John Henry Wilcott:
Table of Contents
"`Abdu'l-Bahá says little about destiny, but teaches much about will."
Part 2: Montana and Marriage
"A man can be a Bahá'í much easier when he understands all of God's work."
Part 3: Faith and Hard Times
"Now, dear Sister, you know times are very bad."
Part 4: Insight
"...an upright man who had a meaningful insight into the world."
Bibliography and Acknowledgements
"`Abdu'l-Bahá says little about destiny,
but teaches much about will."
"A man can be a Bahai much easier when
he understands all of God’s work."
A few interesting letters were received. One of them we publish herewith, believing it will demonstrate what can be accomplished for the spread of the Cause, no matter how adverse the conditions. We are pleased to present this letter from Mr. John H. Wilcott, who will be remembered as a former active member of the Kenosha, Wis., Assembly:This letter reveals much about John Wilcott’s first year in Montana. The mountains he mentions were to the west and were the source of logs for his cabin which he hauled back a few at a time over many miles. It seems he may have acquired them from someone in Kendall. Frost says that he brought logs from the Missouri Breaks area which is also thirty to forty miles away. Kendall was a days' drive away by wagon and had the only post office and stores for miles. The frost he refers to apparently killed his fruit trees which he had brought with him from Wisconsin and which his family remembers as part of his stories. He also brought his camera. He had added photography to his skills and talents somewhere along the journey of his life, and we have photographs of him just at this time. The best known picture of him, which is featured in the 1910 Star of the West article, shows him on his horse with chaps, hat and holstered pistol. Many Bahá'ís of the present day may remark as to his carrying a gun, which is prominent in that and other pictures he had taken of himself (presumably with his mother’s assistance), but the character and wildness of the land as he describes it illustrate how the gun was a tool of the cowboy of the time. This was ordinary throughout the West. Modern fiction and movies grossly mislead on this point.
Kendall, Mont., Sept. 12, 1910
To the Bahai News.
Dear servants of Abdul-Baha: -- I know you will be pleased to hear from this part of the West. Although the work of giving the Message is rather slow, we allow no opportunity to pass. Mother and I are the only Bahais around here that we know of, and up to this time we have only had cowboys, shepherds and a few ranchers to talk to, who live many miles apart. My nearest ranchman owned 27 miles long of land which has now been sold to the railroad company. This is the way I reach these people, which may seem strange to you: First of all my claim is just where every one has to make their roundup. Hundreds of cattle are around us all the time. I have a full cowboy’s suit, and I am out with the boys and seem to be as tough as they are, so not to be a tenderfoot. From one to eight come to my tent daily and I am now called "the preacher" for miles around. Well, this is something new to the boys -- some one to talk of God to them -- and yet I seem like one of them. They tell it all over and I frequently meet a new one who has heard of us. One old sheep-keeper, who used to come and rest under a tree in my yard while watching his sheep eat, and to whom I would then talk, regretted so greatly the life he had lived that he told me he was going away from this life after living here thirty years. Before leaving, he came to bid us good-bye and we gave him a good meal. I think the seed had started to grow.
Many of the cowboys shoot game and bring it to us. Of course we have to feed many of them at times, but that is the only way we can reach them. At first some of them did not want to hear anything of God -- said there was no God -- but after some of the great hidden mysteries were explained to them, they became interested, and you would be surprised to see us sitting on a log outside, or in the tent, until 10 o'clock at night.
My dear mother is the only doctor around here for forty-five miles. The land is now all taken up and settlers are coming in rapidly. The cowboys told them that mother was a diploma doctor, so they have started to come after her, traveling from fifteen to twenty miles. She is not a bit slow in giving the Message. A few weeks ago when it was warm, a cowboy came and was resting by the tent. He asked mother if she had anything to read. She gave him one of our Bahai books. He cursed and said: "That is religion. Haven't you any papers?" So she gave him a newspaper from Santa Anna, which was sent to us by a missionary there, to whom I am trying to give the Message, but who has not been able to grasp it yet. Well, this paper told about God, and the cowboy, after looking at it for a while, said: "Why, this is religion -- just as bad as the other book." Mother said: "This is all we have here. We live for God." When I came in with a bunch of prairie chickens he said to me: "Hello, preacher! This is a great place -- nothing to read." I replied that I had just what he wanted, and going to my trunk, brought a book called "Indian Wars and Brave Deeds." Well, you should have seen that man! He was very much pleased and called for a few days until he had finished reading it. He then said: "If there is a God, why did He let those Indians kill those poor people in such a way?" That gave me an opportunity, and now the man begins to read Bahai books and does not curse any more in our tent.
