Compliments of J.J.H to Miss Mollie and will be highly delighted to see her Sunday evening, provided no previous engagements &c. Excuse this note, written in the saw mill. Brother Robert will hand you this. J.J.H.
I threw a note at the door this morning as I passed Mr IO’s but it dropped about the end window. I will try another as I go up and see if I can hit the door. I suppose you were dreaming the happy hour away, as the house was closed up. I saw someone open the door at the porch and look out as if they were nearly frozen. I thought it was Tootsey herself. Your folks are all well at home. Mrs A. Jenkins is still sick but is better. Yours &c,
July 28 1867
Dearest one, after trying for a good many days to ascertain if possible your whereabouts without success, I have concluded to venture a letter at any rate, directed to Lexington. I received your letter dated July 10th1 stating your were about starting for C. Mr Jenkins received one last Thursday saying you was coming to Paris and then to Lexington. Do you see why I did not know where to write, not withstanding what you told me you would be in Lexington the next week. But I thought your nieces would prevail on you to stay with them longer than you calculated, which I think is perfectly right on your part. Stay with them awhile as you go so seldom to see them and probably it might be the last visit you will make them for sometime, as somebody expects to take a trip soon. But why did you not write to me while at Lexington, so as I could know where and when I could answer your letter? I am always glad to write to some people, even if they do not weight but little.
Town is very dull now. Warren Johnson was buried yesterday at 3:00 at the cemetery and Brad Rankin today—two deaths right together. Warren’s was a disease of the heart. Brad had been lingering for a long time. Warren was a clever boy. I suppose his mother takes it very hard, him being the youngest of the family, but such things will be.
I suppose you have enjoyed yourself finely at C.2 I know you found a new sweetheart in your rounds and have nearly for gotten the old one—but the old one has not forgotten Ruby. I was at your home a few nights ago and stayed until after eleven with your ma and talked about many things as you advised me to while you were gone. She told something of you that I was not aware of, something you told her concerning myself and Ruby. Now you told me you never said anything to her concerning it, never mind she said it had cost her several sleepless nights on account of it, but said it was all right now. So you see I took you at your word that time. I expect you will be afraid to come home anymore won’t you?
I have been pretty sick since you left for several days but am about well again. What is Dora doing and where is she gone to service? Some other county? Most everyone asks me when you are coming home, and if I ain’t lonesome while you are gone. I have been sitting to Julie. I have been to Fannie’s twice to see them. Fanny has been right sick for several days but is getting better, and the baby is getting sick. The boys have formed a brass band and are practicing every night or so.
I saw your cousin Fannie last week in a buggy on the other side of June Ward’s. I suppose she was coming to them to see her sister. I did not stop. It looked like Mrs Marvin with her. I suppose you heard Jim Long had a baby left at his door some time since—but you will hear all the news when you get home if you don’t stay too long. Emma Jenkins left yesterday to take a visit for a month to Louisville and she will get to see Porter, I suppose, while there. Your pa, Frank and I are going fishing Monday night out at T. Holding’s mill to catch cats.3 Don’t you wish you were here to help eat some if we get any.
I want to see Ruby so much. A dozen kisses would not be a circumstances for me to steal at one time. Write as soon as you get this and tell me when you are coming home. I want to see you so much but I don’t wish to hurry you home before you are ready to come, so goodbye till I see you. With a sweet kiss as ever, your lover, I subscribe myself your J…
|Metadata: Sender’s location: Georgetown, KY | Recipient’s location: Lexington, KY|
Sunday March 24th 1867
My own Dear Mollie,
This is a beautiful day and my thoughts are of you. Consequently I feel very much like talking to you, even if it is on paper. Oh how I would like to spend this sabbath evening in your company and listen to that voice and steal a glance at that bright sunny face of yours. Then the evening would glide away pleasantly to me. Perhaps you think I am going into conniptions over your charms, but I cannot express the half I feel for you, love.
I went to the reform church this morning and listened to Mr McGinn but it is such a pretty day I can hardly stay in the house. We have one case of small pox in town, or rather it has been moved out near Degarn’s mill last night. Mrs Jenkins said she got a letter from you and that you did not get the card I threw over until after I passed in my way home. I saw cousin Fannie at the window as I passed home but didn’t think I saw you. You were not up when I passed in the morning but I saw someone open the back door and look out through it–was it you or the house maid, love?
