Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Elmer E. Stafford to Walt Whitman, 17 July 1880

Date: July 17, 1880

Whitman Archive ID: man.00052

Source: Charles Sixsmith Collection at the John Rylands Library, University of Manchester. 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.

Notes for this letter were derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller, 6 vols. (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), and supplemented, updated, or created by Whitman Archive staff as appropriate.

Editorial note: The annotation, "from Elmer July 22 '80," is in the hand of Walt Whitman.

Contributors to digital file: Courtney Rebecca Lawton, Nima Najafi Kianfar, Eder Jaramillo, Nicole Gray, and Stefan Schöberlein

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July, 17th, 1880,

Dear Friend

I received your letter last night,1 & very glad to hear from you, but I am very sorry to hear that you are sick. I hope that you will recover & get all right soon, I am very well just now, & all hands are just now I have been sick for about A week, but am all right now, but I am very glad that you are enjoying your self so well & I wood like to be with you to night, I wood like to see that Country very much, I think it must be A grand cenery, & A very healthy Country but I donot expect I will ever see it, as it is to far away.—we are all done harvesting here but the meadows, & soon will finish them, now I have been planting out Cabbag all day today, as we have had A fine rain here I donot know very much news but I will tell you what I know. Misses Shin our next neighber over here back at the School House had all of her barns Burned to the ground last week every thing but the House, & Charlie Ellis had his barn burned down last night, it had all of his wheat in & all Burned together Misses Shin had A Horse & 3 Cows, & 2 Calves & all of his Hay & wheat & wagons, & plows, & every thing. Harry is well as far as I know & uncle George, & all hands all of our folks are well Horner2 is in A Telegraph Office down at Bridgeporte on the Deleware Shore Line.

Harry is an assistant in the Office at Haddonfield.3

we had A fine rain here last night & the lightning struck Charlie Ellis's Barn, & set it on fire but they did think that someone set Misses Shin's Barns on fire.

well I guess I have no more to say just now, but perhaps I will know more news the next time I write.

Answer as soon as you can for I like to hear from you

I hope that this letter will find you well,

Your Friend
Elmer Stafford


1. Elmer E. Stafford (1861–1957) was a cousin of Harry Stafford, a young man who Whitman befriended in 1876 in Camden. Harry's parents, George and Susan Stafford, were tenant farmers at White Horse Farm near Kirkwood, New Jersey, where Whitman visited them on several occasions. For more on Whitman and the Staffords, see David G. Miller, "Stafford, George and Susan M." Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings, ed., (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998), 685. [back]

2. Based on an address mounted in Whitman's Commonplace Book, Horner was the nickname of Jacob H. Stafford (1850–1890), Harry Stafford's cousin, whose mother was Mary Horner. [back]

3. Haddonfield is a borough near Camden, which is also a part of Camden County, New Jersey. [back]


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