July 28 1867 – John J Haun to Mollie Burns

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John Haun writes to his sweetheart Mollie, currently traveling with her sister. This is the last of the surviving letters from before their marriage, which took place November 14 1867.

Georgetown, Kentucky

Sunday evening
July 28 1867

Miss Mollie,

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

July 10 1867 – Mollie Burns to John J Haun

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In this letter, Mollie tells John of her trip to Lexington, KY with her sister and aunt, and a projected visit to Covington, KY.

Lexington, Kentucky

Wednesday Morning
July 10th 1867

Mr Haun, dearest one,

We are still in Lexington but expect to go down to the city tomorrow at noon, or at least make a start for that destination. We have enjoyed ourselves remarkably well. Several ladies and gentleman come up for us yesterday evening and we went out to the lunatic asylum and went all through. It is one of the dismalest places I have ever seen. Dr Chiplyson the proprietor told me Richie Stevenson was considerably better. He made his escape and got down into town. He was trying to borrow money to buy something to eat when they found him. There are many mad looking spectacles, indeed.

Mr Cozin, Willie Price, Bert McLally, Mr Merker, Charlie Johnson and his brother too, Mr McMulagin, Mr Ring Winkle, all old friends, and a host of kind boys, so you see we do not lack for attendants but have company to go with us any where we want to go. Bert wants to know if he can’t put my Georgetown beau out of the way. I told him it would take just about a dozen such as him to accomplish that. But he went to the reform church with me Sunday evening we attended the baptism in the morning. There is a protestant meeting at our church, conduction by a minister from Richmond, Virginia. Hatty Aubry has called on us. Also Frank Taner. We are going out to the cemetery on our return.
I have set tomorrow week as our date for returning  to Lexington. We will then stay here a few days and then go to Woodford. You must write so I can hear from you on my return from Covington.1

I wish you were enjoying this trip around with us. I wrote to ma on Monday—did you hear her speak of receiving it? I was sorry to hear of Billie’s misfortune.
I have had a very sore throat from getting wet in that old stage but am about well now. It is the first cold I have had this summer.

Much love to Frank R. Lady and Sister Tess—tell her to take great care of my sweetheart but not to steel him entirely away. Aunt and cousin laugh at Dora and myself about a little walking breaking us down and wonder what we will do in the city. I weighed myself and what do you think? I weighted the whole amount of one hundred five 1/2 pounds. You would not have, such a poor little girl would you. Never mind, I intend to eat a heap and get fat. But bad pen ink and still poorer writing…

I will stop. I may write to you while at C. and may not, till I get back. With much, very much, love to you I remain as ever, your own loving Mollie, who has almost concluded she has no pleasure unmixed without thee, as she often thinks how she would like to have you along.

But with a kiss, goodbye,

Mollie C. Burns

Metadata: Postmark: Lexington, KY | July 11
Sender’s location: Lexington, KY

March 13 1867 – Mollie Burns to John J Haun

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Mollie Burns writes to John expressing her anxiety at the delay in hearing from him, and the possibility of leaving her cousin’s home for Georgetown.

Wednesday Morning
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.

– M.C.B

Metadata: Sender’s location: Portland, KY

May 11 1867 – [unsigned] to John J Haun

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In this unsigned letter, a friend of John Haun’s living in San Francisco writes to make arrangements for meeting Mollie when her ship arrives in port.

San Francisco

Saturday Night
May the 11th

Friend John,

I will drop you a few lines to let you know that I am still in the land of living–but there are a good many here that hardly live. Times are terrible dull here and plenty of idle men are about. I called in four or five paint shops and found men siting around waiting for a job, but I have been pretty lucky so far. I helped a man a couple of days on small jobs and I got six dollars for my help, so I Am fixed a-plenty and I have the promise of a job Wednesday.

