Letters After Milo Grow’s Death
Part of Milo Grow’s Letters from the Civil War
To Roy W. Grow (infant son of Milo Grow) from Milo’s mother and sister, after Milo’s death.
MY ONLY GRANCHILD
R. W. GROW
My Darling little Wabbie,
Grandmama will write a few lines to thank you for your sweet little picture. It is a great pleasure to have your sweet little face where I can look at it many times in a day. It makes me sad and often brings the tears when I think that my darling has no papa to take care of him and watch over him but I think you have a good Mama, Wabbie, and I hope you will be a good little boy.
Do just as your Mother tells you and try and be a confort to her always and remember that God has promised to take carse of the Widow and the fatherless of us that love Him and try to do right.
When I look at your dear picture I think I can almost see may own dear Wabbie when a little boy, the same expression when he was displeased.
Give my love to your dear Mama and tell her I hope she will write me often, I will write to her of […]. Tell her I fear she is working too hard. She must be careful of her health. I hope I shall see you both next May.
Much love to Mama and many kisses for yourself.
From your Grand mama
L. H. Grow
To Milo’s widow, from Milo’s sister
My dear and only Sister
Your last letter written by your Uncle was gladly received. Grieving hearts and tearful eyes welcomed it and we wished we might mingle our tears with yours and talk of the loved one that has gone before us to the land where there is naught but peace and rest.
In our heart the wound deepends rather than heals. God in his providence has ordered that the first bitterness shall in time pass away, but the wound must ever remain open.
I have delayed writing you for a few days because I felt I could not recall all the painful circumstances fro your persual even though I felt quite guilty in being so selfish in keeping you in such painful suspense.
When [Milo’s and Mila’s brother] David left Point Lookout to obtain Milo’s release and prepare for his removal to N. York, he told him that we knew not what might take before his release and asked him what word he would send his friends in case he never saw them.
He replies “tell my wife that my only desire to live is for her and our little boy. And to Mother think I think I am prepared to die.” To me his message was of love and remembrance.
When David reached him, He was watching for him and says “I knew you would come,” and expressed his delight. He was then able to talk faintly but the next day David though he discovered a change but still made all preparations to remove him.
He left him Thursday and he died the following Sunday. The man David procured to take care of him said he died without a struggle. Diptheria setting in was the cause of death coming so suddenly.
He said that David coming brought light out of darkness to him, inasmuch as so many became interested in him after that. D. is a “Mason” and found those of the same order among the officers who did all in their power for Milo after he left and buried him after life had gone out.
He was made as comfortable through his illness as the circumstances would permit, but of a necessity lacked all the kind attentions that so love to bestow upon loved ones in sickness and which is so necessary to our own dearly loved one.
It seemed impossible that his remains could be sent to you, consequently they were brought here and and laid by the side of our father. He had been dead so long that we were not allowed to see him and we know we shall never behold him again until we all stand before our God at the last day.
It is hard, very hard to bear, tho’ the cup is given to us to drink by the most tender and merciful of Beings. The funeral service was very consoling, and I longed for you to share it with us. Our Minister remembered you most kindly and earnestly in his petitions and the dear little LeRoy. He said upon that occasion the 90 Psalm and 1st Corinthians 10 from the 13 verse to the 15.
Could I do so I would love to write you the hymn sung from N. York to Chicago, Ill. and we do not yet know his address. I think he will write you though I have written all the particulars.
Nothing would give us greater pleasure than to receive your picture and LeRoy’s if it is possible to send them. We desire especially to see you both and hope we may be gratified ere long. One of Milo’s classmates in college and the teacher whom he loved more than any other followed him to the grave.
Mother sends a Mother’s love and says she is prepared to receive you as a daughter. Among Milo’s letters we found two of yours which endeared you to us more prehaps than anything else could, for the love and tenderness therein expressed for him whose memory is as dear to us as yourself, only the wife’s love differs from all others.
Remember us in kindness to your friends but more particularly to your uncle who wrote such kindly words of consolation to us. We send kisses to you and the baby. We hope to hear fom you soon.
