Warner P. Sutton

by His Daughter Ethel Felice Sutton Kimball (d. 1879),

written Apr. 18, 1969

Copy obtained from the Madison County Ohio Historical Society, Nov. 2009


All those years of Father's strange illness (thirteen years) left us with the memory of a helpless invalid. Physically helpless he was, but with mental faculties still clear. He attended to all his business, dictating letters for Mother to write.


His business was quite involved, in one investment especially. He had bought a square mile of rich "muck land" near Fennville, Michigan. This land he was selling on land contracts -- forty acres, eighty acres, etc, He was selling it himself, not through an agent, and it involved much "bookkeeping" and letter writing.


Mother went twice a day to be with him, to write his letters and to read to him. She read marry volumes of history and biography, and the daily newspaper. He was cared for by Earnest Robinson, and lived in the Robinson home with the family.


When we went to see him, he was glad to see us, but there was a sense of being separated by some intangible space. He depended entirely on Mother.


This is as it was the last four years of his life (1909 - 1913). Before this, a doctor in Chicago had been treating Father with massage and special baths, but with no good results. The doctor wrote to me, saying that my father would probably live many years, but that my mother's condition was critical. He said that she should be relieved immediately and should not be "under the same roof" with Father. She was on the verge of a complete breakdown. This was in February of 1909.


Saida and White were both married and living in Honolulu. Mother had been in Saugatuck, with a sick husband, a young daughter, and a nurse; and none of us had been aware of her need for a change until the doctor informed me.


The solution was to bring Father, Mother, and Enid to Madison. Mother and Enid lived with us (Carl, Ethel, Warner, and Caroline), and Father was cared- for in the Robinson home,


In 1893, Grover Cleveland (Democrat) removed all Republicans from appointive offices, and so that year we left Mexico and came North, Father had been Consul in Matamoros, Mexico (1878-1889), then Consul-General at Nuevo Laredo (1889-1893). After leaving Mexico, we spent the winters in Washington, D. C, and the summers in Saugatuck.


Father had an office in Washington for the practice of International Law. He had many interesting and important cases, two noted ones: "The Elephant Dam" related to the Rio Grande, and "The Cheek Case" against the King of Siam.


In April of 1898 ("Remember the Maine"), the war against Spain involved operations in Cuba and Puerto Rico, The War Department asked Father to serve as an aide to General Nelson G. Miles in Puerto Rico. This request was because of his long service in Mexico, his use of the language, and his knowledge of Spanish-speaking people.


This work required conferences with Puerto Rican generals, and plans for landing U. S, troops on that island. The story of that plan is long and interesting, a well-kept secret at that time. Troops were landed. Father said he heard a few bullets "whiz by" . Dewey took Manila, and the war was soon ended.


But the malaria mosquito had done its fatal work.


(It was not until later that the cause and cure of malaria were known, ) The result of this was a severe attack of malarial fever. Father would make a partial recovery of short duration, followed by recurring attacks -- an intermittent illness with no complete recuperation. He kept his office in Washington for about two years and was able to conclude one or two important cases,


In June of 1900, he was attending a State Republican Convention in Grand Rapids when he collapsed completely and was taken back to Saugatuck -- he was in a coma for many days. A brain specialist from Grand Rapids was called, He told our Doctor Walker that Father would live, but that the result would be a long and hopeless illness -a very sad prospect. The brain specialist called it "basular meningitis," the result of the long siege of malarial fever. No vital organ was affected, so it meant years of failing health. Father lived thirteen years after that. He died in Madison on May 30, 1913,


His active years were limited. He was fifty-one years old when the last stage of his illness came. He was only forty-nine when he went to Puerto Rico, and sixty-four when he died. When we realize that his life's work ended at forty-nine, it is amazing to us how much he had "lived" and accomplished in that short time.


All those last years of sickness and inability are the ones "we children" remember, because they were the last. Recently, in sorting out old letters and papers, the father I remember as a little child has become clearer more definite and real in my mind, And that is what I am trying to recall for White and Enid and our children. Saida is gone, and that leaves me (Ethel) the next in age to remember incidents -- and more and more keep coming to my mind, which I will try to relate.


