|23 October 1880||Philip Wise Bott|
|9 March 1882||Philip Wise Bott|
|25 June 1882||Philip Wise Bott|
|4 March 1885||Philip Wise Bott|
|11 July 1892||Eliza Elizabeth Skeggs Bott|
|14 Sept 1894||Eliza Elizabeth Skeggs Bott|
Copies of these letters were given to Annette Bott Richards by Hazel Bott, a Delightful lady and wife of Lorenzo Bott, son of John Henry.
I am happy that someone chose to save them.
LETTERS FROM P. W. BOTT TO HIS SON, JOHN BOTT
Sunday Morning, October 23, 1880
My Dr Son and Daughters:
At last I find a few spare minutes to scribble you a few lines in answer to your kind letter which we got last Saturday week. Pleased to hear of your increase and that all are doing well and that you have named the youngster after me, which will keep up the family record. I suppose Susie’s time will come by and by as a matter of course. You will soon want another house. I have not yet succeeded in procuring a patch of land but hope to do so in time. I think if it were possible to have obtained land this last summer, it would have nearly by this time be paid for in the amount I have already paid for rent. By next spring it will amount to some 100 dollars nearly — well I suppose it cannot be prevented, but it does appear a great loss. Land is very dear in Ogden and likely to become dearer. I would very much like to get a piece of land, not so far as I am now from the city as it would save me much walking which is quite a consideration, but as yet I have not obtained any. I am all the time looking out and inquiring. I believe I can better succeed in obtaining a small place with house already if I could raise sufficient costs, but this I cannot do at present.
Yesterday I took stock and tried to ascertain how I was getting on in my business and find out I have averaged about $10.00 a week since I commenced the beginning of last July. Now four months I have paid all the rent, paid for coal, shoes, and clothing some 60 or 70 dollars as near as I can recollect, so I must have earned nearly —- dollars in all, bring up my trade to about 50 dollars a month. I save all I can and lay by for land, but it requires some $50.00 to keep up stock and buy any bargain that may turn up. I could not as yet spare more cash than 50 dollars, but hope to do as much more by next spring. If I can only do as well the coming winter, which I do not expect shall not be able to get about as well. But we shall see by the blessing of God what can be done. I often feel that it is my duty as well as my pleasure to pay my tithing and donate so something t’ward building temples and tabernacles. Some $12.00 is yet due for our new ward tabernacle, I would like to help settle this. But you see Jonny how I am fixed. I compose myself with the idea that when the land business is settled – I having no rent to pay will be better able to do a little and I greatly desire to have a record by and Bye – but enough of this. I’ll do the very best I can God helping me. There is no bank in the world so safe as the Bank of Heaven to deposit treasure, you reward is sure here and hereafter.
I have somehow hurt my right ankle, some thorn in groping through the brush has got into my foot. It is festered and greatly swollen and my boot has hurt that I go about lame. It wants rest and I cannot give it any. I poultice it every night, but the days walking makes it bad again.
I am surprised at Sister Taylor’s conduct. I met her some three months since in Main Street, she had a few gods of me amounting to 50 cents. Telling me she would get Bro. Taylor to settle it for her. We have all seen him several times but although he promises to pay, up to time he has not done so. What can he be thinking about knowing as he does that I have just commenced business and could not possibly give so long a credit. No doubt I shall get it some day. But it shows a want of thought.
Fanny is out most of the week earning money to purchase fine clothes for her own back, Lizzie is jealous and striving to follow her example. Mother has not any peace with them; so much quarreling about money, dress, and the boys. I am content to see them have all needful clothes, but of a more humble character. But our advice is not appreciated at all. So if there is no alteration soon, I shall have to insist on their living out, as there is no peace with them at home. Joe goes on much about the same, doing a little work now and the, giving his mother most of his earnings, which is put by and all spent on his back. He has had another new suit, taking all his earnings. We keep him – now it does appear to me it would be much better for each one to be away from home and each one do a little out of their earnings, then some 5 dollars a week might go to swell my earnings and it would be much easier to save money for to pay for land. Fanny and Lizzie could pay $12.00 a month each, and Joe living out and doing about the same. Can’t you see Jonny how much better it would be in every way? Mother and me and Emma could live in peace, and little would do for us. You reckon 3 fours is 12, in six months from now would be $72.00 and 72 from me would be enough to buy a small piece of land. This they all know, but as it is, none of them earn enough to pay for their own clothing and things to imitate those who are better circumstanced. I suppose if they knew I wrote this statement of fact they would be highly offended, but so it appears to me.
