Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 2, 1866

White, J. E.

Olcott, New York

September 12, 1866

Portions of this letter are published in 6MR 299.

My Dear Son Edson:

Here we are all safe at Brother Lindsey’s. We had some trouble on the sleeping car. The dispatch sent by Brother Aldrich did not affect anything, because of someone’s carelessness. Either the operator at Battle Creek or at Detroit was negligent. We went on board the sleeping car by crowding and pushing and jamming our way through a crowd of people who could get no berths. We found two empty seats and occupied them, but they were taken and every berth was taken. I was sent to the forward car for a berth, but our names were not registered anywhere. I went back to the rear car and awaited the movement of events. It was all hustle and bustle. 1LtMs, Lt 2, 1866, par. 1

James had endured the journey thus far well, but it was close and stifling in the sleeping car, and it was a long time past nine o’clock before things were in any degree settled. Your father seemed languid. I begged the man who had charge of the sleeping car to find us berths. He was kind. He did for us all he could. Said there were no berths. I told him one double berth I must have, for it was a case of absolute necessity. He finally prevailed upon a gentleman to give up his lower berth to your father. After lying a short time in his berth and resting, he wished to go to the saloon. I helped or steadied him along. He seemed more languid, and while helping him back I saw his face grow very white and he was pitching forward to the floor. I raised and held him and called aloud for help. The manager in the sleeping car kindly, tenderly, and firmly supported your father to his berth. I succeeded in opening a window in his berth and a strong wind blew upon us all night. Willie and I could obtain no berths. We were both thoroughly tired. I made James as comfortable as possible. Poor Willie had to stand up until 10 o’clock, then he sat upon a satchel until 12 o’clock. After that I found an empty seat for him which he occupied. I placed a shawl about him, and partially lay down by the side of your father and relieved my feelings by weeping. Slept a little. He had one short nap. At four o’clock we were aroused to dress. We got along well with him. 1LtMs, Lt 2, 1866, par. 2

We arrived at Lockport about 6 o’clock a.m. In the depot I prepared Father his breakfast, which he seemed to relish. I then inquired in regard to a conveyance to Olcott. The stage did not leave until 3 o’clock in the afternoon. We obtained an easy hack by paying six dollars. We came the ten miles very comfortably and found the most splendid peaches and an abundance of them. Father enjoys them much. Brother Lindsey went to Lockport to get cans (?), bedstead, and lounge. We waited for his return until past 9 o’clock, then I made up a short bedstead as well as I could for Father. It was poor accommodations for him. 1LtMs, Lt 2, 1866, par. 3

Brother Lindsey came late, about one o’clock. Your father called me. Said he had not slept, neither could he, upon that bedstead. I got up and put on my dress and tugged in the new bedstead and was going to make an effort to put it up. Brother Lindsey heard me and got up and together we put up the bedstead and made it up and changed him to it. After this move he slept. Of course he cannot find the conveniences here that he would have at home, but we are glad he is here and hope he will greatly improve. We are about to ride out. I hope that this journey will do us both good. I expect that it will. Father said yesterday he felt stronger, especially in the afternoon. 1LtMs, Lt 2, 1866, par. 4

Now about things at home: I don’t know what to say; will wait and think. I have decided not to visit Father [Harmon] till after the conference, for then I could stay as long as I pleased and could go around by New York on my return home. If I go now I cannot take care of all the fruit I would like to. They have plenty of fruit now and I can do up all the peaches, pears, and elderberries I want. 1LtMs, Lt 2, 1866, par. 5

Edson, write me all about things at home. How did you succeed at Monterey? I send this to Battle Creek to be forwarded to you. 1LtMs, Lt 2, 1866, par. 6

Your poor father is nothing but a child. 1LtMs, Lt 2, 1866, par. 7

There are many things I wish to write about but everything is gone out of my mind. I think the team should be left with Richard Godsmark, put out to pasture. Find out if he will take them and keep them eight weeks, and what his charges will be. 1LtMs, Lt 2, 1866, par. 8

Tell Anna [that] Willie’s linen jacket was not put in the trunk. Quite a mistake. He needs it. After Sabbath will write you again, but don’t fail to write me immediately. 1LtMs, Lt 2, 1866, par. 9

Remember and go to our old place and find your rake and short ladder. Pick up all your tools and place them in a safe place. Put up boards to the entrance of the furnace cellar. Cover up the tallow and take care of everything you can. 1LtMs, Lt 2, 1866, par. 10

In love. 1LtMs, Lt 2, 1866, par. 11