Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)


Lt 38, 1880

White, W. C.; White, Mary

Nearing Cheyenne, Wyoming

August 1, 1880

This letter is published in entirety in 11MR 66-68.

Dear children, Willie and Mary:

We are nearing Cheyenne. We have had not one moment’s regret coming this route on emigrant ticket. I have had nervous headache nearly all the way since leaving Oakland. We have had a full car all the way. Every seat was full and upper berths taken and was rather of a comical sight to see men sitting on edge of upper berths with feet dangling over the heads of ladies in under berth, eating their lunch and some playing cards. 3LtMs, Lt 38, 1880, par. 1

We had no reason to complain as we had both lower and upper berths to ourselves. Sister [Lucinda] Hall and I have had the very best chance to rest. We kept our bed made up for use nearly all the time, curtains about it, making a bedroom for ourselves. 3LtMs, Lt 38, 1880, par. 2

Friday at nine a.m., we changed cars at Ogden without much difficulty. Sister Hall made for the car, secured seats. I handed smaller parcels in at the window. A lady kindly put through the car window all our large bundles and a gentleman volunteered to put them in the car. So we are again moved, but there was some disagreeable contention about position in the cars. After a time our camp was settled and angry contention at an end. 3LtMs, Lt 38, 1880, par. 3

The two ladies sitting opposite us, rather prepossessing in appearance, were not very dignified in their deportment. They condescended to the most boisterous laughter and joking away into the night, until I suggested we remember what time of night it was; but they kept on the same screaming and laughing with forward men and a base conductor, until I was thoroughly indignant. These women professed to be Presbyterians. One was a mother of young men. She was as old as myself. Her hair was nearly white, and yet she was jesting and joking with young men of questionable morals. I finally spoke out and told them we had had quite enough of this extravagant mirth and constant joking, and thought less talk and laughter and more thinking and praying would be far better. They quit then and let us have a little peace. 3LtMs, Lt 38, 1880, par. 4

Sabbath we shut ourselves up to ourselves and, as I was sick, we lay in our berth nearly all day. It was very hot. We had, we found to our sorrow, the sunny side of the car. Last night till ten o’clock the same gassing and boisterous laughter was kept up. I spoke again, “Friends, please let us have quiet and rest. Last night we were kept awake for many hours. We need our rest. This is our right.” Everything hushed down after a while and we had a peaceful rest. 3LtMs, Lt 38, 1880, par. 5

Feel better today. It is a most beautiful morning. We shall be in Cheyenne tonight at five o’clock. We shall not reach Omaha [until] Monday night or Tuesday morning, and will have to wait over twelve hours there [to] be attached to express train for Chicago. We have very scrimped time. Shall shift off if we see we shall be too late for appointment at Alma. We can but just make it at the best. We feel the need of that Sunday we spent in Oakland ever so much. We shall want to hear from you all. I have not written anything. I dread even the exertion of writing letters. We want to hear from you as soon as possible, for I worry about Willie. 3LtMs, Lt 38, 1880, par. 6