The Murray Letters
The following transcriptions are of correspondence among members of James Thurtell-Murray's family, mostly between the brothers who emigrated to California and their parents and family members back in England. The letters were probably collected by Walter Murray's daughter Anita Unangst, and then came into the possession of her daughter Dorothy Bilodeau. Dorothy painstakingly transcribed the originals and deposited both the originals and transcriptions with the Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley. Some letters and other papers are also in the San Luis Obispo museum.
Largely through the efforts of Jane Ward, Susan Miller and Sukie Hunter, they are now available to a wider public, as Dorothy wished. To be clear, these are transcriptions of transcriptions; we have not had access to the original manuscripts, so any doubts Dorothy had as to interpretation remain, as do any errors she may have introduced.
Punctuation and spacing have been modified, along with some spelling, in order to improve readability.
To facilitate searching on keywords via Word etc., the letters are also presented in a Rich Text Format file, as follows:
During all of this correspondence, James and Sarah Murray lived at no. 430 Hackney Road (Philadelphia Place), London - 51°31'54.75"N, 0°03'38.94"W.
1843-1889 (554 KB).
[At the time of the 1841 census, the family was living in Suffolk Place - somewhere under one of the two blocks of buildings on either side of 51°31'56.11"N, 0°03'30.33"W. By the 1851 census they were in Northampton Place - 51°31'52.63"N, 0°03'49.94"W. In a March 1865 letter to her brother Alexander, Anne Evans says she is back in the old house visiting their parents who have lived there 10 or 12 years, so they would have moved there in 1853-55, after Alexander had left for California in 1850.]
- 30 Sep 1843 Walter Murray to sister Anne
From Mr Turner's, 27 Brighton St., Boston. Adventures since leaving Suffolk Place. No regrets. No job yet. Had been thinking of America for at least 3 years, but no money. £25-30 owing from Mr Speed's has been arriving but could not save. Had just over £10 when left Mr Spencer's. Steerage fare in Barque Velasco (350 tons) was £4, other expenses £3/10, leaving £3/10. First week's board $2.50; so money still enough for over a month. Told mama off to Foster Porter's. Description of dirty ship, and fellow passengers.
[See passenger list (223K) showing the 17-year-old Walter in Steerage.] American sailors racist. Address no more mail under name Thurtell.
- 31 Dec 1844 Walter Murray to sister Anne
From Roxbury nr Boston. Comments on family and friends. Rebellious Josephine becoming orthodox? Aunt Fanny castle-building? Learning printing trade c/o Devereux. Filmer needs more money. Americans love jewellery. Hypocritical Christians, as elsewhere. Filmer has arrived for a walk. Dickens' American Notes misunderstood. Postage costs 1/6 per ½ oz. Monthly boats. How are "poor Edward", Uncle & Aunt G., Edward Bunn? Want to work all over U.S., acquire American smartness. Thinner than when arrived.
- 26 July 18?? Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Advice on choice of bride in a heathenish land. Glad Walter happy [in marriage?] War is over; feared war with America. Received newspaper with Alex's advertisement. Do duty, and do not quarrel with men in power.
- Undated ca. 1853? Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Horrid occupation in heathen land, no civilization! Remembers parting on the stairs. Regrets he does not have his parents' likenesses. [Incomplete.]
- 28 May 1858 Walter Murray to sister Anne
The bandidos of SLO County.
- 16 Sep 1858 Sarah Murray to daughter-in-law Andrea
Congratulations on marriage. Get Alexander to write.
- 17 Sep 1858 James Murray to son Alexander and daughter-in-law Andrea
Congratulations on marriage.
- 04 Oct 1858 Anne Evans to brother Alexander Murray
Surprise at marriage. Stay away from priests.
- 08 Apr 1859 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Walter off to Sacramento; Alex left to mind the store. Ask Andrea to write. Have been ill again. Emma Browne, Plymouth sister, has died. Sydney Turner married. Hackney Road neighbours dying fast.
- 15 Jul 1859 James Murray to son Alexander
Glad Alex happy after 9 months' marriage; self happy after 40 years. Pleased with Andrea's writing. Louis Napoleon a danger to peace; England rearming. Glad SLO becoming more civilized. Will reciprocate with photos.
- July (?) 1859 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Those in the Metropolis of the world praying for conversions even in California. Infidel Edward Manfred dying as a result of intemperance: has been "tapped" for dropsy. Pleased with Walter's family's likenesses. Edward Thurtell, farmer in America, has 7 children. Poor Fanny now struggling in Rutland with gloomy, unfeeling husband; last baby in precarious health. Wily Napoleon and Emperor of Austria have made peace. Walter still away; Alex has moved closer to town centre.
- July 1859 (??) Sarah Murray to daughter-in-law Andrea
Alexander left home too young, but his brother has watched over him. Mercedes looks nice, affectionate, motherly. Sorry to hear Andrea's father confined to sick bed. Would encourage to settle in England, but economic prospects grim unless one is born rich.
- 11 Mar 1860 Charles Manfred to his cousin Alexander Murray
Had first news of Alex for years from aunt. After 7 years in U.S. (4 in NYC), still a bachelor looking to make a fortune. Works in Cincinnati, lives with Henry in Covington. Hal in drug business. Annie & Carrie are only other mebers of family left. Nathan Barlow back in London, but will return to U.S. and marry in New England. Alfred Barlow not doing much good in England. Relatives in Australia and Africa getting by; not much news. Has joined I.O.O.F.s, like Henry.
- 23 Mar 1860 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Alex has agency for sewing machines. Now much used in England but too expensive for private use. Regrets consenting to Alex's departure for California. American Revivalists in England.
- 23 Mar 1860 James Murray to son Alexander
Came late to Religion. Now in 70th year, and in good health. Wife, though complaining, also tolerable, but may not live long! Income from building society investment now £40/year. Registration increasing slowly. Right to set up business separately from Walter. Gave consent and loan for Alex's emigration.
