Letters from the Little Tin Box

The Lillard’s of Philadelphia Tennessee and the Civil War


Version 1.2   2-12-2011


Copyright 2011 by Ralph Hyde

All rights reserved




This book will remain a “living document” for some time.  Updates and additions may be expected.







This book exists as an electronic document and it is easily portable.  I can imagine it might slowly spread to a small group of people interested in the Philadelphia Lillard’s.  I am offering a CD containing high quality scans of all the original letters as well as a copy of the latest version of this book and some limited other information for $30.


 If you are interested please E-mail Ralph Hyde at:







 I dedicate this history to my mother, Margaret Callaway Hyde, who passed all of this information down to my sisters and me.


  She would have loved to read this.










I would like to thank my sisters for their help.  Nancy Kirkham provided information on many of the people in this book, especially the Callaway’s.  Virginia Hyde also provided information and transcribed our mother’s writings about life on the Lillard farm in Philadelphia.







Cover photo


The actual Little Tin Box and Letters.  The old pictures are of James M. Callaway and Lula May Callaway at their wedding on 9-10-1884. The sword was passed down from the Philadelphia Lillard’s and family tradition says it was used in the War of 1812.  There is a fair chance it belonged to Colonel William T. Lillard (1753-1826).









Introduction. 4

Foreward. Error! Bookmark not defined.

Chapter 1     The Lillard’s Arrive in Monroe County. 6

Chapter 2      Before the War - Growing up in Philadelphia. 9

Chapter 3    A.J. Lillard and the Gold Rush. 46

Chapter 4     The Civil War. 52

Chapter 5   After the Catastrophe. 79

Chapter 6      The Later Years. 91

Chapter 7      Hattie Lillard. 100

Chapter 8   The Callaway’s to the Present Day. 105




  I suppose this must be the easiest way possible to write a “book”, which is simply transcribing the words of others and adding a little research and historical context.  However, transcribing these letters did present some challenges.  The handwriting varies from calligraphy to scribbles, and the effects of 150 years of age have not helped.  Signatures in particular are difficult.  I cannot promise total accuracy but I am close.

  In transcribing these letters, I have not followed any rigid rules, but generally have tried to change as little as possible.  I have preserved spelling errors for the color they add.   Many of the original letters consist of long run on sentences so I have added some punctuation where it contributes greatly to readability.  Often commas and periods are transposed, which may have been the fashion of the day, so in some cases I have made my best guess.  Inside the transcribed letters I have included some notes inside of [brackets].  Most common is [?] where I can’t read or don’t understand what is written or have made a guess. 

        I have leaned heavily on Ancestry.com to discover the identities and relationships of the people herein.  There were many, many hours of research invested in tracking down these people.  Fortunately, there are large amounts of information available on most of them and I am very sure of their places in the family tree.  However, there are a few questions remaining on some of the outlying members.  I have avoided presenting any relationships as fact if there is any doubt of the exact identities.  I have started a list of unanswered questions to research in an appendix at the end of the book.





 In the 1800’s Cal Lillard of Philadelphia, Tennessee kept her letters and her family’s important papers in a little tin box.  It eventually contained just over 100 documents.  Cal [Mary Caroline Lillard (1835-1922)] passed the little tin box to her niece, Hattie Lillard (1895-1959), who passed it on to her daughter, my mother, Margaret Callaway (1922-1979) and then to my sisters and me.


The little tin box contains some ordinary notes and receipts, but there are also letters with congratulations on births and condolences on deaths.  There are love letters and flowery poems in beautiful handwriting.  There are letters from the gold fields of California and the battlefields and POW camps of the Civil War, and much more.


            I have kept this box of letters for many years without knowing what to do with it.  Recently however I started a family tree on Ancestry.com and in the process I have gathered a large amount of history from the web and my family members.


 Before the Civil War, there were four brothers and three sisters living on the family farm in Philadelphia, Tennessee. During the war the Lillard’s family life was affected by the same divisions that affected America.  Two brothers fought for the South, one for the North, and one went to California to find gold.  I thought they must have had an interesting life and the letters bear this out.  So on this 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, I have started to assemble a little history on this branch of my family tree around those tumultuous times.



Chapter 1     The Lillard’s Arrive in Monroe County


Colonel William Thomas Lillard (1753 - 1826) was the first Lillard in Monroe County, Tennessee.  He was born and raised in Bromfield, Culpepper County Virginia where he married his wife Rachel McCoy Leath (1765-1841) on August 28th 1783.  Rachael at age 18 was a widow with a 4 year old baby, James Leath (1779 – 1839). William, Rachael, and James apparently moved several times before settling in Philadelphia.  The resource below indicates William is the same person as William Lillard of Cocke County, who was an early settler of Newport, TN, an Indian fighter, and the first delegate from Cocke County to the state legislature.  See http://www.tngenweb.org/cocke/goodspeedshistory.htm.   He then moved to Missouri in 1815 to 1817 and had a county named after him.  Fame is fleeting -- the name of Lillard County, MO was changed to Lafayette County in 1825, in honor of Gen. Lafayette, who made a visit to that country in 1825.  William finally moved to Philadelphia in 1824, where they purchased the family farm which was home to the Lillard’s for generations. 


The reference below is from http://listsearches.rootsweb.com/th/read/TNCOCKE/2004-01/1074952471


William Lillard was a Colonel in the Militia, in 1820 was a delegate to the first constitutional convention of Missouri, was a representative from Cooper County, Missouri.  Lillard County, Missouri was named for him.  He was born in Culpeper County, Va., the son of James and Kesiah Bradley LILLARD.  Died in Monroe Co., Tn. before Oct 1826.  Married Rachel McCoy whose mother was a McAlister.  During his lifetime he lived in Virginia, moved to east Tn. settling in Cocke Co., migrated to Mo., and later returned to Monroe Co., Tn.
The children Of Col William and Rachel are:
Jeremiah LILLARD B. 1796
Augustine LILLARD
Nancy LILLARD B. May 7,1786
William LILLARD, Jr B. Aug 14,1798
Louisa Margaret LILLARD married Aug 23,1838 in Monroe Co, TN to Benjamin M.



The earliest documents


The letters and events herein are in rough chronological order, in the hope this clarifies the history.  The receipt below is difficult to read and it probably does not describe the Philadelphia farm, but it is the earliest document in the Little Tin Box. 



1808 Feby 27  Rcvd of the Heirs of James Sindureys [?] Aplat and Certificate of Lurcesy [?]  for 53/11 Acres ------------------------ of land South of French broad and Holston [rivers] and Two Dollars my fees for all services --------------------------------------

                                                                                                Eurlea RLo Esq [???]


The Surveyors District, “District South of the French Broad & Holston” was established in 1806.  This large district south of the French Broad (now called the Tennessee) River extended from the Little Tennessee River on the west to the Pigeon River on the east.  It included the areas around Lenoir City, Maryville, South Knoxville, Sevierville, and Newport in Cocke County.  It did not extend far enough to the west to include Philadelphia.  It seems possible this deed was for land in Cocke County near Newport, where William Lillard lived at the time.  See Appendix A for details.



The short note below confirms Colonels William T. Lillard’s military service and location in 1810.


State of Tennessee

Cocke County

                        I heareby resign my Commition as Lieftenant in Capt. Fowlers Company and wish you to report it as such.

                                                                                    Samuel Geagy [?]

                                                                                    11th October 1810 ---

To: Col. Wm. Lillard



Colonel William T. Lillard and Rachel finally settled in Philadelphia with their large family.  The letter below is a decision from 1826 indicating William was a Justice of the Peace.  This is most likely Colonel William T at age 73 years but it could possibly have been his son William II at age 28 and still unmarried.




Chapter 2      Before the War - Growing up in Philadelphia


Colonel William T. Lillard and Rachel had three daughters and five sons – a total of 8 children.   William II (1798-1844) was the 6th child and he is the father of the family at the core of this history.  William II inherited the Philadelphia farm from his father in 1826.  He married Nancy B. Routh (1807-1899) on Feb 28, 1828.    They had 4 sons and 3 daughters and they lived and died through the Civil War years as a divided family.


Andrew Jackson Lillard (AJ or Jack / 1829-1922) was their first born child. Father was 31 years old and mother was 22 at the time.  AJ’s siblings arrived with regularity over the next 14 years.  William Washington (Wash) arrived in 1831, Louisa Jane in 1833, Mary Caroline (Cal) in 1835, Augustus Murrell in 1838, Julia Ann in 1840, and Joseph Berry in 1843.



Below is a document which is of interest only for the date, which fills a gap in the time line.  William II has paid off a debt.  There are more interesting documents coming.







William II died in December 18, 1844 at the young age of 46.  The bill below from Dr. F K. Berry indicates that he may not have passed quickly.  Multiple doctor visits started on October 5 and visits came at least once a day starting on Dec 6 and continued through January 2.  The fact that doctor visits continued after Williams’s death might indicate that other members of the family were suffering from a common illness.  There are references to smallpox, scarlet fever, and cholera in some of the other letters.

As an example to help with the handwriting, the second line reads: 


Oct 5 to 11  To visits each day & medisan








William’s death in 1844 left Nancy a 37 year old widow responsible for running the farm and raising seven children ranging from age 1 to 15.


The 9-4-1850 US Census   District 4 Monroe County

Nancy Lillard is 41 years old and head of household.  She owns $1000 of real estate.  Her occupation is Farmer.

Living with her are her 7 children - [Andrew] Jackson, [William] Washington, [Louisa] Jane, [Mary] Caroline [Cal], [Augustus] Murrell, Julia Ann, and Joseph


Next door neighbors include Eli Cleveland age 69, wife Polly age 65, and living with them is Roxanne Billeatin age 21.  She may become Roxanne Grayson in the future.



 Nancy also worked as a seamstress to support her family as the letters below show.  Note the total cost for 2 coats is $5.50.  Inflation from then to now is about 30X so this is $165 in today’s dollars.




The letter below is a penciled note to Mrs. (Nancy) Lillard with instructions on some clothes she is making.  The date of the note is likely before 12-15-1850.

Much of the note is covered with writing practice and the date 12-15-1850 appears several times in letter headings.  This is probably Cal practicing her letter writing.  She was 15 in 1850.  After the clothes were done the note may have been considered scrap paper.

It is interesting that one of the practice names was Mr. James Helton of Knoxville, who proposed to Cal 12 years later.  It was a small world in 1850.

Mrs. Lillard if there is enough of the ganes[?] left please line the fur parts with the same.  There is no lining to be had for the linen as the back.   I did not know if it would be best to dampen this pants cloth or not.  If you think it would be better to do it please have it done and we will pay for it.  I want them lined in the stryde.  If you think they are too thick to line all through please make them large for he will not weare them out this winter.  Please make all of his a little large that you make and you will much oblige your friend.

                                                            M W T C

I send this purple piece for to line the pants with if you think best to line them.  If you think they are two thick please send it back.  I got it for dress facing and will need some of it soon




Wrightville   Oct 8th / 53

Cousin Cal

                        As you have ever proposed to be my friend I rely upon your energy to have my Coat & Vest finished by next Friday night as that is the set period of which I expect to come not only for my Coat & Vest but for your company home.  You must not fail to be prepared for the expected visit.  I know your Ma will say I do not need my coat but you urge my claim, I do need it very much.  Cal you must have it finished for you know the anxiety of those who in hopes of future happiness live.  The mail will be here in a few moments hence I must close.  Cal, I would like to have wrote a lengthy communication but must close in short.

            Please present my complements to your Ma & and also to the remainder of the family.  Oh! May your path be strewed with the riches of blessing is the wish of your devoted friend.

                                                                                                Jim P. Galyan

P.S.  Mitchell Raso sends his best & wishes his coat without fail


You must not fail to write that - B



After William Lillard’s death the two oldest boys, AJ and Wash, were probably a great help on the farm.  However there was also help of a more sinister kind.  The Lillard’s were slave owners. 

The US Census counted slaves as well as free men.  Slaves were counted on a separate “Slave Schedule” but slave names were not recorded, only age, sex, color – generally black or mulatto, and whether they were a fugitive from the state or disabled.  In 1950 Nancy Lillard owned 3 slaves, a 60 year old woman and two men aged 35 and 17.

  By the accounts of later generations, the Philadelphia Lillard’s freed their slaves before the Civil War and gave each family a part of the farm for their own, but as of 1852 Nancy Lillard was still buying slaves. 







State of Tennessee                               Philadelphia

Monroe County                                               April 7th, 1852


Received of Nancy Lillard Six Hundred Dollars in full payment for a negro woman this day sold and delivered to her.  Aged about twenty Eight, named Amy, which negro I warrant sound in body and mind and slave for life, and further bind myself, heirs or assigns to defend the title to said negro woman against the lawful claims of all person or persons whatsoever.

            In testimony whereof I have here unto set my hand and seal the day and year above written.

                                    W R Henley    (Handwritten seal)


R. R. Cleveland

H. B. Julian

Cal (Mary Caroline Lillard) was the family scribe and the keeper of the little tin box.  Most of the letters are addressed to Cal but sometimes a section of a letter would be addressed to another family member as well.   Letters from before the war are generally about social affairs revolving around visits, parties, and church.


              Lockie Elenor Howell (1835-xxxx) was one of the most prolific correspondents to Cal, along with her sister Mollie (Mary J. Howell 1839-1883).  These distant cousins of the Lillard’s lived in Mossy Creek Tennessee, present day Jefferson City.  There were 13 children born to this family.  Father Patton Howell (1806-1869) was a blacksmith per the federal census of 1850 but he was a blacksmith on a very large scale.  He owned an axe handle factory (See http://www.jeffcitytn.com/cityhistory.htm ).  At this time he also owned $7000 worth of real estate, which would make him wealthy.

  He and Mother Nancy Routh (1809-1858) must have kept very busy. This is a different Nancy Routh than Cal’s mother, and the fact that the mothers of both correspondents were maiden named Nancy Routh may lead to some confusion.  The connection from the Howells to the Philadelphia Lillard’s is shown below. 


Great Grandfather Jacob Routh (1745-1827)

Grandfather  - John Routh (1782-1841)

Joseph L Routh (1780-1849)

Mother  - Nancy Routh (1809-1858)

Nancy B. Routh (1807-1899)

Lockie and Mollie Howell of Mossy Creek

Cal and the other Philadelphia Lillard’s

Additional information on the Howells from http://dallaspioneer.org/stories/pioneers.php?ID=423


From Proud Heritage, Volume I by DCPA. This 300 page hardcover book is now available online.

John Mashman Howell's family consisted of: his father, Patton Howell, born 1805 in Knox County, Tennessee, died 1869 and his mother, Nancy Routh, born 1809 in Dandridge, Tennessee, died 1858, whose parents were John Routh (born 1782, died 1841) and Elizabeth Mashman (born 1788, died 1852). Among their ten children were: 1) Bethiah Ann born 1826, died 1894; married William J. Blackburn. 2) Sylvanus born 1829, died 1888; married Frances Crooks. 3) Martha Elizabeth born 1831, died 1905; married Reverend W. E. Caldwell. 4) Adeline born 1834, married William Alexander Smith. 5) Lockie Eleanor born 1836, married W. M. Massengill. 6) Mary born 1839, died 1883; married M. M. Morgan. 7) Sarah P. born 1846, died 1873; married
Samuel T. Evans. 8) Margaret born 1848. died 1927; married Daniel Bradshaw. and 9) John Mashman Howell born August 2, 1849 in New Market, Tennessee, died 1925; married Julia Routh born 1857 in Piano, Texas, died 1948. John M. Howell was reared in Tennessee and North Carolina and received most of his education in Alabama. He learned the carpenter's trade and worked at it for some years. He moved to Missouri to work for a nursery.


Cal was 16 when she got this letter from 17 year old Lockie of Mossy Creek, Tennessee.  Lockie was attending school in Cleveland, but the exact school is unknown.  She also has other relatives and friends near Cleveland, Tn.  Philadelphia is about midway between Mossy Creek and Cleveland.  Mossy Creek is about 50 miles to the Northeast and Cleveland is about 50 miles to the Southwest. This is the first of many references seen to “The Cars”.  Philadelphia is on a rail line and the train was often the best way to get around.  The rail line ran directly adjacent to the farm.


                                                                        Cleveland.                      May the 26__52


Dear Cousin Cal.

                                    I positively am ashamed to write to you after putting it off so long but you may attribute it to the want of time, for I’ve been so busy since you wrote to me, that I have’nt taken time to write to Mother near as often as I ought to.  Oh how I wish you would come down so I could tell you all the news, for I know I can not write it so as to be interesting to you.  We have’nt had any more storm parties since you left, but we had a picknick party at which I enjoyed myself much better than at a storm party.  We went out about 3 miles from Town, to the sulpher springs and eat our dinner, and then went to Candies [?] Creek fishing.  The gentleman that fished with was Mr. Brown.  You know him Cousin Cal.  That slick fellow that you got your satchel from.  We did not catch any thing but we did not fish for fish but for fun.  You know that young lady that went off to Athens as you went home with Miss Harris.  She was married about four weeks ago to Dr. Center.  You recollect Mr. Sloan don’t you?  He came and took me to preaching up to the Methodist Church last sabbath evening.  He is going to get a horse and buggy and he and I are going to Benton to Uncle John Blackburns in about two weeks.  We have singing every Friday night.  And O if you were only here to go.   I got that dress up at Johnsons that I was telling you about.  I gave 6 dollars for it.  We have a young lady from Polk Co. boarding with us and going to school.  She is a great deal of company to me but not so much as you would have been.  Tell Cousin Nancy howdy for me.  We would all be very happy to see you and Cousin Nancy down here this summer.  The school will be out in 9 weeks, and then you will see me sailing up on the Cars as happy as me and Mr. Caliway would have been that night going to the party “without any clothes”.  Oh but I have not time to write any more.  You must write to me immediately and tell me all the news.  When you write to me again I am going to answer it the very same day I get it.

                                                            Your Sincerily  L.E. Howell Brown

All the school girls send their love to you.


Note the signature – the Brown added to the end is a joke since she was fishing and no doubt flirting with Mr. Brown. 



Newton J Lillard was one of the Meigs County Lillard’s.  They lived in Decatur, TN about 35 miles Southwest of Philadelphia. His connection to Cal was through his great grandfather James Lillard Sr. (1725-1804) of Virginia, who was also Cal’s great grandfather.


James Lillard Sr. (1725-1804) Culpepper, VA

James II (1752-1811) Culpepper, VA

William T. Lillard (1796-1875) Moved to Philadelphia

James III (1795-1875)  Moved to Decatur, TN

William Lillard (1798-1844) Philadelphia

Newton J. Lillard (1832-1905) Decatur, TN

Cal and the other Philadelphia Lillard’s


N.J. was a military man.  He was 20 at the time of this note but he was already a veteran of the Mexican American War, where he fought for 2 years stating at only 16 years of age.


 In this note he apparently is experiencing the 1852 equivalent of car trouble on a trip to visit his relatives in Philadelphia.  It is unknown how this letter would be delivered in a timely manner.


                                                                                                Sweet Water Tennessee

                                                                                                August 16th 1852

To Cal

Dear Cosin,

You must excuse me for not coming this morning as my horse is so stiff that I cannot drive and have to lay by a day or two in consequence of it.  I hope you will come down shortly and give us a visit as you have not been down in a good while.  Come to camp meeting if not sooner.

                                                            Your Cosin Respectfully                                                                                                                     Newton J. Lillard


Two years later there is another letter from N.J.  Note that Monroe County is suffering a cholera epidemic.                                                                  

Rusitation [?] Retreat

July 25th 1854

Dear Call

            I hasten to pen you a few lines not for your instruction but to gratify your feelings & for my own edification.  We have no news to write.  Health of the community good.  I am very sorry that your county is scouraged with the cholera, which I hope will not rage long.  Any way be of cheer untill your last hour.  I will have to chide you for not doing as you promised to do for you should do all you can or could for you know I am a very hard case any way.  My only hope is to fell(?) some of the Monroe County Gakals(?) And I am not very sanguine of success at present but will hold my head.  If dise hard, no use talking.  Come down camp meeting.  My love to all.  More anon.

                                                                                    Your Cousin

                                                                                    Very respectfully your

Please correspond with him                                         Humble obidient servant

On ctn subject                                                              And will obey all Commands (?)

                                                                                    N. J. Lillard


Letters to the boys are less common.  Here is one to AJ from a friend who is exploring the Mid-west.


                                                                        Greens Fork, Wayne County Indiana

                                                                                    August 14th 1854

Well old friend Jack, it is with much pleasure that I take my seat to communicate to you a few scattering thoughts.  I am now in the state of Hoosierdom and I am enjoying as good health as could be expected.  I have enjoyed moderately good health since I left  and I do cincerely hope these lines may find you in the enjoyment of God’s greatest blessing which is unimpaired health for health certainly is the poor mans riches and the rich mans bliss.  I have been spending most of my time at my brothers since I have been in this state though I have been spludgeing around considerable.  I have seen right smart of the country which I find to be most beautiful country.  I think that I could pick out five thousand acres of land here in this vicinity in one body that lies as well as any twenty acres that you could select in one body in Sweetwater Valley but the owners of it know how to set a price on there farms.  There was a man sold out about a half mile from here a few days since at the pitiful sum of $60.00 pr acre.  My views at this time is to go to Illinois or Iowa this fall if I live and keep fat.  I have not worked any at my trade since I am here more than two or three weeks, though I expect to commence work in a day or two.