I enjoyed reading Mr Remey’s letter in the Bahai News. I was very much impressed with his statement that when one is out trying to give the Message, he needs encouragement from the other believers. I find it so here and feel that the friends should think more of this. A little of my experience would convince one of the truth of this statement. I have received one letter from Johnstown, two from Chicago, and a few from Mrs. Goodale, of Kenosha, that put new life into me to do more work.
Any literature regarding the Cause will be gladly accepted and handed to some of the new settlers here. These cowboys are all good fellows and tired of this life. They are seeking for something and do not know where to get it -- it is the Message. So when any one goes out to try to give the Message, let us encourage them. In a place like this God is not known. They believe there is no God, no heaven or hell, because they have been taught so. It is not easy and one should be encouraged.
This country is wild with rattlesnakes and wolves. I have killed many snakes, but as the country is now being settled the snakes are disappearing. One was in our tent last night. We heard him rattle. We dare not sleep with an arm outside of the bed. It is getting cold; the mountains are covered with snow and we had four inches of it. We are still in a tent, but I am building a log house. Frost killed nearly all we had, but God giveth and God taketh away -- praise His Name! When I go for mail, I carry a gun because of wild steers. Every one carries a gun because of cattle and snakes.
My mother is 70 years old and keeps up quite well. We have lots of hay on the ground in the tent to keep our feet warm, but we have been laid up with colds. Everything here has to be hauled from Lewistown, forty-five miles. Our nearest place is Kendall, a small town, 5,800 feet high in the mountains -- a gold mining town -- about ten houses built on rocks on the side of the hill. Oil costs 50 cents a gallon, potatoes four cents a pound, etc. Before this cold weather came I used to lie in bed in the morning and take my gun from the side of my pillow and shoot sage hens or prairie chicken. They destroyed my garden, and four of five times a day I used to go around the garden to drive them out and also the rabbits.
I have taken some pictures and send you one of myself now as I go among the boys.
Here comes another old shepherd who likes to come here -- I can hear his voice over the hill calling the sheep, so I must stop writing.
We send all our Bahai love and ask your earnest prayers.
Your servant in His Name,
John H. Wilcott.
(9) Kendall, MontanaJohn Wilcott’s postscript in this letter can be understood more with this quote from Malone and Roeder about a sampling of the homesteaders of this time: "Beyond dispute many of them lacked farming experience, and this simple fact undoubtedly caused hundreds to fail. In a sample of fifty-eight farmers in a 'typical township' of Montana’s north-central 'triangle' region, agricultural expert M.L. Wilson found in 1922 only twenty-three who listed their former occupation as 'farmer'. Among the others, Wilson found two physicians, two school teachers, three 'Maiden Ladies', six musicians, two wrestlers, and one 'World Rover'." Doubtless, John and Eliza found themselves witnessing the difficulties of those who had failed early and were forced to consider the risks impinging on themselves.
March 11, 1911
Allah o Abha
Dear Brother Windust your letter at hand. It filled us with joy to read its content. I enjoyed reading about the snow and angel’s feather. I sent it to Kenosha to be read because I really felt it would do them good to read it. Also many other letter which I have received. Some are very good and deep. In my last mail I got 25 letters. I am getting letter from all assemblies. I answer all and send pictures and they all seem to enjoy hearing from out here. We have still very deep snow in front of our house. The snow is higher than the house and the house is 10 feet high. I am sending you some pictures so you can see. If you love snow you would enjoy being here this winter. It would surely do you good -- or any one that is tied up in a city.
