Picture of Verne Garrison, ca. 1914

Posted by Preston G. on August 2, 2011 at 1:26 pm
Aug 022011

I found this picture in a letter that Verne sent to Dorothy in Feb. 1915. Verne and his father had moved to San Simon, N.M. in Jan. that year to homestead land from the government. This picture looks to have been taken in Dallas before they left, so I deduce it to be around Christmas of 1914, and Verne sent it to Dorothy after his friend Hartwell made the print in Dallas. She was at UT Austin in the school years of ’14-’15 and ’15-’16.

Verne had apparently become smitten with Dorothy sometime before the summer of 1914. She spent most of the summer out of town, first in Sweetwater for 2 weeks and then with another family on a trip to Michigan from July 9-early Sept. He wrote a large number of tender and somewhat nervous letters to her that summer, and she was writing him back, although not as often as she had promised before leaving.

He burned all Dorothy’s letters at her insistence, possibly because her parents were not too keen on this young man of modest circumstances who had lost an arm, and she wanted the evidence that she was writing to him destroyed. I’m guessing that D.’s parents arranged for her to be out of town most of the summer to discourage this romance, but the letter burning may have just been the normal young adult desire for some privacy. There was also the problem that Verne’s mother would go through his drawers and read any letters he didn’t destroy.

V. was in Dallas during the fall of ’14. He apparently had agreed with D. to only write once a month during the school year. There apparently had been some discussion of the Garrisons buying a fruit orchard in Arkansas, and V. considered buying one himself. He also was learning the dairy business by working on a friend’s dairy farm outside Dallas, and he actually made an offer on some land. Howeever by late ’14 he decided to go with his father to homestead in San Simon, AZ. He got his own 800 acre tract of land and started to build a “shack” and put in a well.

V.’s successive interest in orchards, dairy farming, farming, schoolteaching, raising cattle and horses, telegraphy and assay chemistry reminds me of my own succession of majors in college. He was trying a bunch of things, looking for something that felt right and promised enough success to marry D. without her facing a future of hard physical labor. D. was expressing her desire to join him and get married, but he didn’t want her to face a hard life that she wasn’t accustomed to.

In March, ’15 he returned to Dallas for 3 weeks. He hoped to return via Austin and see D., but apparently this didn’t happen. Carl was with him when he returned to San Simon near the beginning of April.
It’s not clear if Carl had gone out with William and V. in Jan. or not. V.’s mother Beall and Gwen came out sometime soon after V. and Carl returned to San Simon.

Preston G.

Retired biochemist. One of 16 grandchildren of Verne Garrison and Dorothy Logan Garrison.

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