Letters from Exile
Constance L. Lieber and John Sillito, editors
January – June 1888
[p.246]January 15, 1888
After leaving Detroit we travelled northward and the temperature in the cars was a number of degrees cooler than the way we found it while traveling in Canada. Asking the conductor if there were any changes before reaching St. Clair, he answered yes at ‘”Lennox“, at what time do we reach this point? 10:30 was the reply. I referred to Lennox, and he thought I meant St. Clair. I accordingly removed some of Lizzie’s wrappings, and putting my cloak around her let her go to sleep, this was no sooner accomplished than they called out “Lennox.” Of course I had to make rapid movements and awaken the “Sleeping Beauty” when she set up the most unearthly screaming. I was the only passenger who changed cars here—and it was a mite of a station, apparently in the wilderness, and some little distance from the train we left, to the platform on which stood the one small car that was to carry us to St. Clair—valise [suit case] in one hand and dragging Lizzie, hurriedly dressed, and screaming to a near approach to fits, in the other, I made my way to it. This was just the reverse in regard to heat to the cars we had left, this one having a large stove in the centre, of a red heat. It was some time before I [p.247]could pacify Lizzie, so with the heat of the car and exertion of screaming, she was wet with perspiration.
Reaching St. Clair at 10:30, we found this station a considerable distance from the settled portion of the town, but there was not a bus waiting to take passengers “up town” as they called it. My trunk and valise were put on the front of the conveyance, and I told the driver to take me to a hotel nearest to the dock where the “Mary” left for Algonac. I had previously learned that the boat left the dock, far down the river at four o’clock. After quite a ride, and it was bitter cold, we reached the St. James hotel, so called, a very modest place to be styled a hotel, but I suppose they have guests during the summer season. The bus man charged me the moderate sum of 95 cts for bringing us from the station. He was a good-natured country-boy and when I asked him what he would charge to take my luggage on to the dock he said “ten cents.” Lizzie fell asleep again and I put her in a room warmed by a drum coming from the kitchen. While she slept I went to the dock to arrange about going, and found that the boat left about half-past three o’clock. I then hurried to the telephone office, and sent word I would be down on the “Mary“. Lizzie awoke with a bad cough, and she was quite hoarse. After dinner for which some cause neither L. or I did justice to, I settled my bill which was forty cents (40) and went to the dock, a boy carrying my satchel. It was after dark when we reached Algonac, and Mr. and Mrs. Stomlar and the former’s sister were at the dock to meet me. They thought of course they could carry the little girl—as no conveyance was to be had—but she was feeling miserable so would not let any of them touch her. So after a cold walk for babe and a warm one for me, we reached our destination. The people made us ever so welcome—and a big fire was made up stairs to warm our sleeping apartment, but oh it is so cold here, a frame house and these bitter cold winds from the river, everything freezes in the house, and your hand sticks to the door-knob in the morning. There are no inside doors to the up stairs rooms, but quilts were put up for warmth. Lizzie cold grew worse, and our bed was changed down stairs to a room adjoining the kitchen, but it is unfinished, and I began to get alarmed with Lizzie’s symptoms. The sudden change to so cold a climate was too much for her, and I fear pneumonia. She grew so stuffy and sick. The people were ever so kind and felt sorry for us, and the [p.248]lady of the house insisted on me taking her bedroom, where a stove-pipe goes through from the kitchen. Since then Lizzie has been better but she still coughs, and she gets quite croupy at night. And I fear it will stay with her until the weather moderates. The river is now all frozen up so that no boat runs to this point. So I am practically “frozen in.” But as soon as the weather breaks, I also shall “make a break.” The people here do the very best they can but have three small children that are “housed” in this bad weather and the mother is a delicate woman. Perhaps you can imagine somewhat how it goes. But I should not burden you with all this, but I tell you boy, if ever a woman longed and prayed and hoped, and sighed, and at times grew desperately wild for a home, I say it is the one who now writes. If you have one scintilla of desire to make me happy on this earth, then I say for pity sakes try and provide me with a home of my own when I reach the Rocky Mts. If I am not worthy of this after the knocking about I have done ever since I have been married, then I had better be shot as something useless and unnecessary to this sphere. It is quite different with a man in regard to going about homeless, who does not daily witness the sufferings of a little babe. I have been adapting myself to peoples ways and conforming, to unfavorable circumstances until I am disgusted and sick at heart of the whole business of doing the pilgrim. The short time I was with you is the sunniest time I have had in the whole time. But a week of that kind of life satisfied you I fancy—what would you think or have done, in putting in weeks & months of the life we have and are now leading—rural life decidedly. But I must stop, you have your burdens, all you can bear I fancy from the way you are aging too—until like Brutus you will exclaim “Oh I am aweary of this life.” Well I will confess, that I am not quite sick of life myself yet, although most heartily so of some of its present conditions. I think there is juice left in the old orange yet, and I hope on for brighter days.
How did you reach home? All right I trust. Write immediately and tell me how Little Maude is. I would have sent Mother my address before this, thinking you had not reached there perhaps, but I feared it would not be safe. Isn’t that a comforting epistle after so soon parting from the embrace of my Loved One! But darling I fear the sweets of those happy hours only make my present situation more unendurable. If you could only see us, you [p.249]would not marvel at me being cross. Oh, the youngsters are making such a racket I can scarcely think and I don’t feel well. But good bye and God bless you. Write soon and remember I love you more than ever & perhaps too well! Maria.
c of Mrs. George Stomlar
Algonac, St. Clair, Co.
Please send the Des “News”. I am aching to hear what is going on. You can have it addressed to Mr. George Stomlar and then the News office folks will not know what’s what. X. M.
January 19, 1888
My Own Dear Martha,
I trust you are where you have comfortable shelter as I read of the cold wave passing over all of our country. The thermometer is said to have gone as low as 60 below zero in Idaho and Montana. It is the coldest weather I have ever known in these parts to continue so long. I saw [your] father and mother last evening and received the enclosed letter this morning.1 They feel well and report little Maude improving very fast. I am making every effort to get a little “doggie” for our little lady. I saw J[ohn] W. W[oolley] and he reports that they will be real glad to see you at an early date. He sends his love and gave me to understand I might expect a letter to mail to you on Saturday next from Mary.
Angus M.Cannon received notice that he was expected to attend a directors meeting of Temple at Logan on 30th inst. I made inquiries at Kansas City relating to prices of stock with a view of shipping a car load to this place, but began to weaken on it since I see so much suffering amongst animals in these parts. Edward Callister will be buried tomorrow from the Seventh Ward. He is [a] counsellor to AMC.
The time appears long since I parted with you and I am [p.250]anxious for the time to come when I can again embrace you both. Hull has returned home and reports he forgot where you told him you would put the “info.” He expects his lady to meet him in New York when he visits there next May. Maude was greatly pleased with [the] presents, as was the others who desire me to thank you. Emma said she cried when she saw how little you had written her. I told her you could write little with safety. I deposited trunk as we agreed upon. Embrace and kiss my little girl for her pa and imagine me giving you one of my warmest embraces. I remain with warmest love, your own A. Munn.
Jan. 22, ’88
Please mail the enclosed to Sr. W. Since I have been here, have received a letter that was written by you dated Nov 30 where you spoke of Lewis accompanying me to Italy etc. It is not the one that was lost however. This one was forwarded back from England to New York, and then sent here. Write soon as I am anxious to hear from you.
I neglected to enclose the prescription in the letter of yesterday so send them in this. Now take the remedy just as directed and I trust it will do you much good, and that you will be in fine health when I see you again. How glad I shall be when I can see you again, but we must not anticipate in times like these. But whatever comes I am thankful that I took the step I did if the one to whom I gave my hand remains true to his covenants, and retains his favor with God. I trust too that I may prove true to the test. I firmly believe trying times are before us, when all that is weak, foolish, vain, hypocritical & corrupt will be shown up in its true light and character. M.