Your aff. Sister,
Mila A. Grow
Mother had written a part of this but was so tired that I have taken it and completed and copied it for her.
|Bible verses read at Milo’s funeralThe 90th Psalm
LORD, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.
I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.
–1 Corinthians 13-15
Letter from Lamoille Walbridge Grow (Mila) to Sarah Catherine Baughn Grow (Kate)
June 16, 1868
My Dear Little Sister,
Your letters and Wabbie’s picture and my dear brother’s letters to you all came safely to hand. We began to fear the picture was lost, but were made very joyous one night by finding it in our P. O. Box. Wabbie’s is a dear nice little face and Mother thinks she can discover some resemblance to his father in his childish days but I cannot see it. I presume when I see the dear child I shall find the father’s ways and motions. We prize the picture more than I can tell–and when you can get a better one of him, do not fail to send us one–and your own also.
My brother’s wife and little Wabbie’s Mother cannot fail to be very dear to us–were it not for the loving tender heart that she has shown us in her letters, I should know it was the one to attract Walbridge [Milo Walbridge Grow–“Wabbie”] for he always admired a natural, artless, trusting girl far more than a proud brilliant woman–and his letters showed that his affection was all that a loving wife could wish. Happy the wife that has such love and devotion to rest upon–but dear Sister, we are never allowed to make ourselves idols–God has expressly forbidden it. And I know from sad, sad experience that it can never be and now if I find my heart going out very earnestly to a person or thing–I tremble, for I know the end.
|My first sorrow was the loss of my intended, a loss that I realize more and more for he was a noble man. My next sorrow was my Father’s death, and the next my brother. Is it not enough? Every part of my heart except the part occupied by my Mother has been torn. And I came near losing her this Spring.|
Sometimes I almost rebel at the thought that the capacity for loving is implanted in our hearts and still we must love our friends only moderately. I know that it is a wise providence that chastens and disciplines us until we lay up our treasures in Heaven–and by these repeated trials loosens our hold upon earth and causes us to be ready and glad to go in His own good time to dwell with him in the Celestial City. May God make us ready to obey the summons with joy.
I feel very glad that you have so kind a brother to befriend you. I should think yours might be a very happy home. You have the memory of the loved and lost to cheer you, which is next to having them. You would not, if you could to save you the present sorrow, blot all memory of your husband’s acquaintance and years of love. You would rather bear the grief of your loss to the end of life, than never to have known and loved him. Your dear little boy must be the greatest comfort of your life. God was very good to give you him in memory of the husband that was to leave you. Your brother is not married I conclude–but if [he] should marry as he probably will, [your?] home could not be as pleasant. You are getting an experience in housekeeping that will [be] worth much to you–and such as every woman should have–although I know very little of it myself. But if I ever have a home of my own I shall be very ambitious to be a good housekeeper. I think it a great accomplishment.
It is now the most beautiful season in our cold northern climate. The early flowers are in blossom. The trees in full leaf–and the entire country is lovely. We have not the beautiful flowers and delicious fruit of a warmer climate but in Summer the Country is beautiful. I ask none more so. I hope not long you have will have a sight of our valleys and hills dotted with trees and farm houses–prosperous neat little villages nestled close int he valleys with only two or three miles of beautiful farms intervening between. The noble forests in the distance and the grand old mountains that lie in ranges as far as the eye can reach. I know you would be charmed with our little Green Mountain State. Our winters have much that is pleasant and agreeable for a native–but too harsh and rigorous for one not accustomed to them.
You say that I have suffered and ask me what it is. I think you know of much that has been a sorrow to me. My first sorrow was the loss of my intended, a loss that I realize more and more for he was a noble [sane?] man. My next sorrow was my Father’s death, and the next my brother. Is it not enough? Every part of my heart except the part occupied by my Mother has been torn. And I came near losing her this Spring. She was very ill with Lung Fever and for a time I feared I might be motherless also. She has not fully recovered–but I think the warm summer air will give her strength, as she is much better in warm weather. Before Mother was able to leave her room, I was taken sick, with a class of ten music pupils on my hands–so that all things considered we have had rather a hard Spring. My Spring term closed yesterday.
