ERB  portrait by John Coleman Burroughs
The Danton Burroughs 
Family Archive
Burroughs Family Tribute Series
Presents
Danton Burroughs

GEORGE T. BURROUGHS, JR.
NOTES FROM YALE UNIVERSITY Pt. II
Collated excerpts from the Yale Letters (ERBzines 1097-1099)
Continued from Pt. I
CONTENTS
THOUGHTS ON HEALTH & FITNESS
SPORTS & TRAINING
COURSES AND PROFS
FAMILY BUSINESS
LIFE BACK HOME
BROTHERS EDDIE AND FRANK BACK HOME
CONCLUSION

Panoramic View of New Haven

Yale Campus Map
 
HEALTH & FITNESS (closely related to the SPORTS & TRAINING section)
October 17, 1886
We had a fine lecture yesterday from Dr. Siever who will deliver lectures on hygiene to us during the entire course, in it he touched especially upon the college sports and I wish I. I had a copy of the lecture to send you that you might see his idea of the importance of these athletic sports and the good derived from them. To one of my active temperament it would be impossible to go through college if I was prohibited from taking part in such sports as I was physically able to, Now if I was a little braver you might hear of me doing wonders on the "crew" or the "eleven,"  base ball I would forego out of regards to father's rather strong opinions on that point.
January 16, 1887
Harry is not quite so busy as he is not training though I hope he will try for the Freshman crew as soon as he gets rid of his cold. We have both had rather bad colds since we got back. I am feeling quite well otherwise but Harry's seems to affect him more. I got him into my heavy underclothes yesterday and as he is beginning to take more care of himself I hope he will soon be all right. If he does not get better he will go & see a physician. Friday was a memorable day. It rained in torrents nearly all day and the snow prevented the rain from running off so we had to wade about ankle deep. We were lucky to have our rubber boots for rubbers were no protection. Harry only went out to meals all day.I wish you would tell me what to take for a cold. I ought to know but could think of nothing. We forgot to bring down any gummer pills so I bought a dozen 2 gr. pills & the druggist told me 10 grs was a dose if I wanted to break up a cold. Wasn't that too much? I only took 6 grs. & it seemed to help me. Now that I have experimented on myself I am going to give Harry some tonight.
April 20, 1887
Do you have oatmeal for breakfast? I hope the girlsLizzie can soak it better than most cooks we have had for we will want lots of it when we get home. We each eat two soup plates full morning & night.  Beside this beef is our principal food & I am apt to have all the beef steak I want before we are through.
April 27, 1887
My sty dissapeared very suddenly after it came to a head, but while it did last it was so painful that it kept my eye full of water which not only prevented my studying but made it impossible to use my eyes at all.
June 17, 1887
LETTERHEAD: Hale & Co. Proprietors: Watch Hill House, Watch Hill, R.I. (Opens June, Season 1887) ~ Crocker House New London, Conn (Open All The Year): Harry & I are both quite well. I have had a lot of boils, just enjoying my seventh, but as they are not very serious they dont affect my general health only my comfort, which has been quite seriously affected owing to the fact that I have not been able to sit down comfortably for about four weeks.
December 4, 1887
I am sorry that Mother and Eddie are not well. I am afraid that neither of them get enough outdoor exercise to keep their systems in order. Plain food, regular habits, good hours & plenty of exercise keep me in such perfect health that I want to prescribe the same for every one who is not feeling well.
January 22, 1888
I am sorry you (mother) and Nellie will keep on having those fearful headaches. I wish I could do something but I don't believe I can help you in any way, if you were men I would say do as I do & can tell you , you would then know what it is to enjoy life. That is I mean with perfect health the simple fact of living - eating when hungry, sleeping when tired, without any artificial amusements -- is a pleasure. I'll be glad when father feels as though he could afford to take a rest, I think he needs it & ought not to put it off too long. He ought to take a change of air for a week or so along in the spring which is a trying time in Chicago & get a fresh start.
January 29, 1888
Something happened to the alcohol which we brought down or thought we brought which is curious. We had no occasion to use any  * * * * a package of any kind & can safely send about a quart of alcohol I wish you would.
February 26, 1888
I have had the worst luck with my hands lately, in the first place there is a good sized wart developing on the palm which interferes with rowing, then last week in opening the box which contained that jug of alcohol I knocked quite a large piece of flesh out of one of my knuckles & instead of healing up it has festered & kept my finger stiff for about ten days, last of all I drove a sliver under the finger nail of my first finger & this had to swell up & get stiff so that I haven't been able to do any writing for about a week.
 
SPORTS & TRAINING
Yale/Harvard Race
October 17, 1886
You make me smile when you talk about danger in a boat race, why the fellows go out in the harbor a half mile or more and even upset out there with nothing to hold them up but a little shell yet nobody thinks they are in danger except from being laughed at.  It was a great disappointment to all of us to lose that race for it would have been a big feather in our caps to be able to say that our class had beaten the Academics and the worst part of it is the opportunity is gone never to return. It is pleasant to know that we are remembered and inquired after by our friends. Please give our regards or love as the case may require to all who inquire.
