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19th Century Maternal Family Letters

Letter writing in olden times

The following 19th century timeline (in maroon) pertains to the links to maternal family members' letters, which were provided me by my aunt, Marge Kimble, and two cousins, Beverly Whitaker, and Jodie Streit. The Kitturah Fox letters to her daughter, Elizabeth Sampson, were provided by Jodie; Beverly provided the J. W. Hardin letter to Versey Lee, and the rest were courtesy of Marge.

An unknown correspondent in Winona, Minnesota

Dated March 2, 1856, this letter extolled the benefits of living near Winona, Minnesota. Apparently it was sent to Francis and Catharine Walker when they were deciding where to settle when they left Milton, Indiana.

James and Ann Walker to Francis S. and Catharine Walker

Dated August 12, 1856, this letter from Francis Walker's brother, James, was encouraging Francis and Catharine to move to Warren County, Iowa, where James had settled.

James Walker to Mary Jane "Versey" Lee

Dated February 1, 1861, this letter from James Walker in Warren County, Iowa, to his niece, Versey (Leas/Rodgers) Lee, expressed a desire to see family member in New London, Iowa, and some concern over the potential for a civil war, which did occur the following summer.

Leander Walker in Indiana to his parents in Iowa

Dated October 8, 1861, from Indiana to Des Moines County, Iowa, son Leander Walker tells his parents that he had decided to remain in Indiana, and learn to be a blacksmith, which had been the occupation his father practiced in Milton, Indiana. He reports news on friends and family: deaths, enlistments in the army, and the general sense of what had changed in the five years he and the family had lived in Iowa.

John Wesley Hardin to his cousin, Leander Walker

Dated January 6, 1861 (but actually January 6, 1862), this letter from John Wesley Hardin was sent from Benton Barracks near St. Louis, Missouri, to his cousin, Leander Walker, in Indiana. John alludes to young women in New London, Iowa, specifically inferring an unnamed woman was not seeing the nicest man she might, and he talks about a soldier's life, perhaps in an effort to nudge Leander to join the war. Leander later did enlist.

John Wesley Hardin to his cousin, Versey Lee

Dated May 26, 1862, from John Wesley Hardin stationed in Butler, Missouri, to his cousin, "Versey" Lee, in New London, Iowa, this letter talks about the life of a soldier (he had no other life at the time), refers to a man local to New London who was injured, and mentions a young man with some disdain whom Versey had apparently previously discussed in an earlier letter.

Charles Pearsey Walker to his father, Francis S. Walker

Dated September 6, 1862, Charles had recently enlisted in the Union army and stationed in Davenport, Iowa, when he wrote this letter to his father. He'd taken a boat trip from Davenport to Rock Island, Illinois, and was lamenting not having any money.

Sarah (Lane) Walker to Francis S. and Catharine Walker

Dated October 25, 1862, this long letter from Sarah Walker to Francis and Catharine Walker, her brother- and sister-in-law, mostly expressed a devastating sense of dismay over having lost her son, George (Jr.) Walker in the war. Two other sons were also enlisted. They did both survive, but Sarah died six months after the end of the war.

Charles Pearsey Walker in Arkansas to family in Iowa

Dated December 3, 1862, from Arkansas to his family in New London, Charles mentioned his longing for good food (the first of several times in these letters), and lamented that the U.S. government was behind in paying the soldiers in the army.

John Wesley Hardin Francis S. and Catharine Walker

Dated March 1, 1863, John Wesley Hardin, stationed at Benton Barracks in St. Louis, wrote a letter to his uncle and aunt, Francis S. and Catharine Walker, in New London. He discussed their son, Leander, and another nephew, James Leas, and speculated about the honor of some of the commanding officers in the army.

Charles Pearsey Walker to his sisters and niece

May 22, 1863, from Pilot Knob, Missouri, to Vashti Brewer, Lovina Church Walker, and Mary Catharine Brewer in New London, Charles confirms he received som roses. He was battling with his sergeant, and making plans for a fair fight once the war ended. His sisters had told him of a marriage that summer in New London, and he stated he couldn't make it. Concerning the people involved, who again are not named, he wasn't sure it was such a good idea.

Charles Pearsey Walker to "friends" during the siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi

Probably in June 1863, certainly after the letter on May 22, Charles was reporting from Vicksburg where the siege of the city that ended July 4, 1863, had begun sometime earlier. He reported some pretty graphic details; one gets the sense he was not sure of his own fate.

Charles Pearsey Walker to Mary Catharine "Katy" Brewer

Dated September 4, 1863, from Carrollton, Louisiana, Charles wrote to his niece, Mary Brewer, admonishing her to be kind to a horse, to learn to read and write soon so she might write to him, and to be happy spirited. He also stated he planned to pig out on family farm food when he finally got be home.

Kitturah Fox to her daughter, Elizabeth Sampson (#1)

Dated April 6, 1875, Kitturah and her husband, Nathaniel Fox, had moved into town (New London) from their farm. Fairly upbeat, she did infer it was becoming increasingly difficult to remain self-sufficient. She talked of other Fox family members.

From Kitturah Fox to her daughter, Elizabeth Sampson (#2)

Dated November 30, 1875, Kitturah wrote her daughter, Elizabeth, she was increasingly suffering health difficulties, and made a lot of references to religion and religious activity.

From Kitturah Fox to her daughter, Elizabeth Sampson (#3)

Dated August 16, 1876, Kitturah and Nathniel were not very healthy; she wrote this letter over a three day period, and referred to a lot of sickness with others. Her son-in-law and daughter, Charles Pearsey & Ruth Ellen (Fox) Walker, had visited with their son, Albert, who would die in November before reaching a year old.

Walker Genealogy from Francis S. Walker to son Charles & family

Dated December 1, 1883, this important, though short, letter was written from Francis S. Walker to his son, Charles Pearsey Walker, and grandson, Sam Walker, during the time period their family was traveling to Texas. The genealogy of the Walker family Francis discusses in this letter was pivotal information in understanding our Walker family history.

Maternal Relatives #1
Maternal Relatives #2
Deen/Dean Family
Fox Family
Moyers Family
Pence Family
Maternal Walker Family
►19th Century Maternal Family Letters

Paternal Relatives #1
Paternal Relatives #2
Brumm Family
Johnson Family
Lett Family
Thomas Family
Flesher/Walker Family

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Select Songs 1912, '21, '52, '67, & '86
Family History (Genealogy Section)

Info of Interest


Francis Samuel Walker (1809 — 1888)

These letters have been trascribed from the originals; the text is made to feel "old" by use of a 19th century-style font.

There is generally a lot more information available and scans of original documents at The Families of Dennis W. Brumm genealogy section my web site.

Rev. 2015