Father had to start his career from meager beginnings. Ability and brains he must have inherited, but the actual achievement was his own doing. His father, Luther Sutton, had been severely injured in the Civil War; his skull had been fractured and he was left for dead for three days while other wounded soldiers were being cared for, When it was discovered that he was still living, the surgeons operated, using a silver plate to cover the wound (trepan?), He was not able to do much work, but was for a time editor of the "Hartford Day Spring, " He was an authority on the Indian tribes in that region and could speak some of their languages.


It is said that he was the first white child born in Van Buren County.


Father became a teacher and journalist, He first met Mother at a Teachers' Institute (the story of that meeting is in "Mother's story"). He taught in Watervliet, Ludington, and Saugatuck. In Saugatuck, he was the principal and added one year to the curriculum, making it a one-year high school.


It was from Saugatuck that he went to Matamoros, Mexico, in 1878 as Consular Agent, then Consul. He later became Consul General. He was recommended for this appointment by Senator Thomas White Ferry, and "White" Sutton was named for him. So now I am going back to the years in Mexico -- Matamoros and Nuevo Laredo


As little children, we called our parents Papa and Mama It was the custom then, both Mexican and English. In later years, little by little. we changed to Father and Mother. But in writing about our early years, no other names would seem natural except Papa and Mama; so I shall use them.


Matamoros is the place where Papa started his consular career. It is also the place where I (Ethel) was born -- in a beautiful, large, rosewood, four-poster bed -on December 9, 1880. The building -- Ituria Building -was of brick, very large and well-built, two stories high, but very high stories. It was built around a large, open courtyard. The whole lower story was used for commercial business -- one, I know, was a big wine business. The upper story had offices and living apartments. It was on the corner lot so there were two streets. The U. S. Consulate was on the main street side, with our flag flying above it. Our apartment was on the side street. It had large, high rooms -- four bedrooms, kitchen, dining room, a large "sala" and a large open corridor looking down into the courtyard. There were three rooms facing the side street with French windows, blinds, and small iron balconies overlooking the street.


We had much entertainment watching the activity in the courtyard and the street, especially if there was a circus parade with a "pallazo" (clown). The corridor was our playroom -- ropes to perform on, room to skate, etc. Matamoros had many English and German people in business. The children of these families played with us at Santa Cruz, a park near the Rio Grande. It had a bull ring, a grandstand, and green grass. Our nurse took us on a horse-drawn streetcar. Sometimes the driver would let White hold the reins, White said he hoped to be a streetcar driver when he grew up.


The English and German children were also taken by their nurses, as no child ventured anywhere alone. Papa's fears were disease and kidnapping. Of these children, I remember only an English family -- Jasper, Victoria, and Tinita Lynch. This afternoon trip in the nurse's care was Mama's only respite from her three children. I have written about Mama's teaching us in another memoir. She was a delightful teacher, and we enjoyed our morning sessions with her --' three children in three different grades.


Papa learned to speak Spanish fluently, and made many friends among the Mexicans in Matamoros and in many other cities where his duties took him, including Mexico City. We always called the pity of Mexico "Ciudad de Mejico. " In all his years in Mexico, 1878-1893, Porfirio Diaz was the "President,." and Papa knew him quite well in an official way.


Papa took us to see sugar mills when the cane was being crushed, and the coarse, heavy,, brown sugar was made. The trip to the sugar mill required a hired carriage and driver, as it was far outside the walled city.


Another trip came in the springtime when Papa and Uncle Charlie had large kites made, and we drove out to open country to fly them. I am sure that Papa and Uncle Charlie and the driver enjoyed the kites as much or more than we did. It required a man to hold the cords.

There was the hunting season, too, when ducks, quail, and plover, and other game birds came in large numbers. I suppose Papa was a "good shot" because we feasted for a time on these delicious birds -- a pleasant change in our diet.


Quinine, in my mind, is related to the game bird season. It was probably the time when malarial fever was prevalent. Our Dr. MacManus prescribed small daily doses of quinine, and coffee with hot milk for our breakfast, as a preventive. The coffee we enjoyed, but the quinine was an ordeal. We three children stood in front of the buffet, and Papa served us raw powdered quinine on the tip of a silver spoon. Papa declined the doctor's offer to make the dosage more palatable (tablets or capsules?). We took it straight with water after it. We were not allowed to be "mollycoddles. " That sounds rather cruel. But we felt quite proud of ourselves; it was a test of fortitude.


