Search This Blog


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A treasure trove of letters

Late last week I received 13 letters from a cousin of my Mother in Law.  They are from 1902-1941 and were correspondence between her grandmother in Washington State and members of the family back in Maine.  Over the next few weeks I am going to transcribe these for the family and see what I can glean of the family history from them.

Last Spring I received 5 letters from my mother in law, which were written to her grandmother.  2 were from her grandmothers, and one from her father’s brother.  These letters proved very useful as they were full of names, dates and places that lead me to find 4 more generations of the family. 

Without these letters I would have been unable to make the leap into the prior generations as I had no idea how/where to look.  I knew Frances Maude Greeley’s grandmothers had the first names of Eliza (Elizabeth?) and Julia, but who were they?  Marriage records didn’t appear; birth records listed no maiden names.  I was stuck.  Then I read, and re-read the letters.  Finally I typed them out, and here are some of the things I found:

Letter from Grandma Greeley Smart to Frances Maude Greeley Crabb; Swanville Maine February 20, 1897:
 “But I know you will have charity for your grandmother when I tell you my Father died when I was a little girl, in Havana Cuba leaving my mother with four little girls and we did not have many school privileges.” 

 Letter from Julia Bartlett to Frances Maude Greeley Crabb; Swanville Maine April 1906:
 “I think of all my brothers and sisters.  They are all gone.  One brother only left there were 10 of us.  5 girls and 5 boys.  9 of us lived to have families of our own.”

Letter from Philip H. Greeley to Frances Maude Greeley Crabb; December 13, 1937:
“The Bartlett family were a strong NE race that were English stock and among the early settlers.  One was once governor of NH many of the them have information psrtim (?) like chaplain Bartlett of the Pearry polar expedition.” 

Letter from Phillip Greeley to Frances Maude Greeley Crabb; Tampa Florida January 19, 1941:
“On mother’s side the Cunninghams, Browns, and Nickersons are in the picture.  Sometime the latter part of the 18th century John Cunningham went from Edgartown Martha’s Vinyard to Cape Cod and married the daughter of Slathiel Nickerson.  Two sons were all that resulted from this marriage.  William who lived in Belfast Maine.  The two brothers married sisters.  I think they were Scotch and belonged to that gang that England induced to go to Northern Ireland and made great promises for their prosperity and never kept them”

“The other son of John Cunningham was James who was you great grandfather. His home was in Belfast Maine.  [unknown] he reached the age of 10 yr when he went to sea with his mother’s brother, a Nickerson of course.”…“ Aforesaid James went around the world twice before he was 12 and continued to sail the seven seas till his death aged 40.  When he was 18 an uncle fitted out a schooner for him after which time he was Capt. Cunningham.  When about 40 he made a trip to Havana Cuba where he contracted yellow fever recovered started for N.Y. had a relapse died buried at sea.”

I have 13 more letters to read, and I can’t wait to see if they have any more confirmation on what my research has dug up!  Stay tuned…

*The image of Maine is from Classroom Clipart

No comments:

Post a Comment