After inheriting the Dove family farm in Mississippi, Walter and his sister started managing it. This letter marks the beginning of tree harvesting on the place. Walter’s three sons eventually turned the entire property – just over 700 acres – into a sustainable tree farm for lumber and pulp. It still operates that way today.
Walter applied for a research position with the Public Health Service. On this application form, he answers the “Reason for desiring to change employment” question with “Unsettled conditions due to merger.”
Bemis, Tenn. 8-7-53
Mr. W.E. Dove
Your letter received and I don’t like misinterpreted words. First you try to make it sound like I thought Senie had lied to me. Read the letter again & see if that is right. I stated if you Affirm your statement is right, under same token you would [illegible] admit Senie was wrong [illegible] you and your mother don’t have same wording now who is right? As you know you should have sent me a copy of the will when it was written and by who witnessed and by who acknowledgement by who. Walter I’m not mad or threatening you as you know the Dove farm was under a heavy mortgage when Senie Bond married. She told me so and she is the one who cleared the debt as it stands it was a gift and you & Ethel are no more rights of Justice to all of it than I am, since you and Ethel have through some source took my part. I am now quoting[?] Revah Dec. 1946 said to me while we were on the front porch [illegible] you don’t know Walter & Ethel if Mama was to die they would take every thing here if they can and leave you and me out of the picture and neither of them don’t need [illegible] of it they never stayed here to try to work on it. So this end of quotation of Revah. I’m perfectly willing to meet you Revah Senie & Ethel at the Judgement Bar of God to answer why. Please read the Scripture citations here with enclosed.
I’m not going to transcribe the enclosure. Here’s a scan.
This letter and the next one from J.D. Stampley are written in a shaky hand with frequent misspellings, so they’re hard to read. I’m transcribing what I can make out, correcting spelling but not grammar. This appears to be the start of a rather unpleasant disagreement in the family.
July 20, 1953
Many thanks to you & Ethel for 25.00 check. Ethel & Marshal were here yesterday a few minutes. She brought me a table cloth, said it was her Mama’s. I do appreciate it so much.
Now, about the will to me it don’t make sense you stated I wasn’t mentioned. Your mother said I was. She has also told Enola & Mary & Ida that I was mentioned in the will in 1946. She told me I would share alike as you & Revah & Ethel. Now if you affirm your statement is right by same token you confess your Mother’s statements were wrong, then that leaves your Deceased Mother under the curse of Lying. Bible says all liars will have their part in the lake of Fire. I can’t believe she lied, & about 3 months ago Senie wrote Ida & said she didn’t want me to suffer & if [illegible] thing for her to get it & send her the bill. In 1939 she got on me about church work & I told her I had no way of getting there. She remarked if she bought me a car she would change her papers & show the cost. I thought it too much trouble so we didn’t get the car. Senie has always proved she loved me, and I can’t somehow believe she has thrown me away like you said.
May I have your reply as to what you desire to do.
Thanking you for your reply.
Love to all
P.O. Box 792 Bemis, Tenn.
These two photos have no information attached. I believe the man on the left in the first photo is Merritt Sarles, one of Walter’s graduate school classmates at Hopkins and later a co-worker at US Industrial Chemicals. Walter is on the right. The second photo shows Walter standing in front of the USI lab.
It is difficult to find photos of Walter without a cigar.
This is just one of many odd pieces of domestic paperwork that happened to find their way into the archive, but I’m posting the ones I find especially interesting or poignant. Walter was a tall man, and here we see that Ina has decided to splurge on something special for him: an extra-long boxspring and mattress for their bed. He’d probably slept on beds that were too short his whole life. Hecht Brothers was a high-end department store, the Baltimore equivalent of Macy’s.
$62 in 1948 equals $600 in today’s money, but Hecht’s is extinct, and ordinary department store employees who dictate lengthy letters to customers are no longer available.
Stationery from the Roger Smith Hotel, Stamford, CT, “A Charming, Modern, & Fireproof Hotel.”
Tues. Night – 4/22
My dear Ina,
The speech went over OK & I feel alright about it. About 250 present. Dr. Zink and other USI people were present. Think it will get some publicity on radio & newspapers.
Will be here until Wed. noon & will go to Rye & then home as soon as I can.
Spent AM to good advantage with Stoddard & office folks.
Hope fires are OK and that chickens and Lewis and Tommie are OK.
This pen is terrible.