I'm not sure that George Ballantyne ever lived in WV as he was born and grew up in Pittsburgh area Allegheny County. Then college at Yale and later central PA. His brother, Alexander Bell Ballantyne (1841-1885, Mom's grandfather) married Virginia Irene Freeman and lived and died in New Cumberland. George was the fifth of nine children, our great-grandfather, Alexander, was the fourth child.
Yale College, Mar. 23rd 1867
My dear Father & Mother:
Your letter reached me yesterday evening. Its contents pierced my heart : I felt as if I had almost murdered you with my neglect and indifference. It made me sad and melancholy and almost impelled me to leave everything and go home. Dear Mother forgive me for my faults. Believe me it was the result of constant application to subjects which so engrossed all my thoughts that letter-writing, social amusement and sometimes even my regular studies, seemed foreign and distasteful.
It is not for me to chide dear Mother, but from the affection and love which I have for you as well as from justice to myself I must complain of your indulging such gloomy and fearful conjectures and speculations concerning me as a drunkard. O Mother have you lost all faith in me! Can you believe that I have so utterly forgotten the truths you instilled into my mind, so cruelly despised and trampled on the love which has unceasingly sought my happiness and indulged my every wish as to bestialize myself a receptacle for the vilest stuff than man in his lowest and most degraded condition ever concocted! Do you think I have lost my common sense my reason! O Mother banish these corrosive consuming fears. Even if severe so weak, so lost to all that is good & true and noble, the memory of those midnight wanderings would rise to rebuke and deter me. I have been very unhappy sometimes so depressed that life itself seemed a weariness and a burden but never have I sought for solace or for oblivion of disturbing scenes in the wine-cup. I have heard too much of the misery and ruin it has caused and is still working. Beside my pride would not let me.
It is plainly to be seen from your letter that you are very unhappy and uncomfortable at home. Your account of the health of Yourself and Father and El[?] gave me much anxiety. You are wearing yourselves out. My determination is [?].
I will be home in a few weeks and will not leave until circumstances mend. My conscience always rebuked me for entailing so much additional labor and so great an expense for my education. I am tired of spending money which I have not earned. It galls and worries me.
I will come home and never leave you. You need help and assistance and these shall come from me.
I am determined that henceforth I must not be pampered by your self-desire that I shall not enjoy ease while you are to . . . [indecipherable] . . . at Yale yet it is not worth the cost of your health & comfort.
When I come home we will talk the matter over. Only, Mother, when I think of what I have received I feel as if a lifetime devoted to You & Father would be an insufficient reward.
My health has been tolerably good. The weather has been wretched and as a consequence I have been troubled with cold. A decayed tooth has given me some trouble. I forgot to tell you in last that I have been attending the Medical Lectures. Four are delivered every week between the hours of 3 & 4 thus allowing me an opportunity to go to them without interfering in regular studies.
The experiences in Natural Philosophy have been deeply interetsting, and instructive!
Your letter has made me long for home. I am going to bring a very fine sunshine with me, the shape of a firm resolution to . . . [indecipherable] . . . my deovotion in future.
Rejoice always. Be of good cheer.
God bless you all
Your affectionate Son