Besides the English and German children at Santa Cruz, we had other good friends, the Graybills, who were Southern Presbyterian Missionaries. Their daughter was my special friend. Her name was Douglass, but she was called "Dussie. " They lived near the Plaza by the Cathedral, and we visited often with them. We attended their little Mission Church, the only Protestant church in Matamoros. We learned our catechism in Spanish. And Dr, Graybill preached in Spanish, as well as he could. In one sermon, he referred to Christ's suffering until there were drops of blood. He meant to say "gotas de sangre, " but what he said was "gatos de sangre, " which means cats of blood. We children were first horrified, then convulsed with laughter. Poor Mama had trouble to keep us quiet. That is the only sermon that I remember, but I still say the Lord's Prayer in Spanish.


We children spoke Spanish by ear and were more fluent in Spanish than in English. One story, told about me when I was very young: I had heard Papa teasing one of the young missionary ladies, Miss Dysart, because she refused to tell her age. In my effort to copy Papa, I said, "Mr. Dysart, what old is he?" This was much quoted, to Miss 'Dysart's embarrassment,


We had good friends across the river in Brownsville, Texas, the Halls, Southern Presbyterian missionaries. They had three children, Elizabeth, John, and Anita. Sometimes we would spend a day or two at their house, and they came to our house,


In Matamoros, around 1887 or 1888, Saida had had a Christmas visit with the Halls. Elizabeth Hall was about Saida's age. Saida had a wonderful time, much fun, and good things to eat. When she came back from the visit, she became very sick -- what seemed like a bad stomach ache from too much, too rich food. I remember that Papa walked with her up and back on the corridor, hoping that she would feel better. She grew worse; Dr. MacManus came and, of course, prescribed the usual castor oil. Saida's sickness was appendicitis and a ruptured appendix, followed by weeks of peritonitis. She was near death for weeks. The doctors and surgeons from Fort Brown across the river came often. But it was before sulfa and penicillan, so it was just her vitality that saved her life.


In Mexico then, (perhaps now) a person was required to be buried within twenty-four hours of death. Papa had permits and papers signed and ready to remove her to Brownsville if she died. We, of course, didn't know that until years later. Mama and Papa and the doctors took all the care of her, but I remember how pitiful it was to see her so thin and weak.


To go to Brownsville, we had to cross the Rio Grande, which was wide and had a strong current at this point. We crossed in a large, flat rowboat with one man rowing. We had instructions in boat behavior, also, Papa explained why the man rowing aimed our boat upriver against the current so that, by the time we had reached the Texas side, we were directly opposite the spot on the Mexico side from where we had started This was Papa's way of teaching us; and the explanation and the incident are both very clear in my mind today.


Somehow, Papa impressed us with certain rules of conduct. He never had to punish us that I remember, but there was no question about obedience -- and I mean immediate obedience -- even if he was not with us. One thing, especially, was about telling something that was not to be told and to keep a promise. In his office, many confidential facts were known -- of course, we did not know them, but we had the. training. We kept a secret if we had promised. To break a promise was a deadly sin.


One incident made Papa very angry: Some officers' wives from Fort Brown came over to Matamoros to buy French and English goods, silks, etc. These were duty-free in Mexico. After their shopping, they came to call on Mama and they concealed many yards of expensive goods under their dresses -- this was easy to do with bustles and long skirts. So they smuggled all their purchases, with no duty, across to Texas. They had used the U. S. Consulate to cheat the U. S. Government, They were not personal friends, and you may be sure they never came again.


A frightening experience was a "chubazco" (hurricane), It would start late in the afternoon -- the sky black -- wind and rain -- and it grew more violent as night came down. We children were kept up; and when the building trembled and things fell from the mantel, we moved down to the warehouse below us. We were placed under the strong arches, considered the safest place; mattresses were brought, and we children slept on the floor -- but there was no sleep for the grown-ups. Our big building withstood the storm, but the destruction was terrible -- little huts and little buildings collapsed. I remember two such storms, but this was the most frightening. After a few days, Papa took us to see some of the sad sights. All the city was badly damaged.


Uncle Charlie (Charles A, Andrus, Mama's brother, thirteen years younger) came to Matamoros to be a clerk in the Consulate. He was young and full of fun, and we learned all the latest American slang.


