Transcription of a letter to
James Basset Gwin
from his Ma Ma in May 1907

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John Gwin NOTE:  I am assuming this is from Grandpa Jim Basset Gwin's mother, Ida Eliza Basset Gwin (wife of William Sutton Gwin), since Roe Gwin, Jim's grandmother, had died earlier that year, and Harriet Basset, his other grandmother, was also likely dead as well.  I found this letter tonight, 9 Mar 2002, in the envelope in which my dad, Adrian Sutton Gwin, had all his notes for a book he was writing about his mother, Adrian Belle Vardaman Gwin.  I think I have finally succeeded in transcribing the letter here, although there are still a few questionable places.  My comments occur in brown italics in brackets throughout following highlighted words (highlighting also mine).

W'ville. May 27th 1907 [Wilsonville, AL, is where William and Roe Gwin, Ida's parents-in-law, had moved before 1870, the place where Ida had likely lived all her married life.]

Dear Jim,

        Well, ain't you tired of all this sorry weather?  As usual Martha [I'm not sure who this is, but she was evidently staying with Sutton and Ida in 1907; she is possibly a hired servant, as Sutton and Ida had a 15-year-old black girl, Henrietta Hibb, living with them in the 1880 census.] is washing, but she hasn't succeeded in scaring the clouds away.  Looks as if will pour down any minute.

        We were very much surprised to have Loss Hebb [This is Lawson Rochester "Loss" Hebb who'd married Jim's sister Lucy Jane Gwin nine years earlier on 18 May 1898; born 13 Jan 1879, Lucy' wouldhave been age 28 at this letter's writing.] walk in Saturday eve; he is hunting a summer location, as usual is tired of Florida, left Lucy and Gwin  [This is Laws' and Lucy's son, Rochester Gwin Hebb, probably around age six or seven at this letter's writing.]  there until he decides where he will stop, says if had known when he left there that he would come here, would have brought them along.  He is down at Vernon's [A recent letter from a Laura Baker makes me almost certain that this Vernon is Lawson's father, George Vernon Hebb, also of Wilsonville.]  now.  Says he will leave here about Thursday for Heflin.   [Heflin, AL, is located some 50 miles ENE of Wilsonville.]  Had an offer for job there and if likes looks of it may stop there for summer, says he will be on lookout at Anniston for you but he don't think he will stop at Anniston.  He looks ever so much better than when he left here, says that neither Lucy or Gwin like it at A?or Park[There is an Astor Park in Florida about halfway between Ocala and Daytona Beach and about 4 miles south of Lake George.].

        Jim, we had such an excitement here this morn and frightened me so that I feel weak still.  At the breakfast table Papa [This has to be the Honorable William Sutton Gwin, my dad's grandpa, who'd married Ida 2 Dec 1868--they'd been married almost 40 years (and he was almost 59 years old) at the time of this writing.] was talking all at once he stopped and looked queer.  I spoke to him and ask what was the matter--but he didn't answer, then he proceeds to fall over unconcious, had one of those old spells, hasn't had one for some time before, and it upset us terribly; for a while after he recovered, he couldn't remember what had happened, but he seems all right now, and has gone out to garden and is sticking the beans.  I tried to make him leave it alone today, but says he feels + and he is slowly improving, but he looks like a little ghost, and wants to eat every thing he can get hold of, so we have to watch him like a hawk a chicken, or he would kill himself.

        Next Wednesday Marvin Self  [Sutton's brother Isham Griffin Gwin married Mary Etta "Molly" Self and lived in Wilsonville, so this could be Molly's son or nephew] and Rute  [Spelling unclear.]  Bradly are to be married. Ellen Bradly came up from Selma today.

        The scuppernoggs  [Scuppernongs are large grapes of the Muscadine variety, common in the south.] are ripe now-- I will be glad when they are all gone, for it is so hard to keep Peter  [This has to be Sutton's and Ida's baby, Peter King Gwin, age 18 and unmarried at the time of this letter's writing.]  from getting them. Lottie [This  person is unknown to me, although Lottie is often short for Charlotte, and Sutton's older sister's name was Charlotte, so this could be Charlotte's daughter or granddaughter (Ida's niece or grandniece).] was very sick last week and I believe eating too many of them was what made it.  I must stop now for I am so busy.  All send you love and be sure and write as often as you can. (I?) your affectionate,
Ma Ma