(written Tuesday, August 13, 2002 by Arnold Worsley)


The following pages were transcribed from a box of letters I found in the space above the garage at 1302 Dancy St., Tarboro, NC, in 1998. They are the correspondences of my grandparents, Jim and Irene Arnold, as well as some others who were involved along the way. I have spent many hours typing them in hopes that the words will survive me and become a legacy to my grandparents. The documents below are arranged in chronological order. I only actually knew Jim and Irene Arnold during the last twenty years or so of their lives. Seeing them when I was a child, I got the impression that they often seemed angry at each other. But now I know that this was a controlled kind of passion resulting from years of familiarity. It was simply an honest form of communication. I also remember that they sometimes referred to each other by the nickname ďSon,Ē but I never understood that! These letters introduced me to them in a way I never expected to experience. They were young, passionate, and insecure about love as we all are at first.


Irene's house in May, 2000

The house in which Irene lived with her mother and Sister Ellen is now numbered 505 Walnut St. (instead of 305 as it is in these letters). I have found by looking at microfilm of street maps in Tarboro that the houses on Walnut St. were renumbered sometime during the 1920s. That house still stands today and is in better shape than many on that street that are not as old.

The Reverend Bertram Brown married Jim Arnold and Irene Pitt on March 18, 1916. Irene had just turned 20 and Jim was 23. My mother Josephine Pitt Arnold was born August 13, 1917 (85 years ago today).


404 Walnut St. in May, 2000

The 1920 Census shows them boarding with a Mrs. Martin on Philips Street in Tarboro. Jim was a railroad conductor. Lena Pitt, Ireneís widowed mother, also lived with them. By 1930 they were all living back on Walnut Street in a house Jim built at 404 Walnut St. about a block from the house where Irene lived when these letters were written. Ireneís sister Ellen had moved back in with them by then and stayed in their household until her death in 1959.

I have some advice to anyone reading this. Donít forget your elder relatives! Find out all you can from them before they are gone. A lot of the way you are comes from the way they are. There are so many questions I could have asked Irene and Jim when I was typing this, but it is now thirty years too late. Jim died in 1971. Irene died in 1973.



Arnold Worsley

129 Alston Lane

Tarboro, NC 27886

From Alice Gay, 100 E. Main St., Richmond, Va. Pencil on lined tablet pages.

Postmarked: May 18, 1914, Richmond VA 2:00 AM

Postmarked: May 19, 1914, Wilson, NC 1:00 PM

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Capple [Apple?][1] Rocky Mt.

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, c/o Imperial Hotel, Wilson, NC


Richmond, Va.


Dear James,

Hope you are feeling fine. I have been sick every since Iíve been here. But am feeling a little better now.

When are you going back to Rocky Mt. to stay? I wish I was back there, for I donít like Rich. like I used to.

You must come to Rich. to see me some time. I would be glad to see you.

When you go to R. Mt. tell Nellie and Maud hello.

Gee but I am lonesome. Lilly and Otis Lamb are over in South Richmond so I am here all alone. I havenít been to a show since Iíve been here.

Well be good.



100 E. Main St.

Richmond Va.

[no envelope] In pencil on one piece of stationery folded.

Rocky Mt. N. C.

April 12, 1914

Well Dear heart have you forgotten me so soon? I went down to the station to meet [train #] 89. But I didnít see you anywhere. Why didnít you come round to see us?

Guess you and your little Tarboro girl are the same once more. Well James I have never told you not to make up with her now have I? And if you have gone back to her I wish you both the best of luck. And if you have not gone back to her will you? Of course itís none of my business but as you are mad with me I think you could be happy with her.

So if you never expect to see me any more please send me my rings. And donít do me like you have done Maud about a certain matter but send them to me at once. I am looking for them by return mail.

Yours truly,



From Alice Gay, #2013 E. Venable St., Richmond, VA

Postmark: Richmond, VA, Sept. 6, 1914, 2:00 AM

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, c/o Y. M. C. A., Rocky Mt. NC


Richmond VA



Dear James,

I have found out where my ring is and James I donít think you treated me right at all about it.

Want you please give it to mama, or tell Irene to give it to Nellie?

I donít mind Irene wearing it, am not mad about it, but still I donít think she ought to keep it so long.

Just exchange places with me and stop for a moment and think how you would like for me to take your ring and give it to another boy? You wouldnít like it. I know you wouldnít.

I donít want to part with it for Nellie gave it to me, and wonít you ask Irene to give it to Nellie or return it to you so you can send it to me? Please do.



#2013 E Venable St.

Richmond Va.

From Alice Gay, #2013 E. Venable St., Richmond, VA (Pen on stationery folded.)

Postmark: Richmond, VA, Oct 18, 1914, 2:00 AM

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, c/o Y. M. C. A., Rocky Mt. NC


Richmond VA

Oct. 17, 1914


Dear James,

You old sweet thing! Here I come a writiní at you. Iíve got not heard from you in a long time!

Well you know we arrived safe and sound. I had a lovely time while at home. Am sorry I could not stay longer.

James I want to go to Wilson! Wonít you get off and come after me if itís not too much out of your way and take me to the city of Wilson?

I would be so glad to go. I think you did me dirty while there, went to Wilson and never asked me to go with you.

But never mind youíll be sorry just too late when all my love has turned to hate.

James you know I love you, better than any one else.

I wish you would hurry and get rid of your troubles, what ever they may be. For you know who loves you. Now why do you treat me so badly?

Mr. B. F. Wilson from Norfolk, Va is coming to see me tomorrow. Only wish it were you. Bless your dear heart you are a sweet old boy.

Say James hurry and send me a picture of the Bride & Groom. I am anxious to see how they look. If they look as happy as they really were, I know they will be beans.

You must not forget what you promised me about coming to Richmond. For you know who likes to see you. You are a sweet old James. And Alice loves you even though you did treat her mean.

Nona is here tonight, sitting on the bed reading a letter from Frank Warters.

Your big sis says hello, and come to see us soon.

Well dear James I must say good night. Be sure and send us those pictures and we will do likewise.

Be a good Boy and donít forget



Donít write


From Nellie ___?___, 316 Adams St., Rock Hill, SC (On one folded sheet with ďBerlinísĒ watermark.)

Postmark: Rock Hill, SC, Nov. 7, 1914, 4:00 PM [a Saturday]

Addressed to: Mr. James Arnold, Rocky Mt., NC


Sat. A. M.

Dear James,

I know you will be surprised to hear from me. I am so blue. I feel like I havenít a friend in the world.

I left Wilson today one week ago.

I came home with Cecil. We are both down here without any job or money either. James, while you have a good job stay with it.

If I ever get another one Iíll bet I donít leave it. Mama is nearly worried to death about me being so far from home.

But I canít get back.

When was you in Wilson?

James youíve got no one but yourself and I know you can get the money.

So please send me $10.00, I want to go to work.

And just as soon as I go to work I will send it back to you.

Donít tell anyone I asked you for any money please.

I donít like this place for any thing.

The boys are so common here I wonít go with any of them.

Now James please do what I ask you. You will get it back.

And I must get away from here. I canít stand it.

Hoping to hear from you real soon, I remain as ever.

Your true friend


316 Adams St

Rock Hill, S. C.


From Isadore ___?___ , Box 253, Wilson, NC (On plain cards.)

Postmark: Wilson, NC, Nov. 20, 1914 [a Friday]

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, 1006 Church St., Rocky Mount, NC


Wilson, N. C.

Nov. 20, 1914

I have been so busy this week that I havenít had time to write you even a card. Will try to write a letter tonight. If you donít get it tomorrow donít look for one before Mon. or Tues. for I am going to Smithfield tomorrow night. Will return Sun. night or Mon. A. M.

Went to ďPeg Oí My HeartĒ past night. It was real good.




From Isadore ___?___ , Box 253, Wilson, NC (On one card with a ďWĒ on it.)

Postmark: Wilson, NC, Nov. 28, 1914, 6:00 AM [a Saturday]

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, c/o Parkview Hospital, Rocky Mount, NC


Fri. night

Your letter recíd today. Also recíd the note. Will write you a letter soon.




From Isadore ___?___ , Box 253, Wilson, NC

Postmark: Wilson, NC, Feb. 8, 1915, 10:00 AM [a Monday]

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, c/o Parkview Hospital, Rocky Mount, NC


Wilson, NC

Mon. A. M.


Dear Jim:

I wrote you last night, but left the letter home, so I want you to get one this afternoon, and I am writing another to mail on [train #] 48.

Since writing you Friday night I have called the hospital twice. The head nurse says you are getting along fine. I am glad to know this. I hope you will be able to leave real soon.

I called Mr. Heartsook up last night, and asked if he had been to see you. He didnít even know you were sick. He has promised to go see you when he goes to Rocky Mount again.

Get someone to write me this week and let me know how long you think you will be in the hospital. I want to go see you and think I can go next Sunday, so I want to know where to find you.

I am at the office and lots of work to do so I must ring off.

Love and best wishes for a speedy recovery. Sincerely,


[Also included in the envelope with this letter are two bills from the Parkview Hospital, Inc. Mr. Arnold spent 8 days there, and the total bill was little more than $27.00, including $10 for the operating room, and $16 for room and board.]

To Irene Pitt. Pencil on thin plain folded paper.

Postmark: [unreadable]

Addressed to: Miss Irene Pitt, 305 W. Walnut St., Tarboro, NC


February 26, 1915 [a Friday]

Dear Irene,

Guess this will be a little surprise to you as I have never wrote you but one letter before but I hope to surprise you more than this in the future. Say I am in Charlotte now, have been here for three days but am going to leave here tonight. Though I certainly hate to leave for I am enjoying myself and having the best time. There is only one thing left out and that is if I had always been true to you and only had you down here with me life would be perfict. Listen John[2] and Ollie says hello and Ollie sends her love to you. She says you ought to have been down here this week. Say I hope you will excuse pencil writing for I have been sick you know and am so nervous I just canít write with a pen. Well I must say good bye now for supper is ready and I must go and eat. So please answer real soon to 817 Pender St, Rocky Mt. NC.


James Arnold

From Irene Pitt (In pen on small stationery.)

Postmark: Norfolk & Wilm., ____?____, 1915 [probably Mar. 2, since Monday was Mar. 1]

[placed here because of the reference to Jim being in Charlotte]

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, 817 Pender St., Rocky Mount, NC


Monday Morning


Dear Jim

Your letter received a few days past was more than surprised to hear of you being in Charlotte. I think it was mighty nice of you to go to see your bud once more. Miss Pat Braswell and Mr. Mitchell came over yesterday and that man does try some hard to tease me about you but of course I donít mind talking of you. He said you used to think a lot of me when you and him roomed together. He didnít know about it now. I told him I was sure if you had ever cared it was a thing of the past.

I am not at work this morning, have a terrible headache, but why should I tell you about it for you donít care and no one else I donít guess. But very well perhaps some day when dreams come true some one will care. Mr. Mitchell said I didnít care for any one except _ _ _ _. Wonder how he can tell. Well answer soon, but hope you are not writing because you feel it your duty. I hope you want to write. Always, Irene

From Irene Pitt. In pencil on small lined tablet pages.

Postmark: [no envelope, but an empty envelope is postmarked Sept. 27, 1915 which was a Monday]

Addressed to: [envelope missing, but above envelope is to Mr. J. M. Arnold, c/o J. E. Sanders, Pender St., Rocky Mt., NC]


Sunday morning


I guess you think Iím quite fresh to write you when you havenít written me, but never the less I am writing and I should worry over what you think.

I want to know why you do not send me my ring. I wrote you once and am most sure you received it, and the times I have asked you for the ring and donít guess I would know if I sit and thought all day.

There is only one reason I can think of why you havenít returned it and that of course is because you havenít got it. I know if you did have it you would only be too glad to get rid of it.

Now I want to know if you even intend to return it. Simply say you donít, and I will assure you that you will never be bothered with me anymore.

Of course I canít make you give me back the ring but I thought you might. I can see no reason why you would want to keep it.

Now you must ponder this letter but please send the ring in a letter. You are not obliged to write any unless you are not going to return it. I would be glad of a few lines saying why you wouldnít return it perhaps she wonít care would be only too glad [to] get me out [of] the way. Truly hope I am not in her way. Believe me I can get out of the way all right.

Now I mean for you to return that ring right away.

I guess you knew Annie and Willie was married. Am glad all the Willies are not married though. Ha ha.

Return ring to

305 W. Walnut St

Tarboro, NC

Irene Pitt

P. S. A try to be friends.


From Alice Gay


Postmark: Petersburg, Va. Sept. 30, 1915, 11:30 AM

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, #718 Pender St., Rocky Mount NC


Petersburg Va.



Dear James

I am keeping my promise by writing you.

I arrived home safe and sound but was some tired and sleepy on the following Monday.

I hope you are feeling all right tonight. I am some lonesome.

We moved our boarding house Monday night and I like here fine. We have a real pretty house.

Now James I want you to keep your promise by coming to see me soon.

I am some cold tonight, just like winter. I sure do need my coat that I left home Sunday. I must close as I have written more than you asked me to.

You asked for a post card and I sent a letter.

I am not asking you to write, James, but oh I wish you would.



353 West Washington St.

Petersburg, Va.

From Irene Pitt. In ink on two pieces of folded stationary with a ďPĒ monogram.

No envelope, but because of the contents, this letter sounds like it would be the one that would have inspired Jimís reply in the next letter.


Sunday Evening [probably Sept. 26, 1915]


††††††††††† I guess this will be some what of a surprise to you, but never the less, I am not thinking about what kind of opinion you have of me but I am sure it is a very poor one. I canít tell you when I am with you what kind of opinion I have of you and I donít think it would be safe to put it on paper. So I am sure I never will be satisfied but let us hope so. Remember the old saying we become use to any thing.

††††††††††† But Jim wonít you please do me a favor when I am in Rocky Mt. again please for my sake donít call around to see me, nor either call me over phone if you would always leave me alone and then I could hate you just as much as I ever cared for you. I thought when you were over here in February you couldnít help but mean what you said the tone you spoke in and then too you had just been very sick. I didnít see how you could swear to the lies you told me. Seems to me I would be afraid that God would strike me dead. You told me the last time I was over in your town that there never was a night but what you thought of me. Oh how can you help but think of me. I know if I had treated you as you have me your face would haunt me both day and night. You may receive lots of pleasure out of the life you live but I am sure I am not getting very much out of mine. And I have a dear sweet mother to live for and you havenít[3]. I am sure if you only did have you could never do as you have done. As I have said before you may see pleasure now. But be sure sure your sins will find you out and you will have your finish in due time and I may not be able to be sorry for you. Any way I am working very hard to become to hate you and if you will only leave me alone I am sure I can make a success.

††††††††††† I know you think it silly of me to want to hate you but it is just my disposition and dear heart donít blame me please.

††††††††††† Jim do you ever think of the death Luther had to face and no one to care for him on his death bed. I remember once when I thought I loved him and you came over and how I changed and Jim you knew you didnít care for me as he did and why didnít you leave us alone. I am sure you will have that to suffer for as well as me. It certainly was your fault. Think about my pearl ring the one Ida gave me. I hope I never will see or hear talk of you again and if you ever find my ring of course I will be so glad of it. I heard of your trouble with Bell. Itís too bad you all couldnít agree. I heard from him Monday but he did not mention it. Jim he always spoke so well of you. Nothing hurts me more than you not having any confidence in me. Well please burn this up. Donít show it to your beautiful to be. Irene

††††††††††† If you donít care for the picture burn it also.