I found Mr Joshu. He has quit the painting business. He says there are too damn many painters–and I am a little like him. I am getting disgusted with it. Every day he is very thin has very poor health. He is now a book keeper for some parties in the city. I have got a room in the house where he rents on fifth street.

I called on Emit the other day, and like him very much. Well, have you sent for Mollie? I have been thinking it would be best for you to have her dispatch sent to Emit in case I may be out in the city at work And it would be safer to have the dispatch sent to him, for he is right at the landing. Let me know when you send for her and I can go down to Emit’s stable every night or so and find out when he gets the dispatch, and then I can meet her at Oakland. It would be safer to have her dispatch go to him.

Well how are you getting along with your crop? Have you plowed any since I left you? You ought to put in all you can, for I tell you, times are very tight.

I am going to try painting for a while and if I can’t make it go I will take to the woods. I think I will come down and bug Ross and see if I cant go in with him and tend his place on shares. I think I would make a farmer.

You have no idea the difference in climate between here and there. I have been cold ever since I landed here and down there it is so nice And warm.

Well, John, this is Sunday and I have just been out to Woodword Gardens with Mr Fosha. I met Peat Howard, Doc Hall and Fent Whiting out there. They say that the roads are terribly bad up there. They came by the way of Reno.

Give my kindest regards to your pa and ma. I will close. Love to All.

Direct your letter to Rottbury 2, 23 Corner of Fifth And Clementina1

Metadata: Sender’s location: San Francisco

November 1 1865 – Mollie Burns to John J Haun

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Mollie writes to John of their relationship, her other suitors, and her plans for returning home.

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

– Ruby

Metadata: Postmark: Midway, KY | November 3
Sender’s location: Midway, KY | Recipient’s location: Georgetown, KY

May 19 1865 – Mollie Burns to John J Haun

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Mollie Burns writes to her sweetheart John Haun at home in Geogetown, KY describing a visit to relatives in Louisville, during which she visited the Cave Hill Cemetery, and saw her sister Dora.

May 19 1865

Dear Friend,

Yours of the 9th was received by Cousin Mary on last Saturday. I have been up to town for the last two weeks, and she would not send it to me or I should have answered it ere this. She does not allow me to stay with Cousin Mag at all and keeps my letters to get me back. I was thinking you were rather dilatory about writing but had divined your reason, which proved true on the arrival of your letter with the explanation.

You don’t see why I can’t stay a little longer with my cousin, as no one is in a hurry to see me. Now don’t you want to see me? Sure enough you do to. Well I don’t care if you don’t; I want to see you any how.

Dora has been out. I guess you all had a fine time of it. But Dora is not to supplant me in Uncle Pack’s affections if she has in yours, for he used to say I was one of his favorites. And you all had several romps—well that is just like all the boy that ever visited our house. They will romp and play with her and sit back as if they had a horror of me, and I am sure I do not try to inspire such a feeling. I love as well as anyone. Dora told you the joke did she? Cousin enjoyed it finely but I was somewhat teased over it.

Dora says I have not written telling them when I was coming home. I presume my letter must have arrived after that for I have written home that I intend to start home this coming Thursday. I do not think I will allow anything to detain me that can be avoided. I want to see them all at home so bad. I never stayed away from home so long before. It looks to me like a dream; I can scarcely realize it. The Confederacy seems to have wound up in a perfect hurrah. President Davis1 is to pass through here today or tomorrow. Many houses here are still draped in morning for President Lincoln.

And you have heard from home I suppose that they feel somewhat relieved now that you are allowed to roam at your pleasure. Don’t you want me to help you to drop corn? I think I would make a splendid hand don’t you, with a little instruction. A party of us visited Cave Hill Cemetery on Tuesday. It is a lovely place. I have a leaf from Courtland Prentice’s2 grave. Quite a number of Rebel Soldiers are buried there. Their graves are covered with flowers planted by the ladies. I also saw the box with the remains of the Kentucky Giant who lived and died at a little place near hear called Shippenport. It was a very large box indeed. He was over 7 feet tall.