Here I am alone with God day after day. I do nothing but lie down and read. Mother is off on another case 23 miles from here to a small town called Dear Trail -- some settlers from Watertown N.Y. All I've done this winter was to split 4 hundred [illegible] for fencing and dig a well. We had to shovel 9 feet of snow to get to the ground so to dig. This is as bad as the North Pole. I got lost last week when I went after my mail. The snow was so bright and a terrible wind that I got blind, then lost my trail and had to make my way in snow to my waist and in places to my neck.
Sunday I walked two miles to give the Message to two young men from Ohio who I have been teaching all summer and winter and thought they had it good. But Sunday I taught them extra good and when I was all done I learned that one of them did not believe a word I had taught him; and still more, he did not believe in God. My heart sank. But I felt that God will bless the words I had spoken to them and in time they will wake up. They come from Christian families. I had a hard trip through the deep snow, but I now do pray God to bless all the seeds which I have sowed that other will grow from them and spread the Cause.
Brother, I know what it is to be locked up in a office or shop. I spent many days in one and used to feel that I could do any other kind of work and how often I would wish to be free out in the open air way off in woods or desert to see what God’s hands has done -- and at last I broke loose and studied much. That is how I became a gardener. I spent 3 years off in the mountains studying all God’s work, worked at a Mr. Willbank cottage in the Adirondack Mountains. Hardly any pay but oh, what enjoyment it was to be my own boss, go fishing, hunting and boating, studying different trees, wild flowers, rocks, most [sic] and insects. What great enjoyment no one knows only those that has been through it all. And I would[n't] change my study for any other.
Now, this great Cause is another great study which I love day by day and it goes hand in hand with what I know of the great nature. So every thing becomes plain to me and some time when I think it over I fill right up with joy to know that I know these both. A man can be a Bahai much easier when he understands all of God’s work. It comes to him so plain that he can see it easy and makes it easy to tell others of this truth. If every Bahai could make a study of flowers, trees, rocks, birds, most [sic] and all God’s hand work he would become the happiest man on earth. We are all driven too hard in this world and no time to look at God’s grand work which is for us to understand and know. And I have just begun -- I mean to push on and study more of it. I wish I could have all the Bahais with me. On a trip in California I saw wonderful things that thousands of others could see. Because they did not understand God’s work I saw so much in one place that I felt ready to die, thinking I had seen all of God’s grand work. Here where I am isn't much to see, only great prairies and mountains. But in other parts of Montana God has left great things for us to enjoy.
Well, Brother, write again [illegible] time. Love to you all, also the Assemblies.
Your Brother Wilcott.
If I get a crop this summer I will be all right, but if not I will be lost. But it is all in God’s hands. If he sees fit he will bless us. This is a good place to try a Bahai. He will either grow or fall. He will surely not stand still. I believe one winter is about all I want up here because of my Mother. She is all discouraged with the deep snow and cold and lonesome life and she is old and wants a better home than this for what few years she has got to live. But it was my health and teaching that brought me here and I [illegible] God will bless me for it all.
In among those that I am teaching are many women and children and they are begging of me to start a Sunday school. But I cannot see my way through it, because as it is we have hard work to live because there is so many that come here to eat because they know a Christian will not turn them out and they are really starving. Three families here are going around from settlers to settlers begging for food and if I would start a school I would have to feed many more. And what can a man do when he hardly can get enough to live on himself? And yet we cannot teach other and not live the life, so I feed all that comes so far. I am depending on my crop of wheat.
(9) Kendall, MontanaThe next portion of the story can be picked up by Frost.
June 26, 1911
Allah o Abha
Dear Brother, your letter at hand. Dear Brother, the reason I did not send for the Star of the West is because I am at present out of cash. I have 22 cents to my name. I need and would like the Star but cannot afford it just now, and will have to wait till I get ahold of some money some where. I am still working in the Cause. I have some new neighbor [to] enlist in it.
God has given us a good crop so far. My wheat is up to my neck.
My mother has been very sick but is now better.
Always remember if I do not read the Star I am with you all just the same and my prayers are for all the friends that they may become strong.