- Aug 1860 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Hope influx of Americans will improve dreadful heathen land. Storekeeping dull? Hope Walter gives up milling - not worth the effort. Pleased to be introduced to Pacheco - handsome, polished gentleman; will dine together shortly, also with Hopwoods. Charles Manfred wanted your address. May visit Anne at end of month.
- 05 Oct 1860 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Stayed a week with Anne, who lives in comfort. 6 nice children of her own, inc. Elijah. First family consists of 2 daughters and a 16-year-old son, who has been our guest for a fortnight, seeing London sights. Has joined Brethren and teaches Sunday school. Eldest daughter Mary coming next week - very different from reserved sister Sarah Ann. Glos. countryside much prettier than East Anglia. If had independent income, wouldn't mind ending days there. Broke bread with Brethren on Sunday in their "room". Aunt Everitt has since visited Anne. Fanny secretive about hard life in Rutland: has just had 5th child [Alfred]. Youngest but one does not run alone. Thank Andrea for specimen of sewing machine work. Thanks for picture of SLO - looks rather gloomy. Enjoyed dinner at Hopwoods' with aristocratic Pacheco who played and sang; met Walter in the mines. Pleased with Alex's letter/handwriting. Heard from Charles? His mother died 2 months ago. We think you were born in 1832, but have no proof. Sorry did not make home more pleasant for children. Nathan Barlow married. Tell Walter to write.
- 05 Oct 1860 James Murray to son Alexander
Interested in details of daily life in SLO. Alex lending money at 25%/month!! Both well. Building Society may pay 20% this year. Garibaldi has united Italy; England, too, now harder for the French to attack. Registration increasing slowly - now £90 p.a. - it takes 1000 people to give £3 p.a. Unlike earlier days, now comforted by religion.
- 06 Nov 1860 Anne Evans to brother Alexander Murray
Is it large family stops you writing? Trouble with servants' health. Pacheco has not come to Brimscombe. Would like a sewing machine but they are still too expensive. Youngest child, Margaret, now runs alone - hope she will be last. Children all pretty, healthy. Elijah everyone's favourite - now at school in Clevedon on Bristol Channel - not as sickly as you might expect. Other children all growing up. Aunt Everitt supplied Charles's likeness; he was kind to Anne and little Elijah. Mama has been to visit. Hope Italy will be freed from Priest & Pope. Stick to your business. American troubles keep up price of wool and make business difficult; husband has thousands locked up in stock which he can't sell.
- 06 Dec 1860 Charles Manfred to his cousin Alexander Murray
Pleased to receive likeness - would not have known you. You seem to have made more money than any of us, inc. Henry the doctor. Lincoln elected and southern States threatening secession. Saw Prince of Wales when he was in Cincinnati. Currently between jobs. Sisters in London now alone as mother died on 28 July. Nathan Barlow in England attending to family business. Never hear from cousins in Canada who are complete rustics. Political unrest hurting trade.
- 08 Mar 1861 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Likenesses to hand. Poor Fanny has hers, Anne not yet. Alexander much changed. Sanguine re Lincoln. Gave Charles your address, but watch what you say to him; no high opinion of him. Coming to England to visit sisters. Nathan and Alfred Barlow doing well in Liverpool; their sister a widow with 5 children. Have not seen the "aristocratic" Pacheco for months. Fanny and John and 5 children still in the country - presumably an uncertain life. George Auston working in London, saving to follow sister and brother to Australia. Shall write to Andrea.
- 08 Mar 1861 Sarah Murray to daughter-in-law Andrea
Thanks for letter and specimen of sewing-machine work. Hope Mercedes is well - do you see much of each other? Has Walter a new summer residence? Glad you occasionally drive out with Alexander. Hope there is no war in America.
- 08 Mar 1861 James Murray to son Alexander
Please write; Walter has been silent for 6 months. Considerations on looming civil war. When 1861 census over, will have Mother sit for photographic portrait. Building Societies prosper.
- 15 Mar 1861 Charles Manfred to his cousin Alexander Murray
Photos enclosed of self and doctor. Winds of war. Now clerk in commercial co. in Cincinnati. If fighting starts, will run, perhaps to California.
- 26 Mar 1861 Henry Manfred to his cousin Alexander Murray
Sent photos. All much changed. Remember Alex as 12-year-old in London. May soon marry; first want to revisit England, leaving end June. War would disturb economy; may relocate. Brother Edward died in 1859, Herbert two years earlier. Also Aunt Clarke, so family reduced to four. Charles works in Cincinnati, but we live together in Covington across the river. Honour to remakable trio of Garibaldi, Victor Emmanuel and Count Cavour, putting Italy together while USA falls apart. Note by Charles: The doctor will be away in Europe 2-3 months. Kentucky still in Union. Active in pro-Union organizing, but will bolt if war arrives close.
- 03 May 1861 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
So much liberty in England, civil war in US. Write immediately and tell how you are. Received coins, sent first to poor self-denying Fanny. Willing to sacrifice for her, but not her husband who seems to expect to be fed by the ravens. John was recently in London - did not manage to hear him preach. What do the Brethren think of him? Five children a big responsibility. Much Christian proselytizing in London. Pacheco home again? Left without further contact. If Charles Manfred comes to California, watch out for his principles. His sisters keep a very respectable school; they are nice girls, very different from their brothers. Edward Browne doing no good in Canada. Herbert want him to join him in Africa. Nathan Barlow in Liverpool with brother; American experience valuable. Papa busy with census; should bring in £15. Income is small but manage to keep up appearances. Hope to die first, so as not to have to make a living. Unmarried Hopwood girls all clever in business. Glad Andrea happy with sewing-machine. Elijah Davies off to boarding school. Anne's children well managed. Mrs Skinner died.
