October 13, 1895
TO CORRESPONDENTS -- When writing letters to Big Hat's department for publication, write on one side of the paper only. Printers never turn their copy, and the editor has no time to rewrite half, or even part, of your letters. Give your full name and address. Anonymous letters are never printed. These rules are imperative.
LUDIE SANDERS, Peede, Kaufman Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and the dear cousins: After a few months of absence from among you, I now take my seat to encourage all, and I hope Mr. Big Hat will encourage me, providing I need any. I am real glad to notice Mr. Big Hat a "grammar remarks," and I hope he will correct some errors in my letter, for I am sure there will be some. Mr. Big Hat, I never did study grammar much; in fact, I never had much opportunity to attend school, but I am a real book worm. No, I do not know who those authors were. This week appeared Cousin Jesse Harman's letter, and when I saw it I remarked to my sister: "I have to write to The News to-morrow." Now, Jesse, I am surely glad you have found your long lost brother at last. My! What would I do if one of my brothers were lost? And here Jesse says we girls must be nodding over a novel, or trying to keep our hair in curls. Now, my "pompadour" is always curly anyhow, and as far as reading novels is concerned, I seldom ever do read them. Cousins Jim Page and Johnnie Price are real bright boys, as well as a great many others, but the girls have a little of my sympathy, for I for one was believing the boys were beating us. However, I am opposed to the subject, and will drop it, hoping all the girls will do so, too. Isn't it fine to have even married folks and school teachers writing? How charming. Winifred Caughran's sketch of her trip was. Now, I haven't even been out of the country in which I was born. Cousin Dora Bennett, did you receive the square I sent you? If you will consent to tell me just how many it will take to finish your quilt I will send them. When I learn our little crippled cousin's name and address I shall be glad to help her also. All those who have lost their parents or those who are invalids have my greatest sympathy, for how said it is to think of their condition! My mother and father are both growing old. Mr. Big Hat, how do you and the cousins like this verse?
are growing old and feeble,
Richard Mewis, if you will get the dirt from around the roots of a decaying tree in the early spring you will find that it is worms eating the tree that causes it to die. Probably they will be concealed in a hole in the tree which they have bored. Many of the trees in papa's orchard have died from that effect, but I cannot tell you what will kill them. You may be able to kill a great many yourself, and thus save a few trees. Lawrence Neff, I have no piece to send you, but would be glad to receive a copy of your paper if you see fit to send it. Lawrence Fountain, I heard a lecture on "How Days Are Lost and Picked Up" by the noted phrenologist or mind reader, Dr. J. L. Fowler. I do believe Thomas Stewart and a great many others have forgotten us entirely, and Odis Riddle must be off throwing his voice. No, Joe, I seldom ever cook breakfast, as mamma had rather cook than to milk. I do the latter. Cousins, Mr. Big Hat looks as if he was meditating about something. Just like as not he is wondering whose letters will be received this week for him to be bothered with. Well, I came near forgetting to tell you about my study last summer, and my vacation also. Two weeks of the latter were spent at my brother's house, twenty miles from here, and I assure you I did not have a very nice time as far as fun is concerned, for they were all sick and I had the feeding of the stock to do, besides cooking, making beds and sweeping, and waiting on them all. Not all the time, though -- only two or three days. Then another one of my brothers came, and he did the feeding for me, and even milked. After I returned home I had a very nice time canning and preserving and drying fruits and making jellies. There has been a great deal of sickness here and several deaths; so much so that I did not study as much as I anticipated. The studies I selected were grammar, dictionary, Texas, topography and the holy Bible. My brother (the one who helped me as I above stated) was a college student, so I let him have the dictionary, as I thought he needed it more than I did. He is now at Thorp Spring at college. I am upstairs shivering with cold, for there is a norther or cold wave, as our history informs us. I congratulate you, Nell Morris. I can not conceive what you mean by saying "Blue Stockings." I wish you would tell us. I am getting impatient already. Cousin Viola Stewart, did I offend you by simply saying I thought all girls should learn to work? I hope not, and also hope you will come again. I do love to read the cousins' letters, and most especially those from other states. Our New Mexico cousins have forgotten to write again. I had to laugh at Mr. Big Hat's piece about the awful little girl. Aren't Mr. Big Hat's letters interesting! I hope he will continue to write. It seems as if The News cousins were my own cousins, and I wish I could meet all, including Mr. Big Hat. I hope all who meet at Dallas will have a nice time. Now, good-bye, for I will have to pick cotton. I am still 16. I fear Mr. Big Hat and the cousins are tried of my chat, and for myself, I am about to freeze and have used 20 cents worth of paper and 10 cents worth of ink.
