Rena Mathews’ Autograph Book
1890s

Transcribed 2009 by David McC. Mackey, great-nephew & owner of the book.


Autograph Book

     This is a transcription of the autograph book of Sarah Lurene “Rena” Mathews Bonar who grew up in the Big Run area (Liberty District), near Cameron, in Marshall County, West Virginia. The book is about 7 inches wide and 4 ½ inches high. It has an embossed burgundy colored paper-covered pasteboard cover with gold trim. The cover says “Autographs” and has naturalistic designs of birds, insects and a fish. The autograph pages are of a poor-quality paper, now yellowed and deteriorated. All the pages are detached, so the page transcriptions below are not necessarily in the original order, and they likely were not in strict chronological order originally. Oddly, a couple of the inscriptions seem to be written from Rena to herself. On a few pages there are notes – “moved away,” “now married” – which she added later. [Original misspellings and punctuation have been retained.]

Rena, born April 10, 1878, in Marshall County, was the daughter of David A. and Mary A. (Stricklin) Mathews. She married Melvin Edgar “Edd” Bonar, and died December 4, 1945.

[inside front cover]
{illegible] Mathews
Cameron W Va
Presented to
[Miss?] Rena
Dec 25.1890.
Christmas gift
August -23-1894
standing army

Big Run Cameron, W.Va.
Friend Rena
In this book so pure and white
Let none but friends present [sic; “presume” intended?] to write
And may each line in friendship given
Direct the leaders [sic; ”reader’s” intended?] thought to heaven
Miss Rena Mathews
Cameron
West Va.
Your friend
Pearl Howard
Dec. 25 90

Dec. 30-90
I wish you health
I wish you wealth
I wish you golden store
I wish you heaven when you die
What could I wish you more
Rena,
Remember me when
This you see
Rena
Miss Rena Mathews
Cameron W. Va.

Aug. the 31 – 1891
Married now
Rena
When the gold sun is
Setting and your heart is
Free from care when ore [sic]
A thousand things your [sic]
are Thinking sometimes think of me.
G. F. Mathews
[on side of page:] G. F. Mathews, Bellton, W. Va.

April 23, 1893
Miss Rena
When on this page in
future you cast your smile
Perhaps your tears Remember
it was a friend sincere
That left her kind remibrance [sic]
here.
Your Friend
Ota Bonar
[Ota Bonar (1876-1964), married William E. Mackey (1873-1937). According to the 1880 U.S. census for Liberty District, her family and Rena’s were near neighbors. Ota’s brother Edd became Rena’s husband.]

Aug. 20, 1893
Miss Rena,
When far away and
Friends are few,
Remember me and
I will you.
Your Friend
Cora Bonar
Cora Bonar Miss
[Cora Bonar (1874-1956), sister of Ota Bonar Mackey, married Joseph Mackey (1869-1953)]

[written diagonally on corner of page]
Wishing you a happy new year
If ever a husband you should have
And he this book should see
Tell him of our youthful days
And kiss him once for me.
[Altie?]
moved away
[written diagonally on another corner:]
Dec. 30..90
Friend Rena,
A wish for a
friend is often given
My wish for you is
a home in heaven.
Your friend
[Jona?]

Dec. 30, 1890
Rena
Plant a rose up on my grave
I’ll love to see it;s [sic] blossom;s [sic]
Wave from my heavenly home
So bright
Yours truly
Rena

[written sideways on page]
Cameron March 29..92
“Dear Coz,”
May he who [__re]
The lillies [sic] and make [sic]
The sparrow fall
Save and protect you
Rena and guide
You safe through
All
Compliments
Minnie Howard

Dec. 30 – 90
Rena
When the absent friend you are thinking
When of others you are thinking too
Will you some times think of me
Remember the miss that scrippled [sic] this
our kind friend and School mate
Ida
[written on side:]
Christmas Gift
Big Run

Remember me when
I am gone and when you
get old think of your
old aunt when I am gone
Elizabeth Mackey
[probably Elizabeth Mathews Mackey (1837-1925), wife of Joseph Mackey (1832-1891]

