Tag Archives: old letters

1941 Letter From Hugh Walter Linton to Frances Barber Linton Montgomery – Cousins!

Hugh Walter Linton and Frances Barber Linton were cousins – both had a love of family and love of genealogy.  Frances was my great-grandmother and I feel she passed that love of genealogy and research directly down to me!  I know of no one else in the family who is quite so thrilled to walk through a cemetery or visit a basement full of old wills and marriage records!
Hugh was the son of John Wesley Linton and Emma Adelaide Proctor; the grandson of Benjamin Burkett Linton and Nancy J. Newman; the great-grandson of Benjamin  Franklin Linton and Lucy Crewdson; and the great-grandson of Captain John Hancock Linton and Ann Nancy Mason.  He lived in Christian County, Kentucky, where he married Eliza “Lydabel” Belfield Garnett.  Hugh and Lydabel had 3 children:  Hugh Walter, Jr., Mary Adelaide and Frances Garnett Linton.
Frances was the daughter of Edward Edwards Linton and Catherine Elizabeth Taylor; the granddaughter of William Linton and Elizabeth Lyon Moran; and the great-granddaughter of Captain John Hancock Linton and Ann Nancy Mason.  She lived in Washington County, Kentucky, where she married Robert E. Lee Montgomery.  Frances and Robert had 7 children:  Mary Alice, Anna Margaret, Laura Frances, Lillian Catherine, Robert Lee, Edward Linton and Benjamin Montgomery.
I know of at least nine letters written by Hugh to my great-grandmother from October 5, 1934 to February 8, 1945 – I’m sure there were probably more that were not saved.  On April 11, 1945, Hugh’s wife, Lydabel, wrote to “Cousin Frances” to inform her of Hugh’s death on March 21.  Frances died in August of that year.  Their fascination with family history lasted until the very end!  This one was written November 18, 1941 – after a visit from Hugh and family to Frances and Robert in Springfield.

Dear Cousin Frances,

We arrived home about 5:30 to 6 Sunday afternoon, in good shape and having had a wonderful trip there.

I don’t know which one of us three had the best time; we were all treated to royally by you and your good family, and even the weather was perfect for us.  It was a most enjoyable trip and visit for us, and we want to thank you, Cousin Margaret and Cousin Bob and both the boys for it.  We have really found home folks in your family; and it reminds us of the days when we would go back to the home of my father and mother in Logan County, when they had time to talk and live in the unhurried atmosphere, different from that of last few years.

It was a treat to get all the information you had for us.  We enjoyed the old traditions that you and Cousin Maggie O’Bryan told us of the old Captain and his home life, and to see your old treasures in the corner cabinet there.

Lydabel was very much taken with your husband, and kept talking about what a kind expression he had and the twinkle in his eye, and was distressed that he had difficulty with his hearing  and recalled her mother’s same trouble for many years.

We trust you all keep well and enjoy life.  Let as many of you as can get off, come down to visit us, and we will take you to see the Logan County kin, who by the way live some 40 miles closer to Springfield than we in Hopkinsville do.

With love from Lydabel and Frances and thanks for your many hospitalities.

Your Cousin,

Hugh

George W. Colvin – Civil War Letters

I was quite overwhelmed when I read these letters – first knowing that George Colvin never made it home to his wife Lucinda and two young children made them very poignant – and then reading his longing of wanting to be home with them, but still desiring to do his duty as a soldier, was another struggle.  He must have been in debt, asking Lucinda to pay what he owed, but wanting to change his life when he got home, making a fresh start with his wife and children.  There are two more letters from George Colvin in this newspaper article, which I will share with you are at a later date.

from Newspaper Articles by Orval W. Baylor

Has Old Letters of Civil War Days

Letters Father Wrote to Mother Are Cherished by Mr. Enos I. Colvin of Springfield.  Was Soldier in Union Army and Died In Prison

Mr. Enos I. Colvin of Springfield has a number of old letters that were written by his father, George W. Colvin, while he was a soldier in the Union Army.  They were addressed to Lucinda Lea Colvin, wife of the said George W. and mother of Enos I.

George W. Colvin, son of Joseph and Nancy Turner Colvin, was born in the Big North sector of Washington County, February 25, 1835.  His father was a native of Virginia, born there March 18, 1780.  He came to Washington County when a young man and settled near the little settlement of Cornishville.  He was married to Nancy Turner July 26, 1805.  The Turners were early settlers in the Big North.

Joseph and Nancy turner Colvin were the parents of 13 children and George W., was the youngest.