OLLIE B. DAWDY, Hutchins, Dallas Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: As I have written once to the cousins' corner, and promised to write again, I will now begin the second letter I have ever written to a newspaper. I have just finished reading the cousins' letters in the last issue, and found them very interesting, especially Rudolph's hunting story. We are now having a light rain, which is very enjoyable. To the cousins that are in trouble, I extend my heartfelt sympathy and best wishes, and exhort them to trust in God and endeavor to meet their loved ones in the land of Beulah, where sadness is never known. I belong to the Methodist Episcopal church, south, and I enjoy a grand religion. I expect to appear before the next conference for the purpose of getting an exhorter's license. I hope to be instrumental in saving souls. Cousins, don't you think that is a grand work? I do. I am expecting to take a trip to Parker county to attend the wedding of one of my nieces, and after I return I will write you again. I solicit correspondence with either sex.
ELLAN POLLARD, Abbott, Hill Co., Tex. -- Good morning to Mr. Big Hat and the cousins. I see that the cousins have gotten up quite a rivalry between the sexes. Let me give them my advice. I think that both are good, and smart, too, in their places, but look very naughty out of their places. Remember our mothers were once little girls, and we think they are now the best persons on earth. And our fathers were once little boys, too, but it doesn't seem to us that they used to run over the floor, whistle in the house, and be aggravating, like we sometimes think the little boys are. Now, boys, what do you really think you could do without the girls? About as well as the girls would without the boys, would you not? No insinuations on old maids, Levi, for I am going to be an old maid, and I think it will be real nice. I don't think there is anything much better than a real ugly old maid, or anything much worse than a crusty old bachelor. So you had better not disdain an old maid, for you may be a bachelor. Then I would sure laugh! Mr. Big Hat, which is the best and simplest way of addressing letters to your department?
SUSIE BOONSTER, Wilmer, Dallas Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I have never written for the children's corner, though I suppose I read it about as much as any of the children who do write. Some of the letters interest me very much. I can see in them evidence of care, study and effort to improve in every way, and I observe a very marked improvement in a great many of the letters. I don't propose to put myself up as a censor or critic, for I am only 13 years old, and have a vast deal to learn myself, in fact, I can only claim to have acquired the mere rudiments of an education as yet, and as to the knowledge of literature it is very slight. Still, I think I can judge as to the quality of the cousins' letters. Some of the boys worry me very much. One of them wrote about going a hunting and splitting the limb of a tree open, in the crack of which he caught a flock of partridges by the toes, and of getting a bucket of honey from a hole in the same tree, and a lot more of the same kind of nonsense. My papa is an old man, and he says that same story was considered very ancient when he was a boy. This is my first effort, and if it is printed, although it is mostly a bit of railing, I will write again -- write something that will interest the cousins, if I can, at any rate I will try.
JOHNNIE PRICE, Kingwillow, Navarro Co., Tex. -- "Little Miss Big Bonnet" and cousins: A happy welcome to all. The wind is blowing wildly and the sun shining bright, and everything looks happy but me. So I thought I would have another chat with the happy band before saying farewell. The mosquitoes are just about ready to capture me. The general seems to be surveying. I think he and his army will soon make a raid, and I of course will be compelled to surrender. If you never hear from me again you may know that they captured me. In my last letter I promised to tell you something of my life while engineering, also about an engine of my own make, and which was the end of my career as engineer. I was about 8 years old then. After seeing a gentleman, with whom I was acquainted and liked very much, run an engine nicely, I, too, thought I could run one. I asked him a great many questions in general, and went so far as to get him to show me the way its different parts were run, and had him tell me the "whys" and "wherefores" of everything in sight. He seemed to delight in explaining everything to my satisfaction. No doubt he was annoyed at me more than once, though he never once made complaint to that effect. After having everything down "pat," as I thought, I told the gentleman that I was going to run an engine when I grew to be a "grown up man." "Very well," he said, "I will send to Atlanta, Ga., and get my books for you" (for Georgia was his native home), "if you are determined to study it as a profession, though if I were you I would learn something of more importance." He didn't send for the books just then, but I availed myself of every opportunity that was offered me of learning anything concerning engineering. I would go to his engine at every chance and ask him some "important questions," as I termed them. After graduating, as I thought, I became determined