January 9, 1887
The University crew went to work yesterday Capt. Rogers '87 inquired for me & sent word for me to be there Thursday which you may be sure I will do. They run by twos for about five miles through the streets of New Haven in their rowing suits. I will tell you more fully in regard to the work they do after I learn myself.
January 30, 1887
I have not written about rowing this time for fear you would get the opinion as you seemed to last time that I was devoting too much time to it. I give from 4-6 o'clock every day but Sat. & on Sat from 3-6 to it, and as this serves me for recreation as well as for exercise I think it is time well employed. My health has never been better than since I commenced to train, my cold has left me (without the use of medicine), and I am apparently cured of dyspepsia, or indigestion. So already I feel paid for anything I may have to do or anything I may have to get up between now & June, or rather July. I am still training with the "University" and have the satisfaction of knowing that I am training as hard as anyone in college and much harder than most. I also feel not a little elated that I am able to keep up with men who are now training for the fourth year. We run from three to five or six miles daily, besides about an hour's work in the gym. I assure you I will not let my pride prevent my stopping at any time I feel that I am doing too much. Two sure symptoms of over-training are loss of appetite and insomnia, both of which I am only troubled with in a negative way. My appetite would dI  think surprise you & I sleep about ten hours out of the twenty four.
February 6, 1887
We rowed on the harbor last Monday and at least our crew have been out nearly every day during the week. We can't all row in our boat so the first eight or rather the eight best men go out in the eight oared barge and when there is the right number left over to fill another boat I get a chance to go. Yesterday the crew got very nearly frozen up outside, they had to break their way through the ice to get in, and they said if they had been fifteen minutes later they could not have done it. Friday it began to rain while we were out and as it was quite cold it froze as it fell so our clothes were frozen as stiff as boards. My cup only covers the back of my head and I had a solid cake of ice frozen on my hair in front. But we all enjoy it as we have on old clothes that cannot be injured. Words cannot describe the fearful weather this country can produce. It rains all the time and I think the thermometer must vary about 20 degrees each day.
February 22, 1887
Half the University and half the freshman crew had a nice mud bath down at the boathouse Sat. A platform broke, dropping us about six fieet into the slimiest mud I ever saw. I landed square on top of another fellows & so, fortunately, came off somewhat better than I otherwise would, but I was a sight.
March 13, 1887
We have been having pretty cold, raw weather during the pst week; this has made it rather trying on one's fingers in rowing. We are working hard at it, although still in doubt as to whom we are to race with. We go to the gym every day to change our clothes and then run down to the boathouse. As soon as it gets warm enough we will move our things down there and won't have to go to the gym at all.
April 20, 1887
We each eat two soup plates full morning & night.  Beside this beef is our principal food & I am apt to have all the beef steak I want before we are through. The class races which will be our first race comes off on the first of May. Our important race probably with the Harvard & Columbia Freshmen does not occur until the last of June or the first of July.
April 27, 1887
No matter how tired I come home if I can get enough sleep at night. I always wake up perfectly rested. It has been definitely settled that we will not row Harvard. It may interest you to know why they refuse to row us. The Freshmen are not afraid of us, but the Harvard "Varsity" men know that by letting their Freshmen accept our challenge it will keep us in training about six weeks longer than if we were only going to enter the class races in May & thus develop material for our University crew which Harvard will have to meet in following years. Beside this Yale is at New London a week each year immediately before the race with no crew to row against while Harvard can practice with their Freshmen every day. We have received a challenge from the University of Penn. Freshmen to row them at New London & have accepted the challenge. It will probably be a walk away for us but it will accomplish the desired end, that of keeping us rowing until the end of June & also having us at New London with the Varsity.
May 4, 1887?
Those trims you used in botany when you studied it are all in use now. When I spoke of my hands bothering me I meant that they blistered & were sore. They are all right now however. My eyes have hardly bothered me at all this winter & as our hardest work is over I anticipate no trouble from them. The fact from which I derive more enjoyment is that my stomach is all right. I can now look upon the world as a place fit to live in.
May 26, 1887
Those races which you seem to fear so much dont hurt a man who is in good training in the least and they are a great education which only one who has rowed them can appreciate, we are both the better for the few we have rowed I believe.
June 6, 1887
Our class played the Harvard Freshmen the second & last game of base-ball this afternoon & were victorious with a score of 10 to 2. This gives us both games of the series. We got our rowing suits Monday. They are furnished by the class.
June 1887?
We go to New London at 3 PM today. Our first race & perhaps our only one is on the 25th with U. of P. Freshmen. Then we will probably stay up their until after the Harvard-Columbia Freshman race to see if they will let us into that.  Tell father that I have freighted the bicycles to him, that I had to pay the freight,  or will have at this end & will enclose prepaid bill of lading in this letter. I have written this letter by --- in different places on paper I took from the examination room. We have both passed the last exams & are Juniors now. I must stop again & will add more if I get time.
January 12, 1888
I have got to that point in my training where I go down stairs backwards, this will wear off in about a month probably & then my hands will begin to blister & other such agreeable things will be our lot for the next six months.
