2 pp, 5 ¾ x 9, Catskill, NY, July 18th,
1903, Civil War Captain and Assistant Surgeon Charles R. Gill, writes to a Mr. [Albert]
Smiley, owner of the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY, trying to engage
him on educating “poor mountain people of the South” and speaking of his
interest in raising money to endow Lincoln Memorial University at Cumberland Gap,
Tenn. Smiley was a Quaker and
sympathetic to the cause of helping less fortunate and to peace. He held many conferences focused on finding alternatives
to war. Notable attendees included President William Howard Taft, William Jennings
Bryan and many secretaries of state. Gill’s ALS is written on stationary from
Catskill Mountain House.
“I write to ask you, if you would become interested in the work of educating the poor mountain people of the South.
“General O.O. Howard, U.S. Army, is working to endow the Lincoln Memorial University at Cumberland Gap, Tenn., that is not far from the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln. Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia meet at this point, the centre of that mountain region, whose people are so isolated from all educational opportunities. They are a noble race, pure Americans, honest and hospital. President Lincoln called General Howard to Washington at one time during the Civil War and requested him to go and help that people, saying that they were a loyal people and his own kindred.
“The general feels that it is a charge and so is engaged in what he calls his last great life work. He has called me to aid him and I write to know if you would interest yourself and the people at your house. I could come and give you a little talk. Please quote rate for myself, wife & three small children for one week.”
Toning, folds. Written on Catskill Mountain House stationary, the letter is very readable. Gen. O.O. Howard’s conversation with President Lincoln in 1863, mentioned in the letter, is well documented in historic references.
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