Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)


Lt 38, 1877

White, W. C.; White, Mary

Oakland, California

November 16, 1877

Previously unpublished.

Dear children, Willie and Mary:

We are usually well. Father is improving in health. He is making every exertion for himself he can. He rides out, he walks, and he is on horseback considerably. His disposition to be alone and say little is passing away. He seems earnestly anxious for himself to get in working order. His moral sensibilities are fully aroused. 3LtMs, Lt 38, 1877, par. 1

Last Monday we attended the funeral of Brother Grant. He died a most distressing death with disease of the heart. The Odd Fellows to whose order he belonged defrayed all his expenses in sickness and at the funeral. The funeral was to be in Odd Fellows Hall. Father thought he could not go and mix with them, but he decided, as he had promised to attend the funeral, to go. We were met with hack at the boat and taken to the hall, a splendidly furnished building. 3LtMs, Lt 38, 1877, par. 2

I feared Father would become confused with all their grave ceremonies and peculiar badges, long standards and hatchets, etc., but no, he seemed never more calm and collected in his life. He read a chapter from the Bible, “Wherefore comfort one another with this hope,” etc. [1 Thessalonians 4:18.] He made a speech of about twenty minutes. Every word could have been put in print just as he spoke them. His remarks were excellent. He addressed the mourners in a most tender, sympathizing manner, in an elevated strain, and yet came close to the hearts of the bereaved. There was not a dry eye I think in that assembly. The gray haired among the Odd Fellows wept freely. It was a perfect success, prayer and all, from first to last. We then entered the hack waiting and drove in company with Brother and Sister Chittendon to Lone Mountain Cemetery, to the Old Fellows’ ground, a beautiful spot. We all gathered about the grave while the chaplain read services and read a prayer. Every word was in keeping with our faith. They each threw a sprig of evergreen upon the coffin, and then Father repeated, “I am the resurrection and the life,” etc. [John 11:25.] He thanked the friends for their services to the dead in behalf of the bereaved, pronounced the benediction, and we again entered the hack. This was worth everything to Father as it gave him confidence that he was not wrecked in mental or physical ability. 3LtMs, Lt 38, 1877, par. 3

Charlie Chittendon ordered the hackman to drive us to Seal Rock or Cliff House. It was quite a long drive, but it was very interesting. We did not get out of the hack. The wind was blowing from the southeast, and it lashed the waves into a fury. I never saw anything so beautifully grand as the waves rolling mountain high and then rushing on as though to sweep us away into angry foam, but coming only that distance the hand of God had prescribed, setting the boundaries of its proud waves. For one quarter of a mile the waters were as white as milk. We then rode back to the boat and came home the same night. Father slept very sweetly all night. He is taking hold in prayer for himself. He feels that he must have help from God and engage in the work. I feel very grateful for these tokens of good. 3LtMs, Lt 38, 1877, par. 4

Today we go to San Francisco to spend Sabbath and remain till over first day, evening. Father will speak, I think. Everything seems to move off well. Edson is tender and affectionate to Father, and Father seems to enjoy his society. Mary Clough is under an engagement of marriage to a Col. Wanless (I think is his name). We have had quite a trial, but everything is again in harmony. We shall pay Mary up when Volume Three is completed, and then I shall not prepare any more work for her. I pity the poor girl. She has denied herself the privilege of marriage because she has thought her mother and sister needed so much of her help. I can say nothing, understanding of her intended. I will not write any more particulars now. 3LtMs, Lt 38, 1877, par. 5

I think of my little girls often as well as of Aunt Mary and you, my dear children. We remember you in our prayers. We believe God will direct your path. Only look to Him and trust in Him and hide self in Jesus. God will be our Fortress and our Strength, our Front-guard and our Rearward. 3LtMs, Lt 38, 1877, par. 6

I hope our little girls will do what they can for themselves. Apportion some part of the work to them that they may know what belongs to them to do. It is better for to have the minds and hands employed than to leave them engaged in needless play and talk and be of no manner of use to anyone. Their father said, Teach my little girls to work, that they shall be used to labor and love labor. I do not want them to feel that they can be idle, but I want them to do what they can with cheerfulness as though they loved it and not as though it were a drudgery. Every one of us has something to do, and their little hands must do their part. I want them to write to me. 3LtMs, Lt 38, 1877, par. 7

The bell is ringing for breakfast. I must close. Write us as often as you can, but do not take it from your sleeping hours, for I had rather go without a letter. 3LtMs, Lt 38, 1877, par. 8

In much love to Aunt Mary, the little girls, and yourselves, 3LtMs, Lt 38, 1877, par. 9