In the spring of '89, Papa was called to Washington, D. C. to be the Chief Clerk of the International American Congress. This was the first gathering of the Latin American countries with the U. S. A. , a prelude to what became the Pan-American Union, later the Organization of American States,


This left us in Matamoros with Uncle Charlie as head of the family. With him we made the famous trip by coach, and with Army escort, across the Rio Grande. This I have already described in the story about Mama; it was an adventure: two days and two nights across the Texas plains, with about twenty soldiers and much equipment, through "bandit country, " to reach a railroad station and get a train to Laredo, Texas.


Papa had been promoted to be Consul General at Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. A bridge had been built across the wide riverbed of the Rio Grande. It connected the Mexican National Railroad with the International and Great Northern on the Texas side. This connection made Nuevo Laredo an important port of entry and created the need for a consulate.


But we were not to stay there until after the fall, after the International Congress. We went North by train to Michigan for the summer, and it was not until November (1889) that we returned to Nuevo Laredo to live and for Papa to establish his office.


A suitable house had to be built for a Consul General of the U, S, A, , so for the first winter we lived in a small, rented house near the railway and the big bridge. When the new building was finished, we had a very large, well-planned house: many rooms, a large yard with a high picket fence around it, and a kitchen which was a sizeable separate building with a covered way connecting it to the house. And now we had two beautiful English setters, Jack and Hunter.


Antonio Garcia, our Matamoros cook, had followed "Mr. Sutton" and was there to cook for us again. The food I remember best was the breakfast: cornbread, made of yellow corn ground in a small hand-mill freshly each morning, delicious coffee served with hot milk, the coffee freshly roasted and ground every day, and large bowls of rice.


Antonio was a most frightening sight on first seeing him. He was short and stocky, his face pitted by small-pox; he had a harelip, very small, bright eyes, and stiff black hair that stood straight up from his forehead; he never wore shoes, was always barefoot except when he went out in full dress for a holiday.


He would get his pay each week. It was a touching ceremony on Sundays when he would get dressed up in his best and come to let us see how well he was outfitted. He wore a clean cotton shirt and pantaloons with a bright scarf tied around for a belt, and his expensive, beautiful silver-trimmed sombrero. I can see him now -- a picture of pride in his looks and his position.


But Monday morning would come, and there was no breakfast and no Antonio. He could get drunk on three cents' worth of mezcal, and would be locked up for "disturbing the peace. " Papa or Uncle Charlie would pay his fine and bring him home. Finally, Papa told him that he would pay him once in four weeks, and that he was not to go out on intervening Sundays. Antonio agreed -- that was a good plan. Whatever "Mr. Sutton" decided was good with that devoted Antonio.


In Nuevo Laredo, Papa's duties took him to many cities;, his territory consisted of all the large, northern states of Mexico. Monterey, Saltillo, Linares, Tampico San Luis Potosi, and the City of Mexico were some of the cities I remember.


Smallpox was always a common disease but in some years became epidemic. In this winter of 1890, we were all vaccinated. All but White had painful reactions, but it was White who was a victim. Papa got special permission to keep him, in our house, well isolated in a room in the southwest corner of the house. Papa cared for him himself. He stayed in the hall next to him and had his desk and telephone moved there; also, his communication with the other part of the house. Two doctors came across from Laredo, Texas, and looked at the patient through a window from outside the house. They wore mackintoshes.


The sickness was severe: a high fever that lasted . about three weeks, and the painful, horrible eruptions which caused the "pox" marks. Papa abhorred scars and blemishes of every kind. He kept White covered with vaseline, and from his seat in the hail trained White not to touch the itching spots.


To add to the problem was the imminent arrival of a baby in the north end of the house. White's illness was over, but he had to be kept in isolation for another three weeks. A nice Mexican man was White's nurse and companion during those final weeks. Papa had himself thoroughly disinfected, his clothes destroyed, and the rooms fumigated.


Soon after this, the day came when Enid Bancroft Sutton arrived in the northwest room (the prevailing winds in that season were from the North). So we had a new little sister.. And, meanwhile, the nice Mexican nurse had entertained White by introducing him to the use of tobacco.


This whole incident is typical of Papa's care for his family, He was calm and composed, but no detail was forgotten. He took charge and did not spare himself. I know we all felt a sense of his command in any crisis, even the combination of smallpox and a new baby.


