January 27, 1904 – Illness and The True Reformers

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library/University of Georgia Libraries. Click to enlarge.

2714 Kenwood Ave.
Indianapolis, Indiana,
January 27, 1904

Homer Jarrett
9 Walnut St.
Hot Springs, Ark


Pearl Reed

I received your letter about fifteen minutes ago and was pleased that you should be so solicitous of our welfare as to write to inquire about our health.

I am sorry to relate but I have a very bad cold from the exposure of Sunday evening. I was unable to be at my work Tuesday and, today was confined to my bed ‘till a few hours ago taking horrid old bitter remedies for my cold, and feel real badly yet, although I intend to go down town tomorrow whether or no.

I had intended to go to Allen’s Chapel Friday eve, but this slight illness has caused me to change my program for the week. If I am able to be at my work I will be contented. I am grateful to you for your kindness, but I am unable to accompany you on that evening.

You seem to be hurt over my calling you a coward. I said it, because, at the time you acted like one, but otherwise, I do not think you are. Forgive me if I spoke too plainly, for I did you an injury in doing so perhaps.

You must also forgive me for causing you to break your vow, in accompanying us to church and home. You should not have broken it Homer. You told me once before that you wanted to forget me and I told you that I would help you. We did quite well until Sunday Eve, and I suppose that you forgot. It shall not occur again, since, you wish it so, for I would not have you do an injury to yourself for me for anything, Homer.

Thanking you for every kindness that you have done for me and wishing you a successful career, I will say

Pearl D. Reed


What did my grandmother Pearl miss and who were the True Reformers?

True Reformers meet at Allen Chapel

True Reformers meet at Allen Chapel Fri, Jan 29, 1904 – Page 16 · The Indianapolis News (Indianapolis, Indiana) · Newspapers.com

True Reformers’ Large Installation.

The Order of True Reformers has made elaborate arrangements for a public installation at Allen Chapel tonight, at which 105 officers will be installed. The affair is under the direction of W. S. Henry, chief of the Indiana department. An address of welcome will be delivered by the Rev. H. E. Stewart, and a response by the Rev. Charles Williams. An address will be made by the Rev. James M. Townsend on “Negro Enterprises,” and one on “Advantages of Race Protection,” by the Rev. J. F. Walker. The installation will be conducted by the Rev. J. T. Carpenter, of Washington, D.C., who is department general of the order. Representatives of the seven fountains (lodges) of the city will respond. There will also be music and recitations.”

More information about the history of True Reformers Bank.

True Reformers Bank 1888-1910

The Savings Bank of the Grand Fountain United Order of True Reformers was the first bank owned by African Americans in the United States. It was founded on March 2, 1888 by Reverend William Washington Browne and opened on April 3, 1889. Although the True Reformers bank was the first black-owned bank chartered in the United States, the Capitol Savings Bank of Washington, D.C. was the first to actually open on October 17, 1888.

Born in 1849, Browne was a former Georgia slave who escaped joined the Union Army in the North. After the Civil War, he founded the Grand Fountain United Order of True Reformers, a black fraternal organization. In 1887 when Browne visited Charlotte County, Virginia to establish a local branch of the True Reformers, he encountered problems. The branch arranged to keep its savings with a white shopkeeper in the county, but with racial tensions high after an 1887 lynching, the shopkeeper told other white residents that local blacks were organizing and raising funds, and the branch was forced to disband. Browne decided the True Reformers would have to found and run a bank itself so that its finances could not be monitored by whites. ”  To read more, please click on the linked text.