Bro. Miles called on his return from Conference. I was out but he wishes me to — a house for him, no easy job to do. Our conference yesterday and today shall so please God this afternoon. When you come down, try and stop a night or two with us. Now I want you to bring with you a copy of our genealogy in the First Ward record book. I cannot record our name here unless you do so. You will just copy word for word as in your ward book as I have been requested to enter all here in our ward book, but cannot unless you attend to this matter before you come.
I hear Brigham City is not making much progress as to the United Order, Bro. Snow cannot prevent people from striving to live the best way they can. I am satisfied his statement some time back about farming for ones self amounted to something like this; “Everyone to his tent Oh Israel” means simple all do the best you can for yourselves as no doubt Bro. Snow does, thus dividing rather than uniting. Nothing could be easier than helping each other, all belonging to our Father in Heaven.
Weather is fine, warm days, cold nights. The Fords are all well. Harry’s wages have increased about 25 a month but all eyes and ears in debt all the time. No greater curse can come on any family or nation than living beyond their income, all will be ruined that take this course, and with the great crash will come ere long. May God bless you all with the spirit of contentment and thankfulness. This is the only way to have peace.
Remember us all to everyone in Brigham City. Tell them I can now pay rent and live in Ogden which I couldn’t in Brigham City — and pay no rent. Mother myself, brother and sisters unite in love to you all, a kiss for each youngster X X X from your loving father in the flesh and in the new covenant.
P. W. Bott
Ogden City March 9th, 1882
Johny My Dear Boy and all the rest of the family:
Just after Valentines Day – my daughter, Emma, sent Johny and Ada a Valentine each – and I enclosed you a few Lines at the same time in answer to your last – but somehow I am afraid they never reached you – if they did not, I judge before this you are not only thinking us neglectful but no doubt are saying it too. I also enclosed you two slips of news – cut out of the “Ogden Pilot” – one about Bishop Nicholas, Brigham City, and the other about a Mormon Range (something very like lying). I would have liked you to have read them. I don’t know that I have any particular news just now. We are having a long dreary winter, a good portion of snow. While I write, it is snowing (past twelve) with no snow when we got up this morning about 5 or 6 o’clock). Mother is making a large rug out of cuttings (various); I am looking for some papers; Lizzie is making some garment; Emma is pasting some pictures in her scrap book.
I have done very little business the last three months, not enough to cover current expenses, but hope to make a fresh start when fine weather sets in. I suppose on an average, I may be out three days a week (short time). Some 70 or 80 dollars owing me but when labouring work starts I shall get it I believe. Going to build a large hotel in 5th St. is coming down and the old wooden huts in Mains west side.
It is now three months since I wrote to Pres Snow, Brigham City, about those papers – that Brother F. D. Richards forwarded to him, what on earth can be his motive. I begged him to send me a line but he will not condescend to do so. Here Wm Hadley has procured a divorce since they got married. The papers (if not mislaid or lost) lies at Pres. Snow’s house, now does that not seam hard that I should have to bare the blame of all this delay (I say neglect of duty) for what use was it for Fanny to pay 10 dollars and not get satisfaction and I cannot see how you can refuse to intercede for Fanny, you are on the spot. How you can imagine Wm Hadley could have any less good feeling for you by your asking him to do his duty, I am at a loss to understand. Bro. Snow will be home from Salt Lake City in a few days now what would be the harm of your calling on and asking him if he received those papers and if he has now got them. He would no doubt let you have them and cannot you get Wm Hadley to put his signature on them, he can keep one, and you can keep Fanny’s until you come to Ogden and then you can also bring one which Bro. F. D. Richards will forward to Salt Lake City to be placed in the Endowment House. This matter has been in hand over twelve months. It ought to have been settled in three months. If you know no other friend at Brigham City, will you do me this little favour. Why I should be obliged to go to the expense of coming myself – but why put me to this expense. I cannot spare cash for railroads and lots of time. Fanny is much put out about it and scolded me the other night – as if it was my fault. Now try to get this trifling matter settled and you will oblige us all.
