Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Thomas Jefferson Whitman to George Washington Whitman, 20 August 1868

Date: August 20, 1868

Source: The transcription presented here is derived from Thomas Jefferson Whitman, Dear Brother Walt: The Letters of Thomas Jefferson Whitman, ed. Dennis Berthold and Kenneth M. Price (Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1984), 128-129. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Location: Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Whitman Archive ID: loc.00448

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Kathryn Kruger, and April Lambert




St. Louis,
August 20th 1868

Dear Brother George

I must beg pardon for my seeming delay abt sending the enclosed draft. But I have had so much bad luck lately in one thing and another that I could not do it sooner

I have made the draft for $5101—I wish you would give the $10 to Mother as a present from Mattie

Mat is pretty bad yet2—can just get around a little—very lame—but I think 'twill get away in a week or two if we have no more of the same sort—It pains me very much to see her try to walk—but she stands it like a good fellow—dont grumble a bit  I hope you have been occasioned no inconvenience by my failure to send you this on the 1st of the month  I meant to have done it but could not get matters into shape to do it till to-day—please write in regard to [receipt?] of this draft so that I may know that it came to hand safely  I believe I wrote to you or mother that Mr Lane3 would take the draft after you endorsed it and put it in his bank and draw the money for you—twill save you some trouble probably—

We are quite anxious to hear from Mother and the rest of you—Mat has tried to write once or twice but does not succeed—she will make an effort to-day I believe—

We are having the most delight[ful] weather here just now except that it is very dry indeed—yet we are having a little shower this morning. I hope it will be a good one for we need rain—we have great troub[le]s in carrying on our work the dirt is so dry—bad weather for building Reservoirs4

How do matters go with you—is the 48 inch pipe all laid yet5—I wish you would write me occasionly and I often wonder why Mr Lane or McNamee6 does not write me—certainly they are in my debt for letters—I shall give em fits if I ever get on east again—

The first time you are at Mr Lanes Office I wish you would ask Johny [M. McMear?]7 if he will see what taxes &c are due on that lot of mine on Flatbush Av and write me and I will send him a draft if he will pay it for me—or if he will give you the statement you can write me and I will send it to you

I should judge from Mothers letter that she thought you would move—do you really think that you will abandon old 11948—You must keep me posted—Do you ever hear from Walt—I wish he would write me occasionaly—Love to Mother and all—affectionately your


Brother Jeff

No of Draft 966 on Jay Cook & Co of N[ew] York9


Notes:

1. George was building hosues on speculation at this time and needed substantial amounts of cash. By June 23, 1869, he had borrowed $3,400 from Jeff (Louisa Van Velsor Whitman to Walt Whitman [Trent Collection, William R. Perkins Library, Duke University]). [back]

2. When Mattie was thrown from a buggy on July 30, she suffered a badly bruised hip; only Jeff's quick thinking prevented a more serious accident. For a full account of this event, see Randall H. Waldron, ed., Mattie: The Letters of Martha Mitchell Whitman (New York: New York University Press, 1977), pp. 56-57. [back]

3. See Thomas Jefferson Whitman to Walt Whitman, 13 January 1863[back]

4. At this time Jeff was constructing the large storage reservoir within the city on Compton Hill. [back]

5. George had a part-time job supervising the laying of water mains for the city of Brooklyn (Gay Wilson Allen, The Solitary Singer: A Critical Biography of Walt Whitman [New York: Macmillan, 1955; rev. ed., New York University Press, 1967], p. 396). [back]

6. See Thomas Jefferson Whitman to Walt Whitman, 21 December 1866[back]

7. Unidentified. [back]

8. Louisa Van Velsor Whitman moved from 1194 Atlantic Avenue to more spacious quarters in September 1868 (Edwin Haviland Miller, ed., The Correspondence [New York: New York University Press, 1961-77], 2:46, 48). [back]

9. Jay Cooke & Co. was a large bank at the corner of Wall and Nassau streets, New York City. [back]


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