Whooping cough was prevalent one year. White and Enid both had it, and Papa and Mama were taking them to Tampico to recover, If I had it, I could also go with them. There would be a private car so that no one else would be exposed. I did my best to cough but couldn't succeed. Two days after they had left. I began to whoop tremendously -- A Great Disappointment.


Some familiar directions of Papa's come to my mind always: "Stand up straight, " "Don't stumble." "Don't be heedless, " If we hurt ourselves through our own carelessness, we were reproved, not pitied. If illness or injury befell, not due to our fault, we had devoted care. We knew that obedience was expected promptly. I do not remember that he scolded us often. It was not necessary He explained the need for prompt obedience, and I know that we never questioned his authority or his fairness.


In Nuevo Laredo, Mama's teaching was not necessary. Saida and I attended a Seminary across the river. It was a Mission School for Mexican girls. A few American girls were accepted as paying students. This met a real need for some American girls, and brought a little income for the school. There was no distinction or separation made.


Saida and I cried all the first week at the school. We were homesick. We didn't like the food. We decided that we would not stay. On Friday, Papa came to take us home for the week end, for we were five-day students. We came out to the carriage carrying our bags and everything we had. We announced that we were not coming back the next week -- we didn't like it. We were told very firmly to take our bags and hack them and that we would be returning on Sunday afternoon.

Of course, there were tears, but no "appeal. " We both cried for weeks, as I remember; but soon we were happy and delighted with all the interesting things to do. We made friends with the American girls and many lovely Mexican girls. When we finally left in '93, we shed almost as many tears.


The school was a splendid one, using the curriculum of the Cincinnati Schools. Two Kentucky "Ladies" were at the head, Miss Manny and Miss Delia Holding, real Southern ladies. Every evening there was a chapel service -- Bible, hymns, and prayers. We had to kneel and close our eyes. Frequently, one of the teachers would speak to some "sinner:" "Close your eyes, Maria." how the teacher could see if her eyes were closed I was too timid to ask.


The Head of the Music Department was a gifted German, ferocious-looking and fiery-tempered. He was said to be a deserter from the German Army. He was well-educated and a good teacher. He formed an orchestra. Saida and White played violin. I played the viola. (No one else wanted to, as it meant learning to read another clef. ) We gave concerts, solos, an act of an opera, etc. It was really good musical experience.


With our house in Nuevo Laredo there was a small green space attached to the back. It had a small rose garden, a real luxury. There was beyond it a large, green yard with a high picket fence, the gate always closed and locked. At the back line, there was a trench (small ditch) with "carizos" planted, They were tall, bamboo-like stalks with plumes at the top. They made a screen from some sad, unlovely sights beyond. At night the breeze through the plumes made a soft, cool sound. Stairs went up to the flat roof which had a parapet and made a pleasant, cool place to sit in the evening.


Many important or celebrated persons came through on the two large railroads. They stopped for the Customs Office, and often Papa met them and brought them to our house for breakfast or lunch.


At the World's Fair of 1893, some of Papa's reports were on exhibition in a Government Display. We were very proud of him.


In Mexico, we had two kinds of vacations. The distance to Michigan was so great that we alternated with a vacation nearby, like Point Isabel or Corpus Christi, and longer one in Saugatuck. Point Isabel at the mouth of the Rio Grande was "semi-camping, " and our Presbyterian friends joined us. There we had fishing and swimming and sailing, out around Padre Island into the Gulf of Mexico.

The longed-for vacation was the trip to Saugatuck. It was as near to our idea of heaven as we could imagine. To go to Michigan from Matamoros, we went to Point Isabel, then in a lighter we were taken out to the steamer in the Gulf. The sandbar prevented steamers from coming inside the lagoon. From the lighter we were lifted up onto the big steamer. I remember being carried by a big sailor up a rope ladder and onto the ship -- exciting! Our ship stopped at Corpus Christi, where we saw huge turtles loaded aboard. They were on their backs, quite helpless.


From Galveston, we went by rail. We watched for the first "real" trees and were glad to be out of the cactus and the mesquite trees. Texarkana was the entrance to the "promised land. " On this part of the trip, we were in a Pullman car; and our meals were served from a buffet car.