To Irene Pitt. In pencil on small lined tablet pages.

Postmark: Norfolk & Wilm., Oct 2, 1915

Addressed to: Miss Irene Pitt, 305 W. Walnut St., Tarboro, NC


Sept. 30, 1915 [a Thursday]


Dear Irene,

Will take great pleasure in answering your letter received Monday. It was quite a surprise but was much appreciated. And the picture, why I canít express my appreciation for that and just think it is real good of you. You know I have put it in a frame and am going to keep it as long as I live. Now little girl I know you are mad with me for the way I have treated you. And I also know I have treated you wrong. But please do not hate me as you told me in the letter you was trying to do for to know that you hated me would be more than I could stand for I do love you little girl and you only. And my excuse for the way I have done will be revealed when I see you again and had the time to tell you. Itís something I have wanted to tell you for the past two years but could not. Now I can and I will if you will let me. And then I hope you will be in sympathy with me instead of being mad. You know I have been a very bad boy for the past four years. But thank God I have reformed and am going to do better in the future. I think it is getting time for me to settle down and I am going to do so if I can make up with you and, if not, why I donít care what becomes of me for thereís no other girl in this world who I care as much for as I do you. So now Irene please donít turn me down for you are a jewel and I canít afford to lose you. If you still love me I wonít lose you either. For I am going to do my very best to win you back again if I can and if I lose you why then my life will be like the shipwrecked barge, casted by the waves upon the shore. The broken spars and shattered decks tell of a ship wreck that is old, a sailor perchance a raft may build to attempt again the treacherous sea. But all within me is dead for hope rebuilds no raft for me. Listen Irene I want to come over sometime soon and I want to know if it will be all right with you. For you told me you wanted me to leave you alone. Now I believe you care a little something for me yet and know I love you as I always have. So why should we live in sadness and darkness all our lives when we can be happy. I say happy, I donít know about you but I know I can never be satisfied in this world without you. Say if you will accept one of my pictures I will gladly send you one in my next letter. Well I guess I will have to close for it is getting very late and am getting a little sleepy. So bye bye and donít forget that I love you yet. Cincerely,

James Arnold

P. S. Please answer real soon for I am just crazy to hear from you again. Bye, Bye, Jim.


To Irene Pitt. In ink on small lined tablet pages.

Postmark: [unreadable, probably October 5, 1915]

Addressed to: Miss Irene Pitt, 305 Walnut St., Tarboro, NC


October 4th, 1915

Dear sweet girl,

You have made me the happiest man in this town by reading the letter I received just a few minutes ago. Little girl I believe there is a chance for me to win the little girl I love more than anything on this earth yet. Irene I have been for the past two years the biggest fool, excuse the expression, but I have been the biggest fool in the world. And now I see it but I hope it is not too late for I want to redeem myself by being twice as good as I have been bad. Say you say you had a letter from Lila and she says I have been over to see her. Yes I went over there on Saturday. I was over with a friend of mine. We was selling papers and we happened to go to Mrs. Sykes and met Lila and a miss Moore. So we went out driving that afternoon and came back and went over again Sunday. We had a very nice time but as for loving Lila thereís nothing to it for there is only one girl in this world I can love and that is you my dear. And so far as Isadore is concerned that is all off for we have never loved I havenít I know. And so I donít write to her anymore. It is only you now little girl that I write to or go to see. I owe miss Lila a letter. I guess I will have to write her one more and that will be all. ďThisĒ I mean, little girl. And there is one thing I ask of you and that is if you love me do not write to ďJohn Bell[4]Ē anymore for I dislike that boy more than any person living. Please do this for me will you. Irene dear heart I donít know just when I will come but I am coming real soon and then I will explain to you everything. And believe me I have something to tell you too. God bless you little girl. I do love you and if you will only take me back once more and love me as I love you, it will be only death that will separate us again. Say I am sending you this picture it is not very good of me but it is the best I have right at present. Will have some made in a few days and send you one of them. Well ďdearĒ will have to close for this time, as it is getting almost time for supper. So will say goodbye with all my love I am


James Arnold


P. S. Please answer real soon as I am real anxious to hear from you. Bye bye, J. M. A.

From Irene Pitt. In ink on large light-blue pages folded.

Postmark: Tarboro, NC, Oct. 4, 1915, 8:30 AM

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, 817 Pender St, Rocky Mt.


For how couldst thou love such as I when thou hast all the world to love and my poor heart can love but you.

Sunday night

My dear Jim,

Your letter to hand yesterday, I beg your most humble pardon for answering so soon. But as I am going to answer I donít see any use waiting.

Jim, you may love me but you know it is hard for me to believe you now. But just the same I am going to trust you just this one time more and now if you prove false this time I am gone forever. Of course a girl is an awful week thing and I may not be able to forget you. But listen, God never intended true love to be wasted so if I forget you Iíll just know I never really loved you.

I just read over the letter you wrote me in Charlotte and I answered and look [at] the way you did about that. You find time to write Isadore. Oh well perhaps there is something that has not been revealed. But Jim for Godís sake if you do not love me be man enough to write and tell me or come over and tell me.

Willie and Ida have just gone and they were teasing me about hearing from you. Just think next Friday three years ago do you remember what I told you? Now listen, I had nerve enough to tell you I didnít care for you then, and I just a wee bit of a girl and now why canít you tell me the truth. Jim, it is so hard for me to have confidence in you how can I have?

I have met several boys since Christmas, some I like as friends only. But Jim there is one that I think at times I could forget you for. But then when I try to forget you it is not quite so easy.

Lila wrote me about you going over to Enfield. Dear heart did you go over to see her. How would you like for me to take her as my pal? I just bet you wouldnít like it would you sweetie?

Jim, I feel like I ought not to have written you first. I just know I did wrong, but never before have I been as blue as I was last Sunday. If I was to be like that one week there would be no Irene for you to trouble with.

I have changed already about hating you. Itís all been my fault because you have never done anything to make me love you. I just would love you in spite of myself and of course disgusted you.

Oh by the way, is Jake[5] in Rocky Mt. now? If so tell him I said next time I was nice enough to give him a little information, he will be nice enough to answer and also tell him I have something very important to say to him before it is too late.

Jim, if you change your mind about answering, for Godís sake drop me just a card and then Iíll know you donít care for me anymore, and lastly dear heart please oh please send me your photo. Be a real good boy here after. I shall live just for an answer.

Always yours,



From Irene Pitt. In pencil on stationery with a monogrammed ďPĒ.

Postmark: Norfolk & Wilm., Oct. 7, 1915

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, 817 Pender St, Rocky Mt.


Thursday night


Dearest one,

Your dear sweet letter received yesterday noon, and it is needless for me to undertake to tell you how much I appreciate it. There is only one thing in life that makes me the least bit blue now, and that is I am afraid you will not hold out as you have started. But listen dear there is times now when I almost forget that you ever mistreated me.

But I donít mean to be throwing up the past at you but you know it is hard for me to forget all. But sweetheart my life is in your hands to make it miserable or make me happy and if you should deceive me again I never intend to be even friends with you again although it will cost me my life.

Ever since Christmas my life has been a burden to me although there is not very many people who notice it for I have always tried to carry a cheerful face while my heart was heavy. My boss said to me just before vacation says, ďIrene old girl what is to matter with you, you donít seem the same girl.Ē I only told him things were not at all like they use to be.

In regards to Mr. Bell if you will only be true I assure you that he will never trouble you again as far as I am concerned. And I surely hope you will drop Lila. I know I went out with her the day of the races and had a time of my life but if it was to go over I surely would not think of going.

You said you did not know just when you would come over. Jim I do not expect too much of you but I do say. If you care for me as you say, you will certainly find time to be off.

You didnít say if Jake was in Rocky Mt. or not now. Jake has treated Leary just as you treated me. I canít see why Leary should have to worry over such a thing because she never has treated no one wrong. She told me she wish him ever happiness, says ďIrene, I do not feel by him as you do Jim.Ē Does he go with Bessie Morris now? Very well just let him go. Heíll also get his finish in due time.

Please answer real soon. I would be so tickled to hear from you again this week.

Always yours,

I. P.

To Irene Pitt. In pencil on small lined tablet pages.

Postmark: Norfolk & Wilm., Oct 15, 1915

Addressed to: Miss Irene Pitt, 305 Walnut St., Tarboro, NC


October 14, 1915


Dear Irene,

Guess you think I am going to be the same old way as before as I have waited so long a time to answer your letter. But you know little girl I have been working so awfully hard for the past few days I havenít felt like writing. So please excuse me will you dear? I believe you will for you know I am working for you dear heart. For what belongs to me I hope will be yours someday. Listen dear you said you hoped I would drop Lila. Why you have your wish right now for I havenít even answered her letter and donít think I will. Say there isnít but one girl in this world for me and that is you and I certainly do believe that you were meant for me for I believe it impossible for me to love any one else. Say you ask me about Jake. He is in Rocky Mount and I told him what you said. As for his going with Miss Morris, I donít know. You know I canít keep up with him. He gets about in too many places for me so I donít know just what to say about him. As you said he will get his in due time just as I have. You know I am beginning to see my mistakes now. And I am going back and try and correct as many as I can. Well little girl I could say a great deal more but I never like to say too much on paper. Iíd rather see you face to face and I can explain things much better. So you can look for me real soon. I will drop you a card and let you know just when I am coming. Say you will excuse pencil writing for I am so sleepy and nervous this morning I can hardly write with anything as I am getting very sleepy. Guess I will have to say bye bye. With much love I am

Ever cincerely,

James Arnold

To Irene Pitt. In pen on small lined tablet pages.

Postmark: Norfolk & Wilm., Oct. 25, 1915

Addressed to: Miss Irene Pitt, 305 Walnut St., Tarboro, NC.


October 23, 1915

Dearest love,

Will try and do better this time. Will not wait so long to answer your sweet letter. I was off last night and have been up all day and I say this is the lonesome and weariest old town in the world. Would have come over to see you but did not have time to let you know. But listen ďdearĒ I am going to change my work a little. I am going to take a job that I will be off every Sunday night so then I can come to see you every Sunday. I havenít changed yet but will soon and as soon as I do I will let you know what day I will come. You know I want to see you more than anyone else in this world. I never thought I would be so anxious to see my sweet little girl as I am. But you know I think more and more of you as the days go by. You are the jewel of my heart. And if you still love me as I love you darling, why it would kill me to lose you. And I am going to do everything in my power to regain your confidence. As I am quite sure you have lost about all you ever had in me. You said in your letter that it was impossible for me to be real good to you. No it is not and I am going to prove it. Am also going to be as good as I have been bad. For I never intend to deceive you again as I do love you and you alone. Now I mean this Irene. And donít you never worry about me seeing some else that I care more for than I do you, for that is impossible. And I do promise that when I decide to stop writing to you to tell you so. But that will never be until we are so close together that we donít have to write and I certainly hope that wonít be so very long. For I am getting real anxious to see the time when I can call you my own. Will have to stop now as I will have to go to work in a few minutes. So goodbye, dear one. And I certainly do want you.

(I am cincerely)

James Arnold.

From Irene Pitt. In pencil on stationery with a monogrammed ďPĒ.

Postmark: Tarboro, NC, Oct. 26, 1915, 7:30 PM

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, 817 Pender St, Rocky Mt.


Tuesday Evening

My dear Jim,

Your dear sweet letter received yesterday evening and was so glad to hear from my only love.

I am feeling awfully blue this afternoon just received phone message that motherís sister was dead so thought I would write not knowing when I would get back. I am sure I will get back time enough to receive an answer to this so dear heart please answer before this week is gone.

You said you were off Sunday night. I thought you might come over here but of course was disappointed as I always am. I went fourteen miles to Sunday school Sunday but didnít leave until right after [train #] 48 run and I met [train #] 64. I donít believe you want to come over here but very well time proves all things.

I received a card from Mr. Bell Saturday. That makes three I have gotten since I wrote him. He is coming over to the fair so I just answered it just before I started to write you. Now I know you asked me not to write him anymore but listen dear there is nothing to a card and now you donít care very much about it do you dear.

I received a letter from Leary just a few moments ago. She is in Rocky Mt. for a few days 436 Edgecombe St. Call around to see her. She is coming to see me the last of the week. Please answer this week for I am just miserable when you wait so long to write. Well dear it is almost train time. Sweetie dear please excuse this short letter but our home is so sad now. I am sure you will overlook this. Answer soon.




From Irene Pitt. In pencil on stationery with a monogrammed ďPĒ.

Postmark: Norfolk & Wilm., Nov. 9, 1915

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, 817 Pender St, Rocky Mt.


Monday night

My dear Jim,

I have spent a most miserable day. I have had the most terrible headache but I worked just the same because I had such sweet thoughts about my baby doll.

You remember we were speaking of Juanita last night and she left on [train #] 48 yesterday and was married in Norfolk. Her hubby went Saturday morning. She told John she bet she didnít live with Mr. Beatty three months. I surely hope she will be happier than I think she will be.

Jim I really believe you mean to do right this time but I am afraid you will not hold out. Because the first beauty girlie comes along you will neglect me again and then perhaps try and come back again. Jim I vow I donít believe I could love you any more if you deceive me again. It is easy to forgive and it is also easy to kill peopleís love by treating them so cruel. Dear heart if I knew that you cared for me as I do you I believe I could be perfectly happy and we continue just as we are just loving each other heaps because you know I never could leave my dear sweet mother. I was so tickled because you came over. Now remember you. You said you were coming back about the 20th now remember sweety and thatís a whole long two weeks off. But if you be true to your promise Iíll be real good.

Always Irene

To Irene Pitt.

Postmark: Rocky Mt., NC, Nov. 12, 1915, 3:00 PM [a Friday]

Addressed to: Miss Irene Pitt, 305 Walnut St., Tarboro, NC


[letter missing]

From Irene Pitt. In pencil on stationery with a monogrammed ďPĒ.

Postmark: Norfolk & Wilm., Nov. 15, 1915

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, 817 Pender St, Rocky Mt.


Monday evening


Dearest one,

Your dear sweet letter received Sat. was so glad to hear from the only one I love. But it seems rather strange it was written Tuesday and was not received until Saturday noon. I was awfully blue Friday. I was beginning to think you were not going to answer all last week. I told Leary if it was intended for us to love each other it certainly was not intended for you to treat me real good. But sweetest one if I could hear from you once a week Iíll try and be satisfied. It seems awfully long since I was with you. And just think it was only a week yesterday. Now I wonder does it seem long to Jim.

When you were here you asked me ďdid I love you?Ē and I said no but of course it was in a tone that you knew I was only kidding. But seems to me like you would know that I love you and you only. I never have received the card you said that you wrote stating you were coming. You must be more careful who you give your mail to.

Leary received a letter from Jake Saturday also and of course she was tickled and also surprised but she was not near so glad as I was.

Sweetheart you spoke of our dear little home and our mother also being with us. Oh I know the world would not hold another girl half so happy as I if I only knew you really meant it. But darling that is too good to be true. Think of how happy I would be with you to love always. Juanita and her hubby have returned. They appear very happy. Of course you canít always and sometimes tell. The poor dunce has Johnís picture in a little frame on her dresser.

