Thursday, December 9, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - 1870 Letter

In a recent post I shared receiving a package of letters and photographs from a new found cousin in California, whom I met on Ancestry. Among the items was this newsy letter dated July 29, 1870. The letter is addressed to Martha "Mattie" Crocker Levy, sister-in-law of my 2nd great grand uncle Charles Judd, by her niece Almyra "Myra" Walbridge.

The letter is full of information about weather, fashion, and the movements of different family members. One of the most important items we discovered is the the explanation of why 2nd great grand uncle, Charles Judd, relocated to Baltimore for a short period.

The letter has truly become a family treasure and I once again thank our "genealogy angel" Cousin Steven!

Some of the puncuation seems to have been added by someone after the letter was written. It isn't clear in the letter what should be commas or periods. Click on pages to enlarge for better viewing.

Windsor, Cal, July 29th 1870

Mrs. Mattie Levy,

Dear Aunt,

I do not remember which wrote last. but I will write to you now. We are all well at present except the baby; he is teething, and it makes him very cross.

Uncle Alfred has been here; he came about five weeks ago, and stayed here nearly three, when he started for some new mines down in the San Bernardino mountains. he intended to go to Uncle Sol's first. he has been in Nevada the last two years; when he started, he went through Napa Valley. he wanted me to go down to the City with him, and see San Francisco for the first time, but I could not go for it is harvest time and I could not leave home.

Pa and the boys together with some hired men, are stacking wheat, they have a very heavy crop, in a great many parts of the state crops are almost an entire failure. we have plenty ripe apples now, but the peaches are late. we get all we want, though, at Mrs. Meiller's. we have plenty of green beans and corn, and new potatoes, so you see we fare sumptuously.

School commenced last Monday week upon the hill about three hundred yards from here. Mattie and Harvey are going. We received a letter from Ollie this evening, they had moved up to the place on the mountains, she likes it very much. we also rec. one from Uncle Alfred, written while at the City. he stated that he would get to Uncle Sol's last Monday. Pa rec. a letter from Uncle Allen last week, and I one from Cousin Mary Ollie, they were looking for Grandma and Aunt Lois, if they do not go to Texas.

I was at a quilting yesterday afternoon, and had quite a nice time. there were eleven small children there, and when one would cry, one woman would say "I guess the sign is not right with it today". and when any of them would get hurt out in the yard, here they would all run, it was quite amusing sometimes.

We are getting three papers at Sunday School. "The Little Sower", "The Morning Watch" and "The Christian Monitor" the latter is edited by Ms. M. M. B. Goodwin of Indianapolis, Ind.

We are having some very warm weather at present, the flowers are drying up considerable. I commenced making a new dress yesterday that I have had for a long time, it was given to me. I will send you a piece of it. ruffles are all "the go" here, so I will have two or three on the skirt. Several girls in town are making their dresses short & open in the back. I have one a calico one made so.

Tuesday night we have just received a letter from Aunt Lois; she and Grandma are at John Berry's in Bloomington and Uncle Charley Judd is yet in Baltimore making money for them all to go to Kansas. The same night that she received my letter stating Uncle Alfred's arrival, Uncle Berry received one from Green, the first for some time. She said they had great rejoicing that night. She sent Mattie the baby's picture, it is just as sweet as can be. When Uncle Alfred left here, he gave us some presents; all the boys a knife and necktie apiece. Mattie a copy-book and a strand of beads, and to me a blue silk parasol lined with white silk. it is the prettiest thing that I nearly ever saw, just suits my complexion & eyes. Georgie can stand alone, but cannot walk yet. he has two teeth, his hair is some curly and he has plenty of it, and he gets prettier every day. We all join in sending love to you all. Kiss little Stella and Bertie lots for me. Please write soon.

Your loving Niece,
Myra Wallbridge


  1. What a wonderful treasure! I am amazed at the beautiful handwriting, the spelling and how nicely written this letter is. Very nice!

  2. What an amazing and informative piece of history. It's amazing how valuable that information has become almost 150 years later.

  3. Isn't it always amazing how we obtain our treasures from angels? I'm always surprised when they come along. The handwriting IS beautiful.