A Doctor's Memories
Victor C. Vaughan, M.D.

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Letters from Europe

Letters from Europe written by "General" George Warren Taylor to his acquaintances in Randolph County, Missouri, and published by the Huntsville Herald describing the voyage and sights of Italy and Switzerland during the summer of 1906. General Taylor was accompanied by his wife, daughter, Dora Catherine, and son in law, Doctor Victor C. Vaughan, and their two youngest sons, Henry and Warren Taylor. These newspaper clippings are from the collection of Warren Taylor Kingsbury (1905-2001), digitized in 1997 by Warren Taylor Vaughan, III (1944-).

June 29, 1906, On board Steamer Sicilia
July 25, 1906, Florence, Italy
August 4, 1906, Venice, Italy
August 21, 1906, St. Moritz, Switzerland
September 20, 1906, Grand Hotel Mediterranee, Pegli, Italy

George Warren Taylor

George Warren Taylor Mercantile Co.
Huntsville, Missour1, c 1906

General Taylor Heard From

Col. C. D. Vasse received Monday an interesting letter from Gen. G. W. Taylor, who is touring the old country with his son-in-law, Dr. V. C. Vaughan, and family, which the Colonel kindly permits us to publish in part as follows:

On board Steamer Sicilia
June 29, 1906
Col. C. D. Vasse

Dear Charles:

This is our ninth day out. We are 700 miles a little south of east from the Azore Islands and 2,700 miles from New York. We are about 1,300 miles west or a little north of west from Naples and in a few hundred miles from Gibraltar. We have had a delightful voyage so far. While we have had a little rough sea and some passengers have been sick, our family of six has not been effected in the least. We have been to meals four times each day. We have splendid fare, and it takes a little over one hour for luncheon and the same for dinner. For each of these meals we have seven courses, changing plates, knives, etc., each time. We have meals as follows: Breakfast, 8 to 10; luncheon, 12; tea, 4; dinner, 7. Well, I am very sorry you are not with us. I am sure you would enjoy the trip; so far, anyway. We have about 65 passengers in the first cabin, and they are all very pleasant, and the greater number are ladies -- I would think about two-thirds -- and among them are several red-headed girls and several widows.

I am sure you would have a nice time promenading, as this is their occupation when not reading or sleeping. I am telling you this so that you may make up your mind to go next time. I am writing this now, so as to have it ready to mail as soon as we land at Naples. I will them add a postscript. All regret that you are not with us. We are all delighted with this ship and officers as well as the fare. Everything moves like clockwork. You never hear an order given but all seem to know their duty and perform it promptly. Will finish when or before we reach Naples, July 4th, early in the morning. Will reach there on the 3rd, but cannot go into harbor after 7 or sundown and will lay outside until morning.

Sunday evening, July 1st. We passed through the Straits of Gibraltar last night and are now in the Mediterranean, about 750 miles from Naples, which we expect to reach Tuesday night. A smooth sea since last writing. We have all enjoyed the trip. So far have not missed a meal. I give you this in broken doses to have it ready to mail of arrival.

July 3rd. We are now nearing Naples. Have had good weather and sea all the way. Since leaving Gibraltar the Mediterranean has been as smooth as a mill pond. We wish you had been with us. I know you would have enjoyed it very much. It will require from 25 to 30 days for a letter to reach me, so write me on receipt. Love to all.

Yours truly,
G. W. Taylor




From Italy

Florence, Italy
July 25, 1906
C.D. Vasse

Dear Charles:

We left Rome Monday and arrived here the same evening about 3:30 p.m. This is 180 miles from Rome and has a population on 200,000. It is certainly a lovely city and has, it is said, the most lovely villas all around it in all Italy. We have had two drives to the country, and it is certainly lovely. They even have the nice gravel road swept as clean as the streets are in Redlands or Riverside, California. I have not been all over the city, but it is very similar as a rule to Rome. We were all so well pleased with Rome that we regretted to leave it so soon. We were there about two weeks. We will remain here until Monday morning, when we will go to Venice. So far we are all well. I felt very tired when we arrived here Monday night, and unfortunately I had a very bad sty on my good eye, and I remained in my room Tuesday and bathed it all day with ice water, and it is all right now, I am glad to say. The Vaughans were all out visiting churches, museums and other places of note. To-day (Wednesday) we have been on the highest mountain near the city and had a lovely view of the city and surrounding villas with the river which flows through the city.