January 26, 1888
My Own Dear Martha,
I am well except for a severe cold which is quite prevalent [p.251]here owing to a severe change in the weather. It gives me great pleasure to report little Maude improving steadily. Your favor of 15th inst. reached me on the 21st and although I rejoiced to hear from you it was with regret as to the severity of the weather and the effect it had on you and our little charge. I feel very grateful to Mr. Stomlar and his kind lady for their goodness to you in permitting you to occupy the room to their own discomfort no doubt. I trust they will receive no ill effects from the changes. And I and my brethren prayed earnestly that you may both be preserved and delivered from the numberless ills that now surround you. I never bow the knee that I do not remember you both before any others of my family knowing the evils there are about you compared with others. I however, feel there is little need in me telling you this as I am unable to do nothing more by way of relief. I know only a little of what you endured carrying her from the landing to their home while the question arose! Is it possible they could find no carriage in the neighborhood?
The severity of the extreme cold weather in the northwest has not been fully described as yet. It is said a thousand persons perished from frost in Dakota alone. I presume we will never know the full extent of the sufferings, as I know it is impossible that you can ever convey a correct sense of what you have endured while passing through your present trials. (I mean those which you have been subjected to in the last three years.) Being quite busy on the 21st when I received yours of 16, and having written you on the 19th I have deferred answering you until today. I visited my spring farm on Monday to learn five men in my employ have permitted my finest durham heifer to perish from neglect. Draining my fish pond I saw a goodly number of fine carp and one less than 18 months old that, I judged, would have weighed 2 1/2 Or 3 pounds. I enclose a letter from mother and am pleased to report them well except Maude who is now able to sit up one hour at a time and is progressing favorably. I also enclose a letter from Clara and a book from Alice to Elizabeth. I enclose to you a letter from the north which I received last night. A friend sent me a beautiful little dog which I shall return as I am not pleased with its sex. I have bespoke one that will be sure to give satisfaction I think. Everything is moving quietly at the present time although my daughters are tired from the indications at present. Changes are being made that will affect my present home. [p.252]Oh! that my daughters was made acquainted with God without being subjected to his displeasment. It is a great comfort to me to know that he will answer with blessing all those who are willing to come to him in the midst of their distress with a broken heart.
A gentleman asked me while I was on my way home if the crusade hadn’t ceased to affect us. I replied “One hundred of our elders are in prison at the present time while many others are being arrested.” I can only account for the quiet that prevails while men are dragged from their families amidst the tears and lamentations of their wives and children upon the principle that the public has become used to them being imprisoned for conscience sake. And they experience no more sympathy with their victims than the old lady who had become used to skinning eels.
I enclose a letter of instructions from Br. Spence and tickets for you from Chicago to your home [in Utah]. You will have to purchase one to Chicago. I wrote you I think that a man got away with my valise in Kansas City and that it was forwarded here. I now find that they took from it my pen (gold and in a case) and inkstand and also my comb and brush and the studs and patented neck catchers that I had purchased in New York. I miss nothing else at present from my valise. I have ordered the semi-weekly sent to George Stomlar for three months commencing several weeks back. I visited our Sister’s E[lizabeth] and A[nn] D[uncanson] who were well and rejoice to hear from you and were glad I have recommended you to come to them until we conclude what arrangements to make. You speak feeling about a house of your own. I know you could not be more anxious to get you a home of your own than I am my dear girl. And with the blessings of the Lord I hope to be able to do all you desire me to do.
I felt as I listened to David Whitmer on the 7th inst. bearing testimony of the appearance of the angel of the Lord that perhaps I would be the last to hear that testimony. I presume I was correctly impressed as he died yesterday I was told. The time of our separation appears very long and I am very anxious to have it pass. God bless you and preserve you from harm and return you to your true friends is my earnest prayer. Kiss and embrace my child as I would be pleased to do myself. I am now and forever yours A. Munn.
[p.253]Feby 3, 1888—
My Own Loved “A”:—
Your letter of 19th ult. with one enclosed from dear Mother came duly to hand but I had just written so did not answer immediately. I was glad to hear of your safe arrival home, as I feared you might be caught in the “Cold Wave” of the North West. I was also relieved to hear of the improvement in dear little Maude’s health. Mother has had a sore ordeal in the little girl’s illness. Your letter of the 26th ult. with Mother’s, Lottie’s, Birdie’s, Clara’s,2 Mary W[oolley]’s, the R.R. Tickets and the book for Lizzie arrived here yesterday and I had a “feast of fat things” in their perusal. Dearest, you have not had that experience yet; I mean the eagerness with which we look for news from home, after being an exile for a time, and limited to but few correspondents. Mother writes cheerfully, and tells me what a kind friend you have been to them the past two years for which I feel very grateful to you, while the thought also occurs to me how much longer will he be able to stand under the ever increasing burden that is placed upon him from so many sources. I was pained to see that you had aged rapidly since I last saw you—but I suppose I would not be surprised at your aging were I acquainted with all you have and are doing. I am sorry to hear you are suffering from a cold and trust you will soon be relieved, and do try and take good care of yourself for the sake of those who love you. What should we do without you? There is no one in the wide world could fill your place in our heart. I am pained to hear of your daughter’s distress. I am assured her trials must be very great, unless she has a thorough knowledge from God, that the principle for which we are battling and striving to maintain in purity upon the earth is ordained by Him, and that we are chosen instruments in His hands to engage in so great a calling. Even with this assurance grounded in one’s heart, we do not escape trials and temptations, grievous at times in their nature. I can recall many families with which I have become acquainted during my sojourn among the Gentiles. Several with whom I am associated with more or less at the present time, whose marriage relations are a joy and comfort to witness. Where the wife and mother is proud and happy in the devotion of a noble husband, while he in turn is equally contented and happy [p.254]in the possession of the partner he has chosen for life; while at home in each other’s association, is where their greatest joys are centered. Witnessing scenes like these, my mind then reverts to my own peculiar wedded experience of the past three years and more, where a few stolen interviews thoroughly tinctured with the dread of discovery, is all that has constituted our married felicity. Looking at the thing from a human standpoint, it is a deplorable situation. But thank God we view the plan through different goggles than those of mere human invention. Otherwise I fear some of us would only stand it long enough for the legal arrangements to be made to dissolve the unnatural relationship. Dear One, do not think from this I am dissatisfied with my lot. To the contrary, I am thankful that God so ordained my destiny to embrace the celestial principle of marriage when I did. And now in it, my energies shall be bent towards its continuance, but I greatly feel my weakness at times, and know not how long I will hold out in the great Cause. And [I] feel certain, that had my movements towards marriage been left or deferred until the present time, and that I had merely human instincts to guide me, I should have given the whole plural system a wide berth, so far as going into it anyway but [as a] first [wife] was concerned. I should have made it a point to [have] been first wife, while at the same time I should have been perfectly willing for my husband to take others who were sufficiently ignorant to sense the situation, or sufficiently heroic to make martyrs of themselves. But why burden you with these boorish soliloquies? Simply to let you know that although I do not talk as much as some people do, still at the same time I strongly sense my situation at the present time—and were it not for daily petitions to God for strength, the adversary would make me feel and believe that it is really a condition of degradation instead of one of honorable wifehood. If you only knew the subterfuges one has to resort to, in order to make any movements appear reasonable to sensible people with whom I meet, while occupying the position I do, you would not wonder at a sense of degradation stealing over me at times. But darling do not misunderstand me and think I blame you for this—for I strongly realize that you, much more than myself, are weighted and clogged & depressed by the conditions that our enemies are subjecting us to, and while I greatly wish for the good of our whole people that the situation was other than it is, still I shall be found with others striving to do my part, thankful to our Heavenly Father that I [p.255]have you for my husband. For I would rather spend one hour in your society, than a whole life time with any other man I know of. I suppose after all, things with me are just as they should be, for I should certainly be too happy for this testing scene of earth were I permitted to be near you always. ‘Tis this very devotion that makes me jealous of you, and our separation so hard. Still when I think if we do right here, that we will associate in the eternities as only those who have passed their ordeal successfully will be permitted to associate, then my mind takes a restful turn, and the perplexities of human existence sink into insignificance.
