William's Letters

Letters William wrote to his parents from 1853 to 1870

The letters below are transcribed by a Whitman College student from Williams originals being held at the archives at Whitman College.  In the 19th century postage was paid by the person receiving the letter, which caused people to utilize the entire piece of paper by writing in multiple directions.  The originals are very difficult to read so there are many (  ) and _____ where the text was not legible.

I will appoint Uncle Joseph & have him pay the (     ) every two weeks if he (James) goes to school regular. It is not my wish that he should go to school just for the name of going if he goes I want that.  He should go to study & study hard & I would suggest for your consideration that he go to Bury or some place out of Ramsbottom not that I think there are not men smart enough to teach him at home but I have a peculiar idea that boys learn more from homes.  It is a common practice in the states & I can say from experience, I believe it acts well.  It fits a young man for the task.  He is likely to be called upon to (perform). I shall wait for an answer in this subject.  I hope You will be definite on this point.  I am aware it will meet with some objections.  I know you will reason that he is young & inexperienced but had I time & space I could overturn all your objections for I tell you experience is the best teacher & if you want experience you must go out into the world. 

South Boston

Tuesday, August 2, 1853

Dear Parents
I arrived here April 19th after spending 42 days on the ( ) no doubt you will have expected a letter before now but I have been rather uncertain as to where I should settle. I have been...



San Francisco

Sunday, October 15, 1854

My Dear Father & Mother,
I take up my pen with pleasure to write to you according to promise as I know you are willing to hear from me at any time I feel ( ) anxious to hear from you as it is to me a...



San Francisco

Thursday, October 4, 1855

My Dear Father & Mother,
I scarcely know how to commence this letter. I must apologize & explain matters. In the first place soon after writing my last, I changed business & occupation. I sold my...



Columbia, CA

Sunday, February 8, 1857

My Dear Father & Mother,
I (scarcely) know how to commence writing after such careless negligence. However I will not go into lengthy apologies, (but) frankly confess my self at fault & as your...



Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC

Monday, November 14, 1858

My Dear Parents,
Your letter of Sep. is at hand. I assure you I am incapable of expressing the feelings of joy. I (exp ) on receiving a letter from home. Especially when they are so favorable as...



Lilloett, BC

Tuesday, January 20, 1863

My Dear Father & Mother,
I forwarded ( ) last ( ) a draft for 10 Pounds or 50 Dollars which I hope you have received it is all my means will afford at present to give you. Dear Father I hope (you)...



Lilloett, BC

Wednesday, September 16, 1863

My Dear Father & Mother,
Your good letter of April is at hand. I am happy to hear of your general good health. Sorry to learn of the demise of Dear Uncle Joseph, but old Death is equally (sure) of us...



Idaho Territory

Friday, November 4, 1864

My Dear Father & Mother,
I wrote you a letter last January when in San Francisco promising you another by May with one hundred dollars. I sold half of my ranch to a friend the ( ) 
to (permit) the...



Placerville, Idaho Territory

Wednesday, September 1, 1869

My Dear Father & Mother,
I have your photographs your (letter) I ( ) some time ago. The Tin Can sent by express friend Haslam kept it for some time so as to be sure of no mistake. I am well pleased...



Idaho City

Sunday, January 9, 1870

Dear Father & Mother,
By the grace of God I am again permitted to write you a few lines. Since I last wrote you, it has pleased the Almighty to take our youngest Son to himself. He was a fine baby...


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