San Luis Obispo, Calif.
May 15th, 1876
Mrs. Anne Evans
My dear Sister,
I received yesterday both your letters dated March 23rd and April 25th last past and also the power of Attorney, which I have placed in the proper hands.
As you desire to know the circumstances and cause of the death of my brother Alexander I will tell you that the beginning of his sickness was a tape worm which he expeled in pieces; but after he expeled it, he became so feeble that he easily took a severe cold and he kept so long without giving due and proper attention to his health that concluded by affecting his lungs. Still he continued to disregard his health, in spite of all our counsels, my sister, his wife, and all of us used to tell him to leave some person in charge of his business and go to the City or some other place, to be properly attended to, by some good Doctor; but he wouldn't do it, until the last stage of consumption set in and died. Also many of his friends used to tell him when yet in time to pay due regard to his health but he never done it.
You ask me if my husband's dreadful pain which he suffered at last was from a perforation of the stomach. Well, I can not tell you, as they would not let me approach him towards his last hours, because I never ceased to tell them that them medicines were doing more harm than good, and the Doctor did not like even to see me, and he does not yet, whenever I hapen to see him in the street, he goes off in any direction or enters anywhere before meeting me or coming near me; but I think that Walter's stomach must have been inflamed and perhaps ulcerated of course. He did called several times during his sickness the name of Jesus in his prayers.
I suppose Alex did the same in his last hours, though I was not present and he died almost without any pain. He was sitting down in an arm chair and had just taken a cup of coffee and while his wife went to put away the empty cup, when [s]he came back he was dead alredy without almost a single struggle. She is Catholic -
We are only 9 of family in all as you say - Both the orphan girls I have are Spanish and the name of the one whose likeness you have, with my lost child in her arms is Emily and the other is Espiridiona -
In regard to my troubles they are on the increase more than otherwise. In this country the best rents are not safe, and all those business you speak of they are good in England, but here all is danger and entirely risky, no regular prices for anything and the expenses so very heavy, and the taxes also. And when I think that here any house that does no business is surely to come to ruin, I know not what to do or how to begin.
Now I have another trouble, my children can not any longer be taken care of at Mr. Rutherford, and I can not put them in any other place or establishment. I will have to keep them at home with the exception of Anny and Walter, whom even at heavy expense I will keep in their institutions of learning, and if at any time I obtain means to send some of the others also to colege or any good school, I will do it, and at the meantime I will keep Josephine here going to this common school.
In regard to the presents we have not been able to learn anything at all - The property of Mr. Thompson is in the hands of some nephews of his here, or at least we understand. He never made any will at all.
The monument at Walter's grave is now completed, but I have not the means at present to have it photographed so as to send you a copy of it, but as soon as I can I will do it, and also have photos of the children and send you a copy of each together with the one of the grave.
O my dear Sister this great wound in my heart is so fresh that it seems to me that it was inflicted only yesterday, the time only makes me feel it worse every day, because every day that passes brings to me necessities that [I] never felt or experienced before I lost my beloved husband.
Please give my love and due respect to our beloved Mother, and assure her, for us all, of our true and respectful love and our sincere wishes for her well being and happy existence, which God will preserve for us for a long time, as we ask him in our daily prayers.
We will send you some of the almost innumerable verses that Walter wrote, they are being copied by your nieces, I do not send you the original, because I wish to preserve them for the children, and also because they are written in thick heavy paper and the expense of mailing would be considerable. - herewith I send you a poem, which is only one of many he wrote. This one was made to an association of Walter's particular friends who were nearly all California pioneers.
All my children send their love to you and your family, although they have not the pleasure of knowing them personally. - Please accept also the love and gratitude of my two orphan girls, for your kindness in remembering them, and the stricken heart and true love of your poor sister