I was glad to learn you heard the last testimony of Mr. Whitmer—and amused to hear that “a fellow got away with your valise.” You had not mentioned it before. I am impressed with the necessity of your taking me with you when you travel in order to look after things. I have been fortunate in getting about with whole caravans of things and a baby to boot and lost nothing so far. Now comes the question of tickets. Pet, I am a little concerned about them, and hardly comprehend why you sent them so soon. You know the arrangement when you left was for me to go to Ann Arbor—and the shortest undertaking for a case like mine would cover a period of at least three months constant treatment. Did you come to the conclusion that my case was not an urgent one, that I showed symptoms little indicating uterine trouble? Or what was the object in sending the tickets for me to be in Council Bluffs by first of March. The situation is this, Loved One. I need the treatment referred to. This ailment relieved, I would be one of the toughest and most rugged little women in the Rocky Mountain section. Everything about me is in excellent condition except this local trouble—and I think now a good time to attend to it, as there is nothing in my physical condition to prevent treatment at the present time. Pardon the vulgarism. I am not “knocked up” as the English women term tired out. Then babe should be examined by skillful hands. I am exceedingly anxious to get her to Ann Arbor. Her bladder symptoms have become exceedingly aggravated since I came here, and she shows marked symptoms of stone in the bladder. I am not exaggerating one particle in relating this to you, and it worries me more than I care to give expression to, and I want you to exercise all the faith you can summon for her relief. She takes a nervous chill every time she urinates. Sometimes she is very poorly for days at a time; other times she is [p.256]quite bright. Another objection to leaving so soon is this, that while the severe weather has somewhat moderated, still it is altogether too cold to take a sick baby for a sixteen mile ride in an open conveyance to reach the train at St. Clair—and the boats will not be running for over a month yet. The river is one solid block of ice. I went for a short sleigh-ride the other day and my hands were warmly gloved, but in holding the rug over Lizzie, my hands got so cold and ached so badly that I almost cried when I began to warm them. I merely mention this for you to see that it could not do to go a long distance with the precious darling until it is warmer. Do not think I want to stay here. To the contrary, I am anxious to get away, as I am not very comfortable, but the people are kind and do the best they can for us. Now my own loved partner, what would you advise us to do? Can the time on the tickets be extended? I am extremely desirous to be somewhere near you again, but also anxious to be well again. If cured of this trouble I will make a much better wife than if I allow it to run on. Now what shall I do? Write immediately. I sincerely trust that you will not lose the amount paid on tickets if I am unable to use them at the time specified. Have written to A[nn]. A[rbor]. about board and learn I can get it for four dollars ($4.00) per week. I have almost spent that much here, for one thing or another. I was amused with Clara’s note. Tell her in your “humbugging” business that you only made a mistake of about two thousand miles-that the lady is three instead of one thousand miles distance. I enclose her note—do not say I did. You poor fellow—if the present state of affairs continues, you will have to resort to so much “humbugging” that you will not have a wife that will have any confidence in you whatever. I will now close by assuring you I love you more than ever, because you are such a good-natured noble fellow and took & take all my scoldings in such good part. Good by and write immediately & accept a thousand kisses from your own Little Maria—
The Des. News has not put in here yet—hope it comes soon—tell me as much news as you can. The letters come quite safe. [The following enclosed note was written in pencil by Clara Cannon. See reference in preceding letter.]
[p.257]Salt Lake City, Jan 21st, 1888
I asked __________ to convey to you Alice’s and my thanks for the presents you and Lizzie sent us, but he told me to write a note and he would forward it. I do get indignant at his lack of confidence and trying to humbug me into thinking you are a thousand miles away. Hereafter I shall not even enquire after you, though I may be ever so anxious to hear how you are. I thank you for the present: as a token of your remembrance it pleased me much. Alice wanted me to read the writing on the tablet and then she wanted to know who Lizzie is. I told her a little girl whose Mother, a friend of mine, had to keep away from the deputies. That aroused all her sympathies and she is very anxious to see her. She has learned to be very wise: she showed the present and said, “Mama’s friend’s little girl sent it to me.” Hoping this will find you well as it leave[s] me, I remain your friend—
February 4, 1888
My Own Dear Martha,
I am in receipt of your of 21st and 22th ult. and have sent Maria W[oolley] hers. I glow in the pluck you manifested to enjoy a sleigh ride with the thermometer 20 degrees below zero. I am in hopes our little girl will obtain relief from the examination you propose to subject her to. I am anxious about her. Maude continues to improve. Mother and father were at the theater on the 2nd inst. and appeared well and happy. Prominent undergrounders took part in a dance last night, where I met J[ohn] W. W[oolley], Julia [Woolley], and Amy [Woolley] together with others. I took my daughter. It will astonish you to see the ticket got up for our municipal election.3 You will think of that poor magpie when it discovered all of its tail feathers blown out. “In the name of G-d, what next.” Williams has come home but reports [p.258]no immediate prospects of relief although he is sanguine relief will come before long if we will work and not faint. Great numbers inquire after you and want to see you again amongst us. I know, my dear girl, you take a glowing view of things from what you write but I have a glorious anticipation regarding our existence here. I hope to embrace you and proclaim you mine here and hereafter without any venturing to interfere. As you say, I anticipate great trials through which we must all pass ere we triumph. I rejoice to have you write me. You do not report taking the steps that have occasioned you so much trouble providing I am remaining true to my vows. The joy I feel in the fellowship of His people makes me hopeful of the future, and I trust God will strengthen us for every trial that awaits us. I do not fear, if I will only do right, as I know God has been very merciful to me and each of my father’s house in the past.
I love my family more than life, and I hope to love God more than all else. If the love of Him is truly in our hearts, we have nothing to fear. If we would retain His spirit, we must learn to deny ourselves everything that is contrary to His divine will. I have been a long time in training and have much to improve on.
You speak of the happiness experienced in my society during one week as being in excess of all that you have had since our union. It makes me think how very little she has had to make her hopeful of the future! I am confident that God did not create us for each other that we might be unhappy, but rather that we might have joy in each other’s society. I suffered from the effects of a severe cold on my return, but I am now improving and I hope to be well on your return. I trust you received the ticket and all is satisfactory, and that the weather will moderate so that you will have no trouble returning. I have had no time to obtain [the] prescription since I have received your letter, yet I will take time to make you feel as I am as anxious as you to fill all your hopes. Lewis had a little money with George C[annon] and sent me $25 to pay on his tithing4 and $2 on yours. I will make it right with you hereafter. He preaches in German. Accept many kisses for [p.259]you and my little pet, while would rejoice to be permitted to look at you both, if nothing more. I am ever yours. A. Munn
Feby 5 — 88
Finished my letter yesterday, Sat. 4. and then learned it would not leave here until Monday 6th as the mail does not go on Sundays. I shall remain here until I get an answer to this letter, no matter how the weather turns out. It has turned much colder than it was for past few days. And more cold weather is still looked for by the people here. I shall be so happy when I get somewhere near you once again. I have been so lonesome today (Sunday) I hardly knew what to do with myself. This is such a dreary little country place with the great frozen river stretching far in front of us—with its unkempt waste of Indian Reservation beyond. Were I in the “Emmenthalerhof” in Switzerland I should pronounce my symptoms the “Blues.” This is so unlike my beautiful St. Clair of years agone—which I always then saw in its summer loveliness, its surface roseate with morning sunbeams or its crystal waters reflecting the different hued lights from the many crafts that dotted its surface at evening. ‘Twas here I used to compose love letters and dream of “Liolin” in his southern home—and of fame & happiness in years to come—and in response I would receive proud letters from my hero, with bunches of jasmine & moss roses and “for-get-me-nots” all withered, but with a lingering fragrance of the “sunny south.” Ah “the scene is changed” and “a change has come o’er the spirit of my dreams.” Is not this nonsense? Can you, pardon me while I can only be reconciled to all this change in one way, that is to be near you and know that you love me. [N]ot as much as I love you, that is impossible for one in your situation, but as much as it is possible for a polygamist to love one woman. Now don’t frown, but be charitable for the weakness of woman & burn this, as it indicates I grow softer every day, which is a fact. With true love & devotion I am your own. How I despise the name Maria—but I never did admire it before I had any occasion to be jealous. “Tis a fact. Bro. Campbell used to address me—Marrrrhh!!