Yale Boat HouseJanuary 29, 1888
I have had to stop training for a short time on account of rheumatism in my back & legs. I am now taking a course of three Turkish baths, by the advice of a physician & hope at the end of a few days to be at work again. Our doctor's bills will be paid by the University Crew as long as we are training with them, so it is not so bad having to consult a physician. There is nothing very serious the matter with me for I only notice it when I run or row, but, Stevenson, the Capt. of the crew, hustles us right off to Dr. Bacon at the least sign of anything wrong. * * * * They are giving us all a thorough physical examination at the hands of an excellent surgeon to see if we are able to do the work required of a man who rows with the crew.
February 12, 1888
I have about got over my rheumatism, if rheumatism it was & am steadily at work again. My back, which was all that worried me atall is all right & Dr. Bacon says my legs will be all right when warm weather comes. Tell mother she is right, my cautiousness will keep me from knowingly injuring myself If anyone was ever cursed with a bump of caution large enough to approach almost cowardice I am. I wish I could spend a few years of my life where a little more of the animal or savage qualities would be brought out. The only opportunity I have ever had, playing football, I have thrown away partly through conflicting recitation hours it is true, but also through that caution which is afraid of a broken leg or arm or nose or something of that kind which dont happen very often. Our chances of going to the training table with the University Crew are rather slim, but while I am sorry it is so I am not dissapointed for we are very light & have only rowed one year. If either of us make substitute next year even, to say nothing of getting on the crew I shall think we have done well.
February 26, 1888
Next Thursday the Crew goes to the "training table" & our fate will be either decided for this year or merely postponed for  of those who go to the table, two or three will probably be dropped off inside of six weeks. We have been rowing on the harbor for the past week & except occasionally on account of stormy weather we will row there every day until four.
April 14, 1888
[FROM HARRY TO MOTHER] We have nearly all of our old men in the '90 boat now and have little brushes with the Varsity once in a while reminding us forcibly of last Spring when we spent some of the pleasantest days of our life. I never expect to have such good times again as we had there. We go to the training table for dinner do day and will be there until the Spring races (probably May 12) when we hope to win another flag although we will have the hardest kind of work to get it as there will be four crews entered i.e. Varsity '89 - '90 -'91 although if the Varsity win as they are pretty sure to do - the flags will probably go to the first class even in. We elected Ish Newell (a North Side Chicagoan) captain last week and if we dont win it wont be his fault. Love to Nell and the boys.
April 22, 1888
We are at a training table, as Harry has probably told you, and are rowing pretty hard, from five to eight miles a day. The race comes off on Sat. May 12 & after that I think I will still keep in training & box & wrestle with Sweetser who is anxious to get some one to wrestle with & will probably give me some pointers on sparring to get me to wrestle with him.
May 13, 1888
Well we rowed & won yesterday, won by about four feet in two miles which means a race from start to finish.
COURSES AND PROFS
October 17, 1886
We bought a dictionary about a week ago. A Woserster's unabridge with sheet engraving and lettered on the edges for $8.10 a bargain I think. It was new.
October 24, 1886
Last Thursday I read a composition before the class, a thing which to some people doesn't mean much but to me it is everything. You can hardly imagine what an internal conflict has been going on in me for the last month, at first I seriously contemplated leaving college then found that I could avoid reading by absenting myself from the recitation and handing my composition in next day. I had to fight this temptation harder than anything else for it seemed so easy a way of getting out of the whole business. You may imagine I feel greatly elated, and look back at myself with pity as well as amusement.
January 16, 1887
We will probably have to work (study) pretty hard until Easter, when we drop two of our studies  - one of them is replaced by botany & the other by lectures on Physical Geography which require no preparation. We had to get a German Dictionary when we came back & are now reading German.
January 30, 1887
I saw the account of the congressman using so many towalk, it hardly seems possible. That other article from the Detroit Free Press had some good things in it & should have been printed in good English I think. I ran across "Norhoff's Politics for Young Americans" in the library yesterday, and remembering that you had often urged me to read it, took it out and shall try to get time to read it through. I will also urge Harry to read it.
February 6, 1887
Your suggestion in regard to a Dynamic (or Mechanical) Engineering course could not have come at a more opportune time, for since deciding not to take the course in chemistry I have been trying to decide which of the remaining ones were best suited to my taste & capacity. I immediately decided that the Dynamic would suit me best, but as there is a great deal of very hard mathematics in it, and as I am very backward in the same I thought it would be better to think twice before taking upon my self a course that I was not equal to. Now since receiving your letter I look at it in another way. If I am not able to grasp such subjects as we have in mathematics, a certain portion of my brain must be only partially developed, and by the pursuit of those studies I might secure the needed development.  And seriously, despite its being a very difficult course, I think I should enjoy it on account of my natural liking for machinery of any kind. Has Harry told you about his composition? We had to write on the "Conquest of Normandy" and after studying it a while he spent the whole of last Sunday in writing a very elaborate article of ten pages and when he finished it (you can almost guess what it was) he found that he had written on the wrong subject entirely, about some battles between the English & French two hundred years later. He will have to write another and you may be sure he will know something about the aforesaid Conquest of Normandy. I came near making the same mistake above as a good many of the boys did, i.e. they wrote on the Norman Conquest which occurred about two hundred years before in stead of two hundred after as Harry's did. I am writing on a very interesting subject and will send it home when through with it. The subject is "The story of Caspar Hussar" if you are not familiar with the story I think it would pay you to look it up, you could find it without doubt in the Encyclopedia. It is a very strange story and I think it would interest the boys.