I do not suppose your last letter was opened in Georgetown but it was the fault of the General that this arrived unmolested. I do not know whether or not you employed aunt Jemima’s plaster to seal it. I don’t know the name of those flowers I sent; they came out of my cousin’s yard. Consequently, I cannot tell you the emblem. Just attached some pretty emblem to them to suit yourself, and I will be satisfied.

If you get this letter in time enough to answer before I start home, do so. If you think not, it will be be all right. I shall not stop long on the way home. If you were here this morning I would make you a pretty bouquet. The yard is full of flowers—I have never seen as many roses in one place before, and such a variety. Now don’t tell me you are too busy to write, and have no time till after tea. I expect you are kept busy sparking some of the girls. I am coming home and will break up that arrangement. I don’t intend to give up of my sweethearts to the girls unless the gentleman in question is particularly anxious—then I shall not have anything else to say.

But for this morning, I shall bid you adieu. My love to Scheezicks.

As ever Your Friend,

Mollie C.B.

Metadata: Postmark: Louisville, KY | May 20
Sender’s location: Portland, KY | Georgetown, KY

April 22 1865 – Mollie Burns to John J Haun

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Mollie describes a recent visit to Indiana, and writes to John of her family, and their opinions of the couple’s relationship.

Saturday Morning
April 22nd 1865

Dearest Friend,

You obey well, I was pleased to find Your letter awaiting my return, it arrived on Wednesday and myself, yesterday.

Jimmie C. has not called yet. Mollie will always treat your friends well and not only treat Jimmie well for your sake, but like him very much myself. Does he intend to stay in Louisville, or is he only passing through?

I was pleased to hear of your being with my sisters on Sunday last. What do you think of Mrs Jenkins, Charlie’s ma? I wish he was more like her. I believe I want to see Fannie’s three little ones and Charlie Boots worse than any of you all up there. But I want to see you mighty bad. I am getting a little homesick. I never could stay away very long at a time.

Such a blowing up—well, well, you know I could not get along without scolding a little, but we will let it all pass. I love to tease you so much, you don’t know how much I enjoy it or you would allow me the privilege, would you not? I never had any secrets from ma or pa, not that they were prying at tall, but I never do anything that I object to them knowing. I guess pa just took it for granted. You had heard from me I shall go and call on Cliff when I get to Midway. It was quite laughable what Mrs Lemon said indeed, but I think she was excusable under the circumstances.

Ruby is the name I like so well to hear you call me. It might not sound so well from anyone else, or other lips. I guess if Mrs Shelton should die Bob S. and Alice S. would marry.

The city here is still in mourning for Lincoln. We went down on the Morning Star, the boat you bad Rebels pressed into taking you over into Indiana. Captain Ballard told me you all like to have scared him to death. Blue River Island is just above where we got off, where Hines buried some of his men. I was delighted with the first Clerk, and had the pleasure of his attention down and up, in all my spare time. He was an acquaintance of my Cousin’s. We had a fine string band on board, some very pleasant young ladies, and a nice dance on our way back, but I did not care to be introduced to any stranger, consequently I held no conversation with any gentleman but the captain, the clerk and my cousin. We were on all night on our return, being delayed receiving freight. I slept very little, there was so much noise at the landings.

Cousin Sallie Hutchins and I went to two house parties. Their style of dress here I could better describe with my tongue, having more power to employ it to a better advantage than my pen, for instead light lawn dresses, they wore black skirts, bows of blue, red, and yellow ribbon in profusion, with no required to color or taste. Sallie and I being from the city had choice of the gentleman or course, if there was any choice. Of course WE put on all the style imaginable. We had our own fun. You, knowing girls’ vanity, will think our imagination had a great deal to do with it—but if we had been two live elephants we would not have been gazed at more. Now I know you all up there will say, yes just like her.

