Center for Archival Collections
|Reference Services | Manuscripts by Subject | CAC Homepage|
Louisa Cook Walters Correspondence- MMS 1289
Dear Mother & Sisters,
A long time has elapsed since last I wrote you, although I commenced a letter to you about seven weeks ago, but before I could finish it I was taken down with the measles and am just getting to feel like myself again. I was very sick for about a week before the measles came out and then I took cold and they settled in my eyes and on my lungs for a few days. I was perfectly blind and O so sick. My friends got frightened about me and had a counsel of physicians and what with my cough, measles, doctors and all, I guess I did come as near giving out as ever I did. But for the last eight or ten days I have been gaining very fast and O such an appetite as I have got is a caution to all boarding houses. I can just eat everything before me and than cry for more. I think I wrote you that I was teaching in the City of Placerville for one hundred dollars a month. I had taught six weeks when I was taken sick. I shall try to resume it again next Monday morning. This is a good place to make money and it is a capital place to spend money. When I was taken sick, I had over two hundred and fifty dollars on hand. Now I have not got a hundred. Easy comes, easy goes. 25 cts is the smallest change they have here. You can not get a darning needle for less than that. Flour is very cheap now for this place, 20 cts per lb, butter $1.25, eggs five dollars a dozen, corn meal 30 cts per lb., cheese .75, bacon .50, sugar .60, coffee .60, tea $1.50, etc. While I was sick the doctor said one day I might eat a little chicken broth if I had it and a young man who heard him say it started right off to find one and what do you think he paid for a hen, only eight dollars in gold. He made me a present of it, but it was a big price I thought.
Well, Ma, I have found an old acquaintance here in town, one who has been living here for the last eight months, within five miles of me and we never found each other out till since I was sick. Who do you think it is? For fear you'll never guess, I'll tell you, George Plumey. I had been sick about three days when he sent me his name by a friend and that he would like to come and see me as soon I was able to see him. It was as much as two weeks before I could see him and then I could not speak loud. I could only whisper a few words to him, as I lay on the bed with my eyes shut and so weak that I could hardly raise my hand. But I have had a good many chats with him since that. I like him first rate and I guess he is a very good man. He says he has not heard from home in a long time and he does not write because he does not get any answers. Uncle and Aunt think they will go to Cal. this fall. If they do I shall go with them. Hiram Smith is on his way across the plains with another lot of passengers. I hope he will bring them on a little straighter road than he brought us. Mary had the measles the same time that I did, but a week after she was taken, she was as well as ever. She grows quite fast. The greatest fears I have for her is that she is going to get old too fast. There are so few girls or ladies here and so many men. The girls are made so much of that they are spoiled. Since last fall she has had six new dresses given to her and some other little notions. You will think I had not ought to have to buy much, but the trouble of it is folks dress so much more than they do at home. Well, it is the same as the cities there, I suppose, and of course I have to keep Mary the same as the rest or there would be trouble in the camp directly. I will send you some of the pieces. We had a nice May party and a May Queen with her four maids of honor. Mary was chosen one of the maids and she had the white dress made up and presented to her for the occasion before she knew anything about it.
We have a flourishing Sabbath School here. They have just got up a nice library from San Francisco and what do you think it cost. It cost $30 in S.F. and $52 for freight, eighty two dollars in all. That's the way things cost here and yet it is twice as easy to get things here as it is at home because there is plenty of money. Well, it is time to go to bed and I must close. Write often. By the way, I got a letter from Henry, while I was sick, with his photograph in it for which I am obliged. I do wish Emma would send me hers and Sarah, too. I would think so much of them and yours, too. There are no artists here or I would send you Mary's. Half past ten, so good night.
Your affectionate daughter & sister,
[At head of letter, reversed]
Emma you should write your sister Louisa a letter. She wants you too very much. She wants your photograph so send one to her or send it to me, I will put it in a letter for you. She wants it so bad, in her last letter, so send her one. I shall send mine with Sarah's and Frank's some time in September. She gets her letters now by government mail. Of course they cost no more than our letters. Her address is Placerville, Boise Mines, Idaho Territory, via Salt Lake City.
Dear Sister Emma,
I received a letter from you last night, dated May 26th and was glad to hear from you, as it was the first line I have had from you since I wrote to you last fall. I think it was in Nov., but I have forgotten and may be mistaken in the month. My letter was mostly in relation to family affairs and I presume must have seriously offended you or you would have answered it long ago, but I will try to avoid that subject hereafter, although what I wrote was written with the best of motives. You seem anxious to sell your land and wish that I would buy it. I hardly know how to express my opinion on this subject without offending you, although I would like to.
As far as I am concerned (not speaking for my sisters or brother) I feel that father and mother worked hard to take care of their children, that they both earned and paid for that land and that as long as Ma lives she ought to have undisputed possession of it. If she can get the right to sell it (which I do not doubt she can) and wished to do it, I for one would never lift a finger against it. In the other hand, even if Ma could not dispose of it ever and I could buy your share and the rest, of what use would it be to me while I am out here. When I was at home I used to think I would like to have it, if I could have got a lawful right to it and when I come back home, if you can give a title for ten or fifteen acres of land, I will give you as much as any one will. If you think the only way you can ever get anything for your land will be by selling it to me, I will buy it or help you in any way I can, but you must have patience and wait till I come back. When I come away from Ohio I set my "home stake" at one thousand. I have nearly half of it now and have made it since last fall. If my life and health are spared, I hope in a year or two at the longest to see Ohio again. Well, enough of this. You will perhaps want to know what I am doing, etc.
