November 24, 2017

Charles L. Powell rode a train for the first time on April 3, 1835, and he had a wild ride: another passenger was almost crushed to death, and a dog managed to chase the train for 16 miles. He was traveling from Harper's Ferry (then Virginia) to Point of Rocks, Marylan...

October 13, 2017

Nina Powell was 6 years old in 1848 when she wanted her kisses included in family letters, and she wanted them clearly labeled so that the recipients could find them and know which was which. This became a sweet and tangible way for little Nina to participate in the le...

October 6, 2017

The artistic scribble of a little girl is as timeless as it is charming. I found such scribble on a 180 year old letter from Mrs. Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee (wife of Robert E. Lee) to her friend Mrs. Selina Lloyd Powell. The letter is not dated, but I can date the l...

September 22, 2017

Does that word say what I think it says? Surely not - but it's certainly suspicious. The letter is from Lloyd Powell in Henry, IL to his sister Hattie in Winchester, VA  (dated December 1, 1857). Lloyd's handwriting is very easy to read, but in this case the obvious re...

September 15, 2017

On December 31, 1852, Hattie Powell attended a New Year's Eve party in Henry, IL that got out of hand. A few days later she wrote a letter to her sister Rebecca (who was visiting family in Alexandria, VA) with all the details. Henry, IL was a small town with a total po...

August 4, 2017

When performing research, I often use the United States Federal Census records. They are helpful in confirming the identities of individuals mentioned in the Powell letters, including their names, ages, where they live, who their relatives are, etc. Correctly identifyi...

July 7, 2017

What in the world is that sketch? I assumed it would be some mechanical contraption - perhaps an invention by the letter's author. I came across this letter from John Janney Lloyd to his sister Selina Lloyd in the  Powell Family Papers. In July of 1830, John is writing...

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