10. TEXAS SOJOURN
I stopped by prearrangement... Gaylord Worstell, 1933.
With the Valparaiso years behind him, Gaylord Worstell “set out in life to accomplish something…” His letter to The Rensselaer Republican continues with the fall of 1891.
My second year of teaching was in the Fort Worth high school. Fort Worth even at that time was a great railroad center and a great city. The end of the school year brought me up to 1893...
Valparaiso alumni letters became part of a collection of letters in a publication for the alumni of the school. On January 10, 1893 Gaylord wrote his classmates in the class of 1891. He mentions that there are many Valparaiso people in Texas, that he has met several personally, including a classmate. A short paragraph tells of Fort Worth and the schools.
The Rensselaer Republican letter continues.
... I had not seen my home folk in eight years. They lived at Tappan, Harrison County, Ohio. By circuitous routs [sic], I traveled through Houston, New Orleans, Mobile, Birmingham, Cincinnati, and Columbus to my old home. I spent several days at the Chicago fair and went on to Iowa Falls, Iowa. I stopped by prearrangement and Miss Elsie Dale and I were married. We began housekeeping in Fort Worth and I served there as principal of one of the ward schools.
Gaylord’s plans materialized and he married Elsie Marjorie Dale August 26, 1893, in Iowa Falls, Iowa. They were married by Rev. J. H. Rhea in the Dale home. Elsie’s grandfather, William Dale, was born March 10, 1812, at Yorkshire, England. Thomas Robinson, grandson of Elsie and Gaylord, has a Coat of Arms of the Dale family with the “blazon,” or technical description, on the back. Robinson’s mother, Gaylord’s daughter Fern, acquired information from Dorothea Dale, who was a librarian in Oklahoma City. Dorothea was married to John Dale, Elsie’s brother. She said William Dale was an Earl of Avon. William emigrated from Yorkshire to Montreal, Canada, with his wife, Ann Mitchelson Dale, and the first of their seven children, Jane, sometime between 1830 and 1836. They later moved to Toronto where the rest of the children were born. In 1851 the Dales settled on a farm south of Dodgeville, Wisconsin. William Dale was married three times; he had one child by his second wife, none by his third. William later moved to Florida, where he had a greenhouse and was in the dairy business. William died Nov. 8, 1886, and is buried in St. Augustine, Florida. This family history was prepared by Cornelius Ferris Dale, the tenth son of John Mitchelson Dale and his wife Sarah Elizabeth Ferris; John M. Dale was the sixth son of the immigrant, William Dale.
Elsie’s father, William Dale, Jr., the fourth son of the immigrant William Dale, was born in 1839 in Toronto (Bay of Quinte), Canada and moved with his family to Wisconsin. On August 13, 1862, he enlisted for three years with Company “C,” 31st Regiment of Wisconsin Infantry Volunteers, for military service in the Civil War. The “Company Muster-in Roll” was taken in Prairie du Chien, Wis. Oct 9, 1862, “Bounty paid $25.00.” In May of 1863 he applied for, and was granted, a 30-day leave for “reason of disease contracted in the discharge of duty.” In November he lost his knapsack, for which he was charged $2.14. In March/April, 1864, there was a “Stoppage” of “$8.65 for transportation from Madison Wis. to Louisville Ky.” The two final roll-call reports contain the following:
William Dale ... Appears on Co. Muster-out Roll, dated Near Louisville Ky June 20, 1865.... Last paid to June 30, 1864. Clothing Account: Last settled Aug 31, 1864 ... Am’t for cloth’g in kind or money adv’d $23.12. ... Bounty paid $25.00 due $75.00. Remarks: Absent sick at McDougall Gnl Hospl N.Y. since May 16/65. Discharge not furnished.
The Casualty Sheet gives his date of discharge as June 13/65 and the source of the information as “Roll 50 McDougall Hospt N.Y.C.”
The discharge papers of William Dale read as follows:
The information above appears to be a two-year contradiction with the family history of Cornelius Dale. However, William’s age on the military records does not change during the time he was in service.
On July 23rd 1865, William Dale and Mary Jones were joined in marriage by Rev. J. G. Wilkinson. The Iowa Falls Sentinel newspaper for October 5, 1870, has articles that include several Jones family names, including the L. P. Jones Hotel, perhaps indicating Iowa Falls may have been the Jones family seat for some time. Certain Worstell family members refer to “the Welsh Grandma Jones.”
It is not known how Gaylord met Elsie, but when Gaylord was writing a letter to the Valparaiso alumni, she reminded him that she knew many in his class and perhaps they didn’t know she and Gaylord were married. Gaylord’s granddaughter, Rachel (Jane) Harnden Morgan, told her story about why Gaylord married Elsie Dale. According to Rachel, after visiting the fair, Gaylord went to Valparaiso to visit friends and to ask a certain young woman to marry him. “He was rejected, so he went to a small town in Iowa and swept a young girl off her feet and married her.” Jane Morgan later enlarged upon the story. She said there had been a wager among Gaylord’s friends concerning Gaylord’s marital expectations and that after his first rejection, he took the advice of one of his friends in Valparaiso to look up the friend’s sister who lived in Iowa. Jane Hofstetter, another granddaughter said, “Elsie was from a fine family. They must have been somewhat dismayed that their daughter was marrying Gaylord, who hadn’t even started medical school yet.”
Was all this “heard from behind the double doors,” so to speak, or was it total speculation? One might speculate that Gaylord’s friend was Elsie’s brother, John. John was 23 years old at the time. As a future physician he was undoubtedly in school somewhere, very likely Valparaiso, since his uncle, John Mitchelson Dale, had attended the university there. Gaylord was 30 years old. Elsie was of marriageable age at the time; born August 24, 1868, she was 23 years old. Gaylord said the meeting was all by “prearrangement.”
Rachel (Jane) Morgan believes her account is true based on a conversation she had with Gaylord concerning love and marriage. It was the eve of World War II. Jane had finished college and had gone to Hawaii with a girl friend where they both got jobs and each fell in love with a young man. Her friend got married, but Jane’s young man had to return to southern California when his father fell ill. Jane also returned home to northern California. Her friend did not call and when she went to Los Angeles to look him up, he was distant and cool. Broken hearted, she went to Big Sandy, Montana, to visit her grandfather. In her heart-to-heart talk with Gramp, he gave her a little advice. “Little Lamb,” he said, “one should never marry someone unless that person is so in love with you that you mean everything in the world to him. And you shouldn’t marry that person unless you feel the same way. Otherwise, if one does not love the other, the other person always feels the need to ask, ‘Do you love me?’ And then one would have to say ‘no,’ causing the greatest hurt, or if one answered ‘yes,’ it would be a lie.” Jane always felt he spoke from experience.
Gaylord and Elsie returned to Fort Worth for two years. Gaylord was the principal of the Gay Street school the first year and then taught in the high school. He could now support a wife and family. Elsie was a most attractive young woman with dark hair and very talented in the arts. During a Texas historic celebration, Elsie entered one of her paintings in a watercolor competition. Her painting was awarded the gold medal by the National Water Color Society. Since she signed only her initials on the painting, the judges were quite surprised to find the recipient was a woman and attempted to retract the award. Elsie was already in possession of the medal and she refused to return it. It remains in the possession of her granddaughter, Jane Hofstetter. Jane Hofstetter is an accomplished artist whose works have earned her several Who’s Who appearances. Jane’s talents are sought after by museums for judging and teaching. Jane credits her grandmother, Elsie, for the gift of painting.
Both Elsie and Gaylord passed the Texas years busy and productive. It would be several years before Gaylord would again be so carefree.