George to John, November 2, 1918
November 2, 1918
1428 South Penn Square
Esther and I were very much surprised and worried when we heard that you were down with the influenza. However, we heard that one day, and the next day we heard that you were up and back at work, so I suppose that by now you have forgotten all about it.
The news from Alaska has certainly been tragic, and we could hardly believe that any such calamity had befallen Frances and Walter. It is terrible to think of them dying so violently, yet on the other hand, if the accident had to happen, it is infinitely better that it happened to them both. Frances has had a rather tragic life, and it would have been a pity to have had death separate her from her husband, after so short a married life.
We have had a telegram from Juneau, saying that their bodies had been recovered and identified. The Steamship Company is attending to the embalming, and Archdeacon Stuck has ordered that Walter be buried in Juneau. Dad telegraphed to Juneau last night, and I do not know at the moment what he said, but I believe that Frances will be buried with Walter, as Dad has always said that husband and wife should never be separated, even in death.
Auntie May received a telegram from Betty Nunevellar, saying that Memorial Services were held yesterday at Fort Yukon. All the messages received from the West have been exceeding sympathetic, and have been a great comfort to Dad and the rest of the family.
Dad seems to be well, but has aged greatly in the past week. It is strange, but he always said that he never expected to see Frances again. The hard part of it all is the fact that packages are still arriving at the house, containing some of Walter's things, their snow shoes, and furs, etc.
Well John, this is the kind of letter that I have always hoped would never be necessary for me to write, but is it not wonderful, considering all that we have been through, the epidemic, and so forth, that a family as large as ours should have escaped with only one loss? When you think of families containing two, three and four members, which have been entirely wiped out by disease, does it not help in a certain respect, to bear the loss of our sister?
Write to us when you get an opportunity, and let us know what you are doing, and how you are getting along.
If you will be very good and keep this strictly confidential, for a little while anyway, I will tell you something that is making us very happy. We expect another baby, next spring, and we are hoping and praying that we will be allowed to keep this one. Esther's heart is so engrossed with the thought of having a baby all her own that even sometimes Hubby feels as though he was being left out in the cold. We have not been telling folks, as yet, as it is a little early, but then of course you are not folks.
I suppose that you know Bea Brown's father passed away. He suffered terribly from a complication of diseases, but refused any drugs, as he wanted to be in full possession of his faculties when Millard came home. Millard, you know, is his son, and has been in France with his regiment. Mr. Brown worried excessively about him, and I think that was what started him into the decline. Millard went all through the Chateau Thierry fighting, and his letters home were terribly realistic, and of course did not help Mr Brown's state of mind. Millard got leave to come home, missed his boat by three hours and arrived one day too late to see his Father. If he had caught the first boat, he would have been in time. He had ten days leave, and is now on his way back to France, if not already there.
Now, John, take good care of yourself. When we heard that you had given up your work to help fight the epidemic, and that you were doing nursing, Esther said "That's John for you, forgetting about himself, and helping others. He certainly is some brother." Of course you will say that as Esther is your sister, she is prejudiced, but I will discount that remark by saying that I second her feelings, as do all others who heard that you were doing all you could to help. Take care of yourself, and give our regards to Mother Mitchell.
Your brother, George
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