I have spent the time moderately pleasant here considering that I am in a stranger land though it would afford me great pleasure to walk the streets of Philadelphia and see all my old friends if I have any there, but how soon that will be I do not know   perhaps never as life is uncertain and death is verry certain.  I must wish you all the good luck I can hopeing that ere this time you are hapily bound in the holy bonds of matrimony with some one of the fair ones of the highlands of Old Tennessee to settle down and enjoy the blessings of life.  I wish you to give my respects to your mothers family, and also to the enquiring friends in Phila and especially Miss Sophie Miss Susen Bogart Miss Sarah J Julian.  Also Jane and Lizzie in short give my love to all and accept Bountifully for your self.  I want you to be sure and write to me as soon as this comes to hand and give me all the important news of the neighborhood Births deaths marriages etc.  If you know of any thing of importance having transpired at Loudon since I left tell me all about it.  Write soon be sure not to fail for it will gratify me very much to hear from you and all others who bear any friendship for me. / no more at present but remin your affectionate friend until dead or married.

                                                Esau Holand



Cal would have been 19 and Newton J Lillard 22 years old when he wrote her this letter about relationships.  It shows that men in 1854 didn’t understand women any better than they do today.



                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Decatur   20th Nov 54

Dear cousin,

                        I have been waiting long to hear from you but all in vain all may still be in vain for I think so at least.  Your silence indicates such but I will forgive you for this offence if you will promise to do better in the future.  I think I wrote the last communication what is the matter that you cannot notice your ugly cousin letters though they are far inferior to your other correspondence.  Now do not let your answer be fill up with hard misels[?] some that I could only swallow if my throat was as large again please do not.  If you are agoing to marry do not be so selfish as to think you always will be happy just with his company alone for I tell you know it will not be that.  And further more if you do marry be satisfied with him though you are not.  I learned yesterday that I was agoing to get married and you may imagion my estacy at first but was easy as low down in a few minutes as I was high when I learned all.  I was taken a girl home & she says Nute I understand that you want to marry or are going to get married.  Well you see I thought all was right when such as that was said, so I replied that I had thought on the subject a good deal since I was getting old & ugly & I hoped if I did propose such to a lady she would way the matter well before she gave me a refusal.  She said it would be right for to do so but she always gave young men the hint if she did not want them before its come to that.  Well says I, how do you let them know your feelings?  She said this.  If she did not want them she would talk of marring one of the young man marring and who to and when and that she regreted it very much hoping that she stood a fair chance to get him woe[?].  But if she saw her talk affected anything she would tell him he need not set his stakes down about her.  Wel said Madam all of this has just passed between you and I.  Know tell me whether it will do or not to set my nuigs[?] down about S--- or not?  (oh oh) she says she guess it would not as she was already engaged and if that was not the case I could not reng[?] in know how so I effected nothing at last.

Call write me soon.  I wish that I could see you for about a week.  I could tell you a great many things that would interest you.  Give my love to the Girls.  Special love to your mother and family.  I may be up about Christmas to see you all but not certain yet.  I am writing this when two beautiful Girls are in the store trading you I am all in afigett about them.  I must close this letter for my paper is not agoing to last always you know.

To Call                                                                                                Good Bye





In Sister Julia’s letter to Cal below the year isn’t given but it may be deduced.  Jack is still in Philadelphia so it’s before 1858.  Cal and mother Nancy are at the “SPRINGS” – perhaps White Cliff Springs.  Cal has the blues again.  Old batches are visiting and Julia was sparking Brother Amos (Julia married William Burns in Sept 11 1867).   August 17th falls on a Friday so the year must be 1855.  Julia is 16 yrs old.

                                                                                    August 11th [1855?] Philadel

Darling Sister

                        I this day received your letter and it found me all right and in good health.  Everything is doing fine down here.  We all are enjoying our selves fine.  Phil is taken a rise.  They are going to have another Picnic next Wednesday at the same old place Canans barn.  The one on fork Creek will come off next Friday 17th.  I do not know whether I’ll go or not.  If I have a nice beaux perhaps I will.  Miss Nan Kennedy and her Cousin was here today.  I still have company yet.  There was three old batches here Sunday night and one Monday and that was Brother Amos.  He stayed all night and next day after dinner we sit monday night and oh, how I did spark him.  If you dont hurrah and come home I will do as you told me to do.

The next morning he and I walk over to Mr Seigels and got as many water mellons as we could eat.  I sent that doing well for new beginers.  He asked me if I said any thing about him in my letter to you.  I told him I wrote to you that he looked as sweet as a peach.  He threw a Laverine out in the yard and it is growing fine.  I do not know whether I will go to the Springs or not.  I am haveing such a nice time at home.  If I do go I am going to make Mr A go with me he was talkin about it being such a nice trip two or three days.  Mr Nelson is holding a meeting at Sweetwater town[?] this week.  I have never been up yet.  Tell Bettie I am realy glad to hear she has got so active.  Mrs Bacame has give out going to the Spring.  Mr Bacame speaks of going as soon as he can.

Mother make your self at home and rest with ease for ever thing is doing as well as if you were here to see to it your self.  We have got a fine lot of apples cut and drying nicely.  The peaches are not ripe enough yet will be in a few days.  I cut out a pair of pants this morning.  They are the first job of work that has came in since you left home.  I taken that peice to Mrs Hicks yesterday.  She is going to put it in the loom right off.  I got the mixed fillin at home the other day.  I will scour it out to morrow and take it to Mrs Wilson as soon as it gets dry.  There was thirty eight hanks liken one cut.  Cal, Jack says if you dont hurrah and come home he will marry while you are gone.  I am looking for Dr. Massengill every day.  He went up to the country the first of this week.  Cal I am very sorrow to hear that you have got the blues again.  I was in hopes that you would have such a nice time at the Springs you would not think about the blues.  Knock them off and go it, and enjoy your self while you can.  I believe I have written all that I can think of now.  Give my love to all the family and accept the greater portion for your self.


Affectionately your Sister   Julia Lillard


The letter below is from Lizzie A. Routh to an unspecified cousin, probably Cal.  Lizzie and her sister are in College at the Cane Hill School in Arkansas, the first college in Arkansas to admit women.  See the info after the letter.  It seems many of the women in this circle got a good education. Cane Hill is in the North West corner of Arkansas, so these cousins are quite a way from Philadelphia. 

Lizzie is Arvazinia Elizabeth Routh (1839-xxxx).  The sister who is at school with her is Margaret A. Routh (1841-1893).  The youngest sister who was taken to the “Spirit Land” was Isabella Routh (1846-1855).  Lizzie’s father is Benjamin Murrell Routh (1823-1873) who was born in Monroe County.  Benjamin is brother to Nancy B. Routh (Lillard).  So Lizzie is Cal’s first cousin.  Her family’s home was in Fayetteville Arkansas at the time of this letter.



                                                                                             Boonsboro  March 28 / 56

My Dear Cousin,

            Although we are strangers personaly I feel as if we had an intimate acquaintance, which I have acquired by reading your letters to Father.  I have for a great while had an anxiety to correspond with you, but have neglected to write until now.  My reasons for writing at this time, is because, Father sent me a letter he received from you.   There are only two sisters of us now, (I suppose you have heard that our youngest was taken to the Spirit land last fall).  We are both going to school at Cane Hill Arks.  We received a letter from home last week they were all well at that time.  Father did not say anything about answering your letter, but I suppose he will.  This has been the hardest winter I ever witnessed, about Christmas especially.  I attended several parties, and I thought I would freeze before the week was ended.  We had some good sleigh rides, something very uncommon in our county.  The spring has also been backward.  March has had but few pleasant days.  The weather is now damp, and everything so gloomy.  The farmers have not made much progress in their buisness  this year, but I shall hope we shall have a better time.  There is a debating society here, which only on rare occations, is public.  It was made public last night.  I attended and was very much delighted.  The question was,  Which was the greatest man Washington or Lafayette.  It was decided Lafayette the greatest, but the --- [Lost in a crease] --- the best on that side.  The best speech delivered on Washington’s side was by one of our Cousins Mr. Hanks.  I do not know whether you know any relation by that name or not.  There is such little interest of anything at this time that I cannot find anything to write, and we being strangers, it is more difficult, but you manifested in your letter to Father, a hope of visiting us this spring, which if you do you must remember us, as we are only twenty miles from home, you must not return without coming to see us, for we will be in school until July.  If you have the kindness to write to me direct your letters to Boonsboro Arks.  I hope to be more interesting the next time I write.  Sister joins me in sending love to you.

                                                                                                I remain your Cousin

                                                                                                Lizzie A Routh




Below excerpt from:  http://encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=2705


The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture

Skip Navigation Links

Cane Hill (Washington County)


Cane Hill, settled by Europeans in 1827, was the earliest settlement in Washington County. It was known as an educational center because the first college in Arkansas to admit women was in Cane Hill. In addition, it had the state’s first public school, library, and Sunday school. Several of the oldest houses in northwest Arkansas still stand in Cane Hill. It was also the site of an all-day skirmish in the days before the Battle of Prairie Grove (December 7, 1862).

Cane Hill (also known as Boonsboro after Daniel Boone) was the site of one of the county’s first institutions of higher learning. The Cane Hill School opened its doors for students in April 1835. In 1852, it became a college for men only, but women could attend the Female Seminary. The first site of the Cane Hill Female Seminary was in Clyde, one mile south of Cane Hill.

The school closed with the advent of the Civil War in 1861, and three of the four buildings were burned in 1864. The men’s dormitory that survived was used as a hospital for the wounded soldiers under the command of Union brigadier general James G. Blunt.

For additional information:
“1834–1858: Cane Hill School.” University of the Ozarks. http://www.ozarks.edu/about/history/canehillschool.asp (accessed August 22, 2006).

“1858–1891: Cane Hill College.” University of the Ozarks. http://www.ozarks.edu/about/history/canehillcollege.asp (accessed August 22, 2006).

Julanne S. Allison
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville



The letter below was written by another female cousin in school at the time; apparently south of Philadelphia.   Written before May approaching end of school year so perhaps April?  Leap year was 1856.


                                                            [Apparently Spring of 1856]


My Dear cousin

                        After so long a time I take the pleasure of answering your letter which I received a week or so gone.  Now Cal you must not think hard of me for not answering sooner for I do not get time to do anything that I want to, plague the school.  I do sincerely wish it was out. But I ought not to say that for then all the pretty boys would leave and then I would wish for the school to be going on don’t you think I would?  Cal you must come down at the examination if you posibly can.  I do want to see you so bad, and I think that you might come, now Cal I do.  I just feel as if I had not saw any person for two months or more.  Call I would be very happy to meet you at the Union meeting in May.  It is close to the Railroad and you can come very well if you will.  I expect to go or at least I wish to go.  Ell has been very sick for the last three weeks.  She has been very bad. She has a very bad cough.  She had a severe cold I assure you but she has got so she can sit up the most of her time now.  There was 24 girls here today and so many boys that they were uncountable.  I assure you that we had a great time.  It looked like a procession to see them all coming down the lane.  I told two or three of the boys that I was going to write to you this evening and they said to give you their double and twisted love and said that they would like to see you very much down in these parts once more.

Cousin Crate[?] Martin has been very sick but is getting better.  Cal I do wish you would hurry and mary and let me wait on you for I am going to get married in a short time and I want to stand upon the floor once before I mary.  I suppose you recollect that this is (leap Year).  The girls is trying to make good use of it to down here.  Cal this paper is so long and my pen so bad that it seems that I cant get it filled up and you must not think hard of me for sening you a half a sheet.

                                                                                                Your affectionate Cousin


(Jack  Feck  Zeek Tick Heck ??)

Mother says to tell Aunt just to stick to her sewing and not think of coming to see her.  Call it is getting so dark that I cant see how I am writing.


The letter below is from James Cannon Routh (1835-1864), of the Whitfield GA Routh’s.  He was the son of Pleasant Miller Routh (1808-1874), Nancy B. Routh’s brother making James another first cousin to Cal.  He was born in Philadelphia but moved to Murphy or Whitfield, GA with his family.  He would have been 21 years old at this time.  During the War he fought for the South and died at the Battle of Resaca, Gordon County, Ga. in May, 1864 - age 29.  It is unknown who this was addressed to – not Cal or Wash – perhaps AJ or Joe or another sister.


                                                                                            May the 17th 1856

                                                                                                Pleasant Valley. Ga

Dear Cousin

It is with pleasure for me to seat myself this evening to write to you and to inform you that I am well at preasant hopeing that these few lines may find you in the same health.  I am at preasant going to school 8 miles from home.  We have one of the finest teacher that is in georgia and we have some scholars that can work a sum by the time the master gets done reading the sum.  I would be glad to see you all very much.  Give my love to all the friends round philadelphia.  Tell cousin Caroline Clevelan to write to me and also your sister Caroline.  If you or Washington comes down this summer you must come up to our school and spend a day or two.  Excuse me for this time my time being short I must come to a close so no more at preasant good bye.

Write to as soon as possible.  Direct your letter to Pleasant Valley Ga.                                                                                                          James C Routh



In the letter below Lockie has taken the train from Mossy Creek to Cleveland, Tennessee for Christmas and she missed a chance to visit or deliver a letter to Cal as she went through Philadelphia.


Cleveland  Dec 30 / 56

Dear cousin Callie,

                                    I wrote a letter before I started from home to give, as you said, to some one at Philadelphia, but it was dark when we got there, and the cars stopped hardly a minute, and I did not see anyone to give it to.  I came down a week ago to-day, and was going up to your house this evening, but Matt will not hear to me going away before next week.  When I see you I will tell you the reason I did not go up this evening.  Every body in town keeps sending word to me and telling me to be certain and not go away this week.  I will go up to Philadelphia next tuesday on the day train.  I have so much to tell you just once I see you.  Brother Ed says if I do not hurry I will not get my letter mailed to-night.  I am so sorry I did not get to go up before New Year’s, for you said you were going to have a wedding then but I did not believe it.  You may just fix your self for going home with me, for mother said for me not to let you off.  What a lot I have got to tell you.  All send love to you.  My love to all.

                                                                                                Your most affectionate cousin

                                                                                                L. E. Howell

                                                            [Lockie Elenor Howell]



This letter is from husband and wife Smith to AJ.  W. A. Smith is William Alexander Smith.  Wife Ada A. S. Smith was Adeline A. S. Howell (1834-xxxx), Lockie’s older sister.  They were married on 8-19-1853.                                                                

Mossy Creek                March 13th  57

Dear Cousin,

            I recd. Your letter & hasten to answer it.  When that gentleman comes home please know of him immediately what he will give & if he will give me $30 per month I will do his business for him & then if he wishes me to keep his wagon in repair & horses shod he will have to pay me extra for that or give enough by the month to justify in doing it.  How long will he need a  pedling[?] & can I rent a house there at a reasonable price until I can make other arangements.   I hav’nt  time to write any thing more.   A.S. will write the news.

                                                                        Yours Truly   W.A. Smith

(Continued on same sheet)

Dear Cousin Jack,

            I am glad to have some excus to write to you.  I want to hear from Cousin Nancy & all the family.  I think Call might write to me & you may tell her so because I’m married you all forget me.  Now tell them all not to act so doggish [?] mean.   I am highly set up with the idea of getting down there to live but we will not always make our home in this country that is we hav’nt  that notion now.  I read what you wrote for Lock to hers & she said you was very smart for not writing to her first.  Just in fun though.  Yesterday a snow fell shoe mouth deep & all melted off to day.  Lock & Mollie were here for supper this evening & we had quite a jolly time of it.  Papa (Patton Howell) is having a new house built it will be a very nice one when done & a tolerably fine one.  Well Jack I don’t know what else to write only you must come up there is so many girls that want to marry up here & from what you wrote those kind of girls will just suit you.  We have plenty of Old Maids too as ugly as a mud fence.  Now do come up in earnest for we all want to see you.  Our letter paper is very fine & it shows that we are rich folks.  Write to me every time you do to Alex.  I know my letters will not be very interesting to you but You must write to any how for the pleasure it gives me to read a letter from you.  They have had Widowers Prs. [?] at Papas evry night this week but two & Lock says two of them had a  kind of Closet talk to her & that one of them an Old Sunk Eyed Englishman  is left for Mollie & Sister & I believe that both pull ater him.   Lock is learning to play very fast on the Piano & Mollie learns some she is takeing her first lessons.  Their Piano is the largest I ever saw & has as good tone as ever I heard.  I will have to quit it is getting so late & Saturday night too.  You will write of course give my love to every one of the family & except a portion for your self.

                                                                                    Your cousin that loves you                                                                                                                  Ada A.S. Smith 


This letter from Mary Adelaide Routh (1839-1927) to an unspecified Cousin (not Caroline or Washington or Aunt Nancy) is an extremely repetitious plea for visits and letters.  Mary is the daughter of Pleasant Mills Routh and Clarissa Harlowe Watkins of Ruralvale Georgia.  The significant news is that brother William Finley Routh married (Nancy) Margaret Cleveland on 1-15-1857, Jim (James C. Routh) went off to school, and that Mother Clarissa just got her first stove!  Mary is 18 years old at the time of this letter.


                                                            Ruralvale Geo       March the 15, 1857

Dear Cousin,

            It is with great pleasure that I seat myself to write you a few lines.  I have nothing much to write.  We are all well at this time and I hope these few lines will find you all in the same health.  Cousin I recond you think we are all dead by us not coming to see you.  You said when you left here if we did not come you would think some of us were dead or married.  There is none dead but one married.  Will [Brother William Finley Routh 1836-1918] was married the 15 of January.  He married Margaret Cleveland [Nancy Margaret Cleveland 1838-1866].  Oh I wish you had of been here.  We had all the fun.   If you had of been here you would in Joyed your self so much.  Cousin I have been wanting too come too see you all till I am tired of thinking about it.  We would of come but the weather was so bad and then Will married and Jim went off to school and you know Papa.  He won’t come.  He says he coming before long but you need not look for him till you see him coming for you know him so well.  Cousin I want you to come and see us and bring Cousin Caroline with you.  Will says too tell you that you must come and see him and he will tell you about his marriing.  Be shore an come and I will go home with you for Mother can do with out me better than she could when you were here be fore.  We have got a stove and she can cook for it is so easy.  It is the greatest help in the world.  Cousin I have nothing more to write at this time.  I want you to write as soon as you receive this and then I will write you a better letter than this.  Tell Cousin Washington to write too me.  If he cannot come too see us he can write.  I want all of you to write.  Tell Aunt that I want her to come and see us.  Cousin you must excuse me for not writing sooner for I did not know but what we would come be fore long.  Papa still says he is coming but you know him so well.  You wanted me to go home with you when you were here.  I wish that i had of went with you but i am in hopes that I will get to come and see you all yet.  I must come to a close for i have nothing more to write.  Give my best love to all the rest of the family except a portion for your self.  So no more.  Write soon and then I will write you a better one than this.  You must look over my bad writing for my pen is so bad that I cannot write.  Be shore and write as soon as you get this.  So no more.

                                                            Mary A Routh



This very chatty letter from Lockie to AJ shows the easy familiarity of close friends.  She shares some confidences on her love life and warns AJ not to let anyone know what she wrote.  Lockie is 3 months away from a big surprise!                                                                                 

                                                                                                Mossy Creek May 1857

My very dear cousin,

                                    Do you see this paper cousin Jack?  Well I’m just going to give you the longest letter you ever did get, except the last one your sweet heart sent you.  I did not receive your first letter until a few days ago, as you will find out from Dr. John.  He did not stop on his way up the country, and only a few minutes, as he returned.  I just begged him to stay all night, but he would not.  I like him much better than I did on my first acquaintance with him.  Now don’t say, Lock’s fell in love with him for I did’nt do any such thing.   I don’t think I’m very susceptible of impressions of that kind.  I’m not like you.  I usily believe you are in love with half a dozen girls. Now You did not say anything about Ana F.  Have you dropped her?  Mollie has just gone down to practice and says tell you she wants to see you ever so bad.  This is the evening we were to go and take our music lessons, but it is raining so we will not go.  If you and Cal were only here right now.  I do enjoy seeing it rain when I have good company.  You could’nt help liking Mossy Creek now.  We have such a beautiful view of the hills from here on one side and the creek on the other.  I know to others there is many a lovelier place than this, but not to me.  I’ve always been happy here and why should it not be dear to me.  No I’m not always happy.  I sometimes take the blues, but they very soon take wings and leave me reproaching myself for admitting such an intruder.  I had such a grand dream about Dr. John last night.  I just wish I could tell it to you, and know he would never hear it.  Who told you I was going to get married, and who did they say it was to?  Now cousin Jack, answer me that question, for I want to know.  I’ve heard it so often when it was not the truth, that I hope it will turn out to be a fact.  I have the nicest little beau you ever saw – rich too – plenty of darkies to wait on me and he loves me, I know he does but I cant say he receives a particle of love in return. – In fact I can with truth say he does not.  I wish you could just read his letters.  As to where he is –I shant tell you, but I received a letter from him from New Orleans a week ago.  You must heard me mention him, --in fact I was but little acquainted with him then and never dreamed of his ever coming to see me.  And—and—and— he is a widower, and oh dear that’s enough.  Now that is a secret!  I cant be satisfied with the ashes of no mans heart whose joys are all in memories.  Though I’ll admit I’ve fell from grace For widowers used to be my text.   But “I’ll hang my hart on the willow tree” and set my cap for a young man.  Though this fellow I’ve been telling you about is not an old widower.  Have you seen cousin Jasper lately?  You and Cal bring him up here and we will have lots of fun.

Now I’m just not going to excuse you on any plea from coming up here soon.  If you don’t come to see me before I get married, I just shant let you know one thing about it.  Every one says tell you to come.

Mary and I had invitations to a grand wedding in Dandridge last week.  Mary Fain to Steve Cocke of Knoxville.  We did not go.  Mary says tell you she would be right glad for you to hear from her – thinks perhaps you will.  I set out with the determination to tire you out, but I know I did that on the first page.  Now cousin Jack, the very reason I did not write to you long ago was not because of any ceremony or the want of love to you, but then I thought you did not care anything about me, and I would not trouble you with a letter.  And then it was partly negligence.  I have not written to Cousin Wash yet, but I must.  He has not written to me yet, but I shall not wait on that account.  I owe Cal a letter too.  I do want her to come and stay with me this summer.    Be certain and mention me to Mr. Hays(?) and the Dr. and tell Mr e I hav’nt forgotten how big a fool he was.  If any body asks you what I wrote tell them I sent my love to them.  Mr. Jones and his son came last night.  They are gone some where but I don’t know where it is.  Mary (May?) says if all your Philadelphia boys are as handsome as the Dr. to send them up.  The carpenters finished our house last week but the painter is not done yet, but will be in a week.  Do write to me soon & often.

