Events of importance are at Living in Black Mountain NC
My own life and my opinions are shared at When I was 69.

REMEMBER: In North America, the month of September 1752 was exceptionally short, skipping 11 days, when the Gregorian Calendar was adapted from the old Julian one, which didn't have leap year days.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Following the Civil War, a cousin's letter

52 Ancestors, 52 Weeks, - Week 2 (Jan. 8-14): Challenge

The big challenge I've faced here is the penmanship of my ancestors, and  trying to figure out the geography as places were named in mid nineteenth century.

Nowhere else is this woman, nor her mother mentioned in my genealogical research.  I don't know if anyone answered this letter, but it did survive until the 1970s, so someone must have thought it of enough value to hold onto it. (scanned photos of it are at the end of my transcription)

My great grandmother was Ada Philips, and her older sister was Zulieka Phillips.  Their mother died around 1860, and their father died while fighting the Civil War, sometime around 1862. Their father's older brother, Uncle Marion was helpful in getting the orphaned girls care in the homes of their aunts in Galveston.

Plaha tehi(s) Mifps (?) (Slip?)  June 19, 1891

Misfps Zulieka & Ada Phillips
                        Dear Cousins
                                    I have thought of writing to you for some time but have postponed it from time to time.  I have finally decided to make an attempt this evening. If I fail, I hope you will be so generous as to overlook my awkwardness as I am not much accustomed to letter writing.  Tis quite a task, tho in bygone days it was a pleasure.  I once kept up a correspondence with Uncle Marion, but _?__ from negligence have ceased entirely.

Where (?) is that I by some accident have not the last letters & do not know where his office is, he wrote me you were back in Galveston going to school, you must not think me impertinent  for I am going to ask you some questions relative to yourselves.

(next sheet, was folded and written first on left side, then right)
I feel that I would like so much to know my dear little unknown cousins. Uncle Marion was kind enough to send me your photographs, & really I fear that he thinks that I am but too com…s? & negligent.  I am much afraid I haven’t thanked him for them, sist assumd if I have not. Twas not because they were not appreciated, I prize them much., (now to the questions) Where and who are you living with, are you boarding or do you live with relatives, and are you going to school? Why I ask you is that I am anticipating a trip to Galveston this fall or winter.  I feel so broken up and think a trip would reinstate me to former feelings.  I have been married but now am a widow have been for a long time.  I have no children of my own, have one little adopted girl, she will soon be three years old  she is quite a comfort to me.  I fear I am too poor to do this justice.  But as the old adage says Hope on Hope ever.  I hope to be able to give her a thorough

(right side of sheet)
education, she is a beautiful child and very precocious, very smart indeed.  I am just lying on my “arse” here at Pa’s home; not accumulating anything whatever.  I feel very much disrupted sometimes.  I know I should be making something for this dear little charger. Pa is old and infirm, has a large family, four girls yet to educate, the youngest 10 years old, & we all have been so broken up by the war.  I feel that I could support myself if I did sewing if I had a good situation in some town where I could git (sic) sewing.  I think I should try this in bygone days I would have considered that I was downing myself somewhat in such a situation, to b---?--- we all have to work or do something. I don’t feel ashamed to do anything that is --?--  I would go to work in good faith with my needle if I could get work. I am very well versed in the system of --?ing and quilting(?) and think I could succeed very well. I am living in the country and

(next sheet, half of the page)

4th pg
It would be perfect folly to make an attempt here.  My dear little Cousin you will begin to think I am poverty struck in situation.  I must say my circumstances are not as they have been, tho I get plenty to eat drink and even go & come whenever I please, yet I would be better satisfied to have something accumulating for the future. What would be the probability of my securing a place there?  I prefer living with some nice private family to do sewing.  I don’t like teaching school, could not well now, on account of this little girl, she is too small.
How much is board per month there
Write me all about your “city” generally
(unclear) I should like Galveston very much.  I have heard it so highly spoken of
Please answer all my inquirings dear Cousins
One more question, (what was Aunt Mollie’s name before Uncle Willie married her?_
Ma sends much love to you and Uncle Marion
I would share a (potion?) of your relative regards by remembering me kindly to them.
With much love, I hope to be honored with a reply to this poor scroll very soon
Please write to me dear Cousins for I assure you nothing would be more gratifying or afford me more real pleasure than receiving letters from those to whom I am bound by the sacred ties of relationship
Excuse all errors I have written this very hurridly.
Affectionately yours with love,
Mrs. Laura Spann
I hope Uncle Marion has spoken of me to you at least I have written thinking he had.  I am the daughter of Ghidora Phillips, sister of your Father (the only one living) now.  Mrs. Spann, I too married a distant relative by the same name.  Lovingly your Cozn Laura
(Pelahatetic ?) is my office


  1. Thanks so much Kristin...I couldn't figure out Pelahatchie, but I think you've got it.
    I will resize the letters to the "original photo size" which goes over into the other others have a better chance of reading them.

    I haven't worked on these for several years, and just decided that they needed to be shared.

  2. Hi Barbara - Wonderful letter. Something to cherish for sure. You asked me about where to send your posts for the 52 Ancestors challenge. I've just been using the #52Ancestors hashtag. I notice you don't have that hashtag on your post. That helps Amy to find it.
    Look forward to reading your future posts.

  3. The letters do look lots bigger. I love old letters. I published a bunch of my paternal grandmother's awhile ago. It gave me a whole different way of seeing her as she was only about 20 when she wrote them.

  4. In my tree I have Laura Spann as the daughter of Ghidora Phillips, William Phillips' sister.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Trish, I had added these two people to my tree at one point, just based on this letter. I'll check your tree to see if you have anything else to substantiate the relationship of the Phillips daughter. Thanks for reminding me!


Looking forward to hearing from you! Sorry, I won't be seeing any "anonymous" comments any more. (It's easy to open an account, and then be able to comment on any blogs!)