What would you do with a rusty, tin box & 113 year old letters?

+8 votes

I don't know the writer, Frank Daly from New Jersey, nor do I know the recipient, his uncle John Daly, on Catalina Island. There are two letters, written in 1903 and 1904. Then apparently John Daly went back east, leaving some belongings behind, and was never heard from again. I posted the letters and back story here:



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in Genealogy Help by J. Salsbery G2G6 Mach 2 (27.6k points)
edited by Julie Ricketts

5 Answers

+4 votes
Get a tetanus shot and a camera?
by Eric Weddington G2G6 Pilot (186k points)
+5 votes

I wonder if this is related: "One of a handful of Mexican restaurants on the island is Coyote Joe’s, which originally opened as a taco stand before expanding into a full-service eatery with a patio ideal for people-watching. The restaurant offers a unique pairing of a potato taco with a drink called the John Daly. A combination of vodka, lemonade and iced tea, the John Daly is the restaurant’s answer to the Arnold Palmer. Coyote Joe’s is located across the street from Marlin Club."

by Jamie Nelson G2G6 Pilot (242k points)
The John Daly drink is really interesting! I do know for a fact that the restaurant isn't nearly as old as John Daly, who apparently left in 1904 and never returned?
I know it wasn't open back then but it is an interesting coincidence!

This might be the nephew Frank, in the navy and has a father named Matthew: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QV5B-ZGCK
That is so cool, you just may have found Frank J. Daly! Now we need to find a descendant of Frank or John!

BTW, I do believe that I know the people who originally opened Coyote Joe's. I left Avalon in 1984 and I don't know who owns the restaurant now.

There is a Facebook Group for people who currently or used to live on Catalina. I think I'll share all of this with them.
There is a descendant of Frank on Ancestry, should I ask him if he is interested in the letters?
Gee, I don't know! Should they go to the Catalina Museum (if they want them) or to Frank's descendant?

I do wonder what will happen to all of my genealogy files when I am gone, as so far none of my children or grandchildren show much interest. A museum seems like an ideal place to hold archives like this instead of in someone's drawer. Should I speak to this descendant about it?
Since the letters are digitized I guess it should go to whoever wants it! They might survive longer in the museum. If you want to contact the descendant his profile is http://connect.ancestry.com/Profile/00db9099-0006-0000-0000-000000000000
Thank you Jamie. I just sent a message to the descendant of Francis James Daly.
+8 votes

I just wanted to say, you did a really nice job on the "Letters to John Daly" Free Space page!! Maybe someone with the surname of Daly from California might be interested in these. 

Is the Santa Catalina Island Company in Avalon, Los Angeles County, California still around?? Maybe there is some history there with the Daly family. 

If anyone develops a "Daly" One Name Study on WikiTree in the future, I hope they add this page to the study!!! 

by Dorothy Barry G2G Astronaut (2m points)
The Santa Catalina Island Company is still there, and the Wrigley family is still involved, as they have been since the early 20th century. I sure don't know of a Daly connection with them. The Island Company may have owned the place where he was living at the Isthmus, or he may have worked for them. I intend to do a little investigating there.
+7 votes
I believe you should store the letters in archival paper (acid free) in an archival box - not in the rusty tin box.  The tin box probably should be kept in itʻs own box. It really is important to hold on to written documents from even the most anonymous (and these are not anonymous ) writers.

You do not mention how you got the box of letters.  You should write that information down and store it with the letters.  I havenʻt looked at the page yet, but I can guess there is some historical (not historic) information in them that is valuable to someone.

The Heritage Center where I volunteer loves to have letters and other documents related to our area. Scanning them is a good idea, but the actual documents need to be preserved.
by Kristina Adams G2G6 Pilot (171k points)
Aha, I see that you found them among your motherʻs things, and you have an idea where they came from.  And that information is recorded on WikiTree!
If you are asking, really, what to do with them....find out if there is a historical society on Catalina. Or even Los Angeles County might want to archive them. Or New Jersey.
I worry about eBay........I would not want to think of them becoming a collage.  But eBay might be the place you could make contact with the Daly family. Maybe there is a webpage for Daly?
I think I may ask the Avalon Museum (on Catalina Island) if they would like the letters. And by the way, the tin box seems to have preserved the letters very well!
I was worried when you mentioned rust!  Perhaps the tin of the box is archival!!  Yes, do give a call to the Avalon Museum, the letters may help answer someones question someday!
+5 votes
J Salsbery you are an angel and a model for us to emulate.  Going beyond what would be expected of you because you understood the value beyond monetary value of what you have.   I applaud you.  Thanks so much for sharing this!
by Laura Bozzay G2G6 Pilot (577k points)

Ah, thank you Laura!

I amended my free space page and removed any reference to eBay! I don't think I was really serious there. And I just discovered that Avalon has an entirely new museum. This is not the one that was there when I was.


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