San Francisco History

My Own Story


WHILE visiting Donald Lowrie at San Quentin, a short time before he was released, Warden Hoyle showed me some excellent verse published in one of the magazines and written by a prisoner. Douglass was the name signed to the poems. It was not the author's right name, but it is the name I shall use in this story.

There was a rare poetic quality to the lines. Douglass had interpreted the sufferings of men in prison in a very dramatic way. He had caught the prison atmosphere as no other writer to my knowledge had ever done. This perhaps was more clearly shown in a poem of his the warden showed me, "The Garden of Death." It was a passionate protest against capital punishment. I give it here:


Safe bound by locking waters
Within the Golden Gate
A fortress stands, remote and gray,
A prison of the state.
The flanking walls that round it sweep
A massive portal scars,
Where warders grim their vigils keep
With locks and bolts and bars.
In old San Quentin's garden
The morn is sweet with blooms;
A little square in God's pure air
Amid a thousand tombs;
And in a fountain's mirrored depths,
As you are passing by,
Bare, mocking walls on either hand
Seem reaching to the sky—
And through that glimpse of paradise
A youth was led—to die.
Above San Quentin's garden
The loophole grates look down,
Beyond the walls and castled keep
Where shotted cannon frown;
And just within a little gate
Along a steel-bound tier,
In cells of death men hold their breath
When unseen steps draw near,
For death is in the air they breathe
And in each sound they hear.
Through old San Quentin's garden
They led him to his doom,
While rose and lily sighed for him
An exquisite perfume;
And in the prison yard beyond,
Men spoke with bated breath,
Of laws that mock the law of God
And strangle men to death.
Of men who send God-given life
To godless, brutal death.
O'er old San Quentin's garden
A stately pine tree sighs,
A lonely captive from the wild
Where Tamalpais lies;
And seated by its rugged trunk
A convict, old and wan,
Was reading from a little book
He held in palsied hand:—
And on the title page I read:
"The Brotherhood of Man."
At once I became deeply interested in Douglass and asked the warden about him.

"It was drink that brought him here," said the warden. "Running out of money while under its influence, he would forge a check for a small sum, pass it on a barkeeper and continue his spree. When sober he is a fine, honorable man, highly cultivated, a gentleman. His family is prominent in Southern California. When quite young, he formed the drink habit, got into trouble and was cast off by his people. That was more than twenty years ago. Since then he has been in prison several times, always under the same conditions and for the same offense. He always gets a light sentence, because he pleads guilty, and the courts have had pity for him."

Douglass was brought into the warden's office at my request. He seemed very nervous and embarrassed and not inclined to talk. He told me his time would be up in another month, and he intended to make a supreme effort to conquer the habit that had so wrecked his life. I asked him to call on me when he was released and I would help him to make a new start.

He came directly to my office from the prison. He was still very nervous. His lips twitched, and his voice was broken. But there was a resolute look in his eyes which reassured me.

"Are you quite sure you can hold out this time, Douglass?" I asked.

"I am positive," he said. "I shall never drink again."

"It will be a hard fight," I said. "You have fallen so many times, you know, and each fall makes your will weaker."

"That is true, but this time I have the sustaining influence of a woman's love. This woman has stood by me through two prison sentences, and now, I am going to make the battle for her sake."

Somehow his words convinced me and gave me perfect confidence in him. Ordinarily I should not have been so easily convinced, because I personally knew how insidious the habit is and what tricks the mind would play in its behalf.

Douglass had no money. He needed fifty dollars to tide him over until he could get a position. A portion of the money he wanted to use to pay the expenses of a visit to the woman he loved. I gave him the money and asked him to dine with Mrs. Older and me at the Fairmont that evening at 6 o'clock.

He did not appear at the hour appointed. We both became nervous with fear that he had fallen. I reproached myself for having given him such a large sum of money. We waited hopelessly until 6:30. He came at that hour, but was quite drunk. We made the best of it.

He could eat nothing. When we had finished we took him to our rooms and kept him in conversation for several hours until the effect of the liquor had partly passed away. He promised me faithfully that he would go to his room in a downtown hotel and see me at my office at 8 in the morning. He did not come, and I felt that he was beyond help.

Early on the following morning, however, he called me up on the telephone.

"I am drunk in a Barbary Coast dive, Mr. Older," he said. "I am right on the verge of sliding back into hell again. Will you hold out your hand and help me?"