Iíll bet if you felt as bad as I do this afternoon you would putt off writing to me and wait until tomorrow. Well I havenít much room to talk because I was thinking strongly of waiting until tomorrow night and then I knew it would be Wednesday before you could hear and I didnít have the heart to keep you waiting.Sweetie I was sick in bed all of yesterday so that is why I am not working today. I wonder if my baby doll cares just a little. You ought not to be sorry had you dear when I said I wasnít sorry for you when you were in hospital ever so long. But you can bet your sweet life I would be sorry now with all my heart.

You didnít mention coming over about the 20th. I wonder is it going to be impossible. If it is I just will stay in all next Sunday for the pleasure Iíll see. Well be real good. I am always.

Your girlie,


P. S. for land sake donít have me looking for and answer so long.

L. I. P. [Lena Irene Pitt]



From Irene Pitt. In pencil on small index-card size pieces of paper.

Postmark #1: Tarboro, NC, Nov. 24, 1915, 4:30 PM

Postmark #2: Wilson, NC, Nov. 25, 1915, 6:00 AM

Addressed to: Special delivery, Mr. J. M. Arnold, c/o Imperial Hotel, Wilson, NC


James dear heart,

Just a line received a letter from Ollie at noon stating they would be in Rocky Mt. Thursday on [train #] 80. Thought perhaps you would want to see them and they are going out to father Arnoldís Friday evening. Leary and I are going tonight if nothing prevents. I hope you wonít have to work so hard always and will have time to write me again before you die.

From your little girlie Irene

To Irene Pitt. In pencil on large pages folded.

Postmark: Wilson, NC, Nov. 27, 1915, 12:30 PM.

Addressed to: Miss Irene Pitt, #305 Walnut St., Tarboro, NC


November 26, 1915


Dearest Love,

Will try and write a little tonight as you say I am treating you mean when I do not write to you. Sweetheart, you donít know just how lonesome I am tonight. Just think, last night this time I was with you, the only little girl I love or have ever loved and tonight I am all alone here in the old town of Wilson. Gee, but I canít stand this much longer. Say dear, did Jake go home with Leary this morning? I feel confident that you did not let Mr. Bell go with you. For I feel that you do love me a little bit and if you do I am quite sure. As pitifully as I pleaded with you last night, I am sure you did not let him go. Now sweetheart, if you did let him go, I wonít quarrel with you, but I feel like you are treating me a little bit mean if you did. I do not intend ever to treat you mean again for I love you more than my own life. And I am longing to see that sweet and happy day when we will be united in matrimony and I can call you my own darling little wife. Gee, that will be happy days for me I know. Now sweetheart donít keep me waiting very long for I am real anxious. Listen dear heart I donít know when I can come over again, but soon as I can I will for I want to see you every day. And you need not be surprised at seeing me over there at any time for I am liable to get in motion to go some time when it is too late to let you know. So you can look for me most any time. Of course if you have a date with anyone else why of course then I will have to be left out. But I will get the chance to look at you anyway. Well guess I have wrote enough for this time so I will close. Please answer real soon, dear sweetie.

(Loving and cincerely)

James Arnold

From Irene Pitt. In pencil on large pages folded.

Postmark: Tarboro, NC, Nov. 30, 1915, 8:30 AM

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, c/o Imperial Hotel, Wilson, NC.


Monday Night

My dear sweet boy,

Your letter received at noon and just think it has been two weeks Saturday since I heard from my only love, and believe me I was getting some anxious over a letter.

Now dear I know you would like to know if Bell came over Friday. Well dear heart he did come over but he didnít even speak to your baby doll. Jake called Friday morning as he said he would do. I told him Mr. Bell could not come over and Jake said to me, ďOh well heís got you going, has he,Ē speaking of you dear. He was some mad with me because I told you about what he said. But sweetheart you ask me what he said and I told you. Just what I intend to do always. He said he never would be a friend to me again, said I had caused him a bawling out. Believe me I talked up to him. I told him that he would not want Bell to go with Leary and believe me he had to shut up then.

Mr. Bell rode in the smoker all the way over here and Jake did most of the way, and when we got off the train and came on home like we started we were about a block and a half from the station. Bell looked at Jake and said fools we are but Jake told him he was coming anyway and Bell said he would meet him back here on [train #] 49. He was going to Hobgood, but in Jakeís letter he said Bell was waiting patiently for him. Said he had been uptown. Now sweetie I do not care one earthly thing for Mr. B. but I did hate to treat him so cool because he has always been so nice to me and sweetheart it was just to please you that I did not let him come over. Now would you do that much for your little girlie?

Jim I know that I love you better than you do me and I feel that I never will be yours. And what would your little girl do. Why sweetheart I had rather be dead than to know that I could never be yours.

Leary and I were both so lonely yesterday we did not doll ourselves up until four oíclock. Jim, how much longer have we got to live this life? I am just miserable all the time unless I am with you. You remember I told you once that I loved mother far beyond anyone else but Jim dear heart I know you are just as dear as mother now.

Sweetie I have often asked you to answer real soon and you notice me about as much as if I had said nothing about writing but now Jim I am asking you once more to please answer before this week is gone. Now Jim I shall be worried if you do not write me this week and mail it yourself too so I will get it. Now dearest of all dears you know there is nothing but what I would not do to please you and it looks as if you might please me in such a little trifle. I shall just live to see you and an answer. I am always yours,




To Irene Pitt. In pen on large pages folded.

Postmark: Wilson, NC, Dec. 3, 1915, 1:00 PM.

Addressed to: Miss Irene Pitt, #305 Walnut St., Tarboro, NC


December 2, 1915


Dearest of all,

Will answer your sweet letter received today. Dear heart, I certainly am proud of you. And love you more than anything else in this world since you did so much for me. Now sweetheart I believe you do love me for I donít think you would have treated Bell so badly if you had not of loved for me. Darling I said just as soon as I read your letter that there was no more flirting with the girls in Wilson for me. And I have not been with a single one since I have been in this town. I am giving all my love and kindness to you for you are the sweetest and dearest little girl in the world. You have no equal. Sweetheart, you said in your letter how much longer would we have to live like the so far apart. Dearie it IS all up to you, for I am ready any time. I am longing for that day to come when we shall be as one. I live every day of my life for you. I can see you now standing on the porch as I left you the last time I was with you. ĎOí how beautiful and pretty you looked that night and ĎOí how I wanted to kiss your ruby lips but would not ask you for fear you would get mad at me. But I hope the day will soon come when I wonít be afraid. Listen sweetheart you know you ask me not to say anything to Jake about trying to make a date with you for Bell. I did not have the chance for he asked me about it first. He said you balled him out about it and I am glad you did. No, I just talked to him nicely about it as I told you I was and I am quite sure he will never do it again. I think he will treat you as a brother in the future. Well sweetheart I wonít say just when I am coming over to see you but I come as soon as I can, for I am more than anxious to see my only love. Now donít get impatient little girl because I do not come often for I am from now on going to write you as much as a letter a week and the most of the time too. Well goodbye darling for I must retire now as it is most 9:00 PM and I will have to get up earlier than usual in the A. M. So bye bye.

(I am ever sincere)

James M. Arnold

From Irene Pitt. In pencil on large pages folded.

Postmark: Tarboro, NC, Dec. 6, 1915, 8:30 AM

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, c/o Imperial Hotel, Wilson, NC.


Sunday Night

Yes Love,

Your dear sweet letter to hand yesterday noon, pleased far beyond imagination to hear from my baby boy. That is all the real pleasure I have is hearing from my pet and being with him.

Leary and Ruth went over Rocky Mt. yesterday on 49 they reported a good they insisted on me going but I refused. Why should I even want to go.

I went to the movies last night with Ida and May U. Langley and honest I almost went to sleep right in the show. I canít even enjoy a moving picture.

Sweetheart I often wonder to myself what would I do if you were to deceive me again. I am quite sure I would cry and make the best out of it I could. I would carry a cheerful face but I am positive that deep down in my heart I had rather be dead. You might make me so mad that I would learn to hate you, but dearest of dears I am almost certain that I can never hate you now. You have no idea how happy I was yesterday when I saw (Harvey) our mail carrier coming in the gate. I was just hoping it would be a letter from my baby doll and surely enough if was. And Leary also received one from Jake and he sent me his regards so I hope this old boy is not mad at me.

Willie has gone to Greenville to work and Ida is awfully lonesome without her snooks.

Jim there is right many of my friends are always saying to me, ďAre you going with him again?Ē Well not exactly those words but something just as hateful and sweetie of course it makes me blue as indigo to think of it. Because I know it is possible for it to happen. But you deceiving me doesnít trouble me so bad as one other thing and that is this. You know I was always wishing you were dead I almost feel like it will be that way and then what would I do.Because I know I canít have my dear sweet mother much longer because she is getting old and feeble, and what would I do without you. And worst of all if you are flirting as some people believe.

Yours forever,



To Irene Pitt. In pencil on one large sheet folded.

Postmark: Wilson, NC, Dec. 6, 1915, 6:00 AM

Addressed to: Miss Irene Pitt, 305 Walnut St., Tarboro, NC


December 5, 1915


Darling little girl,

As Sunday has passed and I have not seen you, my loved one, will write you a short letter. As it is my only real pleasure when I am not with you dear one. For I have spent all this beautiful Sunday in dreaming of you the one who I love far beyond all others and I wonder if you have been dreaming of me. Sweetheart I believe it impossible for you to love me as I do you. For you are a perfect angel in my estimation. You are the sweetest little girl in this old world. You are really too good for me but I want you all the same. And donít see how I can do without you much longer. I believe if we live apart much longer I will go mad for you are all I can think of. So you can expect me to come over next Sunday week. Now I will close. Answer real soon.

Cincerely, James A.



From Irene Pitt. In pencil on stationery with a monogrammed ďPĒ. Part of this letter has been eaten away by bugs.

Postmark: Tarboro, NC, Dec. 8, 1915, 8:30 AM

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, c/o Imperial Hotel, Wilson, NC


Tuesday night

10 oíclock


My only love,

Your dear sweet letter to hand yesterday at noon and it was the biggest surprise of my life. Everyone here are in bed. I can hear Leary in there telling mother that Irene has got to write to that Jim of hers. I said I would write to you if it was 12 oíclock and she is surely right. Now that I know you can be sweet about writing I shall expect you to write real often. Jim there is nothing in this world pleases me as much as a letter from you unless it is being with you. And you know I am so tickled because you are coming over Sunday week. There is only one objection and that is (its such a long time to Sunday week). But I will wait patiently for you.

[missing, it ended with a ďyĒ so it could be her brother Perry or brother Billy] spent Sunday with us, all motherís children were here, had a family reunion. I thought of how much better I would of enjoyed it if you could have only been one of our family. But very well it is never too late to be happy, is it dear heart.

Do you ever see Isadore these days? And does Mr. Ruffin still go with her? I canít help but feel a little uneasy about you over there, for fear some of those Wilson Janes might take you away from me. Now sweetie what in this old world would I do without my only love Jim. Oh how lonely I would be. Then so many people lend the impression that you will soon flirt me off again. Oh they will not lose any sleep over it if you do. But sweetheart you are not going to treat me so badly are you? Remember I want an answer real soon. Hope you are not too tired to write to yours.




To Irene Pitt. In pencil on small lined tablet pages.

Postmark: Norfolk & Wilm., Dec. 15, 1915, 8:30 AM

Addressed to: Miss Irene Pitt, 305 Walnut St., Tarboro, NC.


December 14, 1915

Dear Love,

I bet you have already said that I am going to deceive you but never, sweetheart. I also know you are mad at me for telling you a story about writing Saturday. But dear child Iíll vow I havenít had the time for I have been working 16 hours a day every since I have been in Hobgood and I only have 8 hours to sleep and not any time at all to eat. I am only eating one meal a day and have to get that on the fly. Now darling donít be mad at me for I have told you the truth. And you can look for me Sunday and then I can explain to you better about why I have waited so long to write. Well love, you will have to excuse me for I have just go off work and I havenít got but 8 hours to sleep. So guess I will have to retire so as to be able to work tomorrow and expect me next Sunday. Goodbye, sweetie.

Answer real soon and sent it to 817 Pender St. and I will get it Sunday when I go to Rocky Mt.


James Arnold

From Irene Pitt. In pencil on plain stationery.

Postmark: Tarboro, NC, Dec. 20, 1915, 8:30 AM

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, 817 Pender St. Rocky Mt., NC

Sunday Night 9:20

Sweetest one.

It is a little bit late but just the same I want to write my only one.

Now Jim I havenít the slightest idea but what you are thinking of me this cold night while you are working so hard. I surely hope I have not got the wrong idea about you. But sweetest one it was a great disappointment when [train #] sixty-four run. The reason I was out there, Leary and May U. Langley were out walking on the rail road and they suggested going to the station, so of course I was willing but I felt like going through the ground but the bunch tease me right much. Ruth came running way down the street to tell me of my call and that bunch was on the line. Believe me I told them just what I thought of them. We left our receiver down over here and it was about half an hour before they could get Central as they were on the same line with Ruth.

Sweetheart I love you more than you can ever imagine but Love I was so terribly disappointed. I shall just live for the night when you can [come] over this week. I hope it will be real early. We stop for our Christmas vacation starts next Wednesday. I shall be real glad too. We will have the rest of that week and all of the following week. I told you I was coming over [to] Rocky Mt. but I am not so sure of coming yet. It all depends on Learyís going. I hope I can make her go. If I donít go over there I will stay right home the old week and a half. Want I be so lonesome. If I knew that you really love me I would be the happiest in all the world. Oh, I solemnly vow I love you far beyond imagination. Precious one do you love me just a tiny bit. It is just simply impossible.

Now listen baby doll I want you to write me real soon. I have said I never intend to say another word to you about writing and never say another cross word to you about nothing, but Luther use to tell me you couldnít love anyone unless you got mad with them a little bit. I donít believe I get really mad with you but I am so easily disappointed. I try to break myself from being so sensitive but sweetheart it is just my ways. But James dear heart I wish there was something you could do to make me know that you really love me beyond all others for I donít believe I can ever be yours until I find that you do love me. But perhaps when I can be real good to you and when you find how nice I really can be to you I believe I can just make you love me. I feel like I could write forever tonight for I just love you so much. Jim there is nothing but what I wouldnít do for your pleasure and feel almost sure you are working tonight and sure I could never smile again if I thought you were by some one elseís side tonight and that you had deceived me so much.

I just asked Leary was there anything she would like for me to tell my baby doll. And about that time she like to kick the draft off the heater and she said tell you she like to broke her toe. And now she is smearing cream on her face trying to be pretty for her Jake.

Oh by the way Pat Braswell and Mr. Mitchell are to be married next Wednesday night at nine and leave at ten for Florida. Gee, I think thatís great, donít you? Leary said tell you your precious brother had treated her nice this week, wrote her such a nice letter. Said she didnít guess he could get off long enough to write. She thinks she is teasing me about the getting off part.

Oh I just hate to close but I know you are tired of reading this. Remember to answer soon and come sooner and I shall always love my James dear heart.

Only yours,

Irene P.

To Irene Pitt. In pencil on larger pages folded.

Postmark: Rocky Mount, NC, Dec. 24, 1915.

Addressed to: Miss Irene Pitt, 305 Walnut St., Tarboro, NC.