                                                                        Your cousin in Health hope & happiness

                                                                                    L. E. Howell

P.S.  don’t you let any one read this, and don’t tell Mr. e what I said, it would be too bad.  When you see cousin Jas. [?], tell him I’ve not forgotten him.  Dick Scruggs told me he was coming up here the 18 or 19 of June, to the commencement at the Baptist college.  You and Cal come with him.  Now do come, I’m in down right earnest.  Bring the Dr. with you.  Tell me all and about every body down there.  I’d like to have forgotten to tell you sister was married. [Bethiah Ann Howell Blackburn’s 2nd marriage was to George Hoskins on 5-5-1857].   She’s got one of the best husbands in the world, Mr. Hoskins.  We will have such a nice time going to see her when you come.  Lock.


Surprise!!  Lockie has married Dr. William Porter Massengill, a widower, and this after all her protests just 3 months ago that she would never marry a widower.  Marriage was on July 23, 1857.  Dr. Massengill was 48 yrs old and Lockie was 22.

 Here is a series of four letters from Mollie (Mary J Howell 1839-1883) to Cal.  Mollie seems to take over scribe duties for the Howell cousins after her older sister Lockie marries.    Mollie was 18 when she wrote this.


Mossy Creek Aug 4th [1857]

Dear Cousin

                        It is not my place to write to you, but we have come to the conclusion if some of us don’t write we will never hear from you any more.  I guess you have heard that Lockie was married to Dr. Massengill a widower and it keeps her busy a huging and kissing him so she has not time to write to any of her friends.  She says she is going to write to cousin Jack soon.  I feel like a fish out of water but I intend to visit some this fall. Perhaps I will be down that way and If I do I should be very capt(?) to see you.  Papa got a vest yesterday and he thanks cousin Nancy for it.  I did not say where it was from.  It fits to a T.  Mother has been very sick to day but is some better.  Now if cousin Nancy would come up to see her I think she would get well.  The Baptist association will be at Mossy Creek in October and you must all come up then.  Tell Jack I never did want to see evry one so much as I do him.  I will give him a sweet heart, one of the prettiest girls in Tennessee Miss Ann E Ore but I believe she is taking on about Billie Hoskins, sister Ann’s step son.  What has become of Dr. John.  Tell him Lockie is going to Texas and for him to be ready.  He was wanting us to go when he was up here.  If I was him I would sue her for the contract as he has it in writing.  Sister Ann sends her love to all of you.  Look if she was at home she and her old man home to his sisters.  Write to us soon Jack and all of the rest.  My love to all.

                                                                                                            Mollie J Howell



The letter below from Mollie Howell to Cal is newsy with lots of information on the Howell sisters.


Black Oak [?]rane Mossy Creek

                                                                                                Sep 13th 1857

                        Dear Cousin Call

                                                I guess you have said before this time that Mol. does not intend to write to me any more.  Well you are mistaken for once.  I started to school the next week after I wrote to you.  We go from home and it is tree(?) miles.  We have a fine time for we always ride.  Sister Adda [Adeline Howell 1834-xxxx] is going to start to Texas next week and I have been healping her all the time I had.  I am sitting at my desk writing to you now the girls are shaking me so I cant half write.  We have such a nice teacher.  She has red hair but she is so nice and good.  Sister Matt [Martha E. Howell Caldwell 1831-1908] is up now.  She went out to Mr. Caldwells [William E Caldwell 1824-1885] last week and little Willie [Willie Herbert  Caldwell 1854-xxxx] got his leg broke.  Sis Ann [Bethiah Ann Howell 1826-1894] is comeing out to our house to day to spend the day.  Lockie is going to house keeping next week in the house that Ada lives in.  She says she is going to write to you when she gets through healping Ada.  Did you know Dr Song [?] was married.  He has been married some time since but I did not know it until last week.  His wife is very handsome Miss Mollie Strayly from Virginia.  By going to school I will have to put my visit off until Spring.  Then I am going down to Sister Matt and will stop and see you.  I anticipate a great time down there if they are all as funny as you.  We will look for some of your folks up to the assotiation.  It commences in two weeks from today.  Tell Jack [Andrew Jackson Lillard 1829-1922] he must come any how.  I do wish you could come and stay a month.  We are going to have company this evening to hear us read compositions and rehearse.  Cal Dyer the gentleman you got acquainted with when you was up here he is coming and his sister Nancy.  I tell you what I believe.  I believe you and Mr Maise is going to marry or Dr John [looks like Jobe].  If you are do send for me, as I am all the gal maw has now I must begin to make my debut in a limited circle.  I can hardly realize that I am the oldest for I have always had an older sister to look up to but now it is root pig or die.  I can’t write to do any good in the school now.  We have some very nice girls.  Oh! Cal I have got one of the nicest sweet  hearts in Jefferson.  He lives in Georgia.  He is every thing that any one could wish.  His name is Mr Hunter.  If you could but see him.  Mother has very bad health this fall.  The rest are very well.  I have not time to write any more as my lessons are to get and say.  Do write to me soon and tell all the news.   I have not written any thing that will interest you in the least but just think it is from your cousin that loves you well.  Write soon to your cousin Mollie


In the default notice below it seems A.J. co-signed a very large $4000 loan which was defaulted upon.  Could this have influenced A.J. to go to California to get rich?



In the letter below from Mollie, Father (Patton Howell) has remarried after the death of his wife Nancy on Feb 7, 1858.  She had been ill for some time.  There is an interesting sudden death of an acquaintance due to disease.   Mortality must have weighed on people’s minds when sudden unexpected death was common.

Mossy Creek  Feb 5th, 1859

Dear cousin Cal

                                    I think you have treated me very badly, but I excuse you in some degree as I understand you are going to step off in another stage.  Well I thought I would write to you to come to see us before for I knew Will would claim all your time afterwards.  Pa is married to a very good woman & she has a daughter that you would like very much.  Sister Matt [Martha E. Howell Caldwell 1831-1908] & brother Edward (Matt’s husband Rev. William Edward Caldwell 1824-1885) has been up to see us and Sallie went home with them.  I would have gone but it has been such a short time since I was there and I would have stoped to see you if I had.  I do want to see you so much.  Salburn Sneed told me he saw you when he was down at home.  The Mossy Creek boys had a party the night before New Year and Mary Mills (that is my step sister) went.  We had a very pleasant time & got aquainted with a good many of the students.  Hannie Peck went and took sick the next morning and died the next Thursday.  The family are very much distressed.  There is some improvements on the Creek since you were here but I believe no one is married.  I was down at the fair and saw Elliot Holston.  He told me he had been down to see you.  Well I think you had but little to do to sit down and talk to him.  I think you had better been making your wedding night cap.  Brother Edward told me that Murrel was coming in a few weeks tell I am very glad indeed.  Now you have got to come with him.  I will listen to no excuse from you.  Pa says tell Aunt Nancy that he is married and living very happy and for her to come up and see his delicate little wife one hundered & 9_6, but she is better than she is little.  Sis must come with you.  I do want to see you all so much.  I will tell you all I know if you will just come up.  Now do come before you settle down to be an old woman, for you know when you have a house full of children to take care of you will have no time (to) run about.  Well I will have to quit for I am going to write to some one else to night.  Write to me immediately and tell me when you all will be up and we will meet you at the depot.  My Ma says tell you all to come.  My love to all.

                                                                                                Your cousin                                                                                                                                         Mollie


The letter below from Mollie Howell to Cal comes with a mystery – what was the year?  Mollie is single and looking at this time. It is after 1858 because little Nan [Nannie D. Massengill 1858-?], Lockie’s daughter, is “fat as a pig”.  Julia Lillard is not married yet so this is before 1867.  This contains a wonderful story about the train spooking Mollies horse and a “little Negro boy” on the back falling off.

                                                                        Mossy Creek  May 29 [Approx 1859]

Dear cousin Cal

                                    I was not wishing to do evil for evil but I neglected writing to you longer than I had intended too but it is just treating you right.  We have had company evry day for three week.  I am just bored to death.  I had very pleasant company from Knoxville this last week, and where do you recon we were when they came?  Well Mother sent all over the place for us but could not find us until she went into the garden house and there we were.  You had aught to have seen us running.  We are going to have a picnic Satterday.  Wont you come up and go with us.  A very nice Virginian comeing after me and is going to bring his match horses and then I will cut a dash.   I presume I am up with you.  I have been getting some dresses too, and I sent to the North for a bonnet.  It is trimmed in white and is very pretty.  I think last week I got a brown riding flat and trimmed it in black lace and brown ribbon.  I guess I will have to confess it.  I have had a widower for a beaux and he was from Virginia but I have sent him a bug hunting.  I am so sleepy I will have to quit and finish tomorrow good night.

Good day,

                                    This has been the funniest evning perhaps.  Mary and I went up to the post office and when we started home we met the cars, so I had a little negro boy behind me and my horse started to run with me and the boy fel off.  All the boy came running to me and just lifted me off.  Wash say --   Miss Mary I thought I would get off for fear your horse would throw me after he had done been thrown off.  I will tell you all when you come up.  Dr. Massengill has gone to Texas so Lockie is a widow.  She is looking for him home next week.  She looks very bad this summer but little Nan is as fat as a pig and is so sweet.

There is nothing going on now on the that would interest a cat, but next week the boys examination comes off.  They are going to have four days. 

I do wish I could tell you something that would interest you.  Tell cousin Julia that she may hang up her fiddle about Billie Hoskins for Mary Mills has cut her out.  Just let me tell you Elliot Halston came up the other day and it was as much as I could do to treat him like a gentleman.  I do want to see you all so much.  You all seem so near to me because you were my Mothers relations.  If I go to Cleveland this fall I will stop and see you.  If not you must come to see me.  Do not treat me badly any more for I do love to get letters from you.  Give my love all and a little to Cal.

                                                                                                            Your cousin                                                                                                                             Moll Howell






Newton appears to be a very religious man– much of the letter below to Cal is about a week long prayer meeting.  His handwriting makes the many names difficult to transcribe accurately.


No 3.

                                                                                                Decatur, Tenn

                                                                                                Feb 18th 1859

D  Cousin,

            Your communication #2 has been recd some time since.  Would have answered sooner, but our examinations was on hand last week.  This week we have had a revival meeting at the courthouse.  We have had several conversions, among rehom [?] and the following person.  Grandma will know them.  Frank Taylor, James Sour binie [?], Sallie & Jermie, M Corlele [?], Dr. Everett, Jack Davis, Sattie Blevins, Samantha Blevins, Sis King, Lit Lenty, Little John Lillard, John Geienue [?].  We also have amoung the mourners G. C. Sandusky, Joshua Gein [???] Frank Gein [???], David Blevins, John Taylor, Buch & Bill Stewart.  Meeting commenced a week ago.  Will not break until Sunday.  You never saw a better meeting, all denomination are ingaged in it.  In my next I will write the final results of it.

            Our examination was an excellent thing indeed.  I was surprised to see what improvement the students had made.  There was prize awarded to T. J. Kiessell for the best original speech, to J M Quinn for the best declamation, to Sis King for the Best read Composition, Sophronia Robeson best speech for the Little Girls.

            I did heartily wish you was here.  I know you could enjoyed the Saises [?]  for it is you natural turn for something pure & elevated.  I sincerly hope you will suceed in quelling your thirst for mirth & gaity untill you can be satisfied of your forgivness & have you peace with our God.

I would have been up for Grand Ma before now, but the weather has been so bad I have not even been out of town in a month.  Dr. J. M. S. has moved to Goodfeild to try his hand in the farming line.  Uncle Jack Lillard is thought to be some better but we have little hope of him recovering.  I hope he may.  He seems to want to recover so bad.  Tell G Ma some of us will be up for her when the road get so we can get along with a vehicle (?).  I would be glad she was here now.  Tell her we have letter from Bro W. C. L.  He writes that they are all well and becoming more satisfied with the Country every month. 

Now Cal you have slandered me and mine with your comparison to one of the feathered tribe.  Also of the Biped spesei resembling man in Pedal extremities only.  Remember 2, you must retract your comparison and uses a more pleasent figurs.  Our school commences the last Monday in this month.  Come down and go to school for what fun there is in it.  I know you would not Learn much from the fact the ??? would have all goin time.  I must close before I stuppify you with so much nonsense—

                                                                                                            Your Cousin truly






Now back to the Philadelphia Lillard’s.  Murrell (Augustus Murrell Lillard 1838-1864) was a carpenter, and the note below is calling him to work. 


                                                                                                            Knoxville Tenn

                                                                                                            May 20 1859

Dear Murrel

                        I drop you a line in great haste.  You must be at the Post Office on Monday and you will get another letter from me which will tell you when to come though you will have to come Monday night.  I will write you again Monday and tell you where to stop as it may be we will do a job at Concord before we work here.  Attend the office on Monday and if my letter happens not to come you must wait till you hear though my letter will not fail to go straight.  Be ready to come Monday night.  If you don’t hear wait till you do hear.  I have been doing all I can to make things work right but make slow progress.  I write to Joe by this mail --- to Sweet Water.

                                                                                                            Respectfully yours                                                                                                                  Thos W Marshall

Another call to work.  This sounds like the same job as the one above.


                                                                                                                        Knoxville Tenn

                                                                                                                        Sunday evening

D. Murrel

                        I drop you these lines in haste.  I have only 15 minutes to go on.  I have just got back from the country and only have this to say, come on Monday night.  I will be at the depot in this place to meet you on Monday night.

            So yourself and Joe come Monday night.  If you cant come Monday night come Tuesday.

            I sent you an order to Mr. Snead for money to come up on.  Give Joe enough to pay his way up.  I have been traveling and my money is out.  Tell Mr. Snead the circumstance.

                                                                        Yours Respt etc.

                                                                        T .W. Marshall


Tho. Marshall is visiting at the farm in Philadelphia with Fnip [?], Anna, and Francis.  He writes this letter to Murrell and Joe with more instructions on painting a house in Knoxville.  The Lillard’s have not heard from Jack or Wash yet but it is not known where they are.  The date is not given - perhaps 1859 if this is the same job as the previous letter. 


                                                                                                Sweetwater  11th July

Dear Murrel

            I will drop you a line or two to let you know that I will not be up till thursday as I have to be in Knoxville on thursday.  I will come up wednesday night and I wish you to tell Mr Henry that I will look for him in Knoxville on that day and will come out with him.  I mean Esquire James Henry.  Fnip [?] Anna and Francis willl stay till next week.  You can come down on Sunday if you like.  You can go on and get as much of the plain painting done as you can so we can get off on Saturday.  You can paint the porch as I told you.  After you get the boxing done have the varnishing done.  Be sure to have enough oil in it.  That furniture that they want varnished you prepare your varnish with turpentine alone.  Give it a good coat and let it stand till I come.

            We all spent the day yesterday at your house had a fine time.  We will all go to Loudon tomorrow to a party tomorrow night.  You must have all things done you can so we can get down on Saturdays train.  My pen won’t write so I must quit.  Joe you must keep things right on your part till I come up.  Look for me on Thursday evening.

            Your mothers folks are all well.  They have not heard from Jack or Wash yet.  Maggie and Duck are well.

            I can’t get this cursed pen to write so I quit.

                                                                                                            Yours etc. etc.

                                                                                                            Tho. W. Marshall



The 1860 Federal Census for the Lillard’s   4th Civil District   Monroe County

Nancy Lillard is 51 and a farmer.  She owns $2000 of real estate and her personal estate is valued $5000.  6 children live with her.   AJ is a laborer, WW is a carpenter.  The rest are also listed as laborers, including Caroline, Murrell, Julia and Jos. B.

The Slave Schedule says Nancy owns 4 slaves, a 70 year old woman, a 42 year old woman, (probably Amy from the bill of sale above), and two men aged 44 and 28.  There is one slave house.


The closer neighbors include Anna Grason and W.B. and Malinda Grason families,  F.M. and Malissa Pennington, Danl and Eliz Ragan family, and Mary Martin family.



1860 Federal Census for the Howells - Jefferson County, Tenn.

Patton Howell is 54 and listed as a manufacturer and machinist. He owns $18,000 of real estate and his personal estate is $25,000.  Inflation from then until now is about 30X so his worth is about $1,300,000 in today’s dollars.  Living with him is S.R. female age 54 who must be his second wife, Ellen Goodman - age 90, Mary O Mills - age 17, Margaret J. Howell - age 21, LP Howell - age 13 - female.  Also JM Howell - age 11 - male, William S Davis- age 31- a farmer, and GW Cook - male - age 27.


From US census Slave schedules, Patton Howell owns 23 slaves and step daughter Mary O Mills owns four.





Mossy Creek  Jan 18th 1860

Well Cousin Murrel

                                    I was so glad when I received your letter.  I allowed you would think me such a bold chap you would not write to me; but you know I am an independent scamp anyway: doing just as I please and thinking no more about it.  We are all well except five of the darkies, down with the mumps.  I tell you, we are in a bad fix aren’t we?  I have so much from this winter Christmas week you know.  I was at sisters and I tell you I had some of the fun ever since I come home.  I have just been seeing a fine time going to singing of Saturdays and cutting up in general.  I am going tomorrow.  Stop over and see how we all do.  It wont take you long for you can come as fast as a dog a trotting on the cars.  Well Murrel I have got one of the prettiest sweetheart you ever saw.  He keeps fooling around me so much I am getting tired of him.  He comes down almost every Sabbath and stays until Monday.  I must describe him to you.  He is about 5 ft in height and almost as large as Ma white hair light blue eyes and I tell you is a beaty besides.  His daddy says Sallie will make John a good wife if he can get her.  I guess it will be if he can get her sure enough.  Well I am mighty tired to night as I have been baking pies and custards to day.  Aint it a wonder such a lazy person as myself should get into the kitchen! But I don’t care as my sugar-duck will get part of them. Lottie Watkins, Mattie, Lea, Mrs Dodson, Emily Caldwell, Gridean [?], Samuel, Rufus C., Lochie & Dr Massengill were all out here and spent the day last Tuesday.  Mattie, Mrs Dodson, & Lottie staid until the next day.  Murrel if you don’t come out this spring I don’t know what I shall do with you.  Well I must quit and write to my sweetheart.  Give my love to all & tell them to come up.  Write when you get ready.

                                                                        Your cousin affectionately

                                                                        Sallie Howell




The Ragon (or Ragin, Ragan, or Reagan) name appears in several letters.   The Ragon’s were neighbors and cousins by marriage to the Lillard’s.  The letter below from Willie Ragin to Cal also contains some letter writing practice salutations and signatures.  I guess Willie is in school and learning proper letter writing.  It is best to not waste paper.


Decatur Tn

                                                                                                Jan 21st 1860

Cosin Cal I recived your letter some time sinc and had not time to write you .  We have had some parties & injoyed our selves very much.  I would like to have had you hear Cosin James Lillard was married yesterday to Miss Martin & is expected home to day.  I wish you wer hear and we wold gown thar and hav some fun for I can hav so much fun with you.  Cosin Cal I wish you wold come down and see us all for I cannot leav to come to see you.  Tell Jane that she is not in urnes [?] for I do like hear but Calie not make hear bleau.  Tell your folks howdy from me.  So write to San

                                                                                                            Your cosin

                                                                                                            Willie C. Ragin




               Washington Lillard also worked as a carpenter and was apparently successful enough to be considered a mentor for his cousin A.C. Routh from Cleveland who wants to learn the trade.                                                                       

February the 27th 1860

State of Tennessee  Bradley County

Dear Cousin     I seet my self down to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well at this time hoping that thes few lines may find you in saying the same blessing.  Wash I under stand that you are a carpinter by trade and are folowing the buisness regular.  I want to learn the trade.  I have work at the buisness pretty well all this winter and I like the buisness very well and if you want a hand write to me and I will come and see you.  If you want to hier me by the month write to me what you will give or if you want me to set in as a printis [apprentice].  Write to me what you will give and how long I will have to work.  Write to me as soon as these few lines comes to hand.  So no more at presant but remain yours trule.

A.C. Routh

Washington Lilerd

Direct your letter Cleveland





The love poem below appears to be signed by Cal but it also seems to be addressed to her. It does not look like her handwriting.  It comes from Florida and I don’t know of Cal ever going there, so it seems likely that this was from an admirer who did not sign it.  Cal seems to be quite the heart breaker. When will she marry?


Monticello Florida                              March 5 1860


To Carrie

Sweet Carrie wilt thou think of me

When music tones are round thee trilling

With a soft gushing melody

Thy gentle heart with rapture filling


O let my voice like that loved strain

Touch in thy heart the chords of feeling

Like long hushed music breathed again

By zephyrs over wind harp stealing


Sweet Carrie wilt thou think of me

When friendships flowers are around thee wreathing

And loves delicious flatteries

Within thy ear are softly breathing


O let my friendship in the wreath

Though but a bud amid the flowers

Its sweetest fragrance round the breath

Twill serve to sooth thy weary hours


Sweet Carie wilt thou think of me

Ar should we ever by fate be parted

Wilt thou embalm my memory

The memory of the loveing hearted


Oh let our spirits then unite

Each silent eve in sweet communion

Out thoughts will mingle in their flight

And Heaven will bless the secret union


[Below in a different hand]

Farewell ye gilded follies welcome ye silent graves

I love to wander through the fields to see the vegetable world spring into life

To gaze upon the beauties with God hans a


                                                [Original hand]  Miss Caroline Lillard




The Taliaferro’s of Loudon Tennessee were friends of the Lillard’s of Philadelphia.  AJ knew a Mr. Charles Taliaferro in California – he may have traveled to California with him.  AJ married Samantha C. Taliaferro (1847-1914).  There are many references to Taliaferro’s sending their regards to the Lillard’s in the letters.   In the letter below Mark H. Taliaferro proposes to Cal in as fine and polite and well written fashion possible – but he never mentions love.  He is probably Samantha’s Uncle – Mark Hardin Taliaferro (1824-??  See Woodward family tree).  This would make him 36 years old - Cal was 25 at the time.   Cal did not marry him. Talk about hard to get!