There is a great sensation in that portion of the country concerning oil, as they are boring for it have found some. But deliver me from Indiana, what little I seen of it. They told me on the boat what I might expect to see, but I told them on my return their descriptive powers failed to give me the least idea of the country till I had seen it. But there is a pretty good joke out on me. I have written home and told them about it. But I don’t believe I will tell you. Ask Dora if you would like to know—but I guess you are not that much interested.

Dora says she believes you love me, and you wish to know, what I think of it. Well I would not like to think otherwise. You can answer this letter. I may make a start for home the last of next week or the first of the following week. I have just commenced to make Cousin Mary a frame and will have it to finish. Cousin wants me to stay with her till the forth of June till her husband comes home like to be accommodating, but am getting a little home sick now.

I shall expect a letter. I may answer it with a letter, and I may answer it in person—which would you prefer? I know you would say in a letter just to be contrary, but I do not like to be teased if I do enjoy teasing myself. and especially from you. Cousin sends her well wishes, and says something else. I will not tell you what. I could not make out what was erased toward the last of your letter this time.

As ever your Friend,


Your letter was open when Cousin got it out. Excuse the envelope.

– Mollie

Metadata: Sender’s location: Portland, KY | Recipient’s location: Georgetown, KY

April 3 1865 – Mollie Burns to John J Haun

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Mollie Burns describes her cousin Fannie’s home to John, now back in Georgetown and writes of the amusements she has enjoyed on her visit, including a trip to the circus and a play.

Rose Cottage
Tuesday April 3 1865

Mr Haun, ever dear friend,

This is a bright and beautiful morning. My cousin’s yard, being full of fruit trees, looks indeed like a picture. This lovely spring morning with its pink, and snowy white blossoms, green grass and lazy moths and doors and windows all thrown open. The breeze from the river is refreshing indeed. The little birds seem this morning to be trying to out carroll each other, in the sweetness of their songs. The rivers being high we have but to look out when a boat passes and we have the pleasure of watch them which is quite entertaining to me.

We went aboard the steamer Ruth built here for the Mississippi River. She makes her first trip this week. She cost $210,000. We went all through her—such splendor I never witnessed. The cabins were, to look at their floors, like a mass of flowers. The ship has most splendid mirrors, berths with snowy linen and lace curtains, tables covered, with covers of royal purple embroidered with gold. They talk of giving a trial trip and inviting the citizens. Aunt Pollie says there is rather a risk to run, and forbids us going.

I guess you will be surprised. But I have been to a Circus. Cousin Henry said there was a great many of the nicest ladies in Louisville there, and he wanted us to see Roberson the champion rider of the world. Also the Arab performers. There will be another one here, next week. We attended the matinee Saturday evening, seen Fairclough1 play the Iron Chest.2 City life has too many fascinations for me, I believe. I would go right straight to the old scratch and, wishing to anchor in the harbor of Heaven safely, shall try and cast my lot with those of country proclivities where we can look through nature up to nature’s God.

From the tone of your letter I shall conclude Dora has been telling me what is not true, you and her. She will excuse you in your first offense—all of the Marys are of an excusing and forgiving disposition, or else she would not excuse her rebel husband for going off. The visit to Sister Fan will be new to me, as she has moved since I left.

Tell Dora when she quizzes you again about our being engaged. that you do not know whether we are, or not, that you don’t understand me and if you do I you have the advantage of me. When I tell you I will go with you you talk of going off, and if I want to see you to come home. Well well that is a polite way of doing a fellow. I never did understand you and believe it is mutual. You all have little to do to let a Negro take the place. Will Morris and Zeph were up to see me. Will told me before he left Lexington he heard Bill Story’s wife was dead. Is it so or not? I have been to see Zeph’s wife and found her to be a very pleasant little woman.

You send your love and ask some in return. Well, I always was to proud to let you know that I cared anything for you—but you must have divined my secret  long ago as you are not blind or dull of comprehension. I never would betray myself till certain of your sentiments, but I never have believed you cared as much for me as I care for you. Well I can feel myself blushing now, after such a speech. I never have asked you to burn a letter before this, but please commit this to the flames. I ask it, as a request I think you should gratify.