As a young man, George W. Colvin traveled about from place to place.  A brief memorandum in his handwriting and now preserved by his son, tells of his travels.  It reads:

“Copied the 8th of October 1857.  This is to remember the time when I first left Kentucky on the 9th day of April, 1855, and went to the county of Lee State of Iowa and I resided there until fall and then I returned back to Kentucky and remained there six or seven weeks and then made my return to Lee County Iowa.  Resided there twelve months and then I went to the State of Missouri.  Remained there one week and then returned to Kentucky.  I landed there 23 November.  Remained there until spring and then I went back to Lee County, Iowa, and from there to the State of Missouri, Noetowa County.”

After approximately three years of going and coming, George W. Colvin decided to stay in Kentucky.  On June 29, 1858, he was married to Miss Lucinda Lea, and from then until he entered the Union Army he resided in Washington County.  Three children were born to George W. and Lucinda Lea Colvin, viz., Amos Colvin, April 10, 1859, Enos I. Colvin; December 4, 1860; Martha Ann Colvin, February 6, 1863.

Entering the Union Army at the beginning of the War Between the States, George W. Colvin continued in the service until near the close of the conflict when he was captured and taken to the Confederate prison at Andersonville, Georgia.  There, after he had suffered all the horrors for which that prison is known, he died.  He had been home to see his family a short time before he was captured and on the occasion of that visit he went to Louisville where he had his picture taken astride his favorite horse.  This picture is now preserved and cherished by his son.  It shows him in uniform with his sword at his side.  When he started south to rejoin his regiment he left his uniform and the sword with his family, fearing that he would be apprehended by the enemy.  The uniform was kept by the family for many years, but it later became lost.  The sword is yet preserved by Mr. Enos I. Colvin.

Enos I. Colvin is the sole survivor of the family of George W. and Lucinda Lea Colvin, and he has for many years resided here in Springfield.  He was married to Jane Kays, March 15, 1891.  About the year 1900 they moved from the northern part of Washington to Beechland and occupied the place where tradition says Thomas and Nancy Hanks Lincoln commenced housekeeping in 1806.  The old cabin in which the Lincoln’s lived was still standing when the Colvin’s moved to the place and they tore it down.  The logs were piled up to remain there until about 1911, when they were seen by a person from Harrodsburg, secured by him and taken to that place where they are now enshrined and exhibited as “The Lincoln Marriage Cabin.”

The first letter of George W. Colvin to his wife and family – May the 31st, 1863.

Russell County, State of Kentucky, Jamestown, the County Seat.

Dear Wife, with pleasure I will inform you that I am well at present and I hope when these few lines comes to hand that may find you all well.  I would like very much to see you all, but Lucy, I don’t know as I shall come home any more until peace is made.  I have come to the conclusion that peace will be made against next Christmas.  We understand that the Union men has taken Vicksburg and the whole forces that were there and seventy pieces of canon, and we are looking every day for a fight to come off here.  The Rebels has a very strong force on the other side of the Cumberland River, and Jamestown is four miles from the river.

‘My regiment is at Green River, but there were thirty-three sent out of our Company to Columbia on detached duty and out of the 33, ten of us was sent from Columbia with the two regiments of infantry for their advance guards were at this time very comfortable.  Situated where we are in a first straight dwelling house in Jamestown.  Lucy, I don’t know when I will get back to my regiment, but I am as well satisfied here as I am anywhere in the army.  Lucy, I will tell you what we have been living upon.  We have had nothing but coffee and hard bread for better than a week.  But we will get some meat this evening.  Lucy I have not heard from you since Samuel Lambert brought a letter for me.  You said you had payed Jack Sims and also Graves with the exception of seven dollars, which I am glad to think that is so paid.  When I left the regiment they were talking of drawing two months wages which will help us a little towards paying my debts and I hope will get through after a while.  Lucy I have not heard if Molly has got well of the fistula or not, but is she has got well I want to sell her, as I told you in the other letter that I wrote to you.  I want all my little accouterments together if I ever get out of this war, I am going to a new country and take a new start for a living and lead a different life.  Lucy, you and my sweet little children is the last thing that I think of when I lay down upon the hard earth to rest with all the tormented insects to encounter with and you are the first thing I think of when I get up of a morning.  Lucy, I wish that I could send you and my sweet children some more apples, but it is so that I can’t send you anything this time.  Lucy, I want you to write to me as soon as you get this letter and you will please write often.  I will write to you again, soon as I receive a letter from you.  I will now come to a close for the present.  So fare well for this time.

‘George W. Colvin to Lucinda Colvin, Jamestown, Kentucky, May 31, 1863.  Excuse my bad writing and awkward spelling for the drums and fifes bother me.  We have a good force here and can soon have more.’

