Many of these letters were purchased from the internet in the course of conducting historical research. Some were useful to me and others were not. But I have found all of them interesting for one reason or another and I have enjoyed researching the people and places mentioned by the 19th century letter writers. If you can add any supplementary information to what I have gleaned from the internet, I’d love to hear from you.

Old letters are golden links in the mystic chain that binds us to the past; precious mementos serving to remind us of the scenes and associations of other days. Especially is this true when the writer sleeps in the quiet stillness of the church-yard, while the little grassy hillock marks the place of his sweet repose.

— B. F. Brewington, 1862 Ladies Repository, page 349

8 responses to “About

  • Lee

    I am a descendant of Wm. T. Bourn, the writer of one of your letters. I’ve been researching the Bourn/Ransdell/Elliott family for years and have some information on them – I also have quite a bit of information on the early settlers of Pettis County. While I have many letters written to my ancestors, I have none written by them, so this is of special interest to me. Thank you for posting it.

    • Griff

      I’m glad you found your ancestor’s letter here. If you have any additional information to share with respect to your ancestor or the content of the letter, please do so on the page where the letter is posted so that other family researchers can benefit from it. Thanks again for your comment. — Griff

  • Wendy Campbell

    I am a descendant of Elias Newton Clarke’s brother Thomas Elmore Clarke, who was beaten to death by two slaves in Arkansas in 1840. Am trying to find out more about Thomas Elmore Clarke and his family.

    Would appreciate any additional info.

    Thanks, Wendy Campbell

  • J. Mark Powell


    I am also a passionate collector of original Civil War letters. I am writing in regard to your posting of the 1862 letter from Sampson A. Renfroe to Sarah C. Clayton. I just purchased a letter written by John K. Clayton (who also served in Company C, 39th Alabama Infantry along with Renfroe and Marshall Clayton) written to Clayton’s sister, exactly one week after Renfroe’s letter. He mentions “Sampson” in it … and hints at Sampson having fathered a child out of wedlock. I am having a terrible time finding any info on John K. Clayton (birth date, did he survive the war, etc.). I would very much appreciate any info you can share on him, and I am also happy to send you the text of my letter for your use here. They would be very interesting to appear together, since they are interconnected. Kudos for your commendable website!

    • Griff

      Dear Mark:

      I have done a search in several sources and have not found any answers to your questions as yet. I would gladly add your transcript of the John K. Clayton letter, however, to add to this blog page. It may reveal a clue that I can pursue or it might trigger an answer from a family descendant. I’d really appreciate scanned images of the letter to place with the letter too. You can send them to me at wjgriffing@comcast.net and thanks for your inquiry/comment. — Griff

  • Benjamin G Zwiefelhofer

    Hi, is it possible to obtain copies of these letters or get the original? I am a direct descendant of Leonard Lusted and would be interested getting a copy or the original letter that he wrote. Thanks!

    • Griff

      I transcribed these for an acquaintance of mine who buys and sells on e-bay. These were sold some time ago. If you click on the images of the letter to enlarge them, and hit the link for “original size,” you can download the images to your computer.

  • J. Mark Powell

    Dear Mr. Zwiefelhofer: Please message me at jmp.press@gmail.com and I will check about getting you copies of the letters; at least transcriptions. I’m always happy to assist descendants whenever I can.

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