Bessie Coen

Bessie Coen

Mattoon, Illinois, July 15, 1914 [Mr. Carl Warfel, Rose Hill]

Dear Carl,

I received your welcome letter this week and was so glad to hear from you. I have just been helping mamma in the garden, and can hardly write. If we don’t have some rain pretty soon I don’t think that we will have much garden. I know you are glad when night comes these hot days; the air is a little cooler then. Papa is not helping bail hay now. He is working on the subway now. 

There was a lot of excitement in this part of town one day last week. A colored man got off the train and began to run. One of the police saw him and started running after him. Soon a large crowd had joined him and the colored man ran down Cottage Ave. and through the shop yards then down Marshall almost to our house then down Marion past where we did live. By the time the crowd got here it certainly was a crowd. We thought there was a big fire some place near, but soon saw what they were after. The fellow got just outside of town, ran into a corn field and dropped to rest. The police found him unable to go any farther, and they had to haul him back to town. He almost died before he got to town though. They locked him up but next morning turned him loose. Someone had told him that colored men not working here were not allowed to stop here, and I guess he was getting out as soon as he could. He thanked the police for not shooting at him. He was so polite but the people were so awful. It’s hard to believe that people can be so mean, and policemen to boot. 

Have you had any rain down there since you were here. We haven’t had any rain for a long time. They had a good rain at Charleston and Loxa not long ago, but not any here. Well I must quit writing for the postman will be here pretty soon. I write long letters and don’t say anything either. Write soon.

From your True Friend, Bessie.