These letters were submitted by Jean
The following letters were written by: May Sturgess daughter of Andrew Jackson Sturgess and Susan Patterson early settlers in Vancouver.

Letters were written to her younger sister Mabel Sturgess (my grandmother) living with her married sister Laura Sturgess Harris in Vancouver at the time

May Sturgess   b. 1865  Clark Co. WA. m. Clarence Vail June 6, 1885 witness was Peter Crawford d. March 28, 1898, bur. Old  City Cemetary Vancouver, WA

Sunday July 22,1888  Kelso

I received your letter this morning.  I thought you was not going to answer it; it seemed a long time since I wrote you It had rained here a good deal but for more than a week it had been very hot last Tuesday I thought I would melt most every afternoon and evening there is a nice breeze but that day it did not blow a bit and Clarence went to Vac that day to and I was so lonesome I guess it seemed warmer to; he was gone to nights and I and Sadie (note: Sadie a baby half sister that May had taken to raise after Sadies 
mother had passed away) stayed a lone all the time I would have give a bitt to had you for company I got so lonesome I cryed and Sadie did not know what to make of it; he is going to Portland again in about a week I expect I will go crazy.  I wish I had some of your garden truck it is hard to get here everybody have lovely gardens but dont sell any of it next year we will have one of our own if we live to need garden's everything grown fine here makes me anxious to have a garden I expect I will be planting it this winter I 
want you to save me some flower seeds any kind.

Well I said I would tell you about the town this time I dont know what to tell there are two stores and Post Office is in one the other one is quite large with a Hall over it yet there was a concert and Magic Lantern Show last night we did not go Clarence was to tired and Sadie was not well she was sick all night but was better today.  there are two Butcher shops a candy and tobacco  store together they do not bake their own bread but get it from Portland on the train.  I wish you children could see the trains you would like to watch them sometimes seven or eight in one day once I counted 38 cars in onetrain I liked to watch them at first but have got tired of them now saw so many the track is about 3 blocks from the house the station is quite a little ways below the town.  I dont know how many houses there are here there are 3 or 4 hundred people I suppose Parker had told you all about the Church it is on the hill back of our house the school house is just one block from us.  they are talking of building a seminary here they have a good school here 75 scholars they had school this year from last September till a bout the middle of June I am going to ask dave (Harris) to let you or Asa (an older brother of Mabels) one come down and go to school next year it commences in September again Mr. Pratt that use to be down to La Center teaches he lives here.  I wish you children were here we would climb on top of the big rock has Parker told you about it; it is just a 
block from us to, just by the school house it nearly covers a block and 50ft high one side is nearly straight up and one side slopes so any one could climb up, there is a Hotel and another being built.  how are you getting a long with your music you must practice lots to keep a head of Laura  (an older sister)  dont let her beat and play for Dave he likes to hear; you so well you remember what he said that time to Muligan.
Write soon love to all from yours with love   May

Note: second letter to follow with brief explaination.

Kelso  November 6 1888 Tuesday evening Election Day

Dear sister Mabel:

I have been putting off writing till I had more time so I will take time and try and write some there are not much to write that would be of interest to you as you know nobody here that would be of intertest to you as you know nobody here I will send up some of the papers that are printed here they will tell you more about the place than I can.  Asa was down 3 or 4 weeks ago I dont remember just how long it had been he came down on Saturday and stayed till Monday he came alone said he was afraid he would not get off the right place; Clarence has been up twice lately he did not have time; the first time, he went up again Sunday just got  home to day he intended to go down to your house Sunday night and stay all night but he said it was nearly dark when he got to Vancouver and it was so mudy and he is not very well nor hasnt been for some time he looks bad he is quite poor it worries me so it makes one homesick sometimmes.  he went up to see about buying one of Miner's lots we have sold our house and lot so we want to buy another lot and build another house.  we did not like the situation of this lot and we made enough out of the sale to build a larger and better house we made a clear profit of $l75 so we thought we had better sell; Clarence wanted

part missing

he gave me one I will ask him next time I see him and if he did not I will tell him to; are you going to school how far is the school house from your house who teaches are you taking music lessons since you moved; how does Laura like-------missing--------Comes up he said he would go down to see; you folks every time he went up but did not do it if he dont next time ill drive him off the first time he comes to our house.

Write soon love to all     May

Note: Hope this lady did not talk the same way she has written her letters, hardly a breath pause.  I wrote the letters just as they appeared in text.

My grandmother Mabel was only a week old when her mother died and the family of six children were  scattered.  She seemed to be close to her sister May and was only about 11 years old when these letters were written.  May died at the age of 27 years so my grandmother always treasured these letters.
Hope they help someone in some way.  Jean

I also have a very nice formal picture of Clarence, May and baby Sadie and a picture of Clarence Vail alone if any one is interested.

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