Indianapolis, IN: January 21, ALS "Mary Lord Harrison", handwritten communication between the President's widow and General Robert S. Foster. 4.5" x 6.75". 8 pp. of dark blue ink on black bordered note paper. Second page separated at fold, several small foxing spots on last page, away from signature. Delicate along the folds, but all else in tact.
Mary Scott Lord (Apr 30, 1858 – Jan 5, 1948) was the second wife of President Benjamin Harrison. In 1889, she became an assistant to her aunt, First Lady Caroline Harrison. After Mrs. Harrison's death in 1892, Mary Lord married the former President Benjamin Harrison on April 6, 1896 in New York City; he was 62 and she was 37 years of age. They had one child Elizabeth Harrison Walker. Mary Lord Dimmick Harrison died in New York City from conditions related to asthma. Harrison's grown children from his first marriage, horrified at the news, did not attend the wedding.
Robert Sanford Foster (Jan 27, 1834 – Mar 3, 1903) was a Union general during the American Civil War. He played a prominent role in the siege of Petersburg and the Appomattox Campaign, where his division blocked the retreat of the Confederate troops under Robert E. Lee. He enlisted as a private and rose to the rank of Brevet MG. Resigning after the war he returned to Indianapolis where he worked as the city treasurer, US Marshal and president of the Indianapolis Board of Trade. He was close friends with the Harrison's and a self appointed protector of Mrs. Harrison after the president's death. fine. Item #437
My dear Genl. Foster
Your letter of the 17th has been received.
No one but your most kind self has written me in regard to the conference. It would have been courteous had those who have the bill in charge written me, but this is not the first surprise I have had! Mr. Ransdel was written Mr. Miller. I understand. I would like very much to have a talk with you, but tha must be deferred.
Some Easter papers have published an article saying “Mrs. Harrison has urged the withdrawal of her pension bill. She has $10,00 a year, and the Generals relatives do not wish her to have it, and the General did not expect it”. All of this about the income (which I have not, by any manner) my own wishes and the General’s wishes, is absolutely untrue, and I protest that such statements should pass unnoticed. The telegram was from Washington and evidently the Senator and others in Congress wish to skirt the responsibility, and create the impression that I am the one who withdrew the bill! No, indeed, if the bill is not presented the truth must be told – viz – that Congress did not wish to grant it!
A reaction often comes, and I believe this will be no exception, but I decline to be responsible for the non-presentation of the bill, and I feel deeply the injustice to my husband, and have not given up all hopes yet.
I expect to leave for Cala. About the middle of next week, and hope to return early in April. I have been so harassed over this matter that I trust a change of scene will be beneficial to me. My address will be care Lt. Com. John F. Parker – Navy Yard Mare Island – California -, and will be glad to hear from you at any time. Again let me thank you, over and over again for your kindness and loyalty and remember me most sincerely to Mrs. Foster.
Mary Lord Harrison