1885 - United States


October 3rd, 1885

Hotel Anderson, Pittsburgh

I came here from Philadelphia on Thursday morning, having received what I judged to be a genuine invitation from Mr. Stewart and his sister to spend a day or two with them. On arriving here I came to the above Hotel about 7 on Thursday morning and after an hour's rest in bed and a good breakfast I called at Mr. Stewart's residence in the suburbs of this busy town and found myself in an elegantly furnished little mansion - Mr. S. was at his office but his sister (or rather half-sister) Miss Armstrong was at home and gave me a right royal reception – her brother she said had remained at home thinking I might call and he insisted that I came to the house and made it my home during the stay - I then called at Mr. Stewart's office in the City and found the same kindness from him - it seemed as if he could not do enough for me - he has a younger brother, a choice young fellow also connected with the Pennsylvania Railway - engaged in the Presidents Office as a sort of right hand man - a nice carriage and pair was soon ordered and the younger Mr. Stewart took me over some 3 or 5 of the large Iron & Steel works for which this town is specially noted - in most cases I was introduced to the principals and shewn over the whole process of manufacture by them - it was very interesting to me – after spending 5 or 6 hours in this way we returned to the office and then they came to this Hotel with me, the landlord of which was well known to them and after packing my bag with the requisites I accompanied them to their home. The Fifth Avenue bedrooms at New York were grand enough but were eclipsed by the magnificent room I was shewn into for my sleeping - it was as much a drawing room as a bedroom - being large and splendidly furnished with the most indescribable little nic nacs - well, I felt quite at home with them in every way and after dinner, another lady a Mrs. Hayes, they had introduced during the voyage who was also returning by the Etruria, called in and spent the evening with us - she is a very decided Christian and we had a nice time altogether - yesterday after breakfast Mr. Stewart Snr gave the whole day in visiting with me - first we went about 12 miles out to see the Bessemer Steel Works where the steel rails are made - we saw the whole process and what was so very interesting about it is that this as well as all the great works here are now using this marvellous discovery - the natural gas, found in the neighbourhood of the Oil wells about 20 miles from here and brought in pipes all that distance and connected with the factories and is now being introduced into dwelling houses - it is a most wonderful discovery - no smoke nor smell and not half the cost of coal. It comes up from the bowels of the earth in unlimited quantity. We returned here about 1.30 and dined at a Restaurant near the station, or Depot as they call it - and then continued our visits to many places of interest in the city - I soon found my friend Mr. Stewart was quite a little King among the nobles here - among the places we visited was one of the large banks where he introduced me to the President as the Chief is styled and who took me over the whole place - a peculiar safe they had here struck me very much as one of the most singular inventions I ever saw. After all the securities of no end of locks and bolts against burglars the last touch given to it by the clerk in charge of the key renders it secure against the possession of the key itself - by some watch arrangement inside which is set, the safe could not under any circumstances be opened again until a certain hour in the morning had arrived. All through the day and previous day I was not permitted to pay a cent, this was kind enough, but I had not yet reached the summit of Mr. Stewart's hospitality and attention. On returning to the office for a little while, he presented me with a first class pass to Chicago - St. Louis back here and from Pittsburgh to New York, so that all railway travelling next week is free - he has also wired to his friend at Chicago to pilot me about there and to the Grand Pacific Hotel at Chicago for rooms.

We returned to their house about 6 and they had invited a Mr. Schoyer, a leading lawyer in the place and a Mr. Fox (a Reverend I suppose) a Presbyterian Minister - I did thoroughly enjoy the evening - Mr. Fox is a fine young fellow, an American and as I spoke to him of the Lord Jesus he seemed electrified - real love to the person of Christ in his heart - our lawyer friend found it a little hot I think and proposed a cigar after a little while and Mr. Stewart retired with him for about half an hour, leaving Mr. Fox and I together and Miss Armstrong. Our two guests left at 9 and Mr. Stewart, his sister and I made a call on Mrs. Hayes who had invited us and who lived within 10 minutes' walk - I never saw anything in England so magnificent as this lady's house - talk about furniture and articles of vertue[sic] - every corner was filled with it – her husband is dead and an only daughter is married to a young gentleman, the owner of one of the Iron Works, we looked over and who live with Mrs. Hayes - the daughter was from home but the son in law was at home and we spent a nice time there until 11. We had a grand fruit supper - a splendid melon - the slices of which as the coloured servants handed around rather alarmed me - this nigger[1] did amuse me very much - he seemed so to enjoy a few little stories I told - though standing very erect and hands folded, like a statue, yet the rolling eyes and extended mouth and flashing white teeth told the tale, that sambo could enjoy a story as well as his white lords - they have four coloured servants in the house. Well we got back soon after 11 and I retired to my bedroom and was not long in getting inside the muslin curtains enfolding the bed - thus protected from the mosquitoes, the music of which I heard but am glad there was nothing about my flesh to attract them so they did not trouble me. After breakfast this morning I told Mr. Stewart how much I desired to bow the knee with them before departing and we all bowed together before the Lord to thank him for all the mercy and goodness and to commend the household to Him for blessing. It was a very sweet moment and I trust that good may come of it which shall rebound to His glory throughout eternity. I never saw lovelier characters in my life and it has been a cheer to my heart, appreciated as God only knows - would that there was more of this spirit to comfort and cheer us during the little span of life here. I have called at the Hotel this morning to get my luggage and having an hour to spare thought I would write you an account as well as I was able of the reception and kindness I have received in this place - never indeed to be forgotten. I have promised on my return to send them over all our photos and they will return us theirs - I am leaving for Chicago at 1 to reach there at 6 tomorrow morning and now my beloved Angee, with much love to you all believe me

I hardly know when you will get this but suppose it will reach you some 4 or 5 days before we see each other's face again.


[1] We recognise that this is an offensive term today. However, Edward Petter used the term "Nigger" as a neutral term to refer to black people. It is clear from the context that no negative connotation is implied. The use of the term on this website does not condone the modern usage. See further here.

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