Thursday night


My own little darling,

Will write that letter I promised to write last night. Know you was badly disappointed today by not getting a letter but sweetheart donít feel that way for I was so tired and sleepy last night when I came home from work that I went right to bed and then I overslept myself this morning and had to go to work with out any breakfast. Say darling you know I could have stayed with you a few minutes longer the other night when I was over there if I had of known that [train #] 91 was late. You know I run my tongue out of my mouth to make that train and when I got there it was no. 91 and it was about 15 minutes before 41 came. Listen what have you been doing today, staying at home with your mother? I am quite sure you have. I hope it wonít be long sweetheart before I can get off a day and stay at home with wifie dear and mother. You know that will be happy days for me. I am sleeping every night this week so as I can sit up until eleven oíclock and talk to you next week. And listen sweetheart I want you to write and tell me when you are coming for I want to be with you every night you are over here for it is you I love and you know it. God bless you. You are the sweetest little girl in this old world and without you this would be a dark and miserable old world for me. So hurry up and come over here for I want to see you awfully bad.

Well guess I will have to say goodbye now to my only love so answer real soon and let me know when you are coming.

Forever I am yours and only yours.


James Arnold




From Irene Pitt. Pencil on small stationery.

Postmark: Tarboro, NC, Dec 26, 1915, 4:30 PM

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, 817 Pender St., Rocky Mt., NC


Sunday Evening


Dearest of all,

Your dear sweet letter received yesterday noon. Gee I was tickled and gee I was disappointed both Thursday and Friday. I see no reason for not getting my letter Friday but didnít until Saturday.

I wonder if you have had a nice Xmas, hope so anyway. But sweety I hope you havenít had too much Xmas, but I know you have been real good have you not, snooks?

I wonder if Jake told you about our little trip yesterday. We surely did enjoy ourselves. I wonder if you are going to be mad with your love for being on the D. O. F. I know you asked me not to go to ride with Bell anymore but I wasnít riding with him, I sat in the back with Jake, your own dear brother and now if you are mad I donít see how you can be. I didnít enjoy myself so awfully much but I saw more pleasure taking a little ride on the Ford than I would have had going to sleep because Ruth and I were in bed when they came, intending taking a nap and so of course I was not going to spoil Ruthís Xmas by being silly and not going to ride with them when I couldnít be with you. Mr. Bell didnít even mention coming over to see me. It was all the Ruth, and Jake was intending seeing Leary but she had gone home. Now if you are mad with me or Jake either one for me being on Mr. Bellís car with Jake you just simply donít love me and besides you havenít any confidence in me either. But sweetheart donít get too mad and wait until I come over and we will fight it out. There is no use of you bawling Jake out about it because I certainly didnít have to go and there is no need to blame him. I see no need of you being mad about it. Now I shanít love you heaps no more either. But you have plenty others you can love but I shanít let you.

I guess you are wondering when am I coming over. But I donít know myself. Monday or Tuesday, one. I am just crazy to come Monday but I donít know just what day Leary is coming through. Iwill come on [train #] 65 no matter which day, but gee I hope it will be Monday.

Well sweetie you wonít get this until Monday evening I donít guess but you donít care, precious.

Just yours,




From Irene Pitt. In pen on small index-card size pieces of paper.

Postmark: Tarboro, NC, Jan. 3, 1916, 4:30 PM

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, 817 Pender St., Rocky Mt. NC


Monday eve



I guess this will be somewhat of a surprise but listen dear just to remind you of the letter I gave you last night. I thought probably you might overlook it or forget or something you know, so be sure and mail it for me because you know that is BIZ. We went over Wahree at 12 oíclock and I just know I am going to despise that place but it wonít be always will it dear heart because June is coming sometime and. Oh well be real good and hurry and write to your baby doll.


From Irene Pitt. In pencil on stationery.

Postmark: Tarboro, NC, Jan. 5, 1916

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, 817 Pender St., Rocky Mt., NC


Tuesday night

Your dear sweet letter received tonight and see how it did cheer me up. Just to think last Tuesday night I was with my only love and tonight over here so lonesome without my precious. But it wonít always be will it?

You ask me not keep you waiting so long until the fall. Donít worry Iíll be ready just when you say. Donít think I am too anxious sweet one but I love you so much I realize now what my life could be and what it is or rather what you could make my life. The only thing I have in view is you. I had rather be dead than to know that you would act just as you once have. But we are not going to play that are we love.

I think my work is the hatefulest thing I ever tried to do. I was so blue tonight all I had in view was a letter from James and best of all I was not disappointed. I just hate old cold dinners but I try not to find too much fault around mother because she has been so sweet trying to fix little eatables for our lunch.

Leary told me the work didnít bother her that there was a trouble far greater than her work. Poor girlie I feel so sorry for her.

I went down to see little Hubert tonight and he is might sweet. He fell against the heater today and burned his little hands might bad.

Sis May and Jessie May are spending the week with us and Sis May teases or rather tries to tease me about you. Said she was going to send Jessie May in the room and make her call you Uncle Jim. But she canít worry me. I told her she just as well to be getting use to [it] because I hope some day she could call you that. Oh wonít I be happy then. I just know I canít help but be. Sweet heart I hope I wonít disguss you and donít think I am too anxious. I feel that I am too deep in love with you. Oh God what would I do now if you would deceive me. I know I would be a nurse. Devote my blank life trying to help others for I am quite sure it would be a blank. What interest could I possibly have if I lose you.

Ruth quit today. She worked over Wahree [knitting mill] one day and now is going to live with her sister in the country.

Give my best regards to Ruth and Mr. Turner and I hope he wonít brake any more dates with her. But you think May U. is some good looking. But thatís alright old sweety. You donít think she is any better looking than I know that Mr. Turner is. I could love him. Oh no I couldnít. I was des fooling.

Jim you were so sweet last week. I never dream you could be half so nice. And that old fortune teller doesnít know what she is talking about when she says June does she?

You mention preparing for mother. Dear I want her to stay with us but not at first because I wonít ever learn house work if she is with us because she wonít let me so we will wait awhile to take her wonít we baby doll. But Jim she was so glad to see us come home. And my kimono that I ruin over there she has fix it just right. Now isnít she too dear for me.

Well it is a little late and every one else in bed fast asleep. So be real good and please please answer soon precious.

Yours only



To Irene Pitt. In pencil on folded stationery.

Postmark: Norfolk, Jan. 5, 1916

Addressed to: Miss Irene Pitt, 305 Walnut St., Tarboro, NC


My only loved one,

Come very near disappointing you sweet child. You know I forgot today was Saturday. Thought it Friday so was intending to write this afternoon and mail it tonight my self. But I found out last night that today was Saturday so I stayed up this morning and wrote to keep from disappointing my baby doll. For I intend never to disappoint her anymore if I can keep from it. say you ask me about mailing your letter. Yes sweetheart I mailed it that night. Say dear heart I will have to make this letter a short one for I am so sleepy I canít hold my eyes open hardly. So please excuse a short letter for I love you all the same and will write more next time so by by sweet one.

Forever cincerely,

Jim Arnold


From Irene Pitt. In pen on folded stationery.

Postmark: Tarboro, NC, Jan. 12, 1916

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, 817 Pender St., Rocky Mt., NC



Dear Jim,

I guess you are wondering why I have waited so long to write but thought I would wait long enough for you to catch up with your sleep. Guess you came _______ ______s m______ ________ while ______ Rocky Mt. but I hope it will be quite a while before you have to trouble with me any more. You wrote in your letter like you were writing to keep from disappointing me, not because you wanted to write but just merely to keep from disappointing your baby girl. Now dear you know that is why you wrote not because you really wanted to write but just because you knew I would be worried.

I donít believe _____ _____ _____ _____ but you _____ _____te will treat me wrong again.

I guess when you and Miss Batts gets up your case she wonít be as hard to suit as I am.

I wonder are you getting so sleepy you canít read as you most always say you are so sleepy you canít write.

I remember long time ago when I use to think I loved you when I didnít. When you treated me nice seem _____ _____ _____ you _____ _____ _____. I love you more than I do my own life the nicer you are to me the more I think of you.

Well be real sweet and answer soon. Yours & yours only, Irene


To Irene Pitt. In pencil on folded stationery.

[Most pages in these letters were numbered. In this four-page letter, Jim used the letters in the word ďloveĒ instead of page numbers. Page 1 is ďLĒ, page 2 is ďOĒ, etc.]

Postmark: Rocky Mt., NC, Jan, 15, 1916 [a Saturday]

Addressed to: Miss Irene Pitt, #305 Walnut St., Tarboro, NC



My Love,

Your sweet letter received last night with much pleasure. After being so badly disappointed for two days expecting it. am very sorry you feel as you do about the short letter I wrote Saturday. No. No. Love I did not come to see half enough the way I feel about it for Iwould like to have been with you every day while you were up here but I know you would nave gotten tired of me. And I do not like to hear you talk that way. Now Irene you know I love you more than any other girl in this world. I have told you so. And now I am trying to prove it. It is true I wrote Saturday to keep from disappointing you sweetheart but that wasnít all for you know I wanted to write to my baby love and would have wrote you a long letter but it was almost time for [train #] 45 when I quit work and got home and ate breakfast. So please excuse that one and I will always do better. Yes I Love you and I donít care anything about Miss Batts. And I wish you would never mention her name to me again for I would never think of her if you would not speak of her. You are the only one in this old world I can think of for I Love you most sincerely. Say love I will be over next Sunday week if it be possible for me to get off. And I am going to beat you for for using such an idea as you did about my short letter. I am surprised at you saying you donít believe I love you when I do most cincerely. Will see you Sunday week. By by. Sealed with a x x. James A.

To Irene Pitt. In pencil on lined stationery.

Postmark: ___. __, 1916

[Placed here due to the reference to Miss Batts.]

Addressed to: Miss Irene Pitt, 305 Walnut St., Tarboro, NC.



My only love,

I am quite sure you are mad at me. For I know I have waited too long to answer your sweet letter. But please donít be angry at me sweetheart for you know I love you and thereís no use my saying that I donít. you know I thought I was doing real well since we made up but you have made me think now that I have been doing very bad for you know I have been such a bad boy for the past two years. The least little thing I do good why I think it is a mirkle [miracle]. But if I am not treating you right sweetheart why just call my attention and I will do better. And probably after awhile I will bet to be a real good boy. But listen dear you talk too much about Miss Batts. Why I donít even think of Miss Batts only when you mention her name. But that is enough to keep me thinking of her all the time most. But say please do not say anything else about her and I am sure she will never come between you and I. And say sweetheart I will be more prompt in writing to my baby girl in the future for I donít believe it would take very much to start you to fussing with me and you know I couldnít stand that as much as I think of you. So donít lets fuss anymore for we have fussed enough in the past. Say dear I heard that there was going to be a birthday party given at Miss May U. Langleyís tonight. Would like very well to be present but cannot so hope you all a real good time all the same but will be over next Sunday on train no 48 if nothing happens. And if it does happen so I canít get off will call you over long distance and let you know. And please donít let me find you mad which I expect to do. And say do not write me any more letters saying that I donot love you for you know when you say that you are going against the perfect good will of the Lord and me too. So donít say that anymore for you are sadly mistaken sweetie. Say dear I have lots of things too sweet to tell you Sunday. I hope will please you. Say sweetie donít worry about your work more than you can help for I am working myself almost to death now to be so as I can stop you from working any real soon. I certainly do not approve of pretty girls working so hard anyway and believe me darling I am going to stop you before I get much older if you will only give your consent. Well will say goodbye. Will write another real soon.

Yours most cincerely

James M. A.

P. S.

I am hoping you and May U. a joyous time tonight at the party. By By. x


From Irene Pitt. In pencil on stationery.

Postmark: Tarboro, NC, Jan. 17, 1916 [a Monday]

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, 817 Pender St., Rocky Mt., NC

Sunday night

Dearest Love

Your four pages received Saturday. It did lots of good for me to tell you about your short letter. But very well just keep it up. See if you get any good out of it. I have talked my very tongue out, fussed, talk nice, tried to please you in every way possible and still you wait two & three days to answer. I just believe you are most determine not to write to me like I want you to.

Just think Ida received four letters from Willie last week. Now he treats her like a real sweetheart. Sweety when are you going to treat me as your reall sweetheart. I tell you one thing you had surely better hurry and be sweet to me.

May U. spent the night with us last night and we all went to the movies. Had a right nice time but there was something missing y-o-u. I wonder will my baby doll be with me next Sunday night. I surely hope so. Now I think you can get off if you really try. You could get some one to work for you until 12 oíclock.

Well I am so sleepy I canít write anymore. Can hardly hold my eyes open.

Your baby girlie


Over over over

Over over over


[on the back of the last page] When did you see Miss Batts. I hope you wonít let her beat my time.


To Irene Pitt. On cards with an ďEĒ.

From Ruth Jarnaw

Postmark: Rocky Mount, NC, Jan. 17, 1916, 12:00 Midnight

Addressed to: Miss Irene Pitt, Tarboro, N. Car.


Hello kid. Received your sweet sweet cards and was so tickled to hear from my little girl. When did you hear from your ďBaby Boy.Ē Oh! I bet you hear real often donít you ?

I think Mr. Turner has been a little miffed with me. But I think he is coming over my way now.

Let me tell you honey he is so easy to make mad.

I say little things that I donít even notice myself and he gets mad at me.

But let me tell you dear I love him and always will.

But I really donít think he cares for me.

I would give anything in this world if I knew I was going to marry him.

Irene that is the truth.

Listen hear Jim thought you were mad with me, the reason you didnít answer his letter right away.

He called me up and asked me did you talk like you were mad with him?

I told him, that I didnít think you were.

Listen hear hurry and come back to see your old pal.

Give Lierra [Leary?] my best regards.

Love to all.

Ruth Jarnaw


From Irene Pitt. In pencil on folded stationery.

Postmark: Tarboro, NC, Jan. 19, 1916

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, 817 Pender St., Rocky Mt., NC


Tuesday night

Dearest babe

Just a few lines to let you know how badly disappointed I am tonight although I am doll up waiting for May U. We are going to the movies [to] try and see if they wonít move my blues as no one else loves me enough to keep from disappointing me. Jim sweety why didnít you answer my letter last night. Suppose I was to always wait as long as you do. And how would you like for me to do a thing right opposite from what you ask me to do. Now suppose when you ask me not to go with Mr. Bell that I kept right on going with him. Well I hate for you to neglect writing to me just as much as you hate to see me with John Bell. Now if you donít love me enough to stop disappointing me over my mail you can just simply stop and never write me another line. I know you care absolutely nothing for me because if you did you would write to me. Knowing too its lonely over here with me no one to love me and my bluming old work just like the devil its self. But alright little man if you donít love me why just donít love me. C. if I cry about that. I guess Miss Batts keeps all your spare time to call on her. Well no one over here loves me at all.

Well the girls are waiting for me so try and love the one that loves you and you alone.

Your baby girlie



From Irene Pitt. In pen on folded stationery.

Postmark: Tarboro, NC, Jan. 22, 1916

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, 817 Pender St., Rocky Mt., NC


Ruth B, address this

Sunday night.

My dearest one,

Both letters came yesterday and of course I was disappointed both Thursday and Friday. I wonder why then were not mailed until Saturday on [train #] 90. But that is alright just so I got one Saturday. Of course I would like to have received them Friday.

You ask me to tell mother so I told her. She didnít say very much either way for it or against it but Jim I [am] sure she does not object to you.

Bill told me to go any where and get my suit and come down there and he would give me money to pay for it now I think. I think he is the sweetest kind. So I got my suit Saturday. It is blue and I think it is might cute and also every body else that has seen it.

Listen dear baby who have you told about our quite little marriage. I am sure you have friends you would like to tell. Of course all your family knows but they are not to make any talk of it so I told Lena & Leary because I know they will not make any talk of it.