February 17, 1887
The Dynamics have just been told to procure a $10.00 text book, a sort of treaties on the steam engine. I got one of the booksellers here to make a reduction of $3.00 on each book in consideration of a certain number purchasing of him.
March 13, 1887
Friday our class was divided according to stand in German and Harry and I both struck the 1st division. That means more really than the other, for German is considered the hardest study of Freshman year and a man who stands well in that is though to be doing pretty well. You and father both speak of seeing the names of the members of the "Chicago Club" in a Chicago paper but neither of you say whether ours were given or not. I judge they must have been if forty nine names are given.  We have some more compositions on hand. I am not sure that I care to send mine for it is a very poor affair and to make it worse in the hurry of copying it I misspelled quite a number of words.
March 13, 1887
Our term bills come due the 19th of this month but there is no hurry about them. This will be $40 apiece. We are to have an examination in English next Sat. that will be the end of that study.  When we finish Chemistry we take up botany. I think I will study it up and try to pass it off. It is said to be quite easy. We have not called on Dr. Smythe because I don't see how we can do ti without going to hear him preach, as we go no place else and that I don't care to do.
March 22, 1887
Every Monday & Friday afternoons after next Monday we will have an opportunity to attend lectures on "Military Science" given to the Senior class by lecturers furnished by the U.S. government in accordance with some act of Congress. The "Merrill Sand Grant Act" I believe. Perhaps you know what it is, I don't. The subjects & lectures are as follows:
I Armies, their Organization, Equipment & Tactics. Lieut. W.S. Libert U.S. Engineers
II Moving, Supplying & Sheltering Troops.  Lieut. H.M. Chitternden, U.S.E.
III Strategy & Grand Tactics. Lieut C.E. Gilbert, U.S.E.
IV Light-Seige & Seacoast Artillery. Lieut. Irvine Hale, U.S.E.
V. Field & Permanent Fortifications: their attack & defense. Capt. J.G.D. Knight, U.S.E.
VI Seacoast Defences, Vessels which attack them and Torpedo Systems. Maj. W.R. King, U.S.E.
April 20, 1887
Our Chemistry exam comes Friday. That will be the end of Chemistry. After this week we expect to have a somewhat easier time than we have been having.
April 26, 1887
I tell you I will be glad to get through studying & get home. I begin to feel the effects of what I have done since Christmas. I think our training which keeps us in good physical condition will keep us up about five weeks more. I am afraid the strain in preparing for examinations will add the finishing touches to my already tottering reason & leave me a maniac, crazy on the subjects of Physics & Analytical Geometry.
April 27, 1887
The class have commenced Botany (commenced yesterday.) Harry & I with 48 others, studied it up last term & with seventeen others passed it off. This gives us two hrs more a week to ourselves, without counting the time necessary to prepare the lessons. I don't know anything about how it is taught here.  We will probably have a good deal easier time this term with our studies than last, but those that are left in quite enough for hot weather. I think it is a very wise arrangement to let up on us a little bit now. But any time we gain from our studies will be devoted to rowing so there is no danger of our being idle. I have had an unusually hard row today, about four miles this morning & right this afternoon. I am somewhat tired but my hands bother me the most.
May 4, 1887?
I guess I will have to stop now & study German. We are reading Schille's "Song of the Bell" in German now, and & are studying it very thoroughly.
May 11, 1887
While we still have considerable studying to do, it is so much less than we had last term that it seems easy. Owing to our having a pretty high stand we are not afraid of any of the examinations except mathematics in which, though I hope not, we may one or both get a condition.
May 19, 1887
We get through our recitations about the 10th of July & for the two or three weeks following have nothing but three examinations. If you notice anything peculiar about the looks of this, it is because I have just cut the end of my thumb & have to hold the pen rather akwardly.
May 26, 1887
Harry & I have been working on our theses since se got up this morning. I have worked eight hours and will probably require two men to finish it which I must do tonight.
June 17, 1887 or 1888
We have had four of our examinations. I will have my last one Tuesday & Harry will have his Wed. I found out last night that I got through an exam in French in which two thirds of the class were conditional. It has created great consternation as some of the best men in the class failed & nobody feels sure as yet whether he go through or not. I have just finished reading a French book of about 300 pages without the aid of a dictionary and have started another . If I can keep my self at it during the summer I believe I can pass off my senior French in the Fall & take Spanish instead which I am very anxious to study.
June 18, 1887
That article by Julian Hawthorn in the Century is creating a good deal of sport at the author's expense owing to the many foolish & extravagant statements he makes. I read the "Century" & "Harpers" every month & beside these usually look over "Sippracott's Magazine", The "Nineteenth Century", The "Forum" and other similar periodicals, using the library quite a little too. So you see I have done considerable reading, such as it is.