- 14 Jun 1861 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Thanks for newspapers; wish they were letters. Walter seems depressed by reverses. How does civil war affect you? Aunt Charlotte Murray died in Liverpool. John Kraushaar has been in London - does little for his family but they say little. Anne sends them children's clothes. Elijah home for holidays. Pacheco presented to queen.
- 18 Jun 1861 Alexander Murray to sister Anne Evans
Have heard news of you via Walter. Business good, helped by war - may be able to afford a trip to England in a couple of years. All but a few in SLO are Unionists. Pacheco arrived, to run for Senate; Walter disinclined to oppose him. Andrea not Catholic, though her mother was; her father a foreigner. Wheeler & Wilson sewing machines (about $75) the best for families. California all work and no play; brother-in-law was unsatisfactory as clerk. Being Postmaster helps business, but Uncle Abe may give it to a Republican. Economics of a country store in England? CA far from fighting - just pay the taxes.
- 06 Sep 1861 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Received letter with sovereign and newspapers for Fanny. War is alarming. 2 or 3 of Uncle Walter's daughters engaged. Walter seems in better spirits. Mercedes wrote.
- 06 Sep 1861 James Murray to son Alexander
You regretted not seing the Exhibition of 1851; now the 1862 edition will show nearly all the good pictures in England. Worth a return visit? Your old Friend Kennedy is not now the Postmaster and Village Barber at Hackney.
- 12 Sep 1861 Anne Evans to sister-in-law Andrea Murray
Wish you could see the children; wanted to send likenesses but Pacheco left without visiting. Have baby just beginning to talk; God willing, she will be the last. Elijah will soon finish boarding school. He is a great singer and is missed by his siblings. Sewing machines still too expensive. Older daughters are women and soon likely to marry. Does Alex know a Devonport in California? May send by him.
- 31 Oct 1861 James Murray to son Alexander
Many thanks for letter of 17 Sep and gift. Glad CA is loyal to the Union. New supplies of cotton will be found in Africa and India, and slavery will become uneconomic anyway. Glad to hear of your success and Walter's in fall elections. Received leather prtraits and will have own made; had hoped to send with Don Pacheco. I am 71, your mother 67, in good health. Building Society income near £50 + Registration and Life Insurance; so no complaints. Hopwoods well and doing well; the Exhibition of 1862 is near them and will help commerce. Anne and family well, Fanny poor but uncommunicative.
- 01 Nov 1861 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Thanks for letter and sovereign; will use for purchase of a cloak, shawl or dress. Pleased with your election as Superintendent of Public Instruction. Mrs. Joyce widowed 2 months ago; her son is still carrying on a shop in Oxford St. Is it safe to stay open so late for the stage coach? Fanny has written to you.
- Late Nov (?) 1861 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
PMG says letters to America must be sent today instead of Friday 6th because of probability of war with USA. Scourge and uncertainty of war. Make your fortune and come home to England.
- Jan 1862 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Likelihood of war with US has subsided. Nation mourns Prince Consort, so Xmas was gloomy. Glad to hear from Walter. Happy New Year!
- 19 Feb 1862 Anne Evans to brother Alexander Murray
Sent parcel with Mr. Davenport, wool-trader of San Francisco, inc. Spanish books, but don't know whether for adults or children. Your war is spoiling trade: have some thousand pounds worth of cloth unsold. Nearly though another dreary winter.
- 12 Apr 1862 Alexander Murray to sister Anne Evans
Union in ascendant in war. Unlikely to open store in England; more likely to move to SF. Parcel arrived via Mr Davenport. Thanks for Spanish bible, but Andrea always reads in English. Ignorant Methodist preaches sometimes in SLO. Would like to visit England, but (good) business requires supervision.
- May (?) 1862 Sarah Murray to daughter-in-law Andrea
How nice to look after Mercedes' children when Walter had smallpox. Not disfigured? I found Truth among the Dissenters. Grand Exhibition opened. Will have likenesses made. Thanks for gold dollars.
- 07 Aug 1862 Anne Evans to brother Alexander Murray
Children in bed, so time to write. Received package? Visited friends and relatives in London. Your old friend Kennedy well pleased with himself. Went to Exhibition - art objects wonderful. Methodists are too excitable for me, and unscriptural. Hope the war will drive you home.
- 16 Oct 1862 James Murray to son Alexander
Pleased you are both exempt from military draft. Mr F.W. ("Tramway") Train is a lying scoundrel, Parson Brownlow a venerable buffoon. So, Andrea's father has joined the family and there is the prospect of a further addition. Planning to have photos made. International Exhibition closes in a fortnight.
- 17 Oct 1862 Sarah Murray to son Alexander and daughter-in-law Andrea
Country cousins have visited. Miss Manfred tells of brother Henry's situation in army. After war, will come to England and marry. Aunt Jane Hopwood drank tea: daughters unmarried; Uncle enjoyed visit to Anne at Brimscombe. John Kraushaar wrote about son John James who is staying here - a nice, too mild, boy. Take care of Andrea's father. Are you really to become a father? Walter honours us by calling his last Josephine. It must be hazardous to lend money in CA. Father's radical friend took poor photos of him.
- 12 Feb 1863 Walter Murray to his friend Charles Rutherford
Condolences on death of wife. Bring two girls to us. Frank's health improving; has been told of mother's death but does not understand.
- 09 Apr 1863 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Thanks for 2 sovereigns. Father, 73, still struggles on. By now you should be parents. Fanny's son here since October - just like you. Going to school; more discipline than in Ketton. Austons of Colchester seem likely to follow each other to Australia. News of Royal Family. Josephine has been dead 10 years on 29th of next month.
- 09 May 1863 Charles Manfred to his cousin Alexander Murray
Introduction of Herbert Bird who will be in SF for several years.
