A few months after my grandmother passed away in January 2001, my father, mother, sister and I converged on her little rowhouse at 5549 Wyalusing Avenue, Philadelphia, to clean it out. In a drawer of a large steel desk in the basement, I found a packet of papers. In them, a letter I’d never known existed, from my great-great-grandmother Loudie‘s brother Caswell C. Henderson to their sister, Sarah H. Jacobs Silver, who reared my grandmother.
Though he does not say so directly, Caswell seems to have been responding to the news of the death of Sarah’s husband in early July. She has asked him to come home, for a visit or perhaps permanently, but he cannot, pleading health and finances. He is hopeful, though, that soon they will be together to “help one another.” He expresses the importance of his family (if not his wife, who garners no mention) by sending greetings to his great-nieces and inquiring after Minnie Simmons Budd, daughter of his and Sarah’s deceased sister Ann Elizabeth Henderson Simmons. Of course, while “prayers are wonderful when said in all sincerity from the heart,” the prayers of his friends could not keep Caswell forever, and he died 16 January 1927.