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William Stansberry to Walt Whitman, 28 June 1874

 duk_am.00034_large.jpg My Dear Friend1

I Receivied​ your kind & Most Welcome Letter2 A Short time A go​ And I Have Received 22 News Pappers​ And It is Hard For me to tell you How thankful I am to you for them. I Wonder How you Could think what was So Gratifying to us. Well My Health I But Verry​ little Better But If I Had Stayed In W Va​ I dont​ Suppose I would Have Been Liveing​ Now. I am Sorry to know your Health is So Poor3 But I whish​ you would come to Minnesota and I do think  duk_am.00035_large.jpg you would get your Health Better. their​ is People comeing​ From Almost Every State to Howard Lake For their Health. Dear Friend you Said In your Letter Prehaps​ We Would Meet know​ more In this world But I Do feel As this Pleashure​ will Come to me Before I Leave this world A Pleashure​ I do So Mutch​ Desire For I think My Joy would Bee​ unspeakable to Meet a Friend that was So good & kind to me As you was when I was In Washington. But I Hope If We Do Not Meet In this world we will meet In Heaven.

Being In the army & Loosing​ My Health So I am Not Able to work of Corse​ we are Poor But when I went In the army I had a Comfortable Home Was a good Lover


My Mother Leives​ In W Va​ My Father Is Dead Tongue Can Not Express How Much I think of My Mother And well I would Like to See Her I Have Not Seen Her For 8 year My Brothers & Sisters Lives their​ too

I Will Close My letter By Saying I Hope you will get your Health

My Wife Sends Her Best Respects to you And Says tell you She thanks you for your kindness And Care to me

My Children Sends their Love to you Now My Dear Friend I Hope you will write Soon

Good Bye William Stansberry  duk_am.00037_large.jpg

My Parents Came From New Jersey Not Far From Camden they was Born their​

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 [Jam?] 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 July 15, 1874, his wife informed Whitman of her husband's failing health and poverty and inquired about the possibility of a pension. Evidently in reply to another lost letter from Whitman, Stansberry asked on July 21, 1875 for "the Lone of 65$" in order to return to West Virginia, where he expected to find witnesses to support his application for a pension. This was evidently the last letter in the correspondence. These letters are in the Trent Collection, Duke University. See also The Complete Writings of Walt Whitman, 10 vols. [New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1902], 4:134. [back]
  • 2. See Whitman's letter to William Stansberry of May 20, 1874. [back]
  • 3. In January 1873, Whitman suffered a paralytic stroke that made walking difficult. He first reported it in his January 26, 1873, letter to his mother, Louisa Van Velsor Whitman (1795–1873), and continued to provide regular notes on his condition. By mid-March Whitman was taking brief walks out to the street and began to hope that he could resume work in the office. See also his March 21, 1873, letter to his mother. [back]
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