- 10 May 1863 James Murray to son Alexander
Grief at loss of baby. Now married 45 years - grateful wife resisted temptation to marry another.
- 15 May 1863 Charles Manfred to his cousin Alexander Murray
Herbert Bird, going to SF for Phoenix Insurance, a safe acquaintance and friend. Wars and rumors of wars. Confederates unable to take Kentucky. Still keeping books for railroad. Henry is surgeon with Grant in Vicksburg, Miss. His 22nd Kentucky regiment now only has 450 men, vs, 1000 18 months ago. Expect to see out the war in Ohio Valley. Girls get along well in London.
- 29 May 1863 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Sorry about child, happy Andrea safe. Will use your money to buy new clothes for John Kraushaar Jr., studious, pious boy but unobservant and lacking in initiative. John Sr travels about preaching but has strange ideas and is gloomy and indolent. Old Kennedy in bad way. Respects to your father-in-law.
- 08 Jul 1863 Walter Murray to his friend Charles Rutherford
Thanks for news of Virginia City. Business and mining news, but 3 years in the mines were enough. Still intend to move to a Spanish country. Political ambitions: Union position does not go down well with natives or secessionists. Frank's Spanish improving. Have sent Eliza to school in LA. Josephine, the youngest, nearly died. Acting master of Freemasons.
- 29 Jul 1863 Anne Evans to brother Alexander Murray
Sympathy in loss of firstborn. Lost mine when only a week old. Lincoln should have allowed secession. Atrocities on both sides. Poland suffering too. Maggie is now 3½ - hope she is the last. Poor photo enclosed - husband is lame in one leg.
- 14 Aug 1863 Elijah Knox-Davies to Alexander Murray
Thanks for gift. Now apprenticed to a dentist.
- 16 Oct 1863 James Murray to son Alexander
Both quite well except for some rheumatism and failing eyesight. Just returned from 4 days at Brimscombe - family of 9 + Elijah, apprenticed to a Surgeon Dentist in Gloucester. Gave Elijah some of Alex's remittances for books; also a sovereign to Adela Kraushaar, now 15.
- 16 Oct 1863 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Reached 70th year on 6th of this month. Papa back from visit to Evanses. Pity Fanny not as well off with as good a husband. John James K, studious but inactive, will probably stay all winter; took him sightseeing. Walter Joyce bankrupt (extravagant wife) and now turning attention to the stage.
- 29 Jan 1864 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Father very busy, ageing and not systematical. Directors of Building Society may soon replace him. Thanks for two sovereigns. Hope speculations will finance a return to England. Very much want to hear from Walter. Spent Xmas with Hopwoods. Then had turkey from Uncle Alexander. Sorry you look sickly, but always were very pale. Lodger likely to leave. Fanny to have a new baby; Johnny, bookish but impractical, to go home at Easter. Hope US gives French a good thrashing and sends them out of Mexico.
- 29 Apr 1864 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Thanks for 2 sovereigns. Glad Walter has a son. John K went home after 15 months. Fanny expecting child in May or June. John Sr not in good health; at best never a strong man. Eldest daughter almost as tall as her mama; would like to invite her but probably indispensable to Fanny. Would like to go to Windsor this summer. Garibaldi feted in England. Remember us kindly to father-in-law.
- 5 Aug 1864 Sarah Murray to son Alexander and daughter-in-law Andrea
Thanks for gift. Fanny's struggles and perseverance. Comments on Civil War, mining speculation. Remembers that Alex and "poor Josephine" had their heads examined.
- 6 Nov 1864 Charles Manfred to his cousin Alexander Murray
Life hard in "Atlantic" states - tempted to return to England after 11 years. Will decide future when Henry's term in army expires in 6 weeks. Had all teeth pulled out and loves new set. Is bookkeeper for wholesaler but tired of working for others. Will be glad when Presidential election over.
- 18 Nov 1864 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Regrets horrors of war. Hopes Alex will realize profits and return to England. Uncle Alexander lost little girl. Aunt Everitt at seaside - has been on last legs for years, but now seems in good health. Uncle Daniel lame from rheumatism, Charlotte aged. Hackney Road becoming all shops, area rapidly developing.
- 5 Jan 1865 Sarah Murray to son Alexander and daughter-in-law Andrea
Thanks for sovereigns. Went to Chapel twice on Christmas day. Pleasant Xmas dinner with Hopwoods; girls look fated to be old maids, but capable in business. Went to Spurgeon's Metropolitan Tabernacle and prayed for the unconverted. Papa, much stressed by work, preparing for annual audit. Sovereign for Fanny very timely. Her husband poorly. One son a real farmer's boy. Uncle Walter, flour factor in Newcastle, a happy widower. Mines disappointing? Anne busy with family and preaching.
- 10 Mar 1865 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Thanks for gift of 2 sovereigns. Hoping for Alex's conversion in heathen land. Walter has not written: would like to know more about his children. Anne is visiting: looks well but stouter. Very intelligent, and preaches to the poor; her husband a good man. The Union seems set to win the war.
- 10 Mar 1865 Anne Evans to brother Alexander Murray
Visiting old folks in Hackney Road. Brothers are bad fellows not to write. Youngest child now 5; will send likeness. If Alex has no children, could visit Europe. When will war end? England not responsible for the Alabama, but has remained truly neutral. Slaves will be freed, "you Americans" will boast. Off to visit Hopwoods.
- May(?) 1865 James Murray to son Alexander
Mother well for an old woman of 70 years. Hackney Road developing fast. All London being transformed, inc. new sewerage system. Nearly 3 million live within 10 miles of St. Paul's. Beautiful parks. Will follow your progress both in quicksilver and the copper mine. Radical Murray's view of the rise of the working class.
- 14 Jul 1865 James Murray to son Alexander
Glad Alex staying in SLO and building new house. Differences of opinion over Monroe Doctrine and the "Trent" affair. Happiness of own marriage.