Hugh Linton’s Letter to Frances Barber Linton Montgomery

Hugh Linton and Frances Barber Linton Montgomery, my great-grandmother, were cousins.  They shared their love of genealogy through letters and visits.  Hugh lived in Hopkinsville, Christian County, in western Kentucky.  Frances lived in Washington County, in the center of the state.   That doesn’t sound like a far distance in our day and time, but in the 30’s and 40’s – during the Depression and World War II – it was very far.  I have letters from 1934 to April of 1945.  The last letter was from Hugh’s wife, Lydabel, informing Frances of Hugh’s death three weeks earlier.  Frances died four months later.  I treasure these letters – but what a marvelous thing to have the letters Great-Grandmother Frances wrote to Hugh!  I fear they are long lost!

The Carrico boy killed in the war, that Hugh speaks of, was my Uncle Robert.  My grandmother, Mary Alice Montgomery Carrico, was the daughter of Frances and Robert E. Lee Montgomery.  I believe Hugh has her confused with Margaret.

Ann Mason, mentioned in the letter, was the wife of Captain John Linton.  They moved their entire family – children and grandchildren – from Loudoun County, Virginia, to Washington County, Kentucky, in 1818.

I apologize for the look of the blog.  WordPress has changed and I no longer have the option to make my block paragraphs, or use additional fonts.

April 10, 1944

Mrs. R. L. Montgomery, Walnut Street, Springfield, Kentucky

Dear Cousin Frances,

In your letter written about the first of the year, you were kind enough to enclose a typewritten letter from Reverend Davis of your city about the Mason family, including the name of our ancestor, Ann Mason.

I am returning this letter which I have gone over very carefully several times.  I showed it to the banker downstairs, whose name is Mason and who is a cousin of the well known Jesse Jones, and used to hunt rabbits with him when he was a boy.  But this Mr. Mason couldn’t trace in his family tree any connection with your great-grandmother and my great-great-grandmother.

It was very sad to learn about the Carrico boy.  After learning that, I read in the Louisville paper about Thomas who was wounded in the Italian fighting and the paper said he was the son of Margaret.  This means, I am sure, that he was a brother of Robert.  I know these things have cast a shadow over the family and about the only thing we can be proud of is that they have had the courage and patriotism that a great many other boys have lacked.  I trust that Margaret is holding up well and that all of you know that you have our heartfelt sympathy in these troubles.  I trust Cousin Robert is getting along well, and the rest of the family.

If it hadn’t been for the gas shortage last summer when we were at Mammoth Cave a few days, we would have driven to Springfield to see you and your family.  Some day the war will be over and we hope to renew our very pleasant acquaintance.

My boy, Walter, is in Phoenix, Arizona, and has a baby about 15 months old, whom we have never been able to see, and if I can’t take Lydabel to see them before long, she is going to leave me and go anyway!

Lots of love and best wishes.  I beg to remain

Your Cousin,

Hugh

Civil War Letter From James W. Old

James W. Old, born 1840, was the son of Theo and Eliza Old of Yellow Branch, Campbell County, Virginia.  For easier reading I have corrected the spelling errors in the letter.

Letter from James W. Old, Company B, 11th Virginia Infantry

June 20th, 1861, probably written from Camp Pickens which was established at Manassas Junction by South Carolina troops.

June 20th, 1861

Dearest Mother,

It is with a sad heart that I attempt to write to you, to think that I am so far from my dear friends and perhaps never to see them again.  But I hope and pray that I may be spared to meet you all again, but I will have to go through a hard time if ever I do get back.  I have already seen hard times, but nothing to what I expect to see.  Ma, I am happy to hear that you all are well.  It is a great comfort to hear and read letters from you all.  Ma, I have been on the transit for some time, else I would have written to you before now, but I have been off from here for nearly two weeks and had to work very hard a fraction of my time.  I have not seen a pleasant Sunday for some time.  We get some orders every Sunday to go somewhere.  There is preaching here every Sunday, but I have not had the opportunity of hearing preaching but twice.  I am in hopes that I hear preaching this coming Sunday if I am not call off before that time.  Ma, we have not been in 4 miles of Alexandria, but we have been all amongst them.  We went in ten miles of Alexandria, our company went with us.  I heard since we got back that there were 100 Yankee’s all around us, but they did not show their faces to us.  There was a train of Yankee’s that started up to where we left, but they did not get there.  The South Carolinians fired a cannon at the train and cut off 2 of the cars and killed 8 of them and a good many crippled them.  And they got 50 muskets and all of the tools which they had to build the bridge.  Our picket guard got 2 of the rascals last night and one of them is a pretty brave fellow.  He says he came to fight the South and he intends to lose the last drop of blood in him against the South.  He was a Sargent of their picket guard.  He was circling around to relieve the guard when he was taken.  They got a couple of our pickets the other night.  I will stop on the subject of the Yankee’s.  Ma, I intend to take a mother’s advice.  Dear Mother, it gives me great comfort to know that there are so many prayers continually in my behalf.  Ma, I intend to discharge my duty as fair as I can.  And I intend to look to that one who is able to protect me through the raging scenes of battle.  But if it is his will for me to be put down in the field of battle, I give myself up to him.  Dear Mother, I ask for your prayers on my behalf that I may meet those dear ones that I have left so far behind, but if I never see you again my dear mother, I hope to meet in a better land.  Ma, give my love to all and a large portion for yourself.  Ma, please send me something good by the first one that passes if you please.  I will have to close my letter as I will soon have to go on drill.  Ma, tell John and Laura that I will write to them before long, for I have not got the time now.  I will close my letter.  Tell them I miss them and Henry Howday.

