Submitted by James P. Murphy.
These transcribed letters to my grandfather, James P. Murphy, might be of interest to anybody researching Cameron in the 1910 era or, specifically, the families of Dr. James E. Cooper or Mr. Harry Howard, operator of a drug store. These men were friends of my grandfather and their letters reflect events in the town, the popularity of baseball, and endorsement of advancement in the Knights Templar organization. Non-commercial use of these letters is permitted.
Letter from Harry H. Howard - Oct. 22, 1909
No doubt you think I have forgotten all about you writing me some time ago. But I have not. But have been busy and putting it off from time to time until now. (I) was certainly glad to hear of your joining the Masonic lodge. It certainly is OK if a fellow lives up to the teachings. There have been several improvements in Cameron since you left. But she is still about the same old town. I think you will have to come back again as they are nearly all here now but you. Jack Evard (?) is back working in the oil field. He says Cameron is the only place for him. Nearly all the fellows are married, such as Chick Pipers, Dano and others too numerous to mention. (I) was up to Pittsburgh and saw the first game of the World Series. Was also out to Cleveland this summer and saw your famous man, Lajoie (Napoleon Lajoie, Hall of Fame baseball player born 1875 in Woonsocket, R.I. ed.). He is OK. Cooper just came in and said to give you his regards. Dano also walks in and gives my ears a pull. There is no peace around here for anybody. We still have some long sessions in the store yet, wish you were to get in on them as you know you could remember history better than anyone else and could go back further. You spoke of going to California. Pollock (?) is down there somewhere. Had a card from him some time ago. Well, Jim, I guess I will cut it now as I expect you will be tired trying to read what I have written. (I) have been hunting and killed a bunch of squirrels. Hoping you are all OK I will say goodbye and hope to hear from you again in the near future. Your friend – (signed) Harry H. Howard
Letter from Dr. Jas. E. Cooper - Oct. 23, 1909
My Dear Old Friend Jim:
Through the kindness of Harry Howard I have heard where you are keeping yourself and am going to spend a few minutes conversing with you through the instrumentality of the typewriter. Had completely lost track of you until yesterday when, imagine my surprise on going into Harry’s drug store, he said, “I’m just writing a letter to Murf” and handed me one to read he had received from you almost two months ago. You may venture I read it with pleasure. Well, Old Man, I am glad to know you are well and all to the good. Am especially glad to know that you are now wearing the square and compass, and let me say right here that there is no one who will wear it more worthily. Hope to see you still climb the ladder, and have the pleasure of meeting you some time in the near future embellished with the emblem of the cross and crown and double eagles. Cameron is still very much the same old town as when you left. They are doing very little operating about here, most of the oil people have left. There were several wells drilled on Maggoty Run however last summer, and all came in small producers except Amos Chambers #1, which started off at 150 barrels but soon dropped to much below that figure. Our pottery and glass houses are running full and Cameron seems to be enjoying her share of prosperity. I did not mean to put it off to the last thing to ask about the babies and Mrs. Murphy. But give them all (and if there should be any more) – remember me to the family. Now, Jim, don’t do as I have done, but sit down some day real soon and write me a long letter and I shall promise better things in the future. Ever your friend, (signed) Jas. E. Cooper
Letter from Dr. Cooper - Nov. 18, 1909
My Dear Jim:
Your very kind letter, cards, and later another card was received, and you don’t know how glad I was to hear from you. Am glad to know again the family are all well and that there is yet another little Murphy in West Virginia. I want to thank you again for the pictures. Cameron is experiencing her first spell of winter weather yesterday and today, and caused us to dig up our heavy overcoats, and winter togs in general. It goes pretty hard with us after having summer weather up till the 15th. I believe I told you pretty much all about Cameron when I wrote you some time ago. The oilfield people are nearly all gone from here, except those who have gone into other business. Big Frank Ninno is back here running the Phoenix restaurant and pool room. John Erwin was running a pool room in the room formerly occupied by the National Supply Company, Brooks Hinerman has gone into the church business. By that I mean he has forsaken his former mode of life, joined the Christian Church and fills the amen corner regularly, but at last accounts he had not parted with any of the money that the poor sinners passed him over the bar for bad whiskey. Am glad to know, Jim, that you are thinking of returning to our town and hope you may see your way clear to come back to us at an early date. I see you still retain your interest in baseball and allow me to congratulate you on the score as