Now I hope to remember all that you have asked about; I have your letter right here at my elbow, but when I get started to talking, I don't seem to know when to stop. I can't understand, what made Nell Inman Richards, think that I was a doctor, I have been called a good practical nurse, but nearly all the nursing that I have done, has been in my girlhood home and my home now, I married a widower, with four children. It was hell, bringing them up, but now that they are grown, I would not take a million dollars for any one of them. I also brought up one of my brother's girls, and believe me, tho' I sweat blood bringing them up, I dearly love them now. They are good girls, or rather women and they love me also. So you see everything came out in the wash. Years ago, Will (my husband) and I went together, then some way, our letters were tampered with, or we didn't get them at all, so we drifted apart, each blaming the other. I am sure that it wasn't my folks, nor Will's folks that stopped the letters, for his folks liked me. Well, after his wife had been gone for seven, - or more - years, we met, and some way, we found how we had been jiped. The youngest child was only 18 months old when the mother "passed on".
I have never been in Alaska but have always wanted to go. We have no money, one does not lay up very much when bringing up a family; but we do not begrudge whatever we have done for them. The oldest girl (Alice Marshall Wright), and the youngest girl (Ethyle M. Isaacson) are trained nurses, and good ones. The middle girl, lone Felt, is good at fixing the electric machines in the Nitting Mills, also could run all of the machines. After she was married, she went to school again, and learned to keep books, so as to help her husband in his business. He has a logging Camp. If everything goes alright, he will make a very large "Stake".
I write a bit, play a bit, compose music a little bit and paint a bit. But now, my eyes are not so good. I have hardening of the arteries behind the eyeballs, but with care, I hardly think that I will lose my sight. I have had my eyes for a long time so should not make too much fuss if I should. But I hope and pray that I don't.
My great, great, was your great, great, great grandfather, well they were great people (as you can see), they lived in New York, and owned ships, they are boats now, that plyed from New York to England, and other ports. Still do. They were high "much-a-mucks", and still are, I guess. Now my great grandfather was a noted artist even tho' he was so young, and was sitting on the high pinnacle of fame, BUT he slipped on the banana peel of fate, and lacerated his nether anatomy by the pin of disaster! poor soul. Hen (Henry Inman) fell in love with the prettiest girl in New York village. It was a village in those days. The girl, Pretty Polly Shir wood, a Holland girl, her people were the poor working class, and not to be tolerated in the high and mighty Inman class, so they disinherited Henry; and he had never worked, didn't know how, all he knew was to paint lovely pictures which he could sell for much money. But Polly, being of the thrifty type, wanted him to quit his painting and go to work, for they sorely needed money when they had two babies. The oldest fair, like his father (this son, John Madison, born 1817, was my grandfather) and the younger son, Ashable, born 1811, belongs to you. Henry told Polly that when he finished the picture, that they would have all the money that they would need but Polly could not understand and could see no sense in his monkeying around with a brush; he ought to go to work but he couldn't; he didn't know how to start and probably couldn't have done manual labor anyway. So one day she went out to work when the baby needed a pair of shoes, and when she would not quit working, one day he just could not take it: there were his friends, and you can understand his mortification; so he gathered up all the small change that was around the house and took his paints, and left, they never did know where; they thought that he might have gone West. But I don't see why they thought that, I think that probably he went south for he could not work at anything but his art, that was all he could do. So why go west, there would be nothing there for him at that time, and he probably did not want to get scalped. But anyway, his sons when they grew up, wanted to find their father, and Polly did too, so they went west, sometimes, they would seem to get a trace of him, and then lose the trace; so after a while, they made up their minds that he had been killed by the Indians. So they settled in Illinois, then on to Iowa. John Madison Inman married an English girl, Malvina Laurence; they had two sons, Charles and Henry Laurence Inman. And when my father, Henry L., was three years old, his mother died; then three or four years later, John Madison Inman, remarried, this time marrying a widow with one son (Ed. Hibbard) and to this union, there were as you know, two more sons, John and George.
