Often during the winter evenings and on Sundays some of the woodsmen would drop in on Mr. Smith to discuss some problem concerning their work, or perhaps something of a personal nature for which they felt a need for help. Here, they knew, they had a sympathetic friend whom they could trust, and one capable of many things.
One such visitor was a young man from Virginia. Upon answering his knock at the door, the superintendent invited him in, and offered him a chair. Shyly the young man began:
“Mr. Smith, I want to send a letter to my mother, and with it send some money I have earned here. She will be needing it now. One of the men told me today that you would help me. You see I cannot write, and I thought maybe you would write the letter for me. I would like you to tell her that I am well; that this is a good camp where I have a warm bed to sleep in and plenty of food. Good food every day like we have at home on Christmas, sometimes. Please tell her, too, that I sat in your office while you wrote the letter for me.”
“My mother was a high-born lady, my dad once told me, but after she ran away and married my dad, her parents disowned her. My dad was a good man, and when I was a half-grown boy he went away to work in the woods as I have done now. He went up on Little Black and there he got lost in a snowstorm and the man who brought him home told us… ‘He died from exposure.’
“Maybe this letter will keep Mom from worrying too much about me.”
author: Frances Irene Smith Hart, 1894-1979
daughter of Superintendent
Danford Blair Smith