I wish if you see Dora, you would hurry them up. Tell them to write that if ma is willing Middleton and I want to go down the river Friday week. We will stay till the following Wednesday or Griday, and will be on the boat from 5:00 in the evening till 10:00 at night. We will stay all night in Gransbury. Uncle Hutchins is to meet us in the morning. Tell them to write. I want to know what ma says about it. I shall reserve the stamps to write to you. You must write directly you get this. I want to hear from you before I go. You better not leave before I come home. Have you heard from your ma? Does she know that you are out of prison yet?

I had a ride all over the city in a buggy. I am here did not get to go. Quite soon I shall close as I am going over. I otherwise could not have had. Tell Dora Joe Short has called on me to come to cousin Mag’s in a buggy to take me out to see the water works, but being down here, I did not get to go. Write soon. I shall close as I am going out to spend the day.

From your friend unchanging,

Mollie C. Burns

Dora guesses well—but you did the embracing part, don’t lay it on me. I will not stand it. I had made out all of what you scratched out in the other letter before you told me.

Metadata: Postmark: Portland, KY | April
Sender’s location: Portland, KY | Recipient’s location: Georgetown, KY

October 6 1864 – Mollie Burns to John J Haun

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Mollie writes in her usual cheerful style, describing a trip to Cincinnati with a party of friends and the preparations for the marriage of some Georgetown acquaintances. She encloses a note from Mrs Webb requesting a letter from John.

At Home
October 6th 1864

Dear Friend,

Answering your letter of the 8th of September,1 which was received in due time, was necessarily delayed, on account of my being away from home. I am not at all well this morning after spending a restless night. I do not think I would possibly feel like writing to any one excepting you this morning, feeling as indisposed as if I do. I hope that these lines may find you well that Prison walls may not deprive you of your health as well as liberty. I have just gotten back from Lexington. A party of youngsters was going down to Cincinnati. Some my relations insisted on me going, and of course I went. We attended Pike’s Opera House which I suppose you have seen. We remained there two days and as we came back I stopped in Paris all night and day, came on to Lexington remained there several days, and am now at home. My loosing a great deal of sleep and traversing those long streets to see sights generally (we would not avail ourselves of the great accommodation, (street cars) as we went to see them has almost laid me up.

Mollie Crockett and Tom Long marry next week at the Reform church on Tuesday. I told you in my last of Annie Barkley’s and Well’s and Jim Samuel and Peggie Patterson’s weddings. I do not know whether they were torn off or not.

You ask me if Ruby is not glad to hear of anything to entertain you. I told them if I only had a permit to get in prison I should go on to Columbus to see some of my friend there. Would you not have been surprised! I have been as close as Cincinnati anyhow. You say you would like to have somebody’s photograph; when somebody has them taken you shall have one. I have just dropped a few lines to Mrs Webb and send you her reply. We have no news. I should like to write you a longer letter, but must obey rules. Write immediately, and I will respond as soon as received. Please accept all, no divisions–or your words in your last, just imagine I make use of the same words, and don’t forget,

Mollie C Burns

Miss Mollie

I have received no letter from Mr Haun or his mother since June. Give him my kindest regards and say to him should I receive a letter from his mother I will forward it to him immediately.

A.S. Webb
October 6th 1864

Metadata: Postmark: Georgetown, KY | October 10
Sender’s location: Georgetown, KY | Recipient’s location: Camp Chase, OH
Notes: “Dated Oct 6th 64, Recd Oct 12th 64”

October 12 1863 – John J Haun to Mollie Burns

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In this chatty and flirtatious letter, John Haun teases Mollie about marriage, stolen kisses, and sharing her letters with his messmates. He gives his opinion of the gossip included in her last letter, and, in a moment of seriousness, describes the death of a mutual friend.

