February 8 1864 – Mollie Burns to John J Haun


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Mollie updates John on local news, and gently teases him about marriage.

At Home
February 8th 1864

My Friend,

How shall I begin to write, having such a piece of news to tell you? Aunt Ell and Mr Price, are at last married after a courtship of six years. They have purchased the house on the corner by us of Mr McDonald, and were married in their own house. I believe every boy in town was there. I did not know anything about it until after breakfast that morning, and then a party of us went to Lexington with them. She kept it very still.

Mrs Webb told me at church yesterday she had received a letter from your ma which she intended forwarding to you after answering it. She has also received a second one from your friend in Pennsylvania. He spoke of writing to you. Also your friend Betty is growing very pretty indeed, She has learned a new piece of music, something about, “I love Dixie, right or wrong,”1 and says if I would come up she would play it for me.

The boys gave aunt and uncle Price a beautiful serenade. She set quite a table for them. E. Connon is much better, and has some hopes of his recovery. Mrs Stoughten is living with them, Mr McDonald having purchased the place where she lived. Thornt Sinclair was put in the vault yesterday. He died very suddenly after two days illness, of the spotted fever. Three or four have died of it in the neighborhood of the Stamp. It is a dreadful disease. Little Frank Lemon is not expected to live through the day. He talks so much about his pa. Tommie is in very delicate health also. Poor Mrs Lemon takes it so hard, his pa being away, and he was so devoted to him.

We have our new library now, and there is a concert at our church tonight featuring all of our best singers, and a gentleman and his lady from Ohio. The proceeds will go to purchase a Melodian2 for our church.

Your letter was received two weeks ago today, Monday. You tell me to bear in mind it is leap year, and you will answer all questions put to you. Well now, I am the last one to ask any questions. Talk abut starving to death by degrees—this child loves to eat too well for that. If you could see her I know you would think so anyway. Dora tells me to give you her love, but I tell her she shan’t send her love to you, but may only send her regards. She still insists on sending her love. She is looking every day for her Paris flame Lucian Denington. He has been two years in the United States service, and is just from from the army with one year longer to serve. Buddie is so mad because Dora sacked him. He will not speak to any of us. Most of all the boys that are in the Federal army from Georgetown are now here on furlough. Gabbie H. is on a visit to Indiana.

We have had some of the coldest weather ever felt in Kentucky and some of the most beautiful, the last two or three weeks, just like spring. It made us think of visiting the old mill, and flowery island, fishing and so on—but one of our number I fear, who was always ready to go with the girls, on such excursions, will be sadly missed this summer: Betty Clark, Harry’s wife. She is very low with the consumption.

Just to think, the third of this month was my birthday. I suppose you remember my age, 22. Being a member of the sisterhood through necessity seems to stare me in the face like some grim monster—although rumor, untruthful madam as she is, has me engaged to two or three different persons. But then, when this cruel war is over, there will be a few old bachelors left (no insinuations of course). Then some of us may conclude to disband our sisterhood, although there will still be some left.

I had quite a nice little chat with Joe Elgin the other day. He inquired after you and wished to know when I had heard from you. I told him I must have been one of the many friends of yours forgotten, as you had never honored me with the scratch of a pen. “Yes,” he said, “I believe you are a truthful young lady.” But I was, with him as Mrs Well, very ignorant of your proceedings.

That old fellow that came in town from the crossings, with all that drove of cattle, the day Will Webb was in the Court House, has acted just as hateful as Eaf O. Johnnie S. and some others. He is in the neighborhood of Joe Lemon, John Lemon and some others. You know he is such a consummated old villain they will not let him rest in that place with what he had left. He is still collecting more and says he intends paying us a visit again in the spring, but they are preparing to catch him, and I for one, you know, hope they will catch him. I did not know whether you had heard it and thought I would tell you.

Write directly you get this, and believe me, as ever, your true friend,

Mollie Burns

Metadata: Postmark: Georgetown, KY | February 2 1864
Sender’s location: Georgetown, KY | Recipient’s location: Camp Chase, OH
Notes: “Dated Feb 8th 64, Received Feb 11th 64”
  1. Unknown song. There, however, was a popular song of the time on the Union side, “The Union – Right or Wrong” by George P. Morris. It is possible that an alteration of the lyrics might have allowed for appropriating this song to the confederate side as well. This type of appropriation was not uncommon: a southern version of the “Star Spangled Banner” makes reference to “the Southern Cross” and the Union soldiers had mocking variations of “Dixie”. Songs like “Home, Sweet Home” and “Do They Miss me at Home?” were popular with both sides.
  2. A small piano with a range of only four octaves.