I did not think I would go Tuesday when I was over or I would have told you Dora will commence school in Edmenson’s house tomorrow morning. I set down the school desks for her. I have been to your house very often lately, Dora says, much oftener than when you were at home but I naturally love the place and its inmates. I had quite a game of marbles with Boots and Jim.
Bob Small has joined the Baptist Church at last and is the best man in the world. I am going down to see Mrs J. and swap a few lies with her and then I will finish my letter. The students are all farming and going up to be prayed for, girls and all. They will get a good harvest I expect, this time.
Well, I have seen Mrs Jenkins. She says she will not write to you tomorrow for you will be so glad to get my letter you will perhaps be unnoticed. I told her you was not that sort of lady, but she says she had sweethearts when she was young and knows how they do. So I suppose you will be home this week? Well I will be very glad, for you don’t know how much I want to see you. I am afraid you will sit too close to that doctor over there. I have spies to take items for me over there, so mind how you cut your capers while away.
Elgin Tom Barkley and myself took a walk out to Dick Thomkin’s this evening, and sat about an hour with him and old Frank Dayne. The Negroes had a baptizing this evening; they baptized about thirteen or fourteen. One woman got to shouting in the water and kicked very high for a girl and a man got happy also, so you see the town is growing decidedly better fast, love.
I don’t know of anything new to write you. This is the first pretty day we’ve had for a long time. I went up to see Dora about Church time but she had company from the country. She had been to Mr Moore’s and had just got home. I must bring this to a close as I shall retire early tonight. Write to me the last of the week if you do not come home, but I would rather see you in person. So goodbye you darling, sweet, lovely angel, till I see you. As ever your own devoted until death…
P.S. Please excuse the envelope.
|Metadata: Recipient’s location: Georgetown, KY | Sender’s location: Portland, KY|
March 13th 1867
Mr Haun, dearest of all,
You letter did not reach me until yesterday morning. I expected one Saturday and then, thought you would be over on Sunday, and so consequently would not write. When you did not come, I attributed your non appearance to disagreeable weather but fully expected a letter on Monday evening, and then to be disappointed again! It was more then I could stand. You may think me foolish and weak but I certainly had a cry over it, even as I am penning these lines. I cannot bear disappointment and then, I get uneasy, imagine a thousand and one things might have happened.
I received Mrs J’s letter Monday evening, read it and then finished in a cry. They all laughed at me—Mr and Mrs K., Sallie Marvin said it was because I did not hear from you. Mrs J did not mention your name in her letter, consequently I thought something might have happened, and she would not tell me, for she always has so much to joke me about. I made them believe it was something in her letter I was distressed over. I suppose it was the mood I was in. I know my feelings partake of the weather, so you see it would not be surprising if I did have the high-strikes1 with such weather. It seems to me that the Heavenly Father is about to transfer the Ocean to our part of the globe—talk of Midway burning up—I just wish it to wash way. You will be more apt to be gratified.
I thought of coming home the last of this week, but cousin F. will not hear to it. She says we have been so weather bound that I should now come till we have seen round some, but I wish you would go up and see ma ask her if she wants me to come home, and I will come immediately. I intend to have the naming of that new kin of mine.
Poor Johnie F. His death was sad indeed. I suppose you have heard of the death of Lord Elander of Woodford county? A dispatch reached here yesterday from Chicago, Illinois where he died of consumption. Such is life—vast earthly possessions are but morphine, and cannon protract our stay when the grim master calls. I am glad to hear that Julia has, like Martha of old, chosen the better part.2
I intended to write to you tonight, but have promised Mrs M. to stay all night with her, hence I have written this morning. I cannot slight somebody by not writing to him, if I do everybody else. Give my kindest regards to Frank R., and tell him I am still expecting that promised letter. So Frank A. is at last married.
We got in the buggy and rode round yesterday to see the creeks and bridges. The roads are all overflowed but we take a ride every evening, rain or shine, for we cannot step out unless we ride. I suppose ma has heard of Mrs Melon’s bother freezing to death—Jessie Colbut. I have not written home because I think ma hears through my other corespondents.