Big Run Dec. the 30 1890
Sarah Lurene Mathews
Do Good for Evil
and you will never be for goten [sic]
from your father
David A. Mathews

Dec. 30-90
My Daughter
A little health. A little wealth.
A little house in freedom.
A few good friends for certain
And a little use to need them
Your Mother
Mary A. Mathews

Dec 29, 1893
Cameron W Va
Dear friend
Remember me in
the morning. Remember
me at night Remember
me when the sun goes
down and think me out [“of” missing; sic]
sight and dont [sic] forget to write.
Your school mate
[no signature visible]

Jan. [5th?] 91
Teachers sign their name to texts
Merchants sign their names to checks
Fools sign their names to make a laugh
So here goes my name in your Autograph
Your Friend
Ret V. Gartland
Cameron
WVa.
[1900 U.S. census for Liberty District includes a Margaret V. Gartland, b. 1872]

Dec. 30th 90
Your friend Priscilla
Rena
Remember over the river
Remember over the lakes
Remember on your wedding
Day and save me a pease [sic] of your
Wedding cake
Priscilla Baker

Jan. the 27 – 91
Remember me when
Love is sweet
Remember me un till [sic]
We meet and if My
Grave shall Be my Bed
Remember me when i [sic] am Ded [sic]
Yours truly
J. W. Reid
Cameron We[__] V

Dec. 30th
Miss Rena
Think of me long
Think of me ever
Think of the fun
We had together
Your friend and schoolmate
W. A. Gartland
[1900 U.S. census for Liberty District includes a William (no middle initial given) Gartland, b. 1876]

Jan. the 10 1891
Happy is the cat and Happy is the
Kitten and happy is the boy that never gets the mitin [sic]
Remember me when this you See
Joseph Mackey
[Probably Rena’s first cousin, b. 1869, who married Cora Bonar, above]

Cameron W.Va.
Dc. 26th 1890
Renie Mathews
I eat when I am hungry
I drink when I am drie [sic].
When I think of you Dear Renie,
I just set down and cry.
Your School Mate Carrie McCuskey
[written diagonally on same page:]
Renie Mathews
In the storm
of life when
you need an
umbrella may
you have to uphold it
a handsome young fellow.
[1880 U.S. census for Liberty district includes a Caroline McCuskey, b. about 1876]

When Rocks and hills devides [sic] us
And We no More can see
Take a pen and ink and
Right [sic] a few lines to Me
Charles W. Mathews
Martins Ferry, Belmont Co., Ohio
[written sideways on page:]
married now
[1880 U.S. census for Liberty District includes a Charles W. Mathews, son of John and Elizabeth, b. about 1873]

Dec. 30 90
Dear Cousin Dear
Remember me dear Rena
When on this page you look
Remember it was Dora
Who wrote this in your book.
Your cousin Dora F. Howard
Miss Rena Mathews
[written diagonally on page:]
moved away

Miss Rena Mathess [sic; locally, Mathews was often pronounced Mathess]
Remember the
Future Remember the
past Remember the [first?]
bouy [sic] that [__ugid?]
[written sideways on page:]
Miss [illegible] Howard

Miss Rena
May your life be long and like a song
With never a sorrow or tear
May the Savior send His angels to tend
Thy soul in its moment of fear
Sept. 10.93.
Sister Algie
[Algie Mathews was born about 1874]

Dec. 30. 1890
Forget me not
Friend Renia [sic].
Last in your album
Last in your thought
Last to be rememberd [sic]
And first to be forgot.
Ollie Turner
Cameron

May 18 1894
Miss Rena Mathews
May the angels of peace
Guide you through life
Compliments of
Your friend [__ ___ll]

July the 25.1891.
Miss Rena.
I cannot wish you greater Joys
Than others here express,
But I respond with every power
To wish you ever blest.
Ever your friend &
well wisher
[written sideways on page:]
Miss Rena Mathews
Cameron WVa

12, 30, 1890
Friend Rena.
Remember me is all I ask,
And if rememberence [sic] be a task,
Forget me.
Yours with best wishes,
Nannie B. McCuskey
[1880 U.S. census for Liberty District includes a Nannie McCuskey, b. about 1869]