He gave me the location of the saloon. I sent a reporter for him with instructions to rent a room, put him to bed and keep him there until he heard from me. This was done.

That evening I had him removed to the Emergency Hospital. He passed the night there. Early the following morning I called on him.

"Douglass," I said, "you are again heading straight for the penitentiary. I know of only one way to save you. That is to have you committed to the alcoholic ward of the Stockton asylum for six months. I'll see that you have good treatment."

He was glad to go. He left that evening. Each Sunday Mrs. Older and I motored to Stockton to see him. Meanwhile, Donald Lowrie had been paroled and was writing his story for the Bulletin. Having similar literary tastes, Lowrie and Douglass had become fast friends in prison. On one of our visits to the asylum, we took Lowrie with us. Douglass was overjoyed to see Lowrie. He was getting strong again. In fact, he was quite himself, and being normal, the queer people he was compelled to associate with in the asylum began to affect his nerves. He longed to get out and go to work.

In a short time after this visit, I secured a suitable position for him in a nearby dry town. I had him discharged from the asylum as cured and took him to his new job.

"Now, Douglass," I said, "this is your last hope. You can't get a drink in this town, and I want your word of honor that you won't leave it."

Of course, he solemnly promised, and meant to keep his word. He did for several weeks. He had made some kind friends in the town and they helped him to make the fight.

The evil day finally came. He found a bottle of wood alcohol in the office where he worked and drank it. The effect of it on him was dreadful. For days it was thought he would become totally blind. Fortunately, he recovered, resumed his work and kept straight for a short time. He fell again, this time in a nearby city which he visited. He spent all of his money, borrowed all that he could, sold his clothes and went down into the gutter. But the battle was to go on.


WE put Douglass on his feet again, only to find that his employer, disgusted, had discharged him. But his friends paid all of his bills and this made the employer feel that he, too, should do his part, and he took him back. He not only did this kindly act, but, in order to strengthen him in the fight, arranged to publish Douglass' prison poems in book form. We all became very much interested in preparing the book, Lowrie especially so. It finally made its appearance under the title of "Drops of Blood," Lowrie writing for it the following foreword:

"A strain of music, the scent of a flower, the ripple of running water—how often they sweep a chord, mute but yet attuned, awakening the pent floods of memory. It is thus with this little book of verse, wrung from the silent gloom of unending prison nights—nights we spent together in the semidarkness of a forgotten world.

"Behind the graven figures `19173,' I see you tonight as I saw you then, seated at the tiny deal table in our little eight by four cell, the dim light from the smoky oil lamp falling fitfully upon your face as you wrote in silence line after line, page after page—and I, lying on the narrow bunk against the wall, wondering what your were wresting from the Universal Source and setting into words amid such sombre surroundings.

"To all the art of `setting words prettily together,' as Ruskin puts it, you have added the color which can be drawn only from the fountain of hard experience. May the message you are sending out find its way to the heart of the world, and there plant the seed of a deeper, larger and kindlier understanding.

"In those years of the past, we studied the theme of life together. Today we labor apart, and yet together as before—you in your way and I in mine—to turn the thoughts of men and women toward the needs of the `proscribed,' seeking to redeem ourselves, and in so doing to encourage others."

It is rare, indeed, for a book of verse, even though of fine quality, to have a large sale. Only a few hundred copies of "Drops of Blood" were sold. Perhaps this fact discouraged Douglass. He fell again. It was then that the woman who loved him, and who had never lost hope, decided to marry him, relying upon the strength of her love to sustain him. Then began our preparations for the wedding.

It was decided that Douglass' wedding should be held at Medora's home in the mountains, in the open air and under the trees that she loved. Douglass at last was to be reclaimed. This was to be be our triumph. We all motored over for the great event—Donald Lowrie, Buck English, old Charlie, Clarence Darrow, Mr. Barry, Mrs. Older, and myself. The aged father, and the other members of Douglass' family that had been estranged from him for nearly a quarter of a century, were there. Douglass and they were friends again. The simple ceremony under the trees was very impressive.