Hackberry Roane Cty   June 6th 1860

            Miss Cal;

                                    I have been studying some time about the subject You lectured me on and I have come to the conclusion to take Your advice.  Now Madam, I know of no one that would fill my bill better than Your self and I ask what You would have to say to it.  I know that most young Ladies object to letters, but I am so situated that I cannot well make my wishes known otherwise.  I have made two attempts to get to your house, but failed each time.  I aimed to be there at meeting, also last Satureday, but I was not there as you know.  Cal, you will be sure to be surprised when you get this, yet things come upon us mortals unawares at times.  I do not ask you to think all of me, but to consider my case and make whatever disposal of it you see proper or think best.  I do ask it of You (and it is just) not to let any person know anything about this letter, unles you wish the advise or counsel of Your Mother about it.  If so it is propper to consult a paret on all occasions; but let no other one know anything about it.

            Now Madam if I did not have all confidence in You, I am sure You would not receive this from me.  Some may dream of love stories, build castles in the air, but alas Madam they are not the objects of this life; be assured that there is a reality in every step we take and there is a destiny that awaits every mortal being, and we must spend this life in some manner.  Well did the poet say- “It is not all of life to live nor all of death to die”.

            But Cal, I may be trespassing on You feelings.  You can see the object of this letter.  You know whether it corresponds with Your feelings or not.  If it does not return it to me at Hackberry or Loudon.

            Be assured that it is prompted by the best of feelings, and it would afford me the greatest pleasure to have You reciprocate, yet I must bow to Your will and good pleasure, in doing so I will submit as kindly as possible and never have the least hard feeling if I am treated as a gentleman should be, which I am sure you will do.  I am an excitable being but I have endeavored to be as calm as possible under my present feelings and circumstances.

            Answer or return soon so as to releave my anxiety.  I am not versed in the step I am making but You will know this when You received this.

                                                                        Remains You obedient Servant                                                                                                Mark H. Taliaferro


Mark Taliaferro was not Cal’s only suitor.  The man below does not match Mark T’s standards of letter writing, but it’s good for a contrast and a few laughs!  The date is not given.

State of Tennessee       Monroe Cty

Dear Miss Caroline

We now take the pleasure of informing you that we have to acknowledge that we never knew what love was before we fell.  Sorry that we are in love so strong and find that we are so much by ourselves we honestly and candidly and conciencly think if you would Just tell that gim boy to not come any further than the crosslanes.  We have a bill that we hope that we get it to pass both houses in next cession of congress to that efect.  We send those be ??? we think more of you than any boddy else.  Please respond to this for we was as umble as we knowed how to be.  If you had been here you could have seen us down on our knees in the umble manner that we knew how but.  We have a little interest in the lead mines.  We don’t esteem that so high as one that can make our cotes.

Rose is red and vilet blue  shugar sweet and so are you  if you love us as we love you  kow knife can cut our love in two.  Please Miss Caroline don’t treat these few lines with contemp but send us a few .


Nogar. A. W

Nac. D. W




This love poem lists no date or name.  It was most likely to Cal since she saved it.  The handwriting is beautiful, almost calligraphy.  Someone took great pains in writing his feelings down.


Tis Midnight now; the hour is dark,

And sad this heart of mine;

Yet still a thought of thee, dear one,

Comes like a spell divine.

Though loved ones round me sometimes sing

Sweet songs of melody,

Much dearer is the thought that brings

Sweet memories of thee.


I love to think of thee, dear girl,

At this impressive hour,

When birds have hushed thier songs, and sleep

Beneath the shady bower,

When brightly shines the twinkling stars,

And dance in merry glee;

O, then it is in rapturous strains

I love to think of thee.


I ever love to think of thee,

At morning, noon and night,

And never would I have you stray

One moment from my sight.

Yes, fondly will I ever think

Of one so dear to me;

Through good and ill, in weal or woe,

I’ll fondly think of thee.


O, may sweet dreams, both pure and bright,

Attend thy gentle sleep;

May guardian angels round thee watch

And holy vigils keep;

And soft as heavenly dew descends

Upon the sleeping flower

May peaceful dreams impart to thee

One thought of me this hour.



Letters mailed out usually do not return to the place of origin.  However the two letters below from Wash to Cal and back again are one of the few exchanges found in the Little Tin Box. Wash has left home for several months to do some carpentry in the Cleveland area.  Cal wants to buy a melodeon.  A melodeon (also known as a cabinet organ or American organ) is a type of 19th century reed organ with a foot-operated vacuum bellows, and a piano keyboard.


June the 10th 1860

Sister Call

                        As I have just returned from the mountain or from the huckle berry pach rather, I though I would drop you a few lines.  We have had a fine bate of berries this morning though they are not as ripe as they will be in a week or ten days but what is ripe is very fine.  I have seen them as large as a common size cherry.  They grow much larger here than they do up their.

            I was taken with a chill the Monday morning after Jess left here and was for two weeks I could not woork or eat any thing.  I did not have but the one chill though, think I had a slight attact of the fevor sallivated myself and had the sorest mouth you ever seen.  Could not eat any thing but a little soup.

            Call Max tells me that you want that malodian.  I want you to see mother about it and see what she says about it and send me word.  I think I can get it for less than $20 Dollars if you want it.  It is about the sise of the one that the Ballies had and the notes are all good.

            We will get through here this week and then we have about two months woork of repairing to do at John Chesnutts before I come home.  Say to mother or the boys to save every straw of the weete and clover for it is going to be hard times this year.  Clevelands folks are all well and the people generaly are in good health.

            I have nothing more of interest to write to you more than I want you to write to me what to do about the malodian and how the weete and clover is.

Write soon    Your brother       W. W. Lillard




Philadelphia, Tenn

                                                                                                            June 25th, /60

Dear Brother,

                        I received your letter more than a week ago and never attemed to answer it til now.  All well up this way accept Murrell he is mopeing about today a little.  They are just finishing the wheat this evening.  It is very thin but what there is is splendid.  The heads are large and full and large grain.  The corn looks well too and is growing fine.  Jesse can tell you that and our clover is as good as I have ever seen any where.  The boys have not cut much of it yet, going to commence again to morrow.  In fact every thing looks well.

            Wash you ought to come up the fourth of July.  They are going to have the biggest time you ever heard of.  Going to be two shows in Philadelphia that day.  I suppose it is the best show that has ever been here yet.  We have been at two examinations this spring, one at Mt harmony and Sweetwater.  We had a pleasant time at Mt harmony.

            Now respecting that Melodion, I can’t say any thing about it only I wish I had it.  Mother, you know; is not willing to get it but might be if could play on it.  She says there’s no use in spending money for that, but could you not get it yourself on condition that I could play on it.  I know I could play some on it and if I had one a while I can old some tell.

            If you get sick or accint any thing you must let us know.  We have not had any letter from Jack in three months and says he has not received any from us.  We heard from him two weeks since he was well and satisfied as he could be out there.  You can answer this if you wasnt to come home as soon as you can.

                                                Your sister affect—ly

                                                M. C. Lillard




I know the first name of Zoro seems unlikely but it really looks like it.  Handwriting is always a difficulty and signatures are the worst.  Letters between the genders were always exceedingly polite but between the young men there are some earthier lines here and there.   You may be amused by Zoro’s wish to squeeze Mag L’s titties in the second letter.




Memphis Tennessee                     March 17 1861


            Mr Murrell Lillard

Dear friend I take the pleasure of writing you a few lines to in form you that I am well at present and I hope when these few lines comes to hand that they will find you enjoying the same blessing.  I have nothing of much intrust to write.  Times ar very hard hear now money is hard to git.  I will be up in a bout 6 weeks from now.  This plase is to sickly for me in warm weather.  I would like to hear from you and hear all the newse that has past since I last write .  Give me a history of the girls and boys / who has marred and who has not.  There is too meny folks hear that wants to marry.  I want you to go on and squeese the gals for you love it I now.  So you aught to go down to Loudon and stay a week or too with them.  Tell I gollies to spread him selfe for you now that it dos him lots or good.  Write sone.  So no more only I remain yours very respectfully.

                                                                        Zoro B Hamrick.




Memphis Tennessee  April the 13  1861

Murell kind old friend

                        Dear sir I now drop you a few lines in answer to yours of the 5 wich has been at hand for several days .  I am well fat and sasey.  I hope these few lines will find you enjoying Bat Creek in all its glorys and just give them thunder and threaten them of me.  Times ar confounded hard hear.  You will bet I am going to leave hear as sune as I git my money.  I come up and healp you squire the girls oh & I was so sorrow when I heard Sale [Sallie] and Martha had marred.  I did not now what to do for they could of don so well by takeing you and I dont you say so yes by grascius oh & how I would love to see Mag L and squese them tittes of hers.  I be with them be fore long and give them hail colluilary [?].  I pursume that Fid and Wash are on there way to California by this time.  I wish them grate suckseess in thei r trip.  I would like to be there to of went with them.   I have nothing of importaince to write.  I am boarding with one of your kindreds mom from Meggs county Thomas R Rogers so nothing more only I remain your affectionate friend.

                                                            Zoro B. Hamrick




Chapter 3    A.J. Lillard and the Gold Rush


Andrew Jackson (AJ) Lillard was the only brother from Philadelphia that missed fighting in the Civil War.  He succumbed to Gold Fever and left for California with several friends in 1858.  This was almost as risky as going to war.  The trip to California was by 2 horse wagon through Washington D.C. and on to New York, steam ship to Cuba, then Panama.  At Panama travelers went overland at the isthmus and boarded another ship on the west coast and then on to San Francisco.  This letter home describes the beginning of AJ’s trip.  You can share the wonder of a Tennessee farm boy off on the adventure of his life.



Direct your letter to Courthouse Hotel No. 28 New York

                                                                                                                        New York

                                                                                                                        April 4th 1858

Dear Mother

            I seat myself this morning for the purpose of giving you some idea of how we are getting along.  We arrived here Friday morning.  We got along fine except coming through Bulls Gap where we had quite a hard time of it.  We travel all night in two horse waggon.  We prise out every few miles.  I did not sleep a bit for three days and nights but I seen so much to excite my attention that I did not feel a bit weary.  There was a ship started for San Francisco Friday and one tomorrow but we could not git tickets to go on either as there was all sold.  We went yesterday and bought tickets on the steamer Philadelphia but we will not start untill the 17th Inst.  We will be compell to stay here for two weeks yet.  Our bord will cost $9.00 per week our tickets for 2nd cabbon cost $175.00.  Some of our Boys tuck stearage cost $115.00.  I will go 2nd cabbon.  By the time I leave New York I will have but little or no money.  The cause of pasage being height and hard to procure is because there is no opposition line now running.  I am disapointed and perplext when I found we could not git off the 5th.  I was verry ancious to make my trip as speedy as possible.  New York is a great place to spend time and money.  There is everything in the world to see and to spend money for.  I will have to stay without doing much of the later as I have not got it to spend.  I will write you again before I leave the city.  Give my complement to Jo and Jane.  Except for yourself the best wishes of your son.


(Continued on the same sheet)


Dear Broths and Sis

                      I will attempt to give you a short history of my trip to New York but I cannot give you much as I have seen more than I ever seen in all my life.  If I had a week I could not tell you all.  As I have said something about Bulls Gap I will begin at Bristol which is a small place.  We past over wooded country some two hundred miles passing the grandest scenries that nature ever produced.  In going on we would pass through deep tunnels and over height bridges some 100 feet height 1/2 miles long.  Then the most beautiful valleys about ½ mile in width then would the lofty peaks of the Allegany Mountains shoot up to the height of 3 miles passing through the Alleganies nearly all day and got to Linchburg at 8 Oclock P.M.  Thence to Richmond after night so I could not see much of the country.  Richmond is a small City.  It has Washington Statue on Horse, twise as large as life on a monument 40 feet height.  We then came on to Washington City.  About 60 miles of our way on the Potomac River which is 6 miles wide.  Passed Mount Vernon on the way.  We was at Washington one hour and went in the capitol which is a mammoth Bilding of marble.  We came on to Baltimore it is a fine City.  We passed Phil at night and could not see much but of all the cities New York beets all.  I do not know where or how to begin to discribe it.  I mite write all day and then could not tell half.  Just imagine a city 10 or 15 miles square with a population 6 or 8 hundred thousand with as many hacks dray and buggies all passing too an fro.  I can go on Broadway any time and see 5 thousand persons at once.  It is difacult to pass the pavment 10 feet wide on both sides while the streets just as ful of hacks and drays you would think it inposable for them to pass.  I was in Barnums Musium where there was ever thing in the world to see from a nat to the elephant as natural as life and also a woman that weighted 750 pounds and a living skeleton that weighted 50 lbs.  The theatre was going on in there I thought was well acted.  I have been to Christol Palace.  It is a Magnifficint building with a slender fram being mostly Glass and very large.  Close to it is the great basin or water works which surplies the hole city with water.  It is the greates place to swindle in world.  I will give a little curcumstance that two of our Boys got into.  They were walking down the street and was call on to walk in and see the greates animal in the world half horse and half man with its tail where its head ought to be.  The boys paid there quarter went in and found old pore horse with his tail tide to the rack.  We have had quite jolfication with the Boys about it.  I have not much more paper and must devote that to something better than my sceins here for I know I will be very tired of them before we leave.

Call you must write to me as soon as you git this and write in time to git here before the 17th.  Give my complement to all inquireing friends and especialy the Girls.  Tell them I hope some of them will think enough of me to write when I git to California.  I guess that I will write again before we start.  Give my respects to old sister Steav fill and Lady.  Tell Jo. If he goes to marry he must send me word.  My kindest wishes to you all.

A.J. Lillard


We have been talking of going some 10 mile in the country to bond do not know how it will be yet.




The letter below was written by A J Lillard to his mother Nancy (Routh) Lillard and Sister Cal upon arriving in California. 


Indians Diggings

May 27th 1858


Dear Mother

            You will no dout be expecting a letter by the time this reaches you.  I have not been in the country long enough to form a correct idea of how I will be pleased.   I think when I git settle at Buisnes that I will like the country.  It is the most pleasant climate in the world I have been here 10 days.  It is so cool that I have wore my coat ever day, except when I was at work.  I git $3.00 per day but cannot git work regular.  I intend to hire for a while and then will either work at my trade or by in to a mine.  The water will fail in about two months and then there is nothing done until next winter.  Math Inlain, Lan Clark and Jes Oeans has a claim that I think is paying from $6 to $10 per day.  I am camping with Jes Oeans it cost us $1.00 per day for eating and cook it our selves.  I have met with many Tennessee Boys that I was acquainted with Guese(?) Lee is Farming about 2 miles from here.  Jim (?) Grubb is about 2 Hundred miles distant Farming. Lichfield is here with Tilor Hesiskill minning.  Dick White and others too tedious to mention lives about 5 miles from here all mining.  Tell Mr. Crason that I have not seen anything of John.  If times don’t change here I think that I will go up to Nevada (Nevada City, Ca).  75 miles north of this wages is better and I would have better chance to git a claim.  I have had good health since I left home.  The Boys are scattered around here all well and working a day now and then.  I will not write again until I settle myself.  I will do that as soon as possible.  You must write to me by the return mail.  It is nearly twelve and I must git dinner.  Give my love to all the family also my respects to Jo and Jane and family and except for yourself the best wishes of a Son.    A. J. Lillard


Continued on same sheet

Indians Diggings

May 27th 1858

Dear Sister,

            We have just finished dinner.  It would do you well to see me cooking.   I could do pretty well if the dough did not stick to my hands so bad.  I git it of by sticking my hands in the flouer sack.  We have bred and beef Butter Syrrup tea and coffee and some milch by bying at 75 cts per Gal, beef 20 ct per lbs. Bacon 30 ct lb Butter 75 cts lbs.  Washing is height 23 cts a peace if nothing more than Hankerchief so I went down to the spring yesterday and tride my hand at washing a few articles. I don’t know much about washing.  I will tell how I done.  I warm some water.  Soap and rold the close about in it then boild them 15 minnits then twisted and rung them through another water then rench and hisor them out to dry.  Call (Cal?) I want you to tell the girls if they wish to marry a good cook  jest wait until I return and they can git one, for I can learn.  I went to take the coffee pot of the fire & the handle was hot & I let go without any body telling me and spilt all the coffee.

Call you would like to hear something of my trip.  I wrote to Mother from Havanah in Cuba.  I guess she got in due time but I will begin with my start at New York which was a fine evening the ship sailed.  I let Thos. Holston have my ticket 2 cabon for Forward, & of all the miserable food we had it.  The bread was so hard it would fly between you teeth like glass & the meat our dog in Tennessee would not eat it.  The water we had was not fit for a hog to drink.  How offtimes did I wish for a Glass of milch & a peace of corn bread and water that we have at home, although I got along pretty well was not sea sick a minnet the hole way.  We was 13 days going from New York to Aspenwall (Aspinwall is now Colon, Panama) the night we got in Aspenwall there was a schooner run against our ship and reck it.  There was 16 in the crew all got on our ship the schooner sunk in five minnits.  We cross the ishmust in 3 hours & got on the ship the same day about 160 (1600?) pasengers.  It was so warm that I surfed (suffered) with heat until about 3 day run of Sanfrisco then it was so cold that I could not keep warm with all the close I had.  Call I cannot write half that I would like to tell you now,  You must write to me as soon as you git this and give me all the news,  My love etc.   A. J. L.





Around 6-1858  ---  Cal’s reply  to AJ Lillard in California


Mother says for you to write how you are pleased and if you are satisfied (that is, when you are there long enough) with the country no difference what your circumstances are.  It seemed very hard for you to be doing your cooking washing and every thing else.  I wanted to be there to help you when I read your letter.  I hope you won’t have to do that all the time, will you?  The girls all sympathise with you greatly they were all glad to receive your compliments and with seeming pleasure return the same especially Miss Cal Clevelangd.  She says tell you if you please, as a friend, write to her and give her a description of California and its scenery if it has any.

            There has been several girls here since you started and oh, how I miss you.  It seems if I go to church you ought to be there or any where else.  I suffered a great deal uneasiness about you when a storm would come up thinking it was the same where you was.

            Sis says give you her love and of course we all send love to you.  Mr Ragan and Jane, send their love.  Mr. Ragan says you promised to write to him and you didn’t do it.  Now Jack, I’ll close my letter and for my sake write me all.



(Continued on the same sheet)



I know you will always retain that noble principle you possess


“Accept these lines my Brother dear

They’re from your sister true

Though far from sight in memory dear

I oft remember you


I think of thee, at twilight hour

When all is hushed to rest

It is my wish and fond desire

That you’ll be doubly blest


I long to see you home once more

Among your friends to roam

Make haste from California’s shore

To greet your friends at home


But if we meet no more on earth

Where friendly ties are riven

Oh; let us seek that precious worth

And try to meet in heaven


Your friends are well and happy yet

And so are all at home

Your absence we can never forget

We long with you to roam


Fare thee well my Brother for a while

May pease to you be given

If n’er on earth I see you smile

Oh let us smile in heaven


Your Sister Cal





There is a gap of over 2 ½ years in correspondence with AJ at this point. This letter is from AJ to his brother Wash (William Washington Lillard) about the prospects if he were to come to California.  Note that AJ did follow through with his early plans to move to Nevada City, Ca as expressed in his letter of 5-27-1858



Nevada [City] Cal

Feb 24th, 1861


Dear Bro


            You wish to know how long I intend to stay here and what could be done here now.

            I am not prepared to give a definite answer on either.  It is my intension now if I git my business settle up to suit me that I will go home next summer or fall but a man cannot tell when he will git off.  As for telling you what you could make here I cannot do but will tell you as near as I can the prospects and leave you to be your own judge.  If I should advise you to come out here and you was not satisfied with the country you would blame me with you being here.  I am well pleased with this country.  It is very healthy and the show for making money is much better than any state in the Union thought we are crowded with men and it is often hard to git work.  That was one thing I was disappointed in when I came here.  I found it hard to git work and giting work is not all.  The next thing is his pay.  I have lost three hundred dollars since I came here.

            Wages is three dollars per day but I think will soon be down to $2.50 per day.  I am giving $3.00 but not hiring many hands.  If you have the rheumatic pains yet mining would not suit you for a man mining is out in all the bad stormy weather and probly in the water for two feet deep.  Carpenters git $4.00 per day here but I don’t think he could git steady imployment as I see many carpenters here that don’t follow the business.  A man here to make money must be saving and indoustrous and keep a strick gard over himself from drinking and gambleing which is very tempting as a great many here follow both.  A good and scientific fiddler gits from 5 to 8 dollars per night and some of them the year round.  Grubb is cheap here to what it has been.  Flower $4.00 per chot  beef 12 and 15 cts per lb   pork 20 cts per lb and ever thing else in proportion.  It cost me about $3.00 per week to live and do my own cooking.

            Wash you must use your own judgment about coming out here and if you ever come you must come with the calculation of staying ten years.  Fortune is not made here now like it use to be in one or two years and there is thousands of men here that don’t make any thing but many of them it is there own falt not in the country.  I think if you are a good carpenter and git regular work you could do nearly as well at home as you could here.  I never have regreted coming here and think it was a lucky thing for me that I did come.  I have made a good deal more money than I could at home but I have had better luck than most of the boys.  You may think this does not give the information you wanted but I don’t know what else to say.


Write soon,

A.J. Lillard


Charls Taliferro says there is a good show now at Pike Peak for a young man.




