Alexander C. and Charles W. Christopher papers  1863-1888 (bulk 1876-1886)
full text File Size: 13 K bytes

Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection includes two letters received by Alexander Christopher in 1863, nine letters from Charles to Alexander Christopher, 1875-1883, five letters received by Charles Christopher, 1868-1878, and 10 letters and three legal documents related to Charles Christopher's estate, 1884-1888.

Alexander C. Christopher received two letters from a friend, Nicholas Longworth Anderson, on January 31 and November 28, 1863. Nicholas Longworth Anderson was the commander of the 6th Ohio Volunteer Infantry regiment. The first letter discussed Nicholas Anderson's injuries, for which he received a surgeon's certificate, and mentioned a visit from Alexander's wife and daughter, "little Belle." The second letter included a memoriam for Major Graves, "a most gallant soldier and a most estimable gentleman." Anderson also wrote of his hope that the regiment would be disbanded soon, and said that he had received an anonymous letter accusing him of cowardice for remaining at home to heal from his wounds, signed by "One who pays your salary."

Charles W. Christopher's correspondence includes two letters of introduction written for him by naval officers, John Woolley and Louis Eugene Yorke; nine letters to his father, Alexander C. Christopher; and three letters received from friends, J. A. Hassinger and J. R. Carmody. In his letters to his father, he described his activities in Hawaii while convalescing from unspecified lung and throat ailments. He resided with Owen Holt, a rancher in Hawaii. Daily activities included assisting with cattle roundups, hunting for game in the mountains, reading, and going to town. In several letters, he was concerned about a lack of funds and anxious to draw his pay so that he could send money home to his father, who was apparently in financial difficulties as well.

In one letter from Waialua, Oahu, Charles described the funeral arrangements for a Chinese man who had died of an aneurism. "Mr. Holt has several Chinamen at work, but today, all except two were absent, on account of the funeral of one of their nation, Ah Kee by name. He had a small patch of cane, and came to see Mr. Holt on Thursday last about procuring some oxen for carting his cane to the mill…I believe they place a pig and a chicken by the grave, and afterwards eat them, and hold a species of high carnival" (1876 December 2).

He also shared his thoughts on naval work: "Seamanship and Gunnery are life studies. The former requires experience as well as theory, and the latter is so varied in its applications, and so constantly changing as to the instruments employed that no one man can be considered perfect in the branch. Like many other things in this world, the more insight one gets, the less does one know, unless some particular branch of the study is made a specialty" (1876 December 2).

In a later letter to his father from Harbin Springs, California, Charles described the scenery and mineral springs in the area (1883 December 2). By that time, he had lost much of his sight and had difficulty walking. After Charles W. Christopher's death in 1884, his father wrote to the Treasury Department to file a claim for "arrears of pay and mileage" due to the late Lieutenant Christopher. Between 1884 and 1886, he received five letters in response. Beginning in 1886, he also corresponded with a lawyer, John Paul Jones, regarding the case.

The Charles W. Christopher materials were formerly part of the Hawaiian Islands collection at the Clements Library.

Show all series level scope and content notes