In 1876 or 1877, my father sold out his farm, left the bulk of his fortune with a friend (because the banks were not so very safe) and would send for the money when he got settled. He did not want to take so much with him when he did not know for sure where he would make a landing, and there was danger of being robbed along the way, and besides, there were renegade Indians. In 1868 my father, Henry L. Inman, married Hatty or Harriet L. Hartgrove, and at the time that Dad sold out, there were four of us children; Austin James, then I came along, Norabelle, in my mother's history, but I have changed it to Halcyon, then Henry Laurence, then Sarah Malvina, who was the baby, so tiny and sick that my mother carried her on a pillow. We joined an emigrant train, covered wagons, you know. Dad didn't sell his horses; we had a covered wagon, a light wagon, and a buggy. Mom's brother drove one team, and Amos Quackinbush drove the other and Dad drove the team that he thought so much of, Dock and Ned. One night I remember that there was quite a bit of excitement, of course I didn't know what it was all about, but everyone was uneasy, for the town that we were stopping near had been raided by thieves, it seems, so some men from each wagon sat up all night, taking turns watching; but I guess that there were too many watchers, for we were not molested. There was a very long train of us. We went thru the corner of Nebraska - down thru Kansas, and going along our way, my Dad seen some houses with props, that was to keep the storms or winds from blowing them away. And Dad said that he would not live in a country that had to prop their houses. So we went clear to the southern part of Kansas near where George Freeman lived. He was an uncle of Dad's; the other emigrants dropped off every now and then, and by the time we got to Wellington, I guess that there were very few left. I don't remember just how far it was from our farm to Wellington but I think that it was 5 mi. It was about four miles to Wichita so we must have lived between the two towns. Well, Mom and Dad liked it there; the first year, they had a lovely crop, garden and everything, but the vegetables wouldn't keep. That was the only crop that we had in the four years that we lived there. Dad's money was gone, and the friend that Dad had left his money with, had gone somewhere, and no trace could be found of him. The wind, just a little breeze, would blow the roof off the barn, and no matter how strong the pig pen was staked and tied down, the gentle breeze would pull it up and roll it away, and Dad would have to hunt it up and bring it back, sometimes the wind would blow it back, the blinds at our windows would blow off and away, we kids would chase after them, sometimes we could get them and sometimes not; but if we did not get them, the wind would bring them back the next day, so finally we gave up. I have seen my Dad go out at night and see which way the wind was coming from, and then carry the PROP to the other side of the house. So he built a strong new house and painted it white, and got shutters (green) at every window. Then one day, Mom seen a little cloud coming up and fast - Dad was away on business some place, and as it happened, was on his way home, well, my mother, called Ottie (Austin) to come and help her. They loosened the cows which were lariated on the prairie, my mother gathered the little chickens up and she and Ottie had only time to get in the hen-house when the hail as large as duck eggs fell and they hadn't had time to get the little calf in; I was left in the house to look after Mallie and the baby Leonice (born in December, l879.) Some way Harrie got to the barn before the storm broke, and when the hail came tumbling down, he got scart, he was only about 6 yrs. old; two or three times he fell to his knees, and my mother powerless to help him. I was only 18 mo. older than he and I had to stay in with the two babies. I opened the door two or three times but had to close it. Then when he got to the door, I reached out and dragged him in. Well, the hail had broken the blind on one side of the house, also all the windows. All the crops beaten into the ground. This day, my father was with one of the neighbors in the wagon, and if he had not been with this neighbor, he would have been killed. They unhitched the horses from the wagon, then turned the wagon box over and got under it. Soon after this, Dad sold out and in 1880, we went to Calif. by the first south Pacific train; landed in San Francisco (no trains go into San Francisco, they go to Oakland and ferry across). We stayed there a few days, then took an ocean steamer and came to Olympia. My father took up carpenter work, and he made a fine carpenter, and he liked the work. We were in Olympia about two years, and Harrie could not live here any more, too much pneumonia, so we sold out and went to Los Gatos, Calif. We stayed there 18 months; Harrie got well but my mother could not stand the climate and we came back and bought another home, my dad building our house, of course; it is still standing and is a nice looking house, I think - sometime, that I should love to live there. When I was 17, we moved down, or rather up in Mason County and took up a homestead of 40 acres, and soon after we sold our home in Olympia. Before Dad passed on, it was the prettiest place in that part of the country. But they tell me that it is all grown up now. Ottie went to Alaska when he was 22 and learned the cooper trade and when he had money enough, he built the first "boat building shop" that was in Alaska. He was the Pioneer Boat Builder of Alaska. He had built boats ever since he was 12 yrs. old. During the first World War, he built boats for the Government. But wages and material were so high that he had to quit that. Harrie went up there when he was about 23 or 24, for awhile he worked in a mine, was overseer of a mine, but he quit that and studied engineering, but he didn't like that so well, then studied Navigation. And they told us that he was the best Navigator that ever struck Alaska. He could get a boat any time at the highest wage. But, one time when he came home, and when he had started back to go to Alaska, when he got to Seattle, he found that there was a strike on, so came home again. Dad was just sick when he left, he couldn't seem to stand it to have him go, and when Harrie found this out, he would not leave him, so stayed until both our father and mother had gone. Then we traded around, first in Aberdeen, then in Montesano, then in Chehalis, then to Elma where we had an apartment house, and was doing fine when the depression struck us mighty hard. We lost out, then went back to Montesano where he passed on. He had had a stroke before we left the ranch, and he could not go back to his work. He is buried here. Leonice was a schoolteacher, the best in the state so they told me. She taught for a few years, then married Ellry Libby, she had two children, both still born, and she passed on; peritonitis caused her death. She was only about 27 when she died. Mallie died when we first came to Olympia; in March, she was 5 yrs. old. I am the only one in the family that never amounted to anything. I keep hoping that I can also leave my footprints somewhere.
Ottie married a part Indian princess. She does not like to own any white blood. I have never seen her but Ottie told me that when she was young, she was very pretty. I think that I should love her also.
Well, I hope that you are not worn to a frazzle trying to get head and tail of this, also hope that you can find something of interest that you can use in your history. When you come back, better stop and see me.
Please write some time again, I would love to get your letter. I started this quite a few days ago. This is May 22nd.
A heap at love
Dear.Mrs. Wm. Marshall
P.S. My mother was a writer and an artist and Polly Sherwood Inman used to tell her a lot "Polly" - was an old, old, lady - and I guess that my mother was about the only one who would listen. If you want to find out anything about any of the wars or if you want to find out about any of your people that were in Revolution War - write to the War Department - Washington, D.C.
Halcyon or Dear.
Thanks for the picture - you look like the little girl - only a little older.
Will try to send you a snapshot of me sometime. Can't seem to find any