Jan the 11 1891
True friends are like diamonds
Precious but rare
False ones like autumn leaves
Found evry [sic] where
[J. W.?] Quigley
[1880 U.S. census for Liberty District includes a John W. Quigley, b. about 1870]

My friend.
Remember well and bear in
mind a prety [sic] boy is hard to find
for when you find one with the
cash go to him and make a mash.
Very respectful
Jennie McCuskey
Dec. the 26 1890
[written upside-down across a top corner:]
McMechen WVa

Cameron Jan. 7th 1891
Be careful what you say
Speak once and think twice
don’t judge a man by the
clothes he wears for God
made one and the tailor
the other
J. W. Howard
[1880 U.S. census for Liberty District lists a James W. Howard, b. about 1865, as a next-door neighbor of Rena’s family]

Big Run Feb the 8 1891
Speak kindly to the old for there [sic]
Short life is more precious than gold
O. B. Howard
[on same page:]
Dar [sic] Jennie
Dec. 29.92
When you get tired of life
And all of it’s [sic] scens [sic]. go
Down in the garden and
hide in the beans.
Maggie.

Friend Rena [written over; original name started with “L”]
Dec. 30/90
When you are old and canot [sic]
see put on your specks [sic] and think of me
Your friend & Schoolmate
Bernene McCuskey

Friend Rena
Remember the future
Remember the past.
Remember the boy you kiss last.
Yours truly
Ottie Harris
Loudensvill [sic]
Marshall Co
West Va

May 12, 1891
My Dear Friend,
When you are seting [sic] all alone Reflecting on
The past Remember that you have
a friend that will forever last
Written By Your Friend
May McCormick
McCracken Pa
[written on corner of page:]
Married now

Cameron W Va
Jan 2 [or 21] 1891
Around goes the world.
The album the same.
In it for me to write my name.
I would write better if I could.
But nature said I never should.
Compliments of
C. D. Howard
[There are three Charles Howards (no middle initials) listed in the 1880 U.S. census for Liberty District, with birth dates of about 1870, 1869 and 1867]

Big Run Feb. 8 1891
Rena Mathews
May virtue and truth be with you
in youth and catnip and sage cheer
up your old age.
Yours truly
L. Stricklin
[1880 U.S. census for Liberty District lists a Lettie L. Stricklin, b. about 1873]

Big Run January 6, 1891
Rena Mathews
Long to memory will your name be dear
Wherever I roam your image will be near
Lee Howard
Cameron W Va
[1880 U.S. census for Liberty District lists a Leroy Howard, b. about 1869]

Big Run
R.M.
I live for those who loves
Me whose hearts so
Kind and true and heaven
That smiles a bove [sic] me and
wake my spirit to.
Your Friend and School mate
[L.?] A. Mathews [written down side of page:] First to be forgot [written down other side of page:] dc. 30. 18-90

Big Run
Cameron W Va
Friend Rena
In this book so pure and white
Let none but friends present [sic; “presume” intended?] to write
And may each line in friendship given
Direct the leaders [sic; should be “reader’s”] thought to heaven
Miss Rena Mathews
Cameron
West Va
Your friend
Pearl Howard
Dec. [25th?] 90

Rena
Remember me when
This you see
Yours truly
Rena
[written diagonally across corner:]
I Wish you health
I Wish you wealth
I Wish you golden store I Wish you heaven when you die
What could I Wish you more
[written diagonally across another corner:]
Miss Rena Mathews
Cameron W Va

[written sideways on page]
Friend Rena
Remember the future
Remember the past
Remember the boy that you
Kissed last.
Compliments of
S. E. Lowe
Big Run
Remember the miss
That scribbled this
Miss Rena Mathews
Cameron W Va
Miss Rena

[written sideways on page]
McMechen [very faint; may have been erased]
Mifs [using old style for double S] Rena.
When your Album is
Yellow with age and
The name that is
Wrote here is dim on
The page still think of
me ever and do not
Forget that where ever
I am I’ll remember
you yet.
Jan. 31th [sic] 1891
Written by
an unknown
friend
Yours sincerely
Cameron
W Va

[inside back cover:]
Round is the ring
That has no end
So is my love for
You my friend
Bess

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