Wash apparently decided against California.  Instead he joined the Confederate army but his records are confused with several others with the same name.  He probably joined the 5th Regiment Tennessee Cavalry (McKenzie's), Company CI, as a 2nd lieutenant and left as a Captain.

            There is another long lapse in correspondence with AJ at this point; almost 3 years.  Letter delivery from California was probably nearly impossible during the Civil War.  Look for more from AJ near the end of the war.
Chapter 4     The Civil War


The Confederates fired the first shots on Fort Sumter on 4-12-1861.


Margaret J. Harrison was born while the civil war raged and her future husband fought on the battlefields of a divided nation.  22 years later she married him; Joseph Berry Lillard (1843-1920), 20 years her senior, the editor’s great grandfather.  Joseph fought for the North.  He was a private in Co. D 11th Regt. Tenn. Cav.  He luckily never faced his two brothers who fought for the Confederacy.


Here is a fine example of the division between friends and of the rising rancor between North and South.  LM Blackman sounds like a union sympathizer but he is writing to his friend Murrell who is a confederate sympathizer.  There are some violent incidents going on in Knoxville at this time.



Knoxville, Tenn. May 5th, 1861


Friend Murrell

I arrived in Knoxville safe.   Found my brother well and have been at his house. Ever since my arrival I have not been to see the Monroe County volunteers but design going to morrow. I have seen several of them strolling about the streets. Those I have seen appear to be not a little dissatisfied with the condition they have placed themselves in.  Ed Cook left here for home yesterday.  I do not know that I have any news or war items that you will not have heard before this letter reaches you.  The Administration at Washington is rapidly concentrating troops in that city. Southern troops to the number of between fifteen hundred and two thousand have been dayly passing here since my arrival, on their way to Richmond.  The troops rendezvoused in this city are expecting marching orders just a few days. There is a healthy Union sentiment in this place. The secessionists are doing their utmost to crush out the Union spirit in East Tenn.  They ignore arguments altogether and hope to attain their ends by menace and intimidation.  C. H. Crozier addressed the Knoxville Guards yesterday.  He is the secession ajax of East. Tenn.  He said that the Union party would be tolerated but little longer.  Johnson he said could fill his list of appointments and then he must be silenced.  He could not be allowed to again take his seat in the Federal Congress and into appropriations in support of the Lincoln government. He intimated that Brownlow [William Gannaway "Parson" Brownlow] and other leading Union men of this city would be forced into the support of their damnable secession heresay.  As matters now stand they indicate that a deplorable state of things awaits this country’s future. A reign of terror will be inaugurated just as soon as the secession party acquires a permanent predominancy.  Nelson was menaced by a secessionist rabble at Concord.  I did not learn this by report but saw it with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears. The moment he stepped from the car he was assailed. with threats to hang him tar and feathers and etc.  As the cars moved off I heard Nelson say gentleman just try it if you wish.  When the train with the Alabama troops on board arrived here two of them went to take down a Union flag which floated near the depot. They had it lowered about half way when a young lady living near by ran and caught hold of the rope and by the aid of her brother who came running to the spot with a loaded gun the boys were compelled to desist and were also obliged to beg the Brother not shoot .

I have not time to write you more at present.  I have written hurridly, excuse blunders

                                                Your friend

                                                L M Blackman

Your  friend

L. M. Blackman

I should probably be at home Monday week.  Tell John P. or old Johny or William Clemmer to send a horse to Phila by Hugh on that day and I will pay them whatever is right.  Be certain to send me a horse.  If you cannot get me from those I have mentioned try Henry Sheets or John Lillard.

                                                                                                Yours etc.



Murrell is not at home.  More news and mayhem from Knoxville.


Knoxville  June 16th Sunday [1861]

Friend Murrill

            I write you currently (?) in compliance with agreement  to let you know that I have arrived in Knoxville Safe and sound etc.  I left Johnstons Mills Friday morning got to Phila about sunrise but the Pasanger Train failed to pass over the road that day on account of an accident which hapened 20 miles this side of Chattanooga of which you have probably heard.  I staid at your Mothers Friday night and came (?)  up Saturday morning.  Yesterday (Saturday) one of the soldiers was shot from Smileys Leagunears(?) Gallery where Will operates by Math (Matt?) Markham of Loudon who is also a volunteer.  The shot was fired at a man named Beard (?)  whith whom Markham had had difficulty with in Loudon not long since but hit the soldier who was with Beard.  The excitement it occasioned was unparalleled by anything I have ever witnessed.  As soon as it was ascertained from whence the shot proceeded a rush was made for the Galery but Markham had made his escape.  A search was imediately  instituted through the city which proved successful and Markham was lodged in Jail.  Had he been caught before he left the building I doubt not he would have been cut to pieces by the comrades of the soldier he had shot.

The Union convention meets at Greenville tomorrow.  Diferent conjectures are rife as to its probable action.

Andy Johnson has gone to Washington.  His route was via Cumberland Gap through  (???).  I shall probably be in readiness to start home two weeks from Monday.

            Keep your nose clean and your shirt on.

                        Your friend

                        L M Blackman



The letter below suggests Murrell is not yet in the Confederate Army.  He seems to be at White Cliff Springs for his health.  Other names associated with White Cliff Springs are Starr Mountain and Rural Vale.  After this time, there was a resort hotel at Starr Mountain called White Cliff Springs Hotel.  Thomas Howard Callaway died in White Cliff Springs per the Callaway association.  White Cliff Springs is 25 miles south of Philadelphia.  The nearest small town is Etowah.








                                                                                    White Clift Springs Tenn

                                                                                    August 4th 1861

Dear Mother

            Having an oppertunity of sending a letter to Madisonville I thought drop you a few line.  I came up last Friday was a week.  It is a great place up here for the girls & Boys to rip & run over the mountains.  I think I am improving some by the water.  I am getting so I can eat very well which is some since.  Tell Jar Reagan that there is not a vacant camp here that he could get.  All the camp are taken up and some are a building.  We have a large crowd here now.  There is about 200 persons here taking wimen & children and now a coming, and would be a great many more if they were camps for them to stay in.  Give my love to all the girls, tell Bro Jo that we would like to him up here, to play the Fiddle for us.

I liken to forgot.  Some of the people here wants to make me out a Lincoln Ite.  Write and give me all the news.

                                                                                                Your Son

                                                                                                A.M. Lillard


Here is another note from White Cliff Springs.  Murrell has found a camp site for more relatives.


            White Clift Tenn

                                                                                    August 16  61

Dear Sister

            In great haste I seat myself to drop you a few lines.   If you and Julia and Bro Joe Ragan want to come up to the springs, I have procured a camp for you.  If you are coming now is the time to come.  There s a great many here and more a coming.  Mr Cole this Mon.  I have been bording with Cift and I will get some place to bord till you come up.  Write to me soon.   I send this with Mr Runrtalis? He will be with you and Friday night send me word by him whether you are coming or not.  Be sure and come up.  We have a nice house?  I am in??? very much

                                                                                    Your Bro

                                                                                    A.M. Lillard

The letter below is from NJ Lillard to Cal from Manassas, Virginia, 25 miles southwest of Washington D.C.  NJ fought in the first battle of Manassas.  This letter was written between the first and second battles of Manassas.

In July 1861, the First Battle of Manassas – also known as the First Battle of Bull Run – the first major land battle of the American Civil War, was fought near here.

The Second Battle of Manassas (or the Second Battle of Bull Run) was fought near here on August 28–30, 1862. At that time, Manassas Junction was little more than a railroad crossing, but a strategic one, with rails leading to Richmond, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and the Shenandoah Valley. Despite these two Confederate victories, Manassas Junction was in Union hands for most of the war.



Newton Jackson Lillard in Uniform


Camp Walker Near

Mannassas Junction Feb 9th, 1862


Dear Cal,

            On my arrival in camp yesterday I found your welcome letter awaiting me.  I did intend calling on you but my time was taken up with the prep[?] of business until I was taken sick.  Then I could not travil, and when I made a break for home I was quit anxious to git back.  I found all the boys in tolerable health and in pretty fair winter quarters, and will be able to stand the winter much better than in tents.  Reinlistment in our regt. is progressing with some head way and the times indicate that some three hundred of our men will inlist. It engages the attention of leading men.  Outside of that we have no excitement whatever every thing is quit dull & dreary.  We cannot drill much nor is it very pleasant to have pickett duty to do.  My trip home was not pleasant being sick all the time.  I was there, and I could not enjoy my sweetheart Co[mpany?] much being an inviled all the time.  When the war is over I shall be glad to spend many happy hours with you all.  I shall try and do my duty whilst in the service so I shall be worthy of your association.

            Give my love to all.  Tell them I often think of them and would be very glad to [hear] from any of them.  I am sorry to that my woman has married at to a preacher.  At that well I shall grieve much or more than I can help.  I have been disappointed so often that I take these matter very easy.  Let me have a long letter from you.  Write often and do not regard the rules of etiquette in these troublesome times.

                                                                                    Ever your Cousin

N. J. Lillard


Murrell has joined the Confederate army in Bristol, Virginia and seems very happy with his new position as Sergeant of the Guard.  He must have just joined up.        

                                                                                                            Bristol Va

                                                                                                            April 8th / 62

Dear Mother

                        I drop you a few lines this evening that you may know where I am and that I am well and very well satisfied.  I got to Camp Supe [?] on Sunday evening after I left home.  Found cousin Pattons [Patton Howell of Mossy Creek] folks all well except Mollie.  She was complaining a little.  They seemed very sorrow that some of you did not come up with me a few days.  I got optun.. to come up.  I was deluted [?]  to this place for a Tower Garet, myself and twenty others.  I have command of the Gard.  We have a great time arresting men and pressing [confiscating] whiskey.  We arrested an old man yesterday for getting drunk and cocking a Pistol to shoot his daughter.  This morning we pressed two Barrels of whiskey and taken it to the Hospital for medical use.  We burried a young man the other day under the honors of war that was killed in the Skirmish near Kingston.  The people of Bristol are very glad that we are here to protect them & property and stop all the whiskey sellers.  I have got acquainted with some very nice Girls since I have been here and go around to see them every day.  Nothing more write soon.

                                                                                                            Your Son

                                                                                                            AM Lillard                                                                                                                             Segt of The Bristol Gard


Cal answers Murrells letter to their mother below.  Things are still going smoothly on the home front as Mother has just bought an expensive mare.

Philadelphia, Tenn.   April 15th 1862

Dear Brother

                        As you have written to Mother I will take it upon myself to answer your letter.  It found all well here.  Mr Ragans family have all had the Scarlet fever or something like it.  Nothing of importance astir now.  They still keep trying to run a draft in town but they postpone every Saturday evening.

            Mother has bought a fine mare of Jack Rausin, and gave one hundred and fifty dollars for her, a part of which he took Louies note in.  If you don’t mind some of those old fellows will get your bacon if you do not take care how you press their whiskey.

            I supose we need not look for you home soon.  I will write to Mollie when I send this.  Excuse bad paper and writing.

                                                                                    Affect’y your sister

                                                                                    M. C. Lillard



The letter below from NJ Lillard to his cousin, probably Cal, came from Big Creek Gap, which is near Lafollette about 60 miles NNE of Philadelphia.  See this link   http://www.tngenweb.org/campbell/hist-bogan/UnionatBigCreekGap.htm

The South had lost a skirmish here in March but it seems that the south has not been driven out completely.  The letter is damaged near the end and impossible to make out.   N.J. is currently a Captain in the Confederate army.                                                       


                                                                                                            Big Creek Gap

                                                                                                            May 15  1862

Dear Cousin

                        Your kind letter per John is to hand and contract noted.  I would have written (before?) this but I have been on the pad [road?] ever since I last wrote you and to day I have nothing with me except for a blankett & what cloths I have on.  So a light colered shirt is out of the question.  I do not know when I can come to see you but will do so when an opertunity offers.  I would be glad to spend several days and some over on fork Creek with Jennie gave her my respect.  Say to her I have often thought of her since out in the camps, but such a thing as courting & marring whilst this war last is out of the question.  I thank Julie for her compliments and hope her wish will never be so.  But the reverse that the termination of single schedness [?] may soon come and he be happily united to her who will be the many of ????? ???? ???? To us back however I may be an??? writing too far on this subject & will ????ist, when I can get any where I will write you a long letter. Send love to all and except for yourself the love of your aff’ct cosin.

                                                                                    N.J. Lillard.


Murrell is still Sergeant of the Guard in Bristol, Va.  In June there is a storm of arrest orders issued to Murrell by his superiors.



Your eyes may be tired from reading the arrest orders above, so I will transcribe the last one for you.  June 6th was a busy day for Murrell.


Headquarters                                                                                                                          Bristol June 6th 1862

Sergt Lillard


            You will arrest after to day June the 6th every Soldier who has not a furlough or leave of absense from his Commanding Officer and bring him before me.

                                                                                    To do this you will order out three men consisting of two privates an a corporal to be relieved every two hours during the day, and they to go any where within the limits of the towns of Goodson Va & Bristol Tenn

                                                                                    L R Sucar

                                                                                    Capt Commanding Post

                                                            & A. Q. M. [Adjutant/Quartermaster}



The letters below from NJ to Cal are from Grainger County in northeast Tennessee.  Grainger County contains Blaine’s Crossroads and Bean Station, the site of the battle of Bean Station in December 1863 – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Bean's_Station


Camp Taylor Grainger Co. (Tenn.)

July 3, 1862

Cousin Cal,

Tomorrow is the 4th of July and the anniversary of American Independence.  I would that we was as pure in national policy as then and hope we of the south will be for our struggle has been a noble and hard one so far.  Yes our kindred of the north. I have so too but experience has taught us a sad lesson as to their intentions.  The fight at Richmond has been a very stubborn one on both sides.  I conjecture that the loss will be very great as the fighting was so hard.  However we have not been driven back any in four days and presume for that fact we have whipped them badly,  Nothing but a total annihilation of our forces will effect our purpose. You from your tone of your last letter (are) giving up East Tenn.  It may be that we will have to fall back but I will give you my opinion that before the Yanks have full possession of Our Switzerland Home they will have to fight as hard as they have at Richmond  and then it will be doubtful whether they will get it or not.  I intend to stay in East Tenn. as long as a southern soldier can and hope I shall be able to give them many a hard blow.  I have been suffering severely for four days with my throat. I hope it will soon be well. If it gets much worse I will go to some hospital or home until it gets well etc……….

Dear and affect. cousin

N. J. Lillard


Below is another letter from NJ to Cal.  Murrell has not yet connected with NJ. They are in the same Brigade but different regiments.  NJ was promoted to Colonel in August 1862.  Murrell was only a private.

NJ always writes as if he were giving a speech, cheering the troops on.


                                                                                    Blains X Roads Tenn

                                                                                                Aug 2nd 1862


                        I again have the privilage of Pen Ink & paper and for fear that the opertunity will not be offered again soon I hasten to reply to yours of 17th instance.  We are as usual movable through ET staying at no point long at a time.  In view of which direct your letter to Knoxville.  They will be sent by courier direct to our Brigade.

            The fortunes of war are uncertain.  Indeed,  to day we are victorious to morrow beaten.  Notwithstanding all this I have considered well the points at issue between us have choosen and determined to cast my lot with the South.  She may have committed errors but none equall to the Fed goverments.  Past & present act & the Lord only knows what she will do in the future.  I see a recent order of the Fed sch of war ordering negros to be employed in the Federal army.  I suppose we will have them to fight against next.  Let the worst come the sooner the better.

The South is more united now than ever she was.  She has become more daring and err long I hope she will make a war of aggression upon the North.  Let it go home to them who has been the primary cause of all our troubles.  It may be possible that E. T. will be over run.  One settled point is that they will have hard fighting before they git it.  It is not possible that evry southern man shall perish.  Nay the havock will be north.  We can stand our own climate better than they.  We can fight as well or better.  We as a population all are willing to fight to death or obtain success whilst north it was popular to go the war with many it was a matter of necessity.  So you can see the different levers of Power & ready determined which is the most Potent.

Yes if our government was pure and actuated with deer observance of the Constitution as of 1776, never would I shoulder a gun only in defense of her rights.

Frank arrived safe in camp though a little scared.  We are trying to make out army as effective as possible.  Liner [?] we must keep our men to their past.  We will go to Fork Creek some of this day & see the galls & boys.  I have no idea of this war lasting always.  You know I am gitting too old to go in to buisness again.  I must in any event get me a wife the first thing when the war is up.  So look out.  I could tell you many interesting & funny incidents that has happened whilst I have been in E.T. and more occuring evry day.

            When are you going to get married.  I should like to be posted a letter if I am worthy of so great a confidince from you.  If I was engaged I could not rest untill I had informed you of it. (No. I would not you would not place any confidince in it)

            Give love to all and except for your self so much as seemeth good to thee.

                                                                                                            Ever your Cousin

                                                                                                            N.J. Lillard

P.S.  I have had no news from Murrel.  I suppose he is some where along the rail road.  That regiment belong to our Brigade but has not come to us yet.



In the letter below James Helton proposes to Cal.  The penmanship is fairly good but poor spelling makes the transcription difficult.  James is certainly not up to Cal’s literary standards.  Cal’s wish to remain single until the end of the war might be an excuse.

                                         Knoxville September the 7th 1862

Miss Cal Lillard

I seat my selfe to drop you a few linnes after dwelling for some time opon the subject whish I shall bring your recollection.  It was this.  During my short conversation wee had together before the train cam upp the morning I was at your hose you remarked that you did not want to mary during the crisis of this war.  I would be sorow indeed if i new that I had to remain single untill the war was ented.  If I ever intended to marry & then I acopted a realution to go and see you if I could git the chance that was my object to mary you if you suited mee and I suited you and I yet intertain the same felligs all tho I am not as well acquted with you as I want to be but my chance is bad to call and see you for my buisness is confing indeed and shall call on you to exspress your feelings by writing to me before I go any further.  Don’t understand mee to make a maryedge contsed with you yet.  But if we can all ways get along as well as wee have so far that is my intention.  Now Cal I want your fillings in full apon the subject.  But Cal don’t understand me to say that am willing to postpon the ideir of marying untill the war is at an end for if I put it off the object of maring until that time I never expect to deivsing[?] life as litle as you thought may had sefferance to my fellings.  Iit was a dis alsieble simest for mee to heer all tho I did not say anything at the time.  But I was sorow to heer you say it for I thought it mit deprive mee of accomplishing my wishes.  So Cal I will gave you my degory typ as shoon as a chance admits of if you are willing to exchange with mee.  So I must close but my few linnes to a close by hoping you will writ as shoon as this commes to hand.  I wold reather you hand note to mee as I pass in sum little notion that will hid it      Jams Helton.


Murrell and N.J. have been moved to Vicksburg Mississippi since the last letter about 7 months ago.  This letter from Murrell to Cal tells of near starvation and great dissatisfaction with the conditions in Mississippi, and this is before the siege begins!  

From Wikipedia -- During the American Civil War, the city finally had to surrender during the Siege of Vicksburg (May 18 – July 4, 1863), after which the Union Army gained control of the entire Mississippi River. The 47-day siege was intended to starve the city into submission. Otherwise its location atop a high bluff overlooking the Mississippi River proved impregnable to assault by federal troops. The surrender of Vicksburg by Confederate General John C. Pemberton on July 4, 1863, together with the defeat of General Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg the day before, has historically marked the turning point in the Civil War.


Vicksburg, Miss

March 16th 1863

Dear Sister,

            I have received yours of the 6th Inst. which I was very glad to have from you all at home, for I know I do want (to) hear from home as bad and as often as any body in the world, more especially in this starving degraded state of Miss.  I never have been dissatisfied since I have been in service till I came to this place, which is enough to dissatisfy any person to have to do as much duty on so little to eat.  Our beef is so poor that I do believe that one of our Tenn hogs would refuse to eat.  We draw corn meal and that very corse and not Sived.  You wrote you heard we was about to starve.  I expect you heard nearly rite for I have actually suffered for something to eat, although times are getting better.  I think it will not be long before we will have an engagement from the movements of the enemy.  They are moving from oppisit Vicksburg up the Yazoo Pass and it is thought we will have a fight every day.  It will raising (?) do the Yankee any good to just try to take this place, for it is this fortified place at every turn, although three of their gun boats passed our Batterys some time ago but we captured them before they could do any good.  I was glad to hear from Miss Jinnie and I would give anything to have been at home when She was there, it would a been so much more pleasure than here in this tiresome army.  I hope the day will soon come when I can enjoy a few more days of pleasure with the Monroe Girls.  When you see Miss Jinnie tell her she could not by no means want to see me any more than I want to see her, and she is perfectly welcome to keep my Likeness as long as she please. (I did not know I have but one likeness at home.  Write if it was my Likeness or not).  If it is my Likeness I hope those that Miss Callie & Miss Bettie taken home with them will make them good Southern Girls before they returned them.  Give them my respect and that I would like to see them all.  I sent Mother a letter by Noah Maser dated March 4th with wich I sent forty dollars. He was going home and would get off the cars at Phila which was the Safest way I could send it.  Tell Mother she can use it as she thinks best.  Write if she got it.

We have had some promotions in our Co. & Regt.  Maj Alicand?? died and Capt Brown(?) was promoted to Maj which we all was very glad to get shut of him as a Capt., Wilson will our Capt.  Col. Cook has assince and gon home.  Eakin will Col and Brown First Col.

Give all the family my love.  Write soon.