At last the young woman who had never lost faith, who had unfalteringly stood by while the man she loved served two terms in the penitentiary, was also to justify the faith he had in her when in his prison cell he wrote the "Open Road." Here are the lines:


Where wends the road beyond these walls?
I do not know—I may not see;
But every hour its freedom calls
And leads me, spirit free.
So swift it sweeps in curving gleams,
So clear beneath the sun and moon,
It calls me from my work and dreams,
At midnight and at noon.
A clanging bell! The bolts fly back
As each day brings its task anew;
A purr of wheels—the looms' "click-clack"—
I see—the road and you.
To know this helpless, hopeless throng—
This bar-bound death in life—the prayer—
The muttered curse of nameless wrong—
The silence of despair!
And yet—a garden blossoms there
That breathes of Omar's roseblown bower;
And love's blood-rose set in your hair
Perfumes my every hour.
Where wends the road beyond these walls?
I know not whither it doth wend;
But this I know: whate'er befalls,
You're waiting at its end.
She was waiting at the end. And here in this lovely mountain setting the ceremony took place that testified to her faith and long devotion.

The happy affair over, we all returned to the city. A day or two later the old father called on me at my office. He tried to speak, but instead he wept like a child. Becoming calmer, he said between his sobs: "You have saved a brand from the burning. I cast him off, I turned him out of the house, and sent him away from his mother who loved him."

I told him I had only extended to his son the hand of friendship. "It is as little as one can do, and as much as need be done in most cases," I said.

"Yes," he said, "I realize it all now when it is too late."

I assured him that it was not too late, that there were many years of happiness in store for them.

The battle was not yet entirely won. Douglass fell occasionally, but the distances between the bad spells were widening with the years. He and his devoted wife often visited us at the ranch, and when Mrs. Older and I complimented him on how well and strong he seemed, he would look at her through his happy tears and say: "She has done it all."

Love has done it all for Douglass, as it would for all of us if we would only give it a chance. It is the greatest force in the world.


HUGO had the weakest face of any of the men who came to me from prison. He had a receding chin and forehead and pug nose. He had served a three years' sentence for passing counterfeit money. His wife came with him and did most of the talking. She was young, not more than twenty, and quite pretty.

Hugo, she said, was a fairly good musician, and if he could get a trombone and join the musicians' union, he would be able to make a living for them.

Lowrie had acquired a small fund to be used for this purpose, and together we started Hugo on the way to making his own living. His weak face, however, prevented me from having much faith in his making good.

I never saw Hugo again, but learned through Lowrie that he was not doing well.

More than a year afterward, a young, over-dressed woman called on me. Her face was painted, and diamonds worth several thousand dollars glittered on her fingers. The brand of the underworld was on her.

"You don't remember me," she said.

"No," I replied.

"My husband and I called on you more than a year ago. He was the one you bought the musical instrument for."

With difficulty, I recalled her. She had completely changed.

"What has happened?" I asked.

"I have gone into a sporting house," she said. "My husband left me to starve. I stood by him all the time he was in prison. I worked in Oakland as a waitress, earning very little. I went over to the prison every visitors' day all the time he was there. I was as faithful to him as a wife could be. When he came out, I brought him to you, but even with the help you gave him, he could not make a go of it. He took to drink, left me at home frequently without food. Finally he disappeared altogether. I was so disheartened that I didn't much care what became of me. I am now in an uptown house and doing very well. I have $1300 in the bank and $3000 worth of diamonds. I'm all right now, I guess."

Ruth mentioned the name of the house she was living in. I had just been reading a wonderful life story written by a young woman of the underworld. She was known in the world in which she lived as Babe. While the story of Alice Smith was running in the Bulletin, I had received a most remarkable letter from a woman who had signed herself "From A. to Z." While the writer was evidently illiterate, there was a Zoalesque realism in her description of the horrors of the life she was living. Later I learned that Babe had written the letter. Babe became so much interested in the subject that she wrote her entire life story, beginning with her early childhood. She was one of several children. Her father died when she was 4 years old. Her mother was poor, and when Babe was 12 she went out to work. It was the old struggle. Scant wages, no pretty clothes, no schooling; only long hours of hard, grinding work.

At 17, Babe chose the course that forever shut her out of the respectable world. Once under way she went rapidly. In her story she did not spare herself. She told the truth, all of it. In the course of her narrative, she gave a vivid picture of the horrors of her life in the house in which Ruth was living.

"Let me read you a chapter out of a story I have here," I said to Ruth. I took the manuscript from a drawer and began reading aloud.

Before I had finished, Ruth leaped to her feet and shrieked: "Stop! Stop! I can't hear any more. It's all so horrible. I never dreamed it was as bad as that." Sobbing and almost hysterical, she left the room.