Well, Charles, we have at this hotel over one hundred tourists from the United States, and at least three-fourths of them are ladies, and I am unable to say just how many of them are red-haired, but I know some of them are, and I do wish you could be here. They are now keeping such a clatter that I can hardly write. They are in two parties and are conducted by the Thomas Cook & Sons men who have all engagements ahead for the entire trip. They seem to be enjoying themselves and having a good time generally. We have met several times two ladies traveling entirely alone and were going to Greece.

They had the 40-mile drive from Sorento on the beautiful road and scenery I mentioned in my previous letter, and they came into the hotel after we had been there perhaps one hour, and as I had seen them where we dined that day, I met them in the reading room and wanted to know if they were traveling alone, and if they felt no uneasiness. They were from New York and Massachusetts. I told them I thought they were quite brave.

Well, I have no news especially to write, but want you to keep track of me until I leave for home. The Vaughans are out to-night to hear some band music on the street or plazza, and I thought I would stay in and drop you a line, with my kind regards to all the bank people, including Bro. Lingo of course, and all friends as well as yourself. I am as ever,

Yours truly,
Geo. W. Taylor
Remember, I am expecting you to write me up to September 1st; after that date a letter will not reach me.




Interesting Letters

Received by C. D. Vasse From G. S. Taylor, Who Is Traveling in Europe
Venice, Italy
August 4, 1906
C. D. Vasse.

Dear Charles:

We came here last Monday. We had a rather warm and tedious trip over and through the Apanine mountains, having in a distance of 25 to 40 miles to pass through, I believe, fifty tunnels, which made it dusty and disagreeable, but when we were out of them the scenery was delightful. After we passed over the mountains we came to the valley of the River Po, which is beautiful and is the only real nice farming land I have seen in the country. The country has generally been mountainous and rocky. This resembles out prairie lands and is very fertile and in a high state of cultivation, with farm houses very numerous and villages every few miles. The farmers were in the midst of harvest, and crops seemed to be excellent. We, we have reached this city about 10 o'clock p.m., having traveled a distance of 180 miles in seven hours, but we had to cross over the mountains; as a rule they make faster time than that.

Well, Venice is a city in the sea in reality. We left the railroad station and walked a short distance, twenty yards possible, to the Grand Canal, where we took a gondola with one oarsman and came to this hotel, a distance of two miles. We have been here six days, and we have not seen a wheeled vehicle of any description except one or two wheelbarrows. There is no danger of getting run over here by cars, carriages, or any other wheeled vehicle; all traffic and traveling is done by boats. They have a line of boats on the Grand Canal which they use as we do our street cars. They have stations close to each other where they stop and let off and take on passengers. They charge two cents. For long distances I presume they charge more. Their canals have fine stone bridges, so you can go to any part of the business part of the city either on foot or by boat, as you choose. The canals are very crooked and there are many short turns to be made; and at night, also in daylight, your oarsman will always yell out before making the turn, to give warning of his approach so as not to come in collision with some other boat.

We have all enjoyed it very much and will leave on Monday, the 6th, for Milan. This place has a population of 150,000 people, 25 per cent of whom are not self-supporting, or in other words, are beggars. Every night out on the water there are regular concerts on boats, which are beautifully lighted up with paper lanterns, three or four of them, where they have the music, both instrumental and vocal. The small boats will take you out for 20 cents per hour and stay as long as you wish. I have seen as many as 150 of them huddled around the minstrel boat, and every five or ten minutes the hat will be passed around for donations. The man with the hat steps from one boat to another. You contribute usually one or two cents each time.

