Saturday, September 23, 2017

Mary Morris Johnston to Sarah "Sally" Tate Steptoe Massie, April 27, 1821

Botetourt Springs early 1840s. A digital copy can be found via Hollins University
[Mary Morris Johnston at Botetourt [Springs], Virginia, to Sarah "Sally" Tate Steptoe Massie at [Pharsalia,] Near Rose Mills, Nelson, Virginia, April 27, 1821. Postmarked "Biglick [Big Lick, now Roanoke] May 2nd." Massie Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society. This is my rough, annotated transcription from a copy graciously provided by William Myers. Extra paragraph breaks inserted for easier reading.]

                                                        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). 

Mr. Swan, Mr. Kidd = teachers/tutors. Mr. Kidd is mentioned in at least one other letter in the 1821 series.

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.]
  

Friday, September 22, 2017

Lucinda “Lucy” Steptoe Penn to Sarah “Sally” Tate Steptoe Massie, February 17, 1821

[Lucinda “Lucy” Steptoe Penn [at or near Lynchburg, Virginia], to Sarah “Sally” Tate Steptoe Massie [at Pharsalia,] Rose Mills, Nelson County, Virginia, February 17, 1821, postmarked Lynchburg "FEB 22." Massie Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society. This is my rough, annotated transcription from a copy graciously provided by William Myers. Extra paragraph breaks inserted for easier reading.]

                                                                       February 17 1821

Dear Sally

I have been writing to you for the last two months but never until now have accomplished it, and expected before this to have welcomed you to a new Sister, but to our great surprise all proved a phantasm.

Papa talked incessantly of Mary and Billy and now he scarcely mentions her name; I received a letter from Tom yesterday and some of the young men in the neighborhood had been giving him a most laughable account of brother W. they said he talked and laughed in reason and out of reason in short every vestage [vestige] of former self was gone.


We are to have a dancing party at Mrs. Miller['s] the 22 of this month, Mr. Penn has promised to be a manager provided they pay his expenses which Polly Irvine has agreed to do. Donald has returned from Scotland and it is eminently reported Polly and himself are to make a match.


Catherine Reid report says is to be married in the Spring to a widower from Patrick with two children.


I am quite delighted with our new neighbors Mr. Alexander's family upon the short acquaintance I have with them they appear to be very plain genteel people[.]


Miss Peggy has been with me the greater part of the winter she is now at Mr. Langhorne's where she has been for the last week[.]


Kitty Langhorne is very sick expecting every day to increase her family, this will remind you of what you told her some time ago.


Grace is converted and has joined the Methodist it was reported Mrs. Bradfute had also but without foundation I believed.


I saw Francis about a week ago she appeared to be the picture of good health. 


Sister Kitty has been down and staid several days with us whilst Brother James was in Richmond. 


Papa has James Johnston and James Steptoe staying with him they are a great deal of company for him I never saw him in better spirits nor look better than he does except he is not quite as fat[.]


Miss Peggy and myself have been talking of going down to see you this spring and will if I can make it out but don't look til you see us.


Mr. Johnston['s] children will certainly be down in the Spring I expect at which time we shall expect to see you.


I must now conclude as it grows late the family is all well except myself I have been very unwell for several days and am sometimes afraid I shall have another spell of sickness let us hear from you soon --

     and believe me your truly Affectionate Sister
                                               L. Penn 

[L. Penn = Lucinda “Lucy” Steptoe Penn (1795-1878), who married Robert Cowan Penn (1789-1854) in 1814.

Sally = Sarah “Sally” Tate Steptoe Massie (1796-1828), who married William Massie (1795-1862) in 1814.

Mary and Billy (aka brother W.) = Mary Burleigh Dillon (1796-1872) and Dr. William "Billy" Steptoe (1791-1860). It appears they were formally married on October 14, 1822. Who knows what shenanigans were going on amidst the current "phantasm." Billy's first wife, Ann "Nancy" Brown (1792-1817) had died in 1817; they had married in 1815. 

Mrs. Miller = not sure who this is, but she's mentioned in other letters from around this time.

Polly Irvine = possibly Mary B. Irvine, who married Dr. Paul C. Cabell in 1823.

Donald = not sure who this is.