You spoke about bringing over the fellow for Ellen. That is alright about bringing him over but dear I donít want any waiters. I want you to be sure and bring Jake. Have you told Jake about it yet.

Oh yes Cooper came over and I told him about it. Of course he wanted to know where we were going to live and I told him what we had planned to do and he made me fire mad. He said I didnít have any business boarding a single day. Said I had always been use to work and I would get some tired of sitting around. But dear if we get tired of boarding I guess we can rent two rooms and furnish them real sweet. I think if I had said we were going to board with Cooper he would have thought that was perfectly alright. But now Jim this is one thing I want to have understood right now and that is this. I donít ever want to live in the house with any of our people. I never know what we will have to come to. I guess you think this a little silly of me but dear I know of so many families that go in with each other and then they fuss so I would rather not start it. But listen I donít count your father & my mother. I am perfectly willing to do any thing that is possible for either one. I am speaking about our brothers & sisters & aunts & uncle. I am sure we could get along with our parents because they are old and childish.

Listen dear mother does not want me to go over to Rocky Mt. next Saturday so I wonít come. I wish you could come next Friday night and bring my ring. I think it would be so sweet to receive it on my birthday. So I am going to tell you again what kind. I want a real heavy rolled gold band and real narrow and about a 5Ĺno larger. And I want ďAlways LoveĒ put in it. Dear please come Friday night if you can. Now if you get the ring like I described it canít help but be like I want so have it engraved.

Baby Irene


To Irene Pitt. In pencil on small lined tablet pages.

Postmark: Norfolk & Wilm., [date not clear, could be Jan. 24. the year was definitely 1916]

Addressed to: Miss Irene Pitt, 305 Walnut St., Tarboro, NC.


Sunday night

My only love

I will surprise my baby by writing her a letter tonight. For I see I will have to treat her far better in the future than I have in the passed so as to maintain her love. For I know I have not answered your sweet letters as soon as I should, but in the future sweetheart I will do lots better. For I love you dearie and you know I do and you have dun for me one great thing that I ask and I am going to try and please you darling. Although I may be sleepy but I will write to my little darling if I have to put peppers in my eyes I order to keep them open long enough to write. I will never be mean anymore, your kindness and love is too great for me to lose. Just think dear just two hours ago I kissed you good night. ďGĒ but I wish you were here now to place another kiss on my cheek before I retire. ďGĒ how sweet it would be and how happy I would be. I can see your sweet face right now as I saw you just two hours ago. I miss you darling I do so you just as well get ready for soon I will come over my last time and leave you in Tarboro when I am gone. My invitation wonít be a joke as it was to night. Of course I wanted you to come tonight but you know you could not come until the parson reads that little paper and we too say I will then sweetheart. You can come and I will be the happiest man in the world. Because I love my little baby girl so much and my love is growing stronger every day of my life. So cheer up next week dearie for I will not disappoint you ever anymore positively. I love you and I am going to be real sweet to my little sweet baby for ever and evermore. Say did you see Mr. Harris after I left. He must to of had a very fine time as he did not come back on no. 41 with me. I certainly hope he did for I know he loves Miss Ruffin. Well dear heart I am getting a little bit chilly up here without any fire to warm me so guess I will close my letter so answer real soon.

Ever cincere. James A.


P. S. Say this will not be the only letter you will get from me next week for I am going to write again real soon. JMA


[At the top of each page was part of the message ďI love you dearie with all my ©Ē


To Irene Pitt. In pencil on lined stationery.

Postmark: Rocky Mt. Jan., 26, 1916

Addressed to: Miss Irene Pitt, 305 Walnut St., Tarboro, NC.



Dear sweet baby,

I wonder why it is I did not get an answer to my letter yesterday. Guess you are getting revenge by waiting so long to answer. Of course I was disappointed last night when I found there was no mail for me but I took it easy and did not get mad with my baby doll because I love you so much it is impossible for me to get mad with you. Am looking for the letter today. Do pray I wonít get disappointed again today for I am real anxious to hear from my baby sweetheart. I never knew that love was such a powerful thing. But you know my love for you dear has grown so strong that can never be destroyed. Of course you could do things which might cause me to lose confidence. But that old love will never die. So please place a little confidence in me sweetheart for I donít believe you have very much.

But as long as you keep one promise you have made why you can place all confidence you want and you will never be deceived. Now dear I mean every word I say for I have got now where I can not tell you a lie as you call me in your last letter. For my conscience would not allow me. For I love you too much. Well dear I guess I will make you mad at me again. For I will have to make this a very short letter as I have been about half sick for two days. You know I had a chill Sunday night after I got back home and also had another Monday night. Missed last night but had a fever all night. Worked though canít afford to lose a night now if can help it. for am preparing for the future. Goodbye dear one and answer real soon to your own if you want me. Cincerely James A. Please donít get mad at this short letter.

Sweetheart please excuse this short letter and donít get mad at me for I have told you the truth about my feelings. I am afraid I will have the pneumonia yet if I donít mind.



From Irene Pitt. In pen on folded lined sheets.

Postmark: Tarboro, NC, Jan. 26, 1916

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, 817 Pender St., Rocky Mt., NC


Tuesday night.

My dearest,

Your sweet sweet letter last night and you can bet your sweet life I had rather wrote to you last night than to have gone to the Minstrel and perhaps you say if I had I would of stayed home and wrote but after I promise the girls to go I couldnít afford to fool them. They every one are worried with me tonight because I would not go to a party around to the corner but I was out until eleven last night and this is just my fourth letter night. Ruth, Ollie, and Sis May & my James dear heart. Sweety you know Leary is so mad with me tonight because I didnít go to the party she just cried now I hate she is so worried but I donít think she ought to expect me to go to places I donít want to go. Leary is good as can be but she is like all of us. She has her faults. The little fellow you met around to May Uís stop in a moment tonight and gave me a nice sack of candy so I am having much better time here eating candy and writing to my baby doll than I would have at all the parties in the world unless you were there too. All day I have been wondering if my sweety would be disappointed tonight when he didnít get a letter but I guess you were not so much so as you are not quite so crazy over my letters as I am over yours. I would have written before the show but Collin and John came over here. You know Collin called over Mrs. Jim Clarkeís and the little boy came running over here said ďMiss Irene Rocky Mt. wants you.Ē I got over there it was Collin trying to fool me told me it was you but I caught his voice in little I knew all the while it wasnít my baby calling me over there.

Sweetheart you can never know how glad I was to get the letter last night. I just love you so much too much I am afraid. Oh by the way most every one of the girls over here said you look might good Sunday. I knew you did, it made me feel so very proud of my baby and you were so sweet to write me Sunday night. Just last Tuesday night I was so blue and mad too and this one I am so happy donít feel like I can ever be mad with my precious again and I wonít either. He will treat me right and you will do that because you have really promised wonít you. Mr. Harris stayed over but Lottie doesnít love him now isnít that too bad. And Edd called May U. over Johnís last night and she [had] him tell Edd she wasnít home. He had a date to take her to the Minstrel. Made the date Sunday and she broke it and the first thing we saw in the opera house was Edd Hariss and you know the dunce brought us all home. I donít believe I would even spoke to here if she had treated me all that cool would you dear.

I guess you think this some sweet paper I an sending you but to be frank this [is] all there is [in] the house.

The old clock has just tore ten all to pieces, be real sweet and answer soon and a real sweet one honest I know I appreciated the letter I got yesterday more than any. You are a dear & real sweetheart.

I close withxxx

Yours only†† xxx

Irene†††††††††† ha ha

To Irene Pitt. Pencil on small lined tablet pages.

Postmark: Norfolk & Wilm. TR48, Jan 28, 1916

Addressed to Miss Irene Pitt, 305 Walnut St., Tarboro, NC



Dearest one,

Will answer your dear sweet letter received Wednesday. It seems strange the way you were getting mad at me for not writing and when I write dear you will not answer my letters. I have wrote two already and this one is three this week and I have only got one from you. I was expecting one yestoday but was very badly disappointed when I did not get one. Was so awfully blue last night. And also about half sick so you can imagine dear heart just how I felt. Although I am not mad with you dear for I love you too much for anything like that. But I would like very much to get as much as two letters from my baby a week as I am going to write her as much as three and most of the time four a week. So come on dear lets be real sweet to each other and cut out this quarling. I know its some times you are sad and some times you glad when you play in the game of love. But its of no use to get mad and fuss when you can be the other way. Say sweetheart I am sure theres no other two people in this old world who love each other as we do. That is if you love me as I do you and you say you do. Say tell the girls who payed me such nice compliments by saying I was good looking that certainly appreciate it and can return the same and could say more but I will say that to you. Well brother is waiting up here for this letter to mail it on 48. So guess I will have to say goodbye. With all of my love I am yours most cincerely.

James A.

Am looking for a letter today.

From Irene Pitt. In pen on folded lined sheets.

Postmark: Tarboro, NC, Jan. 28, 1916

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, 817 Pender St., Rocky Mt., NC


Thursday night.

My Sweety one,

Your letter tonight and I was so tickled. I am so sorry I didnít write on Monday night instead of going to the Minstrel. I had no idea you would be disappointed.

I am over Ruthís writing. We have come from prayer meeting Ida-Leary-Ruth and myself and also the little fellow you met around to May Uís. I think he must like Leary. I hope she can like him but I am afraid she canít. You know Jake hasnít answered her letter. Now I wonder why he wrote, for the same reason you use to treat me mean I guess.

I am so sorry you have been sick. I surely hope you wonít be sick long. You know there [is] so much of this lagrippe, your baby is afraid you will have it. Now is the time you need a dear sweet mother to doctor her boy but dear heart it wonít be always before you will have your little girlie to wait upon you. Sweetheart please take care of yourself. I surely do feel uneasy about you & always felt like something would happen so we can never be as one. Sweet one what would your baby do then without you to love her. I would be so miserable.

Ida received a letter from Juanita today. You could hardly read it, it was written in such a hurry. Said ďlove to JohnĒ and there also was a letter in there for John. We went around and carried it to him. He let Ida read a part of it. Said her hubby was out and she had to hurry because he might come back before she finished. Said she had one written the other day sealed & address to John telling him her heart & soul and Mr. Beatty found it and broke into it. Said she knew he would sue for a divorce if she kept it up, now isnít she the biggest fool you ever heard of. You neednít be uneasy about your baby treating you like that and you are not, are you precious.

Ida received a mighty sweet letter from Willie tonight. Another little fellow came over to see her Tuesday night. He has a beautiful Overland car but Willie hates him even worse than you do Mr. Bell. He doesnít know he come but believe me when he finds it out I know he will bless her out because she was out to a party that night and went back home when he came and I know he will blame her for that. He is coming Sunday and I expect them to fight because she wonít take nothing off him.

1916 Overland Car
1916 Overland Car

Listen dear heart are you coming Sunday. I donít much think you can. You spoke about coming back again. I want to see you just as bad if I hadnít seen you in a month. Listen dearie if you donít sleep too late this evening answer this so I will get it Saturday and I shall be real glad. You beg your baby not to be mad now listen sweetheart I couldnít be mad with you when you treat me sweet. Now your letter was a little short but dear I was perfectly satisfied with it because it was a sweet one. And there was a lots of differences in that and the one I like to raise the roof about that was only one sheet of writing paper and that was an inch apart. But we are going to forget those short letters wonít we sweety dear.

Now dear heart donít think I am mad because I am not. Because I am hard to suit you know. But I can be satisfied if you treat me any ways right.

Well sweet one please let me hear from you again stating whether you can come Sunday or not. Your brown eyed baby Irene

From Irene Pitt. In pencil on small lined tablet pages.

Postmark: Jan 29, 1916. Tarboro, NC

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, 817 Pender St., Rocky Mount, NC


Friday night

Yes love,

Your dear letter came today and I surely was glad I feel so proud of my angel pet now.

Leary is here on one corner of my desk trying to write to Jake. She is just telling him that she was sure he thought she was a darn fool to answer so soon.

Dear heart I so sorry you were disappointed over your letter but I have answered every one the very night I received them excepting the first one and I surely had rather answered that one instead of going to the bluming old Minstril but dear baby you donít always do the things you want to do.

Ruth has just been over tonight and she wore some violets. I took them away from her. I told her I would send them to my snooks but thatís very foolish so I wonít send them.

Leary was looking up in my desk just a moment ago & ask me why in the world didnít I burn John Bellís cards. I am sure she hates the poor man just as much as you do. I donít care one earthly thing for the man but I donít hate him because he has always treated me very nicely. There is only one thing I have against him and that is because by baby dear does not like him. But just as long as you love me I shanít worry about who you like. I could live my days with out seeing Mr. Bell or I could see him every minute in a day and then just as long as you are true your baby will love you & you only.

Leary is sitting here laughing her fool self to death at Jakeís letter. Listen dear heart wasnít Jake in your room when he wrote to Leary and didnít you ask him to write it. He wrote a right nice letter but he wrote as though it was a duty. I wonder how much longer they have got to fuss. I wish they would cut it out. But very well Jake is like you use to be. You canít tell him nothing. I wonder will he be as sweet to her in the future as you are to your baby girl now. I wonder am I to get a letter tomorrow. I surely hope so.

Well sweety dear I must close. Now be real good and answer soon. You didnít mention ever coming again but you will wonít you precious.

Sweet dreams.

Browned eyed baby Irene



From Irene Pitt. In pencil on one folded sheet.

Postmark: Tarboro, NC, Jan. 30, 1916, 4:30 PM

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, 817 Pender St., Rocky Mt. NC


Sunday morning


My dear Jim,

Your dear letter came yesterday. I was not really disappointed because I didnít think you could be off two Sundays right along. But I sure hope you can come next Sunday.

Leary and I spent the night with William and Dolorese [Pitt] and they are about to worry us to death. William has just walked up to me. He has a pencil and paper too and he said, ďI wrote Irene.Ē He is some cute man.

Dolorese is mad because I wonít let her stand by me and read every one I write.

Willie came home yesterday in his new Saxon. Took Ida and myself down the street. He is mighty nice but not any nicer than my nice boy. You are so sweet about writing. I never thought you would be as sweet as you have been this past week. I am just so glad, I canít ever tell you how much I do appreciate it.

I surely will have to make this a very short letter because these kids are just about to worry me to death, but will write again real soon.

Well I love you so much just the same. I surely hope to hear from you real soon because your baby is very glad to hear from you boy.

Be real good.

Your baby,



From Irene Pitt. In pencil on small lined tablet pages.

Postmark: Feb. 2, 1916. Tarboro, NC

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, 817 Pender St., Rocky Mount, NC


Tuesday night


Dearest of all

I am so very disappointed tonight because I did not get a letter. I though all day long that I would get a long sweet letter from my snooks. I donít see why you havenít written. Now just think you have received two letters from me and you havenít answered either one. I didnít look for a letter Monday because you said you wasnít going to write Sunday night but I did look for one today because you surely could not have slept all day yesterday. I canít see why you didnít write although you may have a very good excuse. I am not mad not even worried but sweetheart I am so terribly disappointed. Jim why do you disappoint me when you know I will be disappointed. Now just think last Tuesday night you were disappointed. Sweetheart are we always going to be like this, disappointing each other.

Leary was real anxious about a letter from you tonight because she wanted to know if Jake was gone. So if you have written before you receive this and didnít tell me if Jake was gone be sure and tell me in your next one.