expressed on the card you sent me. You are certainly to be congratulated on having a team that can put the “bug” on an aggregation like Huntington. You must have rounded up quite a bunch down there in the tall timber. Do you still read as much as you used to? If you have any spare time and can get the book, don’t fail to read the Calling of Dan Matthews by Wright. It is certainly a book true to life, and one that would interest you greatly, I know. If you have not read it let me know when you write and I will try and get you a copy and send it to you. I feel you could spend several very pleasant hours with your pipe and this book. Well no doubt you are tired of this rambling and (I) will stop for this time. Give my regards to Mrs. M. and the kiddies. Your Friend, (signed) Jas. E. Cooper
Letter from Dr. Cooper - March 14, 1910
My Dear Friend Jim:
I suppose you think I am a peculiar kind of fellow for my long silence, but (I) have a little tale of woe to tell that may in a measure mitigate my offense. Had finished writing you long ago, not only to answer your letter but to thank you for the Christmas remembrance you sent me, which – allow me to say – was or rather is fully appreciated, but met with an accident a few days after Christmas that has practically put me out of business until a few days ago. While driving a sleigh my horse threw a snow ball back and struck me in the right eye, some particles of sand became imbedded in the eye-ball necessitating my going to the hospital where I had them removed but not before infection had taken place and for a while the orb occupied the attention of three specialists, but am happy to state (I) am now in good shape and the sight of the eye is fully restored. Am more than glad to know, Jim, that you are one of the boys that are wearing the cross and crown. And now as to your question concerning the consistery: (I) am enclosing you a petition but am under the impression you will have to petition the Lodge of Perfection at Parkersburg. You will get up to the 18th degree there; then you will have to come to Wheeling for the balance. Ask some Scottish Rite man down there to make sure and get a couple of good men who belong to the bodies at Parkersburg to recommend you. Am sorry you had not done this sooner so that you could have finished up this (illegible) which convened next week. And now as to your second question: It is needless to say that I am glad to know you are coming back to Cameron, but at the present time I do not know of a suitable house in the section of town you mentioned. However if you will write me just about what you want I shall look you up some property if possible to do so. Cameron, while not enjoying a boom as she did once, still is not loosing anything and nearly every house in town is occupied. If you can let me know about what time you will want property (I) shall be only too glad to keep on the lookout. Now let me hear from you soon, Jim, and barring all accidents, (I) shall do better next time. With kindest regards to yourself, Mrs. M. and the kids, I am – Always your friend,
Letter from Harry H. Howard - June 4, 1910
Just a few lines before I go to dinner to let you (know) I have not forgotten you. Sorry to hear of the girl’s trouble. I mean Mary. Cooper is thinking of going to Baltimore this month to take a special course of some kind. Will be gone a month or so. Cameron has been quiet for some time as we have been having nothing but rain. The Big Bear is with Fairmont again this year, hitting to beat the band. Got two homers over center field the other day in one game. He is just a little off in throwing. That is one that is keeping him from going to the big leagues, so they say. Herman Pipes has a big boy. Papa Pipes. He is on the road from (illegible) now with a big touring car. Suppose he will go (illegible). Have ten or 12 here now. I am an orphan now (illegible) are down to Washington and Baltimore. Have been gone two weeks today. The glass factory closed down a week ago. I guess Bert (illegible) is married – at least he took Anna Se away with him. Well, have to cut it now as it is dinner time. Hoping you are all well, I am very truly – Harry.
Postcard from Harry Hopkins - Jan. 21, 1911
Jas. P. – Watch the papers for the Big Bear. Signed with the Phila. Nationals. Goes south next month. (Postmarked Cameron; addressed to Griffithsville.)
Letter to Lulu McBee Murphy - April 20, 1911
My Dear Mrs. Murphy:
I received with profoundest regret the message of your husband's death. I condole with you most sincerely at the sad event. If sympathy of friends can be any consolation under the trying circumstances, be assured that all who knew him share in your sorrow for his loss. Yours very sincerely, Harry H. Howard. (Mailed from Cameron, W.Va. to Mrs. James P. Murphy, Amos, W.Va.)
Letter to Lulu from Dr. Cooper, June 24, 1922
Enclosed find certificate of birth of Joseph Edward Murphy, which I am only too glad to be able to furnish you. I have often thought of yourself and family and wondered where you were living since the death of your husband and my very best friend. Give my kindest regards to your children and advise me if I can be of any further assistance to you at any time. Cordially yours, James E. Cooper. (From Dr. James E. Cooper, Cameron, W.Va.)