Catherine Reid = probably related to Major John Reid (1784-January 18, 1816), aide-de-camp to Andrew Jackson, born in or near New London, Virginia, then based in Tennessee; and Maria Frances Thompson Reid (died January 1816?). They apparently had a daughter named Sophia Reid. Jack Reid was directly related to Nathan Reid (1753-1830), who had married Sophia Thorpe in 1784. Other Reid family members lived around New London and Lynchburg, Virginia. Jack Reid was working on a biography of Andrew Jackson at the time of his death.  

Mr. Alexander = possibly related to Elizabeth Alexander (1791-1872), who had married John Thomas Wyatt Read (1777-1852) in late 1808.

Miss Peggy, Grace = Margaret "Peggy" Bradfute (circa 1788-1833), daughter of Robert Bradfute (1749-1816) and her sister Grace Bradfute (circa 1792-1855). Their brother Davidson Bradfute (1781-1831) married Maria Byrd (1786-1854) in 1809, and he served as Cashier for Farmer's Bank of Lynchburg. Alexander Tompkins (1784-1864) acquired Davidson Bradfute's house, in the vicinity of New London, Virginia, after the latter's death, and was Head Cashier at the same bank. Among these folks would have been possible candidates for portraits by Harvey Mitchell (1799-1866).

Mr. Langhorne = Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne (1790-1854). 

Kitty Langhorne = Catherine "Kitty" Callaway Langhorne (1792-1871), married to William Callaway Langhorne (1783-1858) since 1811. Their son George Callaway Langhorne was born on March 2, 1821 (or 1822). 

Francis = not sure who this is. Possibly Lucy's sister Frances "Fanny" Steptoe Langhorne (1798-1832). 


Sister Kitty, Brother James = James Callaway Steptoe (1781-1827) and Catherine "Kitty" Mitchell Steptoe (circa 1780-1858).


Papa = James Steptoe (1750-1826).


James Johnston = not sure who this is.


James Steptoe = not sure who this is -- confusing because this is the same name as Lucy's father. 

Mr. Johnston = Charles Johnston (1769-1833).]

[Many thanks to Sue Davis, William Myers, Mary Davy and Sally Young for their ongoing research collaboration.]   

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Mary Morris Johnston to Sarah "Sally" Tate Steptoe Massie, September 8, 1820

[Mary Morris Johnston at Botetourt [Springs], Virginia, to Sarah "Sally" Tate Steptoe Massie at [Pharsalia, Rose Mills,] Nelson, Virginia, September 8, 1820. Massie Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society. This is my rough, annotated transcription from a copy graciously provided by William Myers. Extra paragraph breaks inserted for easier reading.]

                                                        Botetourt Sep. 8th 1820

My Dear Aunt

I received your letter two weeks ago but have not been able to answer it sooner. Papa has got a lady to come and stay with him Miss Nancy Butler his cousin in Petersburg she is an aged woman.

We expected Mrs. Mead but Mr. Mead has been up and they have not come to any terms. I have not heard from Aunt Frances or Aunt Lucy since we came up.

I expect it will be a long time before we go to New London again.

I suppose Thomas can talk very plain now.

Aunt Kitty has been up once and she staid a week and went to the sulphur spring every day, we have had a good deal of company there.

You must write sometimes to let us know how all do down your way.

Give my love to Mr. M and Tom.

We are all well.

I remain yours affectionately
                          
                                                              Mary M. Johnston

[Mary Morris Johnston (February 23, 1810-August 18, 1884). She was ten years old when she wrote this letter. Daughter of Charles Johnston and Elizabeth Prentiss Steptoe Johnston (who died earlier in the 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" 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.

Miss Nancy Butler = not sure who this is, but Charles Johnston's mother was a Butler = Martha Butler (1732-1799), widow of Thomas Rogers, daughter of John Butler. John Butler may have had a son, who in turn became Nancy Butler's father. 

Mrs. Mead and Mr. Mead = not sure who they are.

Aunt Frances = Frances "Fanny" Callaway Steptoe Langhorne (1798-1832) married Henry "Harry" Scarsbrook Langhorne (1790-1854) on March 13, 1816.


Aunt Lucy =  Lucinda "Lucy" Steptoe Penn (1795-1878), married to Robert "Bob" Cowan Penn (1789-1856).


Aunt Kitty = possibly Catherine Mitchell Steptoe (1780-1858), spouse of James Callaway Steptoe (1781-1827). 

Sulphur Spring = one of two springs at Botetourt Springs. The main tract was originally named Sulphur Spring.]

[Many thanks to Sue Davis, William Myers, Mary Davy and Sally Young for their ongoing research collaboration.]