I am gaining in health fast this summer and working hard building fences to keep cattle out.
I am sending you a view of my place taken a few days ago. It looks different than it did in winter. I have a fine garden as good as any town east.
We would like to hear from Chicago if ever you get a chance to spare a few minutes.
Your Brother and Sister in the Cause, John H. Wilcott
[illegible] love to all.
"Somewhere between 1914 and 1916 he met my mother. He went to a ranch 20 miles away to buy some vegetables and he met her in the cabbage patch cutting a large cabbage. She was a beautiful 21 year old German girl (he was 43 years old at that time). She was accidentally there taking care of a relative’s relative who had just had twins. She expected to return to her brothers in St. Louis and then on to her parents in Germany, but dad convinced her to marry him so they were married November 11th, 1916...Mother taught father how to run the ranch, plant gardens, wheat and other crops. She insists that he never knew how to hitch up a team of horses when she met him! They raised chickens, turkeys, geese, pigs, cattle, etc.... "The woman Ethel Frost is introducing here is Johana Schmidt who came from St. Louis, Missouri. She was the mother to the only children John had. Ethel’s sister was named Wanda, her brother, Norman. All three are still alive at this writing.
"My mother and grandmother never got along and dad had to build a separate place for my grandmother....I was born the next September. My grandmother died a year later from hardening of the arteries. (I see dad has on the tombstone of my grandmother, 1919. I think it was 1918 because my sister was born in January 1919, and she died right before then). My brother was born two years after my sister."
Nov. 21, 1916There is only little indication of what difficulties arose between mother and wife. There is nothing to indicate that it was anything major, although family members express sorrow over much of what transpired after John’s marriage to Johana. Eventually, when the original cabin was moved from the ground near the creek to the top of the nearby knoll and added on to, Eliza set up housekeeping in the old cabin which became a wing attached to the larger new one. The root of any difficulties has been said to lie in Johana’s views on the Faith. However, she remained with John to her death in 1962. Frost recounts,
Allah o Abha
Dear beloved Brothers and Sisters in the Cause. I am very happy and wish you all to know of it. I was married Nov. 14. I am sending you a copy of our marriage [sic] which you may use if you see fit to do so. I am doing well out here and God has taken away from me this year and yet he has given me the sweetest girl around. We both love Him and try hard to do what He wishes us to. My wife is not a Bahai or has she heard of it. But she is a good true girl and I know she loves to do what is right.
I am your Brother in the Cause and would love to have some Believer write to Mrs. Wilcott in German if there is such in the Assembly.
Yours very truly,
Mr. and Mrs. Wilcott
"...I was not raised a Bahá'í and my mother, being very opposed to the Faith, destroyed most everything. I did see some little books or pamphlets with the number nine on them and knew my father cherished them and would tell people about them. Also my father had a hand made Greatest Name, embroidered in purple silk thread. He said it was made by a Hindu princess and the last we knew of her is that she was old and lived in St. Louis, Missouri. Well, this Greatest Name dad had framed in a very heavy black and gold frame. He said that this was the Bahá'í colors and the way it should be. And for a side interest, this Greatest Name was not destroyed and hung above my bed and I am the only one to have become a Bahá'í!"However, other observations made of Johana tell a much different story. Nellie Thompson Mereness, a Bahá'í from Butte who had lived in Great Falls from 1948 through 1953 met Johana and John during their visits to their son there. She wrote,
"In all fairness to my dear and trustworthy friend, Johana Wilcott and her belief and steadfastness in Bahá'u'lláh there is no doubt. I was very close to her during my stay in Great Falls and heard her express many times her belief in His teachings and would someday be one of us. Due to her husband’s poor eyesight she had for years read his newsletter to him along with the Gleanings, her favorite book. Johana was self schooled in the Faith but due to lack of encouragement and someone to talk to she could not express herself. The soil of that human heart was deeply plowed and furrowed with trials and tribulations. So when the seed was planted it took hold and will continue to grow and develop eternally. My deepest and sincerest affections to Johana and John Wilcott. May God bless them.It would seem that the matter of destroyed materials was others' misinterpretation of the kind of major housecleaning we all do from time to time, accompanied by an unawareness that anything would have historical value. Certainly, many of John’s remarks in his letters support Mereness' view. In one documentable instance, quoted below from a December 25, 1932 letter, he even signs his correspondence, "From your Bahai Brother and Sister...
