Lt 19, 1889

Lt 19, 1889

White, John

Battle Creek, Michigan

January 8, 1889

Previously unpublished.

I received your letter in due time, but have been so pressed with writing that I could not answer it, for I [wished] to obtain the bills due at the Sanitarium. These I enclose. I will give you statements as far as I know. 6LtMs, Lt 19, 1889, par. 1

We came from Oakland, California, to attend General Conference, held at Minneapolis, Minnesota. We arrived in Battle Creek November 6, found Aunt Mary comfortably cared for, able to sit up and walk about. She had a nurse which she was paying $3.00 per week. About two weeks after we came to this place, Mary had an ill turn, and we thought she could not live but a few days. She rallied from this, however, but is still confined to her bed all the time. 6LtMs, Lt 19, 1889, par. 2

She is a great care, and her nurse says she cannot take care of her for less than $5.00 or $6.00 per week. Mary has lost her mind. She will know me when she sees me but forgets the next moment that she has seen me. She has watchers night and day. I want to retain the present nurse, because she is neat and careful and takes great pains to keep Aunt Mary’s bed sweet and clean, and this is no easy matter, I assure you. 6LtMs, Lt 19, 1889, par. 3

It is very disagreeable for those who take care of her. They get but little rest. She will call the nurses from their sleep even when she has watchers, and when asked what is wanted, it is: “May I go to sleep?” “Say I must go to sleep,” or “Put the clothing off, or put it up.” She did before quite as bad as now, get out of bed nights before she would let them know it and then call for the nurse. Then they would have to lift her back as she would not be able to help herself at all. 6LtMs, Lt 19, 1889, par. 4

During the meetings here I [hired a woman] who is a sincere Christian lady to go there and make it her home while she remained in the place, but she is liable to [leave shortly,] and the nurse will be left alone unless we can supply this lady’s place. As the case becomes more difficult, the work is harder. Aunt Mary has to be dressed and undressed several times a day, and it is hard work to lift her, for she cannot help herself in the least. 6LtMs, Lt 19, 1889, par. 5

In reference to the means, Mr. Palmer, a notary public, has had the entire charge of that. $350.00 was placed in the Review Office, and she was to draw from it when she needed money. 6LtMs, Lt 19, 1889, par. 6

We purchased a house close by the Tabernacle so it would be easy for her to attend the meetings. I have kept up the taxes and insurance, and she has always called it “my house” and “my furniture,” when it all belonged to me, except a rag carpet which she had made. The house would have brought me $12.00 or 15.00 a month could I have rented it, for rents are high, but it has been difficult to find persons who would board Aunt Mary for the rent of the house. She was finally left to choose the family she would have in the house, and she has always had all the rent that came, to use as she liked for her support. 6LtMs, Lt 19, 1889, par. 7

I have never received anything from the house. In addition to this, I have every year left orders to make Aunt Mary a present of $10.00 in money and, besides this, to see that she has suitable clothing and that she should want for nothing in the line of food. I knew she was unwilling to use the little means she had for food and clothing, for she had said, “Who knows but that I may be sick and helpless and wholly dependent.” 6LtMs, Lt 19, 1889, par. 8

I purchased a nice dress, flannels, shawl, gloves, and many other [nice] things. The house, in order to be made comfortable, cost me for repairs. The Sanitarium has been very kind to Mary. She was taken sick, and as she had no relatives here, she was taken to the Sanitarium and cared for. They wrote me that she would not live, and her burying place was marked out on the lots where Father and Mother and my children are lying. But she lingers still. I cannot think that she can live the winter through. I have been so straitened for means that I have sold the place where Aunt Mary is, and signed the deed today. Provision was made that Aunt Mary can remain where she is as long as she lives. 6LtMs, Lt 19, 1889, par. 9

Edson has been unfortunate, and it has taken the value of the place to meet debts incurred, and still he will have to receive more help to settle other debts. 6LtMs, Lt 19, 1889, par. 10

If Mary lingers long, she shall be cared for, but the question is asked, “Has she no children? They must be heartless to leave a mother alone in this way for strangers to care for.” It has come hard upon me for I have had to hire money for other purposes to the amount of $8,000.00 and am paying 7 percent interest. I have some real estate. There is no mortgage on my property and the bank will let me have money when I ask for it. 6LtMs, Lt 19, 1889, par. 11

Mary White has been suffering with lung difficulty contracted in Europe. Willie has had to keep a hired nurse ever since he came home. This has cost us much anxiety and a large outlay of means. I thought I would let you know just how the case stands. I make no demands. I have done for Mary just as I would wish to have done for me under similar circumstances. She is my husband’s sister, and she shall be no beggar or pauper but shall be well cared [for while she] lives, and have a respectable burial when she dies. 6LtMs, Lt 19, 1889, par. 12

I have taken rooms in the Sanitarium for Willie and his [wife] Mary and myself, and five workers [who are busy] on book making. We will visit South Lancaster and Washington soon. Leave here this week. I thank you for your kind letter. 6LtMs, Lt 19, 1889, par. 13

With much love to your mother, yourself and family, 6LtMs, Lt 19, 1889, par. 14

I am yours. 6LtMs, Lt 19, 1889, par. 15

P.S. Please find enclosed a duplicate bill of Mrs. Mary Chase’s account at the Sanitarium, Battle Creek, Michigan. 6LtMs, Lt 19, 1889, par. 16