Well, I am at the end of my paper. We are all well. With love, as ever,

G. W. Taylor




From Milan, Italy

I received your very kind letter of July 23rd at Venice just as we were leaving there on Monday. We reached this city at 8 o'clock p.m., a distance from Venice of 160 miles. We were all so well pleased with Venice that we could hardly make up our minds to leave so soon. We were there one week. We are now in the second largest city in Italy, containing a population of 500,000, and it is a prosperous and business city. It is the greatest manufacturing city in Italy. The National Exposition is being held here, and we were out at it to-day. They have some very fine exhibits, but it is certainly a tame affair compared with the St. Louis Exposition. There were not as many people on the grounds apparently as we have the fair down on Sugar Creek. I presume when the weather becomes cooler there will be more. They had a very destructive fire there a few days before we came here, which destroyed many buildings and much property. We will leave here to-morrow evening and go to Switzerland, two hour's run from here. We are now going to the most delightful mountain scenery in the world (said to be). I can tell more about it after I have seen it. We were in the silk manufacturing department at the Exposition to-day which was very interesting. We saw the young worms being fed on the mulberry leaves and then the next size and so on up to the grown worm, when they make the cocoons, and following up until they are gathered and placed in boiling water to destroy the worm before it destroys the cocoon. Then we saw how the silk is spun and woven and the goods after completed. It is wonderful what processes it has to go through before it is ready for the loom.

Well, we are all well, although the weather is simply hot, but when we get to the mountains we hope for cooler nights and better water. To-morrow we go through the recently completed tunnel through the Alps for a distance of seventeen miles between Italy and Switzerland. We enter it in Italy and come out in Switzerland. I would rather not go through it, but it must be done to make our route complete. I often wish you were here to see this country and the people. I attended church here on Tuesday at the Milan cathedral, which required one hundred years in its construction and is said to be the largest and finest in the world. It is worth a trip here to see it.

Thursday morning, August 10th. -- I was called last night before I finished my letter, and I will now complete it. This is a very pleasant morning; it is cloudy and cool, if it will only remain so during the day. I have found the nights all cool and pleasant, but out in the sun it is very hot. Well, I will write again when we are temporarily located. We all wish you were here with us. With love to all, I am, as ever, yours truly,

G. W. Taylor




Interesting Letter From G. W. Taylor

St. Moritz
August 21, 1906

Mr. C. D. Vasse.

I believe my last letter to you was written from Lugano, and I believe I told you it was such a lovely place that I had selected it for you and my self to spend a summer, but since leaving there I have seen so many other places which are so much more beautiful that I have decided to make no selection until we are through with our tour of Switzerland. It is all beautiful indeed. We went from Lugano to Lucerne, situated on a lake of the same name, containing a population of 30,000 and surrounded by high snow capped mountains, with a beautiful lake with many boats, from the row boat to the steamers, which leave the wharf every ten or fifteen minutes for villages on both sides of the lake, which is 25 miles in length and from one-half to two and one-half miles in width and a little over 700 feet in depth. The mountain slopes are all covered with forest trees, grapes, and meadows to the tops of the mountains and are as nicely kept as out best parks. Every stone has been removed, and the ground is matted with grass which resembles out blue grass, but it is not. We remained here five days, and it rained nearly every day. We concluded to leave our trunks here and go into Northern Switzerland into the higher mountains and get out of the rain belt. We left on Saturday evening and went as far as Zurich on the lake and staid over night. It was still raining, and we took the train to this place Saturday morning. We have been traveling through the mountains since leaving Milan, and the scenery cannot be described. You must see it to realize its beauty. We crossed the River Rhine and then followed up its valley and canyons to its very source and passed through many tunnels and some of them we went through corkscrew fashion. We had to circle under the mountains as many as four times, coming out at the same point only 150 feet higher up. We could see each tunnel entrance above as we were nearing the first one, and there was a village in the valley below which we could see as we made each circle.

Building this road was certainly a wonderful piece of engineering. Well, we reached this place at 6:30 p.m., and I was nearly frozen, although I had on heavy woolen underwear and my overcoat. The town is 7,000 feet above sea level, but the high peaks of the mountains on every side are covered with perpetual snow, and to go as the crow flies it is only about one-half mile to the snow, which of course makes it cold here. Fortunately for me, when I went to my room I found it heated by steam and I soon thawed out, and now I am better prepared for cold weather, as I have on two heavy suits of underwear and will keep them on until we reach a lower altitude. We will leave here in a day or two for some town -- I forget the name -- where there is a hospital for tuberculosis patients, and after leaving there we will gradually run into a lower altitude.