to make an engine of my own construction. I got the material and did make it, but so much the worse for me! After completing and testing, I filled my boiler ready for running. The thing was capable of combustion. This being true, it wasn't long before an explosion was in action. Of course it didn't take long to act. I should tell the kind of material of which my supposed nicely finished, but now ruined engine was made. If you never saw a scared lad, you might have seen one had you seen me. I had been told not to attempt so great an undertaking, but I was so determined that nothing could convince me of any danger. My eyes were nearly put out with ashes, steam, carbon, etc., and my eye lashes, brows and hair were badly singed. In fact, I was so badly disfigured that I was hardly recognizable. I like to see any one self-reliant, but we should be careful not to possess so much as to cause ourselves injury. Self-reliance is a great thing within itself, but notwithstanding all this, we should value the advice given us by those competent and experienced, and accept that which "seemeth good." I think, too, we should ever be ready to pay attention to the advice given us by our parents. No one will ever accomplish anything by not obeying their parents. Well, let's try to improve every golden moment of spare time by writing to the page whose heading is "For Little Men and Women." There is nothing so essential to education as being a good letter-writer. I am not a good scribe, by any means, but nevertheless this thought buoys me up to try the harder. I have only to add that my reason for calling you "Little Miss Big Bonnet" is understood, if you remember your letter giving all permission to call you that, if they chose. I am no engineer, nor am I liable ever to be. I have a desire of a different nature now. The bursting of the boiler was a lesson to me, well learned, even though it was only a toy of my own workmanship.
ROXIE HORTON, Bazette, Navarro Co., Tex. -- Little Miss Big Bonnet: Will you admit another little 10-year-old girl to your department? I enjoy reading the cousins' letters very much. I like your chats in the cousins. You said if we thought you were a young lady we could call you Miss Big Bonnet. I like the idea of your being a lady, and that is why I call you Miss Big Bonnet. But, cousins, do you think it right for Miss Big Bonnet to write under a false name and not let us do the same? I know he (or she) has never thought of that. Cousins, when you eat red candy do you ever think what it is colored with? In Mexico there is a little red bug which feeds on prickly pear leaves. The people brush those bugs off, kill them by steam and make nice red dye that is used to color our candy. This dye is called cochineal. I like to help mamma work, but I like to help her cook best. I lived in Lavaca county until I was 5 years old. Then papa moved to Ellis county. We lived there until last year, when we came here, and we like it here very well. I wish some of my Union Hill schoolmates in Ellis would write to this department. I know several of them who take The News. We visited in Lavaca county last summer, and lots of funny things happened on the road, but I don't suppose you want to hear of any of them now. I wonder how many of the cousins can answer this question: How many miles is it from North America to Asia across Bering strait a the narrowest point?
JESSE LOCKE, Mineral Wells, Palo Pinto Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I've been a reader of The News for quite a while, but have never tried to write to it until now. I will endeavor to describe the city of Mineral Wells. It is situated between Bald mountain and Mount Romance, twenty-two miles west of Weatherford and four miles east of the Brazos river. It is the metropolis of Palo Pinto county and is noted for its mineral water and the wonderful cures wrought by the use of the water. The water is used in several forms. It is excellent for hot and cold baths, and it is boiled down into mineral crystals and they are also put into salve. People come here from far and near to drink the water and nine times out of ten they go back home cured. The most noted wells are the Crazy well, Star well and Gypsom well. Mineral Wells is a health resort for the strong and weak, the rich and the poor and the learned and unlearned. Nearly every church is represented here. There is also as fine a college as there is in the state (all except what is lacking). If Mr. Big Hat prints this I will think him the biggest man in Texas, even if his name is Little Mr. Big Hat.
CORA CANNAN, Angleton, Brazoria Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: As I haven't written in some time I thought, as this was Sunday I would write a short letter. I went to Sunday school this morning. I love to go. We had our first norther to-day, and it begins to feel as if winter was coming. Pecans are beginning to ripen, also sugarcane. I dearly love both. Although there is a sugar farm within eight miles of us, I have never seen them make sugar. I want papa to take me this year when they commence sugar making. To-morrow is my birthday. I will be 9 years old. I have never been to school, but the school here will open next Monday, and mamma has promised to let me go, also my little brother, younger than I am. I will close by asking a question: In what year was the first president inaugurated?
