Margaret O'Farrell to Eleanor Wells, January 19, 1919

Tanana, Alaska
Jan. 24, 1919

Tanana, Alaska
Jan. 19, 1919

Miss Eleanor Wells
918 Stephen Girard Bldg.
Philadelphia, Pa.

My Dear Miss Wells:

My husband received a letter from your father about a month ago, but he has been so busy since, that he hasn't had the opportunity to answer it. Tonight he asked me if I would not write to you in compliance with your father's request.

I must confess, that as much as I have desired to make your acquaintance, I have not had the heart to do so. But now that the ice is once broken, I hope we can keep in touch with each other by correspondence even if we can't ever have the hopes of meeting.

My husband and I feel as your father does - a regret in not having had the pleasure of knowing your sister. Her letters to me were extremely interesting and I had grown to know her as well as I could without actually meeting her face to face. I couldn't visualize her very well from Walter's descriptions, as they were rather vague, and he had no picture or snapshot with which to help out. We did find one in the "Spirit of Missions", but as she was looking down in it, I could not get much idea of her expression. However, our brief correspondence had made me very happy. I have kept all her letters, ever since the first one she wrote, telling me of Walter's rapid recovery from typhoid and how he was holding his own as the Archdeacon's "musher" on the trip to the Artic.

At times, the thought of never seeing him again, is hard to bear but I console myself with the thought that both he and Frances are preparing the way for us in the "Hereafter" and that our sojourn on this earth is but short after all.

Walter was my favorite brother. I have five others. Ever since the "Dawson" days, when he was a lad in red flannelshirt, playing with me on the doorstep, I have longed to have him with me, but fate interfered. We have always been separated. First, when sister and I were sent out to school and later, when we returned, when he, as the Archdeacon's traveling companion, was away for months at a time.

My husband had planned to take him into business with him. He thot that after the war was over and Walter and Frances were sufficiently tired of the "outside" to return to Alaska, we could all be together again. But fate, which was against us in the beginning, cheated us in the end.

Walter's trip thro this summer was very hurried. The Archdeacon was anxious to get on, and Walter was anxious to return to Fort Yukon and who could blame him. I was not feeling very well at the time - it was a month before the arrival of my small son and so I could not entertain him as I should have liked. How I wish I had made more of an effort.

You don't know how disappointed I was when Frances could not pay her intended visit to us last summer. Her promise to the Mission people held her in Fort Yukon until September, too late to allow her the long-planned visit.

I am enclosing Frances' last letter, describing her trip with Walter after their marriage. I thought her letter could give you a better idea of their brief married life than anything I could write. If you could please send the letter back and a snapshot of Frances, if you can spare one, I would be made very happy. I can't spare the letter, as I have so little to remember her by.

Mr. O'Farrell has been appointed administrator for Walter's and Frances' estate. Money and jewelry was found on their bodies and one of their trunks was recovered from the wreck. Mr. O'Farrell will write as soon as he learns more of the details.

Concerning the pictures found in their trunk, you are perfectly welcome to the larger ones of sister and me. Mother would be pleased to have the others. Please let me know what there was belonging to Walter. Clothing, books, pictures and letters, which would means so much to us, could be boxed and sent in by freight next summer.

I hope the arrival of my wedding present to our dear ones did not upset you too much. I thought the order for the present had gone down with the rest of the mail on the "Sophia" so did not wire, cancelling the order. However, I received word of its delivery a short time ago and was sorry that I had not taken precautions against reviving the memory of your loss. I hope you will keep it for your own use, as I am sure Frances would have willed it such.

With hopes of hearing from you soon and that you have and will continue to escape from this awful epidemic of influenza, I am

Very sincerely yours,

Margaret O'Farrell
(Mrs. Frank O'Farrell)

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