St. Louis was the next big event. We changed trains. The station was huge and noisy and exciting. We had dinner in a large dining room, at tables with white linen, big goblets of ice water, and nice colored waiters.


Then, via Chicago and Alton to Chicago; and there by boat across Lake Michigan to a port near Saugatuck and our home, "The Beeches. " Papa had bought this place when he was teaching there. He kept it always. It was a place of happiness. Two huge beech trees, said to be two hundred years old, were in the front.


The house was on a high bluff overlooking the Kalamazoo Lake with the bridge to Douglas. At the shore of the lake, we kept our boats moored at a little dock: a small motorboat, a St. Lawrence skiff, and a canoe.


In these boats, we would ride down the winding Kalamazoo River several miles to Lake Michigan. Some of us would walk through the woods and over Bald Head (the highest sand dune). On these walks, we had our lessons in knowing trees and shrubs and plants -- all new to us.


The summer in Saugatuck was something to dream about when we were in Mexico, and a joyful time to live when we were there. Strawberries, every kind of berry, apples, pears, peaches, and grapes -- no other fruit could compare with the Saugatuck fruit. And in Mexico, looking forward to the trip, the Saugatuck fruit grew larger and more beautiful.


One event occurred about twice in the summer during the Saugatuck vacations. It stands out above the many other delightful days. Papa would say: "Today I will cook a beefsteak for you!" That was just the beginning: First, we had to go down the hill to the village to Fritz Walz's Butcher Shop. Then Papa went into the cooler, where he selected just the piece that he wanted; then he supervised the cutting and trimming. And we all went back up the hill with our "prize steak."


It took all of us to wait on Papa: one to get the "spider" (frying pan), another to get one tool, another to bring the seasoning. It was a real production. At last the steak was perfectly cooked and on the platter.

The rest of the dinner might be overcooked or cold by that time, but the steak, that was the star we had all anticipated.


Mama enjoyed cooking, something she never did in Mexico. She had a natural talent. Everything tasted good. We were taught to eat all kinds of food. If we didn't like it, at least we ate a little; and we learned to like most foods.


In Saugatuck, the Sutton relatives came from Hartford for a visit, also the Andrus families, and many friends. The house was always full and lively. In later years, our college friends came. And there were many interests: fishing, swimming, boating, picnics, etc. It was a happy place to be and to remember.


When we went to Washington to live, we children were older. Enid was the "little one" loved by all the older guests at the Strathmore Arms. It was in Washington that Papa's business brought him in contact with many important and interesting people. Many of these were connected with the State Department.


Here, too, he always found time to take us on expeditions. He told us the background and history of many interesting places. Scarcely a Saturday came without a special trip; so for us, Washington was full of history and interest. We probably saw more places than many people who were long-time residents: the Ford Theater where Lincoln was shot, the house across the street where he was carried and where he died, the railroad station with a gold star in the floor marking the spot where Garfield was shot, and the zoo. (Papa knew Mr. William T. Hornaday, the prime spirit, and admired him and approved his work. He was a real conservationist.


Language, call it grammar if you like, was taught by correction and by our hearing good English at home. The correction was a simple explanation at the time of the error, for instance: why one says, "to White and (to) me, "not "to White and I. " Also, the use of "like," "as if, " or "as though:" "It looks as if it will rain," not "like it will rain. " He enjoyed good reading: history, biography, and poetry. Mark Twain and Bret Harte were favorites. Often we had to listen to him reading poetry way beyond our understanding, but at least we listened and were "exposed" to good literature.


Papa was not a churchman; but when we were in Washington, he often went with us to church. He was a good listener, and often stopped to chat with the minister and sometimes had a friendly argument with him. The music was beautiful in that church, the First Congregational, at 10th Street and F or G Street. The organist was blind but gifted, and the music was of the best. Sometimes we went to the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church.


In Saugatuck, the Bird family were our near neighbors and good friends. White was most friendly with Harry and Carl Bird, and in very recent years Carl has written some incidents that he recalled about Papa. They are very natural, and I quote; "I doubt you will remember the incident as well as I. I have remembered it because I think it is as fine an example of diplomacy and the use of English as I have heard. Two years, at least, he and Dad and you and I would go upriver (Kalamazoo River) with a flatboat on a wagon. Floating down, we would camp a couple of nights.


