[Mary Louisa Mitchell Binckley at Liberty [Wheatly, Bedford], Virginia, to John Milton Binckley at [Washington City], September 2, 1869].
My dearly beloved
Your note telling me that you were going out to Swartz's came to me yesterday morning just as I was starting out of town from John's wedding. I wanted to write the day before, but thought I would wait until after the affair was over so as to give you some idea of it.
I went in day before yesterday evening out to Col. Wingfield's so as to dress out there and go in with the girls one of whom was to be bridesmaid. The talking, dressing, &c. you can imagine, so I will imagine myself stepping out of the carriage at the illuminated house door about 9 o'clock and a few minutes afterward being ushered (in all the glory of my black silk dress, little curls long curls, green satin hair-ribbon and a bright color,) into a large parlor full of the élite of Liberty. The Michels of course were in full force, Jinnie and Fannie were handsomely dressed and danced beautifully.
I suppose you will be satisfied when I tell you that I danced with the most splendid looking man in the room and received compliments on all sides upon my youthful and elegant appearance. You see, my husband, how vain I am of your wife. And all this time no word of bride or groom - well I think John has done well. She is not pretty, but has a face full of character, brightness, and amiability. So a great favorite among her girl friends which I think is a very good sign, is said to be a good economist manager and housekeeper. She certainly behaved with rare unselfishness that night, devoting herself entirely to the entertainment of the guests and playing for the dancers by the hour. Altogether I think John in looking undeniably happy -- he and she both behaved so merrily -- everything passed off well, handsome supper &c: and the bridal party including Jennie & Fannie went down to Richmond in the morning to spend some five days or a week. So much for the wedding.
I rejoice you are out at Swartz's, and hope it may refresh you.
I am called on for my letter -- they are starting to town & so must stop. I rec [received] magazines and newspapers. I am so sorry for Schwerkrofe[?] What will he do? Did you ever think of going to Norfolk? I think it would be a good thing for you provided they don't have chills there, and you may soon find out whether they do.
Goodbye my dear old darling -- will write again soon.
Your own Mary
[p.s.] All are well and send best love
[John Milton Binckley (1821-1878)
Mary Louisa Mitchell/Michel Binckley (1838-1930)
Col. Wingfield = William Lewis Wingfield (1837-1911)
John = John E. Mitchell (1843-1918)
Bride = Charlotte "Lottie" Sophie Bell (1848-1928)
[Pencil annotation in letter = "Cousin Sophie was a delightful person as was Cousin John"]
Jinnie/Jennie = probably Virginia Mitchell (1840-?)
Fannie = probably Frances Ellen Mitchell (1847-1918)]
Original manuscript in the John Milton Binckley Papers, 1816-1943. Library of Congress Manuscript Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. This is my rough transcription.
Many thanks to William Myers for sending scanned copies of the documents from the Binckley papers, and also to Mary Davy and Sally Young for their assistance.