Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Lt 6, 1864

Lockwood, Brother and Sister

Dansville, New York, “Our Home on the Hillside”

September 1864

This letter is published in entirety in 5MR 379-384; 6MR 346.

Dear Bro. and Sister Lockwood:

I have been trying to find time to write to you for some days but there is so much to be done I cannot do half I wish to. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1864, par. 1

Adelia and the children have been examined today. The doctor pronounces Adelia sick. We shall have their written prescriptions this week, then you can know more in regard to them. I think Dr. Jackson gave an accurate account of the disposition and organization of our children. He pronounces Willie’s head to be one of the best that has ever come under his observation. He gave a good description of Edson’s character and peculiarities. He enjoined upon him outdoor exercise and not much study. I think this examination will be worth everything to Edson. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1864, par. 2

They have all styles of dress here. Some are very becoming, if not so short. We shall get patterns from this place and I think we can get out a style of dress more healthful than we now wear and yet not be bloomer or the American costume. Our dresses according to my idea should be from four to six inches shorter than now worn and should in no case reach lower than the top of the heel of the shoe and could be a little shorter even than this with all modesty. I am going to get up a style of dress on my own hook which will accord perfectly with that which has been shown me. Health demands it. Our feeble women must dispense with heavy skirts and tight waists if they value health. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1864, par. 3

Brother Lockwood, don’t groan now. I am not going to extremes, but conscience and health require a reform. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1864, par. 4

We shall never imitate Miss Dr. Austin or Mrs. Dr. York. They dress very much like men. We shall imitate or follow no fashion we have ever yet seen. We shall institute a fashion which will be both economical and healthy. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1864, par. 5

You may ask what we think of this institution. Some things are excellent. Some things are not good. Their views and teachings in regard to health are, I think, correct. But Dr. Jackson, mixes up his theology too much with [the] health question, which theology to us is certainly objectionable. He deems it necessary for the health of his patients to let them have pleasurable excitement to keep their spirits up. They play cards for amusement, have a dance once a week, and seem to mix these things up with religion. These things, of course, we should not countenance, yet, when I view the matter from another standpoint, I am led to inquire, What better can be done for the feeble sick who have no hope of heaven, no consolation received by the Christian? Their sources of enjoyment must be derived from a different source. While the Christian has the elevating influence of the power of grace, the sinner must draw from another source his enjoyments. If ever I prize Christ and the Christian hope, it is here, while looking upon poor invalids with but little prospect before them of ever recovering their health and have no hope of a better life. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1864, par. 6

Dr. Jackson carries out his principles in regard to diet to the letter. He places no butter or salt upon his table, no meat or any kind of grease. But he sets a liberal table. Waiters are constantly in attendance and if a dish is getting low, they remove it and replenish. The food I call liberal and good. All the difficulty is, there is danger of eating too much. All our food is eaten with a keen relish. If any one requires a little salt they have it supplied for the asking. A little bell sits by their plate which they use to call the waiter who provides them what they ask. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1864, par. 7

From 12 o’clock to quarter before two are resting hours. Everything is quiet. All undress and go to bed. But I forgot to state at half past ten comes the taking of baths. All patients who take treatments enter a large carpeted room with stove in it. All around the room are hooks. Upon these hooks are the sheets of the patients. Each has his particular hook and his number over the hook. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1864, par. 8

Upon entering this room, the one who undresses first wraps a sheet about her and signifies her readiness for a bath. By removing a tin from a hook, painted on the back side with brown paint, they hold that tin until the bath tending women ask, What does No. 1 want? She then tells them either sitz bath, half bath, or dry rubbing according to their prescription. They say, All ready. Then the patient turns this tin brownside out and goes to her bath. This saves all confusion for it is known when all are served. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1864, par. 9

The bath women put on old duds reaching to the knees, are barefooted and bare-legged and look bad. Yet their manner of dress is according to their work. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1864, par. 10

I do think we should have an institution in Mich. to which our Sabbathkeeping invalids can resort. Dr. Lay is doing well. He is in the very best place he could be in to learn. He is studying all his leisure moments and is coming out a thorough convert. His wife is doing well. She is gaining, walks well for her. She is one hundred percent better than when she came here. Dr. Lay is respected in this institution. He ranks among their physicians. I think they [would] be unwilling to have him leave them. Dr. Lay thinks some of going to N. York City to Dr. Trall’s college and attend lectures, obtain a diploma and come out a regular M.D. I believe the Lord’s hand is in our coming to this place. We shall learn all we can and try to make a right use of it. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1864, par. 11

Yesterday we attended the celebration of a wedding conducted in style, worthy of imitation. Dr.’s only son James was married to Miss Katie Johnson. They were married in their father’s cottage and then came to the hall where all the patients were congregated and all the members of the household, also sick patients confined to their rooms, were brought out, laid upon sofas and placed in rocking chairs upon the large platform occupied by those who lecture. Some were cripples, some diseased in various ways. The hall was decorated in tasteful style, nothing superfluous or silly. After the bridegroom and bride walked in, then Mrs. Dr. York conducted us to them and gave all who desired an introduction to them. There was a long table arranged with food which was placed upon plates and passed around to each one. Then waiters were constantly passing around with a supply if any more was required. Grapes were passed around in abundance. Everything was liberal, yet plain. They did not even on this occasion depart from their principles of diet which made the thing consistent and admirable. They had extras, graham pudding with dates in it, gems mixed with raisins, custard, apple pie and baked apples, a few other simple things, nothing like fine flour was seen, even upon this extra occasion. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1864, par. 12

I am afraid as a people we should not carry out our principles as well. After we had eaten, Mr. Clark, a great musician, sang and played upon an instrument of music, cabinet organ. His song was very amusing, but enough of this. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1864, par. 13

I don’t know when you will get another letter. I meant to send the price of those shoes so if any wanted cheap shoes they could get them for their children. But there are so many hands and so many different prices and kinds of shoes that I think it would be impossible to tell you so that you could understand in regard [to] them. They had better remain until we return, I think. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1864, par. 14

We hope you will enjoy yourselves well in our absence. Be cheerful, above all things be happy. Look on the bright side and may the blessing of God rest upon you in rich abundance. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1864, par. 15

In love. 1LtMs, Lt 6, 1864, par. 16