LEO E. NEY, Sherman, Grayson Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: This is my first attempt to write to The News. I used to live right by Lida May Webster in Jefferson, but now I live in Sherman. I had a cat in Jefferson named Fannie, after a young lady who lived next door. I have thirty pigeons now. Mr. Big Hat, that story about "Bela, the Blind," was fine. Bertha Reed, I would like to see a girl that would go out after dark without fear. Cousins, please name some Texas heroes. Julie O'Neill, you can use your big sleeves for bloomers. I have been begging mamma to get me a pony. Cousin Lida May, what grade are you in? I am in the fourth grade. Mr. Big Hat, I have read "Old Curiosity Shop" and "Prince and Pauper."
BANKS McLAURIN, Webberville, Travis Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat: I am a very young boy to come into your Cozy Corner, and if you only knew me, you would think I was a great hand to ask questions. Papa, Brother Com and myself are all there are of our family. My dear mamma died nearly two years ago, and mammy says if Com and I are good boys, we will meet her in heaven. (Mammy is my grandma, but that is what I have always called her.) Papa and Com have gone to the big show in Austin to-day and I am very lonesome. Papa is the best man in the world. He gets us everything that he thinks will make his little boys happy, but take care, when he tells us to do a thing, we have got to move out, or one would think a whirlwind had started up around the house. One day last year, when we were real little boys, we thought we would have a little fun. Papa was gone and mammy was in the house busy about her work, and wouldn't come to see about us, we thought, for some time. So we got a tub of water and baptized ever so many of her little chickens. We placed a plank on a chair, with one end in the pan of water and set the little fellows on the top of the plank and let them slide down into the pan. But all at once, our fun was over. We laughed too loud and here came mammy, and I tell you, Mr. Big Hat, we didn't stop either to see what she had to say. But, as I told you, we were little boys then. Now we have learned to do larger things. Mr. Big Hat, I had the pleasure of seeing your town this summer. We all went there on an excursion. We had lots of fun, but the train was terribly crowded until we got to Houston, and then they got up another train. Everything was new to me, especially that big water. I never saw anything like it. We got there Saturday evening and stayed until Sunday evening. One Sunday we went down to the water, where a big boat had landed. They were taking out the goods, boxes, barrels and everything else. I almost [thought] it was Sunday, there was so much work going on, or at least, I could see no sign of Sunday down there. But we had a very nice [time]. We saw a great many people in bathing, and picked up a few shells along the beach. Galveston is a beautiful place. I would like to go back down there again, and if you will meet me at the depot and take me home with you, I will come. I know you could show me all of the town, and help me to find some shells. My age is 7 years.
EFFIE PARSONS, Purmela, Coryell Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins. It has been so long since I have written to the department that I am afraid you have all forgotten me. But I read the letters regularly. We have made good crops this year. One of my cousins, Laura Gardner, of South Bosque, has been up visiting me and I certainly enjoyed her visit, although I was sick. I am so sorry for that cousin who is sick. If she will send me her name I will send her some things. How man of the cousins have seen our state reformatory? I have, and for the benefit of those who have not, I will describe it. It is situated about two miles north of Gatesville, on a beautiful prairie, with high mountains rising to the north and east about two miles distant. From the big gate to the reformatory comprises two large three-story brick buildings. In room is the tailor shop where they make all of their clothes, and in another room is the shoe shop. All the inmates wear brown jeans pants with a red stripe down each side, and blue and white striped shirts. In the kitchen is the largest oven I have ever seen. In the dining room there are several tables about thirty feet long, and each boy has a tin plate, iron knife and fork, tin cup and spoon. I do not think they have very many dainties to eat. In one room they bathe their faces and hands when they come in from work, and it is provided with a wooden trough about three feet from the floor, extending around three sides of the room. On the fourth side are the towels, and they are sewed on a rope to keep the boys from taking them away. In another room are the beds. Every boy has his little iron single bed, and they are numbered with the same numbers as the boys. Each bed has a white counterpane on it. While I was there, there were over 350 boys. Some of them looked so sad, while others looked as if they did not care. It made me sad to think how many mothers' hearts were aching for their boys. I think some mothers and fathers are to blame for their children being there. Mr. Big Hat, have you ever visited the reformatory? If not, allow me to say it is indeed worth a visit, and I am sure you and your sister, Miss Big Bonnet would enjoy it very much. Prof. J. H. Harrall teaches the white boys and Prof. J. E. Osborn teaches the colored boys. L. C. Fountain, come again. I think you boys are improving. Levi Bowman, I like your letters. Bessie Bee, I like your letters also. My age is 12 years.