- 14 Jul 1865 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Thanks for £1. Father had a fall chasing naughty boys; thinks he is still young. Sarah thin, weak, only has one tooth. Glad Alex not leaving SLO. Childbearing a risk to Andrea's life. Walter struggling with large family. Likeness of niece[?] Happy war over. Poor Lincoln. Hope blacks settle down. Elijah Davies, dental student, came to visit and left in a hurry. Hopwoods well but seldom meet. Adely Kraushaar coming to stay.
- 22 Sep 1865 Walter Murray to his friend Charles Rutherford
Glad Charles back in SF from Detroit. Only Hearst and Phelps mines still open. Circumstances of Walter's defeat for Senate. Various politicking. By the way, how are my children getting on?
- 3 Nov 1865 James Murray to son Alexander
Nearly 75; Alex has been away 15 years. In Tottenham, visited aunt of Sarah's old sweetheart. Henry Manfred's kind-hearted new wife lost 2 brothers in War. Charles in disgrace for avoiding war.
- 10 Nov 1865 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Eliza's letter not sent last week - overweight. Both sons seem enthusiastic about their new country. Has Walter been elected? Mining unsuccessful: stick to the store! Visit of Sarah Ann Evans. News of Austons, Henry Manfred and new wife. Charles avoided war service. Addy Kraushaar stayed 2 months - pretty girl, well liked.
- 25 Nov 1865 Walter Murray to his friend Charles Rutherford
Won't get to SF till 15-17 Dec because preparing for election. Sorry Charles's business failed. California won't make good progress till railway comes through. Mining deals. Have invested over $500 in Senate campaign, Murphy thousands.
- 10 Dec 1865 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Thanks for gift of 4 sovereigns. Glad Alex settled in new house with farmyard. Invited by uncle Hopwood for Xmas. News of Joyces, Turners, Austons. Heavy going for Father at Building Society. American and British politics. John Kraushaar too sickly to ride his horse. Ladylike Addy may seek position in London. Living by faith most inconvenient. [Incomplete.]
- 9 Feb 1866 Sarah Murray to son Alexander and daughter-in-law Andrea
Death of "Aunt Everitt", legacy of £200. Death of lodger. Son-in-law Evans and family doing well. Husband James busy and forgetful.
- 27 Apr 1866 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Discourse on religion. Alex's new residence. Gift of 5 sovereigns. Assistance to Fanny. Prospect of Alex's return to England. Fanny's children with measles.
- 27 Apr 1866 James Murray to son Alexander
Religion: wife a more proficient preacher. Gardening experience at Hobland. Postwar politics in USA. Happiness of marriage. Thanks for gift, to be distributed. Anne and husband to come for "the May meetings".
- 14 May 1866 Anne Evans to brother Alexander Murray
Walter moving to Mexico? What about Alex? Husband prosperous, children growing up. Elijah, 17, vivacious, aristocratically-inclined (not a bad thing - the lower classes are lower in every way), has makings of a good dentist; Anne has a new lower set of teeth made by him. News of younger children. Older [step?-]daughters engaged to be married. Phil capable of managing business. Tract re family history enclosed. Will go to London and report on old folks.
- Aug 1866 James Murray to son Alexander
Received letter of 18 July. In praise of fidelity. Lost election because of party manoeuvres, so washing hands of parochial politics. Not responsible for the Alabama; outcry over British neutrality unjust. Prussia now a formidable military force. Glad to see Napolen III and Maximilian thwarted in Mexico. Pleased Alex now in large new house in rural setting. In praise of connubial felicity: hopes to reach 50th wedding anniversary in two years. Greatest wish is to see sons in England. Herbert Browne is back from South Africa after success in Kaffir war.
- 31 Aug 1866 Walter Murray to his friend Charles Rutherford
Clothing purchases for family; check prices of side-saddles. Legal dealings. Don't know if store in San Simeon would be proftable. Influx of new settlers, many Secessionists. Next week going looking for a sheep ranch near Santa Ynez. By the way, daughter Fanny born on 24th inst.
- 14 Sep 1866 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Thanks for money. If Father unable to carry on as Secrtary of Hackney Building Society, he has "his registration and his agencies". Expects to die before him. Better to shun politics. Worried about Walter with large family - wants to move? Could Pacheco help? Charles Manfred may move to San Francisco; Henry in business in Cincinnati. Herbert Browne back from Africa, visiting Evans, looking for market for wool. Admires Alex's farmyard. Desires news of Walter's family. Anne in Weymouth with daughters.
- October 1866? Sarah Murray to son Alexander - incomplete.
Herbert Browne (?) has a head for business; married a Boer; spent a week with papa at Cove Hall. News of Edward, Horace, Uncle Hopwood, Austin [Auston] family. Alex 8 years married. Atlantic telegraph a delightful idea, but it's the Saturday night of the world.
- 5 June 1867 Anne Evans to brother Alexander Murray
Visited parents in April. Marriage of stepdaughter Mary, who had been such a trouble, to a farmer in Warwickshire. Wedding breakfast for 30, and tea for 250 employees plus families. Update re children. Will be 50 in 3 years. Death of Uncle Daniel Holt.
- 31 Aug 1867 Sarah Murray to son Alexander and daughter-in-law Andrea
Thanks for gift of £10 to Adela as marriage settlement. Poor old Fanny will be pleased. Young man is a tailor's cutter-out, and a Christian who helped JLK find situation in Northampton. Exchange of likenesses. Thanks for gift of sovereign. Hopes for Alex's conversion. Anne and family well. Overworked papa has benefited from visit to sister at Cove Hall.
- 05 September 1867 Fanny Kraushaar to brother Alexander Murray
Hard times in Northampton, but don't tell Mother or Anne. Hope Stratford will be better. Thanks for gift to Addy. News of children. Loss of teeth. Has likenesses of Alex and wife, and will have own photo taken.