As my paper is giving out ,or at least this sheet, and they are calling me to dinner, I shall close. Write soon, and come over Sunday if you can. Surely after the 15th we will have some pretty weather. I long to see the sun again.
Hubby, I shall close as you like—lovingly by your own, Tootsy,
P.S. I shall look for you.
|Metadata: Sender’s location: Portland, KY|
March 2nd 1867
Mr Haun, dear friend,
Allow me to commence by scolding a little, and perhaps I will grow a little more affectionate toward the close of this epistle as you did in yours. Love you know is a strange charmer, and a little jealous of slights, or at least imaginary slights. Now after such professions from you. It seems to me your address is exceedingly formal and stiff. But anyway I should like to see you so much tonight, and have a cozy little chat.
We had quite a snow storm this evening. It seems as thought old King Winter is loth to leave us yet a while. But as I am so cozy at present will not complain of weather’s decrees. I am sitting up in my room by a good hot fire, and have just tucked little Betty up in bed where she is snugly napping. Consequently all is quiet around me, and here am I, not sleepy but in a meditative mood, and somehow any thoughts will dwell on you. I can not account for it—do you think they are profitably employed?
Anyway I intend to drop you a few lines as, tomorrow is Sunday, and it is against my principles to write letters on the Sabbath, as I consider it Sabbath breaking, tending to our carnal duties on a day dedicated for holier things. But then I feel in the mood to talk to you, feel it to be a pleasing performance, and not writing merely according to promise, as you state in yours. I feel as though I had entirely forgotten how to write a letter. I think if I do not practice more I will have to quit entirely.
From the tenor of the preceding, you will think I am disposed to scold. Consequently I shall shall quit. I commenced in a formal style, like yourself. You, toward the last, grew affectionate. So likewise I shall do, to say nothing of the feelings I experienced all the way through, but for the proverbial trait in my character, contrariness, would not give my tender feelings scope, for the sake of a little retaliation. But happiest are those who condescend the most and I will take mine all back. For if I would see somebody tomorrow, not a thousand miles off, but here to pet me and call me loving names, I would not have it in my heart to do anything but love him more and more. Now don’t turn round and call this a Yankee way of apologizing, but rather let a milder term, one more gentle, be applied—just say she is writing this stuff merely for the sake of filling up her letter—
Although I have had bad weather I am enjoying myself, as I will do when I take a notion. You must let me know if you intend to come over tomorrow week. Write during the week, say Friday, and I will get it. Are all well at home? I wanted to write an answer to Mrs Jenkins’ letter tonight, but Betty’s snugly snoozing makes me feel like crawling in myself to succumb to the drowsy God, sleep.
Frank Korper was up this evening to see us. He treated us to lots of raisins and candy, which you know all the children, like myself, love. I wish you would please ask Johnnie Sheritt about my album.1 I never think of it when I see him and am afraid they have lost it. I have had not had it since last summer. Tell him I asked you to get it for me as I want some friends to write in it.
Well, I shall close with a good night kiss for you, and whole heaps and lots of love, in my letter, which I shall close, and seal up as I am sleepy. If you see Mrs J. just say that I will respond to her dear letter on Monday night.
Lovingly you own,
P.S. Love to all at home.
|Metadata: Postmark: Midway, KY | March 4|
Miss Burns, my own Mollie dear,
Yours of the 16th1 has just been received, but unlike my friend I will give it immediate notice.
You tell me not to scold but I cannot refrain for I think you deserve a good scolding and if you will be candid you will say so yourself, for your know you have treated me very badly and then you try to blarney2 me into a good humor by saying your beau prevented you from writing one whole week. You know very well no one could cause me to neglect you that way. Probably you think it is right to treat me as you please. I could not imagine what was the matter; I was afraid you were sick. In fact I imagined a thousand and one things. I would have started over to see you today but it looked so unfavorable I gave it up. You don’t know how uneasy I have been because I could not hear from Mollie. I will forgive you on condition you tell me all of your dreams when I see you. Speaking of dreams, I have one to tell you concerning you and myself.
