Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3

373/473

Lt 60, 1880

Walling, Fred

NP

1880

Previously unpublished.

Mr. Walling

Dear Nephew:

We received a line or two from you today, saying you have written several letters. We have seen no letters. I told you the conditions upon which I would take care of your children till they were of age, without drawing upon you. I make the same proposition now. If you will give me a written agreement that you will allow me to take care of and educate your children till they are of age, I will do by them as I would by my own children. If you will not do this, then you must forward means at once. We cannot pay from our own purses, four dollars per week for your children’s board. 3LtMs, Lt 60, 1880, par. 1

You wrote, you say, to Willie White to find them a place, but he has not seen any such letter. When we ask any family to take charge of these children, they say, as any reasonable persons would say, I do not know Mr. Walling. I cannot board his children [unless] I am paid weekly. They need clothing; we will not let them suffer, and we supply them. 3LtMs, Lt 60, 1880, par. 2

Is it your wish for them to attend school? If so, we will have them do so when you provide the means. This is too bad. I told you that I would not be responsible for your children any longer. Not a cent of money has come to us for them, and not one word have we received from you. All letters come direct from McDearman, [H. E.] Olmstead, [J. O.] Corliss—when he was there—and Moore, and if you had written, I believe we should have received it. Your children have not attended school the last term. They are doing well in their studies and are very promising, good children. I love them, but I cannot consent to do more for them than I have done while you refuse to give me any assurance on your part. 3LtMs, Lt 60, 1880, par. 3

Both of your children will make good scholars and now is the very best time for them to learn. For the good of your children I hope you will decide to have them remain in school, for they may never have such advantages again. 3LtMs, Lt 60, 1880, par. 4

The board bill of your children commences to reckon from the period of our settlement. Money with us is very scarce, [but] I will not see your children suffer for comfortable clothing or good food, if I never receive one cent for it. But when we leave, who will then care for them? If it were understood [that] these children were mine until they were of age, there are those who would do anything for us, that would not feel under any moral obligation to help you. You understand this matter. For the children’s good, not for my own, I make my request. 3LtMs, Lt 60, 1880, par. 5

In regard to the building you spoke of where machinery is stored, we do not know what you mean. All my husband mentioned was the little room you occupied when we were there. No machinery is stored there. We found that it was not agreeable for families living in the house to have you coming all times of night and passing, as you must do, through the rooms in the winter. They would not consent to have this. I do not think you can be dependent on that little room for a home. You have nothing of a business character to call you to the place. 3LtMs, Lt 60, 1880, par. 6

In regard to Laskey, we are sorry to say he impressed us very unfavorably when we were there. We have no confidence in the man, with his extravagant tobacco using and liquor drinking. The farther he remains away from the place, the better. The course he pursued when we were there disgusted us thoroughly with him. His swaggering, boasting, boisterous talk and his course in tempting young men to drink again and again from a keg of whiskey until some were drunk, and that upon the Sabbath, shows just the character of the man and what may be expected of him. All such men we would have no connection with. We have no confidence in them. That exhibition which we saw, of those men at the mill upon our premises on the Sabbath, was enough for a lifetime. 3LtMs, Lt 60, 1880, par. 7

Can you be surprised that those who are living upon the place would prefer to be free from everything which would be the least likely to draw such company? We know that you are not an intemperate man, but you keep company with those who are so, which brings them around, and anything which will draw this class about the premises we wish to avoid if possible. 3LtMs, Lt 60, 1880, par. 8

[The following portion, also to Mr. Walling, appears to be an extract from a different letter:]

I have been at the expense of your children’s board and clothing since our last settlement. I have had to make underclothing and winter clothing throughout. They are now comfortable for winter. I have thought you would, of course, wish them to attend college. I paid twelve dollars for tuition this term. You can reckon up their board from the time of our last settlement at four dollars per week. The price of schooling and books for them both this term, twelve dollars; May’s schooling and books last term, five dollars and a half for schooling, two dollars for books. 3LtMs, Lt 60, 1880, par. 9