Some time in April I commenced teaching the public school in Placerville City and taught six weeks when I was taken down with the measles and was very sick for about six weeks. I advised the people to get another teacher and assured them that my lungs was so much affected that I could not go into school again. But they did not believe me or for some reason they did not get any one else and at the end of the seventh week I went into school again. I asked them a hundred dollars per month in the first place, but day before yesterday the board met and raised my wages twenty-five dollars, so now I get $125 per month. It costs me about forty dollars per month to board myself and Mary. Uncle Robert lives about 6 miles from here and keeps a hotel. He has six cows, too, and sells about forty quarts of milk a day for 25 cts per quart. George Plumey has a store three blocks from my house on the same side of the street that I live on. He is a good steady fellow, not a bit like his brothers. He never gets drunk and that is more than they can say. I took a horseback ride with him last Saturday evening and enjoyed it real well. O, there are so many men here compared with the women. I presume in this basin there are fifty (some say a hundred) men to every marriageable female. Louis, Medger Plumey's nephew, is packing between here and Walla Walla. Mary goes to school every day and learns fast. She writes, studies geography, arithmetic, reading & spelling. She says she is going to write to you, but I am afraid she won't have her letter ready. She is quite tall now, but not as big around as when she left Ohio and if I am any judge, Mary Cook is a very different appearing girl from what Mary Galin used to be.
There are about half a dozen girls of her own age and all real good, well-behaved girls, too. The only trouble is the girls get old too fast by being taken into company so young. They make as much fuss about their dress and talk about their beaus more than a girl of sixteen ought to.
I want to get back with Mary, for I am afraid if I stay more than three or four years longer I should lose her. It is so fashionable for girls to get married at 12 or 13 years of ages. Well, I think I must close. I would like so much to have the photographs you spoke of. I would like to send you mine, but they charge six dollars for a single one and ten dollars a dozen here, so I think I will wait till I go below to Portland. Please send yours won't you. Give my best love to Mrs. Johnson and the children, also Mrs. French and Mrs. Bury, if you ever see her. Tell Mrs. Johnson I often think of her and hers and I would like so much to have their photographs.
With much love,
Mary sends you some gold dust which she panned out herself. There is about 90 cts.
Dear Sister Emma,
Pardon me for neglecting to answer your very welcome letter of Oct 10th, which came to hand nearly two weeks ago. So long, but my time has been so occupied that I have had no leisure for writing. But I know that I must write letters in order to receive letters, and letters from the friends at home are among the greatest pleasures I enjoy in this land of strangers.
I can hardly realize that it is now going on three years since I bid you all goodbye, and yet I think there has been a great change in myself and in my circumstances in that space of time. My health has greatly improved, that hacking cough has left me, and that constant load of heavy wearying pain and heartache has long ago ceased to be felt. My glass shows me that a healthy, rosy color has taken the place of my usual pale, sallow complexion, and I do not think I am boasting when I say I am one of the happiest of women. You may well believe that ten years of sorrow such as mine has well prepared me to enjoy happiness when it came. I have been highly favored with good friends, ready to do anything for me. Ever since I have been in the country, have had plenty to do, good health, and been perfectly contented, but the last four month I have known more of real solid home comfort and happiness than I every enjoyed before in my life. And why should I not when I am reminded every day by my friends and neighbors that I have one of the best men the country can afford, intelligent, noble-minded, kind-hearted, and lover of home, and in short, to comprehend a great deal in one or two words, a Bible Christian. And do you know, Emma, I think a good Christian, the right kind of one, will make a good husband or father or whatever relation he may sustain to his fellow beings. He will strive to do his part well. Such a one is my husband and my heart is every day made glad by his kindness to myself and Mary. But you will think I am silly, I fear, to write so much about myself and my affairs, but out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh, you know, so please excuse my style. I had a letter from Mr. Porter not long ago. I must answer it this evening. George Plumey called a day or two since. I read a part of your letter to him. He wished me to send you his kind regards and best wishes. I have been trying to get him to go home for a wife, there are so many more girls than boys at home, but he seems to be afraid to try. It's for fear he could not get one, or worse than that, get one that was of no account. O the quantity of bachelors there are here, some good, some bad, and some indifferent. Society is the same, of all kinds, but there are many real fine families here. A Sanitary Aid Society was organized last week, of which I have the honor of being vice-president. Tomorrow evening the ladies meet to choose a committee to see to the getting up of a Christmas tree for the Sabbath School. Mr. Walters is the Superintendent of the Sabbath School and he manages some way to keep up more interest in it than I ever saw in a school before, not only among the scholars, but among the people generally.
Uncle Robert was here last week and took Mary home with him. They have no children and they think a good deal of her and are real good to her. Uncle lives about 6 or 7 miles from where we do. Snow has fallen about three feet deep. The climate is colder than in Ohio, but it is dry, so that I do not think we feel it any more than there. But I must close by asking you to write soon and often. Mr. Walters sends his love to you and would like to see you very much. Give my love to the friends and believe.
Your affectionate sister,
[Written in margins]
Tell me something of Lovina Consaul and where she is. How Amanda Tinker is getting along and Harriet & Eliza Brown and Jane Brown and all the rest of the folks.
Do you want to know how old my husband is? He is thirty three this month, real good looking, a Tennessean by birth and one of the strongest kind of Union men. If you want to know anything more about me or my folks or sister Sally Jones and her folks, just ask me all the questions you like in your next letter and I'll answer them to the best of my ability.
Mary wanted to write to you the next time I wrote, but she is not here. She may write the next time and tell you all about the Christmas tree. Good Bye. Emma, when are those photographs coming. How much I would like them and your A's [Amos] too. I will send you ours the first time we have a chance to have them taken. Direct to Mrs. L.C. Walters, Placerville, Idaho Territory.
Bowling Green State University | Bowling Green, OH 43403-0001 | Contact Us | Campus Map | Accessibility Policy