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William Masterson, The Missouri Years (Part IV)

William's next letter was written in August of 1891, when he was sixteen. The Charlton River was flooding at his new home in Elmer, Missouri (Macon County). The fields were all running with water and they could see "furnitchur" floating down the river, as well as cattle and hogs. He was concerned that the corn in the fields would be ruined. A water spout had been spotted nearby and 28 inches of rain had fallen.

At his home they were building a kitchen onto the house. A boarder in their house was a GAR member and the local secretary of the GAR (in Missouri, mind you!). A reunion was planned for the town. William was impressed by the fact that the encampment would have a campfire that would roast 6 beeves, just as they had during the war. He noted that there were lots of rebels in Missouri, and he was looking forward to all the guns and cannons that would be in the town.

In May of 1891 William confessed to his sister that he had left the Stocklaufer's the previous spring. They asked him to write, but although he wrote 4 letters, they never answered him. He worked for wages with one man in Kaseyville, but he "treated me like a dog." William left and worked for Hiram Cleaver, in Elmer, Missouri.

Apparently Mrs. Stocklaufer had written to Ida that she was sorry William had left their home. He disputed this and said that Mrs. Stocklaufer snubbed him in the town and thought she was better than him. It seems though, that William still wanted to hear from them, because he asked Ida to write and tell the Stocklaufers that he wanted them to write.

Would William ever find a happy family home?

William continued to live with the Cleavers in Elmer, Missouri and he seemed to write more letters during this period. He wrote in November of 1891 and reported on his social activities! He was writing to Ida after a night spent visiting his employer's sister at a taffy pull and then a hunting party through the night. Earlier in the same day he had found a honey bee tree and had all the honey that he could enjoy. During the spring and summers he was farming and in the winters he worked with the loggers.

Near his home was another orphan he had known from the Asylum, George Emerson. He and George would get together and remember their days in the Asylum. One wonders how the boys connected again, whether they had been writing, or whether they just happened to see each other again.

William wanted to join the Sons of Veterans, an organization for the sons of men who fought in the Civil War. He asked Ida to send him information about his father's dates in the army and his "redgement." He hoped that Aunt Rose would send him his father's badge, because it could help him get entry into the Sons of Veterans.


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