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
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)
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