- 6 Sep 1867 Adela Kraushaar to uncle Alexander Murray
Thanks for gift, enabling marriage. Staying with Grandma in London. Mother very busy with other children. Likeness of Roberts and self enclosed.
- 6 Sep 1867 James Murray to son Alexander
Visit to sister Mrs Everitt. Thanks for gift to Addy K. Purchased 3 houses in Mddx with £200 legacy from sister. Visit to grave of wife's ex-sweetheart, who would not marry beneath himself.
- Sep 1867 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Adela K. married at Northampton. Fanny off to Stratford, prospects brightening. Hope their clever, studious son finds a job there, perhaps in brewery. Anna Brown (nice but peculiar) has been staying. Harriet and Emma Hopwood visited Anne, who thinks Emma consumptive; neither engaged. Emily and Jane Auston called; Ludannans unhappy in Australia. Anxious about Walter.
- Oct?? 1867 Sarah Murray to son Alexander [fragment of letter, undated]
American politics: should educate the blacks before giving them the vote. Alex has double carriage; wish Walter prospering equally. Charles Manfred happy boarding with brother and sister. Uncle Hopwood very ill.
- 25 Oct 1867 James Murray to son Alexander
"Addy" married: Roberts sounds sensible, clever and kind. Hopwoods report Anne happy at Brimcombe. Anti-war thoughts; perhaps war debt will convince nations to live in peace.
- 21 Nov 1867 Anne Evans to brother Walter Murray
American politics. Prefers to be governed by gentlemen. Father fell fom omnibus 3 weeks ago. Old folks more in need than Fanny and John. John is preacher among Darbyites, who assist family. Will see them on next visit to daughter, who is 7 miles away. To London next week to see Papa, at time of wool sales. Photo enclosed of 2 youngest boys: Teddy clever, Arthur delicate. About to become grandmother. Think of eternity.
- 11 Dec 1867 Anne Evans to brother Alexander Murray
Still in London with Mother. Father buried Sat. Dec 7 in same grave as daughter Josephine in Abney Park. Died happy in faith. Wants Mother to come to live with her - try to persuade her!
- 20 Dec 1867 Sarah Murray to sons Walter and Alexander
Would wish for sons' comfort, but even daughters at least 100 miles off. Father suffered little, resigned to will of God. Had life insurance of £100 in two Societies, plus 3 mortgaged cottages. Sure to recognize husband in heaven. Address mail c/o Mr Hopwood in Chelsea.
- 03 Apr 1868 Sarah Murray to sons Walter and Alexander
Horace Browne's life insurance sorted out. Business terrifying - sole executrix, without help. Anne wants her to go to live with her, but unwilling to give up independence. Mortgages cost £6/month for another 2 years. Also paying £2/month into building society fund. Now living in apartments, without servant. Charles Manfred dead of same disease as Josephine [TB?]. Walter appointed Attorney & Notary. Worried she might not get along in Evans household. Fanny's son John to work for lawyer in London; he is rather a bigot. Visited cemetery; Father didn't expect to go first.
- 08 May 1868 Sarah Murray to son Alexander and daughter-in-law Andrea
Comfortable in apartments in Victoria Park Rd. Business cares: tenants unreliable, afraid agents would run off with money. Death of uncle Benjamin Clarke. Mrs Lestourgeon pleasant but fading. Nephew John K dines every Sunday. New employer one of Brethren. Thanks for 2 gold coins; small wants, expects to die within 2-3 years. Would move near Abney Park were it not so far from cottages. Never took much interest in "Holt affair". Remembers parting on stairs; glad Alex considering visit to England.
- 18 Jun 1868 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Husband 7 months dead. Difficulty of following business matters; misses sons' assistance. Mr Hopwood and Anne helpful. Wants to make will. Visits from Mrs Lestourgeon, Jane Auston & husband, Uncle Walter, Sydney & wife, Miss Manfred, Augusta Turner. Various deaths: "poor Charles"; Aunt Browne's son-in-law, Lewis. An unclaimed Holt inheritance in America causing stir. Both daughters have invited to visit, but worried about rents.
- 22 Jul 1868 Anne Evans to brother Alexander Murray
Written from Weston-super-Mare. Father died content. Photo of 2 youngest sons enclosed. Offensive ads in American papers. Dined with Fanny in March - hadn't seen her for 12 years, now looks old, like her mother. Sans teeth; nice brown hair. Cheerful in little house with garden, orchard, stables; nice children. Peculiar mode of life. John's preaching valued. Mother feeling summer heat; will see her in August. Evans has bronchitis.
- Mid-1868 Sarah Murray to son Alexander and daughter-in-law Andrea [part of letter, undated]
John K. Jr, now ill, somewhat bigoted; Addy happily married, husband has own business; Brethren stick together. Glad Walter has 2 appointments. Father's will sworn under £600. Business worries.
- 04 Sep 1868 Sarah Murray to son Alexander and daughter-in-law Andrea
Thanks for sovereign and newspapers. Very ill, grew thin, in hot weather. Unwilling to entrust cottages to Agents; hopes to sell to railway. Anne reports Elijah to come to London, Philip to marry; Evans ill since November. John Kraushaar, very peculiar boy, is religious and unfit for business. John & Fanny's way of living unnatural. Uncle Clarke dead, widow to run boarding house in Paddington. Hopwoods very kind, but don't get on well together; daughters capable in business. Holts agitated about something that happened before uncle John Holt born.
- 07 Jan 1869 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Spent Christmas alone, remembering husband. Anne suffering spasms, Mr Evans healthy, children doing well, Elijah walking the hospitals. John Kraushaar Jr, a bookish slowcoach like his father, has gone to his brother-in-law Roberts in Northampton. Horace Browne's premises burnt down without insurance.