From your affectionate son until death, James W. Old

Beriah Magoffin Letter – 1813

This letter was one of my finds at the Kentucky History Center in Frankfort on Thursday.  Beriah Magoffin, Sr., is buried in Harrodsburg’s Spring Hill Cemetery.  He was born February 15, 1773, in County Down, Ireland, and died March 11, 1843, in Harrodsburg.  His son, Beriah, was Kentucky’s 21st governor, serving from 1859-1862, during the first part of the Civil War.  Beriah, Sr.’s, wife was Jane “Jennie” McAfee, the daughter of Samuel McAfee and Hannah McCormick.  Our local DAR chapter is named for her mother, Jane McMichael McAfee.   The letter is addressed to Mr. Samuel McAfee, Greentown.  This is most likely his wife’s brother.

Harrodsburg, 30th July 1813

Mr. S. McAfee

Sir, I received yours from Mr. Anderson and also one this day per post which informs us that William is on the mend.  We are very glad to hear it.  I have sent the brown tartan and the flannel shirt per the post rider.  R. B. McAfee is at home and I believe generally all the mounted men.  Their orders is to be at Vincennes 20th next month.  Ezekiel and John and Robert McCarney has opened a store in this place, but not on a very extensive day.  Your brother Robert appears to be as usual.  Tom has been there three or four days helping them up with their hay.  We are all well.

With deep respect I remain,       B. Magoffin

An Email, A Text or A Letter?

An email, a text or a letter?  Which would you rather receive?  My vote would be for an old-fashioned letter any time!  I believe I have every letter ever written to me!  All my love letters from my husband, letters written to me during my college days, letters I received during my younger days, cards with notes written inside, notes from my children when they were very young – and letters from them now – all are in hat boxes in my closet.  Some of the most special letters are in a zippered pouch that I carry with me.

The lovely thing about a letter is that someone took the time to sit down and write that letter.  They chose paper and pen, gathered their thoughts – and wrote – with perhaps fine penmanship, or just a chicken scratch.  But either way, it is a part of themselves, a tiny piece of that person committed to paper.  And you can pull those letters out at any time and re-read them, remember that person, cherish them and bring to mind memories.  An email is deleted and the contents are gone.  And even if you printed it out, it’s not the same.  As for texting – I don’t.  If someone really needs me they can call.

Not only do I have letters written to me, but I have become the recipient of letters written to others through the years.  Many of the letters Hugh Walter Linton wrote to my great-grandmother, Frances Barber Linton Montgomery, his cousin, are in my possession.  They wrote often, their love of genealogy coming through every letter – but also bits and pieces of family life during those years just before and during World War II.

June 24, 1941

Dear Cousin Frances:

I am very much delighted to receive your letter and the old picture of my great-grandfather, Benjamin F. Linton, and his sister Ann.  Sunday the 22nd we had the annual Linton reunion at the old home place near Russellville, in Logan County, with about 30 of men, wives, children present.  I took this picture along and all of us spent a lot of time talking family history, all of them were very much pleased to see the photographs.

Be assured I and mine will treasure and try to take good care of it for the future generations.  Cousin Lucy Wooldridge of Minnesota last fall gave my brother Jim (County Judge Logan County) a copy of what I take it is this same picture, and we had just had that copied by a local picture man, but I give first place to the original you so kindly sent me.