Your Brother

A.M.L (Augustus Murrell Lillard)

Private Co (B) 59th Regt Tenn Vol



This letter is from NJ to Cal.  Wash is NOT with the federals.  NJ says he might be drafted into the southern army and hopes he would go to his and Murrells Brigade.                                                                                                         

Vicksburg Miss

March 16th 1863

Dear Cousin Cal,

                        Your letter of the 6th Inst. came to hand yesterday & I hasten to answer.  We are all in pretty good health.  Murrel taken supper with me yesterday.  He has never been so sick as to be sent to Hospital.  We have a few cases of Smallpox.  Those occur among the recruits and not among the old soldiers.  We try and have every body vaccinated so as to prevent it becoming an epidemic.  My notions is that we will perhaps stay down here all summer.  If so we cant expect to have so good health as when in Tennessee.  The prospect of a fight this point is quite distant.  In fact the Federals will not fight here if they can avoid it.  There is not so many of the enemy here as three weeks ago.  If the river continues to rise they will have to look out for higher ground for an encampment.  All is quiet at Port Hudson.  Some skirmishing upon the Yazoo River or pass.  We are all looking anxiously towards Nashville thinking the struggle is in that direction.

            Gladly would I hail a peace upon honorable terms, but that question is narrowed down to one channel & that is Seperation unconditional.  There has been too much blood sacrificed on both sides for us to live again together.  If that was not the case, the southern people can not consent to be brought to the level of the negros.  We know they have entire regiments of them in their army & mustering in more every day, and the last congress has made Lincoln nothing less than a dictator.  Such insseneplory [?] voilation of the Constitution are so flagrant that we have no assurance of our rights being protected to any extent whatever.  I would  that we could all see this great subject in the same light for much depends upon us in presenting a bold front.

I had hoped that the conscription would not be inforced in those county in East Tennessee who had turned out so many soldiers, but the demands for soldiers at the present is very great and we are holding our ground pretty well this year that if we can only keep any advances it will do much towards a peace.  I hope if Wash [William Washington Lillard] be taken he will come to this Brigade.  All was well when last I heard from home [Decatur, TN].  Love to all & let me have a letter from you often.

                                                                                                            Your Cousin Aff.

N. J. Lillard



March 17th, 1863

We have good news from Port Hudson (LA) having repulsed the Enemy burning one of the Man (of) War & Badly injuring three others.  Also we repulsed them near Grenwood (Greenwood), Miss with Small Loss to us.  It makes me thankfull to God for his blessing in triumphs over our insidious foes.  Give Jessie(?) my regards.  We will see what she thinks when I return Home.



This Confederate rant from NJ Lillard to Cal suggests that Joe and Wash have gone to Kentucky to avoid the confederate draft, although moving to Kentucky puts them at risk of the Federal draft.  NJ is arguing the hard core Confederate case to Cal who has expressed far more moderate views.  She may in fact be a Union sympathizer, although her beliefs are probably more complicated than a single label can describe.                                                                       

Vicksburg, Miss

                                                                                                            April 16th 1863

Dear Cal

            I hasten to answer your letter of the 7th April.  Of course the action that Wash and Joe has seen proper to take does not meet my views or notions.  They cannot escape going into to the war, as the federals have a more odious Conscript Law than we have & it cannot be possible they have chosen to fight against their Bro. relatives.  As far as my knowledge extends there has not been any division in the relationship up to this year.  I shall deeply regret that we should ever meet as foes, for god knows my heart I neither want to kill or to be killed by a relative.

            Every thing is quiet here and not much prospect a fight.  We are looking to Tennessee as the great battle ground for the next two or three months.  The health of the army is pretty good & as far as the 3rd Regt is concerned we have better health than we had in Tenn.   You say, how you wish our cause was truly Just so all could be united.  One fact alone should convince you I think.  That one fact is this.  It will in a few days be 2 year that I have been a Confederate Soldier seeing many of the Southern people & a fair portion of our northern foes.  I have never regretted once taking the course I have, and the fact of the Confederates maintaining an army and Civil government for two years pressed on all sides with the northern hord & Blockade should cause every rational mind to pause & consider why all this is so.  Again the north are taking negroes from the south & arming them to commit Brutal acts upon their once kind owners.  The thought is horrible that the races shall eventually be amalgamated.  There is but one solution of the question if the north whip us. (& I pray god they may never

May have a missing page

i that the white race must seek the level of the Affrican for in servitude as in the South elevates the negroe more than any other County on the globe.  You know enough of history to satisfy you as to the last asertion.  That the confederates have committed some blunders I readily admit & it could not be expected otherwise when everything was in such a chaos.  I cannot see the present oppossion.  All must expect to contribute their share in the struggle.  If not they certainly cannot expect to enjoy eaqual with those who have.  I dread to encounter the strife of arms but I dread more to loose that independence which has been given to us by our revolutionary fathers and never will I.

            I as a soldier of the government & Representative of the Volenteer State never will consent that negroes shall be soldiers in our government.  If we fight with them, let them hold office Civil & Military.  Also let them set at the same table & Last of all we must consent for them to marry our Sisters & Brothers Mothers.  Horrible thought what would the realization be. When that is the case in the southern government there Let me die.  I see the news in Ky is not so bad as first reported.  We must expect some reverse or at least we soldiers do.

Cal do not become offended with anything I have written.  They are the outpouring of my heart.  I feel that they are my honest principles & at the same time, I allow to you & others to have your own opinions.  Although we may differ we still are kindred and as such let us write each other freely & fully our thoughts.  These are not times for selfishness but we should try and past counsels[?] upon the issues before us & then act.  Give my love to your Ma & Sis.  I would be glad to see you all & have the pleasure of exchanging our thoughts.  Murrel is well.  Shall expect to hear from you if you feel me worthy of corresponding with Your Cousin Ever

                                                                                                            N.J. Lillard


This is the last letter from Newton Jackson Lillard.  He was a Colonel and the commander of the 3rd Tennessee Regiment at the time of the letter above.  He survived the war.    See this following link from the Tennessee State Library and Archives for more about Newton J Lillard.


Newton Jackson Lillard

1832   Born in Meigs County, Tennessee the son of James III and Mary

Sandusky Lillard

1848-1849 -  Served in Mexican War in Captain McKenzie’s Company

1858-1861 -  Served as County Court Clerk of Meigs County for one term

1861 May 2 -  Enlisted in first company that left Meigs County for the Confederate service which was part of the 3rd Tennessee Regiment (Vaughn’s).  He took part in the first battle of Manassas. He was a captain.

1862 May -   The 3rd Tennessee Regiment was reenlisted and reorganized and he was elected Lieutenant Colonel

1862 August - became Colonel and commander of the 3rd Tennessee Regiment when Vaughn was promoted to Brigadier General

1862-1865 --  Led his Regiment in the Kentucky campaign, Baker’s Creek, Big Black, Vicksburg, Morristown, Greeneville, Bull’s Gap, and in the Valley of Virginia.

1865 -- Accompanied President Davis as part of his escort to Washington, Georgia, and on May 8 surrendered his regiment.

1865  -- Married Miss Caroline Worth of North Carolina

1865-1890 -- Engaged in mercantile business in Meigs County

1870-1882 -- Served as Circuit Court Clerk

1890-1905  -- Resided in Ashe County, North Carolina. Mercantile business

1882-1888 --  Clerk and Master of Circuit Court

1905 October 22 -- died in Decatur, Tennessee


In the letter below from Murrell to Cal, the date on the letter looks like 1861 but it must actually be 1863 to fit the time line.   Murrell has been offered the position of drummer in the company brass band by Col Eakin.  See http://www.tngenweb.org/civilwar/csainf/csa59.html  for more info about Col Eakin and the 59th Tennessee infantry Regiment. 



                                             Camp near Vicksburg Miss

                                                                        April 20th 1863

Dear Sister

            Your letter of March 23 has been recieved some time since with great pleasure, and was very glad to hear from you all and hear that you was all well.  I would have answered yours sooner, but waiting untill your box of provisions came thinking every day that it be hear.  But I have not heard anything from it yet.  Some provision from home would be very exceptable here, but not as much as would some time ago, for we draw a heap more near than we did a few weeks ago.  Cousin Nute was telling me that Wash had gone to Kentucky.  I did not think that he would do such a thing as that.  I am very sorrow that he has taken the cours he has.  I want you to write to me all about him going.

 Col Eakin has for some time been offering me the position of Drummer.  I have at last excepted it, and as we are getting up a Brass Band it will be worth something.

Capt Van Dyke is going to Tenn for the instruments and a music teacher.  He will go to my house for My Drum.  You will send it and a pair of pants if you can conviently.  Give my love to all the girls.  Tell Ginnie I would give the world to see her.  Write soon and often.  My love to all the family.

                                                                                                            Your Brother

A.M. Lillard

                                                                                                Co(B)  59 Regt  Ten Vol

The Union Siege of Vicksburg was from May 18 to July 4, 1863.  It had not yet started at the time of the previous letter.  However, there are no more letters from Vicksburg in 1863, which might be because of the siege.



Even during the war Cal was pursued by many men.  Thos. Copeland is a confederate soldier who has heard about Cal from a friend [Ethan? Eltens?] and started a correspondence with her.  He is very interested in continuing the correspondence although he has never met Cal in person.  Jacksboro is near LaFollette and Big Creek Gap, where NJ was posted on May 15th 1862.  Note the patriotic stationary.

                                                                                                Jacksborough  May 13 / 63

Miss Cal after a delay of about ten or eleve months I will atemp to respond to your kind favor whitch came to hand in due season.  The cause of my delay first was on account of the hasty manner in which the regt to I belong was moved from point to point.  Usually I had got so far away that there was no certainty of a mail getting through to where you live.  Thirdly it was because of your requireing me to do my own writing and me feeling unable to corispond bye mail with as an accomplished writer as you are.  You judged correctly about the letter that I sent you not being my own composition.  It was composed bye our friend Ethens [Eltens?] and although I mailed it and sent to you there was some thing in it that was not consistant with my notions.  One thing was if my recollection serves me that i was consented that he should make my choice of a companion.  This is more than I ever expect to do.  I exspect to make to make my own choice in that respect because I think it my liberty and right and not anothers.  Truly I have made up my mind to take to myself the better half if I ever got out of this unfriendly war alive and I was highly pleased with the discription that our friend Ethens gave of you and his honesty and faithfulness was confirmed in your favor to me.  I was anxious when I heard of you to become acquainted with you.  I am still more anxious since I received your favor, and fell determined if I am depaired and it is consistant with your feelings to see you as soon as opportunity afords.  I am still in the war and expects to be if I live till it is ended.  I wish you to write to me soon as I will impatiently wait to hear from you.  I gave you my word that no one see your letters and will require the same of you.  This is my composition and writing and if I writ again it shal be my own.

                                                                                    no more than my best

                                                                                    wishes and respects

                                                                                    to you 

                                                                                    Jos M. Copeland

P.S. you will direct to Co. {E} 5 Regt Tenn Cav


What has become of the Howells?  There have been no letters from Lockie or Mollie Howell during the entire Civil War.  Lockie had a younger brother John and the information below tells of hard times for him and the Howells during the Civil War.  These events happen soon after June 21, 1863.

From http://dallaspioneer.org/stories/pioneers.php?ID=423

From Proud Heritage, Volume I by DCPA. This 300 page hardcover book is now available online.

As a young boy around 12, John Mashman Howell rode alone on a crippled mule across Newfound Gap in Tennessee through Union and Confederate lines to live with relatives in North Carolina. His father, Patton Howell, had borrowed money from the Union to build a dam on Mossy Creek, East Tennessee, where he made tools, wagons and caissons for the Confederacy. Union bushwhackers burned it down and killed everyone they found. Patton escaped into Alabama with a price on his head, married again after the death of his first wife, and died there.

From the book “History of the 112th Reg of Ill Vol Infantry, in the great war of the rebellion.  1862-1865”    -  Report written by Major Dow.  http://www.archive.org/stream/112thregillinois00thomrich#page/46/mode/2up


Page 46:  Howell factory burned 6-21-63 during Col. Saunders Raid of E. TN



October 20th 1863 was the date of the Battle of Philadelphia, TN.  There are no references to this famous battle in the Letters from the Tin Box, which is a surprise since this is the Lillard’s home town and the battle took place on or extremely close to the farm.   See http://45ohio.homestead.com/phila.html for a very thorough description of the fight in and around Philadelphia. 



Eleven months have passed since the last letter.  Here is a rare letter to Wash [William Washington Lillard – Cal’s brother] from a friend from Kentucky.  This one does not mention the war but speaks of parties as if before the war.  Wash was 33 years old at the time of this letter.  When did Wash join and leave the rebel army and which regt?                      

London Ky

                                                                                                            April 4th 1864

Mr. W. W. Lillard

            Dear Sir:

                                    I have an opportunity of sending you a few lines, by a gentleman that is here.  He says he left you about 1 month ago and that you was all right at that time.  It was the first news I had from you since you left here.

I havent got any news to write.  Everything is going on just about as it was when you was here.  Lilford has bought G. P. Browns store and he & Will Jackson are selling goods there.  H. J. Blakely is living in Town and is selling ????.  He is Post Master now.  All Aikman has converted his shop in to a Whiskey Shop.  Old Capt Hays is married & doing well.  Miss Lizzie Graybeal is to be married to a Mr. Fletcher from Tennessee.  I guess you heard about Miss Nan King having married a Mr. Leforce.

We had a dance last friday night (plenty of girls present), nobody drunk or disorderly.  I have been well and hearty since you left only I was sick a short time.  I want you to write to me and tell me what you are doing and how you are getting along with the girls.  I guess you have married before now and settled down for life.  If not I want you to tell me so.  I must close for the gentleman is about to be off.

                                    Good bye

                                                Your friend

                                                            John H. Faris



Clues about Sallie Ragan – she lives in Decatur.  She is Cals niece.  Cals sister Louisa Jane Lillard married Joseph “Reagon”.


Decatur Tenn

June the 20 1864? 1884?

Miss Callie Lillard

Dear little Aunt

After so long a time I will try and write you a few lines.  I thought I would of wrote be fore now but have not had hardly time.  How are you getting a long this warm wether I tell you I get so warm I don’t know what to do.  I was out at cousin Jinnies she said to tell you she still had the apron yet.  She has never washed it yet she calls it her cousin Callie apron.  There is a grait deal of sickness around hear some feavar and flux.  Every body nearly has got them.  Joe has been very low with them.  He is so he can sit up some.  Addie said why in the world didn’t you come with us down hear.  Tell Aunt Maggie that I want to see her so bad I don’t know what to do.  How big is Fred.  I guess he is as big as Walter by now.  Tell him Walter said he was going to throw [throne?] him when he came up there.  Addie said she wished you could come down and stay with us a week or two.  She said to tell you she was as poor as you.  She said you could count her back bones as far as you could see her.  She said if you was close enough come to see her she said if she could see you coming up an Old gray[?] this it ??? do her more good than evry thing in the world.  Tell grand mother Addie said she had a coat to bring to her to fix this fall.  Well I guess you are tired of reading.  Write soon and a long letter.

                                                                           Your loveing niece

                                                                           Sallie Ragan

Cousin S. Frazier has come back here to live.  They say her daughter is in bad health.


Here is some unfortunate news from Murrell, who was at Vicksburg, Mississippi at the time of his last letter.

Camp Morton Indianapolis Indiana

June 27th 1864


Dear Sister,

I have no doubt you all would like to hear something of my whereabouts. I am here a prisoner of war, was captured 5th June at battle of Piedmont. My health has been very good.   I need some money and would like for mother to send me $20 or $25 (U. S. money) and send it by express as it will not be safe otherwise.  I want you to write very often as you are not allowed to write but one page and no news as nothing of the kind.  I send you and Julia two rings, I made in prison.   Have you heard anything of brother Jack, if you have give me his address.   My love to all friends especially the Girls, and would be very glad for any to write that will.  Write me how, the farm is doing and where the boys are, and the health of the family and people generally.

                                                My love to all, accept a portion for yourself

 Your brother

A. M. Lillard, Prisoner

59th Regt. Tenn. Cav.

 Camp Morton, Indianapolis

P.S. Do not fail to send me some money



Camp Morton Ind.

August 2nd 1864

Dear Sister

I received twenty dollars & express envelope, expressed from W. C. Nelson, but no Letter.  I suppose the money was from you, and I am truly thankful for the favor. You must not write anything counterband, one page and be very particular how you address or it will not come inside the Prison and when you send anything, send from no name but yours and from Philadelphia as I have to tell who and where it is from or I cannot get it.  I am well and all rite and do hope this will find you all in good health and doing well.  I would give anything if I could have got your letter so I could have heard from Cousin Sallie & Mollie Howel.  Tell them to write.  If I stay here long I will have to have some clothes.  I wrote you 20th July thinking you did not get my first.  Give my love to all. Write often

Your brother

A.M. Lillard 

War Prisner

Address        Division No 2

                        Camp Morton Ind

If you and Julia wants my rings or Brest pins let me know you want them mund and I will make them and send them to you.  My love to Jinnie Mc and would like to hear from her very much.


               AJ is still in California.  He hasn’t had a letter from home for three long years during which his homeland has being devastated by the war.  AJ doesn’t even know where his brothers are.  Even so there is lots of news about the war by this roundabout way.                 

Nevada, Ca

                                                                                                            Aug 7th 1864

Dear Mother,

                        I have been waiting some time thinking when communication was open I would hear from home but have waited in vain as I have not rec’d any thing yet.  It has been three long years since I was the happy recipient of a letter from home and it has been a source of much pain and anxiety to me for the well being of a kind Parent and affectionate Sisters.  For I know you have not missed the calamities of this cival war.  I hear that our section of the county is lade wast, that the destruction of property has been great, and people that once was wealthy are now reduce to poverty and want.

            Where is Caroline.  I have been exspecting a letter from her as she has been very good in writing to me but it seems that time and distance has caused her to forget a brother in California.

            It was my intetion to have gone home before this but have been prevented on account of buisness war etc.  I am well at presant and in very tolable good health here and making a fare living but I am getting tired of a minners life.  We have had two very dry years no rain to amount to any thing and a great many minners could not do anything.  I bought in a claim two years ago and have not been able to take any money out since from the scarcity of water.

            Last fall a Mr Flemings left here for home.  He lived in Knowx County.  I made him promise to go and see you and then write but he has neglected his promise.

            I rec’d a letter from Wm Greyson about one year ago.  He was then in Middle Tennessee with the army.  His letter was short and give but little news.  It stated that Wash & Joseph had gone to Kentucky and Murrel was in the Confederate army , and also spoke of several of the nabor boys with him in the army.  I have thought it very strange if Wash and Jo. was in Kentucky that they never wrote to me.  I have just returned from Charls Taliaferro’s.  He had rec’d a letter from his brother John.  He gives a deplorable state of afairs in Tenn.  I am doing nothing at presant minnig in general is stoped for the season.  Buisness of all kinds dull.  A great many gone to the new mines Reese and Boise Rivers.

            I hard from John Stanfield not long since and wrote to him.  He was in Knowxvill Iowa.  He wrote to the Postmaster here inquiring for Thomas.

            Ma you will please excuse this short letter.  I would write more but I doubt its ever reaching you, and if it should come to hand I wish you to write at your earliest convienance as I am very anxious to know how have afairs stand.  Whether good or bad don’t with hold it.  Tell Murrel if at home to write as I would like very much to hear from him.

            Give my compliments to all inquiring friends and except at home the love and best wishes of a son and Brother.

A.J. Lillard

Call be sure and write soon and give me all the news, marriegs, deaths, and all the occurances that has happen since I heard from home.


There is some misinformation in the letter below.  Joseph Berry Lillard did fight for the Union but he did not die until 1920.  It seems most probable that Murrell has received erroneous news of his brother’s death, probably originating from NJ Lillard. 

Camp Morton Ind.

Sept 19, 1864

Dear Sister

Yours of Sept. finds me well and doing as well as could be expected under present circumstances, but yet it gave me much sorrow to hear the misfortunes of poor Bro. Joe, he has had a hard time, but is over now (he died of smallpox in Union army). I would like very much to have some clothing if they will not be two hard to get. The order is for but one Gray suit and a change of underclothes is allowed to come in. You may send a gray dress coat gray pants and vest made as warm as possible. The winter is very cold here and coat--Trimed Cav. uniform. Two colored shirts woolen (if can be had) two pus [pillow?] slips colored two pair socks one pocket hkf. & hand towel, thread, needles, pins etc.  a small quantity of smoking and chewing tobacco. Thos. Williams sends to Mrs. Thos Upton for some clothing & wishes them sent with mine.  They will send them over.  Send Box to care of Col Stevens Comd Prison.  I will make Julia a Ji??? & send it.  I have not written Bro Jack.  I can not get the 10c stamps.  Tell Wash to write & any that will.  I will be pleased to have from any.

My love to all, your brother

A.M. Lillard.

2nd  Div C M



In the letter below Murrell writes from prison to his brother AJ in California.  Murrell still believes their brother Joseph has died in a Confederate prisoner of war camp. Wash is at home in Philadelphia. 


                                                                                                            Camp Morton Ind

                                                                                                            Nov 2nd 1864

Dear Bro.

                        This finds me well and doing as well as could be expected under presant circumstances.  It is my lot to be a prisner war, was captured Battle Piedmont Va 8th June / 64.  Belong to a Brass Band 59th Reg’t Tenn Cav, Gen J. C. Vaughn’s Brig.  I received a letter from Sister Cal Oct 16th.  They was all well.  Wash was at home. Joe poor fellow is reported be dead, died in Richmond Prison with Small Pox.  He belong to the Federal Army.  Steve has left them[?].  She said she had rec’d several letters from you.  Could you express me some money.  If so it will be a very great help to me.  If I ever have the oppurtunity will replace it.  There is no order prohibiting any amount coming in.  Let me hear from you on reipt of this.  Write but one page and nothing contraband is the orders.  Address Quchde prison Camp Morton Indianoplis Ind.

                                                                                           Your Brother

A.M. Lillard


After almost 3 years here is a long overdue letter from AJ in California.


Nevada [City] Cal

Nov 30th 1864

Dear Sister

            I received your kind letter yesterday and I can assure you it was a sourse of much happiness to hear that you all was doing so well in those trying times of civil war.