- Jan 1869 Sarah Murray to son Alexander [part only]
Feels safe here. Would like to live near Abney Park cemetery. Relations all very kind; Emily Auston stayed 3 days. Election results would have pleased Father. Consequences of Horace Browne's conflagration. "Much riot" in US, not like dear old England. Walter re-elected DA, but still has not written.
- 04 Feb 1869 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Disturbed to hear of 150 ft tapeworm. Pleased to hear of prosperity, Chinese servant. Worries over letting houses in Bethnal Green; hopes they will be resumed for the railways. John Kraushaar, not fitted for business, now in Northampton trying his hand as salesman. Anne very poorly with spasms; with husband at Weston-super-Mare. Mr Evans prospering mightily, but where is money safe? Bank of England gives 3% interest, Building Society 5%. In praise of insurance.
- 16 Feb 1869 Anne Evans to brother Alexander Murray
Hopes for extirpation of 120 ft monster. Glad to hear of prosperity, hopes for return to England. Walter has not written since father's death. Mother won't do as Anne wants: make a will, sell the houses, live with one of her daughters. Has mania about Fanny's poverty and keeps sending her things, but Fanny seems happy in nice little house with garden/orchard, in spite of peculiar husband.
- 16 Feb 1869 ?? Philip Evans to brother-in-law Alexander Murray
In manufacturing towns, workers earn well and if careful can live well. Olives would be a good business in CA. There is a large demand for the oil in manufacturing; we use 20 tons p.a. Holts are looking into inheritance matter, but seems doubtful.
- 09 Jul 1869 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Glad Alex cured by homeopathy. Good idea to take more time off and perhaps sell store; come to England? Thanks for 2 sovereigns. Income from houses ensures independence. Hope Walter appointed Judge; but still hasn't written. Elijah and Hopwoods visit. News of Austons, some in Australia. Uncle Walter still going. Mail service seems quicker. Feeling nimble. Considering move to Bow.
- Oct 1869 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Now living in one of cottages to check story of rats. Trains noisy. Feeling better. Poor Fanny much troubled about John and Addy, pronounced consumptive. Roberts not succeeding in business. Anne unwell, but will be in London in 3 weeks. Elijah's prizes. Walter elected?
- 10 Feb 1870 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Redeemed cottages in Bow and living in another of them. Sons poor correspondents. Fanny stressed: Addy and brother John consumptive. John unlikely to keep job in Surrey; like his father, he is sluggish and absent-minded. Would have him stay if he were smart and active. JLK came to visit in November: still looks young, while Fanny a wreck. Elijah Davies comes on Sundays; is at Middlesex Hospital. Sarah Ann, last of first Evans family to be married in May. Philip works for father but has business on the side. Emigration all the rage in England. Joy of reading, now so much alone.
- 24 Feb 1870 Anne Evans to brother Alexander Murray
Wet, freezing winter; much flooding and illness. Spent week with Mother in November: very active but lonely, importuned by Fanny on JLK's behalf. Anne wrote to Fanny to stop begging of their mother, and received insulting reply dictated by JLK. Last summer Fanny confided her husband tyrannical and she would be better off as widow: hates "living by faith". JLK borrowed and never repaid Addy's £10. He visited Sarah in autumn and accepted her last 3/6. Philip Evans Jr now has a son. Elijah wins prizes at hospital. Arthur to enter family business. Annie has left school, will be very useful.
- 04 Mar 1870 Sarah Murray to son Alexander
Thanks for £4. Will keep houses, now redeemed, and live in one. Railroad very noisy. Walter very naughty not to write. Fanny's problems. John Jr has resigned on account of ill health. Frank is a sturdy fellow. Addy recovering from scarlet fever. Anne's family doing well: Elijah making great strides. Uncle Hopwood still very ill. Would like to send books. Mostly well during winter; hard to keep warm. Sad to hear of drought in California.
- 15 Apr 1870 Walter Murray to sister Anne Evans
Apologies for being dilatory. Alexander dangerously ill: abscess on the lung. Had long refused medical attention: very self-willed. Should seek better climate: his knowledge of Spanish language and customs would stand him in good stead, but he is unwilling to sell up cheaply. Richer and better businessman than Walter. Picture enclosed of eldest son Walter. Eliza unwell. Will send pictures of Fanny and James Alfred to mother. Publishing weekly paper, as aid to election as Judge with salary of $5000. Lost last election to Hispanic "native Californian" because unwilling to bribe. Acre of barley to cut for hay. £19/12 enclosed for mother.
- 22 Apr 1870 Walter Murray to sister Anne Evans
Alex's health still precarious, housebound. Wife and others very attentive. Must move to warmer climate. Picture of James Alfred enclosed. If only more methodical, Walter could make money. Article written for paper on American Free School System.
- 19 May 1870 Walter Murray to sister Anne Evans
Death of Alex on May 16 after 3 weeks in San Miguel, 40 miles north, where warmer. Seemed to be getting better. Walter and Mercedes went in buggy to bring back the body, with Andrea. Now in metallic coffin in Walter's parlor; to be buried 21 May with Masonic honors.
- 31 May 1870 Anne Evans to brother Alexander Murray
[Alexander had already died on 16 May.] Walter sent nearly £20 to Mother, but she would prefer a letter. Very sorry to hear of Alex's illness. What about soul? Likeness of Elijah, "our little Doctor". He looks after grandmother. Mama has declined Miss Kraushaar's company - warned off by Fanny. Will look for book of "family secret". Husband well again. Stepchildren all married; only Annie and Walter at home.
- 03 Jun 1870 Elijah Knox-Davies to uncle Alexander Murray
[Alexander had already died on 16 May.] Will send better picture. Sorry to hear of illness. Have given up Dentistry, and like Medicine much. Often see Grandmamma on Sundays. Well settled in her own house. Mother Anne has spasms, but generally well. Hopwoods ask for news.
