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|Albuquerque N. M.|
April 19, 1867
I haven't written you for
some time, chiefly from the cares and responsibilities
which busy me, tho' I must confess I am sub-
ject to moods w'h influence me too.
To day is "good
Friday," and in this Roman Catholic Country,
it is the most solemn in the Calendar, and
has been Rapt with all due pomp; tonight
I have been in Church, w'h is continually fill-
ed with people, coming & going. the altar is
covered with black, and has all its ornaments
removed, just back of the Chancel rail & of
?- the center of the altar, there is a figure
of the virgin, robed in some somber color,
surrounded by lights, while on the outside
is a Crucifix on a white? cushion? before which
the sanctents? are continually prostrating
themselves, saying their prayers, with sights
& tears= surely to an ignorant-mind the
symbols & pomps of the Romish Church
is fascinating indeed
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In 1867, Ephraim Williams (1837-1902) was serving as first lieutenant in the United States Army in the New Mexico Territory where he protected frontier settlements against Apache attacks. In this letter to his sister, Williams, a New England Protestant, reports with disdain on the Good Friday and Easter traditions in the heavily Catholic New Mexico. He also describes the funeral procession of Captain Mc Rae, a Union officer who was killed by Confederate troops in the Battle of Valverde, five years earlier, in 1862. In this battle, Confederate troops led by General Henry Hopkins Sibley invaded the New Mexico Territory to cut off communications of Union troops at Fort Craig with those at Santa Fe. The Confederate forces succeeded in this battle only to retreat back to El Paso, Texas three months later. Williams is lonely and longs for companionship from "the States" which underscores that he sees himself residing on foreign soil.
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Letter to Rebecca Williams from Brother Ephraim Williams, Jr. On Catholicism, etc.
| author Ephraim Williams, Jr. (1837-1902)
| date Apr 19, 1867
| location New Mexico
| height 9.75"
| width 7.75"
| process/materials manuscript, paper, ink
| item type Personal Documents/Letter
| accession # #L05.140
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