HUBERT GARRETT, Scurry, Kaufman Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat: Here I am again asking once more for admittance to join the Cozy Corner. What are you all doing now? I am picking cotton and it is hot work for a farmer's boy 12 years of age. Boys, no wonder the ladies (or girls, as they call themselves) beat us when some of them are 16 or 18 years of age. As one of the boy cousins says, if our 16 or 18-year-old boys were to write we would be equal to the girls. But I think we had better drop the subject of which is beating, for if we don't some one may get mad, and it may be one of the best scholars of our summer school. We surely don't want that to happen. I think boys ought to study manhood and girls womanhood. Cousin Jesse Harman, I know that you were glad when you met your lost companion Joe. If you have turned from a newsboy to a cowboy, I wish you success. Mr. Big Hat, I know all the cousins were astonished to see our lady cousin's letter in our department. I hope she will get the map she asked for, and we invite her to come to our Lone Star State and hope she will write again to our happy corner. Levi Bowman, didn't you live in Kaufman county some years ago? I used to know some Bowmans who lived here. Thomas O. Stewart, why don't you write again? I always enjoyed your letters very much. Lawrence W. Neff, I think I would like to be an editor of a paper. Herbert Taylor, the other day I had the same kind of conversation on a trip that you did, but I was driving a wagon. I noticed a boy sitting on a stump alongside the road whittling, and the following conversation took place:
Miss Lula Sanders, why don't you write again? I always enjoyed a letter written by a cousin living near me. If Peggy doesn't get this letter, I will write you an Indian story.
METTIE KELLY, Corsicana, Navarro Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Here I come once more to have a chat with Little Mr. Big Hat and the dear old cousins. I hope you all have not forgotten me, and will allow me the privilege to talk with you a while. I will promise not to tarry long. What interesting letters some of the cousins do write! I would like very much to write such letters as some do. I saw a letter in The News last week from one of my cousins, Johnie Price. I do think some of the cousins are almost too hard on the boys. I think the boys are about to get ahead of us girls lately. Cousins, we all remember Cousin Fernandy H. Pfeffer, do we not? I think she writes such nice letters and I hope she will come again soon. It looks as if it was time Bessie Bee was writing again. Weren't you all glad to hear from Dora Bennett? I was. I would like very much to correspond with you, Dora, if you haven't already too many correspondents. We have a literary and debating society organized at our schoolhouse. The society meets every Friday night. To-morrow will be Friday night, and I am secretary of the society and, Oh how I do dread to get upon the rostrum before a large congregation (which we always have) and read the minutes, call the roll, etc. It looks very much like rain now and it may be that I won't have that to do to-morrow night. Well, cousins, are you all going to the fair this fall? I wish we all could go and wear blue stars! Wouldn't we have a nice time? I don't know whether I will go or not. If I do, I will be sure to wear a blue star. Haven't we had some tough weather for picking cotton this year? I will sure be glad when we have finished! We are about half through now. I wish I was a "town girl," so I wouldn't have to pick cotton. I haven't picked much this y ear, though, as I generally do. I wanted to join the summer school, but I was so busy I didn't have time to study the lessons. I will ask one history question, which I would like very much to have some one answer, as I can't: Where is the key to the bastile? Well, as I see Mr. Big Hat winking his eye at me to "stop," I will do so, but, I will come again, if you have no objections.
OTHO SHELTON HINES, Farmersville, Collin Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Papa says I may go to the fair, and if you do not hide out, I hope to see you there. Papa generally goes to The News office while in Dallas, to call on his old friend, the Snap Shot editor. I am so glad that the great and good News has commenced publishing in the daily as well as the semi-weekly your department, as I now get to read the nice letters. Papa has not missed an issue in The Daily News, which he says was ten years old Tuesday, Oct. 1. Say, Mr. Big Hat, come up some Saturday and I will take you a-fishing. You must come on Saturday, as I am now going to school. I like my teacher so much. I will ask some questions: Which is the highest mountain in the world? Which is the steepest mountain in the world? Which is the largest city in England? What is the capital of Ireland? What is the capital of Scotland? I hope some cousin can answer them.
IRENE HARRINGTON, Midland, Midland Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat: I will write you a letter. I am 9 years of age. I go to school and I am in the third reader and study arithmetic, spelling, geography and writing. I like to go to school. In the school there are 350 pupils. We have a good time at recess. We play black man.
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