Thursday, March 7, 2013

Fearless Females - Prompt 8

In honor of National Women's History Month, I will be following the blogging prompts from The Accidental Genealogist blog. The prompts are interesting and I am truly enjoying this.  Here is day 8.

March 8 — Did one of your female ancestors leave a diary, journal, or collection of letters? Share an entry or excerpt.

I received a copy of a letter and a postcard that was written by my great great grandmother's sister.  She was writing to her niece in Minnesota.  I received the items from  dpstubbs a descendant of the niece.

Jeanette (Jennie) Eccles Irwin was born in Ohio in 1832.  She lived in Preble and Butler Counties in Ohio, along with her sisters, one brother and their mother. 

Jennie married and had a son.  I haven't been able to determine whether her husband was with her at the time of the letter, but I don't believe he was.  I have not been able to determine what year he died.  In 1880, they were living together with no child.

Her son would have been around 15 at the time if he was still living.  She seemed so sad that I wonder whether her family has already died and she is alone living with her sister.

Jennie was living with her sister Lydia Eccles Stubbs in Thorntown, Indiana when she writes to her great niece Mary Etta Stubbs.

 Jennie's sister Mary Louisa Eccles Stubbs died in 1851 in Ohio.  Her husband, Henry Stubbs, took the family to Minnesota to live after a few years.

 Aunt Anna and Uncle Nathan that she mentions are children of Mary Louisa.  

Mary Etta, to whom the letter is written, is the daughter of Charles Rolla Stubbs, another son of Mary Louisa, as is Ida, who is also mentioned.

Here is her letter:

Dear Niece Mary Etta,
Thorntown, Ind.  Dec 18th/84

Dear Niece
    Mary Etta

I was very glad to receive the letter thee was so kind to write for Anna, and though it has been this long unanswered I knew you would both excuse me if you could know all I have had to keep me from writing you.  And now that I have a few moments to try to write I have not your letter by me and fear it will be but poorly answered.  I am so glad that thee will sometimes write for Aunt Anna since she cannot write. and mabe (maybe) sometime I can do something for thee in return, better than this poor letter.  I do not often hear from any of you, anymore; since Uncle Nathan has his little family to take his time, he does not write often, and I guess the rest do not think me worth writing too, and so I only wait, wach, (watch) and hope in vain.  I had not heard of Idea's (Ida's) marriage I hope she has made a good choice, and that she will have a happy home.  It all seems so strange to me for really I can't make you seem any but the two little bright eyed girls swinging under the shady tree - picking strawberries - or carring (carrying) something for grandPa or grandma and now to think Idea (Ida) a married lady and housekeeper, and you a grand young lady with beaux, well really I don't know how to think it.  Couldn't get along very well without the little girls if I were there so I guess I better stay at home.  I am so glad that you can all live at the old home all together, for it seems to me it would be hard for Grandma and Aunt Anna to leave their home, and with you all there makes it a happy home for them and you both no doubt.  I wish I could send you all some little remembrance for Christmas now so near, but I've had so many disappointments the last year and lost so much of my labor, that I won't have anything this Christmas for anyone only my best wishes for their happy Christmas and New Year which you always have.  Did you have a grand time at the lake the last summer and did you make it pay taking boarders.  Please write me again and tell me all you know, except the secrets and them too if you will.
I want to hear, for I am always so glad to get a letter from you.  Tell me about the little folks in each family, how many and what their names are. and don't you get married until I get there Mary, for all the rest have left me out.  If Aunt Lydia shouldn't stay with us much longer I would not have much to bind me in Indiana.  I think I should stay out here so as to be near her while she lives.  Then if my life is spared I don't know where I shall be or what I can do in the future.  It will not make much difference to me then where I am so I can do someone some good and manage to pay for my living the little time longer I may be spared in life here.  I would indeed be glad to see you all again but the road seems long between us and you are all so much younger than I am and have the money while I have not that I guess you will have to come and see me.  Some of you young folks could just make a nice bridal tour of it and then too you might bring some of the older ones along with you don't you think-but do please let me know when you expect to be here or you may not even get a roasted chicken.  Now Mary do not wait long as you generally do to answer even if I don't write anything worth an answer Just be generous enough to write me a long letter for all the folks that won't write me and especially for the ones who can't write.  And wishing you a very happy Christmas and glad new year.  
I am ever your well wishing Aunt Jennie.  Love to your father, mother and kiss for all the dear little brothers and sisters and please excuse all my mistakes.

Here is the front of a post card written to Anna Stubbs from her Aunt Jennie Irwin.

In 1900, Jennie is living in Richmond, Indiana, where my great grandmother lives.  She has two boarders living with her.  She died in Richmond in Jan 1907.  Her body was taken to Middletown, Ohio for burial.


  1. What a treasure Betty! The art of writing letter is really getting lost. It's a beautiful letter and you are right when you describe how sad she is. Her sadness and loneliness really come through. It's so interesting how she attributes much of the loneliness to the fact her family can't write to her because they can't read and write.

    1. Yes, I am surprised because they were all Quakers and most of them were educated. Her sister died before that group moved to Minnesota, so maybe the Dad wasn't as interested in their education.

  2. What a lovely and emotional post .Thanks for sharing.
    Just followed your blog .

    1. Thanks so much for following. I loved have this letter!
      I wish I could find more.

  3. What a great thing to have!! I love letters from the past. My mother has one that she keeps in a safe it's so precious to her.

    1. Yes it was so great to get this letter. I really don't have many things like that. I understand how your mother feels about that, it is a precious treasure.

  4. A wonderful, sad letter! I, too, love reading letters from the past. I've been doing that a lot lately while organizing my grandfather's letters--most of them are to my grandmother. I love how old letters give us a window into our ancestors' lives.

    1. Catherine, you are so lucky to have those letters. I don't think there is anything that tells us as much about a person as their own words.