October 2, 1887
I submitted that entrance to Prof William T. Knapp, Ph.B "Street Proffessor of Modern Languages." He said it was undoubtedly gram(m)atically incorrect but popular usage would in the opinion of some grammarians make it proper. That is he names several men whom he said he had no doubt would sanction its usage because such an expression is very common. I intend to ask the opinion of others about it but am so busy I can't find time to go to see them.  I stopped in the middle of a French lesson to write this letter. I have been at work two hours now & have gone over about two thirds of the lesson in a hasty manner. At that rate it would take me three hours to go over it once & I could not possibly recite on it without going over it all again.  The worst of it is this is the easiest study I have. The result is I have hardly gone to a recitation yet with the whole lesson prepared.
December 4, 1887
Things are rather quiet now that foot-ball is over. Every one is getting ready for examinations. I will have five which will keep me pretty busy up to the last minute.
December 1887?
If I have to work as hard as I am working now when I get into business I will learn trade & work with my hands I think. Not that I would begrudge the time or the labor if I could accomplish anything, but this always attempting the impossible as I do when I tackle German or Calculus is what I don't like. The other lessons while difficult & occasionally too deep can usually be mastered if I give sufficient time to them.
January 22, 1888
 I would suggest that if you have occasion to get another, you get a "Complete Algebra" & not the "Elements of Algebra" which our are. We were conditioned in higher algebra when we entered & never knew until we got down here that what we wanted wasn't in our book.
January 22, 1888
Whenever you have more money than you know what to do with, I would like to get some quite necessary books. Not but what I have all I really for my regular studies, but especially in German there is such an opportunity for outside reading opened up that it seems a pity not to take advantage of it. For instance, our German reading lately has dealt largely with Ancient Mythology and all members of the class have had an opportunity to display their knowledge of the subject, as I know absolutely nothing about it, I got Pope's translation of the "Iliad" & a classical dictionary & have gone to work at them. The "Iliad" is not at all dry as I supposed it would be but is quite interesting. Nearly every week Prof. Wheeler suggests some book either for reading or for reference that would help us in our study of German, and it is the same in French.
February 12, 1888
I am beginning to get something practical now in my course. Next week we commence "shop visiting" & at the same time "machine drawing" from sketches & measurements which we take ourselves. We are beginning to get quite a respectable knowledge of French & German & I am beginning now to get a drive to go abroad & learn to speak them which they dont pretend to teach here.
March 25, 1888?
 If Frank can get the initials & class of any of his teachers who are graduates of Yale & what they are teaching & send them to me I would be obliged to him.
April 14, 1888
[FROM HARRY TO MOTHER]: George and I both passed our Calculus exam which is by far the most difficult study we have had so far, and I have taken up in its stead "Analytical Mechanics". In German we are reading Prince Bismark's speech of Feb 6 - 1888 and find it comparatively easy. Prof. Wheeler says he is having us read it in order to get a practical illustration of what we have accomplished in the study by reading in his own language the opinion of Germany's principal statesman and military leader concerning the present political status of Europe. Being able to translate something of importance like this speech is as gratifying as to find in our surveying some practical application for the propositions and formulae of Geometry  and Trigonometry, over which we spent so many hours without knowing why until now.
Apr 27  1888
I submitted that proposition to Prof. Clark this morning & he promised to look it over at his earliest convenience. I will let you know what he says as soon as I find out. Such an example is entirely out side of any rule for there can of course be no such thing. So I don't suppose Prof. Clark, although recognized as one of the ablest mathematicians in the country, would be any better able to solve it than many another man except as he has mind especially trained to mathematical problems. I dont agree with you in making the answer 42. I make it 28.
May 6, 1888
Prof. Clark would not give a direct answer to that proposition. He didn't say anything about it for several days & then he got hold of me after class & discussed it from every point of view & I believe  I would have been listening to him yet (for he is a great talker) if another class had not come in to recite, which compelled him to let me go.  I think I could explain his position if I could see you & talk. But as you only wanted the answer it wont pay to write his views. Prof. Loisette (or what ever his name is) had two very large classes here studying his Memory System but I never heard any one speak very highly of it nor did I notice that the fellows in my class who took it went very rapidly to the front. I dont know anything for or against it however.
May 27, 1888
The beginning of the end is at last in sight. Our recitations stop one week from next Thursday. We will probably be home on Sunday July 1st not later anyway than Monday. Our examinations this year promise to be considerably easier than any we have had yet or rather I suppose I ought to say I am better prepared for them. We finish German this year & will have done the hardest part of our French.

FAMILY BUSINESS
January 26, 1887
I am glad you are getting on so well with your sheds & think the other members of the firm must be equally glad that they took your advice in regard to the new sheds for I should judge from the papers that there will be more trouble with cattle in & about Chicago before long.
March 18, 1887
 Is business good, and do you expect to be out of debt by next fall? I sincerely hope nothing happens to delay it, for I think it is about time that you began to have a little rest and as long as anything of that kind was hanging over you I know you would never give your time to enjoying yourself. I thought several times last Sunday that I would give a good deal to hear Dr. Thomas' sermon for I had no doubt he would touch on the life and death of Henry Ward Beecher. The "News" had a part of his sermon in Monday's paper. Dan's blacksmith shop was built when we were home but he had nothing in it. It must be partly full by this time. Harry thinks he doesn't have time to write during the week, so after this he will write on Sunday and I will write between times.