"Now, dear Sister, you know
times are very bad."
|Twixt Hill and Hell, there’s just one letter; |
Were Hill in Hell, we'd feel much better.
Allah o AbhaFrom Chicago, this prompt reply:
Dec. 9, 1919
To the Bahai News:
My dear brother -
We are having very hard times here as we did not get a crop for four years now, and at present we hardly know where to get our next meal. The stores have cut off credit, and the county will not help any more till Spring. I thought perhaps by letting you know how we are here that there maybe some of the friends that could get together and help us out in a box of old clothes and some food. If we can stand this winter, God willing we may get a crop this coming year. It makes me feel bad to see my two little babies wanting for food and my mother just alive waiting for her to pass away, and not food enough to give her, and such cold weather - 40 below today, the coldest winter that Montana ever saw. Mrs. Goodale has sent us $10 and Mrs. Peckman $5, and they are going to send some old clothes. I thought perhaps that some of the friends could get together some clothes and perhaps a little box of food that would help us out. If my heart wasn't broken I wouldn't write this, but I cannot see my dear little ones suffer for both clothes and food. The Bahais should not be beggars, and I do not want to beg, but when there isn't any work to get and the banks take all you have away except your land, and that is mortgaged so deep that you can't get another cent on it, and the winter so cold and no coal to be had, I tell you it makes a man write such a letter as this. Please speak to some of the believers that you think may help us out.
We did not raise even one potato, not one kernel of wheat. I have nothing to feed my horses, but the bank has the mortgage on them and they no doubt will take them. Hoping to hear from you soon,
Your brother in His Cause, John H. Wilcott
Chicago, Dec. 15, 1919Ethel Frost draws out some positive memories from this time.
Mr. John H. Wilcott,
My dear Bahai brother:-
The Bahai News Service have just turned over your letter of December 9th to me. I have just sent a telegram to Mr. J.W. Latimer, Union Station, Portland, Ore., and asked him to send immediately clothes, food, etc. We will also send some clothing from here. We are sending a check to Mr. Latimer to cover the expense. Please let me know when you receive these things, also would like to hear from you before this regarding your circumstances. We are indeed very sorry that these trials have come upon you, and will do our utmost to come to your assistance. I wish we had known before.
With Bahai love,
Your brother in service,
"He received and corresponded regularly with Roy Wilhelm, his spiritual father. Times were hard on the farm when the crops failed etc. so I suppose (I don't know) that Mr. Wilhelm would send him money to help out. I know that he would send boxes of old clothes gathered from the Bahá'ís of the east and my mother would make them over for us children. We girls were the best dressed children in school with silks, satins and chiffon dresses!!!"In 1924 John Wilcott suffered bankruptcy. Papers show procedures scheduled first in Kendall and then in Lewistown. An irony in the bankruptcy is that in 1924 the rains returned.
My dear Bahai Sister, your letter received and I was very glad to hear from you. Sister, I feel as though I know you well as all Bahais ought to feel; and in that case I shall be very plain to you. It breaks my heart not to be able to give to this beautiful Temple of ours. 25 years ago I knelt many times on the Temple ground and prayed for this Temple. I also gave very freely $50.00 at a time. Sister, for 3 years we haven't got a crop. This year we did not raise even a garden, and now we are getting help from the Red Cross. They allowed us only $6.00 for a month -- $1.25 each. There is 5 of us. Every one here is suffering. I went 20 to 25 miles after my wood for winter and dug my coal 10 miles from home. The children hardly have clothes for winter. My children don't know what 5 cents look like. My Bahai Sister, if we only could help in this great Temple I would be very glad to do so and I feel very sad that I cannot do so.December 10, 1931:
We are the only Bahai out here and I read all books that Roy Wilhelm sends me so I keep posted on all that is going on.