I am glad to hear through cousin Mag of the dates of the death of Benjamin F. and his daughter Millie, and to know she knew him personally.  My brother Warder (J. W.) says in 1902 he visited up there and thinks he recalls being at your father’s house and at this same graveyard.  Warder was born in about 1875, 8 years older than I.  My oldest brother, Procter, died last January, nearly 69, leaving seven children and several grandchildren near Russellville.

On the little family tree I have the name of Maggie Offut – is she the same as the Mag O’Brien you mentioned?  You say she is a granddaughter of Captain John.  I feel sure she was born after his death, but I wonder if she ever saw a picture of him, and if she knows of any, in the Edwards family or elsewhere, I would be glad if I could get it copied at my expense.  I would be very much pleased if I could find this if one is in existence.  I was with my older brother in 1902 up there at the Edwards home, but I think I didn’t go with my brother around the neighborhood any.  I was then about 19 years of age.

With best wishes and again thanking you for your gift, I remain,

Yours sincerely,

Hugh

Letter from Hugh W. Linton to Frances Barber Linton Montgomery

Hugh Walter Linton and Frances Barber Linton were cousins – both had a love of family and love of genealogy.  Frances was my great-grandmother and I feel she passed that love of genealogy and research directly down to me!  I know of no one else in the family who is quite so thrilled to walk throught a cemetery or visit a basement full of old wills and marriage records!

Hugh was the son of John Wesley Linton and Emma Adelaide Proctor; the grandson of Benjamin Burkett Linton and Nancy J. Newman; the great-grandson of Benjamin  Franklin Linton and Lucy Crewdson; and the great-grandson of Captain John Hancock Linton and Ann Nancy Mason.  He lived in Christian County, Kentucky, where he married Eliza “Lydabel” Belfield Garnett.  Hugh and Lydabel had 3 children:  Hugh Walter, Jr., Mary Adelaide and Frances Garnett Linton.

Frances was the daughter of Edward Edwards Linton and Catherine Elizabeth Taylor; the granddaughter of William Linton and Elizabeth Lyon Moran; and the great-granddaughter of Captain John Hancock Linton and Ann Nancy Mason.  She lived in Washington County, Kentucky, where she married Robert E. Lee Montgomery.  Frances and Robert had 7 children:  Mary Alice, Anna Margaret, Laura Frances, Lillian Catherine, Robert Lee, Edward Linton and Benjamin Montgomery.

I know of at least nine letters written by Hugh to my great-grandmother from October 5, 1934 to February 8, 1945 – I’m sure there were probably more that were not saved.  On April 11, 1945, Hugh’s wife, Lydabel, wrote to “Cousin Frances” to inform her of Hugh’s death on March 21.  Frances died in August of that year.  Their fascination with family history lasted until the very end!

Dear Cousin Frances:

I want to thank you for both your letters, the first one came early in October, and I was very much distressed to learn of Cousin Alice’s passing.  That was our first knowledge of it.

In some way I got that letter misplaced, and had looked for it time and again and concluded I had lost it, until today I found it filed away in my office with other records of the Linton family, and I hasten to write you.  I see you are living in town now at the old home of your sister.

I see I sent you a sort of family record when I wrote you in the fall of 1934 just after our pleasant visit with you.  In August 1937 we spent a little time in Virginia and Washington City.  We went out to Leesburg, Virginia, the county seat of Loudoun County, to look up what records we could find about Captain John Linton, who I believe was your great-grandfather and my great-great grandfather.  We found he was first commissioned a Lieutenant and then in 1781 a Captain in the Virginia militia, and I suppose at once then went (or was already in) into the Revolutionary Army.  I saw a record of a settlement of an estate of Ann Linton in the Court House there being made in February 1811, indicating she had some interests in Kentucky at the time of her death; I presume then Captain John survived her many years – if that was the name of his wife – and that she never lived in Kentucky.  It is my idea that the Captain did not come till about 1816 when bought that large body of land in your County, where he died December 4, 1836 as his grave stone shows.

When I get a little time, now that law business is not very brisk, I will look over my papers with your two letters and if i can find anything more along this line I will write you again.  We certainly appreciate hearing from you.  You remember our grown daughter, Mary Adelaide, I suppose.  She is married now, living in Hickory, North Carolina, has a little girl past one year old.  We are getting on pretty well I reckon; the little one who was with us in September 1934 at your home is in school now.  We hope your family is well.

With love from all.

Your Cousin,

Hugh

I must comment that the estate of Ann Linton mentioned in the letter is NOT Captain John’s wife.  Ann Nancy Mason Linton moved to Kentucky with her husband and family.  She died November 14, 1832, and is buried in the family graveyard with her husband.  There is no stone for her, or if there was it is no longer standing.  I do know there are more people buried in the cemetery than the number of stones there.