First Letter From Samuel

Sept. 28, 1908

Dear Dad,

            I hope this letter finds you and Mom well. It must be lovely this time of year in Morristown.  I do miss the brightness of Fall’s colors.  Have the lawns been raked and the beds mulched yet?

            You must be disappointed at my leaving Sheffield School.  When Sam told me I would not be tapped for Skull and Bones, it all seemed kind of pointless.  Chet and I celebrated at Mory’s.  After too much punch, I doubt that I would be allowed back, anyway.  I will miss the Welsh rarebit.

Bunny Hatcher bought my string of ponies, so money should not be a problem for a few months.  After sub renting my rooms, I caught the New Haven to Dobbs Ferry and visited Cissy.  She tolerates her school and they can bear her.  She was horrified that I will not be with you this summer up in Winnesook.  Not so much my absence, as her ghastly cousins from Albany.  She did say I should avoid being killed by Indians.

There was enough money to buy a Pullman ticket from New York to Scammon, Kansas where your friend Mr. Mackie promised me a job. The trip took me through Chicago and then down the Mississippi. This is a country I did not know existed.  Once out of the Alleghenies, there were hard wood trees and farms everywhere.  Not a sheep or factory to be seen.  Just miles of barns, cows, and fields.

By the time I got to Scammon, I was black with soot from the trains.  Mr. Mackie met me at what they call a station.  It barely would fill a landing at Grand Central.  He took me to a rooming house where there was a shared bathtub.  High luxury on the Great Plains.  It took me two full tub fillings to get rid of the soot.  The land lady did prepare a meal of ham, potatoes, biscuits, gravy and a pretty good pie. I might gain weight.

Now I am in the coal fields where I can use my training to make some quick money.  The Huns and Micks have no idea what is going on. I will treat them decently, but you never know when you strike the opportunity. Carpe Diem.

The Scammon Bank prepares the payroll for me to take out to the fields. They begin by taping a gun to my hand and then strapping the payroll satchel to my arm.  If anyone tries to grab the bag, I can kill them without drawing a gun. Thieves beware.

The light is going down and I have an early start tomorrow.  Give my love to Mom and the kids.

Your loving and ambitious son,


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