Letter to Anna Jones MacGregor (my great-great grandmother), who was exactly three weeks old at the time, from her aunt Hannah Moore. It’s one of the first letters I transcribed, and it’s so completely charming that it was worth the effort:
Corpus Christi TexasMay 23 1862My dear little NieceWelcome three welcome to this beautiful world of ours May yours be a life of sunshine and happiness A blessing all around you.Grand Pa told us of your arrival as soon as he came. The news was received with many smiles and exclamations from your many Aunts and Uncles.Uncle Chappie declared he could not sleep for thinking of you. And call himself Uncle Chappie all day. Aunt Nelie says she will nurse you and take the greatest care imaginable of you —If you are pretty. But she seem to doubt that. She has some things to hand down to you as soon as Mama can trust you with them.I fear you will find Uncle John a rough but loving Uncle. Aunt Maggie will be as patient as possible with you.All the servants from Aunt Peggie down had some comment to make about you, wondering if you looked (like) your Pa or Ma.We are all very anxious to hear from and see you.Ask your Pa to write soon and describe you to us.Perhaps you will wonder what use to make of letters. The best use to make of mine is to pull them out of your Mama’s hand and tare it to pieces for amusement.Don’t let Grandma spoil you while she is up there. You had better come down with her and visit the sea shore.Kiss yourself in the glass for me. Give my best love to Pa Ma and Grandma and accept a large share for yourself from your loving “Aunt Hannah.”
Anna’s records show she was born in Montgomery, Texas, about 250 miles from Corpus Christi. “Aunt Hannah” is Hannah Moore, sister to Anna’s mother Mary Ann Moore, who was 23 at the time of her first daughter’s birth.
Down in Corpus Christi, Hannah was 19, apparently still living at home with a passel of mostly younger siblings—all of whom, from the sounds of of this letter, had just become uncles and aunts for the first time and were thrilled to bits. “Uncle Chappie,” AKA Elisha Chapman Moore, who was nine at the time; Cornelia, AKA “Nelie,” who was 11; John, 16, and Margaret, “Maggie,” 21. (There was an eldest sibling, William, who seemed to be elsewhere.)
The letter is even sweeter when you see this adorable photo (tintype?) of Anna:
This letter was found in a binder that Anna Collins (Anna’s daughter) had put together in the late 1960s. Thank God for the note she left along with it, otherwise I don’t know if I’d have been able to figure out who the hell these people were.
Based on Anna C’s note I was able to go into Ancestry and link to some family tree info that matched the information in the letter. These Moore kids were all born in either Alabama or Mississippi (!) and show up in Corpus Christi in the 1870 census.