|Botetourt Springs early 1840s. A digital copy can be found via Hollins University|
Botetourt April 27th 1821
My Dear Aunt
You must forgive me my Dear Aunt for not writing to you long before this but I will not attempt to make excuses for I have none. I will only say that I will be more punctual in writing hereafter.
We heard that you were coming up next month and I hope you will not dissapoint [disappoint] for you know how much pleasure it gives us to hear it.
Mr. Ambler wrote the other day the agreeable news that Sister Lucy has a son we have now both niece and nephew.
Mr. Swan has gone away and we have now another teacher Mr. Kidd.
I suppose you have heard that we made a visit to grandpapa and our other aunts in February but we only staid a fortnight.
The Springs are fitted up very handsomely and Papa expects a good deal of company next summer.
I suppose Thomas can talk quite plain now and is learning very fast.
I expect you are very lonesome at your place when Mr. Massie goes away as it is so retired.
I have considered till I am worn out to find something to say but cannot succeed. There is not a single bit of news stirring any where about.
Give my love to Mr. M and Tom and believe me your ever affectionate nice.
Mary M. Johnston
[Mary Morris Johnston (February 23, 1810-August 18, 1884). She was eleven years old when she wrote this letter. Daughter of Charles Johnston and Elizabeth Prentiss Steptoe Johnston (who died the previous year) listed below.
Sarah "Sally" Tate Steptoe Massie (1796-1828) was married to William Massie (1795-1862) and was the daughter of James Steptoe (1750-1826). Their son Thomas "Tommo" aka "Tom" James Massie (1817-1877) was born on March 23, 1817.There is a massive Massie collection at the University of Texas here.
Papa = because of the Panic of 1819, Charles Johnston (1769-1833) had to sell Sandusky in Lynchburg; the Johnstons relocated from Lynchburg to Botetourt Springs in late 1819, early 1820. Elizabeth Prentiss Steptoe Johnston (1783-March 28, 1820): the Panic of 1819 and abrupt relocation away from Sandusky seem to have broken her spirit and led to an early death. Botetourt Springs = the main tract was originally named Sulphur Spring.
Mr. Ambler, Sister Lucy = Thomas Marshall Ambler (1791-1825); Lucy Hopkins Johnston Ambler (1800-1888); John Ambler (April 3, 1821-March 3, 1891); Lucy Letitia Ambler (1820-1853).
Grandpapa = James Steptoe (1750-1826).
Other aunts would have included = Frances "Fanny" Callaway Steptoe Langhorne (1798-1832), who had married Henry "Harry" Scarsbrook Langhorne (1790-1854) on March 13, 1816; Lucinda "Lucy" Steptoe Penn (1795-1878), who had married Robert "Bob" Cowan Penn (1789-1856); Catherine "Kitty" Mitchell Steptoe (1780-1858), spouse of James Callaway Steptoe (1781-1827).]
[Many thanks to Sue Davis, William Myers, Mary Davy and Sally Young for their ongoing research collaboration.]