1885 Letter...a peek into the past!
Here is one of the envelopes that I purchased at Packard's Stamps and Rocks some time back. It was in my pile of very interesting envelopes . When I got home I realized that it had a letter in it! This was written in a town a couple hours from where I live, Martinsville, VA. It is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The sender is the wife of Mr. Wythe M. Peyton , Esq. He , the receiver of this pencil written letter is an attorney -at- law, in Martinsville. Evidently there was some outbreak of infectious disease that claimed an acquaintance's (Mr. H) children . Mrs. Peyton, evidently had been continuous contact via the mail by her remarks. This reminds me of the scene in Jane Austen where Marianne is sending John Willoughby several letters a day in Bath.
Interestingly, after expressing concern for Mr. Peyton's safety and interest in him returning home as soon as possible, she switches gears to the dress that is not trimmed properly and the missing basque!
Then all the domestic goings on...all in this simple letter! What a peek into the daily, mundane life of a family in the 1880's.
For the philately inclined...I loved seeing these hand canceled stamps...Does anyone see anything else that I am missing?
These dried flowers were found it the letter...over 130 years ago.
April 4th 1885
April 4th 1885
My dear Husband:
You can’t imagine my delight when I received your note yesterday evening but I can’t keep from feeling uneasy about you knowing your great kindness to people who are in distress; Have you been to Mr H’s house? And where were his children buried? I do feel so sorry for the family but hope you will not expose yourself that you may without danger come to see us soon. I hope you can come this evening if you think safe as Aunt A has invited Annie Watkins who is at Mrs Matilda Penns to come here this evening where her sister Jennie will meet her. Please accept many thanks for the things you sent me; but I could not wear my dress as Lucy forgot to send me the basque and the overshirt is trimmed entirely different from the model we selected and promised to trim exactly like it; please send or bring the basque this evening as tomorrow is Sunday. The children are well and continue to wish you were here to enjoy the nice things. Loulie was delighted to get her basket and send you many thanks for sending it. Preston walked close to me just a minute ago and said “tell Pa I am very much oblige to him for writing to you , but I want him to come to stay with us.” Please excuse writing my pencil is so short. I send Miss Lucy A the measures for Loulie & Preston. Aunt S sends many thanks for your messages and says you must come down when you think it is safe for the children. (With truest love and kisses from Loulie, Preston & Your fond Wife)
G. W. Peyton
I hope you have enjoyed this letter as much as I have. I am currently trying to reach the historian from Charlotte County Historical Society to see if they can tell me what infectious outbreak was occurring at this time. Just a bit of detective work!
If you visit any antique stores, poke around in their envelope boxes, and ask them if they have any old letters. We can learn much from the past.
Write Often...someday someone might be blogging about your little letter a century later!