A few days later, Ruth called me on the telephone and asked for an appointment. Her voice betrayed excitement. I told her I would see her at once. She came rushing into my office, out of breath.

"The story you read me the other day has haunted me. I have made up my mind to quit the life forever. Thinking perhaps I had some dramatic talent, I went immediately to a school for acting and I am studying for the stage. The manager tells me I have real ability and is very much interested in me. He is going to cast me for a leading role in a comedy. He wanted to know my address. Of course, I couldn't tell him. I am still in that house. I told him I lived in Oakland. He asked me who I knew in San Francisco and I gave him your name. He says he is going to ring you up. I gave him my name as Ruth Maynard. I was afraid he would call you before I could see you, and you would say you didn't know me."

Ruth made rapid progress, and in two weeks the play in which she was cast for the leading part was put on at the naval station in a big hall with fifteen hundred young men as an audience.

Our little group accompanied Ruth to the island. Donald Lowrie, Bessie Beatty, Sophie Treadwell, John D. Barry and myself made up the party. The audience liked the performance, and while Ruth was crude and amateurish, still she did well enough to warrant our giving her a favorable notice in the Bulletin.

That night Ruth left the house, took an apartment by herself. We all hoped she would succeed.

At about this time, Pantages was planning to put on a new one act play. I succeeded in having Ruth employed in it to play a minor part. She did well in rehearsal, the manager was satisfied, and her new career began. The play ran two weeks at Pantages and then went on the circuit for several months.

I heard nothing from Ruth in the meantime. When the play was dropped, she returned to the city and called on me.

I noticed her lips were scarred. I asked her the cause.

"I took carbolic acid several weeks ago," she said. "They thought I would die. I was saved by a young physician who attended me. He said my recovery was a miracle."

I couldn't believe her. She told the story lightly and laughingly. She seemed happy enough.

"Why did you do it, Ruth?"

"Oh, I slipped once. I became intoxicated. It discouraged me and I wanted to die. But I am all right now. I have a little play of my own. There are three of us in it, and Pantages is going to put it on. I am to be the star. You'll see Ruth Maynard up in the electric lights, Sunday night."

I couldn't reconcile her manner as she sat talking to me of her future with the attempt she had made on her life only a short time before. I decided to disbelieve the story.

When her engagement at Pantages was ended, she took the play and the little company to New York. It was an ambitious venture and ended in failure. The money she had saved melted and the diamonds went to the pawn shop.

She had been educating her 12 year old brother and caring for a younger married sister whose husband was unable to support her. She wrote me from New York that her play was a failure and that she was leaving for New Orleans to be with her sister, who had typhoid fever. When the sister recovered, she brought her and her little girl to California with her. She left them in Pasadena and came alone to San Francisco.

She called on me to tell me that she had gone back into the old life, and into the same house which she had left in such horror only a year before.

"Why did you do it, Ruth? You have talent enough to make a living on the stage. You could have got a position. Why didn't you ask me to help you? I am sure I could have found a place for you."

"I was out of money. I had to have $50 a month for my brother, and my sister is on my hands. I was desperate for money. I won't stay there long. As soon as I get a little money ahead, I'll go back to the stage."

I did not hear from her again for three months. I came into my office one day and found a note on my desk, saying, "Ruth Maynard called up. She is dangerously ill. She wants to see you."


I CALLED at the address Ruth had given in her telephone message. It was a large apartment house in an uptown street. I assumed that it was the sporting house to which she returned after her failure in New York. I took the elevator and asked for apartment 64. I pressed the button at the door. A pretty, little 4 year old girl opened it. I was shocked to find a child in such a place. A woman appeared. I asked for Ruth. "She is very ill in bed," she said. The woman took me to Ruth's room. She was propped up on pillows. Her face was thin and pale and her eyes seemed large and unnatural.

"This is a strange place for a little child," I said.

Ruth laughingly asked me if I thought I was in a sporting house.

"Yes, I had thought so," I said.

"Well, you are not. You are in a perfectly respectable apartment house. This is my sister's apartment, the little girl you met is her child, and it was my sister you saw when you came in."

Ruth said she was better. In fact, she was getting well. She had been ill, dangerously so, for a month.

"I had a nervous breakdown," she said. "To deaden the remorse I felt for having returned to the life, I commenced taking morphine and cocaine. I had always felt that I had too much sense to fall for the habit. But I saw other girls around me taking it. It did not show in their manner, or, so far as I could see, in their health. Finally, I decided to try it. It braced me up for a time, and I daily increased the doses, until I completely collapsed. The doctor thought I would die, but I am too wicked to die, I guess."

