Thursday, October 07, 2004

Wallce & Florence "The Circle", 1885

"Did you go to Grant’s funeral? They had quite a time here. They fired the cannon over to the fort all afternoon, and all the bells in the town tolled for about two hours…."Florence, August 9, 1885

Two letters taken from the archive of "The Circle" family. Both letters are dated August 9, 1885, one day following Grant’s funeral. They are written from "out West"--Junction City, Kansas.

The letters are from a brother and sister, Wallace and Florence, to their Father and Mother and siblings and consist of a lengthy six pages, measuring 8" x 10". These manuscripts come from a group of letters from one family who called themselves collectively, "The Circle". This family wrote prolifically and also had a newsletter distributed called the "O" or the "Circular"--a fascinating family archive.


Both letters are delightful--filled with news to their family and the report on the death of General Grant. Wallace, down on his luck, reports that everyone in Kansas "is a liar."

"Junction City--August 9, 1885-->

Dear Father, Mother, Brothers and Sister--

… "We received mother’s letter last Wednesday, was very glad to hear from you. We are all well. It is still as hot as we can stand. It tried to rain last night, but didn’t rain enough to do any good."
Did you go to Grant’s funeral? They had quite a time here. They fired the cannon over to the fort all afternoon, and all the bells in the town tolled for about two hours. A good many business houses were draped very nice. I didn’t go down town, but Wallace told me about it. They had a procession of the band, five Companies and G.A.R. men. The sermon was preached in the opera house…."

Ed was down a week ago, came down Thursday and stayed until Monday. He was out to Brown’s of course nearly all the time. He and Alma came in Saturday afternoon—came here and got Ethel and then went out to Vean’s. When they came back, I got in with them and rode down town with them to order some things for supper. Ed has a nice covered buggy. The darkeys were celebrating their freedom! The park was full as well as the streets. There is a colored family living in the second house from us. There is a young lady in the family that has hair as red as flannel. She looks odd, I tell you!

[excerpt only]

"Junction City—8/9/’85

Dear Father, Mother, Sister and Brothers--

We rec. letter from mother last week and was glad to hear from you. Also feel better to hear that the lightening struck on the other side of the road. I suppose before this you have seen the letter to Father Coultas, or you heard from him. I have had steady work with Potter taking care of his horses. That is I had 15 head to feed hay and mixed feed, clean out all the stables, water, and tend to two diseased horses & c. & c. Well his nephew came along the other day. He has worked for him before and knew just how to please him. So, you see, he gave me the bounce. That makes the third slip I have had since I came to Kansas, and it is spoken of as the best place in the world for a poor man, but that is all a lie, but it is nothing for a person in Kansans to lie. I believe I am getting that way myself. I can’t believe myself at all as I would sooner lie than not and that is the way with all in Kansas, except, Florence [author of letter above], and she is too honest to live out here. So I am thinking very seriously of coming back before she [Florence] is spoiled…. [excerpt only]

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