Lee came in Sunday and stayed until ten oíclock. I was in bed long before he left. And is coming back tonight. Leary has a bright light for him. Now wouldnít it be sweet if she could love him because I really think he likes her.

Now listen baby doll please answer real soon to your girlie Irene.


To Irene Pitt. In pencil on larger pages folded.

Postmark: Norfolk & Wilm., [date and time unknown. It belongs here because of the reference to Jim having something to say about Jake.]

Addressed to: Miss Irene Pitt, 305 Walnut St., Tarboro, NC.


Wednesday evening


Dearest love,

Just received your sweet letter a few minutes ago. Of course I[know you will] be disappointed by not getting a letter Tuesday, but sweetheart it was in a case of sickness that you did not get one. So I am quite sure you will excuse me this time. For you know I love you more than my own life and you can rest assured that I will treat you right just as long as I live. I cannot show my love as I wish to for I am not with you enough but oh after we are married then I will surprise my baby in every way for she thinks I cannot be a good boy, but I know I can and I will too. There will be nothing in this world that I would not do for you sweetie for you are to be honored. A girlie like you is might hard to find.

Say dear you asked me to tell you if Jake had gone away yet. He went to Norfolk but that is as far as he will go and I think he came back last night on [train #] 41. Irene dear I have something to tell you in regards to that brother of mine but canít tell you in a letter. I have talked my tongue sore and it seems to do very little good so I can only wish him good luck and let him go his way. And Mr. Turner[6] and Ruth have fussed out again and I think itís for the last time. I donít think they will ever even be as friends again from the way Mrs. Turner talks for he is some mad at her for the way she treated him last Sunday. Poor boy I am real sorry for him for he really loves Ruth and now his life is made miserable. Itís just simply awful. I would not be with you sweetheart as I have been for any thing in this world for I know I could never stand it. I love you too much. You are the sweetest little girl in this old world. And I know I am doing to be good to you just think . . . did for me the last time I was there. About the cards, why that was enough to prove your love for me. Well I will say goodbye. Answer real soon too.

Your baby,

J. M. A.

From Irene Pitt. In pencil on small lined tablet pages.

Postmark: Feb. 4, 1916. Tarboro, NC

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, 817 Pender St., Rocky Mount, NC


Thursday night


My dearest,

Mother and I have just come from prayer meeting. I was awfully tired and didnít feel like dressing to go but mother ask me and I didnít have the heart not to go because she has been busy sewing for me all the week.

Dear what have you got to tell me about Jake. I wonder what it is but you said you couldnít tell me in a letter. And I know it will be a long time before I can see you.

I wonder was my baby doll disappointed today when he did not get a letter today. I didnít have any excuse for not writing.

Tell Mr. Harriss that Lottie has been real sick today. Her mother phoned for her sister & father to come home from work but I donít think she was so sick as they thought because I think they are people easily excited.

I think it is very strange Mr. Turner & Ruth canít agree because she tells me she loves him more than any thing on earth and can never be happy unless she marries him and he tells you about the same thing. I donít see how they can love each other and treat each other so bad. I canít help but believe it is Mr. Turnerís fault mostly because remember he broke two dates with her the week I was up there.

Ida & Willie are fussing this week like every thing. He called her over phone Monday night and because she told him about getting in the Overland [automobile] at the railroad and riding. He hung up in her head didnít say goodbye nor nothing. Believe me she was some mad because he hung up on her. Said he could have his darned old ring back if he wanted it.

Jim you may think me rather strange but I think of you all day until I get so tired but listen sweetheart this is the reason. I am always thinking some[thing] will happen so I canít ever be yours. You know it is not impossible. Sometimes I feel as if I can patiently wait until April, June, Fall, or anytime just so Iíll get you because there [are] so many little things I want before that day. But believe me most of the time I want you only you and right now too dear. Well be real sweet and answer so I can get a L. Saturday.

Your baby Irene.


To Irene Pitt. In pencil on small lined tablet pages.

Postmark: Norfolk & Wilm., [date not clear, the year was definitely 1916]

Addressed to: Miss Irene Pitt, 305 Walnut St., Tarboro, NC.



Precious love.

Am awfully sleepy this morning. But would not disappoint my sweet my sweet baby if I never got another minute sleep. She is too dear to me. Now baby doll your sweet letters is a pleasure to me. But you to have you the original why it would be far beyond pleasure. But listen love you said Willie and Ida[7] had been fussing some to think they are about to fuss out. ďGĒ I am sorry to hear that. You know you and Willie use to be sweet hearts and I wonder if you have ever forgotten the love use to have for him and wonder if it is dead or does that spark of love still burn in your heart for him. I hope not. You also mentioned something happening. Why baby I donít feel as though anything bad will happen which will prevent us ever marrying for as I believe as we love each other the good Lord in the heavens will join us together in matrimony. So donít study about anything happening. Let us live in hopes. But listen please donít love Willie as you did when he was in Rocky Mt. For that would leave me all to myself without anyone to love me or for me to love anyone else. Now you know that you are the only girl in this world for me. And with out you my dear one I would be perfectly miserable. You said you could wait until the fall for me. Dear heart you donít have to wait that long for I can not wait until the fall myself. Really I must have you real soon for I love you too much to let you stay so far away from me. Why sweetie it seems as though I ought to see you standing in the door awaiting me every morning as I am coming home from work right now. And you know I miss you. so if you have or do decide that you donít want me why let me know at once. For I do want you my baby and you can expect me at most any time. For love is a powerful old thing and it is driving me mighty fast. Say you spoke about what it was I had to tell you about Jake. He has gone and changed his mind again and now I donít know anything at all about him. He is too changeable for me. I canít keep up with him. Well dear I will have to bid you good bye. So answer real soon to your baby boy.


James A.


To Irene Pitt. In pencil on lined stationery.

Postmark: ___. __, 1916

[believed to follow Ireneís previous letter due to the reference to the Overland car]

Addressed to: Miss Irene Pitt, 305 Walnut St., Tarboro, NC.


Dearest love,

Your dear sweet letter received last night with the greatest pleasure. Was some sweet letter did me so much good. ďGĒ I was feeling awfully bad but after reading your sweet letter why I felt like a new man. Say love I hate to say no I canít come Sunday but it is just so I canít. For you know I want my little girlie to be with all the time before long and I must prepare for her to be taken care of. So for that reason I guess I will have to work for awhile. Probably I might come Sunday week. Will let you know if I can. Listen dear guess you think I was trying to ball you out a little but sweetheart I was not but I was getting somewhat a little bit blue. I donít ever mean to fuss with my baby for she is too sweet and good to me. So I am going to be real sweet to her the rest of my life. Now sweetie donít be disappointed by me not coming tomorrow for I donít want my baby to feel blue and disappointed one minute in the year. And if I really knew you would I would come tomorrow without fail. Say sweetie you spoke about Idaís little friend with the Overland car. You tell her I said beware of the fellows with such beautiful automobiles such as the overland and the Fords. For they are not the fellows she should spend her time with. They are strictly hostile. Say I am going to get me a push cart and see if I can get me a girl. Well sweetheart 4 pages seems to be the limit with me but I am not feeling very well this morning though am feeling some better than I have for the passed few days. With scores of love. Cincerely yours. Forever if you will take me.

James M. Arnold



From Irene Pitt. In pen on small lined tablet pages.

Postmark: Feb. 7, 1916. Tarboro, NC

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, 817 Pender St., Rocky Mount, NC


Sunday night

My dearest one,

Your dear sweet letter came yesterday and I was real real glad to hear from my pet because you wrote a real sweet one I thought.

Lee came to see Leary last night and they went down to the show. Came back this afternoon. I tell you they are getting to be some sweethearts.

Leary and myself spent last night with May U. We had a real nice time. May U., Ruth, and I went down to the show.

Listen sweety when are you coming again. I donít think I ever spent a bluer day than today. Just last Sunday who I was with and tonight all alone and so terribly lonely without you sweetheart.

You spoke about me loving Willie. I canít ever love any one else but you only you and I donít see how you can believe I will ever love him or any one else besides you. Perhaps you are about to fall back in love with some of your old sweethearts such as Harel & Miss Batts. Oh yes Harel is in our town tonight. I just wish she had of been here last Sunday night. I would have surely gone to the station with my sweet baby. I wonder would you have walk home with her. Now dear you know I am awfully jealous of Harel. Willie & Ida are all OK again.

I bought three mighty cute little house dresses yesterday. Now I wonder who will love this baby with them on.

Jake hasnít even answered Learyís letter. Now he treats her real mean just as you use to do me but sweetheart you wonít treat me so anymore will you dear heart.

Well please excuse this short letter. Will do better next time. I am so awfully blue.

Yours only,


To Irene Pitt. In pencil on small lined tablet pages.

Postmark: Norfolk & Wilm., [date not clear, could be Feb. 8. the year was definitely 1916]

Addressed to: Miss Irene Pitt, 305 Walnut St., Tarboro, NC.



Dearest of all

Will answer your sweet letter received yestoday. Am real glad to hear of Leary enjoying herself. I certainly hope she will learn to love Lee. For between you and I, I think Jake is caring more for Bessie than he is for Leary anyway. But say donít tell her or any one else about it or that I told you. But I think he will be a married man in a very short time. Of course if he loves Bessie more than he does Leary I would like to see him marry the one he loves. I must say Bessie is a very good girl but as for myself I would choose Leary for myself. Listen dear please donít tell Leary because if Jake finds out that I have told anything he will be mad at me. Although I donít suppose Leary cares anything about him or who he marries. But thatís what I had to tell you in regards to him. Say how do you think you would like Bessie for a sister-in-law? Dear one I will be over to see you the 20th of this month if nothing happens to me which will prevent me from coming. For I was just as blue as you were last Sunday. You know I am coming for I have interest in dear old Tarboro and I have certainly got to look after it. Sweetheart I am so awfully glad to have you say you canít love no one but me. It makes me feel real good. As for me falling love with any of my old friends why that is not even to be thought of. I have already set aside all other girls in this old [world] for you my dear. Thereís not a one who could take your place in my heart. You are the only girl in this whole world for me and search a thing should happen as I did not get you why Iíll be a single man the rest of my life. Well dear I will have to say good bye. Will see you the 20th and we will talk over all things as I have lots to tell my sweet baby.

Cincerely I am yours for ever. James A.

Will tell you the meaning of this when I see you.

P. S.B. B. S. O. C. Y. S. K. ŗ donít let any one see these letters.


J. M. Arnold from Irene Pitt. In pencil on lined tablet paper.

[No envelope]

Wednesday evening


Dearest one

††††††††††† I am quite sure you will be disappointed tonight because you will not get a letter from your baby girl. But, dear heart, it is not my fault. It is the mail carrierís because my letter was stamped Feb. 8 train no. 48. I donít know why Harvey[8] didnít bring it yesterday noon but I know one thing. I was terribly disappointed because I didnít get one yesterday. I couldnít imagine why you didnít write yesterday. But dear it is all right now.

††††††††††† But I hate so bad that Jake is going to marry the other girl. I am sure I hate it lots worse than Leary would. But when Jake and Bessie Morriss are married and some body comes and tells me they are married why then I will believe it and not before because Jim I donít see why he can love her and speak about her just in the way he does. I wouldnít speak about my companion in the just way he does. I am real sorry that I have the opinion of her that I have but it is Jakeís fault. I surely hope he wonít marry her. It certainly is foolish of him to write to Leary and tell her he still loves her and always would. It makes me feel very uneasy about you because you neednít ever be too sure of anything. And then too I so well remember just how I felt when Ollie told me years ago that she thought you and Alice would be married and then when Jake said you were not coming over to Tarboro anymore and that you thought more of Isadora than you did your little girl over here. I tell you it makes me feel very very uneasy about my baby boy because you never know whatís going to happen. Sweet heart what am I going to do when you prove false. I know I am surely going to be a nurse perhaps.Can help to make others lives happy even though I would be so miserable and I canít believe you will ever come of any good if you deceive me again. If you really love me I am sure you hate for me to write like this but baby dear hadnít you rather I wouldnít tell you the truth about what I think of you. I see no need of telling. I think that you love me so much when sometimes I think you donít even care for me. But baby dear looks like you would have a tender feeling for your little girl.

††††††††††† I wish so much I could see my baby boy tonight. Just think I have to go three weeks before I would see my sweet heart.

††††††††††† Carl is coming to see Lena Sunday. Now just think she doesnít care whether he comes or not and me oh I be so tickled if my dear heart was just coming Sunday. But sweety I will try and pass the time away some way until I see you again.

††††††††††† I have been feeling real bad today. Was in bed when your letter came. But I am sitting up now feeling heaps better.

††††††††††† Listen Jim has Jake told you that he was going to marry Bessie Morriss. I surely would like to know when. I would give most any thing to know that he would love Leary because Jim she loves him so much. But please donít tell him she loves him so much. But baby she loves him just as much as I love you but I surely hope she can forget him. Listen I wish you would ask him to send Learyís letters to her. She wants them so much and her picture also. I donít see why he wonít send them to her. I may learn to like his better half, but I surely have got to change from now.

††††††††††† Well dear I have written enough I am sure. I feel so sure that Learyís life will be miserable. I am blue myself because there has been a time when she was just as sure of Jake as anybody ever gets to be. So when we are married I will know that you love me and not before.

Irene P.

To Irene Pitt. In pencil on small lined tablet pages.

Postmark: Norfolk & Wilm., [date and time unknown]

Addressed to: Miss Irene Pitt, 305 Walnut St., Tarboro, NC.



Dearest love,

Your dear sweet letter came yesterday. I was some glad to get such a sweet letter from my little girl. You sure guess right about me being some disappointed Wednesday for I certainly was. And I guess you will be some disappointed because you donít get a letter today, but sweetheart I am so very tired and also about half sick this morning. I just cannot stay up until 12:00 noon to mail it for the first train has already gone. Now please donít think hard of me darling for I know this is the second letter I have wrote my baby this week and I know she is going to think and say too that I donít love her, as you said that you felt uneasy about me. But dearie donít you worry about that for I love you with such a love that never dies. And donít you even let Alice Gay cross your mind for I would not marry her if she was the only girl in the world. It is you dear one I want, no one except you. And say please donít speak of Isadore anymore for if it wasnít for you talking about her I would not even know she was in the world for I certainly donít care anything for her. And no other girl in this world except you my dear. Listen dear if you are waiting to be a nurse after I deceive you, why you will never be a nurse and you can help to make no one happy but me for you make no other as happy as you can me for I am sure you never see that boy who will love you as I do. Say I think this will be the last three weeks you will have to go without seeing me for I am as anxious to see you as you are to see me and I am getting more anxious every day of my life. You ask me if I had been told by Jake if he and Bessie was going to marry. I must say he has but he did not tell me just when. Now please donít say anything about me telling you, because it would make him think hard of me. Say Irene Mr. Harris wants to know if Miss Lottie is sick yet I promised him I would ask you in the other letter, but I forgot it so I wish you would tell me in your next letter. Well I will say good bye. Am going to prove my love for you real soon if you will give your consent. Bye bye dear one with all my love.

I am cincerely,

James A.



From Irene Pitt. In pencil on stationery.

Postmark: Feb. 10, 1916. Tarboro, NC

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, 817 Pender St., Rocky Mount, NC


Wednesday night

My dearest one,

Your dear letter was so much appreciated I was a little uneasy afraid you would not write but dear you can please me so much when you try.

