home page English página inicial Español site index contents names of persons databases recent additions news contact webmaster e-mail text search search about this site help

Letter from Puerto Santa Cruz (1919)
by Mrs. Mary Ellen Betts (née Wilkinson, widow of Hugh MacLean)

The writer (wife of William Henry Betts) gives her former brother-in-law, Hector MacLean, the family news; and describes how the town has developed in its first two decades. [minor revisions to spelling and punctuation]  Click here to see the original letter.

Puerto Santa Cruz
Republica Argentina
South America
May 19th 1919.

Dear Brother Hector,
Mr. John Reynolds wrote me a few lines and sent me your letter signed H. MacLean, 1324 So. L St., Tacoma, Washington U.S.A. I was Hugh MacLean's wife, my name before I was married to Hugh MacLean was Wilkinson, and by your letter I conclude you are his Brother Hector, and you are wishing to hear from us.
Well Hector I am very pleased to hear from you. Our oldest Girl's name is Flora. She is married to an Englishman, and they have eight Children and one dead. Their youngest is five months old, they are all well, they are living a little distance from us. Our next Girl to her died when about three weeks old. My two Boys William & Hugh are working in the camp on Farms, and Mary & Ellen, they are with us.
I was living in Punta Arenas for one year and four months. At the end of that time I was married to William Henry Betts in 1898, and came back to Santa Cruz and have been living in the Territory of Santa Cruz ever since on different Farms, and since 1911 we have been living in the port Santa Cruz.

To this marriage is added three more Girls, Margaret & Sarah Ellen & Lillian. My youngest a boy died when about five weeks old. And added to our Family we have a little Orphan Girl. Did you know a Lizzie Doughty in Greenock? She came to Punta Arenas with her Uncle James Doughty years ago: it is her little Girl we have, we have had her since she was ten months old, she is very near six years old now.

To your sister Flora I wrote my last letter some years ago, I never had any answer to it. Now Dear Brother, how have you all been getting along all these years? Are you all living in Washington in the same place? I should like to hear about John & Mary & Barbara & Christina & Flora, and all their Families, and about yourself and Family. I don't remember hearing of you being married. I suppose you are years ago. Have you moved far from where you were when I last heard from you?

Santa Cruz has grown quite a big place. In 1890, when we first came, there was about six Houses and now it is thick with Houses, quite a big town. I don't know half the people in it now. There is four big Stores and other shops: three Butchers, two Bakers, two Shoe Makers, one Watch Maker and other business Houses. There is one skating ring, two Cinematographs, they have a Club of Spanish & English mixed. We have Mail Boats coming every month from Buenos Aires. We had an Argentine man-of-war here a few days ago. There is quite a lot of Motor Cars, they take the mail to camp in motorcars now, and travel to Punta Arenas in motorcars, the cars cut up the streets awful. We have had quite a lot of rain here lately. We have our winter here now, and I suppose you are having your summer.

I hope you and John and all Sisters and Families are enjoying good health, as I am pleased to say this leaves us all here. Please give our kind love and best wishes to them all, and accept the same for yourself and Family. Now Dear Brother I must close, hoping to hear from you again very soon

  I remain
Your Affectionate Sister
Mary Ellen Betts

Please Address.
Mrs. William Betts
Puerto Santa Cruz
Republica Argentina
South America

Thanks: Lani Jo Su
Updated: 19-X-2004