It has been the cause of many gloomy thoughts in my mind to hear from my old home the fair land of my youth being made a battlefield and my Relatives and friends subject to all the evils attending the contending armies.  But now I am far better satisfied since I have heard you are doing well.  I hope Wash may be able to stay with you.  And if it should occur that any of you needs any money let me know how much and I will send it.

            I am well at present have enjoyed good health since I last wrote to you.  There has been nothing occurred worthy of note since, only we are now having a good rain, something we have not had much of for two years and we are very glad to see it come it will make water.  I had been thinking if I could git my buisness settle by next fall I then could go home but as you say not I will wait and see what time will bring forth without making any further calculations.  I would like to be back there very much if it was only for one week to see old friends and things generaly.

            I have heard of several marriages between yankee soldiers and Tenn Girls.  I do hope that I never will hear of that with you or any one else that I think any thing off for I don’t know anything they could do that would lower them much more in my estimation.  I guess my esteem is of little consequence to any but you and Julia.

            You did not speak of Mother or Julia in your letter.  I hope they are both well.  Mr Taliferro sends his respects to Ma.

            Call if I would do as I wish to be done by I would not stop your letter here but continue it for several pages.  For I wish you to write me a long letter next time.  Tell me how ever body is doing and all the Girls that has married in the last 3 years and all that want to marry.

Your affectionate Bro

A.J. Lillard

(Continued on the same sheet)

Friend Joseph

            I have not heard a word from you in over 3 years untill yesterday.  Was happy to learn that you was at home.  I will now proceed with out ceremony to give you a few items since I last wrote.  In the fall of 61 I sold my claims thinking then the first favorable opertunity I would go home but as I seen no good show for going I abanding the idea and in the summer of 62 I bought in some claims with J. McReynolds & Amos Marney.  The ground has cost me about a thousand dollars and I have not got a dollar from them yet owing to its being two very dry years and we had no water.  But it looks favorable now for a wet winter and if it is I will git even on then this season I think.  But I have not been idol have been giting three dollars per day most of the time but a man gits so here that he don’t like as to work for $3.00 per day.  That is some do and I must confess that I am one of them if I can do any better.

            The Presidential Election is past and we are beat in this State Lincolns majority about 17,000.  Nevada is the greatest Republican hole you ever saw.  They vote about 800 to 120 Democrats and they have their tickets marks so that they can tell ever man that puts in a Democrat ticket.  For my part they can procribe me I would not vote for them no way they could fix it.

             I see some returns from Tenn in the papers.  I wish you would write me whether you voted in this election in your section or no. and if any of the citizens voted for Lincoln & Johnson and who they were.  And if any it is a geat deal more than any one of this stock would do here.  We have had no draft here so far but I think if the war goes on we will not escape much longer and if ever the time comes that I have to go in the army Murrel shall have one more of the family that will go with him.  I had hoped that I would be saved the mortification of having that any of my relatives would chuse the corse that Joe has but I will say no more for fear your first news from him is true and if so I should be sorrow that I said anything.  Give my complements to Sister Jane.  I would like to hear from her.  Tell Will I would like to pich at him again.


(PS)  Call if You please ask Wash why he did not write to me while in Kentucky were the mail was open all the time.


Three months later the saddest of news has reached AJ in California.  His brother is no more.  Augustus Murrell Lillard died at Camp Morton Indianapolis on 11-22-1864.

                                                                                                  Nevada  Cal.

                                                                                                            Jan 28th 1865

Dear Sister

                        I received your letter dated Dec 3rd a few days since and Oh the sad news that Murrel was no more.  I can not express my feelings when I saw that Murrel was dead.

What a pang of anguis went to my heart.  I have tasted the bitter cup of sorrow and I have scincerly felt (Cal) that I could weep with you over a dear departed Bro.  But he is gone and we can not help it.  We must submit to the will of Height Heaven Who rules over all things.

            If he had died at home I would have felt better satisfied.  Then I would know that he was attended too but where he was I fear he did not git the attention the sick should have, and if he was neglected in sickness may God avenge his wrongs.

            Call you wish me to come home.  I regret that I am not with you now as there is so few at home.  Buisness requires me to stay here till next summer but if you insist I will come soonner.

            Mr Bacome will ever command my gratitude for his kindness to you all.  Tell him that Alferd is getting along about as usual  - has poor health - not able to do much work.  He reced one letter from him last summer.  The other boys are well.  Call I sent you and Mr Ragan a letter about the first of Dec. and another to you the first Jan.  I hope you have reced them both.  The last had my Photograph in it for you.

            I sent Murrel a check on Wells Fargo for thirty dollars in gold payable at New York to his order and as no one can draw it untill he signed it over, it will be of little use to any one but me.  I wish you would try and hear from it and have it sent to me.  I can draw the money on it hear.  I would write to Camp Morton but dont know any one to write to.

            I don’t feel like writting this evning will close with my best wishes for you all

                                                                                    A.J. Lillard

Chapter 5   After the Catastrophe


            The Civil War ended April 9th 1865 with the Confederate surrender at the village of Appomattox Court House.  The War changed everything in the south. Slavery was a fundamental element of the southern economy.  It is estimated that slaves were the single largest category of wealth in the south; a greater value even than real estate.   The largest portion of many families wealth simply disappeared on January 1, 1863 with the Emancipation Proclamation.  


 In spite of the recent upheaval, this letter from Mollie Howell to AJ sounds like the hard times are behind them.  It sounds like AJ is back from California.  He mentioned the possibility of taking Emma Gass back to California, so he may be planning on returning.  We shall see.



                                                                                    Mossy Creek  May 19th 1865

Much loved cousin,

                                    I received your letter of the 7th in due time, and should have answered it before now.  You will be kind enough to forgive me I know.  Evry day for a week I have said I was going to write to my cousin Jack, but something has always happened to prevent me.  I had company most all week, and have been visiting some.  Monday Mr. Diden came and stayed until Wednesday.  I began to think he was going to spend the Winter, he brought his pocket of candy as usual.  He says he will be back in a few days, but I don’t care if I never see him again.  Some of Mr. Gass’s relations are there from Greenville.  There is one very nice young lady Miss Nannie Gass.  I called to see them Friday.  They will be to see me this evening.  Miss Tina Marshall is staying with Mrs. Colvin, so you see our town is improving.  If you would come up now you could have pick and choice of the above mentioned ladies.  I told Emma Gass what you said about taking her to California.  She was down here when I told her.  She said when she went home and got dinner over she would be quite ready to go.  I expect she will go to Greenville with her aunt when she goes home, then what will I do.  You know she is my right hand mate.

            We have three protracted meetings going on near us, one down at sister’s at that church, and one at New Market, the other near Talbotts Station.  I have not been to any of them.  We all would have went today but Mr. Fains ambulance was not at home.  The girls are coming now.  I will go and talk to them a while.


I have had a very pleasant time for an hour or two.  I do like Miss Nannie Gass so much, and I know you would like her too.  I am going up there to night to sit a while.  Em says she knows I am writing some storys to you, but I told her it was not so.  I was at a quilting at Mrs. Colvins week before last but there were no gentlemen there so you may know it was a dry place.  But we made our tongues run on most evry subject, as girls will you know.  I am truly glad to hear of Mr. Graysons marriage for I know you will not tease me any more about him.  I wish I could have been at the sernade, as I am partial to the sound of old tin pans and bells.  I have not heard any good music since I was down there.  At night when I am in my room so lonely I often wish Joe and Wash were here.  You can’t imagine how lonesome I do get for I stay upstairs by myself and will as long as the Madam Haskins stays.  I look for Sallie evry day, but it looks like she was not coming.  When she comes sis Lockie is coming up and Callie & Wash must come with her.  I tell evry body I see Sis and Jody are coming up here Christmas, and you be sure to come with them as before.  I wrote to sis Lockie last Thursday.  Tell her I have my dress most done, and have brain enough to finish it.  I think Mr. Cambell will bring me a letter to night from her or from Joe & Sis.  I need the letter you remailed, you hoped there was good tidings for Mollie.  Yes I suppose so.  Tell Mr. Taliafaro if he is so much pleased with being given sway in Jefferson it would be well for him to come and see the object he has been given too.  Mr Cambell has come from the [Post] office, but no letter for me and I do feel so disappointed.  I think I ought to get a letter evry night, but I don’t.  Tell aunt I have not got any more coats to make, and hope I won’t soon again if ever, but if I should she may look to the troubled with me.  I said when we were making Johns coat I never would try to make another.  All the girls up here that you are acquainted with send their kind regards, an love one, Hattie G sends her love.  Mrs. Colvin says remember her to aunt.  I send my love to all, and yourself in abonndance.  Jin may kiss Nannie evry day for me while she stays.  Tell dry I want to hear from him, but want to see more.  There is enough of you there to write to me oftener than you do.  Good night.  Write soon, and tell me evrything you know.

                                                Your loving cousin  Mollie


This letter from Mollie to Cal tells of the changes experienced by her family after the war -- “The Negroes all left in March” which means they stayed on for more than 2 years after the Emancipation and only left just before the end of the war.  Mollie is a very literate.  She rarely misspells a word, she has good penmanship, and she uses punctuation better than most.

It sounds like both Wash and Joe are back home in Philadelphia.  This is the first confirmation that Joe did not die in a prison camp.

  Mollie spells her sisters name Lochie – or is it just her handwriting?  Lochie has a daughter Fannie – not Nannie?  Sallie is almost certainly Sarah P. Howell (1846-????) 


                                                                                    Mossy Creek July 5th 1865

My darling cousin

                                    How happy I am to think after so long a time I have heard from you.  Aunt Nancy’s family are the only relations I have in E. T. that I do realy and truly love.  Last week I rc’ed your dear letter, but I was so unwell all week I could not write, and yesterday I received your note.  Why it was you never got the letters Sallie and I wrote is a mystery to me.  Just before she went South (which was in Oct.) she wrote two letters to Julia, and I one to you telling you I would come down Christmas to see you, but getting no answer from you concluded I would not go, but if nothing happens to prevent me , will be down there in August or Sep.  I think Pa and Sallie will be at home before long.  Pa was at home a few weeks ago but could not stay long, as he is farming in N.C.  Dear cousin I do not think cousin Murrel can be dead for pa said Sallie got a letter from him just before he came home.  If he was our own brother I don’t think we could love him more than we did.  I do pray that he is still living.  Sis Lochie is now at Knoxville, and when she is gone I have so much to do, and am so lonesome.  I have all the work to do, the negroes all left last March.  I am just as black as one of them myself now, and weigh 102 lbs, quite a come down.  The warm weather is almost killing me, and other trouble together, Cal I am changed, but who is not?  Fannie keeps teasing me to quite writing, and go with her to the dining room to get something to eat.  I most always keep her when Lochie is gone, which is very often.  Dr. wants her to stay all the time there, but then she can’t very well do it.  I expect they will go to house keeping down there before long.

            Sallie Haskins marries next Thursday to Shane Harris.  I have not been invited yet.  Sister wrote to me about it last week.  They are not going to make a wedding.  Cal I do wish you would marry and ask me to be brides maid, wont you?  But if you do not intend to change your position we will set up shop together.  I would write you a long letter to day, but have an opportunity of sending this to the office just now, and perhaps will have no other chance for a few days.  How is Aunty?  She was sick when last I heard from her.  Tell Wash and Joe I do want so much to see them to come up now and bring you and Julia.  Love to evry one and all of you write to me.  I will write again as soon as Lochie comes.

                                                                                                Ever your true cousin





Is Jack back home?  Lockie thinks he is. 



                                                                                                Knoxville  Aug. 3rd / 65

My very dear cousins & aunt,

                        Sister Mary [Mollie?] & myself are here.  Mary is on her way to your house & I think likely I will come with her.  We are both so anxious to see you all & talk with you once more.  I shall not attempt to write you a letter, for I think it will only be a day or two until I see you.  Mary went out to Aunt Howells yesterday evening; we came down the evening before.  She will stay out there a day or two.  Dr. Massengill is going to Atlanta, & we will accompany him as far as your house.  We will go (I guess) at night, & will get the conductor to stop opposite your house.  We will be down on wednesday,  thursday,  or friday night.  Ask cousin Jack will you please to meet us when you hear the [??????] as we will have no one to go over to the house with us.  If I go I will only stay a few days, until Dr. returns from Atlanta, but Mary can stay a little longer.  Mary will expect one of you to return to Mossy Creek with her.   My love to all.  Write 2 [?????]

 Yours truly

Lockie Massengill [ ?????????  Letter has water damage].




This letter is from Mollie to Cal and Julia.  Lockie is on her way to Atlanta and won’t have time to stop in Philadelphia on her way – she adds a short note at the end.  The 1860 Federal census says Dr. Massengill is a physician but the 1870 census says he is a “Dealer in Produce”.  Perhaps one of these occupations takes him to Atlanta frequently.


                                                            Mossy Creek  Oct 31st  1865

My very dear cousins

                                    I received your very welcome letters last week and should have answered them before now, but I have been so very busy helping sis Lochie to get off.  She will start to Atlanta tomorrow, will stay in Knoxville tomorrow night, and Thursday evening will pass your place.  She intended stopping to see you but Dr. has sent a man for her and she will have to go on.  If it is not in the night when the cars pass Phil, she says you must go up to trains to see her.  If she gets time she will come to you tonight.  I will write this to you & Julia both this time as I will not have time to write separate letters.  You can’t imagine how glad I was when I received your very very dear letters, Joedie bless your heart.  I know you are one of the dearest boys, and if you do disappoint one Christmas I wont think so any more.  Every one I see I tell them Joe and Julia are coming up Christmas and everyone is so glad.  They think you will add great pleasure[?] to our drooping spirits.  We will try and do all we can to make your visit as pleasant as we poor ignorat old maids can.  Cousin Jack can tell you that we are all on that list.  Sis you say I must marry or have a party so you can dance.  I don’t think it will hardly be in my power to marry but I will clean out the dining room and you shall dance just as much as you please.  Emma Gasseays tell you that evry body on M. C. will marry, and you shall be invited to all if you will come.  And you think you realy did you got to make Mr Marney a pair of pants.  Well I don’t care if you did for I think it more likely I will get to stand up with them, what have you to say?  I am looking for Sallie evry day now, but Pa will not come for a few weeks yet.  Bro Johnny was gone when I read your letters, but I kissed him twenty times a day so one of the kisses may go for you my dear Julia.  He is as large as Joe, or very near it.  The coat Aunt cut for him fit very well but was rather large.  Aunt said she wanted to hear from all the clothes she cut up here.  What we made fits nicely, but what we hired out is not well done.  Mrs Colvin hired Mr C. made and the shirt is gathered on just as she said it would be, but for all that he is very well pleased.   Tell Aunt not to kill herself for we all want her to come back when his push of work is over.  Has cousin Jack absconded: it has been some time since any one in M. C. heard from him, and Callie I suppose has expired in the arms of her.  He cl[????????]ot in such haste, will you please excuse it and next time I will try and do better.  Give my love all the family [??????].  Tell old dry to come up this next month.  Much love [????????]

                                                                        Your cousin Mollie

[Continued on same sheet]

I have not time to write I am so hurried getting ready to go.  I am so sorry I cant stop to see you all.  Jody[?] you know the night our wont hurt you & cousin Jack[?] & cousin W. & if the girls cant come, you come to me at P.  I will write as soon as I get to Atlanta.  L.





Sallie [Sarah P. Howell (1846-????] is at college taking a curriculum which makes modern college sound like a cake walk.  Where is Bethany and what college is this?  She edits “The Wreath”.  It is 16 miles from the nearest post office and it is the cheapest school in the South.  Names here include Jodie, Johnie, Billy, and Addie a dear little child.


                                                            Bethany May 13th  1866 ---

My own darling dearest cousins:

                                    You certainly will think I am the greatest liar in the world; but I can not help it.  I have written two letters to you but as our P.O. is 16 miles off I have never had an opportunity of sending them.  I have wanted to write time and again but knew it was no use, for I did not know when they would be sent off.  Now I have given a good reason for remaining silent, you’ll all forgive me, won’t you?

Well we arrived here Saturday evening after we left your house, and I was completely worn out sick & sad besides.  I’m nearly dead with the blues now.  This is the dullest old place I was ever at.  We have three gents besides Johnie & Billy but still, I dont enjoy myself one bit.  I want to see some body I love, for instance some of you.  I think about how happy I was with you when at your house, and I wish so much that i could once again see you.  Every body is so stiff and dignified that I dont know exactly what to do with myself.  You know I cant be still for five minutes, and I have to sit so erect and look so prim, that I have to excuse myself to get to rest my neck.  Oh! I must tell you about our may Party.  We went out to a spring about a mile from here, and had a splendid dinner, played cards, flirted and chatted until about sundown, when we retired from the field, and after supper went to Mr Coffins and finished up with a dance.  Ah! That was worth all the picnics in the world.  After the holiday, we resumed our studies and have been hard at work ever since.  I am studying, Dictionary, Rhetoric, Chemistry, Botany & Mathimatics, and taking music lessons.  We’ll commence Latin as soon as I can get my books.  Julia dear cousin you & Jodie must come here and finish your education; this is the cheapest school in the South.  Now do come, for I cant live without some of you with me.  We are publishing a paper at college called “The Wreath” and i am one of the editors.  Dont you know it will be well done?  I’ve got a new flame tell you his some[?].  I’m taking on terribly.  This is Sabbath morning and I have to prepare for church, so please excuse this hasty written note.  Give my best love to cousins Joe & Jane & kiss those dear little children often for me.  Addie in particluar.  I left coy Joe’s picture in that skirt pocket.  I’m real heart sick about it.  Do send all your pictures for they will serve to drive dull care away, and keep me from having the blues so much.  Much love to Mr. & Mrs. B. and Sue.  I will write to her this week I think if I can get it sent to the office.  Write soon and tell me about your party the night after I left.  My love to Mr. Pennington’s family & every body I know.  Lt Jones in particular. ha! ha! ha!  I will try and write a more interesting letter next time.  Now all of you must write, every last one of you and that very soon or I’ll go up a sapling”.  Ever with the truest love





The letter below was written by Arrondia J. McPherson to her friend Cal.  Arrondia may have been the original church lady as much of the letter concerns the local church meetings.  She is wild for weddings and one must just wonder about Joe’s acquaintance “Possom face”.

An interesting cultural thing which has been seen several times in these letters is illustrated in the line “Callie if you are married tell Julia to answer this”.   It seems that it is improper for married women to write letters! 

 Arrondia lived in Sulpher Springs in Rhea County, but you won’t find the town today.   Formed by the general assembly on December 3, 1807, Rhea County came out of a portion of Roane County.   Sulphur Springs’ name was changed to Rhea Springs in 1878.  It was situated on the bank of Piney River, and was settled early in the county's existence. This resort area possessed "healing" waters and a large hotel. The railroad bypassed the town, and it dwindled in size. The construction of Watts Bar Dam was the final blow as Rhea Springs was inundated in 1941.  See http://www.ajlambert.com/history/hst_rctn.pdf



                                                                                    Sulpher Springs  Rhea Co

                                                                                                            May 26th 1866

Dear Callie

                        AJ was writing some letters this evening.  I thought I would write to you as I would like to hear from you all once more.  I have looked for Mollie and Mr Martin untill I have given them out.  They promised me to come over in April and have not come yet though I have not been home in a week.  I am at Uncle Cowoods but I am going home tomorrow as this is the time of our Zion meeting.  That is a Baptists meeting house near our own.  The Baptists held a great convention near here last week.  They are trying to unite the old Baptists and the Missionaries.  They united eleven churches and they are all going to meet and have a general association of all the Baptists Churches.  We have been having great revivals all around here both Methodists and Baptists.  I never miss going to meeting every Sunday of some kind or other.  We have preaching at Sulpher every Sunday.  Our forth quarterly meeting will be there the 2nd Saturday and Sunday in July.  I expect we will have good meeting then.  Carroll Long is our Elder and the people all love to hear him preach.  Our general [?] meeting in this month lasted ten days.  There was twenty prosessions and twenty one occaisions to the church.

            Every thing relating to politicks is quiet about here at present.  My brother returned from Knoxville this week.  This is his second trip.  I hope it is the last, they took up several of our citizens but nearly all of them have come back by paying out the money they could get.

            Our school is still going on at Sulpher.  We will have an examination the last of July.

            I want you to write and tell me all the news going on up there.  I enticipate haveing a great time this fall attending weddings and infairs.  Every body is going to many but we will dry [?]  up.  I can look on and see the others off.  I am afraid I am going to be left alone.  I wrote to Lock[?] but she did not condecend to answer my letter.  I hope you will do better than she did.  Write soon give my respects to all the family.  Tell Joe I want to know if he has been satisfied with Possom face yet.  Tell Julia to write.  Callie if you are married tell Julia to answer this.  What has become of Mr. Morney and Mr. Hightower.  I hear Mr. Toliver is going to marry so Nute Hoiris cut Hondy out did he and Toole Higgig off.  Well, they say I am going to lose Jim and I don’t care what becomes of the girls.  I suppose they still have some cases of smallpox at Sweet Water.  We had several bad cases near us but I was not afraid of it.  I wonder if Jim and Honlin have been to any more weddings up there.  I was at one two weeks ago.  There was no less than four widowers there.  I never saw as many as there is about here now.  Don’t you want some of them up there.  If you do I will send up a half dozen or so as I have several on hand I would like to get shut of with as little trouble as possible.  Well I must quit writing nonsense for I have been writing nothing else.  Give my respects to Mr. Penningtons family.  Tell them howdy for me.  I would like to see Pop for a little while.  I know we would have one good laugh about old times and the new Susie Cowood and I have been together all this week.  We have been visiting all around.  She went home this evening and I am very lonesome.  We were at Mr. Robinsins last night.  We had some fun looking over some of the late papers the boys brought home from Knoxville.  I admire the late style of ladies dresses and hats very much. 

Well Callie you must look over all mistakes bad writing.  My pen is bad and the children are all around me talking for I have been writing to their mother.  She has been at Dandridge and they want her to come home.  My love to all enquiring friends and except share for yourself.

