Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 10 (1895)


Ms 2a, 1895

A Statement Regarding Mr. Walling

Cooranbong, N. S. W., Australia

January 16, 1895

Previously unpublished.

I wish to make a brief statement in regard to the suit which Mr. Walling has instituted against me. Some time since, I proposed to make a settlement with him for a sum of money. This I did for the sake of his children; I did not want them compelled to appear in court against their own father. Mr. Walling proposed to settle the matter for fifteen hundred dollars, on condition that I sign a paper making certain statements. This paper I cannot sign, for in so doing I should perjure myself. I can make no apology or concession to Mr. Walling. I cannot certify that he is a worthy man. Considering the course he has pursued, as I have learned of it from his own children, I cannot in truth state that I approve his conduct. 10LtMs, Ms 2a, 1895, par. 1

When I took charge of Mr. Walling’s children, I did so at his request. I have incurred an expense of not less than three thousand dollars for their care and education, which he left me to bear alone. At one time, when the girls were still but children, I wrote to him stating that I must return them to him unless he would give me a written statement that I should have the charge of them until they were of age. As he did not do this, I proposed to send them to him by Sister McDearman, who was returning to her home in Colorado. Mr. Walling then wrote, begging me not to send the children, as he had no suitable home for them, and no one who could take charge of them. If I could not keep them, he wished me to get them boarded in some family, and he would pay their expenses. I did have them boarded for awhile, but concluded to purchase a house in California, secure the best help that could be found, and make a home for the children’s sake. 10LtMs, Ms 2a, 1895, par. 2

For years, nothing was heard of Mr. Walling. We knew not whether he was still living. I felt the importance of training the children so they could become self-sustaining. I gave them opportunity to obtain a school education. I did not require them to do my housework, but had a woman to do this, and a seamstress to attend to their sewing. I wished them, however, to have an education in domestic duties; and to this end I placed them under faithful instruction, that they might learn to care properly for a household. I spoke to the children of their father as an incentive to diligence in acquiring a knowledge of household duties, that they might surprise and gratify him should they ever meet him again. I told them to write and let him know that they were doing well. But their answer was, “Where shall we address him?” I told them to direct their letters to Boulder, Colorado, and if he was in the state, they would be likely to reach him. 10LtMs, Ms 2a, 1895, par. 3

We had no news from Mr. Walling for, I think, nearly ten years. Before I went to Europe, in 1885, he did finally communicate with Addie, and during my absence on this journey he went to California to visit the girls. He then had opportunity to make his own impression upon them; but his long silence, the fact that he did not show them the slightest attention for many years, could not have been without effect on their minds. On coming to visit them, he appeared dressed in a manner that gave no honor to himself and must have been a keen disappointment and humiliation to them. When he met Addie, his threat as to what he would do to me if she did not concede to his wishes induced her to leave her position in the publishing house in Oakland, and go with him to Colorado. 10LtMs, Ms 2a, 1895, par. 4

Addie had told me that he would probably come, and from his letters she judged that he would wish her to return with him to Colorado. She asked what I would advise her to do. I told her it would be better to wait until my return from Europe, and I would then accompany her to Colorado. She was about to enter the printing office to learn the trade as a compositor in preparation for proof-reading. I advised her to serve her time as an apprentice and master her trade. But after I reached Europe, a telegram arrived from her, “Shall I go with father to Colorado?” This I did not think it best to answer. Addie was old enough to decide for herself. I had already given counsel, and wished to do no more. I certainly could not have advised her to go, for I had had no knowledge of Mr. Walling for years and had no reason to think it a wise thing for her to do under the circumstances. She decided to go with him; but I soon had occasion to think that my misgivings were not without foundation. 10LtMs, Ms 2a, 1895, par. 5

After my return from Europe, I could hear nothing from Addie, whom I had cared for and clothed and fed since she was five and a half years old. Letters came to me stating that it was not best for me to attempt to correspond with her, for both her letters and mine would be intercepted. Then I received letters from Fred Walling stating how unhappy Addie was, and urging me to come myself and take her away. This I could not do. But the account of this whole matter is in the hands of my lawyer. 10LtMs, Ms 2a, 1895, par. 6

Mr. Walling, by his own course of action, made an impression of the mind of Fred, Addie, and May that was detrimental to himself. After Addie went with her father, she had a hard time. Mr. Walling finally left her in New Mexico, without funds except some money of her own earning which she had with her. Even this her brother Bert borrowed from her. After leaving her, he wrote to her advising that she send to me for money to defray her expenses to Michigan, where I then was. 10LtMs, Ms 2a, 1895, par. 7

I sent her forty dollars and she returned to me; but for a time she was almost unbalanced in mind. She seemed to dwell on the trying experiences through which she had passed, the manner in which she had been treated by her own father, and could not be persuaded to banish it from her mind as a thing of the past. I had had nothing to do with the matter except to try by every means in my power to devise a plan for her return to me. I had been so troubled day and night by the representation made to me that I became sick nigh unto death. 10LtMs, Ms 2a, 1895, par. 8

Next began Mr. Walling’s effort to extort money from me by instituting a suit for $25,000 for alienating from him the affections of his children. As I was on my way to the Pacific coast to embark for Australia, I was notified of his purpose. I was then at Colorado Springs attending a camp meeting. I could not delay my journey to Australia, but this movement on his part has cost me $1,000 in lawyer’s fees and other necessary expenses. Such iniquity, such injustice, I thought could not be possible if the man was in his right mind. But the financial expense was not the whole cost. 10LtMs, Ms 2a, 1895, par. 9

The labor required in collecting testimony to be used in my defense, and visiting law offices day after day, nearly cost me my life. I was oppressed, and the weight upon me was so great that I could not sleep. A long, painful illness of eleven months’ duration was the result. But the Lord comforted and blessed me. The effects of the illness remain, in liability to rheumatism, affection of the spine, and increased weakness of the heart, that makes a long sea-voyage look very forbidding. Yet I am ready to undertake it, and stand in the court room to bear my testimony, if necessary. 10LtMs, Ms 2a, 1895, par. 10

I repeat, I can enter into no compromise with a man who has no respect for his word. I should testify to a lie should I do what Mr. Walling demands. It was for the sake of Addie and May that I made an attempt at compromise. But a promise to represent him to his children as a worthy man I cannot now give and state the truth. I would rather the lawsuit should go on. If I can, I will appear in court. If I feel forbidden of God to bear my testimony in court, then I cast myself upon my great Advocate, and will trust Him to give to the men who have the case in hand, wisdom to decide righteously. 10LtMs, Ms 2a, 1895, par. 11

This is all I am able to write at this time, as it is nearly time for the mail to close. 10LtMs, Ms 2a, 1895, par. 12