Cecile Amelie Mottu deWitt had died at the age of 49. Her husband, Cornelius, had died suddenly 10 years earlier while on a business trip to Michigan. Now Julia and her older sister Elizabeth were left to raise and care for the other seven children still living at home.
It was a very somber time in the deWitt Cottage as the family grieved the loss of their mother and family Matriarch!
Wednesday June 20, 1923
Mrs. Tait came up to the house to take Mrs. Morris and Paul into town. John went with the Newtons and Cornelius with the Burtons. Jane and Wilcox came up for Elizabeth, Katrine, Harriet and me. They took us to Uncle Audie’s before 10:00 am. Momma’s funeral was to start at 11:00 am. Bishop Tucker and Mrs. Miner conducted the service. It was a great comfort to me to keep in mind that Momma was now in heaven away from all earthly sorrows and trouble. The flowers were perfectly wonderful and there were enough of them for the other graves in our lot at the cemetery.
Mrs. Tait took all of us back home in her big, beautiful machine. We have such a wonderful example to live up to. Our dear Mother was loved by all! We have received so many comforting letters and telegrams. Later in the day Elizabeth and I took Caroline and Peter to see Momma’s beautiful flowers.
Thursday June 21, 1923
Uncle Audie phoned down to let us know that Amelie would be here today (rather later tonight) from El Paso, Texas. Mrs. Morris had a very sick friend up at the Dyer’s cottage so she went up to see her. Aunt Carrie went into town with the Tait’s and got back around 5:00 pm. Oh! We have received so many letters from our friends and acquaintances about our dear Mother. More and More we realize how much she was loved by so many, many people and how much good she did everywhere. At five the Myer’s sent their machine up to be at our disposal for the remainder of the evening. Of course, the chauffeur was with us. Hity, Katrine, John and I got in. First, we went to Uncle Audie’s to pick him and Harry up. We went to the C&O and waited for everyone to get off the train. We then learned that Amelie’s train had missed connections and she and the baby would not arrive until 9:00pm. So we went back where Uncle and Harry fixed supper for all of us. We talked for a while then went to get Amelie and the baby. Both of them were very tired; but, Oh, how good it was to see them. Poor Little Cecile, what a long and difficult trip for her. Page | 2
Friday June 22, 1923
We are all so glad that little Cecile and Amelie are with us, But never, never did we realize that they would come back home under such a condition. Cecile understands everything Amelie says to her in French, and she says many more words in French than in English. Mrs. Milbank came up during the afternoon. Mrs. Tait took Elizabeth, Amelie and Katrine up to town in her machine. Katrine had to return to college. Elizabeth and Amelie went to get some flowers to put on dear Momma’s grave. Mrs. Roberts came up to see the baby and Amelie. Mrs. Morris had to go up to town and on her return learned that her friend, Mrs. Page, was so sick she was going to return to Richmond tomorrow. We are all so sorry. Uncle Audie and Harry came by at night in Phelan Van’s Machine. Uncle Audie and Amelie talked a great deal about momma’s illness. He said it is a blessing that she did not linger and suffer for very long. We all talked about momma until eleven.