August 31, l897
Dear Gussie & Schamshu:
It is very late at night but yet I want to answer your letter, which I received this afternoon. Though I should very much like to encourage you about our remaining here, yet I would not deceive you with false hopes; we are leaving on the 2 a.m. train for Seattle, and if Elkin should feel inclined to invest some money you could send it to Seattle óó address Graham; also send the childrenís pictures if possible, but whatever you send, excepting a letter, let us know by a dispatch what you did send and we will know. I let you know that Hut dispatched to us that he sent money and Sig gave us $200; this I know will relieve your anxiety.
My heart is too full yet to thank you for all the kindness, as I am too excited yet to collect my thoughts but as you know pretty well what feelings I am capable of, I need not say any more just now; I only hope and trust in the All Merciful God that we shall yet be able to show all who love and feel for us that we are not unworthy of it all. Kiss the sweet Kids for me and tell them all, especially Lulu, that I feel sure that we are destined to see them all happily married and that we will surely come back to them safe and sound. With a loving and almost overflowing heart, I remain
This letter arrived in Coudersport September 2, 1897
En route September 2, 1897
My sweet darling Kidlets:
This paper will show you wherefrom I am writing; at present we are at Minot, where I indicated it with the cross I donít know how to describe this part of the country, as since we left Minneapolis it has been nothing more than prairie, prairie, with seldom a few cottages between, which they call a station, but it is really nothing but a very large waste of land. So far there has been nothing much worthy of description, so I will only speak about ourselves.
My own loving and dearly beloved darlings, I shall have to write to all three of you together, as when I think of any one of you my whole heart seems to tremble for the love of you and I imagine I will not be able to have that amount of devotion left for the other one, as it takes my bodily strength too much to try and separate you one minute from my constant thoughts of you: if I could press you all occasionally to my beating heart I should be content again for a little while, but as this cannot be I console myself with the thought that the farther away the train goes, so much nearer the time comes, when I hope to see you all safe and sound again.
I do wish that Tante Gussie sent me your pictures to Seattle as it will be a great joy to look at your sweet and loving faces in my loneliness. If it were not for that feeling about you, my darlings, I would be so happy and free of care as I have not seen in many a month; I sleep and eat well and actually look so my better and stronger, that this morning I looked at myself and thought I must have been very foolish of late to think that I was getting old and homely, when after all, it was not such an ugly looking crone looking at me out of the looking-glass. (As I think that uncle will read this, I just want to jolly him along so that he should say, ďmy, but what a vain one she isĒ). And yet, if it were not for that same mean old Uncle Schamshu, I should not even have the consolation of knowing that my darlings are in good, kind, and tender hands, and that with the All Merciful Godís Will no harm will come to them, while you are in his care. It is this knowledge that buoys me up and gives me strength. I must finish this quickly as I want to post this. With undying love I am
I was so afraid of missing the posting of this, that I could not write anything to Tante, but I will at the next opportunity. Give her my love and YOURS also as a reward for the trouble she is having with us, my sweet pussies.
This letter arrived in Coudersport September 6, 1897
En route September 3, 1897
We just passed ďColumbia FallsĒ as youíll see by the x I indicated. Yesterday we saw nothing but prairies, but to-day the scenery has changed; it is not so monotonous any more. Early this morning, before it was yet good Lay light, I saw something that looked like immense black clouds against the sky, but as it seemed immovable and too massive, I realized that we are in the Rocky Mountains. The change from almost barren land to beautiful woods and mountains and a very long and. beautiful but narrow river, called Flathead because you can see the stones and rocks, which are of different colors and give the water the most exquisite colorings, is something so exhilarating as only Nature can impart to the soul. We passed great, big masses of rock on which are white patches of snow, which never melts on some of the peaks. Then all along that beautiful river the soil is very rich and we saw nice wheat growing, and whatís more, everything here looks more civilized; there are some nice little towns with people, who look like yourse1f, for you must know that yesterday we passed only what looked like wilderness all day long, and about the only people when we did see were real live squaws and Indians and cowboys, and even of these we saw but very few. Therefore you may imagine how the change of scene acts on oneís mind. I will have to hurry if I want to post this, so Iíll waft to you a thousand kisses through the wind, of which I want you to give at least half to my sweet darlings.
Yours in hope and trust,
Seattle, Sept. 5, 1897
Dear Gussie, Schanshu, and Kidlets:
We arrived here yesterday at about half past ten in the morning, which would be 1:30 P.M. in Coudersport, as there is over three hours difference in the time East. I was very tired from my long journey and therefore could not sit down to write, and besides the steamer leaves tomorrow (Monday) so youíll see we did not have any too much time to get our outfits all in the one half day Saturday. We are not yet decided whether we go by way of Skaquay or Dyea, I think it is possible that we will go by the latter way as it is a safer way of reaching Dawson City.
We have had the pleasant time here you could imagine. We were recommended to buy our provisions at a certain place, (Cooper & Levy), and we found the people, in the first place, co religionists, and then as nice socially as we have ever met yet with strangers. We are invited to their house this afternoon and this evening again to another family through their recommendation; but donít for a moment think that it is through their having some benefit that they are so nice; just the reverse, when they looked at us they tried to dissuade us from going and in fact they told us to rather go by the way of Dyea as it is safer. (I had great fun in the evening after getting back to the store; we met and were introduced to Mrs. Cooper who came to see the ďLady who goes to Klondike in a silk skirtĒ.
