Lost Letter Finds Kansas Home 60 Years Later

A letter detailing the mood after Harry S. Truman was elected U.S. president — lost in the postal system for nearly 60 years — recently turned up in the mailbox of a Kansas woman.

Xan Wedel found the letter, postmarked Nov. 11, 1948, in her mailbox Friday, the Lawrence Journal-World reported. The envelope was stamped with "Return to sender" and "Found in supposedly empty mailbox," the newspaper said.

The letter was addressed to a Ruth Willisten in Rockfall, Connecticut, but it never reached its destination. It was sent by Gertrude Gilmore, who lived at Wedel's house in 1948.

The letter states, "All Lawrence is in mourning since the election," in which Truman, a Democrat, beat Republican Thomas E. Dewey for the presidency. The election would have taken place just days before the letter was postmarked.

Gilmore also writes about her new Westinghouse electric refrigerator and the new pastor at Plymouth Congregational Church.

Wedel said she thinks the Gilmore family built her home in 1890 and that Gertrude was a daughter.

"It's impossible to really know what may or may not have happened," Lawrence Postmaster Judy Raney said of the letter. "No matter what, we always take it and go ahead and send it on."

Wedel said she is preserving the letter. She photographed the envelope and four-page letter and scanned them into her computer. She said she now has interest in the family who built the home she's lived in for nearly four years.

"It would be really interesting to see if they are still in town or have any descendants that would know the history behind her and who she was writing," Wedel said.