San Luis Obispo, Cal.
Aug. 8th, 1876

Mrs. Anne Evans

Dear Sister-in-law,

I have received your last letter and you cannot imagine how welcome it was and how much pleasure your letters give me; they strengthen my courage in my affliction. I have been very sick in bed for two weeks and for this reason you must excuse me for not answering it sooner. Thank God Almighty I am well again at the present b[ut] my sickness is such that I do not know when I may have another attack.

My dear daughter Anita, who is at present in the State Normal School, about two hundred miles from here, has also been very sick, but thank God is now well again. I am so glad to hear that you are all well, and I do hope that God Almighty will let you enjoy it for a long time to come. I hope that your son Walter is happy and that God may preserve him and his dear wife for many years to come in good health & happiness.

Dear Sister, it is useless for me to tell you that my situation is terrible; it is hard to tell when God will call me away from the midst of my children, and take me to him. What will be the future of my dear children should I be called away from them. California is a bad country. Boys may get along but for the poor girls, and so young; my heart bleeds when I think of it, that they should be left orphans.

My dear husband's pride has allways been to make a prominent man, usefull to his family and to his fellow men. I will do all in my power to carry out his intentions and hope that you will be proud of your nephew, my son Walter - he shall go to the best school which my limited means can afford; my means are limited and this Country is a bad Country for a woman with a large family of children to get along. I have yet a good many debts to pay and nearly all who owed to my dear departed husband, now that he is dead, say that they did not owe him anything.

I have started a private boardinghouse, but I see that those who promised to assist me are not doing anything for me. I am also willing to take in sewing, but as yet I have not been able to find any work. Hard work at my age, and with my poor health, I am not able to perform, so that I do not know what to do. No property can be sold now as the prices are so low. But still by all this I will not lose courage and will confide in God to see me through all my troubles.

I cannot thank you enough for your generosity by giving me what is coming to you from the Estate of Alexander Murray, my departed brother-in-law. I assure you that it shall be disposed of according [to] your wishes, that is to say, for the education of my children, and I hope to God that they will appreciate it. I can never forget my poor beloved husband, and am still satisfied that if he would not have been in the hands of that Doctor and would have allowed me to administer him medicines, that today he would be a well man! But God has decided otherwise and we must submit.

I hope that your dear mother, and sister and her family are all well. I will before long send you all our likenesses, as well as the one of my dear beloved husband. I ought to have done it a long time ago but circumstances would not permit. I hope that you will in return send us yours. My dear children all join me in sending you all their love and particularly remember them to their Grandmother.

Mr. Simmler is about settling up the estate and will report to you the situation in a very short time.

Receive kisses from all of us, and particularly from me your affectionate Sister

Mercedes Murray

Covering letter from J. J. Simmler to Philip Evans

San Luis Obispo, Cal. Aug. 9/76

Mr. Evans (confidential)


You will see that the letter of Mrs. Murray is in my handwriting. At her request I have translated her letter, written in Spanish, into English. I will tell you in confidence that her affairs are a little better than she imagines after settling all liabilities she will be worth about $15,000.00 (fifteen thousand Dollars) in real estate, which of course cannot be disposed of every day. Consequently she has not any cash on hand to educate her children as well as she wishes. There are two at least, Anita and Walter, to whom she intends to give a first class education, and I shall assist her in all I can to well manage her affairs. I have so far succeeded to settle with Mr. Churche's heirs, and will very soon settle with Mr. Henderson, the administrator of the Alexander Murray estate, who is slow, but I have notified him that I will not wait any longer. Should your mother-in-law intend to do the same as you have done, giving her share to Mrs. Mercedes M. please let her write me a line. It will be very small, as three fourths goes to Mrs Alexander Murray, according to law, and the remaining fourth to be divided among four heirs, of which three of you acknowledge of having received one thousand Dollars or 200 pounds.

Respectfully yours,

J. J. Simmler

P S She has also remitted to me the likenesses which I send, together with poetry from the late Walter Murray