Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: William Stansberry to Walt Whitman, 21 July 1875

Date: July 21, 1875

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00768

Source: Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: The annotation, "Wm Stansberry July '75," is in the hand of Walt Whitman.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman, Jonathan Y. Cheng, Elizabeth Lorang, Nima Najafi Kianfar, Nicole Gray, Marie Ernster, Paige Wilkinson, Amanda J. Axley, and Stephanie Blalock

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Howard Lake, Minn
July 21, 1875

My Dear Friend Walt1

I was glad to hear from you But Sory to know that your Health was not Improving But glad that you remember me My health's Failig Fast as I have told you In letters Before that I am trying for an Envelid Pentian I have Now only the Need of to witnesses of my Comrades they Live in W. Va and if as you have Been in the habit of Asisting Soldier People I would Like to have the Lone of 65$ untill Next Aprilth Want to go to W Va and get those witnesses I will Pay you Intrest Let me know at once If you Please, I can not find out their adress and to get then I must go to West. W. Va. M D [Halans?] is my Pentian agent St. Paul Minn Howard Lake is Improving Fast I wished you would come and visit this place My wife2 sends her Best wishes with mine

Write soon
Wm Stansbery

William Stansberry (1837–1906), a native of West Virginia, was a Sergeant in Company A of the Third West Virginia Cavalry during the American Civil War. He later moved to Wright County, Minnesota, where he and his wife, Jane Drusilla Cochran Stansberry (1837–1920) settled on a farm. The couple had at least twelve children, and the family was living in Howard Lake, Minnesota, a few years before William's death.


1. "After the lapse of over 8 years," William Stansberry, a former soldier whom Whitman had met in Armory Square Hospital, wrote on December 9, 1873, from Howard Lake, Minn., and recalled "the Blackbery Wine you gave me & all the kindness which you shown." After Whitman replied on April 27, 1874 (lost), Stansberry wrote again on May 12, 1874, about the hospital visits. On June 28, 1874, he thanked Whitman for his letter and "22 News Pappers ." On July 15, 1874, his wife informed Whitman of her husband's failing health and poverty and inquired about the possibility of a pension. This letter of July 21, 1875, was evidently the last in the correspondence. [back]

2. Jane Stansberry was the wife of William Stansberry, a former soldier whom Whitman had met in Armory Square Hospital. [back]


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