Submitted by: Gail Lynn
The following letter on official letterhead of the Department of the Interior, Office of the U. S. Surveyor General in Huron, Dakota was written on October 16, 1889 by W. H. Hooper to his son. Since South Dakota was admitted to the union in 1889, the old Dakota Territory stationery for the DOI was no longer useful for anything but scratch paper, so W. H. used it for this letter. In it he makes reference to other relatives and also the work he was doing. Alice is his sister, Mrs George Alfred Rogers of White Lake. George is his brother George Francis Hooper who is also mentioned in the history of White Lake. Mabel is George's wife, nee Mabel Helen Boam. The 12 pound girl is my grandmother, Eva Lillian Hooper:
Your letter of 13th inst-received this noon and I was glad to hear from you and to know you had a good visit while back east. I got a letter from MAY a day or two ago and she is now staying with ALICE and will for a week or two. I have rented a house here for a year, not a very large one but yet big enough for us. There is dining room kitchen, parlor and 2 bedrooms and 2 closets downstairs, and two room upstairs, big back garden & plenty of fruit. Barn, coal house, chicken house & buggy shed, also cistern and cellar. I pay 12.50 per month. I have bought quite a lot of furniture towards housekeeping but need lots more before I am well fixed. Expect the folks up about the first of the month. Yes, as you say Pierre is the Capital, but that does not make a change in the location of our office necessary. Ours is not a State office but a Government office. We are under no jurisdiction other than the National Government. Remember that both North and South Dakota is our field of labor. I hardly think it possible that we will move to Pierre and yet it may be so ordered when the Sioux Reservation is thrown open for settlement, as all the surveys made in the two states mentioned have to pass through our office.
I have charge of The Mineral Department, and I am called Mineral Clerk. Everything pertaining to mines or minerals pass through my hands, subject of course to the approval of the Surveyor General.
Mr. Sullivan has given me a very nice position at a good salary, and I am working faithfully to master every detail of my business, and think I shall succeed. Thus far I have given good satisfaction, and Mr. Sullivan has expressed himself and well satisfied with the way I do his work. Perhaps before many months you may be able to come and see us and I will explain more fully in regard to the business. We have a very nice suite of rooms for our offices, elegantly furnished, every room carpeted, hard coal burners and a janitor to keep fires and do the cleaning up. Our office hours are from 9-12, 1-4. But I work more hours than that as there is more for me to do than for the others, and I get more for doing it. I don't know but I have written you before in regard to my duties if so you can give this letter to AUGIE and I will write you another.
I should like very much to have you make us a visit this winter if you think you can, if not I can perhaps run down and see you about the holidays.
GEORGE is at Fort Worth Texas yet and he intends to stay in Texas until spring, then I think he will go on to the reservation.
I have not heard from MABEL since she left Fremont. I suppose you heard about her big 12 lb girl - and AUNT TILLIE was not there -. Never mind, you shall come to my next picnic: but I presume it will (be) a good while.
Write me fully and remember me to GEO & AUGIE. I am going down to the depot now to see Moody & Pettigrew our 2 new Senators. Bye-bye.
W. H. Hooper