San Luis Obispo
June 15th, 1870
My dear Sister,
I have received yours of May 18th, two days later date than that of the decease of my dear brother. I am glad that the letters you had received from him and me had prepared you for the sad news which I communicated to you. I am anxiously expecting to hear from you again, and to learn how my dear mother has received the fatal intelligence. I enclose you now a copy of the doctor's certificate, circumstantially detailing the facts which led to his death. I believe it to be a fair statement.
Andrea is living at my house, and I am about taking steps to administrate upon my brother's estate. He was doing a good business when he died, but it was of so varied and peculiar a nature, that I am afraid it will die with him. He used to make about $900 per annum out of his Express agency. This he intended so to arrange as to dispose of before closing his business; his intention being to seek a better climate for his health. He had failed, however, to complete any arrangement before his death, and the result was that some greedy persons here got the promise from the Express Company, that "in case of a vacancy" (which they evidently expected) a certain young man here should be appointed. Accordingly, but three or four days past after poor Alex's decease before the appointment came down to the man promised. I expect to get the Post Office, and will endeavour to carry on a part of my brother's business.
I received the two numbers of the Daily News mailed by Mr. Evans, but did not know who sent them, nor what there was especially in them for my notice. I did not read the bribery case you mention. I passed them to another countryman but will endeavour to recover them. I am glad your husband is better and hope he will soon entirely recover.
The girl holding the baby in her arms is not Eliza, but Amelia, or Emilia, as we spell it, an orphan girl whom my wife is bringing up.
After a short time I will give you some particulars of my brother's estate. By the law of the State, his wife is entitled to one half of the property, by right of survivorship. She then takes another half (of the moiety) as one of his legal heirs, under the Statute of descents and distribution. Independent of this, she is entitled to the Homestead, and all the property exempt from execution. What does not go to her goes in equal proportions between my mother, you, Fanny, and myself. I cannot tell what there will be to distribute, as most of the property is in real estate, which bears a fluctuation value, or notes and debts, many of which are not good. I shall have a pretty hard time in making collections, especially as this is a very dry year, scarcely any harvest, and no business doing. Many persons are being ruined, there is nothing fixed here, and a man is apt to lose in one year what he makes in another. At least it has been so with me.
I should have refrained from going into all these business details, so soon after my brother's death, but I felt it to be my duty to let you known something of the state of his affairs. I will further inform you hereafter.
You do not mention in your letter of first [?bills?] of Exchange for £19, or thereabouts, which I sent by you to my mother, in I think, my first letter; please acknowledge the receipt of it if it reached you. If not, I will send a second. I have written you three letters, two before my brother's death, and one after & besides a letter to my dear mother, under cover to you. Have you received them all?
I have my time fully occupied now and I could increase my store if it were not for my large family, which needs all my exertions for their support. Neither I nor my wife are good managers, or we might do better. Please give my love to my dear mother and to all your children. I am very proud of my little namesake. I am afraid my boys will not be as good-looking, although James, as a baby, is considered extra. Respects to your husband,
Your affec' brother