May 11, 1887
Your letter of the 8th rec'd. I am sorry you feel that you have to sell those lots because I know it is to keep us here at college. I know you are doing what you think best & I hope you are right. But if I had my way I would come home & go to work before I would let you do it. That we are acquiring knowledge here that will be useful in afterlife there can be no doubt. That we are enjoying ourselves I freely admit, but there is always the thought that whenever you send us money you are depriving yourself & other members of the family of something.     If this is different another year I will feel less guilty & mean for what I have accepted this year. But if not I dont think you will ever be repaid for the sacrifices you have made added to those you will be compelled to make. I speak entirely for my self for I think Harry may amount to something & in that way repay you.  There will be lots of time to talk this over more fully when we get home.
May 26, 1887
I have several times been on the point of telling you that I would not go out with Sweetser but thought I would wait until you mentioned the only as there was no hurry, then your letters speaking of sending me to Tacoma made me think that if you wanted me to go out then I might make "Cal" a visit on the way. I will let him know as soon as he comes back from Harvard, where he has been since I rec'd your letter, that I wont be able to go with him, and will be ready to go to work as soon as I get home.
February 12, 1888
I was glad to hear you speak so hopefully of the "Trust's" prospects.  There was an article in a N.Y. paper a few days ago stating that a 10,000 bu house was to be built in that city by a Peoria distiller whose name was not familiar to me I suppose that is a newspaper story, isn't it?
April 22, 1888
I saw by the paper that the distillers had a meeting in Peoria Wed. I suppose Father was there. I wish father would write us a little more fully about business, aside from the fact that the "Trust" has declared one or two dividends we know nothing. We would like to know how much his share is & whether the business is at present, sufficient or more than sufficient to pay the expenses of the family. What is the stock worth now per share & how many shares has father got?
 
 
LIFE BACK HOME
October 17, 1886
I don't know whether my face looks less "drawn & haggard" than it did, you can judge for yourself Christmas. I am glad you have had the gas & sewer pipes attended to.
January 9, 1887
We understood why you left us at the train and that it was the only thing you could do, but while it was unpleasant it only made a difference of five or ten minutes which compared with the six months we are to be away is very little. The very thought of your being taken away from us gave me such pain that I don't know how I could endure the reality, which I sincerely hope, and believe, we shall not be called upon to do for many years. I hope in a few years your greatest cares will be over and that we can relieve you of many of your burdens so that you can get a long rest form the never ceasing duties of the last few years. (I speak of those years that I know of.). Harry will probably be a Civil Engineer and will in all probability be away from home a good deal even if he does not make his home in  some other part of the country. When I get through my course here my wish is to get into business at home and that you & mother may always have me to depend on. For independent as one may be of pecuniary aid, there will never be a time when a younger person may not serve an older, especially a son his parents. When I came down here I had hopes that I might distinguish myself in my studies (in some one) but I find that impossible and when I look at those of my classmates who do the best I feel thankful that I am not like them for with a few exceptions the "digs" are a poor, sickly looking lot. I hope however that I will know as much as nay of them at the end, for I will learn from them in recitations & when I get hold of a thing once I remember it. I tell you this for I want you to understand that even if I don't make a mark I am working and not wasting my time.
January 26, 1887
I am so sorry mother has had another sick-headache and am dissapointed too for I thought at one time that she was cured.
February 13, 1887
Belle wrote me a letter last week, I suppose she wants something from you again. Have you any idea what? Perhaps she wants you to entertain them on their wedding trip for if one may judge from her letter marriage between her and Dr. Brown is not far distant, or rather is certain to occur in time. I will wager she did not write to me out of pure love. Something is in the wind. I go someplace to call every Friday & Sat. evenings & could easily go every night  if I had the time. Will seems anxious to introduce me to all the ladies he knows here & as he goes in the best New Haven society and goes a great deal I expect to know quite a number before the year is over.
May 6, 1887
The first year we are at home on the 23rd of Feb. I think we ought to have a grand celebration. Next year is really the time but then we will not be home. I can hardly realize that two months have passed since we were home. We are so busy all the time that we don't find the days hang heavily at all. Mother said she thought Grandma was stronger than she had been. I hope she continues to improve.
March 9, 1887
FROM HARRY TO MOTHER: Of course I didn't know the substance of the girl's letters - so I should certainly have to agree with you. What I took exception to was that Geo. especially accused them of some scheme just from the fact of their writing to you, without regard to the contents of the letters.
Wouldn't be as much surprised to hear that Belle had some motive, however, as to hear that Nell did. Would you? If I was in your place I wouldn'tthink of having them at the house, Mother dear, until I felt able not only physically and pecuniarily, but also felt that it would be a pleasure all around  (Sentiments of H.S.B.) How is Uncle Henry getting on? Surely there must be some situation by this time. Are the Grant and LaSalle clubs really going to unite? What is the world (political world) coming to? Glad to hear Pa is blooming out as a public speaker. In a few years we will have him and Geo. lecturing around the country (while you and I go to the Opera!) Am glad that Grandma is better and do hope she will be entirely well before long.
March 13, 1887
Was Father's rheumatism anything serious?
