W2925 TO REV. THOMAS BAKER from Robert Wardlaw
Apr 13 1857 [Monday]
To: Rev. Thomas Baker, Newmarket, [Ontario]
From: Mankato, Blue Earth County, Minnesota, U.S.A.
Rev. Thomas Baker,
I take it upon myself under the existing circumstances to advise you of the Death of your Son David B. Baker [;]1
he died upon Saturday the 11 at 12 m. at Slocums on the
Watonwan River some twenty five miles from this place.2 His
Health has been poorly for nearly a year & gradually growing worse [;] his complaint was a Consumption of the Lungs.3
He had the best medical attendance that could be provided in this County but it availed to nothing and he is now gone. He has been at my House for the last five months nearly all the time but would occasionally make excursions off in the country where he certainly was not able to bear the fatigue & privations incident to that kind of life. About three weeks since he undertook to go to a Trading Post on the Des Moines River some ninety miles distant. Myself
and others did all we could do to dissuade him from going
vain [;] go he would & when he reached the Watonwan River a Government Express met him there and advised him of the fact that the Post was cut off & that if the Settlers did not soon get Relief that all would probably be lost [.] His
Partner Dodgson & others waited for the U.S. Troops & as soon as they came up they pushed out to find two of their fellow traders killed & the whole neighborhood destroyed with a few exceptions in a small Block house which held out
until their arrival [.] Much of their property was
destroyed or carried off by the Indians.
I am advised that your son would be buried by the Mankato Volunteers today at noon unless interrupted by an attack of the Indians but I have no fears for that as since the Express left there two companies of volunteers and probably one of the U.S. Regulars would have reached that point.
I will be pleased to receive your instructions in
regard to your Son's affairs [;] his late Partner I may not
probably see for some time. Will pay his Funeral & other
charges [.] Much fear that his Estate is insolvent for his Losses from
the Indians4 [.] This War is carried on with the Sioux
Indians and the U.S. Our whole County is in Arms [.]
Troops is [sic] constantly arming and pushing on to the Seat of War [.] Excuse my haste & many inaccuracies. As ever yours,
Rev. Thos. Baker
Newmarket, Canada West
[Note on Envelope:] Sorrow upon Sorrow.
1 Changes to punctuation are indicated by [ ].
2 The Watonwan River is in the Southern part of Minnesota, south west of Mankato.
3 In several letters to his family, David mentions suffering from respiratory ailments but does not state that they are serious. He may not have known that he had tuberculosis or he may have been in denial. Also, he may simply not want to alarm his family members. For more about David, see W2896.
4 This may refer to David's claim of 160 acres which he, like others in the region, lost as a result of the resettlement of some of the native Winnabago tribe. See W2913, W2917.