Cooper and Jessie May came yesterday and also Learyís mother. I went to Perryís again last night and he tried to tease me again. Said he wanted to keep the store dressed in red crepe and also (Trisie) the horse.

Dear are you sure that we will get our passes. I surely hope you will. Now baby dear I hope you wonít be disappointed because I canít come Friday night week. I will have to wait until Saturday week on 49. now you see you can meet me canít you dearest or at least I hope you can because if you sleep until 12 you will have plenty of time to meet 49.

I know we will be messed up over our room we will have to stay on the street most all the time but I donít mind that we can go to Ruthís Saturday and spend bedtime or over Mrs. Johnson or over to Mrs. Noblinís because Cooper has a boarder now and we would not want to keep their room occupied too late. But it will not be always will it sweety.

Dear you would be surprised to know just how much I do love you. I love you more & more each day. I once thought it was impossible to care any more for you but my love is stronger each day. Well dear baby I must stop. I seal my love with all my heart. x x x x x Please please answer real soon.

Yours forever,



From Irene Pitt. In pencil on small lined tablet pages.

Postmark: Feb. 14, 1916. Tarboro, NC

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, 817 Pender St., Rocky Mount, NC


___day night

My dearest,

Your sweet letter came Friday. I was glad as I always am.

Dear heart I wonder were you disappointed Saturday because you didnít get one. I was about not to write tonight. Now I guess you wonder about this but [Iíll] tell you dear the reason some sweet day.

I have been sitting around most all day reading a real story and the last line was ďShe shall be mine.Ē Now wasnít it sweet. I wonder do you really mean to be that way.

Carl came today. I went over awhile this afternoon and of course they did nothing but tell me about you. But you bet I did not mind that. Most every body around here wants to know when I am to be married. Of course, I tell them nobody loves me and I always will think that as long as I live because Jim you have told me so many times you love me and then do things to make me know you didnít love me. I have always thought you didnít have the heart to tell me you didnít love me right to my face but sweety please tell me next time that you want to treat me wrong. Please tell me your reasons and then I can forgive you and will not hate you. I tried so hard to once. I shanít ever be mad with you if you desert me but baby dear it will hurt feelings so much because I believe you have really tried to love me.

Leary & Ellen went to Rocky Mt. last night on 91. Came back this afternoon on 61 and they said Jessie May was the sweetest thing. She saw a man going down the street and she called her mother and said isnít that uncle Jim. She just stood her mother down. It was ___ and Sis May said she was sure if you ever went there she would surely called you uncle Jim. Now they think that will tease us but it wonít will it dear.

I know you think this is an awful short letter but sweetheart this is something like I received from you. Now Jim please answer real soon. Just think I only got two letters last week. S. W. A. K. Irene.

To Irene Pitt, in pencil on lined tablet pages.

Postmark: Feb. 18, 1916, Norfolk & Wilm.

Addressed to Miss Irene Pitt, 305 Walnut St., Tarboro NC


Thursday night

Dearest love,

You may not think I mean this but I certainly do. Although I have not treated my baby right this week but dear one itís not because I do not love you for I certainly do. But listen dear I have been standing the examination for yard conductor this week and honest I have studied so hard I have had a continuous head ache all the week. And I passed the examination today and passed so thatís why I havenít wrote to my sweet baby before. Now darling please donít think hard of me for I love you and say I will be over Sunday to see you if it is possible and if not will call you Sunday morning. ďGĒ I am just crazy to see my baby. It seems as though itís been 3 years since we were together. Am liable to come before Sunday for I just cannot go very much longer without seeing my Love. Listen love lets donít wait until April to get married, letís make it a little bit sooner for I need you and want you my darling. I am lonesome and miserable all the time I am away from you. I have a very nice room over here and we can board across the street for a little while. I hope you will not keep me a waiting very long for I am ready next week. You say so. It is up to you when the time shall be. For God bless you my darling. My love for you is unexpressable. Sweet heart I am so sorry I have not wrote to you before this week. I could cry almost for I know you have been looking for a letter and I know you have cussed me out more than one time. But please darling donít be mad with me and I will explain it all when I see you. And I want to know why it was you were about not to write me a letter Sunday. I have also been worried about that ever since I received your letter. Am real anxious to know why it was. If it was because you donít think I love you why you can never worry about that any more. Say I have something to tell you Sunday which I think will prove my love for you if you will do what I tell and ask you. Now precious love please donít be mad. Good night answer soon. From the boy who loves you. ever so cincerely.

James A.

From Irene Pitt, on one large piece of folded stationery.

Postmark: Feb. 19, 1916, Tarboro, NC, 2:30 AM

Addressed to Mr. J. M. Arnold, 817 Pender St., Rocky Mt. N. C.


Saturday Morn.


Dear Jim

All this whole long week I have spent most miserable each day expecting to hear from you and of course as you know disappointed.

Now listen dear I heard that you were sick. Now if you are I would like to know. But of course you know exactly how I have always felt by you. so if you are not sick and just decided you didnít have time to write. Or is it true you are never going to write anymore. Now listen I think it is your duty to let me know if you are coming Sunday, sick or not. If you are sick you surely could have gotten some one to have sent me a card.

Well it is early in the morning, most time for me to go to work. Now Jim I shall be real disappointed if you donít let me know if you are coming Sunday or not.

Answer if you will.

As ever Irene

305 W. Walnut St.


To Jim from Eunice Ellington. A picture postcard of a residence on East Main St., Gainesville, FL

Postmarked Feb. 2, 1916.

Addressed to Mr. J. M. Arnold

817 Pender St.

Rocky Mt., N. C.

This is a very pretty place but it was some lonesome ride. Will let you know when I start back.

A Friend,

Eunice Ellington

To Irene Pitt, on lined stationery.

Postmark: Feb. 21, 1916, Rocky Mount

Addressed to Miss Irene Pitt, 305 Walnut St., Tarboro, NC

Tuesday evening

Dear sweet one,

Know you will be disappointed for not getting a letter today but sweetheart I received news when I got back Sunday that my father was very sick so I went out home on Monday and did not get back until today. So could not write you a letter and get it off today. So guess when you get this you will not be mad at me will you dear. For you know I would have wrote to my baby girl if I possible could. Am glad to say I found my father in better condition than I expected. He was feeling right much better than he had been. Brother Jake and myself went out there together. He is not gone yet and I donít think he will go for father ask him not to go. So owing to the conditions I think my brother is going to reform and be a much better boy in the future. I certainly hope so you bet. Say dear I met a mighty sweet little lady on the train Sunday night. She was going to Gainesville, Fla. To visit her sister. She was traveling by herself so I helped her off with her baggage and helped her on no. 85 out going train. So I got a card [shown on previous page] from her this P. M. telling of her appreciation for courtesy shown her by me while passing through Rocky Mt. Guess I will have to answer this one and that will be the only one. For I am not going to hold any corryspondance with anyone except my dear beloved in Tarboro for she is the only one I love and I am going to be real good to her as long as I live. Dear one I donít guess this letter will please you very much but I will write again real soon and do better next time. So good bye. With more than scores of love.

I am yours cincerely James A.

From Irene Pitt, on two large pieces of folded stationery.

Postmark: Feb. 22, 1916, Tarboro, NC, 2:30 AM

Addressed to Mr. J. M. Arnold, 817 Pender St., Rocky Mt. N. C.


Monday night.


Dearest of all

Your dear letter came today. Sweet heart it was short but I did appreciate it so much. You know I think it will be fine to slip up on Ollie & John but you must be sure and write John you are coming. His address is 208 South Graham St.

You said you were just leaving it up to me. Now baby dear I see nothing to break the date we have fixed all though you never know that is going to happen. I feel like we will get mess up over our passes because some times I think it takes longer than others to get them.

Sweety I have been so contented today. I always felt like I would be so sad. Now perhaps you donít understand me thinking I ought to be sad. But dear itís a very solemn occasion.

I have just been down to Perryís. Goldia is doing some serving for me and they like to tease me to death. Perry said oh well the old boy is wearing right good clothes now. Said but next year he will be wearing summer clothes in the winter time. I had on my bed room shoes. He told me I would be bare footed next year. They both just went on. I would not let them that they tease me so much.

In regards to my ring I am so tickled about it. Now dear you must not think that I am going to think more of the ring than I do you because there is nothing I will love more than I do my own dear Jim.

Jim you know I feel sorry for mother and it also hurt my feelings because she acts so different towards me. Of course I know she hates to see me marry as all mothers do. I am quite sure she has no objection to you nor [does] any of the rest of the family. Ellen she acts like she is mad as the devil all the time. I think she is mad because I donít tell her everything I know. I think I am going to tell mother in just a short while because I donít think we would treat her right to wait until the last moment. But believe me I donít aim to tell her tonight or tomorrow either. But I think I will tell her soon. What do you think about telling her. Would you tell her real soon or wait a while. I am so afraid something is going to happen. Let us live in hopes though.

Well I must close. Be sure and answer soon. Just think we havenít much longer to write. And be sure and tell me if you think we will get passes by the 19th.

Your baby girlie, Irene

P. S. The size of my ring should be 5 Ĺor 6

To Irene Pitt. In pencil on small lined tablet pages.

Postmark: Feb. 25, 1916 [this was a Friday]

Addressed to: Miss Irene Pitt, 305 Walnut St., Tarboro, NC.


Tuesday night

My only love

I was disappointed today when I did not get a letter from my love. And thought at first that it was a fault of yours but then I happen to think today was a holiday and the mail wasnít delivered. So am satisfied now that you wrote and it wasnít delivered. Am so very anxious to hear from my baby I can hardly wait until the mail carrier comes in the morning. Expect I will have to meet him. I am also longing to see Friday week when I will see my darling sweet child again. The days seem like weeks though. Sweet heart I know I love you more than anything on earth and I long to see the 19th of March when we will be united forever as one. Then I can more suficently prove my love for you sweet heart. And I am quite sure you will never doubt me the least for my love is too strong to ever prove false and I certainly hope yours are the same. I havenít requested the passes yet but I was talking to Mr. Wright to day and will request them tomorrow. Now sweet heart as I intend writing you again tomorrow I will say good bye for tonight. With all my love I am yours forever. (Cincerely)

James M. Arnold


To Irene Pitt. In pencil on small lined tablet pages. (This envelope contained two letters.)

Postmark: Feb. 26, 1916 [this was a Saturday]

Addressed to: Miss Irene Pitt, 305 Walnut St., Tarboro, NC.

[Letter 1]

Wednesday night

Only love

Your dear sweet letter came yestoday and you can bet your life sweet child it was some sweet letter. God bless you. You are the sweetest little girl in the world. It is a mistery to me to think of how could I treat you the way I did the two years in which we were apart when I knew all the while I loved you. I was some cruel boy wasnít I. But sweetheart I will in the future treat you just twice as good as I have ever treated you bad. For your sweet words of kindness mean more to me than all the temptation of the whole world. I look at your picture every time I inter my room and say ďOĒ how I wish she was here with me. I look for you every time I come in. It seems as though as much as I love you, you ought to be with me. But it wonít be much longer before you will be here and then I will be the happiest man in the world. Listen dear I was talking with Mr. Wright yestoday. He said I ought to get passes in three weeks alright so I think we wonít have any trouble about our passes. An say you had better tell mother for if you wait too long I am afraid she would not like it and would not be willing so tell her real soon an let me know what she says. And say you tell Miss Ellen please donít be mad for I am going to bring over the cutest little fellow to see her. And I want her and him to be our waiters. Say I went to a party last night and who do you suppose I went with. Why I went with Mr. Turnerís girl and a Miss Bertha Popland and had a real nice time. But there was some thing likeing [lacking] and that was you. I thought of you my little darling the whole time. I know I wasnít treating you right but Mr. Turner ask me to go with his girl to keep another fellow from going. So I hope you wonít be mad at me about it. And as for Miss Popland I did not know she was going until I went around for Ruth and she was around there and Ruth said she wanted to go with us. So I couldnít say no and then I did not care anyway for I did not go with either one to get up any case. For I belong to you now my little darling. They teased me all the way about you and wanted to know when we were going to be married but I would not tell them. But I think I will tell Ruth after a few days. Well I must close my letter. So answer real soon. x[kiss] From your own little boy. x[kiss]

James A.



(In same envelope as the preceding letter.)

[Letter 2]

Thursday night

Dear sweet baby,

Were you very badly disappointed today when you did not get a letter. I know you was not disappointed any more than I was when I forgot to mail the letter that I wrote you last night. Listen I have been working in daytime all this week and I wrote you a letter last night and laid it on the dresser. Was going to take it with me and mail it this morning but over slept my self this morning and had such a little time when I waked up I forgot the letter and did not even get any breakfast and did not get home time enough to get back and mail it on 48. So there I was mad at myself and disappointed too to think my baby would be looking for a letter and would not get it. But never mind sweet heart we wonít have to write much longer will we. God bless you my love. I wish you were here now. Say I am going to send the letter I wrote last night in with this one and please donít be mad at me for I did not mean to forget that letter. Well I will say good bye. As I live for you and only.

I remain yours forever.


James. M. A. x [kiss]

Darling please answer real soon.

From Irene Pitt. In pen on stationery.

Postmark: Feb. 28, 1916, Tarboro, NC 8:30 AM

Addressed to Mr. J. M. Arnold, 817 Pender St., Rocky Mt. NC


Friday night

My lost love

Your dear sweet letter came to hand tonight. I surely hope you have waited as long as you wish to. Jim how have you got the heart to treat me so indifferent.You gave no excuse whatever for waiting so long. Well I am glad you do not because you have none. You would have only been telling a lie. You said you were going to answer more oftener here after. You have told me that so many times before but now let me tell you one thing right now. Just the very next time you wait a week to answer my letters you neednít ever bother your self to answer at all because it will do no good. Now I think I have taken enough off of you. You treat just as you please wait just as long as you choose to answer my letters thinking all the while that I ought not to be mad with you. It most breaks my heart to think how I have almost begged you to answer my letters earlier and you notice me just about as much as if I was to say, ďWind stop blowing.Ē But very well just keep it up. Oh well you hoped I would have a good time at May Uís party. Well I had a right nice time considering my feelings. Ruth and Leary had to beg me like everything to get me to go. Jim I swear I never have been madder with you in my life than I was last Tuesday night when I came home and found no answer to my letter. And Iíll be right frank with you I have been getting madder all the while until tonight. And I am not the best pleased tonight but thank God you have found time at last to answer. I never was so tired of nothing as I am folks guying me about marrying. Unless my mind changes I shall be single quite a while since the one I love does not care enough about me to do a little simple thing as to write me but one letter a week. Jim if you canít devote just 10 or 15 minutes to write to me what on earth would you do if you had me to work for and to be with me always. Why of course I [know] what would be the results. You would get tired of your baby girlie in a short time now wouldnít you. I told you I would be yours but I right now withdraw that promise. Why, because you do not love me. If you did you would find time to write to me. Jim I wouldnít write this letter if you had not have given me a cause. You know you neglect me now donít you. The only pleasure I get out of life is hearing from you. Now I have lots of pleasure do I not. I know you wouldnít let me talk to you like this but I can write to you just as I please. I know I will never be happy unless I go with you but the way you are treating me Iíll never see another minutes pleasure. But baby dear if you will only promise to be sweet to me here after I will not even mention it if you will only promise.

Well it is a little late. Donít get mad at my letter baby dear because you know I love you more than life. But I do want you to treat me better than you do. You were such a sweet sweet boy Xmas week and now you treat me so bad. For my sake come Sunday and on 48.


