My father knows very little about the courtship between his mother Hilda Pinborough, and his father Benjamin (Ben) Atkinson. All he recalls is they were "set up" by the Bishop from their church. I also have limited memories of them as my grandfather passed away when I was five and my grandmother died tragically when I was fourteen.
Lucky for me, among the hundreds of letters and postcards that Hilda received and treasured, were seven letters written to her between Dec 8 1926 and Jan 27 1927 from Ben. He was in Arizona at the time for work, most likely as a mason contractor. These love letters are truly remarkable as they are the only letters I have found written by him.
Don't you just love his "ps" at the bottom of the 1st letter? (Note: The absence of punctuation is his, not mine. I try to keep these letters true to how they were written.)
December 8 1926
My Dear Sweetheart
Just a few lines to you I have not heard from you yet but I guess it is my fault I just got a letter from home today the first one in 3 weeks or the first one since I left home I was very glad to get it I put the wrong address for mailing and I did not find it out until tonight I put the number of the house 634 instead of 643 I went over tonight & the
lady said she sent some of my letters back with the Mail Man so I will have to apologize to you as I have been waiting for a letter from you. Dear Hilda it has been raining on & off since friday evening and still at it I am feeling Well & happy & hope you all are the same There is not much to do here evenings We went to a party last Monday at the Ward in honor of the retiring Bishopric and it was just grand of course I go to Priesthood meeting Sunday Mornings & Church in the evenings & we have a Lovely Service There is about
1000 Saints here every evening we walk down town and do our xmas window shopping for about an hour I miss coming up to see you evenings as I enjoyed taking you out & enjoying your company but it won't be long before I get back to tease you some more the time seems to pass quickly to Me Dear Hilda not much news but lots of (love) to you Remember me to all the folks Mother especially Praying Gods Choicest blessings to be with you at all times & keep you safe & Well at all times From Your
643 North 2nd Ave
Lots of Love
Say Yes & what goes with it Kisses not piggly wiggly style
Just a few lines to you in answer to your ever welcome letter which surprised me when I got home this evening from work. I thought everybody had gone back on me but I guess not. am eating hard rock candy want some. We have had rain here on and off for a week but the days hot and nights cool. I see you are warming fast by your letter they say absent makes the heart grow fonder how true it is. I think of you
lots especially Sunday 28th Nov as you know I had a date with you & it happened to mature earlier but I was still wondering what you had on your mind that day. Well Dear I miss your company just as much as you do mine I think we can get better acquainted by being together than by Mail I think so anyway I love you & I think I can make Life worth while for you what do you think you did Manage to send xx (2) for me I got em' you can put the circles around if you wish I am glad you enjoyed the services of your returned Missionary I do not think you are a crank
I always enjoy going to hear them speak and how I often wish I could speak like them. I think it is a nice thing to be prepared to go on a Mission but nearly everybodys is not I have often wished they had called me before I got Married because the experience is worth the time. always. in the service of the Lord whatever it may be I know that I have a wonderful blessing and I can say that some of it has come true & I think more of it will. There is two Lady & two Men Missionaries here one of the Ladies spoke last sunday & one Man and I enjoyed it. It has been a long time since I heard Missionaries in the
field talk they sure had the spirit of their calling they have a large ward (1000 members) and a wonderful choir about 100 choir members and it is good they have good talent here as good as at home I have not talked in Church yet only take part in Priesthood quorum. I am glad everybody is all well at home again tell Walter that I am still alive and I will be coming back sometime after the holidays. I suppose you will be glad then the holidays are gone as it makes a lot of extra work for you both in school & in the Ward. I could not think what was the matter when I did not get a letter but i know you was not looking for anybody else from what you told me just before I left now you do not want to go back on me because I have learned to Love you.
You said that you was looking some of your old friends over last week & was trying to decide something if you do it (must) be in my favor. Ha. Ha. We do not have much to do but eat work & sleep. go to bed about 9:30 every night we have a nice boarding house for $11.00 a week board & room and they have good meals There is lots of sick people here with all kinds of disease of the lungs such as T.B. They say it gets up to 125 degrees in summer hot enough to cook eggs outside. Well Dear, I am sending you a package today just a little remembrance of xmas & I hope you will be satisfied with my choice I did not know what to get but I got something anyhow wait & see Dec 25th morning a.m. you can stay up to 1 minute after 12:00 Dec 24th if you wish but you must wait til the 25th. My Partner has gone to bed and it is 10.15. and I think I have said enough for one night - What do you say about it
Remember me to Mother and all the rest of the Folks. i am going to tell the girls to bring you up two nice capons chickens for your xmas dinner so tell Mother not to buy any Turkey you call them up Next sunday 19th am about 1 o'clock and ask for Mildred and tell her when you will be home so she can bring them up and tell her what car to take as she may not know how did you like the other I brought up think of me when you are having your dinner may the Lord bless you & watch over you in your daily labors in the Prayer of your Loving
A Little About Benjamin Atkinson
He was born September 29, 1884 in Nelson England to Charles Atkinson (1862-1926) and Mary Draisey Atkinson (1864-1933). The family moved to Brisbane Australia for some time, then to Salt Lake City, UT in 1899. His siblings were Martha (1883-1904), Charles (1886-1936), John (1888-1889), Herbert (1890-1890), Annie (1892-1975), Lillian (1896-1975), Nellie (1900-1967) and Clifford (1904-1966). Benjamin married Florence Hettie Woodcock in 1907 and they had four children together; Dorothy, Irene, Mildred and Mavis. His first wife, Florence, passed away in 1925. He then married my grandmother, Hilda Elizabeth Pinborough in 1927, and they had my father in 1930.
There are many more details I have about Benjamin from my father and other records, plus a few more treasures about his childhood to research and post. I've set Dad to the task of writing up a few more stories too. Lots more to come.
Until next time...Happy Genealogy Hunting!
ACCURACY NOTE: All letters are mostly transcribed as written. I try to stay true to the writer's penmanship including the spelling & grammar mistakes, missing punctuation, run on sentences and such but, in some cases, I add in periods to make the letter easier to ready. These old letters had few if any paragraph breaks, so I sometimes add them by the "page turn" to make it easier to read. And yes, sometimes I make a few mistakes in transcription .