Local Matters: A letter to the editor from April 6, 1865
April 25, 2014
Editor’s note: The following early day letter to the editor appeared under the “Local Matters” column in the April 6, 1865, edition of the Grass Valley Morning Union, then under the ownership of W.H. Miller and Sol. A. Shane.
I think that you are a sensible man, and as such I desire to say a few words to you, and through you, to the readers of your paper in genera, and my wife, Mrs. Boggs, in particular.
About eight years ago, when I married Mrs. Boggs, she was a splendid woman; a real good, industrious woman.
I was a laborer, and earned my thirty dollars a month without grumbling. Mrs. Boggs was a happy, contented woman in them days if she could get a clean calico gown on every Monday morning.
Well, everything went on nice and comfortable with us, until I got out work, and came up to the mines to try my luck. The first six months I labored in the mines, I barely made a living, but a portion of what I made I regularly sent to Mrs. Boggs, and she always wrote the word back that she was happy and contented. At this time my wife had four children to contend with and take care of.
But she did her duty to them, and they were the cleanest, tidiest young ones you ever saw, although she had to do all the washing herself.
A little time wore off, and I made a lucky strike — struck a rich ledge — and two weeks after, sent my wife a round sum in money.
Of course, I thought that this would brighten her up considerably, but didn’t think it would make a fool of her.
The next letter I got from her, she said she had sent three of the children to boarding school, and the summer was so exceedingly disagreeable, she had to hire a girl for thirty dollars a month to take care of the other one. And, says she, “Boggs, they tell me you have a big hill of gold, and you can afford to keep me now like a lady.”
This was the first stunner I got from home, and I wrote back to Mrs. Boggs that I didn’t know how long the rich strike was going to last and as I didn’t want to go back and dig in the sand hills for thirty dollars a month, she had better take care of what she had, and nurse her young one herself.
This letter hadn’t reached her, when I received another, telling me that she had bought a piano, and hired a dancing master to teach her how to play and that all hod-carriers’ wives in the neighborhood had her name in their mouths and some of them were going to put her in a blackguard paper, for putting on frills. Well this WAS a stunner.
My wife, Mrs. Boggs, learning to play the piano and having a dancing master. This was a settler. I would gladly have paid a thousand dollars to have her go to school and learn to read and write. But the piano was too much for me. So I concluded to go down and see the thing myself.
Well, when I got home, which was about ten o’clock one night, I hurried to the house. But Mrs. Boggs had gone to dancing school, and the nurse and her beau were sitting up drinking lager beer, while my youngest boy lay squalling in his bed.
This was too much for me. I took the child in my arms, rushed from the house, and have never been there since; although I regularly send Mrs. Boggs her monthly remittances.
It would take me too long to relate all I have suffered and borne during all this time. But Mrs. Boggs is happy.
She hasn’t learnt to play piano yet, but I suppose it’s a comfort to her to show it to her friends when they call upon her. I hope it is, at any rate.
I have only written this, Mr. Editor, to show what fools a little money will make of some people. And Mrs. Boggs ain’t the only woman.
My partner’s wife, who never knew anything better than a wash tub, now walks along Montgomery street, with a servant girl — who is as good looking as she is herself — walking behind her to carry her parasol and pocket book. But this is enough for one day, sir.
Yours, Julius Boggs
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