Irene P.

To Irene Pitt. In pencil on small lined tablet pages.

Postmark: Mar. __ [probably Mar. 1], 1916

Addressed to: Miss Irene Pitt, 305 Walnut St., Tarboro, NC.


Wednesday morning


Dearest of all,

Your sweet letter came yesterday. Found the greatest pleasure in reading it but was sorry to know you cannot come Saturday, for I am just crazy to see my sweet baby. Listen dear I cannot come before Sunday. Would be delighted to come over Friday night and bring your ring but everything is arranged so I cannot get off before Sunday night. So donít fell disappointed dear heart for you know I want to come. You ask me who have I told about our wedding. I have told only four but almost everybody in Rocky Mount knows it. I am sure not any of the ones I have told have mentioned it but I requested passes and I think there is where it got out from. But I shouldnít worry when I am so proud to know that I can get you my little darling. You mean everything in life to me so why should I care for others and what they know. But listen dear, Isadore doesnít know it. And would you object to me going over and taking her letters and pictures to her and letter her know about it? If you do please tell me and I wonít go. I will send them by mail. Not as I care to see Isadore but I would like to have my letters and I donít think I will get them without going after them. Say dear you know I have been telling you about Mr. Demai. I told him about our marriage and he says he is going to be there if he never works another day. He is just crazy to see you and I married. I use to tell him about you and how much I loved you long before we made up and he thinks itís the greatest thing ever happened. He says he hates to lose his old friend. For if I love you as much as I say I do he says he is sure I wonít be away from you as much as five minutes except when I am at work. Listen sweetheart I will be over Sunday and we will play everything out and say who we are to have present. I am quite sure I will get our passes as Mr. Wright told me he would send in the request at once. I am going to write Ollie and John today and tell them I am coming so as they will be looking for us. Well I must stop now dear. With all my love I am yours.


James A.


From Irene Pitt, in pen on two large pieces of folded stationery.

Postmark: Tarboro, NC, Mar. 3, 1916, 8:30 AM.

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, 817 Pender St., Rocky Mt., NC.


Please do not mention nothing in this letter when you write as someone might get hold of it.

Thursday night


Dearest one,

Your letter came last evening but I had so many things to do I just simply couldnít answer it. My Larkin came and I had to deliver that and also fit my suit as it had to be made smaller. But I donít guess you were much disappointed were you.

I never was any tired of nothing than I am folks after me about getting married. Everybody even the kids, ďwhen are you going to get married,Ē is what they yell out at me. And what it takes to deny I donít fail to have it. Ruth made me so mad Sunday night. Said, ďIrene going to get married the 19th.Ē I donít know where she got her news, but now that everybody has been smart enough to find it out, I wish there some way we could surprise them. I have always said I didnít want to be married at home. I think the ministerís house is the only place for a poor girl to be married and if you will only consent that is the place we will go. Although I think mamma and Ellen both would be mad. But just let me tell you if I try to please everybody in the Pitt family I will surely have my hands full. Because sweetheart not one thing have I planned about our marriage but what one of them didnít oppose me in it. you will be surprise to know how many times I have made mad & also my feelings hurt. I will agree I am easily made mad. Mamma said if people didnít let me do exactly as I wanted to I would fly up and get mad. So you may know what a terrible little girlie you are going to have for a companion. Sweetheart my heart is just brimming full tonight and I can hardly see for tears in my eyes. Dear baby they say so many things against me going to Mr. Brownís house. Billie is the only one agrees with me in family. Most all my friends say go to his house. I know mother does not want me to do this but it is more Ellen fault than it is hers. And because my suit is so thin they say they are sure you will have a sick girl on your hands and said guess I would be real proud of a friend. I told them I surely hope you would prove a very very dear friend and sweet they do speak in such an awful tone and if it wasnít because I love you so much I would rather be cold in my grave.

Yes sweetest one you can go over and take Isadoraís letters. I have not the slightest objection. My head is just bursting open with headache from crying. Everyone is sleeping here now. It is 10:15. oh dear I could write all night but I must close. Please answer by Saturday & tell me what train. Am with love and kisses yours, Irene

To Irene Pitt. In pencil on small lined tablet pages.

Postmark: Norfolk & Wilm., Mar. ____, 1916

[Placed here due to the question about where the wedding will be.]

Addressed to: Miss Irene Pitt, 305 Walnut St., Tarboro, NC.

Tuesday morning

My darling sweet baby,

Will write you a little letter this morning. As I guess you were looking for one yestoday but I slept yestoday morning until eleven oíclock so I did not have time to write time enough to mail it on no 48. well sweetie the time is getting closer every day but the days seem like weeks. Listen dear I think we will stop over in Selma Saturday night for it would be too much on my little girl to keep her up all night. So I think it best to stop in Selma if you do not want to stop over best. I am writing to Ollie this morning. I am going to tell them to meet us Sunday at 4:00 P. M. Say dear tell dear old mother hello for me and giver her my love. And tell me where you have decided to be married at, at home or Mr. Brownís. I carried the ring to the jewelry store yesterday and told them to make it a 5. It was a 5ĺbefore. Well dear I must close. You must excuse this short letter for I am so nervous I can hardly hold the pencil. Am lots more nervous than I was Sunday night so you know I can not hold myself still. Well goodbye dear baby. Answer real soon to your little boy. J. M. A.

To Irene Pitt. In pencil on small lined tablet pages.

Postmark: (Not even stamped. Probably hand-delivered)

Addressed to: Miss Irene Pitt, 305 Walnut St., Tarboro, NC.

[Judging by the contents this letter was probably written Thursday, March 16, 1916 and given to Irene on their wedding day, Saturday, March 18, 1916]


My dearest one,

Just received your sweet letter a few minutes ago. Was some surprised too. But dearheart I was some glad when I found it was from my dear little wife who I love far beyond everything else on Earth. Darling you donít know how proud I am to know that we havenít but two more days to live apart. We have had a very hard time havenít we dear? But thank almighty God he has brought us together for ever. And these two days canít bee too short for me. Say dear you say you donít understand the way I spoke about not going to see Alice because I loved her as much as I do you. No thereís no one on this Earth I love as I do you my darling. But I am bound to think a lot of Alice because she has done so much for me and cheered me so many times when I was sad and would have quit my job and went away if it had not of been for her. But as for the future she has passed out of my life all together and I think of her no more. I am not saying now you have never done anything for me for just the thoughts of you at many times have cheered me and helped me to hold my job more so than Alice. If it wasnít so I would have done different than what I have. So let us leave all others go now and not even talk of them. You love me and I am sure you will be loved by me. You will be as a precious jewel to me always. Listen dear I will be over there Saturday on no. 48 and we will be married at anytime you say. I donít know who is coming with me except Mr. Demai. But we should worry about who is there. Well dear I will have to stop now as I am going to work tonight. So goodbye with all my love and kisses I am your true husband forever.

J. M. Arnold From Irene Pitt. In pen on large stationery folded.

Postmark: Mar. 9, 1916, Tarboro, NC.

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, 817 Pender St., Rocky Mount, NC


Thursday Morning

My dearest,

It is now early in the morning. But as I owe you a letter I can always write at any time. Would have written last night but I served real late and mother dear is sick in bed and you see I did not want to keep the lamp burning very late.

When did you receive my last letter. I thought when I was writing it Mr. King would come to dinner in time to mail it on 49. But I guess you know you did not receive it on Tuesday.

I wrote to Ollie Tuesday and told her all. You ask me about getting married at home. I see nothing else but to get married here all though I surely donít want to. I certainly do wish mother would consent for me to go to Mr. Brownís [Episcopal Reverend Bertram Brownís] home. And believe me if there is any chance, we are going there too.

Dear I am so glad we are going to Selma Saturday night. It is so sweet of you to do that much to please your baby. I just believe you are going to be a much better hubby than you have been a sweetheart. And I surely am going to try to be real nice to you. So you canít help but love me.

Well sweety please answer real soon. Excuse short letter for must go to work. Please please hurry and answer

With love and kisses I am always,

Your Irene

J. M. Arnold From Irene Pitt. In pen on large stationery folded. Ink is faded as to be almost unreadable.

Postmark: Mar. 13, 1916, Tarboro, NC

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, 817 Pender St., Rocky Mount, NC


Sunday Evening

My dear,

I guess you think it strange I am over Lena writing to you but I filled Miss Lucindaís Fountain pen. But I donít think it is going to be much because it drops too bad.

Well you know that I havenít got very much curiosity about where we are going to room. I think you might tell me exactly where we are going to stay. You said somewhere near the depot. I want you to be sure and tell if it is on Church Street or on the street near the Y. M. C. A. or across the railroad from the depot. Now donít forget this.

I have a dull head ache this evening. I feel awfully bad. But you can imagine what makes my head hurt. I cried just a little bit this morning. I didnít cry very much though. I [am] not going to cry any more if I can help it.

Has your suit come yet and has our passes come yet.

Mary Sorey is over here. Said tell hello.

Dear I know next week is going to be awfully long. I surely will be glad when we will get to Charlotte. I think we will stay until about Wednesday morning. Donít you think that will be long enough. But it is up to you. I donít know as I am so wary about coming home before you go back to work. It depends on how much madder they make me.

Well sweety please write real often next week as you know I will always be looking for a letter most every time the mail carrier comes. Well be real good and hurry and write.

With love and kisses I am yours alone,



J. M. Arnold From Irene Pitt. In pen on large stationery folded.

Postmark: Mar. 16, 1916, Norfolk & Wilm..

Addressed to: Mr. J. M. Arnold, 817 Pender St., Rocky Mount, NC


Friday night

My dear,

I was so disappointed today because you did not write. Now I wonder why you did not. Oh well that will be one thing I wonít have to worry about much longer if I have dozens of other things to worry me much about.

Well I think I have got things going my way again. Mamma hasnít really consented for me to go to Mr. Brownís but she does not speak so bitterly against like she once did.

Now I want you bring your friend Nick & Jake if he wants to come and I will have Leary & Ida and I want Cooper to come & go with us because when Mr. Brown says who gives this woman away some one has to step forward and he understands the ceremony. I just wrote him tonight. So dear if you see him any time you ask him to be sure and come. And now if he says anything against me going to Mr. Brownís you can simply tell you donít think it will do him any good to say any thing to me about not going to Mr. Brownís for I am going now that is plain to everybody. Listen dear letís be married at 7 oíclock and leave on [train #] 91 and go to the Grand and then so Selma on [train #] 85 and then _____[illegible]. (Sweetheart please let this be the way.) I have planned until I have planned out. And if it doesnít suit you for Godís sake [tell] me in your next letter. I wish it was possible for you to ____[illegible]. It seems like a m______[illegible].

I was with you. I stopped work tonight. Now I donít want to see Harvey James [the postman] march by my door all next week and get fooled about a letter. If you are ever going to write I want it to be next week. Mother is much better tonight. Please let me have an answer to this _______.



[Another letter follows, apparently mailed in the same envelope.]

My baby doll,

I just canít help but write my love. I know you were disappointed this morning so I am going to surprise you this afternoon. If I have to go out to 49 to mail it myself. I can get Mr. King to mail it for me.

Sweetheart I didnít mind you going over to see Alice but dear what hurt me was you said in your letter was this (I did not go to see Alice because I love her as much as I do you.) Now dear you left me the impression that you loved her but not as much as you did me. Of course I am so sensitive you not even meant it that way. As soon as I saw Mrs. Thomas coming I almost knew she had a call for me and believe me I soon got down there.

I am tickled over my (our) present. It is such a nice one too. Well dear I have decided to be married at home. Just going to have a few here. They all tease me because we are going to live on Hammond. Said it was near the hosiery mill. I told them yes I would be wanting 80 cents to come home sometime and that would be a nice way to get it.

Now listen sweety please answer real soon because you know I am always glad to hear from my pet. Just think I guess this will be the last letter I will ever write you as a sweetheart but dear I am not worrying about that. With all my kisses and love I am yours alone, Irene.


[Also in this envelope was a note for $20 to the First National Bank, Rocky Mount, N. C. due 3/18/1916 and numbered 4533. Signed by J. M. Arnold]

To Irene Pitt. In pencil on stationery. No envelope, but definitely written after March 18, 1916.

Dear Irene,

††††††††††† Will send you a short note this morning to let you know just how I am feeling. I am feeling very much better this morning and think I will be able to sit up some in a few days. So rest easy for I am getting good attention and am sure taking the best of care of myself. Say I think Jake is awful nice. He can come around and tell you how I am getting along when he has only been to see me once and that was this morning. His way of being nice I would never hear from you and you know I am just as anxious to hear from you all as you are me.

††††††††††† Now listen darling I want you to take the best of care of your self and if you feel like it wonít hurt you and you can get a car Sunday and Cooper will come with you I want you to come to see me. But now if you canít get Cooper to come with you I donít want you to come with no one else unless it is Bill or Perry [Cooper, Bill, and Perry were Ireneís brothers]. I donít want you to come with Jake for he and don Lester [?] was over here this morning just about the thing drunk.

††††††††††† Say dear I am sending you my check and you can pay Gay the 35.00 and about 30.00 on grocery B and let the rest wait a little while and you can use about 15 dollars your self.

††††††††††† Well I will close. So please be good.

††††††††††† From your sick husband,

J. M. Arnold

[1] There is no record of a Capple Hotel or an Apple Hotel. There was a Cuthrell Hotel, built in the late 1800s, whose name was later changed to the Alton Hotel. Also was a Cambridge Hotel, built in the late 1800s, and a Ricks Hotel, built in 1909. (Source for this information is at From The Telegram, May 14, 1967)


[2] Jimís older brother John and wife Ollie apparently were living in Charlotte at this time.

[3] James Arnoldís mother had died when he was three years old.

[4] In the 1920 Census (taken Jan. 6, 1920) for Rocky Mount, NC (Nash County) there is a John Bell, age 24 and single, listed as a boarder in the household of a Mr. Thorne. Bellís profession here is listed as ďCensus taker, County.Ē

[5] Jake Arnold was Jimís younger brother, about three years younger.

[6] As a young child I remember that a dear friend of my grandfather was Tom Turner. We would often drive over on Sundays to visit him. He lived in an old house on the Edgecombe side of Rocky Mount. In the 1920 Edgecombe Census (Jan., 1920) there is a T. W. Turner, age 25 (born in VA), wife Ruth, age 21, and daughter Lillian, age 12/12 living in a rented house at 722 Branch St. Mr. Turner was employed as a switchman for the railroad.

[7] As a young child I remember a Willie and Ida Clarke often coming from Greenville to visit my grandparents at 1302 Dancy St. Willie was a very witty and entertaining character. They always drove a nice new Cadillac and he would give me money and bubble gum cigars. I found in the 1920 Census (Jan. 20, 1920) for Pitt County on Ward St., Greenville, a W. C. Clarke, age 25, wife Ida, age 23, and son William, age 11/12. Willieís profession was listed as ďSupt. Hosiery Mill.Ē This is most certainly the Willie and Ida that were mentioned so often in these letters.

[8] I know from my mother that the mail carrier was named Harvey James. He delivered mail to the Walnut St. area right on through the 1930s. In the 1920 Census for Tarboro taken Jan. 13, 1920 there is a Harvey James and family living at 310 Howard Ave (one block over from Walnut). He is age 26 and his profession is a mail clerk at the post office. His wife, age 27 was Elsie C. James, a four year old son, Harvey, Jr. and his 69 year old widowed father, Moses.