- 16 June 1870 Anne Evans to sister-in-law Andrea Murray
Condolences. Was Alex thinking of spiritual matters?
- 17 June 1870 Sarah Murray to daughter-in-law Andrea Murray
Condolences. Pleased with testimonial in SLO paper. Horrid worm started it all, otherwise TB very rapid. Spiritual state? Andrea welcome to come to visit.
- 15 Jun 1870 Walter Murray to sister Anne Evans
Alexander had been intending to seek a better climate away from SLO. Problems of administering his estate. Large family to support and wife and self not good managers.
- 14 Jul 1874 Walter Murray to daughter Anita
Importance of study, to rise above dull level of SLO girls. Will send her to Mr. Harmon's College or to Santa Barbara. San Buenaventura pretty; off to Santa Barbara tomorrow. Delivered oration on 4th of July. Prepare letters for Grandmother Sarah and Aunt Anne. Picture enclosed. Will remember white mouse for Fanny. Did you go to circus in SLO?
- 07 Nov 1874 Walter Murray to daughter Anita
Importance of composition, letter-writing. Walter wrote verses before prose; corresponded with older sisters. Sent simple book in Spanish, since Anita has not studied the language. Write to Mrs Rutherford in Oakland re clothing requirements.
- 03 May 1875 Walter Murray to daughter Anita
Herewith ideas for composition to be used only with teacher's permission. Have put picture in locket; tell Mercedes to send one too. Appointed District Judge by Gov. Booth on 31 Dec 1873; election next October - opponent is Fawcett. Did Mercedes receive $50? SLO and Santa Barbara both growing fast.
- 11 Aug 1875 Walter Murray to daughter Mercedes
Was sick in July. Better now, but stomach out of order; taking medicine. Eliza here in Santa Barbara: better, but don't know when symptoms may return. Concentrate on Geography, Grammar and History; Physiology and Rhetoric not much use. Mr Harmon's bill. Off to San Buenaventura, may take Eliza, who is leading lazy life, learning to swim. Election nearly certain, Fawcett about to withdraw. Study hard,; may not be able to send you back to school next year. Hear Fanny not well, Espiridiona sick. Very hot; cold nights.
- 11 Aug 1875 Walter Murray to daughter Anita
Thoughtless to leave trunks on wharf. You and Mercedes should study Arithmetic, Music, Grammar, Reading, Composition, History, Geography, Elocution, French, Spanish and Drawing. Geometry, Anatomy and Chemistry no use. Like to go to Santa Barbara College next term? Eliza temporarily better; teaching her to swim. Many ladies swim. Re health, refer to today's letter to Mercedes.
- 26 Aug 1875 Walter Murray to daughter Mercedes
Better than in SLO but no appetite. On return to SLO about 10 Sep, will see doctor. Miss McKeeby and her brother are good people. Eliza is better, but has an attack once in a while. She is engaged to be married to Mr John Bell's major domo in Santa Barbara; will have to wait some months; may take her home. Election almost certain. Don't tell of possible move from Mrs Harmon's - not certain. Santa Barbara growing: new hotel with 300 rooms.
- 17 Dec 1875 Mercedes Murray to sister-in-law Anne Evans
Grief at Walter's death and uncertain about future: California a hard place. Only Charles Rutherford, Walter's friend from Boston days, of real help, looking after children in Oakland. Children's education a priority. Difficulty of collecting debts. Making family tomb and will send hair. Thompson committed suicide and Anne's presents missing.
- 21 Dec 1875 Mercedes Murray to sister-in-law Anne Evans
Alexander's executor Henderson recommends Simmler for P.A. Fears for future; Walter died just as beginning to set himself up: too busy electioneering to care for health.
- 19 Feb 1876 Mercedes Murray to sister-in-law Anne Evans
Charles Rutherford came to visit. Need to find work to make ends meet. Brought up two orphans, now 23 and 15. Family of 10 inc. self. Story of Walter's illnesses: smallpox, bad fever, stomach pains. Would not listen to advice - political ambition always had priority; irregular life as District Judge took its toll. After attack in office, Walter taken to hotel under care of new rascally doctor; Mercedes unable to intervene. He died with great suffering.
- 15 May 1876 Mercedes Murray to sister-in-law Anne Evans
Circumstances of Alexander's death: weakened by tapeworm, caught cold and declined treatment. So consumption, death. Walter probably had perforated stomach. Yes, only nine in household, inc. Emily and Espiridiona. Worry over finances. Mr Rutherford can no longer keep children - will have to bring them home except Anny and Walter. No news of presents via Mr Thompson. Walter's monument now complete. Will send his poems.
- 08 Aug 1876 Mercedes Murray to sister-in-law Anne Evans
Sick for 2 weeks and fear further attacks. Hope son Walter and wife happy. California bad, esp. for girls. Financial woes: have started boarding house and would take in sewing. Can't sell property - prices too low. Thanks for assignment of legacy from Alexander's estate: will be used for children's education. Mr Simmler settling Walter's estate.
Covering letter from Simmler: I translated above letter from Spanish. Walter's legacy should be worth $15,000 in real estate, but hard to sell. If Sarah waishes to assign her 1/16 of Alexander's estate ($1000 or £200) to Mercedes as Anne has done, she should give instructions. Andrea receives 3/4 of estate.
- 19 May 1889 Anne Evans to niece Fanny Murray
Grandmother's peaceful death on Friday last. Left income to Fanny and self, but Anne provided for by late husband, so all to Fanny who has had life of privations. Grandmother in same grave as Grandfather, whose coffin looks unchanged after 21 years. Cataracts on both eyes; one to be operated on next week in London. Grandma's things to go to Aunt Fanny. Aunt Sophia still going at 81. Only one other old lady of Grandfather's generation - a widow of his brother - left. Great-Grandfather Holt's brother went to America & was never heard of again.