I was in Frankfort yesterday and met with Mr B.J. Laughlin a fine looking gentleman, I suppose, of your acquaintance. He asked me if I was not the sweetheart of Miss Burns which I was unprepared to answer, and left me standing there astounded at first, but I told him I had visited the lady. He said he recollected seeing me gallant the prettiest woman he ever saw once at the Catholic church, or rather chapel. I told him I was there only once in my life and I thought I had the prettiest one in the house at least. So we became friends and of course took a very small drink together to the health of Miss Mollie B. He said you bragged a great deal on me but I told him he certainly was mistaken in that particular. He lives near the chapel, so he says said. He had not seen you for six months. I will tell you more about him when I see you.
Gabby F. says I had better wait for her. I told her Billy looked too much like he would live a long time yet. She said not more than four or five years.
Mollie, I have received a letter from home—would you like to see it or not? And what I wrote back?3 It seems you are getting very negligent wherein I am concerned. I shall not give your love to the red headed girl. What you say is true in one respect: I don’t love her half as well as I do you, although you treat me so mean, I love you still. If somebody loved somebody as much as they pretend somebody would treat somebody a little better, don’t you think so, love.
I was at Papa Burns’ last Sunday and had quite a chat with sister Dora. I told her you was in love with another fellow and I was going to set to her now as I had always had a fancy for fat girls—they looked so good and clever. Your pa says he will give me the authority to bring you home if you don’t come soon. I told him just to fix it up in writing and I would bring you in a hurry. He said he would. Dora says your ma and Fannie and her were talking about us marrying. Your Ma and Fannie came to the conclusion we would not, while Dora thought we would. Quite interesting wasn’t it?
I dislike the idea of you going persimmon hunting with those fellows and not here. I’ll just tell you what: I am jealous sure enough. I already believe you love somebody else better than somebody. How is it?
Do you want all the news? Well, don’t hide your face when I tell you Matt Long has a small responsibility. Whether it is a girl or boy child the letter never said. My regards to C.F. and tell her she has my best wishes.
Mollie, I do you want to see you right bad. Probably I will come over next week, maybe Saturday. Write with pencil again if you choose, if it is more convenient. It will suit me, one that loves Mollie truly and devotedly. How bad I want one of your honeyed kisses.
Goodbye, sweetest of all things!
P.S. Matt’s baby is a girl.
|Metadata: Sender’s location: Georgetown, KY | Portland, KY|
Thursday November 1st 1865
Mr Haun, dearest one,
As we are invited to attend the society tomorrow night, and have a dress body to make tomorrow to wear, and consequently will not have any other time to write to you I will embrace the present opportunity—for you say it is a pleasure you look forward to, the reception of my letters and I do not wish to deprive you of that pleasure, when avoidable.
Yours arrived on Monday evening but the tenor of some parts is rather amusing. You pretend to be terribly afraid of Dick. Well he sent a card on Friday, and I did not receive him. He sent one the following Saturday. I then received him; he also made an engagement for Sunday, and then I received a letter which I did not answer. I shall always be pleased to see him but intend to cease the correspondence. You think I am so fickle as to change the love of one I think would be constant truce and never forsake for another untried. But Dick is in the background while Mr Woolman takes the lead. He is more devoted than the former; he sent me the nicest bottle of wine all fixed up in ribbon and comes twice a week to see me, what do you think of that? But I never could make you jealous—and I try so hard, thinking there is more love existing when a little such feeling is deployed.
Cousin F. sends her kindest regards and says she is watching the corners for you. I some times think it would be better, as you say, if I should become enamored elsewhere. Those words, are words I never liked coming from you, that perhaps it were better if we had never met. I have always been accustomed to having lovers sue, or sigh for a love I never gave. It sounds rather strange to me to hear one, say or seem, as though it were a matter of small importance, to be rejected or not just as circumstances will. I am rather high minded in such matters you know full well and perhaps, you may think from the tone of this letter I am undergoing a chance in sentiment, whilst I remain the same.
