San Buenaventura
July 14th, 1874

Miss Anita Murray,

My dear daughter,

I was very much pleased to receive your pretty letter of the 5th instant. I had really supposed that you had forgotten me, and I was agreeably disappointed when I saw your handwriting. I hope you will now continue corresponding with me. You ought to do so at least once a week. It will be good practice for you, will improve you in writing and composition, and it will be a comfort to me to know that you think enough of your father to correspond with him when he is away from home. You ought to know, my dear child, that I love you very much, and I am glad to be able to tell you so. I love you because you pay some attention to what I tell you, and show a desire to improve yourself in knowledge, by reading and study, so as to enable you to grow up to be an educated and intelligent woman. Persevere in this, my dear girl, always. Your reward will be that you will grow in mind beyond the dull level of the San Luis Obispo girls, -- [and] will some day be worthy of a good husband, instead of a fool or an underling; and will be a joy and pride to your parents instead of a sorrow or reproach.

I have determined to send you either to Mr. Harmon's College or to Santa Barbara. I should prefer the latter because it is nearer and because I could see you oftener there, as also because you would there form acquaintances who might some day be of some use to me, but I have heard that they have but few boarders there, and I fear it is not as good a college as Mr. Harmon's. Besides, I have great confidence in Mrs. Harmon, and I think she would take especial care of you, for old acquaintance sake, as also on account of your previous knowledge of her. I am going to Santa Barbara tomorrow, and will take occasion to visit the college then, and enquire about it. I will let you know the result; but you may write in the meantime and let me know which place you would like best. You may tell your mother to prepare you for going, because I am determined to send you to one or the other. The next time you write, let me know how Mr. Felt's school gets on, and whether he has improved as a teacher or not. Write to me at Santa Barbara, and tell you mother to do the same, as I shall not have to return here until next November.

I had a very pleasant 4th of July and will send you a copy of the oration I delivered, which I hope you will read through, and try to understand. This is a very pretty place, and if I send you to the Santa Barbara College I will take you to visit it some day; probably next year. I trust you are attending school now all the time, and I expect it of you. I received a letter from your mother yesterday and will endeavor to reply today. I am glad to hear from you all, and am very much tired of being away from home. I desire that you will write me a longer letter next time, that is, if it does not tire you, for I do not want you to write against your will. I am very much pleased that you write a good hand, and that you have a good idea of composition. I wish you would compose me two letters, one for your grandmother (Mrs. Sarah Murray) and one for your aunt, (Mrs. Philip Evans). They are both in England, and I know that it would give them great pleasure to hear from you. After writing the letters, send them, under cover, to me, that I may see if they are well done. If they are, I will send them on; if not I will correct them, and return them to you that they may be rewritten.

I send you my picture. Take care of it.

I am glad to learn that Fanny is well, and will not forgot her white mouse. Perhaps I will bring her two. I suppose that the one she has is full grown.

Did you attend the circus when it was in San Luis? I want to go and see it; but am afraid I cannot, as I shall be on the road to Santa Barbara while it will be removing to this place.

Goodby, my dear child. Pay heed to what I have told you in the first part of this letter and be sure that while you do so you will ever have my affection.

I remain,

Your loving Father,

Walter Murray

[The original of this letter is in the San Luis Obispo Museum
D. Bilodeau]