[p.260]Algonac, St. Clair Co
Mich. Feby 9— 88
Your lengthy letter of Jan. 14 just to hand. You neglected to put “Algonac” on it hence its delay. A gentleman here told me he saw it advertised in a St. Clair paper, so I wrote for it. Otherwise it would have been sent to the Office at Washington. Thanks for the present to Josh [H. Paul]—he has not written me a letter yet. Glad to hear the Grand Old Man [Daniel H. Wells] is as well as he is. Give him my love. Yours of the 4th inst. also to hand last Eve. Glad that Maude is so much improved, that Lewis is doing so well, and that you are enjoying yourself at parties, if you do assure me you merely take your daughter. She ought to be thankful she has a father to to[a]dy her about and be company for her at her table, etc. Every woman in the plural harness is not one hundredth part so highly favored at the present. Do not think I am envious—not so. I am glad some are permitted a little comfort. I wrote you the 6th about the tickets. They have reached me, and are clipped to be at Council Bluffs by Mar. 1st. Can’t they be extended? I won’t be abe to make it—I fear the treatment at A.A. will require several months. Then the weather is not fit to travel with a delicate babe. I wrote what I thought about them on 6th—hope you get it and answer promptly. Glad you and Williams are sanguine respecting the future. As for me I do not wish to appear gloomy, as I certainly do not feel so at [the] present time. To walk the beautiful streets of Salt Lake, and mingle with my old-time friends once more will be sufficient happiness to super-exalt me for a period. After the recent role I have played in life’s drama, to be permitted to plunge too rapidly into the maelstrom of bliss would be too much for a susceptible nature. But don’t you expect to go unscathed from the lashes of a woman’s tongue because the minion’s of the law make barricades between us, for I shall dun you for a home. If after a marriage covering a period of nearly four years a man can’t provide a wife and child with a home he isn’t worth having. Yours in earnest Maria
Have just run short of paper—will get some when I go to village shop M
[p.261]February 13, 1888
My Own Dear Martha:
Yours of 3rd and 5th inst. came to hand on Saturday, and I immediately delivered the enclosed to Emma [Finch] and mother. The latter was not at home, neither was father, but I delivered the letter to Lottie and kissed Maude, who is no longer little, for I scarcely recognized her, she has grown so much and now looks so well. I saw Birdie and was pleased to learn all was well. I trust you keep your spirits up, as they have appeared in your last two letters. To be afflicted in body and depressed in spirit at the same time is terrible. I have hopes you will obtain relief at A]nn] A[rbor] for Elizabeth and yourself.
I pray earnestly for you each until this ends. I only sent you your tickets to enable you to come when you wished, as I discovered from what you wrote you were not comfortable in your feelings and I wanted you near me.
I knew we talked about your coming this month and supposing you understood the time required for treatment better than I did, I did not feel warranted in putting off getting your tickets, as I did not want you to be hampered and cramped for money by having to get your tickets and paying double what I would here. I accordingly sent them, as I was very anxious to have you here when you felt warranted in coming. (That is when you obtained the desired treatment). I accordingly desire you to return me the tickets and can try to have the time extended.
Do not trouble if the time cannot be extended, as I wish you to obtain all the relief possible for you to obtain, that you may not feel life is a burden to you, lest that you may possess the courage you once did when you felt you could put up with my frailty, and face the powers of a nonbelieving world to fill the destiny God created us to fill by each other’s side. Then again, I am very anxious to have everything done for my little pet that is possible, while I pray God to preserve her life unto us. You say: if I could love you as you love me, you would be happy. I in return will say and I trust you will believe me, if you continue to love me as I love you, you will have no reason to doubt it in this life or the next. As I used to say to the little girls in playing in my childhood, “If you love me, and I love you, no knife can cut our love in two.”
[p.262]I wish you to acquaint me with your circumstances and what money you need that you may not be short in meeting any expenses you may bear. I think [the] terms of board proffered you as very reasonable and I hope you will not feel I will begrudge you any means within my reach to aid you to obtain the most skillful aid. I obtained the prescription from the “Old Dr” [Anderson], who was delighted to hear from you and feels as you do that it is most wise to obtain the best skill obtainable where you are going, and he says it would not be possible for you to obtain the same kind here. He is a little improved and sends his love as does H[iram] B. C[lawson]. [John] Hilleary5 gave Emma [Finch] his likeness of you. I saw it and told Emma to put it adjoining mine. I was pleased to see us associated and ever near to each other in our place here on earth, as I believe we will be ever near to each other hereafter. “When the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest.”
I may as well continue while on this subject and say I saw Golden K[imball]6 and learned that he is married to a Miss Knowlton and lives in Meadowville, Rich County. When I look at a young stalwart like him, I think of Hilleary and last though not least, of the enchantment that attended you when a girl, flattered and caressed by the gay young students from a land of luxury in the favored south.
I cannot help feeling to praise my God for so blessing me, that amidst all the dazzle and glitter of the world he preserved and kept you pure and gave you to me. And when you tell me you are happier with me than you could be with anyone else that you know in this world, my joy knows no bounds and I rejoice beyond what I can now describe. When I have thought of the sacrifices you have made for me [and] that I would be unable to make you happy in return, “a wiley dog” is more happy than I have been when such things occurred to me. I think you heard of this dog before. I regret you have not received the [news]papers [p.263]as T. E. T.7 says they have been regularly sent to you as directed. (When I say to you I mean George Stomlar as directed). You asked me in New York if I had received a letter you wrote and mailed at Queenstown, to which I answered yes. I now discover I was mistaken in that, as I received it only on my return home. It was the one you mailed before landing that I must have received. I am glad you received mail of November 30, as I write so little, I am gratified to have you receive what I do write.
I forgot to write in my last according to your request, that while we have two straits of water that are navigable in Utah, viz: the Great Salt Lake and the Utah Lake, we have no rivers that are navigable.
My only reason for not answering your last letter, which was received on 11th inst. until today, is that for want of time. It is now 10:30 pm that I write this, [and am] trusting it will not come across [as incomprehensible] to you.
This is the day of our city elections and I was in hopes I would be able to obtain the results to write you, but alas, I have written in vain. I will say we live in peculiar times, and not the least so is it that you should be voting for 4 outsiders while the bulk of our enemies are voting against all of ours.
God bless you my dear girl. Kiss our child for me and accept all the love and kisses from your own, now and forever. A. Munn.
PS Williams returned East on Sunday. AM.
Algonac, St. Clair Co
Mich— Feby. 22 88
My Own Loved One:—
Your last letter [arrived] advising me to return my tickets to hand and I hasten to do so. I was glad to learn of you and our home folks being well and shall be so glad when I see you all [p.264]again. The papers are coming here regularly now. I suppose I forgot to mention it in my last.
Mar. 5, 88
My Own Loved One:—
Your very kind letter of 24 ult. came duly to hand, and I am thankful to learn that all that I am interested in are getting along as well as they are. You do not say much about yourself, but from the papers I see you are here, there and everywhere; and I judge from the combined movements you manage to extract some honeyed moments. I regret to hear of the feelings of your daughter, for her sufferings must be intense. Who in the world is going to stand the lash that is being placed upon us except those who know of a surety that God ordained the divine form of marriage for which we are battling to maintain in purity upon the earth, and that He will bring us through triumphant if we but cling to the iron rod? Still I suppose there is not one in Zion who do[es] not feel their weakness at times. I know for one, that… only by constant striving on my part and [by] the divine grace of God, I will be enabled to maintain my integrity. For I am not blind to the situation, and like our beloved departed St. [Eliza R.] Snow I firmly believe that “Zion’s furnace is gradually heating, but has not yet reached the point where the battle will rage [p.265]with the greatest fury.” I am distressed to hear of your homeless situation. In the midst of many homes, yet homeless. Our enemies will have much to answer for. Oh! how I wish that I could minister to your comforts as a wife should do, and be near you to partake of that joy and happiness that only the association with those we dearly love can bring. But it’s no use to repine about things that can’t be remedied. To patiently submit to the unfavorable circumstances for the present I suppose is the surest or safest way to overcome them. Give my kind love to the two “Grand Old Men” the Dr. [Anderson] and Prest D[aniel] H. W[ells]. Tell the latter it will not be long before we can have a good old fashioned gossip and do not urge the former, Dr. A[nderson], to write to me for I well know that in the multiplicity of his affairs he finds no time for mere friendly correspondence, hence I will willingly resign the pleasure that such a missive would afford me. When I spoke of managing your luggage, I did not then know the manner in which it had escaped you, having not at that time received your explanatory letter, which had been delayed. Good for Jos. E. [Taylor] & C[lara]—that of a certainty is genuine uninterrupted business. True grit. After all, that which the Lord hath commanded is the easiest thing to do; for surely it is easier to break that blamed Edmunds law than to keep it.
