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#3156: Willa Cather to Willard Crowell, October 28, 1938

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My dear Mr. Crowell1:

It was a great relief to me to get your kind letter this morning, and to read your tribute to my father3 and my brother4. I knew that you must have appreciated their kindness of heart and the strict code of honor by which they lived. My father could never believe that anyone was thoroughly dishonest, and so he was taken advantage of a good many times.

It takes a great load off my mind, that you agree are willing to looking after these farms5 for me, and in all matters pertaining to their management I will trust to your judgment absolutely. Whenever you think a farm is not worth paying taxes on, I shall be glad to let it go. The Guy Henderson6 place, for instance, is certainly not worth the repairs it would take to make it fit for any farmer to live on it. I am not very hopeful that any of these farms will bring me in much income. My chief desire is to avoid spending more money on them, except in such instances where you would think it would be advisable and, in the end profitable. Even the taxes will be quite a burden, as I suppose there are back taxes due on all of them. Wherever you think it wiser to let the land go for the back taxes, don't hesitate to advise me and I will do so. Would it be an advantage to you if I gave you a power of attorney covering my real estate interest in Nebraska7? If so, I would readily grant it.


As for the deeds to the various properties, since they are properly recorded in the County Clerk's office, I think it would be better to leave them in Mr. Sherwood8's bank. Then, in case you were able to sell any of the farms, and thought it advisable, you would be able to do so without the delay of transmitting papers, in case I were absent or ill.

My brother Douglass' sudden death9 was the greatest shock and sorrow that has ever come to me. My father and mother10 had both lived out the usual term of life, happily and contentedly, but Douglass seemed to me just in his prime. He got a late start, but he got came into his own, and nobody ever enjoyed helping other people more than he did. Douglass wasn't a Catholic, as you know, but the young Catholic priest who read his funeral service wrote me that no one of his parishioners was as ready to help the unfortunate of his parish as Douglass, and that at times he could not have carried on his parochial duties toward the poor without my brother's aid. He added these words: "I write to you because we, at Long Beach11, the poor and I myself, feel that we, too, have lost a loving Brother."

Sincerely yours, Willa Cather