APRIL 30, 1937
CHICAGO, Thursday—I promised you a copy of the inscription on the tombstone in St. Phillip's cemetery. Mr. Edmund P. Grice of Charleston, South Carolina has been good enough to send it to me. It reads as follows:
"To The Memory Of Nicholas John Wightman
Who was killed by a footpad On the night of the 12 March 1788
Aged 25 years
Peaceably returning home to his brothers house Where he resided
The J —— (thug) met and made an attempt to rob him
Which he resisted and was instantly shot dead on the spot.
His brothers with a small assistance
The same night secured the murderer
And six accomplices, being the whole of the gang
That then very much infested the peace of the city.
And by their frequent robberies
And attempts to set fire to houses
Kept the inhabitants in constant alarm.
They were shortly after tried
And after fullest conviction condemned and executed.
DIVINE PROVIDENCE ordered that a single button
Belonging to the coat of the murderer
Found the next morning on the spot where the murder was committed
By a child, the son of M. Edgar Wills, March!
Served with other proof to discover and convict him.
This marble is erected by an affectionate brother and sister
In memory of the virtues of their dead brother
Who thus departed
HIS SOUL RESTS AT THE MERCY OF THE CREATOR."
I think in all probability this was the first or one of the first dectective stories ever written in this country and I hope it will amuse you as much as it amused me.
Mr. Grice also sent another very remarkable inscription which I am saving for a later time for it requires a different mode.
Both my broadcasts and autobiography are bringing me in some interesting letters. One letter came from a young woman whose aunt had been a maid in my great-aunt, Mrs. Edward L. Ludlow's house. She said that although her aunt was now very old, she had been so interested in recalling the old days and wondering if I remembered certain incidents. This maid came from a foreign country when she was quite young and went immediately to work for my Great aunt. The niece said that Mrs. Ludlow had taken a great interest in her aunt and her first job seems to have been in the house in Newport, Rhode Island. Mrs. Ludlow directed her and taught her how to do certain things, even coming in to tell her how she should take her bath. At once I remember how as a little girl Aunt Maggie as I called her, in this very same house in Newport, came in to make sure that her little grand-niece knew how to make herself clean. Under her eagle eye there was no shirking of ears or necks and I felt myself suddenly again the little girl of forty-five years ago!
I left last night from Baltimore by air at eleven-fifteen to fly to San Francisco. I am now well on my way and am filing this at and will let you know tomorrow more about the trip which has as its ultimate objective a few days in Seattle with my daughter and son-in-law and grandchildren.