I received two letters from Dora this week in which she has forwarded letters received for me there. I am glad to hear that Joe and Millie N. are fairly launched in matrimony and wish them a long and happy life. You ask when I expect to return. I do not know. Cousin Fannie is fussing because I told her I intended to return home when Mr King came. She wants me receive him here but I prefer receiving my friends in my own home. She has a great deal to do and says I have got to stay with her till she gets through. I may, and then I may not, just as the notion takes me. We will always be pleased to see you whenever you choose to come. I have seen Clifford this evening. She has been quite sick but is better at present. I can scarcely write the children are keeping up such a noise. I hardly know what I have written here, but you must puzzle it out.
In haste, but none the less fondly,
P.S. Write soon
|Metadata: Postmark: Midway, KY | November 3
Sender’s location: Midway, KY | Recipient’s location: Georgetown, KY
April 16th 1865
My Dearest Friend Mary,
I received your letter of the 11th yesterday evening. I hardly know how to answer it in every respect but will do it as satisfactorily as I can before I retire. I was in town today and called at your house but found no one at home but your ma. I sat down and had a very pleasant chat with her for about half an hour when Julia came in and we went to Fannie’s and found Dora there. Mrs Taylor and Mr and Ms Lemon and did not leave until the bells rung for supper at the hotels. I enjoyed myself finely, so you see Dora and myself are still taking on, but nothing serious as yet.
But you do not think I am goose enough to believe your pa embraced me because he thought anything of me. Not I. I only said so to see what you would say. I am not quite that silly yet. You also say I am very presuming. It may be so, but you take somethings I say in jest for earnest, such as: be certain you are not mistaken in regards to my sentiments toward you. I only said it to be talking and do not think you ought to give me such a blowing up over trifles, but of course you can do as you please.
Mollie, have I ever betrayed your confidence? If so I am willing to be treated as such and will not complain. I must confess such language as I used was out of place, had it of been in earnest. However it is useless to say more on this subject and will drop it for the present. I will add I am very sorry you harbor for one moment such a thought. It is true the proper time for such demonstrations is after certain rights have been performed, but thought it would do no harm hoping the time would soon come when we could enjoy each other’s society to the fullest extent. You tell me not to think yours was a love letter. Goodness knows I did not it read like anything else from the accusations it contained, or rather, enveloping certain language in doubt.
You talk of your confidence being misplaced. God knows I have never told you anything but what was strictly true, so far as loving you, for I have loved you devotedly. Perhaps it would have been better had it not of been so, but the more I knew of your kind and generous heart the more I have loved you–but enough of this.
Your ma is well. I did not do exactly as you bade, but told your ma of your fright and your jumping the fence, but told her not to be uneasy, that you was only acting a circus a little in imitation of one you visited recently.
You say if you were here you would scare away the blues. I wish you were here to see what effect your presence would produce. I think it would work like a charm upon me. Dora says she believes I love you. What do you think of that? I believe there is no news of interest in town. Nobody married or died very recently. Dora is making a very pretty picture frame and has it nearly finished. She says if I will give her my photograph she will put it in the pretty frame of her own making. I asked your pa what had become of his run away daughter and when he heard from her last. He asked me if I had not got a letter from you. He talked like he knew I had. It rather took me by surprise at first, but I told him I had two from you recently, but did not show them to him. Cliff Toppas has gone to Midway to school to fit herself for a teacher.
Ruby whenever I see Mrs Lemon I think of what she said, “my dear children I told you you had a pa.” It would be rather singular if they had not don’t you think so? You say Ruby likes her name. What do you mean? Is it the word Ruby you like so much? I think it becomes you very much as it is a pretty name.
Mrs Shelton has been very low for sometime and there is not much hope of her recovery. John Webb is here to see his mother.
You say wherever the heart is, there home is. If that is the case my home is near you and has been for some time. Ruby please answer this as soon as received and please excuse this short letter. I will do better next time if you don’t get too mad while you are writing your next one. I suppose you have heard of the death of Lincoln and Seward1 by assassination. give my regards to your cousin. I will close, while I remain your true friend and devoted lover,
Written in haste. Excuse all mistakes if you please. God bless you, Ruby, forever.