I do not think it would be wisdom to do any more work on the house for some time to come. We must before long have some warm weather and longer days. Mother says when you do come, bring the lock for the bedroom door, and you might as well get me another pair of shoes no. 9 like the last with a few nail holes extra just where I tread them down on one side of the heel, and then I can have the ones I now have soled repaired. I am wearing overshoes this winter, such is the muddy conditions of Ogden in some parts. I have been covered with clay and I have not been very well at times, so cold my affliction has troubled me some.
Mother is very middling. Fanny is working most of the time. I paid for her the last amount to complete payments for sewing machine. 70 dollars in about 9 months (one week) but she has suffered a martyrdom by tooth ache, had some drawn still she suffers pain all the time. Emma is at home and Lizzie will not assist us any. Joe is overtime owing us a letter but only fur him. Mother was saying the other day that the greater part of our children are a burthen to us (old people) rather than an assistance.
Give our united love to all friends from myself, Mother and family and friends the same with our best wishes happiness.
Yours as ever,
P. W. Bott
P. S. I would like to hear from you as to Fanny’s affairs as early as you can see Bro Snow.
Ogden, Sunday June 25, 1882
My Dear Boy:
For some days, longed for an opportunity to drop you a few lines. We were pleased to hear from you as indeed we always are thinking of you all and also wondering if it is possible your strength will carry you through your great labour. I hope and trust in answer to my secret prayers it may. I pray daily for God to give you strength of body and then I know you will be all right, I am not afraid of anything else. But do not put too much strain on your weakened system, act wise and just, do what you can without straining – the rest will be made up to you – Trust in God and act wise. We hope Ada’s getting on well and Miss Newcomb and the rest, not forgetting Susie – remember us all kindly to her. I would like to come and pay you a flying visit – but cannot spare time – and cannot fool money away on railroads just now. Mother would certainly come and see you all and do what she could for mother (Ada) and baby, but cannot at present. She and Lizzi does a little work, when she comes, she must give it up and she feels it would not be wise just now. I am working and business is only middling and very hard to get money in just now before arch (?) And the good folks here as elsewhere will enjoy the holiday time which is at hand, Grand Circus on the 5 July – just after the fourth excursion here and excursions there to draw the money out of the pocket of the unthinking and foolish crowd – prophecy true – lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, poor blind creatures.
I rather from supposition than positive knowledge expect Fanny and Joe may be married sometime this fall – of course the 100 dollars Joe kindly lent me the use of all this time, I shall soon have to return in view of matters, I am trying hard to scrape it together. It will be a struggle for I know not how I have been able to meet my payments but God is good but if I doubted my prayers being answered (which I never did) I could not now –
Vast amount to sickness here, rather better now, vast numbers died of measles, some whole families have had it. God has blessed us all (singularly) with freedom from sickness for which I am truly thankful. Grand —-? here last Wednesday, Apostle and delegate George Q. Cannon arrived – great part of the folks from Salt Lake City met him, great rejoicing and, lots of music. I say God bless him, he remained at duty’s post when his beloved wife died and was buried. I think the tide is turning in our favour, it may be only a presentment but I have been right more than once – the time – the set time to favour is near – I say Amen and of course the time of just retribution for the cruel unjust world who have done all they could to vex the Latter Day Saints has also come, they may, I think, look out trouble of all kinds, shortly, God will cut his work short in righteousness – but I feel as one would forgive them all.
