Garber Family Letters, 1901-1936

Creator: Garber family.
Collection number:
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Abstract: Members of the Garber family lived in Mount Jackson, Shenandoah County, Va. J.S. Garber worked on a labor gang and for the United States Corps of Engineers at sites in Fort Stevens, Or.; Fort Assiniboine, Mont.; and Fort Columbia, Wash. J.W. Garber, brother of J.S. Garber, lived with his wife and children on a farm in Mount Jackson, where they planted and harvested grain, fruits, and vegetables, and raised and sold livestock. He also served as a Republican town supervisor and often traveled to Richmond, Va., to solicit funds for his school district. J.W. Garber had at least two sons, W. Hoyle Garber and Robert Lee Garber, and a daughter, Eve Garber. J.S. Garber and J.W. Garber had a brother, Isaac N. Garber, who attended Bridgewater College in Virginia, and possibly one sister, who married Harry Strickler in 1935 and lived in Luray, Va. The collection consists of about 230 letters, chiefly to J.W. Garber from his brother, J.S. Garber, and from J.W. Garber to his son, W. Hoyle Garber. Letters, 1901-1908, from J.S. Garber to J.W. Garber were written chiefly while J.S. Garber’s traveled across the country for his job. Topics include inquiries about social and family news from home; the weather; his opinions on the various states in which he traveled, including Ohio, Oregon, North Dakota, New York, Montana, and Virginia; the dangers of his work at various installations; politics, including his thoughts on the Russo-Japanese War; the sale of land and crops; comments on African Americans; a description of the death of a young woman during an abortion; and the hiring of hands. Letters, 1932-1936, were written by J.W. Garber to his son, W. Hoyle Garber, while the latter was attending college at Randolph Macon Academy and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Topics include the sale of local farms and land, Grange meetings, local politics and economy, and Hoyle’s education. There are also several letters from Hoyle’s siblings and friends. Topics include general news from home, farm work, rabbit hunting and trapping, social activities, and the high school in Mount Jackson. Also included are a few miscellaneous newspaper clippings and a photograph of two unknown men in military uniforms.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: Garber comments on African Americans throughout his correspondence. A letter of 17 July 1904 references the Russo – Japanese War, and makes disparaging comments about African Americans.

A letter dated 20 November 1904 discusses race relations, politics, and the national presidential election.

Letters from 1 February, 5 February  and 8 February 1906 discuss African American laborers in Mason, Va., and an African American neighbor of Garber’s with knowledge of horses.