You ask for a picture of your husband–and I most earnestly wish you might have one–and you shall as soon as we can get a copy. But I should fear to send the original as it is the only one that we have. You know it would be very liable to be lost. We have not the picture with us. We packed our things and left them at St. Johnsbury–expecting to return to them–but have been away from there for nearly two years. It is a fine picture of him the day he graduated.
I do not wonder that you feel that you cannot marry again and on Wabbie’s account I feel glad. There are very few men that I should feel willing should have the care of him. I had rather trust him to you alone. It was my brother’s wish to David on his death bed that his little boy should be educated at the North and nothing would have given us more pleasure if we had retained our home at St. Johnsbury than to have taken you both there. But now we are boarding and have no home for ourselves. There are fine schools there and it is a beautiful place. If we are here in Vermont another Summer we shall welcome you most gladly. It is uncertain whether we are. I expect to go home [?] before very long–and I hope to take Mother with me. Wherever we are, we shall want to see you.
David’s wife I think will write to you sometime but July is to be an eventful month with her. I hope you will write soon. I will send a picture of myself but it is not a true representation. My friends say it looks much older than I do. I rather think it does. Only show it to Wabbie for I am rather ashamed of it.
I hope you will write us often and tell us all that interests you.
Your loving Sister
APOSTROPHE TO MY HUSBAND
by Kate Grow
Sleep on, mine own beloved one,
In thy far distant tomb
Though sorrow shadows o’er each heart
That mourns thine early doom.
Sleep on– I would not call thee back
To the cold cares of life;
Sleep on, unmindful of the tears
Of her thou once called wife,
Sleep on, I would not have thee know
The fate of one so loved,
T’would grieve thy proud and generous heart,
Though in the realms above.
Sleep on, sleep on, I try to check
Each murmur of the heart;
But yet ’twas hard, mine own beloved,
‘Twas hard from thee to part,
‘Twas hard to bid a long adieu
To one who loved so well,-
Ah, hard to say that bitter word,
That bitter word, “farewell!”
The anguish of that parting hour
Is on my spirit now;
It sends deep sorrow to my heart,
A shadow to my brow.
And yet I would not call thee back
To the cold cares of life,–
Sleep on, unmindful of the tears
Of her thou once called wife.
My Beloved Milo
Two Essays by Milo Grow
(possibly exam questions from college)
What constitutes genius?
The idea attached by most minds to the word genius, is something similar to what we conceive of instinct in the brute: which can neither be improved by the possessor, nor sought after with success by others. They suppose that genius is inherent in the natures of some men, and therefore they can have no credit for its acquisition. This no doubt arises from a lack of knowledge as to what constitutes genius.
Did the public, one and all, see the midnight hour spent in study by those whom they call geniuses, could they seem them labor with more assiduity, and strive more ardently than they would for wealth, they would forever lay aside the idea that genius is inherent. Judging from outward appearances, we might espouse the opinion of the world, but to draw aside the curtains, is but to establish the truth, that every man is master of his own fortune.
|The more common method, by which genius is acquired, is, when a youth of common talents, aspires to be an instrument of good to mankind.|
When we think of Bonapart, we are apt to forget that he was once a soldier, and that during his youth he gave himself to study, both of arms, and of literature, and that he then laid the foundations for his future fortune: or when we think of Webster, we forget too, that he was once a student at Dartmouth and there strove assiduously for that genius for which he is so renowned. It is scarcely known to us that Cicero spent ten years, indeed his whole youth under the baton of masters in hard study before he dared to appear in public.
If the common acceptation of the word is correct, the world has seen few geniuses, for we may say that none (unless we except the characters treated of in the holy scriptures) have shown great genius without close study and application. The more common method, by which genius is acquired, is, when a youth of common talents, aspires to be an instrument of good to mankind, or that his declining years may be graced by a reputation, sets himself assiduously to work, improves every means and leaves nothing untried which promises aid till in due time he stands before the world a genius.