I tried to cheer her by urging her to keep away from the drug, and when she was well enough, I would try to get her a place in a theatrical company that was then playing at one of the local theaters. She agreed to make another effort, and before I left she had again become quite interested in life and expressed a hope that she might yet succeed as an actress, and break away from the life that brought her so near to death.

In a day or two I telephoned her that if she were well enough she could commence rehearsing for a small part on the following Monday. She was delighted and spoke most cheerfully of her future. This was Wednesday.

Coming up from the ranch on Friday morning I read in one of the papers that Ruth had killed herself the night before. She had made sure work of it this time. In the midst of her dinner with her sister, Ruth suddenly left the table and ran into the bathroom. A few minutes later her sister found her there dead. She left a note saying that it would be useless to try to save her. This time, she said, she had made sure to take a poison that no physician could overcome. She was 23 years of age.

Babe, whose chapter had driven Ruth out of the life a year before, was also dead. When I learned that she was writing her story, I wanted her to come to the Bulletin office. I knew that Bessie Beatty could help her, not only with the writing of the story, but with her wonderful sympathy. I neither knew her name nor her address, but I wrote her a letter and Mrs. O'Connor, the policewoman, delivered it to her. This was the answer I received:

"My Dear Mr. Older:—I received your kind note through Mrs. O'Connor, and I want to thank you for your kind thought of me. I have every confidence in you, but I can't possibly trust any living being further. I can tell my story better and honester when I think I don't have to face any person who knows me. Just put yourself in my place and honestly ask yourself if I am to blame. If my story comes out people are bound to suspect, and what protection would I have if I went to your office and was seen? You know we are a novelty even if we are shunned. But, Mr. Older, if ever the time occurs when I can leave this life I will come to your office and see you if possible under some guise or another. I never want to discuss it with any person or want to go where any person will know my history. I have perfect confidence in Mrs. O'Connor, and if she fails me I don't think I would want to live. If the time ever comes that I can see my way out it will be under her directions. Miss — has offered me a home with her, but I have had to refuse, as I once lived on charity and it is one reason why I am what I am today.

"I am continuing my writing as you told me, and have let no person influence me. No person except Mrs. O'Connor and Miss — knows I am writing. So I am perfectly safe.

"If you print my story you will be doing something for every young girl in San Francisco that even thinks of entering this life, and as I write my story something seems to be at my back urging me on. I can't sleep nights thinking about it.

"Mr. Older, urge the people to leave us unfortunates alone. We can't leave the life. If they didn't have the traps could we poor rats crawl in? And now we are in why make us squeal? Mr. Older, we are done for. But try to keep others out of the life. Let the people who have the bringing up of children tell them the truth. Tell the boy. Preach to him as you would tell him not to kill. Tell him not to go near a girl only as he would his sister. Tell the girl what the life means. Don't be afraid to preach it from the housetops. We are the most miserable creatures on God's earth. Talk about the black slaves!—free the white slaves. If we are a necessity, then give us a crown of roses, for we are certainly martyrs—martyrs to men.

"I have every faith in your loyalty. Believe me when I say I thank you from the bottom of my poor heart. Sincerely, .......... BABE."

Shortly after Babe had completed her story, the life she was living began to undermine her health, although at the time she was only 22. Mrs. O'Connor, the policewoman, was Babe's only woman friend. She dearly loved Mrs. O'Connor and fully trusted her. Mrs. O'Connor had the girl examined by a physician, who reported that she was far gone with tuberculosis. Her life might be prolonged, the doctor said, if she were sent to the country and lived in the open air. Mrs. O'Connor interested an Eastern woman in the case. This woman had some money, and she was glad to provide means for Babe's care.

Together, the two women looked for a suitable place, and finally decided upon a farm near Napa. The woman who owned it agreed to take her. There was a tent on the place that she could occupy. Mrs. O'Connor did not dare tell the country woman all of the truth about Babe's life, for fear she would not receive her. She was merely told that she had made one false step, and the man who was responsible for the wrong had deserted her.

We learned afterward that the woman who received Babe could have been trusted to be kind to the girl if she had been told everything.

Babe was very weak when she arrived and rarely left her bed. The kind woman from the East provided her with everything she needed and wrote her almost daily.

