Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)


Lt 2, 1888

Walling, Fred

Healdsburg, California

April 13, 1888

Portions of this letter are published in 8MR 109-110.

Defendant’s exhibit

Mr. Walling

Dear Nephew:

There has just come to me from the dead-letter office a letter that I wrote to you in reference to May Walling. Therefore, I am aware you did not receive it. May was not with me when I wrote last. Mr. Harmon, because of the abundant rain, could not get to the depot, but May has been with me now for some weeks. 5LtMs, Lt 2, 1888, par. 1

I have been absent from home for about five weeks. Before that I spent only a short time with May, as I had to go to St. Helena. 5LtMs, Lt 2, 1888, par. 2

I find May is not strong. For several years after she was in my charge, the greatest care had to be exercised for her. She had a dangerous sickness of erysipelas and was in a critical state for weeks, so she had to be watched over day and night. She lost her toenails because of the inflammation. Many prayers ascended to heaven that her life might be spared. She had prior to this been unable to use potatoes without having distress in her bowels. I think that these difficulties were almost entirely gone after her long, painful sickness. 5LtMs, Lt 2, 1888, par. 3

I did not feel that she would ever be able to do hard work and kept a hired girl all the time. May was required to take care of her own room and assist in washing dishes. She had done no cooking until she went to Mrs. Harmon’s. 5LtMs, Lt 2, 1888, par. 4

I thought her line of business would be school teaching; therefore I have paid her tuition and let her have her time to obtain a good education. But she has not attended school recently, because her health demanded a change. She was growing fast. She looked strong, but I knew she was not strong, so I put nothing hard upon her, and there was no need, as I kept help all the time. 5LtMs, Lt 2, 1888, par. 5

Next term I want she shall have the advantage of completing her education. Everything she does is nice, but is very slow. I think if she passes twenty, her health will be confirmed; at least that has been my hope. She has manifested much interest in botany, and I think she will make an admirable, thorough teacher when she will have a couple of years more advantage of study. 5LtMs, Lt 2, 1888, par. 6

It has been my object to so educate the children that they could sustain themselves in some literary work and not have to do house work, for this is slavery if compelled to do this for a living. I have expended up to the time I left for Europe, in their education, in their board bill, and for their clothing and transporting them back and forth from and to California as my work required, three thousand dollars. 5LtMs, Lt 2, 1888, par. 7

I am now having May learn to cook. She obtained considerable knowledge at Mrs. Harmon’s. I should not have had her go to Nevada had I been consulted, for I have felt determined the girls should not either of them be placed in a line of business where it was not agreeable for them and where they would be compelled or tempted to lift and do hard physical labor. Neither of them is fitted for this kind of work. I have felt anxious to have them learn to cook under a good, intelligent woman. Addie [Walling] is a good cook, but May is not yet educated in this direction. 5LtMs, Lt 2, 1888, par. 8

These children are very near and dear to me, because I have not only given them care and invested in them money, but I have given them a mother’s care and love. I have felt disappointed in not seeing Addie before this time, as I understand the agreement was that she was to return in January. Every day when at home, I have looked for my eldest daughter’s return, and when away, every letter received I thought would tell me of her return. But time passes and she does not come. 5LtMs, Lt 2, 1888, par. 9

I have brought from Norway a musician and translator, and I have also brought from Chicago a young lady who has written for magazines, like Mary Clough, and they are now engaged with me in my work. These were transported that I might place Addie right in my own good house in Healdsburg, in an excellent climate, under these successful teachers to help her in her education, that she shall have all the qualifications that I am able to give her of a complete education, to write, to prepare copy, or to read proof, which will command the best of wages. 5LtMs, Lt 2, 1888, par. 10

I have not worked at all from a selfish standpoint, but have labored [so] that, if I should be removed by death, these girls would have a trade using their mental ability to do good work and command good wages. I do not think [that] either of them could be employed as a business in housework, only that they should understand how to work in this line, how to be economical, and how to stand at the head of a household without embarrassment when that time should come. 5LtMs, Lt 2, 1888, par. 11

Now, I want Addie to return to her home and to her mother, her Aunt Ellen. I thought I would not urge this matter, for I expected it would need no urging. I had expected Addie every day. Now while I have these right in my own house to help Addie to do a work which would be of great advantage to her in a business point, she ought to improve the opportunity. I have felt bad to see the time passing and Addie losing these precious opportunities. I therefore write to you to make these matters known, that no more time shall be lost and that Addie shall return at once to me. 5LtMs, Lt 2, 1888, par. 12

Whatever Addie does in my house of the work will be all due to me for the expense I have had in her education, but I do not propose to do anything of this kind. I want to pay Addie when she gets able and fitted to work, just as I pay my other workers. I pay May now for what she is doing, for I want her to learn the use of money under my direction, as I consider this a part of the education of children. I want to pay these children for their work, although up to the present time, saving a few weeks in the time, they have been an expense to me all the way through. Yet I do not require them to pay me back in time and labor for all this care and expense. 5LtMs, Lt 2, 1888, par. 13

I love the children. I am working for their present and future good. I have labored most earnestly to so do my work that the best material should be brought into their character-building here in this life that they shall be useful, true to God, and true to those with whom they are brought into connection, and that they may have spotless characters, that they may be fitted for the society of the saints in light. 5LtMs, Lt 2, 1888, par. 14

I hope I shall not fail in my purpose. The approval of God I prize above everything else in this life, and I want that these dear children shall wear the white robe of Christ’s righteousness and shall win heaven and the crown of glory that fadeth not away. 5LtMs, Lt 2, 1888, par. 15

I have nothing in all my plans to conceal from you or anyone. My course and my work are as open as the day. I have done no underhanded work at any time or in any place. I frankly state these things to you, for I have always been frank and always mean to be frank. 5LtMs, Lt 2, 1888, par. 16

Your Aunt. 5LtMs, Lt 2, 1888, par. 17