Mar. 7— 88
I was happy when I commenced this letter, now I am plunged in the deepest distress. Our little girl is very sick with Scarlet Fever and you must pray mightily for her recovery. She has been slightly ailing for several days but nothing serious I thought, until yesterday morning she broke out with the eruption. Her throat and lung complication seem the worst feature about her present trouble—with a high fever running to (104° F) one hundred & four degrees. It is now five o’clock and she is resting a little easier. I have been up all night. I left Stomlar’s one week ago yesterday on account of their hired girl, one that Mr. Stomlar secured to help before he went away, coming down with the Fever. Lizzie had just recovered from the Chicken Pox, and I thought by leaving immediately to escape a second contagion. Where I [p.266]now I am paying four dollars per week for board. The woman is fearfully nervous and worried about Lizzie’s sickness as she has two children and she is afraid they will take the Fever. I shall pay her extra for her trouble in endeavoring to isolate us, etc. It makes her extra work. I cannot believe our darling will be taken from us, yet she is a very sick baby. God is merciful, and He alone knows what I have gone through for that little girl. My greatest fault in regard to her is that I think too much of her. Tell mother why I do not write to her this time.
With devotion, I am yours, Maria
I wrote Sr Woolley’s letter several days ago and remarked how well we were—we know not what a day will bring.
Algonac, Mar 9th 
Our little patient is getting along nicely & it won’t be long now before she will be herself again. This is measles, chicken Pox and Scarlatina she has had since I have been from home. Whooping Cough would about complete the catalogue of infantile disorders, but I am not at all ambitious for her to take it. I never feel the loss of home so much as when babe is sick, for it is impossible to do genuine justice by her among fastidious & ignorant strangers, who are purely annoyed, to put it mildly, when one comes down with a contagious disease in their house. In your last letter you make me a very generous offer, in regard to a home, which I appreciate and shall accept it, if convinced you can afford it, for of a surety I am getting to be a monomaniac on the subject of a home. But I must cease to worry you about it for I know you will do the right thing.
Dear One I wish you would mail to my address a bottle (small one) of consecrated [olive] oil as I am just out, and I know it has helped little one very much, I should also like one of our hymn books as I have none with me. With devoted love I am your own
[p. 267]Mar. 14—88
Our little girl is getting along nicely—is out of danger with her fever—and will soon be herself again. Although it has left her with a cough, which I trust will soon be better. We are having fearfully cold weather here again, the effects of the blizzard that has been causing such havoc in the East. Just before this cold snap came upon us we had a couple of spring-like days. The ice broke loose from the river and the blue water appearing, brought back my olden time ideas of the beautiful St Clair—and I felt to rejoice that now there was an easy way of exit for darling and myself, so soon as she was able to travel and we would be off, as the boat would now come down. She did come down one night and its whistle was music to many ears beside my own, as it was the harbinger of the approach [or] of the departure of the navigators who are all on the ferment & uneasy to roam the high seas again. But alas for fond anticipation. The ice came down from the lakes in innumerable masses completely clogging the channels of the river, so that all movement is suspended on its surface.
I have not had a letter from you or anybody else for a little over two weeks, and I find myself getting a little lonesome. Say dear, I sent or returned the tickets you forwarded just as soon as I received word from you that you could have them extended. It seems to me it is nearly a month since I returned them, & you have not mentioned whether they reached you or not. I am a bit anxious to know. My health is pretty good, I am surprised that I can lose so much rest—as has been the case while babe has been sick—and still feel so well. No one has aided me in the treatment or in nursing her. She received great benefit from the application of the consecrated oil when her throat and lungs were bad. Just think it will be two years next month since last I saw the Rky Mts—and soon be three yrs since I saw our beautiful city by daylight, and won’t I be happy to get back again. I have nothing to write about from here. Everything is dull and dismal enough at present—and it seems an age since I last saw you. Our affairs at home seem to be getting pretty complicated but I suppose it’s all right. Write soon and believe me your devoted little, Maria
I think I told you I have left Stomlar’s & paying $4 per week for board. I left on account of the fever but did not escape it after all — Love — M
[p.268]March 15th, 88
Your most welcome letter of 10 inst. came to hand last evening after I had written you. I was getting lonesome to hear from you, not thinking it was my own neglect that I did not get a letter, but sickness & moving has occupied my attention. I was ever so pleased to hear from Lewis and to know he remembered me at Xmas & sent his photo, but still more gratified was I to hear he is progressing nicely in his missionary labors—he is a good boy. From various sources, I learn that you are certainly having a gigantic boom in real estate affairs, and it appears that father & mother have caught the spirit of the movement, which I am sorry for—see what they say, I enclose Mother’s letter, burn it after reading. You may also read the reply to her letter which I have hurriedly penned and seal it before sending it to them. Did I say the right thing? I am not surprised at most of those whom you mentioned as having sold their property except B[isho]p McRae, who was strongly opposed to transactions of that kind a few years ago. Who is Mrs. Dr. Richardson? You are a dear good fellow and I think the world of you. Babe is fractious so will close—will [write] again soon. Best love & devotion, M
Mar 19 ’88
Our little girl is better but very delicate looking. Typhoid fever is about, and I sincerely trust she will not take that. I am feeling better than I thought I would. It is much warmer here today although the river is still completely blocked with ice, so I am not certain just when I will get away, but of a surety the first boat that runs takes me off. I am fearfully sick of my boarding place—and for very good reasons. When cutters [small sleighs] were about it was too cold to take an 18 mile drive to [the] station. Now the roads are too rough to attempt it. So you see I am all grumble, but as a whole I like Algonac very much and have some very kind friends here. And were it not [that] I was going to leave so soon, I could easily get a more congenial place than I am now in. Still you can hardly determine what people are until you [p.269]are compelled to live with them. [For] myself [it] is an easy matter or subject to adapt to peoples whims. I learned that lesson early in life. But babies are not so adaptable they are true to nature, & that’s “the rub.”I look forward to a home of my own soon, happy anticipation. I would rather be shot than live on the way I have the last two years. You seemed surprised when you perceived the real cause, or main cause of my stay until May 17th. Yet it was your conversation when I last saw you that lead me to that determination. That was to keep quiet until that date, on account of what lawyer [Franklin S.] Richards said. When I left Utah two years ago, it was with the full determination to relieve you of all apprehension on my account—and I have not changed on that point, be the time one month or one thousand months from now. Of course, as suggested by yourself, I might come home now and keep under cover, but another determination on my part would prevent that. That was to breathe the Rocky Mountain air freely or not at all. All compositions are not alike. I would rather be a stranger in a strange land and be able to hold my head up among my fellow beings than to be a sneaking captive at home. Those who so patiently submit to that process are of a vastly different “make up” to myself, it would simply make me raving mad. Well dear you see my drift, and I fear I burden you with unhappy and inelegant expressions. Instead of glorying in the goodness of God towards me—for I feel His merciful blessings every day of my life—I find myself pondering over, dissecting & commenting upon the peculiar experiences of life—a taste for oddities I presume. I love you dearly—Maria
Mar. 25 ’88
My Loved One—
Yours of 13 & 17 insts to hand, and I am pleased to report our little girl as being about again. She had the disease very light as compared with many. Only one night was I alarmed or uneasy about her: the night I wrote you when her fever ran up high and her throat symptoms were bad. My health is tolerable, and I hope to be right well by the time I reach home, won’t that be nice. Thanks for the New Year’s Card—it is a beautiful sentiment We are down below zero here again, the snow is over a foot [p.270]deep, and cutters are all the go. No more Michigan winters for me. I did not feel the severity of the seasons so much during my school days. But then I was younger & probably tougher then. The Hymn book you sent has reached me. Thanks—but the oil has not yet arrived. In regard to the piece of land that father was speaking to you about, I do not wish to burden you to purchase it. I think the sum asked is also too high. I will either want to purchase or else build a house to live in when I return. This will be as much as you will be able to meet for the present. I have no desire to impose on your good nature. I want to retain your love and respect, and it is poor policy in a woman to display too much avariciousness in her demands upon her husband. Of course I desire a home, and justly so, for myself and little babe have sadly experienced the need of one. Still a Kind Providence has watched over us, and I feel to thank God each day for the knowledge we have of Him through His gospel. Best love, your devoted wife Maria
Apl. 1 ’88
My Own Loved One:
