This letter was written by Mary [Walker] Dow (1815-18xx) to her brother Henry Walker (1808-1879). In his early twenties, Henry Walker relocated to LaPorte, Indiana where he learned the plastering and masonry trade. After marrying Mary Hines (1814-18xx), he moved to Canton, Fulton County, Illinois and raised a large family. Their children were: Emily Walker (1835-xxxx), Jefferson Walker (1837-xxxx), Job Walker (1838-xxxx), Leonidas Walker (1840-xxxx), Alfred Walker 1844-xxxx), Meredith Walker (1848-19xx), Ann Walker (1850-xxxx), Arthur Walker (1854-xxxx). Meredith and Arthur Walker became partners in a law firm in Fulton County, Illinois. In 1878, Meredith became a member of the Sate Senate.
If you know more about the Walker ancestry, please comment below.
[Addressed to Mr. Henry Walker, Canton, Fulton County, Illinois]
New York City, New York
December 21, 1847
Dear Brother & Sister,
I received your letter & was sorry to hear of the loss of your little daughters. I do know how to sympathize with you having myself experienced the same trial. These are very hard for us to bear but we must submit to these things. I have to inform you of the death of our brother Robert. I told you of his having gone to London a passenger. He was not well & took it in his head to go & the Executors thought it best to gratify him & clothed him & promised everything comfortable for him to go & return. But he got worse & died August 10th, being out at sea twenty-five days. He was on deck in the afternoon & went to bed & when found, he was dead. He had been very ill for ten days. There was a doctor on board – the complaint he said was hasty consumption. He was not in his right mind but harmless. The ship was the Wellington [with] Capt. Chadwick, I believe. Everything was done for him that could be done. He was kept one day & they had funeral service on board & buried him at sea. The vessel arrived in London ten days after. The vessel has returned to New York & the officers of the ship have attested before the surrogate to his death, it being necessary. Poor man – to think he had to be among entire strangers. We do feel very bad about him & mother as much as any. He has been a great deal care & trouble to us all, but it is all over now. He is the second of our family in less than two years. This day two years [ago] our dear sister laid a corps with us & we little know who will be the next of us to be called away. His business, I cannot give you any account at present. Mr. Green has written out to Francis. He owes Mother some three or four hundred dollars & there are some other debts we will have to pay & some we will not pay – such as liquor &c. His wife comes in for one third of his income & when his debts are all paid, the other two-thirds will be divided between his brother’s Trustee, the heirs to him. He has made no will as our father has, you know he having no family.
I had a letter from William’s wife, he being too sick to write himself. His health is very bad & I expect his manner of living as bad. We have tried to do all in our power to encourage & help him but it seems he cannot refrain from drinking too much liquor & he & his family are suffering very much. I am very sorry for him. I have written & tried to persuade him to be his own friend & we would all befriend him, but it seems no use. He is deranged a part of the time. I expect a letter every day & dread the news.
James has been very ill with inflammatory rheumatism. He has had much better health since he came to New York until now. He is better but has got very thin in flesh. He is very temperate & seems to be happy. He hears from his family often & they are doing well. His wife has been very sick but was better the last account. He don’t appear to think of returning to his family but keeps up a correspondence very friendly with them by writing. He has done well by them, leaving them the farm to support them.
Mother sends her love to you & family. Her health is much improved. Elizabeth, our sister, has grown a beautiful young woman with many accomplishments but her health is very delicate. She is very well behaved & much beloved. Agnes has grown very much lately & much improved. She writes well & they are a great comfort to their mother. Mr. Green deserves some credit with the children. He takes pains to improve them in many ways.
I spoke to mother respecting the money. She said she would do as you wished if it was in her power, which I suppose will be the amount if the bill comes in for the sewer that has been put down in Charlton Street will be small. It has not come in yet & may not before the settlement. As for your account with William, it is no use to write to him as you get no sense from him. We do not expect he will long & we all know about his debt to you & we are united in seeing every thing done honestly as far as we can. I will do every thing in my power to have you paid the money he owes you. He is indebted to mother about three hundred dollars. He has two children. They live in Canada at the place where his father-in-law lives. I believe his wife is a well-doing woman & suffers much on his account.
I am glad you have got the office you have. It is respectable & you can be with your family, which is a comfort. I often think of you & your dear family. It was a comfort to me to see you & your family. I often think I would not have missed seeing you & your country for one thousand dollars. To be sure, there were some things painful enough. But take it all in all, it was a great treat. I would like to hear from John. He has not wrote in nearly two years. I hope he is doing well. I did intend to send him out some things this fall but when I went to inquire, I found the expenses would be double so I did not send them. Inquire & find out which is the best way for me to send & give me directions & I will send them.
I wish you to give my love to Aunt Hannah & family. I have neglected writing to them but they must forgive me. I do not intend to be unkind or ungrateful. Let me know about them & if they are in the same place.
I wish you to remember me to all enquiring friends. I would name many but this is the second day I have tried to write this letter & now it is near night & I am not finished yet. O, I could say so many things. I am very well but much thinner than when you saw me. I am very happy with my family. Robert’s wife lives & boards with me. He has the best of employ & although I say is a fine young man, his wife pleases me very much her health is not very good but her disposition good & we are very happy together. Mother is a daily visitor when the weather is good. We have had a very open fall so far but it has come at last & the weather is stormy & very cold. Mr. Thompson & family are all well. The children are at board & now well & have improved much. He is keeping a kind of bachelor’s hall. Poor man – I do expect he feels his loss very much. He is very kind to James. They are much together.
I wish you a happy new year. I don’t expect this will reach you before that time. Give my love to all the children & say to John
I would like to know about how that business stands with Mr. Shinn. I did expect Mr. Pingersoll [Ingersoll?] in this summer but he did not come. I hope to have that settled soon. Let me know how it stands.
I say no more at present but remain your sister, — Mary Dow