By the Almightyís Will, we shall return to you safely (maybe broken in pocket), but I hope to His Mercy, yet in better health than we left. I shall only give you a slight instance before I finish of how I guard myself against extreme hardships, if only for your sweet sakes; after we were both equipped with everything we only knew to get, when we received you (Schanshauís) dispatch that he will send us more money, we got ourselves a splendid and warm fur robe to make doubly sure that we will not freeze, as we thought that that money might do us good as an investment, yet after we read your anxious letters we determined to make you easy on that score, and. I tell you we could not freeze or starve the way we are provided; even if we tried to.
I hope that this will relieve your anxiety and promising to write at every opportunity and as Boon as I feel a little better, I will finish sending you my indescribable love.
Sol will write tomorrow, and so will I on board the Steamer Queen.
How do you like this short letter and especially from a sick person. A thousand loves to my three little beauties which I received today.
This letter arrived in Coudersport September 11, 1997
Port Townsend, Wash. Sept. 8, 1897
Dear Kidlets, Sister and Brother:-
In accordance with my promise of last night I will write to-day again, though I have nothing new to say except to describe to you the road we are taking, which is one that has not been known so well, and therefore not heard of as much as the other roads. I donít think you can find it on the map, as it is only on the new maps that you could see it. I bought one and will probably send it to you after I have posted myself a little about it.
You will know by this time that we have given up the idea of going by way of Skaquay, as that way is entirely blockaded and will probably not be tractable until next spring. We have made up our minds to go by way of Dyea, which is much more expensive and harder on account of the Chilkoot Pass, but yet those who have enough money to pay the Indians for packing across can at least get over. It would cost us - have cost us at least $600.00 or $700.00 to pack over as we have about one yearís provision and clothing, but just as we were getting ready for the Dyea way, we heard of this Fort Wrangel. This is in ordinary times the longest route by 150 miles, but one has the consolation that it is all straight road, no mountains or rocks to climb, and because it has not been known very much yet, there are not so many people on the trail to block it up; the packers are not so independent, and whatís more they have pack-horses there, and we do not need to take any along. We have tried to get as much information as possible and they all tell us, that this certainly not a dangerous route. The only hardships on this route are the 150 miles on horseback, but we can walk or ride to change off as we like.
Now I will tell you how we expect to get there; from here we go to Fort Wrangel.., which will take about three days; there we connect with a river-boat on the Stickeen river up to Telegraph Creek; then we have the portage of 150 miles (which means land route on foot or horse) until we come to Teslin Lake; There we will either buy a boat, if there is one to be had, and if not we have to build it ourselves (for which we have all appliances along); from this lake we go on the Lewis River and many other little lakes and rivers, but no dangerous rapids must we pass, and from there we come on the Yukon into Klondike. There you know we will have nothing else to do but pick nuggets and shovel gold, and will not eat any snowballs either, as we have lots of other nice things to eat. Now I just ask you, My Dear Hearts, isnít this a real fine pleasure trip; and if per chance we should get frozen in on the way, which might be very likely for all I know, why then we can come back to Port Wrangel, which is a nice little place, and stop over until spring.
The Steamer Queen, upon which we are now, is a beauty, and we are very comfortable and in fact the whole trip so far has been very pleasant indeed, and therefore I hope for the best and will trust in God that He will protect His own and see us safely through; so I donít want you to worry; be of good cheer and the time will pass very quickly when we will see you all again. We had our pictures taken, but you will have to write for them to La Roche, 2nd St., Seattle. Tell him to send them C. O. D. as I did not want to pay and then maybe he would not send them; it will be about $l.50 or $2.00. and you Can send one to Sig. and one to Hut. I think that by the picture you will be able to judge how we both feel. I think I have done my share of writing for tonight so Iíll finish with a hearty Good Night and God bless you a11 and keep you free from all care and. anxiety.
Mother and Sister
This letter arrived in Coudersport Sept. 22, 1897
Fort Wrangel, Alaska, Sept. 11, 1897
I did not get a chance to write to you sooner as I could not mail the letter. We are on board of ship yet, Fort Wrangel is about twenty-four hours from Juneau, and we expect to get to Dyea about Wednesday morning. That will make us eight days on the water. It is very nice here and I wish it would last forever without getting off. We had to change our road as we cannot make connection at Fort Wrangel; the steamer that goes up the Stickeen River is disabled, so we have to go by the way of Dyea, thought it is very doubtful whether we can get in now. We could not hear on the water whether the roads are open on either road, Dyea or Skaguay; we will find out when we get there, anyhow if we canít get in we will not try any hazardous means, but will stay somewhere in safety, and will take care that we shall be comfortable.
I thank you very much for the last remittance, as I see now that I could not get through with the money I had, and now Iíll just have enough to get there and that is all I need. We have plenty of clothing and provisions and you should not worry yourselves about us at all, we will be all right. If it is in my power ever to repay you for what you have done for me, for your noble acts, and attentions, you will not find me behind; anyhow I want to recall the name I always called you as it did not fit you at all.
If I can find packers in Dyea and have enough to pay them Iíll get through to Dawson this season yet; will write from there before we leave. Give my best regards to Gussie, Elkan, Joe and Sigmund
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