Adams, Anne Brown (1843-1926) to Alexander M. Ross
Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03007.38
Author/Creator: Adams, Anne Brown (1843-1926)
Place Written: Petrolia, California
Type: Autograph letter signed
Date: 10 January 1894
Pagination: 6 p. ; 20.5 x 13 cm.
Summary of Content: Discusses Mary Stearns and a fund to help her family. Explains that Mrs. Stearns liked her father, but not his family, recounts a story of her unkindness, and wonders if Stearns has become infirm in her old age. Adams claims to hold no grudge against her. Also discusses a fund set up by John Brown’s wealthy supporters to help his family. Says the money was misspent, and she received very little from it, and that much due only to the work of Franklin Sanborn. Says she has been very ill lately, and apologizes for inconveniencing him with news of her troubles.
People: Adams, Anne Brown, 1843-1926., Ross, Alexander Milton, 1832-1897., Brown, John, 1800-1859., Stearns, Mary E. Preston, fl. 1859., Sanborn, F. B. (Franklin Benjamin), 1831-1917.
Historical Era: Rise of Industrial America, 1877-1900
Full Transcript: Petrolia, Cal. Jany 10th 1894. , , My dear Friend, I trust you will pardon my seeming negligence in not answering your letter for so long a time. Last August I had an abscess in my heel in connection with a severe cold, and since then I have had a succession of attacks of influenza. It is with difficulty that I sit up and write now, as I am very ill, and so are some of my children with severe colds., This sickness has left me in a bad mental state with such a loss of memory that I can hardly write a letter, and I have avoided doing so, until I had quite a  number of unanswered letters but trust that my friends will be charitable enough to excuse me. , I hope to hear that your health is much improved by this time. I am so sorry you have had my affairs to worry you, and at such a time too. It is so good of you to think of others., Believe me, I never intended for you to find out how I am situated, and have felt badly to think I should have been thrust between you and your long cherished plans for others. I recieved a kind letter from Mr. Logan of Chicago with a draft for $55.00, some time ago, which enabled me to pay back the money I had borrowed to pay the taxes, and will buy  seed wheat and potatoes [inserted: to plant] for the coming year, as nearly all our crops last year except oats were almost a failure. , About what you asked in regard to Mrs. Stearns, I can only say do not blame her, for being discouraged, I am discouraged too, a great deal of the time. She has always had her wants anticipated before she realized they existed, and cannot know as have the least idea how other people have to manage to live., She had a great admiration for John Brown, but I do not think she ever liked his family very well. She [inserted: was kind to and] endured them from a sense of duty, perhaps., She became offended with me because [inserted: I] wanted to spend a week  with the Redpath’s, and a day with Wendell Phillipps. They were all very urgent to have me do so, and had planned to have me also meet the [poet] Whittier. Mr. Phillipps was intending to take me to Bunker Hill monument, and other places of interest, and felt hurt that I did not remain as he wished me to. But Mrs. Stearns forced me to go [inserted: home] immediately, without any reasonable reason. I at least thought so, and so did the others. , She always seemed more like a spoiled child to me than any thing else. I am sure I do not bare her any ill will, and only wish her life might have been a happier one., The ill spent fund that she refers to, was raised for Mother, and a part of it was sent to Ruth, and some to me, to pay for food and clothing for my children and myself, and the expenses during my confinement  when my two last children were born. If the donors of that fund are now regretting the use it was put to, I am only too sorry we had it., It was through the hardwork and influence of Mr. Sanborn that it was sent to us. A lady, a friend of mine informed me at the time, that the other members of the Committee were bitterly opposed to my having any of it. She went before the Committee and said that if it had not been for Mr Sanborn’s efforts, they would not have allowed me to have it., It is hard to live and raise a family and feel all the time as if one was doing wrong to even live. I feel like a criminal and that I did a great wrong to ever have married and raised such a family, to suffer for my lack of  judgment, and good sense. , I have not heard from any of the family for a long time. The winter storms and high water cut us off from the outside world almost entirely. , I feel that I owe you and others a debt of gratitude that I can never repay. May the Heavenly Father bless you all for your kindness for one who is so unworthy of it. With love and best wishes to you and yours As ever, Annie Brown Adams, [written upside down on page 6], I always felt the deepest gratitude for all the favors received from the Stearns’ family. I think her mind is perhaps failing with age and her friends ought not to mind or repeat what she says, but remember and speak of what she has done, and been in the past That seems the most charitable way to do, I think., [written upside down on page 1], Will mail this letter when the weather will permit any to go to the post office.
Keywords/Subjects: African American History;, Transcendentalist;, John Brown;, Reform Movement;, Charity and Philanthropy;, Poverty;, Health and Medical;, Women’s History;, Finance;, Abolition;, Slavery;, Woman Author;
Background: Anne Brown Adams was the daughter of John Brown., Alexander M. Ross was a famous Canadian naturalist, also a prominent abolitionist and a strong supporter of John Brown., Mary E. Preston Stearns was the wife of George Stearns, who was one of John Brown’s Secret Six.Order Image