Well, I have no letters later than July 27th and 30th, both from Juila and Will Kingsbury. We are all well. The Vaughans were out yesterday all day climbing mountains and have gone again to-day. I did not think I cared to go, and am taking in the town and shops. We will not get any mail now until we reach Lucerne, where we left our trunks, as we could not have it follow us up here on our short stops. We have tickets which give us the privilege of traveling on boats or railroad up to September 10th anywhere in Switzerland, and by that time we go back to Italy, as we sail on September 17th.

Well, I am at the end of my paper and it is now lunch-time or 1 o'clock. With love to you and all friends, I am, as ever, yours truly.

Wednesday morning, August 22nd. -- I did not mail this last evening, so I shall write a few lines more. This is a village of 5,000 people, but now has about as many as 5,000 tourists. It is a great summer resort, and our hotel people say they are full nearly all winter. The surrounding mountains, covered with perpetual snow, with the beautiful lakes and valleys below and the nice gravel roads and walks, make it a charming place. This is another bright and lovely day, as all others have been since we came here. It has warmed up a little, but is still cold. The Vaughans are all out to the high mountains again to-day except Warren, who has tired out and is with me. We leave here early to-morrow morning.

G. W. Taylor




Interesting Letter From G. W. Taylor

Grand Hotel Mediterranee, Pegli
Sept. 20, 1906

Gen. W. T. Dameron, Huntsville, Missouri

Dear Sir:

I wrote you at Murren, Switzerland, giving you, as it were, a bird's eye sketch of our trip up to that romantic village, with its snow-capped mountains. After a delightful week here, where many tourists were climbing the highest mountains from day to day over the glaciers, which had been there perhaps ever since these mountains were formed, and among the throng of climbers were Dr. V. C. Vaughan and wife and their two youngest sons, Henry and Warren. The two boys could not be satisfied until they reached the top of one of the highest snow-capped peaks, passing over glaciers of snow and ice, supposed to be from fifty to one hundred feet in depth, covering many acres of ground and at an altitude of something over ten thousand feet. We formed the acquaintance of many of these tourists, who were English, German, Russian, and French.

But our time was up and we left the village and our friends with some regrets and took the electric cars to the Junction Station. Here we took the funicular cars to the Village Looterbrunnen one mile below. This is said to be the steepest grade of any car railroad built. It is at an angle of over 55 degrees. After reaching the village we too the train down a lovely valley and stream to Interlaken, a lovely village of 10,000 people situated on the River Rone which connects two lovely lakes, or rather an outlet of one and into the other. Interlaken is a great summer resort and has many handsome and commodious hotels. We remained here only a few hours, having our dinner and doing some shopping on a small scale. While we were here a Russian woman shot and killed a tourist, whom she had never seen before, through mistake. She had some grievances against a man whom she had followed from Russia. We did not learn of this until after we had left and therefore did not learn particulars. We went from here to Berne, the capital of Switzerland. We traveled through a delightful and highly cultivated country, arriving in Berne at 4 p.m. We visited the stores, and next morning we drove over the principal streets of the city, and at 10 o'clock we were again on the cars. This time for Geneva. Before giving you Geneva, I must tell you a little more of Berne. It has a population of 75,000 people. There are many things of interest to be seen here, and one is the arcade on both sides of the principal street, extending two or three miles, and here are the principal stores. We visited them hurriedly, but made few purchases. We left at 10 o'clock for Geneva, and again we passed through a fertile and well-cultivated country, where the principal product is the delicious white grapes which we often get in America late in the season. We see thousands and thousands of acres, and they are fully matured now, and we have the served on the table every day. We are all very fond of them, especially Henry and Warren Vaughan. We arrived in Geneva about 2 p.m. in time for lunch. We remained here five or six days, taking steamers and visiting many villages on either side of the lake. One side belongs to Switzerland and the other to France. Dr. Vaughan, wife and sons too the train and went to Chateau deLancey, where their son Herbert, attended school several years since. They were very cordially received by Madame Brunei, the professor's wife, her husband not being at home. Geneva is a nice city of 250,000, situated ion a lake of the same name, and after visiting places of interest and taking several excursions on the lake and making purchases in a small way as souvenirs we found our time was drawing rapidly to a close, and on Wednesday morning, September 4th, we too the train to Lucerne, where we had left our trunks. Here we received mail, and I was sadly disappointed that I did not receive the Huntsville Herald. I have only received two papers. We remained overnight in Lucerne.