Prison No. 1, Barracks No. 9
Camp Chase Ohio

October  12 1863

Dear Friend,

I received your anxiously looked for letter on the seventh. I had began thinking my letter had not reached it’s destination and was just on the eve of writing another when it came. I owe you an apology for such a long delay in responding, but the delay was unavoidable as I was taken sick shortly after receiving your letter and was unable to write sooner. I am about well again and have been moved to another prison as you will see from the heading.

I never thought for a moment if you would disregard your promise concerning your Bourbon visit. Therefore, I looked for this letter with more eagerness if possible than any other. Well, you give a glowing description of your visit and things about Paris. Surely times must be getting better in Kentucky since the departure of so me of her rebellious subjects. I am so truly glad to learn you are enjoying yourself so finely, if I cannot myself.

So Sam L. is married at last! I thought that would have taken place ere this. Nothing preventing but a slight intoxication on his part as I understand. It seems the girls are all marring for fear there will be no one to marry when the war is over. I suppose the Misses Wills are the most fashionable and wealthy merchants of the town, I believe the girls generally fancy merchants. I thought Mat was in Canada with several others from town but it seems I have been mistaken. I remember the name of Colcord very well but have forgotten his features. At any rate I suppose he is a good fellow, as bachelors are generally, and not cross and crabbed as some people term them.

I saw Wallace Graves immediately after he was killed, literally torn to pieces by a shell. I suppose Mr Graves takes it very hard losing both of his boys within a few months of each other. It is truly a sad sight to see the boys brought home in such a way.

I have had very good health until recently, but nothing very serious and I will be well soon, as you know. I am a healer. Mollie, this is truly cold gloomy place.

The reason I asked Fannie L. if she knew Mr Grimes is this. One evening while taking my accustomed walk I overheard part of a letter read and the name of Miss L of G Town. When I began to inquire I found it was Tom.

Of course I will have to wait until you have a wedding before I can get an invitation. I should like very much to come home but my Uncle Sam will not let me. I have not forgotten the ring nor the associations connected with it. Those days will long be remembered by me. As one has said we seldom forget incidents in life that give us a great deal of pleasure or pain, as the case might be. You accused me of stealing when I left home. That is pretty hard but I suppose I will have to plead guilty before so fair an accuser. But just tell me what man is there that could withstand such a temptation with such a delicate morsel set before him. “Not I” I must confess. I believe my reservation would fail me on such an occasion no matter how much I might try to resist. I am confident when you take another view of the case my sentence will be comparatively light. If we ever should chance to meet again I might commit the same offense. If I should, just punish me as my crime deserves and I will not complain.

Mollie, take warning of poor Fitzsimmons when you marry and do not whip your husband and cause him to commit suicide.

I read your letter to one of my mess mates by way of retaliation. Retaliation is fair in war, you know! I received a letter from S. Harris a few days ago. He was well and said Eph was in his mess, and S.K. Bangs, J. Shermitt and some others I am not acquainted with. I sent your kindest regards to him. I received your first letter the evening they left for Camp Douglas.

Does Mat Saunders drink as hard as he was used to? Ask Dora how Buddie is, and  whether he is at home or not. I have not written or received a letter from home since I left Kentucky. I heard through Mrs S. West that my parents were well. Several pictures have been received by mail but they were badly broken, hence the reason for my tasking you to send it. I have finished your ring and it is pronounced the neatest one made in prison. I would send it in this letter but there has been so many put in letters that have never been received at home. If I do not meet with an opportunity to send it by some individual soon I will send it by mail and risk the chances of its arrival, for you know I want to you to have it. Rings have a way of getting out of letters that leave here unless put in the especial charge of Captain Tiffany the letter deliverer.

I shall commit another theft when I see you, so you can get your punishment ready when you see me. I must close as I have run out of space,


(Do not put off writing because I did.)

Metadata: Sender’s location: Camp Chase, OH