On this date 106 years ago, the man who would become my paternal grandfather sat in his room on Geary Street in San Francisco and penned a letter to the woman he intended to marry.
I found a copy of the century-old handwritten letter in the bottom of a box while sorting through my dad’s assorted photos and papers after he was moved to the nursing home at the end of 2008.
William G. “Willie” Lind and Jane Galt “Jeanie” Montgomery were born in Scotland, later worked in England, and then migrated to the U.S.
Willie arrived in the U.S. first, later asking Jeanie to marry and join him in America.
Click on the letter and you can read the original copy. But I also did a quick transcript of the letter in which Willie gives Jeanie instructions on how to get from New York, where her ship would land, to San Francisco on trains connecting through Chicago.
There are a couple of things to note. The letter was largely devoid of periods to separate sentences, although a few do appear. I’ve added some in where it seemed appropriate. And there were a few words that I couldn’t make out, marked with a (?).
1101 Geary Street
June 7, 1910
My Darling Jeanie,
I feel as if I must write a few lines to night. I am up in my room and I have just been looking at, and admiring your picture, and I just wish you were here with me.
I am looking forward with great pleasure for the time when we shall be together. Dear Jeanie, I hope you will not be disappointed in me. Of course I have changed a little since that night I met you 10 years ago.
But I expect you will have changed a little also. But I can assure you Darling that I will try my very utmost to make you feel happy and comfortable when we get settled down together.
I do hope you will like San Francisco and that the climate will agree with you. I am just longing for the time when we shall be together.
Dear I am not going to settle on a house till you get here, and you can have a chance to look around and see the City and then we will settle down in a place that will be suitable to us both. Now Dear just a few lines about the trains.
Their are a great number of trains leaves the Grand Central Station in New York for Chicago every day via the Lake Shore and Mic. Central these trains will land you at La. Salle Street Station in Chicago and from that station in Chicago you can get the train for San Francisco on the Rock Island Route in connection with the Denver and Rio Grand (D.R.G.) and the Southern Pacific (So. Pac) the scenery on the above route is grand.
There are also a great number of trains leave the Pennsylvania Station in New York for Chicago. They would land you at the Union Passenger Station on Chicago and leave from that station in Chicago. You can get the train for San Francisco by the Burlington Route in connection with the Denver and Rio Grand and the Southern Pacific.
Jeanie be sure you buy a first class railway ticket and a first class pullman berth ticket right through from New York to San Francisco, and make sure that you get into the through car from New York to Chicago and then the through car from Chicago to San Francisco. I have sent on a few maps that will (?) you a little on the route, of course you will likely meet some people that are coming through and you could buy your ticket on the route they are coming with. A little about your baggage Jeanie after the Customs people have passed it at New York you will see plenty of express baggage couriers at the ship when you land I think you will have to give your baggage to one of them and he gives you a check for each piece and he takes it to the station wherever you are going to get your train, then after you have bought your ticket for San Francisco you go to the baggage room at the station and produce the checks you got from the express man and the party in the baggage room finds your trunks and then he checks them and punches your railway ticket. Be sure and have them checked right through from New York to 16th Street Station Oakland or San Francisco then you will not require to think any more about them. Just keep ahold of the checks you get from the man that checks your baggage at the railway station till you see me and I will get your baggage for you. Now Jeanie I think I will conclude hoping this will find you well and happy with fond love and very best of wishes and lots of (?). Ever yours, affectionately, Willie.
My dad, John Montgomery Lind, was born three years later, in December 1913.
Back in 2009, my sister told the story of how Willie and Jeanie came to meet, all lodged in our family history. You can read the tale here.