Personal Correspondence of Mary L. McHenry
1860 and 1861
The family of Todd Myers discovered three letters from Mary L. McHenry of Denison, Iowa, written to her friend Julia Agens in Monona County, Iowa, who is an ancestor of the Myers family. The letters are dated 1860 and 1861 and go into some detail about a homemaker's life in that time period, gossip, family births, etc.
Todd Myers submitted the letters and said they were written in exquisite penmenship. He provided us his transcriptions with the exact pagination as well as line and paragraph spacing.
Nov. 21st 1860
Dear Friend Julia
I received your kind letter and was
glad to hear from you (and yours).
We are all pretty well except Sarah
she has go the fever, but we think
she is a little better. Your Ladies
Books were sent to you. I suppose
you have received them before this.
Julia don't let Mr. Erskine see this
for I do not want him to see
what I am going to tell you.
Mrs. Ellen Purdy has got a little girl
2 days old. Mrs. Plinpton has got
a little girl three weeks old today. Mrs.
Gable (you remember her) has got
a little boy 1 week old last Sunday
(this being Wednesay). Now don't you
think Crawford is settling up
pretty fast (with youngsters). Don't
for Mercy's sake let Erskine see
this if you do I shant never for-
give you. Your Father sent for
Billy to come home a few days
after I wrote you before and he
is not going to return until school
commences. Pa is to write to him
to let him know when it does
commence. Julia I wish you would
write a long letter next time. Oh
I almost forgot to tell you that
Denisons folks have gone
back East. They started yesterday.
Abr Persons is going in the spring.
Julia I received my Aunt Lavinia's
likenefs the last mail you know I
am her little Name sake as of
course she is beautiful if she is
anything like me for you
have been at our house long
enough to know that I am
very beautiful. There Julia I
will stop praising my self, for
you know self praise is half
scandal. Now I will be as sober
as a judge. Do you know
any boddy down there by the
name of Front.
Please excuse my awful
writing. I will confefs my self that
if you can read it you will
do first rate.
From your most affectionate
Mary L Mc
Todd Myers' Note: Denison is a town in Crawford County directly east of Monona County. Julia would have been 20 years old and received her teacher's certificate about 5 weeks before this letter. Mary probably did not want Julia to show this letter to her father, jokingly, because it suggested that Crawford County was growing faster than Monona County because of all the new children being born. Mary is probably Mary L. McHenry (age 37) and her husband was Morris and her son William "Billy". The only family on the 1860 Crawford County census with "Mc" surname was McHenry in Denison township and the David and Mary McWilliams family in another part of the county.
Note the use of the double letter ss spelled "fs". This style stopped in the 1870's.