The next night we took the train for Como, situated on Lake Como, Italy. This we considered was our start for home. However, we intended to visit several towns and villages before reaching the sea.

We arrived at Como at 5 o'clock p.m. We had to pass through the custom house when we reached the line between Switzerland and Italy, which detained us some time. However, we reached our hotel in good time for dinner, and as we had traveled all day and were hungry we enjoyed our meal very much. The next morning we took a steamer and went up the lake twenty miles. This lake is said to be the most beautiful lake in Italy. On either side its banks are lined with beautiful villages and lovely villas, while its shores are walled with solid masonry and is bordered with flowers of every variety and color, while its mountain slopes are covered with chestnut, walnut, cedar, pine and olive trees of every variety, with green grass interspersed the very tops of most of the mountains, some of which are at an elevation of 7,000 feet, while the depth is in many places over 1,300 feet, and its width varies from a half mile to two and one half miles. We lunched at the Hotel Florence Bellazzio and later made some purchases of carved olive wood, for which this city is noted. About 4 p.m. we took the boat for our hotel. We spent the following day in Como visiting the cathedral, the market place and other places of interest, including the shops.

The following morning we took the train for Genoa, a distance of 175 miles, and from which place we sail. We reached out hotel about 2 p.m., and after luncheon Dr. Vaughan, wife and sons went to the ship office and ascertained that our boat, which was to sail on the 17th, had been in the dry docks ever since we landed and should not sail until September 20th. This was September 10th, and while we were all sadly disappointed we thought to make the best we could of the circumstances, and Genoa being a business center, a military station with ten to fifteen thousand soldiers and the greatest ship yard and seaport in Italy, with all the noise and bustle of a city of 300,000 people, we decided to go to Peg, which is distant seven or eight miles. The steam cars and the electric tram connects the two places. It is really a village and long street all the way along the shore. We have been here nine days. Pegli is a bathing resort on the Riviera which is visited in the winter, especially by the English and Germans. The hotel at which we are now staying was built between two and three hundred years ago by one of the aristocratic Genoese families for a country home, but for the past thirty years it has been used as a hotel. The hotel faces the Mediterranean and is separated from the beach by a small garden, while back of the house is a very extensive garden filled with great palm trees on which immense bunches of unripe dates are hanging; magnolias, orange trees just coming into blossom and olanders and flowers of innumerable varieties. There are pleasant walks and nooks where one may read or pass the time in conversation. From a tablet on the wall of the hotel we learn that Emperor Frederick the Third when he was Crown Prince made this his residence during the winter of 1879-80. Among the guests are three Russian families, two Hungarians, one family from Boston, one German banker, his wife and daughter from Stuttgart, Germany; also a gentleman and his wife recently arrived from New York. There are many beautiful villas and gardens in Pegli, two of which we visited. We have not found our waiting as tedious as we had expected.

This afternoon we go to Genoa and spend the night in order to be ready to go aboard the same ship we came over on, the Italian mail steamer Sicialia. We go from here to Naples, 300 miles south, stay there one day and then sail direct to New York, making no stop. We will be due there October 6th to 8th. I must say that we have had a very enjoyable trip, and now we are ready and anxious to return to our native country, which I am sure I will be better prepared to appreciate than ever before. We have traveled nearly all over Switzerland and Italy, and I am very much pleased with the people and the charms of the country, especially with Switzerland. Now, if you think this would interest your readers, you are at liberty to use it. I very much regret that I cannot be with you and the other settlers of Randolph and adjoining counties at their reunion, but I hope to see you and all friends in the near future. With kind regards to you and all friends, I am, as ever,

Yours truly,
Geo. W. Taylor

A Doctor's Memories
Victor C. Vaughan, M.D.

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