Jacobs, Lila and Belle
Collection of Correspondence of sisters, Lila and Belle Jacobs, written while attending school at Dalton, Massachusetts, to their parents Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Dyer Jacobs, of East Windsor, Massachusetts, 1893-1895.

86 letters, comprising 607 manuscript pages, most with envelopes, written in ink, pencil, with a couple typed. The letters are written in legible hands. The letters are written by Lila and Belle Jacobs mainly to their mother, but also to their father. The collection includes the following: 15 letters, 88 pages, dated 1893; 42 letters, 287 pages, dated1894; 24 letters, 205 pages, dated1895; 5 letters, 27 pages, undated; 3 postcards; and 2 pieces of paper ephemera, which are from the same time period.

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While the envelopes tend to be addressed to their mother at East Windsor, Massachusetts, the actual letters themselves are generally addressed to "Mama and Papa" or "Dear ones at home." The letters written by Lila and Belle are written while the girls are away for three years studying at Dalton High School in Dalton, Massachusetts, which is about 7 miles distance from where the family lived in East Windsor. The girls are staying with family (an aunt and uncle) while they attend school. The relationship between the girls and the aunt and uncle is problematic. The letters are filled with information about their school activities, pastimes and activities outside of school, family news, longing to come home, their friends, teachers, and troubles with their aunt and uncle, etc.


Lila and Belle's mother, Eliza Hathaway Jacobs, was born about February 1858 in Massachusetts and died on 25 January 1920 at the age of 62. She married Oscar D. Jacobs about the year 1877. Mrs. Jacobs and Oscar had four children together, one of which (Maud) was dead by the time the 1900 Census was taken. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Jacobs were Maud Francis Jacobs (1891-1891), Middleton R. Jacobs (1896 -1969), Lila Jacobs (1879-1932), and Belle Jacobs (1878-1957).


Eliza's husband, Oscar Dyer Jacobs, was the son of Richard (1825-1887) and Drusilla Jacobs (1833-1892), of Windsor, Massachusetts. Like his father, Oscar was a farmer. His father came to Massachusetts from New York State. Oscar was born on 19 November, 1851 and died 17 December, 1922. Near the end of his life, he was initiated into the Globe Lodge of the Freemasons.  Both Oscar and his wife Eliza are buried in the East Windsor Cemetery.


Besides farming, Jacobs served Windsor as a selectman. Oscar is also found as President of the Beechmont Independent Telephone Company, which was organized in January of 1906. Its principal business office was in East Windsor. The company began service in February of 1906 and provided service to the towns of Cummington, Peru and Windsor. The company was a rather small operation, with capital paid in at $500.00, and the number of stockholders numbering only eight. They did turn a surplus of $185.95 by June of 1909. They had 6 miles of line and wire, with 11 subscribers and a total of 13 "instruments" (phones).


Lila and Belle Jacobs graduated from the Dalton High School in June of 1895, the year the letters stop. The class of 1895 consisted of seven students in all. Belle read an essay at the graduation commencement exercises, while Lila was valedictorian.


Lila Jacobs, is shown as a school teacher on the 1900 Census. She married in 1908 to Floreen V. Tournier (1884-1958), a farmer, from Windsor. He was the son of Joseph T. Tournier (1837-1914) and Mary Chevillot (1849-1914). After Lila's death on 28 August 1932, she was buried at East Windsor Cemetery, the same cemetery as her parents and siblings. She had a plot with her husband.


Just after this correspondence finishes, the other daughter, Belle Jacobs, married on 3 July 1897 to Gardner Lester Miner (1866-1937), a farmer, at Windsor. Miner served the town as a selectman. Belle had two children, Drusilla and Elizabeth. Belle and her husband were enumerated two households away from her parents in the 1900 and 1910 Census in Windsor, but by 1920 the couple and their small family had moved a little further away and by 1930 had moved to Dalton, Massachusetts, where Belle had gone to school previously.  Belle's husband stopped farming and became a merchant, and then later a chauffer. He was a member of the United Order of Workmen at Dalton. Belle also went to work as a bookkeeper for the Ford & Parker Store, where she retired in 1943 and eventually died at Memphis, Tennessee in1957.