May 11, 1887
Harry & I are making inquiries about Preparatory schools & are in a good place to get information so that by the time we get home we may be able to help you in deciding where to send Frank, either next year of year after as you see fit.
April 20, 1888
 plain speaking to be done it occurs to me you had better let Father do it. You know he can say the most fearful things to people without making them mad & then if she should get mad & talk against you as she would be apt to do Father is better able to stand it than you are. Now I think a better way would be to thank her for the present, putting in a word or two to show her that you see the difference between you & Mamie's  and then drop her altogether. What I mean to imply is that you can't show her what you think of her treatment of you & still remain in friendly relations with her. Perhaps you can but I know that I couldn't.
May 4, 1887?
I am mighty glad Uncle Henry has a chance of getting a position under the new municipal administration. It must be pretty rough on a man to go through what he has been through. I dont see how he has stood it so well. While the "News" is inclined to make fun of Mayor Roche it has commanded several activities of his.
June 17, 1887 or 1888
Your letter to me from Glenwood rec'd. I am sorry that you found things as you did there. It is strange that our own family enjoying such good health, happiness & prosperity, almost all our relatives suffer from just the reverse. I hope you will not get too much pulled down in health & spirits.
June 17, 1887 or 1888
I think we will b e home on Sunday July 1st at 9.50 A.M. & probably by the Michigan Central R. R. It is frightfully hot here. With love to Grandma, Aunt Silae & Fred Sherman.
June 22,1887
In regard to being home on the 3rd we could do it but we would have to miss the Harvard-Yale race which is the most important event of the college year and is something we have looked forward to for a long time. If I thought you cared enough about it to wish us to give up seeing the race we would do if of course, but it seems so small a thing that I hate to do it. We go to New London at 3 PM today. Our first race & perhaps our only one is on the 25th with U. of P. Freshmen. Then we will probably stay up their until after the Harvard-Columbia Freshman race to see if they will let us into that. Tell father that I have freighted the bicycles to him, that I had to pay the freight,  or will have at this end & will enclose prepaid bill of lading in this letter. I have written this letter by --- in different places on paper I took from the examination room. We have both passed the last exams & are Juniors now. I must stop again & will add more if I get time.
December 4, 1887
 I will enclose another recipe for mother & a notice I received from the "Yale Glee Club" announcing a concert to be given in Chicago on the 30th inst. I wish you would all make up your minds to go for I am sure you would enjoy it. Harry & I will go anyway. I wish I had a dress suit to wear to it, for it is usually, here at least, a pretty swell affair.
February 26, 1888
You are right father if you can do as well as you did twenty five years ago we will be lucky. I hope you will live to see some of your children celebrate the twenty fifth anniversary of their marriage. I was glad to hear of your going to the theatre Wednesday evening, you & mother had such busy lives with so little amusement that it will do you good. Will Tascott if he is the one we know & I am sure it is, is the last person I should have suspected of such a crime & I haven't heard enough to make me believe it yet, at least not that he was alone when he committed that murder.
April 8, 1888
 I can understand I think, why you dont wish to move this year or to start to build sooner than you are really well able. As far as I am concerned I wouldn't care to move from that house until we were to get into a good one of our own & with money enough to own it, only I wish I was certain that you wouldn't build on the West side.
April 14, 1888
[FROM HARRY TO MOTHER]: I know Father will criticize my business methods in not informing him by letter that I had expressed the parts of my wheel which Frank wanted, but it slipped my mind at the time, and would occur to me only when engaged in something more important. I slipped it on the 11th to Geo T. Burroughs, 25 S. Canal St., Chicago, C/O Abel Amer & Co. and valued at $25.00.  Tell Frank he will have to get the necessary screws at the St. Nicholas Mills if he wants to use the brake as I have put the original ones in such a safe place that I cant find them. If George failed to write Ed about his cyclometer please say to him that a 56" cyclometer on a 46" wheel would register a mile every 4337.13 feet ridden if I have figured correctly. Perhaps if he has had proportion it would be good policy for him to use the cyclom and figure out by proportion his days of mileage. I want both of them to have the pedal mount by the time we get home.
April 22, 1888
I am glad that you have been free from a sick headache for so long. I can't tell how much I would be pleased if you had at least found a remedy which would head them off for good.
June 10, 1888
In regard to that tricycle affair I think it is merely a matter of taste. While I don't see anything particularly wrong in it I think you did just right in dissuading Nellie from going out on a tricycle. It is as yet something not at all common in this country and it makes a girl pretty conspicuous which is something that should be avoided. How long do you intend to have us stay in Chicago before going up to Braies Lake? If the family are all away & there is room we may have one or two of our friends who are going through Chicago stop with us while they are there...
June 27, 1888
Don't make too many preparations for receiving any of our friends. Owing to plans made by the parents of  both they have been compelled to change theirs. Sweetser is going home today & Rice will probably not go through Chicago until after we get to Beaver Lake.
 
 
BROTHERS EDDIE AND FRANK BACK HOME
October 24, 1886
Tell Frank that while I would like to have him write if he wants to, not to trouble himself to if it is a bore for I know how hard it is for a boy to write a letter.
January 30, 1887
Ed is very welcome to the calendar.
