Life History of

William Henry GARDNER

Document 2 - Letter to Brother Walter dated 4-Jan-1923


Manila, P.I., January 4, 1923

Mr. Walter E. Gardner
Dyersburg, Tennessee

Dear Brother:

I have put off writing to you for a long time in the hope that I would
get some photographs ready to send you. I wanted to have a group
photo taken of my family so that you could have a better idea of sizes
and ages. However, I have robbed the family album and am sending you
some photos with descriptions on the back and I hope you will be able
to get a clear idea of the situation.

CEFERINA CASTRO -- This is the name of my wife. It is a custom for
native women to retain their family names after marriage. The proper
way to state the name of my wife would be: Ceferina Castro de Gardner.
Her father and mother died when she was a very small child. She does
not remember much of them. Was born about 15 miles from Manila.

During the Philippine Insurrection, about the time I arrived, she was
brought to Manila to escape the terrible Americanos riding big horses
and she lived thereafter with her aunt, a sister of her mother. Two
brothers of the mother also lived here. They all lived near the Sampaloc
police station where I was on duty, and I knew her from the time I came
here, but had no idea of marrying her.

One day her aunt's husband got drunk and stabbed her aunt's brother.
I was on duty and went out in the patrol wagon and picked up the
wounded uncle and sent him to the hospital and sent the husband to
prison for a month. During this time I got pretty well acquainted with
the family. After the husband got out of prison the two brothers of the
girl's mother decided that the girl should not be allowed to live longer in the
house of this drunkard, and so one of the uncles took the girl to his house.

The aunt thought a great deal of the girl and would send her something
once in awhile, which would make the uncles mad. They quarrelled over
the girl and mistreated her also on account of her wish to return to her
aunt, so a Filipino crook and his wife, who wanted to do me a favor,
stole the girl out to bring her to me.

She was very proud to have an American husband and readily consented.
She was so young that I could not afford to get mixed up in the matter
without the consent of her relatives. I would have nothing to do with
her. She could not go back to her aunt and she was afraid to return
to her uncles. The crook and his wife took her to a big house in the
country and hid her out. They let her relatives think I had her, and
they came to me about it. They watched me for a long time and as I
was not going to see her they could not locate her in that way.

I could prove I had not taken her away, so they were nearly crazy to
locate her before I would admit I could find her. Then I told them I
knew where she was but I had nothing to with her. Before they got to
see her they were willing for me to take her, but I was not willing.
However, the girl would not go back home and she had her mind made
up that she was going to stay with me, so one day I had her brought to
Manila and installed her in a house of strong materials that could be
securely locked, and here she was kept for a month as a prisoner
locked up there with an old woman so that her relatives could not get
to her. She was afraid they would try to take her home.

It was a month before she would consent to see any of them. The eldest
uncle where she had lived last was the first to be allowed to see her.
I went with him to the house and told him to go upstairs and talk to her
and I would remain below, and that if I heard of any abuse from him I
would come up and throw him out. They talked and cried over each
other for a while and after that there was no more trouble.

We were married June 1st, 1905.

Signed: Will (William H. Gardner)


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