The 1909 letter which appeared in last week’s Fulton Journal was found on the plaster lath at 1107 4th Street. It was written by “Dad” or Frank Wythe. Frank, born on the 4th of July, was a lifelong resident of Fulton who resided here from 1859-1947.
Frank had some interesting relatives preceding him. George Wythe, one of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, is part of Frank’s family tree. Also, Frank’s mother was Emma Knight Wythe who traveled to Fulton with Emma Hale Smith and her children in 1846. Frank’s relatives have an 1855 letter from Joseph Smith III to Emma Wythe. Joseph Smith III later became the President of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints. Emma Knight’s sister, Mary, married Daniel Hollinshead an early pioneer to this area.
Frank had two marriages. On December 17, 1885, at the age of 26, he married Nellie Daley who was 22 years old. They had two children who survived infancy, Roy (1889-1977) and Helen (1893-1993). Nellie died in 1917. Several years later, Frank married Frances Bank of Chicago. They had no children and she died in 1934.
In the 1913 Fulton phone book, Frank is listed as proprietor of a pool hall at 1109 4th Street. Frank was postmaster when the post office was at 1009
4th Street. Later, he had a paper and paint business on 4th Street. He served as Town Clerk and held offices in the Order of the Odd Fellows. He was actively involved in the business life of Fulton. The Wythe home was at 1016 13th Avenue.
Frank lived to be 88 years old. He was survived by his daughter, Helen, at home, his son, Roy of Altadina, California, and a granddaughter, Fyrne Wythe of Sherman Oaks, California. Frank had one sister, Miss Eva Wythe.
What happened that the letter returned to Fulton? The envelope contains no return address. Did it ever reach Roy? Did he, at age 19, return briefly carrying the letter with him? Did the post office return an undeliverable letter to the Fulton post office and subsequently put it back in Frank’s hands?
“The palest ink is better than the best memory” for the letter in the wall breathes life into Frank Wythe who chose Fulton as his place to live.