Mr. Wilhelm got me a job on a Bahai’s farm last spring, but it was impossible to take the job because of no money to go with. At present my rent is free here and we have a few chickens and a few cattle we get on with, and butter. No eggs yet. But there is no feed for the cattle and no sale for them now. We are trusting God and doing the best we can, and there are many others just like us all on the Red Cross. But we are afraid that the Red Cross won't last long as they have more than they can feed.
Sister, my little children send Bahai love to you and wish to thank you for these papers you sent them Last Christmas. I would love to hear from you again.
From your Brother in the Cause. Allah o Abha.
It was a great blessing to me to get such a loving letter from one that we never seen. But a Bahai seem to know each other [sic]. You know, once a Bahai, you are always a Bahai. You letter was very good and kind and it went to the heart. You know I write to very few Bahais. My most great friend is Roy Wilhelm. He has written to me and kept me posted on the Bahai work for 22 years...December 16, 1931:
Now, dear Sister, you know times are very bad. It is so good of you to want to help us, but I beg of you to go easy as perhaps you may need all yourself, as everyone does. Of course, whatever you send will be a great help to us this winter and the children will so much enjoy it.
This is the hardest year we ever say [sic] and we are both hard workers...
I have prayed every night for the Temple for 22 years, and also for all meetings on Sunday all over the world. There was a time when I knew most all the believers in U.S.A. Miss Martha Root 22 years ago sent me a box of books from Phil[adelphia]. B.M. Jacobson of Kenosha, Wisconsin was my teacher. He did a good job. I was also ready for this message [sic]. When I get time I shall hunt up my work in California as I was one of the first ones to go to California and meet the believers and talk to them. If you are an old believer you will see in the Star of the West my picture, also my experience out here among the cowboys. I have given this message among all my neighbors and in those days I had to walk many miles to do so. My old Mother was with me. She came here to help me give the message. She was a doctor and 50 miles was the nearest doctor. She did well, gave the message to hundreds.
...Mrs. Wilcott sends her love to you, also the children.
...and I am trying to get out of this country if I ever can. What kind of a place is it where you live? Is it out in a farm country or is it in a town? Is there any work out there? I talk to you as if I know you because you are a Bahai. We all send love to all of you...January 9, 1932:
My dear Bahai Sisters, your most welcome letter came. It was surely a beautiful letter full of the spirit of God. [I]t was news to me that you could take the Bahai lessons in this way. When I left Chicago 22 years ago there was no such thing as giving lessons by writing and I am surely surprised what good believer you are. I do wish I could help you in books. Perhaps I have some that you have not and I can spare them. I have two of some kinds. Have you got a book called Some Answered Questions? by Abdu'l Baha?...How wonderful it is to think of you both way out there trying to learn of this great Cause in the way you are doing it, when here I am giving the message to many and showing them proofs of it and letting them read books on the Cause and yet they will not pay any attention to it. They are all Christian and I am nothing because I go to no church.April 2, 1932:
Mrs. Wilcott and children enjoyed reading those lessons and how wonderful they are.
We are thinking of going away from this place. I have a few places to go to but it takes money. The Bahai [sic] has a farm in Michigan and they want a Bahai farmer on it. Then Roy Wilhelm in New Jersey offers me a job on his place as a landscape gardner [sic], which is my trade. There is no use staying here for each year gets worse. I came here with 5 thousand and today I haven't got only 15 head of cattle, a wife and 3 children which I am thankful for.
Sisters, we send to you our deepest love and prayers that you will always be steadfast in this great Cause. Remember, once a Bahai, always a Bahai.
From a Bahai Brother not worthy of being called a Bahai.
My dear Bahai Sister, Auntie Victoria,April 2, 1932:
I have received 2 or 3 letters from you and I haven't answered them yet. I thank you for writing and also for the tea. I drank the tea while I was sick. I had the flu for one week and I was very sick. We are all very well now.
I have been trying to sell out so I could go away from here but it is impossible to do so till fall. Then perhaps I shall go if the place is open [sic].