February 13, 1887
I hope you (Frank) are getting along at school as well as you were when we were home. How much longer will it take you to prepare for Sheff? If you can prepare in two years more, and I think you will be able to, you will enter young enough. I have never regretted in the least that I did not enter younger, though before I came down I thought it was a great misfortune.  How old will you be in the fall of '89? I think you will be 18. Is that right? If you entered when you and Stuart would be together in case he comes here, which it seems at present as though he would do. Have you ever done anything about joining the Y.M.C.A. gymnasium, if not you ought to try to get regular exercise in some way, it will be of much advantage to you when you come to college. Boys that have been to preparatory schools, where they have had a gymnasium to work in have an advantage in athletics over those who have never done any regular work.  And if a boy don't go into some kind of athletic sports he is pretty sure to "go to the devil" in a rapid manner. There is only one exception to this, the "dig" who spends all his spare time studying probably will go through college with his morals all right; but of the two evils I should chose the former, that is have a good time, thereby keeping my digestive organs all right & I'll take that back, they are both to be avoided for one is as much of an excess as the other. I'll lay off a while now & go to Sunday School like a good boy.
February 13, 1887
Your letter of the 9th inst rec'd also mother's with Ed's to Harry enclosed. You may think I said too much to Frank about athletics, but if you could see the difference between the men here who go into some branch of athletics it makes no difference what, either rowing, foot ball, base ball, track athletics, boxing fencing, wrestling or if a man is not physically able to go into any one of these, plain gymnasium work and those who do not you would see what I mean. Frank will have pretty good principles I think & may not need the restraining influences of strict training to keep him straight, but unless Stuart can be persuaded to do somethng of the kind to take up his spare time I am afraid the inducements to have a good time will rather get the best of him. I am afraid however that Aunt Louisa will foolishly object to his doing the very things that would do him the most good if he ever goes to college. It makes no difference to what college one goes the same influences both for....
February 20, 1887
(To Mother) If Frank is only 15 yrs of age and takes three years more to prepare he would enter in his 19th year, which is early enough if you are in no hurry to have him through and in business. I think however that as he is practically through the grammar school studies he could prepare in two years and that too without working more than over half as hard as Harry & I did last year. I think at any rate he ought to commence latin & algebra next year. I don't know but should think he might be able to prepare for the Academic department in three years. In all prep schools they allow one year more to prepare for that course than for Sheff. I am sorry Grandma is worse again. I hope Dr. Skeer will be able to do something for her. I did intend to write Ed today but will have to postpone it until I feel less like studying.
April 20, 1887
Frank must be having a fine time with Carl & Ralph there & with his pony & a new cart.
December 4, 1887
 I am sorry that Mother and Eddie are not well. I am afraid that neither of them get enough out-door exercise to keep their systems in order. Plain food, regular habits, good hours & plenty of exercise keep me in such perfect health that I want to prescribe the same for every one who is not feeling well. Can you or Mother suggest anything for us to give the boys on Christmas. I have one or two trifles but can't think of anything they would like. Would a pair of skates suit either of them?
December 1887?
I have a chance to get a good foot-ball, one that the varsity has used a little & I thought I would get it for Frank. Unless he wants it now I will bring it home Christmas.
April 8, 1888
"I am glad Eddie has a bicycle, & hope he will have some inducement to keep him riding it. I dont think any of us ever realized how much good our bicycles did Harry & I how much time we spent on them out of doors when we would otherwise have been in the house. Frank & Eddie are neither of them as strong & well as they ought to be and I think it is because they do not take exercise enough in the open air. Not that it would do either of them any good to force them to do something distasteful to them. . . .
George and Harry graduated from Yale in 1889 and returned to Chicago to work in their father's American Battery Company. Harry's desk job, in which he was surrounded by battery fumes, soon led to a serious lung condition and his doctor ordered a change of climate. Major George and the father of the boys' Yale classmate, Lew Sweetser, purchased a cattle ranch from the Cassia County "Cattle King" Jim Pierce in southeastern Idaho. Soon the two brothers were working as cowpunchers on their ranch along the lower Raft River about 30 miles from the nearest railhead at American Falls. They named the ranch the Bar Y and soon were given permission to establish a post office which they named Yale. Their father sent fifteen-year-old Ed to join them in the spring of '91 and the young greenhorn experienced many adventures in the "wild west."  He did ranch chores, rode the range, delivered mail and supplies from American Falls and developed a life-long love of horses and horsemanship. In the fall, Major Burroughs enrolled a reluctant Ed in Phillips Academy but the exciting adventures he experienced were a profound maturing experience. George and Harry stayed in Idaho where they tried their hands at a variety of enterprises including gold dredging. The exploits of the Burroughs brothers and their long-time partner Lew Sweetser shall be related in future issues.

 
LETTERS HOME FROM GEORGE & HARRY BURROUGHS
Harry Burroughs  Letters:  Hartland Camp 1884-87 ~Yale ~ Chicago
George Burroughs Letters from Camp: 1886-87
Burroughs Brothers in Yale I  Hilites
Burroughs Brothers in Yale II: Hilites
George Burroughs Letters from Yale I: 1886-87
George Burroughs Letters from Yale II: 1887
George Burroughs Letters from Yale III: 1888

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