Authors: Susan Leigh Carlton
Susan Leigh Carlton about 25,000 words
Mail Order Bride Series
Susan Leigh Carlton 2014
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
This book contains Material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book May be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author / publisher
This book contains Material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book May be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author / publisher.
Texas has a longstanding reputation as a rough and tumble state. Texans have more pride in their heritage than any place I have ever been and I have visited forty-seven of the fifty states. The state fought for and won their independence from Mexico, then joined the union as a republic, with the privilege of being able to divide into as many as five other states. Nowhere is their reputation better illustrated than in the Texas Rangers. (The law enforcement agency, not the baseball team.)
The true story is told of a mayor of a Texas town asking the Rangers for assistance in quelling a riot. The mayor was aghast when the aid arrived in the person of a single Ranger. “They only sent one Ranger?” he asked. The Ranger replied, “One Ranger, One Riot”.
It is said Texas floats on a sea of oil. One of the most famous oil discoveries was Spindletop,
January 10, 1901, at a depth of 1,139
ft (347 m), what is known as the Lucas Gusher or the Lucas Geyser blew oil over 150 feet (50 m) in the air at a rate of 100,000 barrels per day (16,000 m
/d) (4,200,000 gallons). It took nine days before the well was brought under control. Spindletop was the largest gusher the world had seen and catapulted Beaumont into an oil-fueled boomtown.
This story is set in Marshall and Beaumont, Texas. Marshall is slightly less than 200 miles from Beaumont. Oil was discovered in the area in 1930. For my story, I took the liberty of changing the date to 1901, in order to offer a sequel to my ebook, “The Widow Finds Love.”
This is the story of the Thomas family, originally cotton farmers, and how their life changed when oil is discovered. It is primarily based on Jonathon, Rebecca and Cassie Thomas, the children of the “yours, mine, and ours” blended family of Clint and Sarah Thomas.
In the story, Jonathon is the youngest of the siblings. He is a brilliant engineer, but is a loner. He doesn’t want to collaborate with anyone. He is upset when a new employee, Laura Ingram is assigned to work in Beaumont, with Jonathon as her mentor. Jonathon takes a desperate step to avoid working with her. His actions come back to haunt him when he falls in love with Laura, possibly destroying the budding love they have for each other.
Read on, to see how they resolve their differences…
Marshall, Texas is a small, lazy
, east Texas town, founded in 1841. Primarily an agricultural community, it is populated with farms devoted to the growing of cotton.
The Thomas family was one of the pioneering families of Marshall, relocating to the area from Alabama. Their two children, Clint and Suzy remained in the area, with Clint inheriting the family farm, while Suzy married Arthur Johnson, a local farmer.
Clint’s wife, Ruth gave birth to Cassie, two years before Clint left to fight in the Civil War. Wounded at Vicksburg, Clint was captured and remained a prisoner of war until the hostilities ended, when he returned to Marshall and his family. Less than a year after he returned, his wife, worn down physically from the struggle of maintaining the farm and raising of Cassie, contracted pneumonia and passed away.
Clint’s sister, Suzy provided an invaluable assistance in the early upbringing of Cassie, but Cassie wanted a mother, often posing the question, “Papa, will I ever get another Mama?” to her father. Her pleas tore at his heart strings, and in desperation, he placed an ad in The Matrimonial News, a newspaper filled with ads placed by both men and women seeking life mates.
The war had decimated the male population in the East and South, while there was a dearth of females in the west. Names and addresses of those placing the ads were kept private by the editor of the paper until authorized by the advertisers. Communications were through the editor, using a reference number assigned by the editor. Clint’s ad was assigned number 2624.
* * *
Yorkville, is a small rural community in upstate South Carolina. Cotton farming is the center of the Yorkville economy. During the war, York County paid the highest price of any county in the state, with twenty percent of the 4,974 adult males being killed in action.
Sarah Hutchison was one of the many widows created by the war. She lost her husband, John, in 1861, leaving her with a daughter, Rebecca and a cotton farm. Sarah managed to keep the farm going, with the aid of her father and neighbors.
Property taxes were raised steeply during the reconstruction era, and in 1868, unable to pay the taxes, Sarah and her daughter were evicted by the county sheriff, and moved back to live with her parents.
Wanting a husband, and a father for Rebecca, Sarah evaluated her prospects and decided she had none, and placed an ad in The Matrimonial News, and was assigned reference number 2920.
After exchanging several letters, and authorizing release of their names and addresses, Clint invited Sarah and Rebecca to visit with Cassie and himself. Sarah accepted the invitation, and after exchanging tearful goodbyes with their families, she and Rebecca traveled to Texas.
Sarah and Rebecca received a warm welcome from Clint and Cassie, when they arrived in Texas. Cassie immediately adopted Rebecca and acted as her protector and guide. Sarah found Clint to be a personable individual and a good father. They were married in the local Baptist church the following Sunday.
A growing respect and love for each other developed, and together they made a new life for themselves and their blended family. In 1870, following one ill fated pregnancy, Sarah gave birth to Jonathon, a robust, happy baby, immediately embraced by his two sisters.
After overcoming a plague of cotton worms, using Sarah’s idea of a cotton duster, the farm prospered, with an increasingly higher number of bales. Clint and Sarah added substantial acreage to their farm, while continuing to grow and sell their cotton to the growing demands of the market.
