Dot’s last letter from her father

While Christmas is often the happiest time of the year in our family, it can also sometimes be one of the saddest times. While today’s post is about one of those sad times, I promise that a more upbeat Christmas post is coming after this one.

This week has been a sad one for our family, so when I came across this letter, written 94 years ago today, it seemed an appropriate subject for today’s post. My great-aunt Dot (Dorothy Mary Bailey) had just married Clarence Humphrey Bailey in Fort Collins, Colorado, just two days before this letter was written.

Dot’s father (my great-great-grandfather) William Noble Bailey was suffering from diabetes and was too ill to travel to see his youngest daughter get married. In fact, he was so ill that he died just a week after writing this letter, on December 31, 1923, at his daughter Lucinda (Bailey) McMurry’s house in Olympia, Washington.

My Dear Dot— Am enclosing letter just rec’d from your Aunt Julia also writing one myself. How are you and where are you? Will and Agnes arrive here to night and stay with me over Christmas. Expect this will reach you the day after, possibly Christmas but doubt it. Am sending you a combination Christmas and Wedding present. Call it either. Take this and buy yourself something you want, that you can keep as a remembrance of your Dad. Wish it was more. Hope that you had a nice trip. Was up to see the Doctor this A.M. Expect to celebrate New Years by going to the hospital if everything works right in New Years. If you see any of my old time friends, give them my best regards. Emily and Esther think Ft. Collins is the place they want to go to next summer on their vacation. Now Dorothy, write me a good long letter, telling me all about how you are situated and where you are living—With best regards for your better half and lots of love for Dot.


Will and Agnes are Dot’s older brother William Alonzo Bailey and his Danish wife Agnes Marie Hanson. Aunt Julia is Dot’s maternal aunt Julia Ann (Severson) Drager. I don’t yet know who Emily and Esther were.

Here is a photo of Dot between her mother Carrie and her father William, taken at their home in Olympia, Washington, in 1915:
You may recognize this photo from my site header. It’s a photo of the entire Bailey family taken in front of their Olympia, Washington, home around 1906–1908. Dad (William Noble Bailey), Mom (Carrie Severson Bailey), daughter Lucinda Tracey Bailey on left, Dot (Dorothy Mary Bailey) in middle, and William Alonzo Bailey on right:
A photo of Dot taken presumably taken around the time she was married (December 20, 1923) and the above letter was written:
Finally, a photo of dad William Noble Bailey taken near the end of his life:

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