Your brother Joe arrived home this morning early – has again been wronged by the Corey brothers, this time to the Amount of some 20 or 30 dollars. Here – what few things he had to buy of them they have cheated him or he foolishly did not keep a tally – this time he kept his time but not the account, so he is again wronged.
Now my dear boy, I have not received those papers yet regarding Fanny and W. Hadley, what on earth’s the cause I know not. If there is any unwillingness to arrange these matters and conclude this business, let us know – but why this great neglect somewhere I am at a loss to conceive. I forgot to mention this matter in my last letter – will you kindly (once more I ask you) get this business settled, you are on the spot – what earthly reason is there to occupy two years in doing what could be done in two weeks, I wrote Brother Snow, he never answered my letter, what am I to think, I cannot waste time and material in writing again to him – Fanny has paid 10 dollars long ago with the promise from F. D. Richards. The matter should be settled long ago – will you (if on Sunday) see the parties and get this matter settled at once and please drop me a line at once containing Fanny’s paper signed by Wm Hadley – Apostle F. D. R. has kindly promised to forward the one to Salt Lake City himself and the one is of course for Wm Hadley to keep – I suppose this is the program. Do not use the 14 lb sledge hammer – do without it some how. All send their love to you all from your loving Father
P. W. Bott
4 March 1885 Ogden City
My Dr Son John:
Since I had that bad fall I have not been myself, I hurt the spine of my back badly and also my neck and in fact my whole body. Has put 10 years on me. The business you wrote about is continually in my mind – I wrote a long letter to my son Philip in London, having his address, upon that business offering to pay all expenses for traveling and what ever was necessary in searching out so that my ancestors on both sides might be obtained (and quite a number could be got without much trouble where there was a will to go about it in earnest). It has been some months since I posted this letter, I also paid for registering the same, but for some cause, I have not had an answer yet. I am afraid my son has moved elsewhere, or the letter is lost – if so I know not what to do – there is no one else I know of I could write to, and so I stick fast at present.
I am doing no business not a dollar a week, such is the change here. I get out a little half a day trying to get in a few debts – but it is hard work. I have considerable reduced the amount and at the same time am trying to sell out what stock on hand I have, and I buy none, scarcely in it will be some months before I can get all in – but I hope to get most in this summer and should trade be no better, shall have to turn my attention to some other way to make a living. There will only be me and mother soon and we shall want but little. Surely something will present itself sufficient to keep us two – no rent – few taxes and few clothes. I have had my house and lot registered and I intend shortly to make out my will securing everything I have to Mother, in case my call should come and I feel it may come anytime, I get less able to get about all the time – this I must expect at my time of life.
I had a letter yesterday from Lorenia Ghrael, your neighbor, it was for our Joe – but he has been up North working as Brakeman on the 3rd division – we sent his trunk and clothing the other day, aught to have had an answer before now telling us that he had received them all right, hope nothing is the matter. The Marshals are now very busy after P – ts. Should they visit you or be troublesome (all right) you might go on a mission and no doubt would you on some very good scent how to go to work. Glad Susie and baby are well, I believe our Lizzie is ready to come to Brigham anytime, she has been busy, needlework, Tell Lorenzo Joe is at work on the fartherest section. Remember us to all and accept our united love from your Father
P. W. Bott
LETTERS FROM ELIZA ELIZABETH BOTT TO HER SON JOHN HENRY
Ogden City, July 11th 1892
I have been going to write you for a long time, as it is 7 years last Saturday since your father was buried, and no stone at the head of his grave. I thought I would write to you asking you to let me know what you would charge for a headstone that would serve for father and mine, if you can understand what I mean; your father’s you could finish, but mine you could not until I am gone. Of course you would know how to fix it then. I would like the lot fenced with a neat fence, I have noticed some of the lots are closed in with a rock curbstone, some are inclosed with a neat wire fence which looks very neat and strong, but that I fear is out of my reach. What do you think of a nice strong picket fence such as you and me once looked at in the graveyard. Now I want you to think this over, of course Johnny you understand the kind of headstone I mean and the way I would like the lot fixed neat and strong and as reasonable as I can get it done for. I you will please send a pattern of stone and fence you think will suit and price I will let you know whether I can afford, or not.