P.S. Do not let any one see this. Has Jim Crumbaugh called on you recently? He left here Wednesday and I gave him directions how to find you. He said he was going to take you out riding if you would go. Treat him well for he is a particular friend of mind and a good fellow.
|Metadata: Postmark: Georgetown, KY | April 18
Sender’s location: Georgetown, KY | Recipient’s location: Portland, KY
Note: “Care of Mrs Mary Barry, Portland, KY”
April 6th 1865
My dearest Friend,
Your letter of the 3rd is before me and I will answer immediately. It took me somewhat by surprise as I was hardly looking for it so soon, but I assure you the surprise was such as I like—very agreeable indeed. It found me well and still at cousin Jack Crumbaugh’s. I go to town very seldom—only on business or to the post office, as town has but few charms for me at this time.
Ruby, you are getting quite pretty of late. Your cousin’s yard must be beautiful and the description you give of it is very refreshing to one that has had the blues as long as I have. So you must excuse me. As I said before, if I do talk a little at random sometimes. I am certain you would if you only knew how unhappy I have been for sometimes.
Ruby, you ask me to burn your letter. This too is rather singular as it the first request you ever made of that kind and the first you ever made that I have any reluctance in granting to you. Somehow I have always felt bound to grant any request you might ask of me, excepting this. Please give me a little time to consider, it but in the meantime if you desire it I pledge my honor no mortal eye but my own shall ever scan its sacred pages, will that do in the place of burning it?
Story’s wife is not dead but Rum Payne is. He dead yesterday and the funeral is to be preached today at 10:00. I have not received a letter from home since I have been. I here am uneasy about my parents. Clay Brewitt marries this week to a Miss Stone. He is the youngest son of Levi Brewitt and not of age yet. Her father is opposed to the match his father gives him a splendid infair.
I will probably see Dora Sunday evening and will show her your letter—excuse me I mean I will deliver your message. Ruby this is the first time you have ever displayed your colors by word, to use a military phrase. It is true I have not been so blind as not to see you had some little regard for your friend, but thought, as you did, that you never cared as much for me as I did for you. You could not help knowing I loved you. The thought of possessing the love of one so pure and angelic as Mollie is truly gratifying. Do not think I am trying to flatter you, for I am not. I am very glad you are enjoying yourself so hugely. I only hope it may continue through life, that no shadows may ever cross your path to mar for one moment your enjoyment is my sincere wish. Would that I could add one more flower to that wreath in your life which is call ed pleasure. How gladly would I do it, Ruby be sure you know my sentiments before you commit yourself further. Men are very uncertain in these times. I shall not leave without seeing you. You have such a cute way of giving me a gentle rebuke. I deserve it I suppose. In regard to Dora quizzing me about an engagement I know I have been talking at random but I know you will forgive me wont you?
I visited a cousin of mine last Sunday, a sister of Lizzie Hurst, the youngest one. She says she wants to got California with me to see her sister. Jim Crumbaugh also says he will got to California with me this summer, also Jim Beatty—won’t I have plenty of company? I have not started yet. Jim Crumbaugh has joined the baptist church.
You say city life has too many fascinations for you. True, it is a great place for wickedness and apt to corrupt the young and innocent like yourself, but I think Mollie can resist everything of that kind and will yet anchor in that harbor of safety. Going to a circus I think no harm but not a very suitable place for ladies. The company at such places is generally of inferior quality. Just so long as you do no worse than go to a circus I think your chances for heaven pretty good. You used to make out you were so very conscientious you never would go with me but to one, and that not exactly a circus, but I think it was only put on. You wanted me to think you were very pious. I told Dora you threw open your arms and came running to embrace me. She says when you get to plaguing her she will say well “I thought you would kiss without embracing him.” If you did not your pa did. He thinks more of me anyhow than you do.
I am primping my mouth for a sweet kiss when you return. Can I have it or not? I know you are opposed to it. Somethings I can resist, but I cannot resist those sweet pouting rosy lips. I imagine I hear you say, “you imprudent rascal of Ruby’s.”
I must close; I cannot write a long letter every time. Answer this soon and tell me when you are coming home. Goodbye as ever, your friend, &c &c &c &c &c &c,
Please excuse envelop
|Metadata: Sender’s location: Georgetown, KY | Recipient’s location: Portland, KY|