Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)


Lt 47, 1876

White, W. C.; White, Mary

Auburn, Maine

July 1876

Previously unpublished.

Dear Children, Willie and Mary:

We are waiting at the depot for the train to come in from Portland which will bring Mary L. Clough from Saco. Mr. [Samuel H.] Foss will meet us with his team and take us to his place, Minot. 3LtMs, Lt 47, 1876, par. 1

We have called upon Ellen Boothby; took dinner with her at her boarding place. She has got a girl to take her place and will visit her parents with us. 3LtMs, Lt 47, 1876, par. 2

We have just visited your father's relatives. Our business was to see your Aunt Lizzie [Elizabeth] Tenny. We first went to Newport. A livery team took us up to Aunt Robinson's. We found her still living, cheerful and happy, but feeble. We visited Shepard Robinson. It rained all day Sunday. We could not go eight miles to see Lizzie. Early Monday morning there were signs of breaking away and we started. Shepard Robinson took us with his team to the place provided for Lizzie. We were disappointed she was not there. Was visiting at Skowhegan. We got Mr. Fuller, Mr. Tenny's son-in-law, to take us with his team to John Tenny's at Skowhegan, twenty-five miles. We took a lunch and stopped in the midst of a raspberry patch, and with our lunch in one hand we picked berries with the other and had a very good meal of berries. The bushes were loaded with these nice, sweet raspberries. Our dinner over, we again went on our way. We passed the very place where Father studied at Kentskill. 3LtMs, Lt 47, 1876, par. 3

I think Father is asleep on the settee. I am keeping off the flies and writing while he sleeps. 3LtMs, Lt 47, 1876, par. 4

On the very spot where sat the old seminary stands a nice brick building. The old building looks very small. It was moved a short distance for a boarding house. These places all have interest for me. I have heard your father talk so much about them. 3LtMs, Lt 47, 1876, par. 5

We were much disappointed to find Lizzie’s home so meager and cheap. Her home is described in two little rooms, eight by ten. One of these is a kitchen, the other designed for bedroom. The work is of the cheapest, coarsest kind. There is a little chamber above, the size of a small bedroom, that Abbey Tenny’s daughter has, and Lizzie sleeps in an unfinished open stairway. This is her life legacy, a home such as I have described. Nothing interesting or pleasant, even, in it. I said when I saw it, my sister Lizzie shall never live in such a place as this. 3LtMs, Lt 47, 1876, par. 6

I felt not a little indignant as I saw your Aunt Lizzie’s home. Mr. Tenny has failed to do his duty by Lizzie and we shall do for her as we have for the rest of the family. Lizzie was so thankful to see us. Her little rooms join a good-sized house of Mrs. Tenny’s son-in-law. His daughter, Mrs. Fuller, is a thin, long-faced woman, and as soon as I looked upon her I knew she was selfish and unsympathizing. Lizzie told me that she paid for every drop of milk she had, and every egg, and every little thing that she received was counted. 3LtMs, Lt 47, 1876, par. 7

Willie, you know we do not treat even strangers in this way, much less relatives. For twenty-three years, Lizzie has lived with Mr. Tenny and been a faithful mother to his children, and after living with an old man so many years, he dies and leaves her five hundred dollars and the interest yearly on a thousand dollars at six percent, and a home for her lifetime in the rooms I have described. This is too bad, too bad. But this is the way selfish persons act. 3LtMs, Lt 47, 1876, par. 8

We return here to Lewiston day after tomorrow, Thursday, and go on our way to Philadelphia. The weather is now cool and pleasant to travel. We are all well now and this little journey is doing us good. We think much of you all and shall probably be at Oakland this winter, and do our work. 3LtMs, Lt 47, 1876, par. 9

Trust in God, children. He will be your helper. But Father says I must close now if I get it on this train. 3LtMs, Lt 47, 1876, par. 10

Love to Mrs. Dr. Rice and Frank Belden, George and the little girls. Father is cheerful and has physical and mental strength. This letter is not as I would wish but in this depot, all chattering about me, it is as well as I can do and will do better. 3LtMs, Lt 47, 1876, par. 11

Write us often as possible. 3LtMs, Lt 47, 1876, par. 12

In much love, 3LtMs, Lt 47, 1876, par. 13