"One camp we struck near a farm owned by an old character by the name of Jeff Boyle. Jeff seldom saw anybody, so he came over to visit us and was full of talk, punctuated by a lot of swear words.


"I forgot to mention that we always had an extra person; and this trip it was Wilfred Lindsay, the Congregational minister, a Canadian and as fine-looking a man and personality as I ever knew.


"Most men would have said, 'This man is a preacher, so you had better cut it out.' But your father said, 'Mr. Boyle, this gentleman we have with us is a Minister of God, so the rest of us have refrained from swearing while he is here.' This did not hurt anybody and filled the bill."


Another note from Carl Bird:


"Dad sent me over to ask your Dad if he wanted to go 'upriver' another season.


'No. I have found that the greatest pleasure comes in making out the list of things needed. So, I have decided to make out the list and stay at home. "'


Another note from Carl Bird:


"Here is one more story about your father which should be set down to show something of the man he was.


"He had a fine sense of humor, a fine command of English, and loved the few friends he allowed himself to make.


"He sent my Dad a wrack of antlers from a Mexican buck. Dad had a man at the 'yard' (shipyard) make a beautiful walnut shield on which the antlers were mounted, with a few coat-hooks, and hung it in the hall of the 'big house' as a hat-and-coat rack.


"When your Dad came up from Mexico, Dad led him into the front hall to show him the result, with me, the small boy, trailing along behind. After they had admired and discussed the piece, Dad finally asked him, 'Did you shoot the deer?' 'Oh yes, I shot the deer. I paid a Mexican fifty cents for the privilege of saying that I shot him.'


"I have since thought that the short personal contact I had with your father, at an early, impressionable age, had a great influence on my own personality.


"He was gentle and had a soft voice, but behind it all was the command and authority of the schoolmaster which he had been."


At an Alumni Banquet, there was an alumna of that first high school class which Papa taught in Saugatuck; she must have been very old; she paid tribute to Professor Sutton using almost the same words that are in Carl Bird's letter -- "His gentle manner, his voice, and his complete command."


Papa` was strict with us, demanding certain standards of behavior; these we knew by his example and teaching, but without preaching. This does not imply that we were "little angels, " but at least we knew.


He was a kind father, devoted to his family, proud of his wife; and, as I remember, he looked after the needs of many relatives, Suttons and Andruses. He had a good sense of humor and loved a good story..


He was not handsome, but he was distinguished in appearance. He carried himself well in every position, and made a good name for himself and for us, his children, to remember with bride.


This was accomplished before he was forty-nine years old, with poor health for two added years, and the final long illness which I have told about.


Let us try to remember him as I have-tried to portray him in those earlier years which are still clear and vivid in my mind,


Ethel Felice Sutton Kimball April the. eighteenth, 1969


A Summary


Warner Perrin Sutton, born October 16th, 1849, Van Buren County, Michigan (Bangor? or Lawrence?).


His mother was Priscilla Jane Bancroft, daughter of Samuel Bancroft and Priscilla Hall Barse Northrup, who died in 1857, aged 74, (Her husband was Caleb Northrup. ) (I have a little sampler, unfinished, "Priscilla Hall.")


Warner Perrin Sutton began his career as a schoolteacher and journalist.


He married Lois Andrus at "Maple Grove," South Haven, Michigan, on July 22nd, 1874.


Watervliet and Ludington were two places in which he taught, and then went to Saugatuck to be principal of the school. He added one year of high school to the school, making it a one-year high school (approximate dates in Saugatuck, 1876 -- 1878)


Senator Thomas White Ferry recommended him for the post of Consul in Matamoros, Mexico in 1878. White Sutton was named for Senator Ferry.


Warner Perrin Sutton was in Matamoros from 1878 to 1889.


He was called to Washington early in 1889 to be Chief Clerk of the International American Congress (March to November).


He was appointed Consul General to Mexico at Nuevo Laredo in 1889.


He served as Consul General in Nuevo Laredo from November 1889 to July 1893.


President Grover Cleveland did not reappoint him.


From 1893 to 1900, he had an office in Washington, D. C. for the practice of International Law. (The summers were spent in Saugatuck. )


In 1898, the War Department assigned him as Aide to General Miles in Puerto Rico (the Spanish-American War years).


From 1900 until his death in 1913, he was an invalid (basular meningitis as a result of malaria contracted in Puerto Rico).