Suddenly, news came to Mrs. O'Connor that Babe was dead. Mrs. O'Connor first learned of it in a letter written to her by the woman in whose care she had been. The letter is here given:

"Dear Mrs. O'Connor—It is with a sad and a very lonesome heart that I write to you and try and tell you about our dear child that has passed to a higher and better life. No more old cough (as she would call it), no more pains and aches, though she suffered very little; in fact, she had no pain to speak of, only getting weaker and the loss of sleep. It is so pitiful to think of the way she clung to life; such a thing as not getting well never entering her mind. It was always, `When I am well, I will do this or that.' The way she looked forward to the time that she would study and go to school, never a word about death! It seems that God must have known best when he takes a child like her, for I never met a dearer or sweeter disposition in my life. The way she endeared herself to us all; there was not one here who did not love her, even the cook, a Chinaman, has hardly talked since. She was such a loving, lonesome little thing, never having any advantages that she should have had, being left without a mother's care so young. I little wonder that she never went further, poor darling!

"I am so thankful for having had the chance of knowing and loving her, and to have been in the position to be able to return to God one of his little children, for she was well prepared to meet him. She would lie for hours and never a word. I always said she was praying. I will try and tell you all that will interest you, for she loved you and the young lady who was so kind and good to her. She never discussed her friends to me, only an occasional word; she was so quiet and close about everything connected with her. You understand that she had been moved from the tent to the house ten days before she passed away, and was to go back to her tent the next day, before the fatal illness that had taken her from us. We had moved her much against her wishes. She did not want to come into the house, she so loved her tent—they are taking it down as I am writing. We felt after the last hemorrhage that at any time she was liable to have another, so we were afraid to leave her alone; it was well we had insisted as it all happened for the best. The last I saw of the child was last Sunday, as I was ill on Monday and unable to leave my room.

"When I saw her on Sunday she was very cheerful—all that worried her was to get back to the tent, and I had promised to ask the doctor on Monday—he being satisfied, she was going back the next day. My nurse was last to talk to her on Monday evening about 9 o'clock, when she was playing cards. Taking the cards from her, she fixed her for the night, leaving her door open so if she called she could answer. The last thing, in fact, all she talked of that evening, was `When I go back home!' She called her tent `home.' She wanted to go early in the morning, as she had a letter to write and wanted to be back in the tent before writing it. I awoke and called the nurse about 12 o'clock, thinking I heard something. I don't know what. After going out in the hall I called `Go and see if Margaret wants you.' On going to her room she found her breathing very hard and, trying to awaken her, she found her unconscious, and from that time until she died, on Thursday at 7:15 p.m., she never regained consciousness and never suffered. The life just gradually left her. The doctor called it a cerebral hemorrhage.

"If she had recovered from this illness she would have been paralyzed, so God was good to take her. Think how bad she would have felt to be in that position along with her other handicap. On Friday morning I tried to get you on the wire; was unable on account of your being out of town. I talked with your husband, and on his advice I have taken on myself all the arrangements to bury her. I felt in your nervous state you were better not coming here and taxing yourself more than necessary. You did all you could for her when she needed you. We buried her on Friday afternoon. We kept her home until she went to her last resting place. I did not want to take her to an undertaker's parlor, so the early funeral, when I heard you were unable to come. I was able to place your flowers on her casket—so peaceful—just a mass of flowers. I was unable to get the violets Miss — wanted, as the message came while we were gone with her. May the child's soul rest in peace! I will see that the violets are placed on her grave, so kindly tell Miss—. I can not write much more, as I am not strong and these last days are telling on me.

"Now, Mrs. O'Connor, I want you, if you know of another girl like this dear child, I would like to help another just for her dear sake. Maybe take her up here or help financially. Please help me to help some girl for her sake and my own, for I feel I should try to do something for others, but my health being so poor I am not able to come in direct contact with them.

"I am going to send you a few trinkets and some pictures and books that were hers. You will be better able to know what to do with them. There are some clothes and things you will be able to give some one. There were some letters she had in bed with her and a letter which came on Monday. We burned them. Mrs. O'Connor, I would like to hear from you after you read this, as I feel I should help some other girl again. I must not learn to love them as I did this poor child, as I feel it too keenly. God bless you, and pray for me."


Source: Library of Congress. California As I Saw It, 1849-1900. Vol. 194. [database online] Washington: Library of Congress, 2000. Older, Fremont. My Own Story. San Francisco, CA: The Call Publishing Co., 1919.

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