This is Easter Sunday Eve, and the people of the house have all gone to the entertainment at the Church, so babe and I are here alone. The former (babe) will not go to bed although it is eight o’clock, but insists on sitting on my lap and bothering me to perfection. She is a most nervous fractious child, never goes to bed like other babies. Night after night, I have to lie & be pinched from eight until half-past nine and ten o’clock before she will close her eyes. But then you can’t understand talk like this, so will not burden you with it. Your pleasant letter of the 21st inst. has reached me, and I am glad to know that you are in good health; sorry to hear that Mina’s little One is poorly. Mina must be sorely tried,8 and who among us is not? I feel like Old Nick himself at times, and sometimes fear that like Old Bossy, that sooner or later I will kick over the bucket of milk. Life with you men is so [p.271]different from ours. In your case monotony can be relieved by new courtships and matrimonial engagements, which are the sweetest things in the world to you when new (so I judge from observation)—but we poor women! “Lord mend us” as Pope used to say, “if things don’t take a change.” Grass widow=widow-bewitched = old-maid. Each condition I would imagine to be preferable to ours. Some new term will have to be invented for us. What do you think of the spirit of this letter? I will stop lest like many others, I be constrained to consign it to the flames. The boat has now commenced to run to Marine City & St Clair (that is going north from here). From St. Clair I could take the train for Detroit. Thank God the thaw has come at last. Next week, it is said, boats will be running from T to Detroit, which will be a much shorter and more direct route; then I make a start for Ann Arbor. No time since I left Utah have I been so completely “shut in” as in this place. The fact that I have been “cooped” here so long probably accounts for the disagreeable way I feel. I will write to Lewis in a few days when I feel more amiable, so you see we regulate our tempers towards parties more distantly related than husbands, but then the latter are old, tough and hardened to this kind of business, and it affects them no more than to grind out a grim smile, and is soon forgotten again. This will make you angry I am sure, for I believe you have tried ever so hard to do all you can for me, but darling you know that this is a fearful life that I have been leading and yet you don’t know, and never will know, one tenth what we have gone through with in sickness and solitude & among unfeeling strangers. Not one of our women has been out alone like I have been. Sr. Hull comes the nearest to it but she has been right among all her relatives, even her mother. When she was from her relatives for a short time in England, she had half a dozen or more Elders waiting on her, so that practically she had no responsibility. This however is my own doings in a measure, so I should not grumble, and the time is so short now. Still I can’t help feeling “cussed” all the same at times, and must show a bit of it out to you or you would get a mistaken idea of me and think me one of the most patient long-suffering little women in the world—but I am not—but just like others and worse than many but I love you Maria—
My Own Loved One:
Your favor of Mar 29th to hand last eve. It must have been delayed. From your own statements you are still one of the busiest men in the universe. I am extremely sorry to learn of the action of the courts in relation to certain private property. If they persist in believing it to be Church estate, it is hard to tell what the result will be; disastrous to the alleged owner I fear. The Deseret News has stopped coming to this section for about three weeks now so I am not at all posted on western matters. It is dull enough here. I have been boarding with a lady whose husband works at Detroit in the machine shops, and has been home for but one night since I have been here, so we keep a sort of “Old Maids Hall” here—and with little or no association, time passes prosily [sic] enough. One of the boats has now made its way up from Detroit. So we will soon be off, and thank the Lord for Deliverance. Lizzie however is suffering from a severe cold on the lungs, so I will not attempt to go until she is better, as the river & lakes are full of floating ice, which emit a very cold and wintry atmosphere. I suppose everything is on the bloom in the beautiful valley of Salt Lake—won’t I be glad to be there once more. Two weeks had passed from the time of receiving your last letter preceding the one that came last night and I was getting very lonesome to hear from home again. Mother has not written for some time. My health is better than it has been. You never state how yours is, but from the way you fly around I judge it is good. You are having a regular doctor’s life in being called among the sick so much at night. I sincerely trust it will not injure you. I am extremely anxious to get back and engage in getting me a home fixed up of my own. I am so disgusted with living around with all kinds of people, so extremely uncongenial as many of them have been, that I would almost as soon commit suicide as continue such a life. I have heard you speak of being homeless—and smiled when I read [it]. Why boy, you don’t know what the term means. To mingle with God’s people as a free man or woman, living in the homes of one’s own children, surrounded with all the necessities as well as many of the luxuries of life, administered to, or waited upon by those of our own flesh and blood, or kin; with the privilege of associating with those we dearly love (even if some of it has to be done on the sly) would be unalloyed Paradise to me, call [p.273]it “homeless” or any other term you wish. I often wonder why I have been subjected to the life I have lead for the past three and a half years. It is certainly one of three things. Earning a “big” reward, atoning for past delinquencies, or else because I am a “damned fool.” Perhaps you can assist me in determining the exact why. I think I will close—before I develop too much spleen. I think my last letter to you was not the most agreeable. I must get on the move. I fear my long “housing” here is making me waspish. Oh! for a change!! One thing I rejoice in however, and that is that I have a knowledge of my own, that the Gospel is true. Were it not for this assurance how would we be able to sustain the burdens that are placed upon us? I trust I will feel better when I get home—and I think I will. I ought to feel thankful that things are as well with us as they are. Still one cannot help being a bit blue at times. This has been such a long dreary pilgrimage that I am sick & tired of the whole business—but it is so short now before I will be home that I must try and be patient. If Lizzie is better I leave for Ann Arbor next week. As soon as I arrive there shall send you the address and should like to have a paper occasionally—& when read shall send them to Mrs. Stomlar who has taken considerable interest in reading them. Yours with much love & sadness. Maria
Thank Josh for me for the clippings on the Tariff Question.9
Apl. 24, ’88—
Your pleasant letter of 17th inst. to hand yesterday. Very glad to hear you are well—but why are your spirits not so buoyant? What has cast a shadow over your usual lightheartedness? Sorry to hear your little grandchildren are ailing but trust they are better by this time. This reminds me you expressed a bottle of [p.274]consecrated oil to me when little Lizzie was sick with Scarlet Fever, but it has never reached me—suppose it became lost on the road. Lizzie has had a severe attack of inflammation on lungs since I last wrote you. For 48 hours I kept up a steady poulticing her lungs every half hour with flax seed poultices, did not close my eyes a moment for two nights. She is much better now, but still coughs. The girl is never well—always ailing with something. Still she goes through with one seige of sickness after another much better than many more robust children. I am going to venture to leave this infernally cold region with her tomorrow. I fear if I wait for her to be in a good condition to leave, shall spend my days here. I go direct to Ann Arbor—from there to Illinois, and there for home. I still have to laugh when you refer to having so many beds, without the privilege of occupying them—and that you “do feel it” poor fellow!! “The fox & the hare, the beggar and the bear & the birds in the green wood tree, & the pretty little rabbits so engaging in their habits, and they all have a mate but thee”! (publicly) I wish I only owned or possessed one bed even. I assure you I should be perfectly willing to permit its occupancy by another. My health is pretty good. Shall not say more this time as there is nothing interesting to communicate from this point. I am still firm in my belief in the Gospel I am thankful to say, but know not how long I may continue so and look forward to with joy to my return to my loved ones and home. Do not compare my endurance with that of Job’s—’tis a slander on the patient patriarch. I endure my trials with a very bad grace at times. Cheer up old Boy. I don’t wish to see you morose when I return. It would be so unlike your own dear pleasant self. Do you know Pet. I will need more money before I start home. You know I have been paying board since soon after I came here and hired my washing & ironing done and been buying extras for Lizzie in the shape of new milk & beef tea—so that I fear I will run short. Will send my Ann Arbor address so soon as I reach there, so that you may send me a little right away. I suppose by Post Office Order will be as good as any way. I am afraid you will think me extravagant. With love and kisses—Little M
We have arrived here all right. Started down the river yesterday morning and reached Detroit a little after noon. Mr. Stomlar had been home a few days and was returning to his work in fitting out his boat at Detroit so that I had company down the river. His sister Mrs. Blauvelt also accompanied us, she going to see her son who is working at Detroit. We thought it too much of a hurry to take the afternoon train to Ann Arbor, and it would also have been late before I reached here, so we decided that I should stay that night in Detroit, and take the morning train for this point, which I did, arriving here at 11 o’clock this a.m. I am now domiciled in the little upstairs back room, where I spent one year and a half of my college days— and dreary and “pokey” enough it seems. In the rooms across the hall are a number of Japanese students, who are making the night hideous with their clatter, chatter. The good lady of the house, who is now quite aged, is very glad to see me, and does all she can to make me welcome but I could not content myself in this little room now. It happened to be vacant when I reached here and of course the old lady thinks I ought to be delighted to get it. But getting married to so fine a fellow as yourself has enlarged my ideas about living—and the thought of being cooped up in one little dark room now, with our sweet Lily of a babe sends me wild. I shall look for other quarters soon. Dear one I shall also need more money before I start west in order to secure sleeping car etc, and also to assist in derraying expenses here if I stay any time. Will try and consult about Lizzie’s condition so soon as I can. I feel just like taking the morning train for home. I am so lonesome. How I long to see my dear Mountain Home and all my loved ones—but patience still. When you write, dearest, address me thus,
Mrs. Martha Munn,10
c/of Mrs. Sarah Crosby No 20 Maynard St.