All grades and classes of genius conformable to this general rule. Could we behold the numberless trials and failures, and the long protracted study accompanied with experiments figures and calculations, in which mechanical genius has been buried long before he offers his inventions to the world, we should conclude that genius is the result of study. Even the boy who gains preeminence among his fellows for wit, does it, to a great degree by dint of study and though, so true is it that nothing worthy of note can be brought to light without it.
Therefore we conclude, that nothing can be more true, that the declaration of the poet, that every man builds his own pyramids.
Which is capable of doing the greatest injury to society, a bad man while he lives or a bad book which he may leave behind?
In treating upon this subject we are to compare the effects of a cause which is silent, only known when it is sought after, with a living actor whose every expression and word is everything an influence– silent, but nevertheless powerful and effectual. In this comparison, we should recollect that either truth or error is by far the most efficient, when in the hands of an enemy the man who can wield them to a definite purpose, in decisive manner.
Error when propagated by the aid of books seldom finds powerful suporters who will devote their time or attention to its extention: therefore a book may be purchased and lay upon the shelf for the space of a year, and should it be perused, the convert to its principles will take little pains to extend them beyond his own roof. Whereas the man who is the author of pernicious principles, feeling ambitious for thier extension, and summoning all his energies into action for the purpose, can hardly fail to exert a great influence upon mankind for evil.
Paine, by his arguments and unbounded influence, was able so to work upon the minds of his nation that they should attempt not only to spread his principles abroad but to reduce them to practice: but how seen after his hands were laid low and his influence forgotten did they relapse back with double force upon the world, their own effects a striking proof of their futility and at last remembered, only as an instance of national folly.
Martin Luther must have failed to accomplish such a noble revolution in religious affairs unless he had taken upon himself the part of an orator as well as author and forced home his truths upon the attention upon mankind by the irrestable power of his eloquence as well as argument. And again, that masses of mankind are not given to reading, so that were they to take their principles from books individually they might almost be said to be void of principle.
Books are handled mostly by men of education and morality who direct to a geat degree what shall be read by the people; consequently, works of an immoral character are rejected. Why is it that a book never has produced a change in the morality of a nation, while the living agent has affected the world? One reason evidently is because there are few books which the community in general will purchase and read, but when their principles are declared publicly, actuated by feelings of natural curiosity, they will listen to them, anxious to acquire without trouble, what they will not labor for.
But it may be said that the productions of a genius will descend to future ages and be long exerting an influence: but it is certain, that unless they find men who are willing to labor and exert their influence in their behalf, their effect must be […] and silent.
Let energy, oratory, influence, and destructive principles be combined and they may force their way through the world and carry destruction with them; but laying aside all but the latter, let the principles, however faithfully compiled, be bequeathed to man and few will notice them, less will believe them, and still less be influenced by them.
It requires that stimulus which naught but man, fired with zeal in his subject, can give, to enforce any principle upon the mind of men. It is in this that the superority of a sermon, delivered from the lips of its author, consists, over one read by a third person. It is from knowledge of this principle that men who would bring about any great reform in the public mind, employ men whose business it is to present argument and persuasion to reason with the learned to persuade those who have not learned to think for themselves. It is upon that that men can accomplish what books will not, that Colporters are sent through the land with such eminent success. It is from a knowledge of that, that all great reformations have been carried on, that the apostles were sent to the heathens rather than the Bible.
It is in vain that Paine closed his Age of Reason with the boast that he had walked through the Bible as a man walks through a wood with an ax, and had felled the trees so that they could never again be made to flourish. He was not aware that it would always require the fire of his eye and the fervor of his genius to give to his doctrine weight and extension.
A book has simply one superiority, that it may survive through the ages, but this can never vie with the power which a man exerts, with all his energy talent and influence during a life of three score years and ten directed to one object.
M. W. Grow
[End of the Milo Grow letters]
Milo Grow’s Letters from the Civil War
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