If you see Lizzie’s children will you please give my love to them and tell them Grandma Bott is going to be there the month. Harry is going to get a pass for me and Polly to go see her, poor thing. Once more I would like to. My site is failing me much. I will now close hoping this will find you all well. Give my love to all and accept the same yourself. From your mother.
Ogden City Sept 14, 1894
Dear Son Jonny:
As we have not heard from you since Ada’s return I thought I would let you know we have our recommends tot he temple and I will tell you I have been talking to Wm Hall about the work and he says you should come to Odgen on a Saturday as you will have to go to Salt Lake on Sunday, so that you will be in time to give in our records on Monday morning before 11 o’clock as Tuesday is the day for baptisms for the dead. Joe told me when he returned from Brigham you told him you intend to come on the 25th of the month, but Johny you must come 22 which is next Saturday or the 13 of next month. If you cannot come on the 25 it will not suit us to go til the 13 of next month for reasons I cannot return – Jonny can you remember when I was rebaptized at Brigham, who baptized and who confirmed me I have forgotten.
There is another thing that worries me that I will have to show my marriage certificate, for you know Johny how matters were between your father and me and which others do not, which I do not wish to talk about if I can avoid it as it is very hurtful to my feelings at my time of life. You do not know Jonny how unhappy it makes me when I think of the past and I humbly pray to my Heavenly Father to please forgive me and will you Jonny; remember me in your prayers.
I must tell you I have been able to add another name to our record; that is the name of my great Grandmother; my father’s granny, the one that was murdered (I have the name of her murderer) – was Elizabeth Johnson. Her maiden name was Elizabeth Church, about 60 years old at the time of her death at Limehouse, England.
Please answer this letter soon and tell us when you are coming as Fanny and Joseph want to know because he is going to get a mileage ticket for Fanny and I. Will you please copy the record I gave you and enclose them when you write, so I can take it to Wm Hall so he can enter them on a printed paper he will give you to take to the Temple. So write soon and let us know when you will come as we wish to know a little ahead as we have certain things to see to.
So I must say goodbye and God bless you all. Hoping this will find you all in good health as it leaves us at the present. We are expecting Joe home tomorrow from the ranch, they have been gone two weeks last Friday. I hope you will be able to make this scribble out as my sight is very bad, it is quite an undertaking for me to write a few lines – good bye once more.
(Notation at the bottom of letter, “Received the 20th and answered the 20th by Jonnie)
Note: Eliza Elizabeth Skeggs Bott lived another six an a half years after this letter was written, dying on 17 Mar 1901. Grammy and Papa moved in with her at the time of Philip’s death and lovingly took care of her until her death.
Thanks to Grammy’s good memory and these letters, we have some insight into the struggles Philip and Eliza faced in their last years. They, like all of us, were imperfect, and I care not to dwell on their imperfections, but instead I desire to emphasize their testimony of the restoration of the Gospel. Woven into his letters, Philip gave us, his descendants, wonderful advice that applies even today. He would be surprised to know that his words would actually echo down through the years over one hundred years later.
I was touched by Eliza’s humility and her feelings of sorrow over what had happened in the past. I honor these great grandparents of ours for the wonderful heritage we have received through their seed and for the choices they did make that brought us to where we are today. May we never forget the blessings we have received through them from our Heavenly Father, passing our gratitude on down through our children and our children’s children and on, that a righteous posterity will be theirs.
Wow. I was just writing a history project on Philip Wise Bott (my great grandfather) and came across these letters. I am in posession of many wonderful items, given to me by my grandmother Myla Bott Judd and would be happy to share stories with anyone interested. Thank you for these letters.
Lindsay, I would love to see what stories you have on our mutual ancestors.
I would love to see the stories of the Botts as well. John Henry Bott is my great grandfather.
I had to do a homework projet and these letters really did help me. thank you.
Rachel, I’m glad they were helpful to you in completing your project.