[p.276]Write immediately as soon as you get this, and believe me your devoted wife, Maria
Mich—May 3′ 88
Yours of 25th ult. to hand this a.m. Sorry to hear of the low condition of Mina’s little one and trust to hear she is better soon. One of the surest trials to a mother’s heart is to witness the sufferings of her little ones. You see, we are here at last, only to find Prof. [Edward S.] Dunster dying the one man above all others whom I would trust with the examination of my precious Little One. He is the leading man in the U.S. on diseases of women & children.11 When I learned that Dunster could not be seen, (I did not know he was sick until I went to consult with him) then I visited Prof. Vaughn, who is an authority on bladder diseases and analysis of urine. I described Lizzie’s symptoms to him and he said they strongly pointed to calculus,12 and appointed the same afternoon to put her under chloroform & sound the bladder. But when he saw what a frail pale little thing she was, he said the examination would be a severe shock to the system, and that she had better be put on tonics and endeavor to build her up more. In the meantime, he would make a thorough analysis of her urine, and determine whether there were additional symptoms or indications of stone or whether her symptoms were due to other causes. I have collected a specimen of her urine in the manner prescribed and he now has it for examination—and Lizzie is put on tonics, beef tea & new milk, and very little [of] either can I prevail upon her to take—she is a miserable eater. “Peanuts” are the only thing she cares to eat at all and they are fearful things to digest, so I let her yell rather than buy them for her. For a short time after she recovered from the shock of the ocean return voyage is the healthiest period she has had since I left home with her. You saw her at her best. This last winter in Michigan has been altogether too severe on her. But I got there and could not leave. She has just [p.277]recovered from an attack of Pneumonia which has pulled her down more than I at first thought.
It is peculiar to think after all I allotted on seeing Dunster both for babe and myself I should come here to find him passing away. Well I guess its all right, if it does appear all wrong. I sometimes wonder if it was the right thing for me to do, that was, to leave home when I did. For I have had a wonderfully eventful experience from the time I stepped from Utah soil. Were it all written or told— (either would be an impossibility) — it would make as thrilling a tale as ever appeared on the pages of fiction. “And did you live through it?”— (very feeble). “They say I did” replied the second old lady.
Yes and I shall survive the campaign I guess and glory in the experience I have gained. I have lived a life in the past three years, as compared with which the preceding twenty-eight years seemed but as child’s play. But I have no regrets. I am willing and not afraid to tread the paths of my destiny whether they be rugged or whether they be smooth. God is just and merciful, and although He has at times permitted me to feel the thorns of life, He has also provided beautiful Oases, in which to bask and feel “what a glorious thing to live.” Which to a susceptible nature like mine more than compensates for the ills one meets while passing o’er this little span.
So Fred expects Sr. Hull soon? I wish you would procure her address so I could write her. I sent a letter to her to Switzerland while in Algonac, but never received an answer. A lawyer friend advises another six mos. exile! Had I influence I would advise husbands to use a little of their own common sense, if they have any left, and not so willingly yield to the dry technics of over fastidious lawyers. I have known of natures being changed by the thing being overdone, on the principle of the last straw on [the] camel’s back I presume. If it is decided that Lizzie has stone I shall not have her operated on here now. No more agonizing nights alone, keeping vigil by the bedside of my suffering darling. If she dies I trust it will be in the midst of God’s people, where I can be near loved ones to share my sorrow. But I don’t believe now that she is going to be taken from me. She is a precious gem sent from God to comfort me, and I firmly believe that through His mercy she will yet be made whole.
I have hired a lady to take good care of the little one, [p.278]while I am improving my time in this atmosphere of learning. I have spent some time in the great new library erected since I was here. Also visited the art gallery and wandered through its collection of statuary and paintings—also new additions since I was here. The morning hours I attend the lectures in [it] and it all seems so natural and grand to listen to these scientists impart the accumulated learning of ages, that I sincerely wish I had been here all winter. I feel just like a girl student again, so I suppose my 3 years romance? has not harmed me much. Just think of me being “housed” or ice bound in that sailor rendezvous Algonac all winter, when I might have been here had I known enough to come here first. What did I learn there? I nursed Lizzie through three seiges of illness: chicken Pox, Scarlet Fever, and Pneumonia. Learned to dance, went cutter-riding many times, played cards and [ate] oyster suppers in evening and fell and hurt my back trying to skate. How is this for a winter’s summing up? But I guess it’s all right. What a changing panorama life is anyway. My afternoons here have been spent so far, like a martyr in the hands of the Philistines, in the dental Department. I am having my teeth thoroughly attended to as they only charge for the gold used in filling, the students doing the work free for practice. I am determined if I can’t have one end of my corporal frame doctored up, and Dunster is the only one whose judgment I could wholly rely upon in the case, then I am going to have the other end “fixed” so I have let them mallet away at my head. My mouth is so sore I am living on “sops” and paying [a] big boarding price all the same. I did not go to the place recommended to Mr. Conrad, who wrote me the price while in Algonac.
Mr. Stomlar has ordered one of the Detroit papers sent to your address. Tell me if you get it—sent to Box “B”. You tell me to notify you in relation to means. Yes I will need some before I leave here, so if you would please send me a money order immediately if you have not already sent it, I will be glad as I will move on so soon as Lizzie’s urine has been analyzed, and the best judgment in relation to her case obtained, and my head mummled to the satisfaction of the “Dents“. My Old Philadelphia College Chum, has become a great Temperance lecturer and advocate, is the President of the 9th District in Illinois, and is paid a good salary for her work. Barbara Replogle, you have probably heard me speak of her. She gets off on a vacation the middle of May, and [p.279]will visit her father’s home in Decatur, Illinois—where she expects me to join her and have a delightful time at the old homestead. Her parents are wealthy. I will go there but shall not remain long, for Oh I have nearer and dearer Ones farther West, whom I am longing to see. Barbara is a noble intelligent girl and I will enjoy a visit with her. It is only a short distance from Chicago, so will not be out of my way much.
