Hear the Stories

“The ‘Colonel’ Commenced Singing”

My dear precious son: I am glad to inform you that your letter with Post Office order came to me…
“The ‘Colonel’ Commenced Singing”

Julia Jefferson in 1877 thanks her son John Wayles Jefferson for a gift of money and tells him about her singing bird and a snowstorm.

My dear precious son:

I am glad to inform you that your letter with Post Office order came to me on the evening of the same day I wrote to you that I had not received it. I, as usual, return to you my heartfelt thanks for your kindness. I wish I could give you something better.  I hope you will take the will for the deed. God grant you may never want or even miss what you are so good as to give me.  I am satisfied and grateful for it. I believe I am now more resigned to what seems to be my lot than ever before.  At times, I am quite cheerful, at other times old and new troubles come back to me, but I know now better what to do with them than ever before. I believe God helps me to cast my burdens on Him.

I believe I wrote to you about the snow and cold weather, but today and last night a snow storm has set in that is far in advance of any thing of the kind for severity. It is now 10 o’clock at night and it is blowing and snowing as hard as ever.  The drifts in some places are four and five feet high. At noon today the boys went out to remove some of the snow so we could get out, but now it is as bad if not worse than before. It is about knee deep on a level. While it lasts, we shall be warm inside for every hole is stopped and we are banked up in some places above the windows. I don’t know how it will be by morning. Probably we shall have to be dug out.

I am glad to tell you that the “Colonel” commenced singing on the 27th of Dec. just in low sad notes. He continued in this way for several successive days, when all at once he broke out with the finest singing I ever heard from the bird kind, and so he has kept on ever since. I understand him now when he wants anything. He doesn’t like the lamp to shine in on him, and he gives an unusual cry. I get up and cover his cage and he is perfectly quiet. I attend to him altogether myself and I believe he thinks as much of me as I do of him. The ceiling is so low that I can’t hang him up, so he has been kept all the time on a stand by the window and he seems to feel perfectly at home there.

It is now much later than I thought it was, and must close, wishing my dear son good night and praying the good God to bless him.  (Julia Jefferson to John Wayles Jefferson, 15 Jan. 1877, courtesy of Julia Jefferson Westerinen)

Themes: Family