, Lorenz- -4, Leota- -abt 5, and Wanda- -1.  Glenn- -23, married to Virginia Gutherie, No family.

My brother Ernest lives at New Underwood, S.Dak. near Rapid City, on a farm. He has 3 girls, & 1 boy living. George (my bro), and Katie, may sister (Mrs. Emery Horsely), live in Wessington Springs. I can tell you all this easier that I can write. We haven’t much crops here. We live in town.

We will be glad to see you folks anytime and get acquainted. Write again,

From your Cousin,
William Passmore Davis.

P.S. Florence will write you sometime as she does most of the writing.

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