Address the order to
Mrs. Martha Munn C of Mrs. S. Crosby
20 Maynard St
and believe me yours devotedly, Maria Munn13
Chicago, May 11th, 1888
Your favors of 3d & 5th insts. to hand night before last (9th) at Ann Arbor. Accept my thanks for the money order. How my heart ached as I read of your sad bereavement. The poor mother what a blow it must be to her, and in such times as these too— surely the daughters of Zion are being sorely afflicted. Mina has my heartfelt sympathy.14 Still I know nothing I could say would be able to allay the sharpness of her grief. Thank her kindly for the little tuft of flowers. I shall treasure them for Lizzie. Lizzie’s water was thoroughly examined or analyzed—and her symptoms noted by Dr. Vaughn of the University of Mich. He says she has a severe inflammation at the neck of the bladder—that the condition of her urine indicates this trouble—that it is this that causes her to have a nervous shiver every times she urinates. That her water is highly concentrated (strong) and unless efficient treatment is followed up persistently for a long period, stone in the bladder will be the result. The calculus will deposit from the condensed urine. [p.280]I feel greatly relieved since the above diagnosis was made by so eminent a man on bladder diseases. I greatly feared that stone had already formed—so did he until the analysis failed to confirm the suspicion. I now have her under the treatment recommended by him and I trust it will result to our darlings benefit. It is this irritating distress that makes her so fractious and nervous. Prof. Vaughn says its a wonder she is as amiable as she is. Do you know, I believe that were she well she would be a most lovable child, for she already shows indications of good sense. That is noted by persons with whom she comes in contact. So much for babe, as for myself—I have received no advice or treatment for the uterine trouble. Prof Dunster was the only man in these parts I would have approached on that subject, but instead [of] being able to consult with him, I attended his funeral. He was buried on Monday (9th) and the whole university mourns the loss of one of its brightest magnates—he was only 56 yrs of age. You will probably see an account of his death in [the] Free Press. ‘Tis not I but Mr. Geo Stomlar of Algonac who sends you the Free Press. He asked me your address for that purpose. They are quite interested in the Deseret News which goes to their place and from there is forwarded to me. Mrs. Stomlar reads the sermons that are published in them. I wish you would preserve the one Free Press speaking of the death of Prof Dunster I should like to read it. I had my teeth nicely attended to while in Ann Arbor—this, with Lizzie’s treatment made my visit to the college town not altogether unprofitable. I got the order cashed yesterday morning, as the P.O. dept. was closed the night previous and then took the 10.30 a.m. train for this point, reaching here at 7 p.m. I am hurrying matters as my room-mate Barbara expects me to have a little visit with her before I leave for the Far West. It was this that made me telegraph you asking if you had sent the order as I did not wish to linger in Ann Arbor after I had got through with my business there. It has been raining mightily here all day, except two or three short lulls, only to patter again with increased fury. During one of these intervals Lizzie and I ventured out. I purchased a small guide book of the City, and then wended our way to Post Office, which is a fine substantial structure. I thought perhaps there would be a letter from Barbara there for me—as I told her to address me next time at this point. There was no letter there. We next started to go to a photographers some distance “up town”, as I expected to make arrangements to have some portraits [p.281]of myself and Lizzie taken. But the shower overtook us, and the great drops came down in torrents. I called a 2 wheeled rig (hansom) [a cab] and ordered our journey continued to the Photo Gallery. I never remember being out in such a swilling storm of rain. The poor horses on all vehicles appeared as if just emerged from the big lake. When we reached our point, I greatly feared getting thoroughly drenched getting from the hansom to door of gallery, but through the kindness of a gentleman the umbrella was held over me while I alighted. I left Lizzie in the “cab”. I made an appointment to be at the photographers at 11 a.m. tomorrow morning. We were then driven to this, our stopping place—the Brigg’s House—a comfortable and moderate priced Hotel. It has been raining all afternoon and now it is suppertime so I must close. From here will go to B[arbara]’s which is not so very far from this point,15 and then for home sweet home. Tell dear mother we will be there before the sweet month of May has departed.
Accept thanks for your kindness
And believe me yours,
Salt Lake City,16
My Own Loved One:—
If convenient tomorrow eve I should like to see you, and have a good visit. “So near and yet so far.” The separation seems almost as great as when a continent stretched between us, for then I took joy in the communications I received from the One so dear to me. This morning our Little treasure said, “Come Mamma [p.282]let us go to ‘Ootah’ to see my papa.” It touched me, steeled as I am against emotional exhibitions. To think the child has reached her age and knows nothing of her father. Do not misunderstand me dear one and think I am inclined to complain—to the contrary my heart is filled with thankfulness, when I realize that things are as well with us as they are at present. For what little I have moved about, I find hosts of the saints, who are much worse off than myself, both physically and financially—and whose spirits, if I am able to judge, are not so buoyant as my own at the present time. To change the subject, I imagine I caught a glimpse of you at the theatre last Eve—behind the curtains you know and what fair siren had you there with you? Of course you will tell me. Jealous I am. Have I cause to be, or was it all vile imagination on my part? It did not prevent me from enjoying the performance though—was it not a funny cast? I did not enjoy the wetting returning home however. Even my stockings were drenched. I regret I did not take a hack as more than the price in dry-goods was ruined with the rain. I am none the worse in health this morning which somewhat surprises me. I must go to Centerville in the morning. May I have a horse and buggy please. Will send brother for it if it is at liberty. But I must see you or send word about buggy tonight as I fear this will not reach you in time—With love & devotion—Maria
1. This letter is not extant.
2. See the following letter.
3. On 3 February, delegates to the Mormon People’s Party convention formed a “Citizen’s” ticket to give non-Mormons a “fair representation in the management of public affairs.” One of the leaders of this movement was Mattie’s half-brother, J. H. Paul. For additional information, see Deseret News, 4 Feb. 1888.
4. Mormons are expected to pay to the church 10 percent of their annual increase as “tithing.” In this case, Lewis was apparently paying 10 percent of what his father was sending to support him as a full-time missionary for the church.
5. John Hilleary was a fellow student at the National School of Elocution and Oratory in Philadelphia who, enamored of Mattie, followed her west to Utah, eventually settling southwest of Salt Lake City where he operated a telegraph station.
6. Jonathan Golden Kimball (1853-1938) was a member of the First Quorum of Seventy of the LDS church.
7. Thomas E. Taylor (1849-?), business manager of the Deseret News, was first counselor to Bishop George H. Taylor of Salt Lake City’s 14th ward.
8. Wilhelmina Cannon (Angus’s daughter by Ann Amanda Mousely) was married to her cousin Abraham H. Cannon. Her child Emily was seriously ill at this time.
9. During the 1880s, the Republican party was promoting a high tariff policy while traditionally Democratic Mormons were becoming disenchanted with their party for supporting a low tariff and for not sufficiently assisting the Saints. For a fuller discussion, see Edward Leo Lyman, Political Deliverance: The Mormon Quest for Utah Statehood (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986), 188-89, 274-75.
10. Mrs. Crosby, Mattie’s landlady during her medical school days, knew her real given name was Martha.
11. Edward S. Dunster had been one of Mattie’s medical school professors.
12. A condition in which a pebble or stone is in the bladder.
13. On 7 May, Mattie would send a telegram to James Jack, saying, “Ask Mr. Munn if he has sent money order – Maria Munn.”
14. Emily Amanda Cannon, daughter of Wilhelmina and Abraham H. Cannon, died on 2 May 1888 in Salt Lake City.
15. Although Mattie tried many times to visit Barbara in Chicago, the two friends never connected. Mattie wrote to Barbara from Chicago on 15 May 1888: “Now that I am within three days from the dearest spot on earth to me; I feel like simply flying there … Oh B. to think after all our expectation I have come here not to meet you, but to say farewell! !”
16. It is not known where exactly Mattie lived after returning to Salt Lake City. But on 10 August 1888 she wrote to Barbara Replogle, “I am busy with practice but have no office or home yet, as simply staying at my stepfather’s residence.”