Letter to Eliza Corry from her sister-in-law, Mary Corry Cole


Dec. 14, 1861

My dear Sister,

Your kind letter was rec'd some two weeks ago, and Bro. Bob's two days since. If having girls is a sufficient excuse for Bro. Robert's not going to war, we all rejoice that you have another girl. We are anxious for a description of the little stranger. Let us have it very soon. Ma is pleased that you think of calling her Harriet but says she will give it a dress with all sorts of pleasure. I think Ma is a little partial to the name of Harriet. You know it was the name of her favorite child. I feel almost sorry that it didn't fall to Emmett's lot, for she had a great resemblance to sister Harriet.

Summer goods are selling here now, much cheaper than out there, and Ma wants to get some dresses and things for the children. Suppose it will be best not to send them til Bro. Bob comes. If you are wanting anything, perhaps we can select to suit you and get things a little cheaper. I saw yesterday some beautiful summer calicos and muslins selling at fifteen cents. Next summer they will probably be much higher.

We look for Bro. Bob certainly before Christmas, that is, if you are not too sick for him to leave. Papa will be so glad to see him. You have no idea how pleased he was to see Bro. James. He is getting very childish and likes attention from his children.

I wish you were well and could come to see us again and bring all the little girls. We are so anxious to see you all. And Ma still wishes you could live here. She grieves much that Bro. Robert will work so hard when she knows he is not able. Wants him to take Emily out there and put her in the field. I hope he will do it, for she is nothing but trouble here, and does very little in the way of work. She is a strong, stout Negro and could be made to do well in the country.

Papa is still very weak, though a little stronger for the last week. Bro. Jim said he would write to Bro. Jo to come to see him, but as yet we haven't heard a word from him. I can't imagine why Jo keeps so silent, and I think it a shame that he doesn't show some attention to Papa and Ma.

Our kin are all very well unless I make an exception of Aunt Lucinda, she is, at times slightly deranged, and looks rather badly. Cousin Harriet has a house full of girls-all except the youngest, I believe, going to school. Liz and E. are almost young ladies. Gus T. has rented out her nice house for the coming year and will board with her Ma. Mr. Tomlinson has put up a distillery two or three miles from town and will very often have to be away from home at night. That you know Gus couldn't stand when at home alone. For fear you will think Mr. T. is going into the whiskey business, must tell you that his object is to make alcohol for making burning fluid. Cousin Marion was down a few days ago. Her health is matched though she expects to be well again soon, as she is being treated by a successful doctor. Moses Cole has a nice wife, but she is sick all the time. They will go to housekeeping Christmas.

Sister, can't you make haste to get well, and send Bro. Bob along before Christmas. We are all so impatient now that there is hope of his coming. Remember kindly to your Ma and sisters. Will try to answer Mrs. D.'s letter this week. Kiss her children for me when you see them. I hope they are pleased with their teacher, and that she is doing more for them.

When you can send me Mattie's and the baby's ambrotypes taken together, and it would be just as easy to put in Emmett's, though the one I have of her is a sweet little thing. My best love to brothers and sisters and a kiss for the little girls. All send much love and many kisses to you all. Affections

Your own sister,


PS Ma says how do you like the name Harriet de Shumate? Frenchy, isn't it?