Letter #5 from Henry S. Davids to his mother-in-law Mrs. Calvin Brown
Preserved and loaned for this album by Bill and Sherry Jandt
digital transcription by Tom L. McFarland in August 2001

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Letter No.5
U.S.S. "Monongahela".
Kobe. Japan Nov 30th, 1878

To "the dear ones at home",

I sit down to write scarcely knowing what I am to say. My little Charlotte, my child, is now five days on her journey home, to those who will give her that thoughtful and tender affection of which she has so long been deprived, and upon which the happiness of that little heart depends. The thought of the gentle home to which she was then going made me part with her in joy instead of grief. I left her sleeping soundly with Mrs. Hubbard and Mary, the stewardess, near to watch her. Early in the afternoon I took her with the baggage on board the "Pekin" while the day was warm. She was eaisily (a rare misspelled word) amused and talked a great deal about "going to America and seeing all the people". She remembered the "Pekin", and Mary, the stewardess, and was delighted

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with meeting the latter. She took me to the room our darling and she had occupied on their long journey to me. After eating her supper of bread and milk she went to bed very happy and lay and talked to me for nearly two hours, remaining contented and happy to the last. She told me "that everybody was good to her, and that she loved everybody". Her dear and devoted mother seems to be passing slowly from her young thoughts. I trust she will not entirely forget that gentle face. About ten o'clock Mrs. Hubbard came on board and soon after I said good-bye with a lighter heart than I had experienced since before the death of her beloved mother. I was up at six o'clock the next morning and saw the "Pekin" straining out toward the broad ocean with my child on board. It was then my heart failed me and I regretted not being with her. Still the day was fine and everything looked favorable for a quick voyage. The day following I sailed for Kobe and two days more brought me on board the "Monongahela".
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I have no idea how long we shall be here, but I hope long enough to let me see the last remains of my beloved wife pass on to her native country, when another anxiety will be taken from my overburdened mind and wretched heart. Although the only consolation of my life is still thinking and working for her, I can not help knowing it is better, for us all, to have her in her last resting place ; fearing that some accident may yet prevent the great hope of my life. I have often thought of the tomb of my devoted wife but find that I can decide upon nothing. Knowing that father was some time employed at the cemetery in San Francisco I will leave it with you, at home, to select the sacred spot and erect the tomb for preserving her memory. I would like your sentiment in all the particulars upon which your minds fall in this willing but sad duty. - I trust you will write to me about it.

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Sheet 3 (the word "page" crossed out)
While in Yokohama I made arrangements with the Pacific Mail Company for transporting our darling's remains to San Francisco. Immediately after my arrival here I wrote to Mr. Jansen requesting him to have the present coffin covered with one of lead, and the lead again covered with a strong box, suitable for safe transportation, and to ship our darling's remains to the care of father, at San Francisco, by the Pacific Mail Co's steamer which will leave Yokohama on or about the 25th of January. I also requested him to write to father by the steamer next preceding the one which takes our darling's remains ; saying they are coming, that a kind hand may be near to receive them. If the "Pekin" makes her regular trips she will be the one to take our darling home. Should the "Monongahela" be near, I will write myself. Although we leave here in the 10th prox. for Yokohama

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Sheet 2
My own ideas are but general. I would have her tomb durable and protected from all usual destroying agents. Her monument I would have suitable to her age, condition and virtues, and the mutual love between us. Her tenderness and devotion I would like expressed in her epitaph that her child may read it in years to come. I hope you will give mother's help in the duty I owe my devoted wife, for God only knows how much it is needed.
I close for now ~ Henry

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3rd Dec.

While I think of it, I wish to know if Mrs. Butler, who used to visit Mrs. MacDougal, is in this part of the world. While in Yokohama, a lady and two children, the latter from eight to ten years of age, and a stout gentleman drove rapidly by me one afternoon. The lady turned, bowed, and spoke my name. I took it to be Mrs. Butler with her husband and children, if she has any. For my part I know nothing about her relations. I did not see either the face of the gentleman or the children, but if Mrs. Butler is in this part of the world I am positive it was she. They seemed to be in a great hurry and did not offer to stop. I have little doubt about it, thinking you had forgotten to say they were coming. I did not have the time or I would have sought them. It is very queer how we meet people sometimes.
~ Henry

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Dec. 6th.

As the mail will leave tomorrow for Yokohama to connect with that leaving for home on the 11th I will close my letter. Since my return here nothing has occurred out of the usual course of everyday life. The climate is cool and pleasant, frost having been seen twice. My health is very good and I am gaining some flesh - Charlotte is now on her ninth day out. I am impatient for the time to come when her safe arrival among you is known to me. The fifteenth of January I shall begin looking for a letter. It is a long time to wait. Poor little soul, how my heart pities her, so young, and deprived of a mother's love and affection. I dare not think of her future ; it seems too sad, I can only try to make all my future acts for her happiness, and may life be spared to do my wish. I can't say exactly what day we will be in Yokohama but do not think it will be longer than ten days, and perhaps remain there until Spring. Please remember me to all friends on the Yard and others. I hope to hear from you in a few days -
With love to all at home ~
Henry -

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