We received letters from many Bahais who you sent our names to and we were very glad to hear from them. We received a box from a children’s school in Bingham, N.Y. which my children answered. You had given them our name. We will send them one of our pictures which will please them. I am sending you one that I know you will like. It is us, and you will know just who we are. It was taken Feb. 29, 1932 in our yard. No snow at that time, but the next day for a week it snowed and blew, so all roads was impossible to travel. But now we have no snow and we are getting ready to go to work in the fields. But it doesn't look to good to me. Everything is too dry. I lost one horse and another is dieing, and if the government do not get that feed here soon, there will be lots of cattle dead here. Cattle are dieing for the want of feed.
The Red Cross is feeding us, but this is the last month. I have two cows that are fresh and we get our milk and butter but no feed for them. They are shipping in 4 cars of feed. If it ever gets here it will help us. This feed is feed is for cattle.
Well this is all now. I have written, today, 7 letters to Bahais.
I am your Brother in the Great Cause,
John H. Wilcott, Winifred, Montana
...I want to thank you for sending me those writings. Please do not go to that work of writing all that for me.December 25, 1932:
I gave your last one to a minister here that I have been trying to get him interested in the Bahai for 18 years [sic]. But he is a hard one to do anything with...
I also got a letter from Mrs. A. Duffy, R.F.D.#6, Norwich, Connecticut -- a very fine believer, 75 miles from any Bahai. I also heard from M., Ruth [Ruth Moffet]. Did you receive any books from Roy W.? I tried to get them for you through Roy and he has not said, yet, if he had them or not.I hope and pray that you will have food luck with your work there. Let me hear from you again.
John F. Behrens, R.#5, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho is a fine believer. He is now 65 and I knew him 30 years ago as a Bahá'í will loved to you all.
In His Name, John H. Wilcott and family
...My little sister from Los Angeles is here making us a visit. She is 58 years old and full of life.There was, by the time of this letter, some relief from the drought. That break lasted through 1933. Harsh drought returned for three of the following four years.
I have been very busy this summer. We have a good crop and a very good garden. Mrs. Wilcott is very busy canning garden stuff. I have a boiler of corn on the stove now while they, my wife and sister, are visiting a neighbor. I am in the house because it rained and I cannot cut grain. We are all very happy because it rained. As it was, the garden was drying up. Mrs. Wilcott said what a beautiful family and you are all beautiful, and those roses look so good to us all as we never see a rose here. My sister can't figure out just where you live unless it is near Frisco.
My little girls send their love to your dear boy. They think he’s so sweet...
I am thinking of living in California as I have two farms, one ranch offered me. They are not very large, 10 to 50 acres. Perhaps I cannot get a living on them.
We all thank you for the picture and we do hope that our hard time is over. We send you all our Bahai love, and I do pray for your happiness.
From your Bahai Brother & Sister, John Wilcott.
"...an upright man who had a
meaningful insight into the world."
Stockman, Robert H.,
The Bahá'í Faith in America, Vol. 2: Early Expansion, 1900-1912.
George Ronald, Oxford, England, 1995
Community Histories: Studies in the Babí and Bahá'í Religions, Vol. 6.
Kalimat Press, Los Angeles, California, 1992
Malone, Michael P. and Roeder, Richard B.,
Montana, a History of Two Centuries.
University of Washington Press, Seattle, Washington and London, England, 1976
Star of the West, Vol. 1, No. 14, November 23, 1910.
Thanks to the following people:
Ms. Gail E.N. Drong, my wife, who originally proposed this paper to me and supported me during several days of preparation and writing.
Mr. Alastair L. Drong, my son, who provided the technical support in training my computer to obey instantly, exactly and completely.
Ms. Kay Maloney, my friend of Great Falls, Montana, who arranged contacts with Wilcott family members and provided me with the raw material from the National Bahá'í Archives.
The National Bahá'í Archives of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States, without whose offices the priceless materials of our national Bahá'í history would be hopelessly unavailable.
The Butte Bahá'í Archives of the Local Spiritual Assembly of Butte, Montana and Ms. Betty Bennett, the Assembly secretary whose services were likewise beyond valuation.