“Mama,” the eighteen year old Cassie began, “I want to be a doctor.” Sarah was taken aback. She had never
even heard of a woman doctor.
“I don’t think a woman can be a doctor, Cass. I’ve never heard of one,” Sarah said.
“Yes, ma’am, they can. There is a medical school in New York for women. I wrote them a letter and they asked for my school records. Mama, I want this, I want to be a doctor,” Cassie said.
“You haven’t talked to your Papa about this, have you?” Sarah asked.
“No, ma’am, I wanted to talk to you first, and get you to help me convince him,” Cassie said.
Cassie and Sarah joined Clint in the living room. “Papa, I need to talk to you about something important to me,” Cassie said.
“Okay, I’m here, what’s on your mind, that sounds so serious?” he asked.
“Will you wait until I finish before you say anything, please?” she asked.
“Now you really have my attention. Go ahead,” he said.
“I want to be a doctor,” she said. “When I finish at Baylor, I would like to go to medical school.
“There is a medical school in Syracuse, New York and they admit women. I have two more years at Baylor and if there isn’t anything in Texas by then, I want to enroll there. I’ll get a job to help cover the expenses,” she said with a rush.
“You’ve talked to your Mama, I guess?” he asked.
“I have, and she told me how hard it would be, and I should talk to you too. I really want this, Papa.”
“Why do you want to be a doctor?” he asked.
“I like to help people, and I think I will make a good doctor,” she said.
“You know me well enough to know I would never say no outright. What I ask, is you do your best at Baylor, and then we’ll talk about it again.
“I don’t like the idea of my daughter moving all of the way to New York, and living among strangers. It bothers me. How can I protect you when you are that far away?”
“I can’t stay here on the farm under your protection my whole life. You always knew I would move away some day,” Cassie said.
“That’s true,” Clint said. “I just didn’t anticipate it would be about as far north as you can get and still be in the country.
“Where would you want to be a doctor? Or have you even thought about that far in advance?”
“At the rate Texas is growing, there will be a need for doctors, especially in Houston and Dallas. I like the idea of teaching too.”
“I’ll make you a deal. In your senior year, we’ll talk about it again. If you still want medical school and if there are none closer than New York, then we’ll see about it. How’s that sound?”
“Thank you, Papa. All I want is the chance. I’ll make it work.”
* * *
Home for the Christmas holidays, Cassie decided it was time to revisit her dream. “Papa, I still want to go to medical school. I have done a good bit of research on this and written to some schools. Harvard does not admit women to its medical school. Syracuse still does, Right now, there is a lot of talk about the University of Texas establishing one, but it hasn’t happened yet.
“Tulane University is one of the largest medical schools in the country and it has admitted women. New Orleans is a lot closer than New York. What do you think about that?” she asked.
“If you’re going to do this, then I want you to it the right way, not just something to make me happy.”
In June, 1882, Cassie Thomas graduated Magna Cum Laude from Baylor University. Cassie and Sarah traveled to New Orleans, where Cassie would apply for admission to medical school. “Why do you want to be a doctor, Miss Thomas?” the Registrar of Tulane Medical School asked. “Your curriculum vitae from Baylor is one of the most impressive I’ve seen. With this record you can be anything you want. Frankly, I think you will have trouble being accepted by the professors and your fellow students. The law would be a much better choice for you. Did you consider that?”
“I did consider law,” she replied. As a matter of fact, my sister is studying law at the University of Texas. I don’t want to be a lawyer. I want to be a doctor.”
“Against my better judgement, I am going to approve your application. I hope you appreciate the extent of commitment medicine requires. It will be years before you can begin to practice. In that time, you will have to endure impossibly long hours and the scorn of your fellow students for horning in on what is for the most part an all male domain.”
“Thank you, sir. I can handle it,” Cassie said confidently.
That fall, she entered Tulane Medical School in New Orleans, one of three women in the class, and the only one from Texas.
In a letter to her mother, Cassie said, “The academic part of school is not difficult but requires a lot of memorization. Luckily, I have always had a good memory and it helps tremendously. What is hard to cope with is the resentment. Mama, I have had men tell me I have no business being here, it’s a man’s world and I don’t belong in it, Right now, I’m at the top of the class, and I still have trouble finding a partner for the lab work. One of the girls in the class has already changed her major. They’re not going to run me off.” If determination could be seen on paper, it was there on her face.
Back in Marshall for Christmas vacation, Rebecca told her, “I’m running up against a lot of the same things. Fortunately, we have more females in our class than you have in yours, so at least I have people I can talk to.
“Are you seeing anyone?,” Rebecca asked her sister.
“I don’t have time to see anyone,” Cassie replied. “What with all of the classes and lab work, and the hospital time, there aren’t many spare minutes. What about you? Anyone special?”
“Not really,” Rebecca said. “A group of us study together and there’s a couple of men in it, but they don’t pay any attention to me. I’m invisible.”
“Sis, you could never be invisible. If they don’t see you, they’re blind.”
“They must be blind, then. Why don’t you switch to law and we can set up our practice together? The Thomas girls would kill the competition,” Rebecca said. “You could switch and be in practice in two years. You have, what? At least four more years before you can practice?”
“That’s about right. I’m hoping to be able to practice in Texas. I miss all of you more than I can tell you.”