Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 5, 1865

White, J. E.; White, W. C.; Patten, Adelia; Anna

Rochester, New York

September 18, 1865

Portions of this letter are published in 5MR 384; 10MR 26-27.

Dear Children [Adelia, Anna, Edson, and Willie]:

I have arisen early this morn to steal time to write a few lines to you. Your father is sleeping this morning. Uriah and Loughborough not yet up. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1865, par. 1

We are all as well as could be expected. Your father is doing well. He sleeps well nights, which is a great blessing. I have been thoroughly exhausted since my journey and have had but little care of your father. Brother Loughborough lay on a cot by his side two nights and he and your father both slept well. Last night Uriah lay upon the cot by his side. I know not, as yet, how they rested. I cannot sleep much, which prevents my getting rested. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1865, par. 2

I think of you all many times a day, and think of much I ought to have arranged which was neglected, and to have said which was left unsaid. It is raining, and I now think of things I ought to have—that little short balmoral skirt for one thing. Someone told me that they would put in the steel-rimmed buttons left from my dress but they cannot be found. If there is one dozen left I want them sent; if not, get enough to make one dozen. I need them up and down the front of my short dress. That is the way they all have them. The black buttons left from my dresses I also want for my short plaid dress. There is a little box of buttons I left in the front chamber; send them if you please. There is a remnant of brown broadcloth in my clothespress in the front chamber; please send it. Don’t send the brown ladies’ cloth for it is a pattern for Edson a coat next summer. I wish to make a sack to wear with my brown merino. Please get me the pattern from Mary Loughborough—garibaldi waist—and send the pattern of my sack cloak, and find the green pieces like my green morning dress. It is in the trunk in the clothespress or on the shelf at the head of the stairs. I meant to have found time to sort all my patterns but did not. Please put in Sister Walker’s hands the patterns for her children’s dresses. Look at all the patterns very carefully—Adelia and Anna, I mean, for I suppose the boys could not tell a dress pattern from a pants pattern. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1865, par. 3

In regard to Edson’s clothing, sponge seven yards or the whole of the smallest piece of that gray, and then let Edson take the cloth to the best tailors and get it cut whole frock, for that is the style now worn. I do not wish it to be cut half frock for I never fancied it. Find out how much a tailor would ask to cut and make up the coat and write me as soon as you receive this, then I will answer immediately. Anna can cut and make the pants and vest. I want him to have a whole suit alike. Get the tailor to cut a pattern, if he will, like the coat. If he charges more than twenty-five cents, Anna can cut one like the coat. Edson’s vest pattern is in the upper hall drawer. In the second drawer in the hall is a summer coat cut out ready to make, but cut rather large for it was not designed for a lining and the seams were to be felled. After his coat has been cut by a tailor if anyone can be found to make the ladies’ cloth coat, you could compare the coat cut or pattern cut by the tailor to the coat cut, and if you can make them agree, do so. I thought the ladies’ cloth might want a little paring; otherwise it will do. In the garret on the floor near a box is some drab worsted cloth for a lining; looks like debeige. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1865, par. 4

If a man tailor makes these coats they must cost too much for making. If you can obtain a good woman tailor whom you can trust, engage her to make both coats, if she does not ask too much. Can’t you get Sister Hewit to make one or both, by Annie helping her? I leave you to do as you think best. Martha spoke of a tailoress somewhere who would probably make the coats. If you cannot very well get but one coat made, get the grey by all means. Let Anna make the vest and bind coat, vest, and top of pants or waistbands of pants with that nice alpaca braid. Let the summer coat go. It will not pay to have it made. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1865, par. 5

Buy Willie, down street, enough black and red plaid at two dollars per yard for Willie’s two shirts. Make these shirts liberal, plain on the back, pleated front, like his calico shirts, and put buttons on them like his calico shirts. Then make him two shirts of that thin bleached cloth to wear underneath. Make the flannel just as pretty as you can, with a little collar about the neck bound with black silk or braid. This will save making two or three waists. Anna might make one waist out of that cloak I mentioned to Annie, or out of that coat of Willie’s. Save the lining of the cape to that cloak for I shall make another like that and shall use that lining. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1865, par. 6

At Cobb and Pettie’s they have a piece of black and white plaid, quite thick, for $1.00 per yard. If you cannot find anything prettier in the shape of black and white plaid, get the plaid mentioned. If you have to pay $1.50 for plaid you would think would be much better, get it. I want him to have pants and waist and loose sack just alike. Bind the waist and sack with black alpaca. I have patterns in the bureau drawer in the front room; the waist pattern is in the upper drawer in the hall. There are two sack patterns; cut from the one you think best. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1865, par. 7

If you think the suit of clothes made out of that remnant of Grandma’s dress and waist out of that old cloak of Willie’s looks nice enough, you need not be at the expense of purchasing the plaid. Do as you all may think best. I do not think it will pay now to make up anything as thin as that ladies’ cloth for he might outgrow them and they be too small next summer, but I leave this merely as suggestions. Do as your judgment dictates. He has a good warm everyday suit. He needs now a nice suit for summer. His green suit is all the summer clothes he wants considering how late in the season it is getting to be. Look at the cloth at Cobb’s and see what you think of it. It is single width pants cloth. Then look at Skinner’s and see what they have. The cloth at Cobb’s may not be so suitable for a boy as something prettier or some plaid. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1865, par. 8

You need not make any summer pants for Edson except that ladies’ cloth. The lining for the ladies’ cloth pants and the grey is behind the trunk in the boys’ clothespress. I designed then the grey will be all he needs for pants. That piece in the under drawer in the bedroom need not be made up. The pattern of his pants is rolled up with that piece. It is not certain that we shall send for the boys but we can soon tell when we get to Dansville. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1865, par. 9

Your father is not as well this morning. Yesterday we all were taken by Brother Orton in his hack to Brother Andrews’ house. His child, the babe, is very low with dysentery, yet I think it will get well. Little Mary is also quite unwell. After making a little visit there we went to Brother Orton’s and took dinner. He then attended a funeral which kept him till near night. James became very tired. It set in raining, but Brother Orton brought us to Bradley’s in his hack and we did not get wet one bit. The storm continued all night and it still storms so that we cannot go to Dansville today as we designed. We none of us rested extra well last night. They have done all that they could do to make us comfortable and happy. They are very attentive to all our wants. Probably your father was too much wearied with walking, riding, and visiting yesterday. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1865, par. 10

Mary went on to Dansville with the doctor and I am glad she did, for when she was through here last she disgusted them all with her talk and acts and they would not have been much pleased with her visit. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1865, par. 11

Sister Loughborough sends things to John this week. Send what I have mentioned with the things she sends. Put in those two strips of white flannel and those two halves of flannel blankets for fomentation cloths. Brother Loughborough says, Tell Mary not to send anything until she hears from him at Dansville. We may want things sent then that we do not now think of. But get these things I have mentioned all together and ready to send at a moment’s warning. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1865, par. 12

Much love to you all, Adelia, Anna, and Edson and Willie. 1LtMs, Lt 5, 1865, par. 13