                                                                        Your friend

                                                                                    Arrondia J. McPherson

PS.  I am at home again.  I found all the family well.  I heard some good news on the way.  I am to have a new cousin shortly.  Dr. Pratt [?]  is going to enter the state of matrimony shortly and I will have plenty to do for the two weeks.  Well I expect to have a fine time eating cake this summer.  I fall for I am going to all the weddings and that will be a good many.  Well I must quit writing for the mail boy is coming.  I found 2 letters from Dad and Milly Honking [?]  when I came home.  They have been here a week.  I will answer them sometime when I have more leisure than at present.

                                                                                                Yours Arrondia




Sallie Howell to Cal and other cousins in Phila.  Cousin Jane has a daughter Addie.  Who are these guys?  “ Much love to Joe’s family” -- This would be Joseph Ragan (1833-xxxx) and Louisa Jane Lillard Ragan (1833-xxxx).  Sallie feels caged and bored at college and misses her cousins.


                                                                     Bethany  July 8th 1866

Dearest cousins:

                                    I will not attempt to tell you how much good it did me to hear from you all.  I am always like a crazy thing to get leters from any one I love so muchas I do all of you my own dear cousins.  I know I cant write any thing interesting, for I have’nt been off the hill but once or twice since I came out here, and i do think this is the driest place “ever I went any where to stay all night!”.  I recon we will have something to wake us up about the 20th of this month, as we are going to have a grand examination followed by a concert and dialogues.  I have the part of an old woman to play in one of the dialogues, and a duette to play with Eddie two young gentlemen accompanying us with violins.  Dont you know it will be grand!  I have just finished me a new dress to wear at the concert, with trim about ½ yard deep.  It is very pretty.  Yes, I know I would have enjoyed you round of gaities very much had I only “been down dar”. 

            Jodie you are real cruel to say you believe I left that picture on purpose.  You know I did not.  I was so sorry about it, I hardly knew what to do.  Please send it to me and all of you do the same.  You certainly know that I love you all very much, and nothing would make me so happy as to have your pictures so that I could while away many a long hour, gazing on the dear features of those I love so fondly.  Mine is a sad lot, dear cousins, for I have nothing to turn to for happiness; and it is only by reverting to pleasures past, that I can even for a while forget the dark reality.  O, how often do I recall the sweet days of happiness spent in your dear little nest-like home among the rocks & hills of my own loved East Tennessee!  You cant imagine how happy I was then.  But now I feel like a caged bird.  I have to conform so strictly to the rules of etiquette that I almost wish I was home again.  You know aunt Nancy I had to go out to the kitchen to rest myself while at your house, but here I dont have the chance to do that.  I just want to get out on the fence or climb a tree and yell for about an hour.  I think it would relieve me.  Well it’s school time, and I think time to stop my chatter.  Write soon all of you.  Julia, darling, dont treat me with silent contempt, but do let me read one of your real good letters. 

Ever fondly & affectionately your cousin Sallie


P.S.  Tell cousin Jane to name her babe Nina and I will give it a coat.  Now out of all I think I should have one name at least.  Kiss all the little ones for me.  I am going to claim Addie sometime, so cousin Jane may just prepare to give her to me.  Much love to all cousin Joe’s family. [Joseph Ragan (1833-xxxx) and Louisa Jane Lillard Ragan (1833-xxxx)].





This letter to Nancy is from Roxanna Grayson, a friend or relation whose connection to the family is not yet known.  She has moved away from Sweetwater and says she misses home.  She is happily married to a man that “cannot be beat the world over”.   Few other details are evident.

Clues to the date – Before 1899 when Nancy died.  Soon after the war in 1865.  Roxanna has moved from E Tenn. She could be older since she writes to Mrs Lillard (Nancy).  There were Grayson neighbors in Philadelphia on the 1880 census.  Ragans too.  Louisa Jane Lillard Married Joseph Ragan in 1851 and they live next to (maybe on?) the farm.


                                                                        Sabbath evening at home,

Mrs Lillard

                        You no doubt will be surprised when you receive Mrs Routs [Routh?] letter and find a little scroll from Rocky inclosed in it.  I thought it would be nothing wrong for me to bother you with a few lines as it is the first time since I left old Tenn though I have nothing interesting to write you any more then we are all well at this time.  Mrs Lillard I am a poor hand to write and give the news and times but if I was back in my old neighborhood whean I could see you all one time more I think my tounge would tire you all out.  I think I could talk about twelve months before I would rest any & if I could I would like very much to visit you all especially my old home and Sweetwater church.  I want you and Cal to write to me and tell me all and every thing about the place that would interest me and all about my relations.  I suppose Cal is not married yet.  I often wonder at that for I thought Cal would have married long ago.  She is a waiting until she can get a good man like I did for I asshure you mine cannot be beat the world over.  Cal you had better marry soon or you will get too old to do well.  Marry and come out to this country and live close to me.  I would like it verry much.  Cal write to me soon and tell me about every body there that I ever knew.  Mrs Lillard tell Cal Martin that I will answer her letter soon if I can get time.  Tell her I never have had time to write a letter since I was robed out in time of the war.  I work all the weeak and a part the day on Sunday for good measure.  I want here to write to me often and lengthy.  A short letter does me not much good.  Write soon if you pleas all of you.  So no more at present.  I remain your friend until death shall qwell passions.

                                                                        Roxanna Grayson

Cosin Joseph Ragan will you and Jane [Joseph Reagon 1833-xxxx & Louisa Jane Lillard Reagon 1833-xxxx] pleas to favor me with a long letter.  Do if you pleas.  I will answer it.  Tell me whether Martha Ragan is living or not.



Duck C Pennington and Charlie are women.  Julia is quite the troublemaker.  She sounds like a handful in this letter.


                                                                                                Philad Aug 2nd 1866

Dear Sister

                        I have taken my seat to write you a short letter and I am going to write things just as they come up.  Well Wednesday after you all left I pitched in and cleaned the house over from top to bottom.  Then I went up stairs to my same old trade got my quilt out Thursday, made my lounge cover fix it all for sitting, Friday ironed scoured and fixed for matting.  Saturday went to church had company Miss Altha Chesnutt Mr Harvey Parton, had the hardest rain Saturday evening that I ever saw fall in my life, Sunday went to church of course. Very large crowd out, Mollie Emma Sam Dick Taliaferro, Cousin Vernon Lillard [James S Vernon Lillard 1829-1908 Meigs Co?] and old B, after dinner we all went back singing.  I had Dick for a beau.  We sung one lesson then taken a rest.  I stept up to Duck before C Taliaferro and ask her if she dident want some snuff.  Yes; I says come on Mr T.  We are going out in a regular bust of snuff diping.  He and Jack went with us and we sent them to the creek to get brushes.  I say now girls go for her, we standing under the trees have I had enough now girls go for her, we standing under the trees talking and Jack Pennington’s little girl was standing by Pop.  Charlie says Mrs Cleveland is that your little daughter.  Pop says no its not mine.  Charlie I am certan whether you lived or died.  Duck and I bursted out laugfing.  We could not hold in any longer.  It like to plagued them both to death.  Pops face was as red as fire.  Charlie ask me if she never did have one.  I never did have as much fun in my life.

 Cousin Vernon left Thursday.  You know he has to stay a week when he comes.  The same day I had a house full.  Pop Duck Marian his wife and child, Jane Mrs Hicks Miss Camel in the evening.  Paris Shell to night two Mr McSpadens and Dick T.  I have had company every day since last Saturday.  O, I am having a nice time house keeping.  The boys are having a gay time playing cards.  I guess you have had enough of this.  Every thing is going on very well at home.  Joe has got the turnip patch all ready.  Tell Mother the chicken are doing fine.  Mrs Hicks is ready for that jeanes now.  I will take it to her next week.  There hasent any coats came in since you all left.  I have not got that other filling at hand yet.  Bettie have you had Cal to whip yet.  If she needs it give it too her.

Miss Sue left for georgia on Thursday.  Brother Amus is down thar yet.  I am going down thar to see him to morrow that is to meeting and singing.  Granny is here yet kicking up her heels just like she always did.

Monday the 6th.   I saw Brother Amos yesterday.  He looks sweet as a peach.  Joe went home with Mintie from singing.  I’ll tell you we are having a nice time.  Mr Ragan wants to know if there is any room in your house for him about two week and be sure to write as soon as you get this.  He wants to go up the last of this week or the first of next.  If there is none in your house to look around and see what the prospect is for board other places.

I am your sister Julia


[Continued on same sheet]

Well Cal I am able to kick up yet but do not feel very well to day.  I saw old Pus last Sunday and had a little confab with him.  You may believe I give him some good ones.  He had his bib and Tucker on.  Also had his head and heels up.  He is all perpinsquint.  Keep your head and shoulders up and don’t take the blues and court the boys and marry if you can up there, for there is no one here to tye to.


Yours &c [etc]     Duck. C. Pennington




1-29-1867  AJ Lillard marries Samantha C. Taliaferro in Roane Co. Tn.





Like many others, the Lillard family was fragmented and scattered by the war and it was not always easy for them to learn the fates of their relatives.  This letter to Nancy (Routh Lillard) from Pauline (Polly) Routh Hague, Nancy’s sister, was written almost 2 years after the end of the war.  The Routh girls were born in Monroe County TN but Polly had married James Hague and moved to Arkansas.  This letter includes news on the fates of some of Polly’s relatives. Polly is about 62 years old.


Near Berryville Ark.

Jan. 30th 1867

Very dear sister,


After a long time silence I will write to you to let you know that we are in the land of the living and have not forgotten you.   I have not heard from you since that cruel war commenced.  I would like to hear from you and Brother Pleasant Routh [1808-1874] how the war served you.  All of us in this country fared badly.  Murrel Routh [Benjamin Murrell Routh 1823-1873] went to Texes himself and negros and stock.  His family stayed at home.  William Routh [William Jacob Routh 1819-1899] went to Texes.  His family went to him.  They are there yet.  He was broke up when they got there.  He went to Kinzie Routh [1811-1875].  He is very rich and has only three children living.  William and Kinzie are both good Doctors.

   We stayed at home during the war. We were robbed of everything of stock kind and our house was robed several times.  Towards the last we could hardly keep anything to eat.  We had to bury our corn and meat in the ground to keep it.  We did not suffer for something to eat tho a great many did. I would like to no which side you were all on. All of the connection here were for the south.  James Lillard lost one son in the army.  They have three children left 2 sons 1 daughter.  Mother is still living and in very good helth.  I will not write very lengthy at this time.  If you get this please write and let me no how you are getting along and where your children is.  Mine is scatered.  Murrell [Joseph Murrell Hague 1832-1919] is in California.  Joseph is in Texes.  Mary [Mary Jane Hague 1838-1915] is in Missouri.  The rest is here.  I have 1 daughter living with me.  Her husband died a prisoner at Littlerock.  Louisa [Louisa E Hague 1840-1917] is the one that is living with me.  Caroline gipson is a widow.  Martha Perkins is a widow.  There men were kiled.

Please write ameately when you receive this for we are very anxious to hear from you.  We get letters from all the rest of the connection.  If you get this and answer it I will write more.  I will close for this time.

We still remain Your Brother and Sister

James and Polly Hague

To Nancy Lillard

If Nancy Lillard is not living some of her children please to answer for I am so anxious to hear from her.



Chapter 6      The Later Years


After 1867 the letters become infrequent.  Cal was 32 years old and for some reason she stopped saving so many letters.  The tin box was crammed full but occasional letters were added until 1910.


In the letter below it seems Wash has quite a lot of cash on hand.  He seems to be cashing a check for a friend.


                                                                                                            June 7 / 1869

WW Lillard Esqu.

                                    Dear Sir

            Find enclosed chk for one thousand dollars & ten 50/100 dollars cash for the 1005$ Currency handed me this A.M.  They charged ¼ pr ct.

                                                                                    Very Truly Yours

                                                                                    AJ Moore

Hope you will have a pleasant & prosperous troth[?] Live to get back & be able to saw many an “Old Rosin the bow” for Uncle Joe’s satisfaction.



Per the 1880 Federal Census, Nancy Lillard is 72 years old and head of the house.  Wash is 48 and living at home.  Also Cal age 44 and Joe age 36.  Also a black servant Mary Smith, age 45, and her daughter Cora age 5.  The 3 other surviving children are living elsewhere.  Nearby neighbors include John & Sarah Grayson, Caria and Elizabeth Cleveland, Archibald and Sophronia Bacome, Joseph E and Lucretia T Ragen and 6 children, Caria Rausin, and Dry Edwards, a 73 year old woman,



                                                                                                    Decatur, Tenn

                                                                                                    April 22, 1882

Dear Aunt Cal-,  I received your nice little letter of thanks the 12th inst. and was so glad to hear that you were pleased with your collar and that you all were well.  Of course Ma will accept your love and says she would like so much to see you.

  How is Aunt Nancy getting along now.  We are going to have a Strawberry Festival the 12th of May.  Wish so much you all could come.  I recon we will have the festival if nothing happens.  Many thanks for your good wish but am afraid it will never come to pass.  You will have to excuse this short letter as I have to go to the kitchen.

                                                                      Yours lovingly


All send love to you all.

Well I thought I would add a little more to my letter while they are eating dinner.  Tell Addie I sent her sack Thursday and sent Annies things Friday.  I will write to Addie Monday I think.  Mr John Russel was buried last Tuesday (or Wendesday)  he married Jenn (Tenn?) McKorkle.  I suppose you were acquanited with her.  I do not know when I will come back up there.  Of course I would be willing to come any time but you see how it is we can’t enjoy ourselves all the time.  I don’t expect you can read this for I have written it in such a hurry.  I wanted to send it before the mail went out.  Now Aunt Cal wont you be sure and come down to the Festival.  Tell Cousin Jacks family to come and all the rest of you be sure to come.

                                                            Aff Lulu


The crossed out sections below were erased and scribbled over, apparently by Cal, but they are still legible.  She saved the letter so she must not have been offended but she may have thought the erased parts were too private for others who might read the letter.  Cal is 48 years old and still breaking hearts.


See: http://www.undergroundozarks.com/rushom1.html for information on the Buffalo lead and zinc mines of Arkansas.


                                                                                                Eureka Springs Ark

                                                                                                Feb 22nd 1883

Miss M. C. Lillard

Miss Calie I got your letter yesterday.  You dont know how glad that I was to here from you.  I was the best pleas Boy that you ever saw I bet.  I thought you had gone back on me Calie.  I thought you had quit me for good but I think just as mush of you as I ever did.  You want me tell you what I was dewing.  I have been getting out reglar posts and we are think of going to the buffalo mines to work.  It is about sixty mils from Eureka and if I do I will droup you a card when I get thire.  If we do go we want to start sunday or monday.  Calie tell Wash that I went yesterday and got his pistol and I will sell or send it to him.  I think that I can sell it right away.  That is all I got of his.  They said wasen any thing els there of his.  The wether has been so bad two or three month that I couden harley pay my way.  Is Ma better yet.  I got a letter from Nannie day before yesterday and I have to answer it yet but I thought be’ens that you me wanse was friends and I hope we are yet that I would answer your letter first and then her’s.  I would like to see you all very mush.  If I was abbel to come back I think I would come.  Calie you don’t know how bad I would like to see you and Nannie.  If I only culd see you wance more and talk with you I think it would make me happy.  Tell all the Gril howdy fore me and how well that I would like to see them.  If I live I will see them.  I think if I had of knowen that Wash was going to come back you bet that I would have come back with him but you say that he said he had wrote to me about it.  I did not get the word.  If I had I would come back to you my darling? for there is no like you.  I wish you and I was to live in a house to our selfs.   I would be better sadisfied.  So I must quit for this time.  Write soon all of your true friend.

                                    J. H. Lewis  [ possibly L.H. Lewis]


Note:  One J. H. Lewis married Addie V Lillard on 3-12-1911 in Meigs County, near Decatur.  It could be the same man?



William Washington Lillard died 11-16-1883.  He is buried in the Old Sweetwater Cemetery with many of his family.  See  http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gsr&GSiman=1&GScid=16666&GSfn=&GSln=lillard



This letter is to Aunt Nancy Lillard (Cal’s mother) from Elizabeth Caroline Hague m. Gibson later m. Thorn 1825-1905. Elizabeth is the daughter of Nancy’s sister, Polly Routh Hague 1805-1885. Elizabeth was born in Monroe County and lived in Berryville, NW Arkansas and then California. She is 62 years old and a grandmother.


                                                                                          Kingsburg Cal

                                                                                                            Sept 17th 1887


Dear Aunt     I received your most welcome letter was so glad to hear from you and hear you was able to go whare you wanted.  I am now living in Calafornia.  We come to this country last feb.  I am very well satisfied here.  Brother Murel [Joseph Murrell Hague 1832-1919 ???] lives here and has been living here for several years.  2 of my girles live here.  The girls live in town and I live one half mile from town on a small ranch 20 acres.  We have been offered one hundred dollars per acre.  We gave 50 dollars per acre.  They are talking of building a colage in front of our house.  Me and the 2 grand children are living alone.  They are going to school.  We have a fine school in town.  8 months in the year it is a free school.  The children can do much better here than they back east when they git an education.  When they are out of school they can make some money now.  They have been drying peaches and grapes.  We have got over one bushel of raisons dried.   We have dried over 10 bushels peaches and can git a good price for peaches.  The grapes we dried for our own use.  It is the nicest country to dry fruit you ever seen.  Thare is no rain thrugh summer and till late in the fall we have the finest vegitales that I ever seen.  We buy all from China Man.  They pass evry day.  You can git any thing you want and cheaper than you can rais them.  We have to iragate evry thing.  You do not have to wait for rain.  Evry thing grows so fine.  Timber is very scarce.  We pay 6 and 7 dollars a cord for fire wood but it takes but little.  We dont have to have big fires here.  It is very seldom we have to have a fire all day in the winter and very often have none only what we have to cook with.  You said to send this letter to uncle William.  I dont no his post office.  The post Master foridowed your letter to me.  If you will write to sister Lou Meek [Louisa Evalina Hague Meek 1840-1917] she can give you uncle william address.  She is the only one that is living at berryville.  Pa [James M Hague 1802-1892] stays with her some of the time and with sister Martha [Martha Ann Hague 1836-1901].  She lives at Beaver 20 miles.  You said to tell you about the conection.  Betsy Lillard is dead.  She died before we left thare.  Lara [?] is married the second time and that is all I know about her.  Hugh Routh lives in Boon County Ark Harison I hear from home evry week or 2.  Pa was not very stout.  My health is better here than it was in Ark.  Lelie my Grand daugher does all my washing and ironing.  They are a great deal of help to me.  Tell the Karns girles to write to me for I love to hear from them.  I want you to write to me oftainer.  I thought you was dead you waited so long.

Love to all your Niece

                        E C Thorn


The Karns girls are probably related thru Elizabeth’s sister Louisa Evalina Hague whose first marriage was to Vern S Karnes on 3-6-1862.







You may remember Cal’s wish to get a Melodeon from her exchange of letters with Wash of June 1860.  32 years later it looks like she has finally realized her dream.  The “Mrs.” on MC Lillard is apparently an error or assumption by the MacArthur’s.


  See http://www.reedsoc.org/organs/farrand.htm for more information on the organ.


                                                                                    Knoxville, Tenn ., Aug 25th 1892

Mrs  M.C. Lillard       Philada, Tenn.

Dear Madam

                        As per order so kindly given my son, I have selected and shipped you a splendid voiced  Farrand & Votey  Chapelette organ.  You will find this a magnificent organ for the price and in tone and durability it cannot be excelled.  When you receive instrument and find it satisfactory, please send us check as agreed and obliged.

                                                            Yours truly

                                                                        F.W. McArthur


This letter is on same McArthur Music House letterhead, perhaps from the son.

                             Knoxville, Tenn. 8/26/1892

                                    Mrs. C. Lillard

                                                Philadelphia, Tenn.

Dear Madam,

                        I have not been able so far to secure the music charts I promised you, but have sent 1 Complete Organ instructor, and 2 books in sheet form containing a large number of pieces, which I an shure you can learn to play.

                        Hoping to hear from you soon as to how the “Chappalette” suits you.

                                                                                                I remain yours

                                                                                                W.R. McArthur



Miss Caroline Lillard                                                 March 12, 1897


Dear Friend,


            I have bothered you so often for roots that I am really ashamed to send again; but I am very anxious to get a set of box-vine in front of my parlor, and, thus far, have failed utterly.  Please give me a little more.

On last Saturday , I received a letter from Cousin Roxana Grayson.  She inquired, in an especial manner, about the Lillards.

                                                                                    Yours sincerely,

                                                                                                C.C. Berry




Per this receipt Cal is making payments on a house in Philadelphia.  Certainly the main house is paid off.  It is unknown what this house is.





Nancy B Routh Lillard, the matriarch of the Philadelphia farm passed away on 7-27-1899, aged 92.




Compare these two receipts to your present day property taxes.  Note the district stays the same but the county changes.  Monroe County had a convoluted history.






Per the 1900 Federal Census Monroe County District 4

Mary C Lillard is the head of the household.  She is 67 years old and lives alone.  Her home is classified as a farm and she owns it free and clear.

It sounds like a lonely life except --

Six houses in one direction lives her sister Julia Lillard Burns, with her husband and three of their children.

Two houses in the other direction lives her brother Joseph Berry Lillard, his wife and four of their children, including Hattie Lillard – more on her soon.  Joseph also owns his farm free and clear.

Other friends and relations certainly live nearby.


Is it possible that Joseph Berry Lillard swapped residences with Cal?  We know he built his own home but it had been assumed he eventually lived on the ancestral farm.  More research is needed.



Cal is having a cash flow problem.  In 1910 she is 75 years old and we don’t know what her sources of income would be.

                                                                                                                        Philda, June 23rd, 1910

Mr. Frank A Berry


                        I hate to call on you before date but am compelled to have some money.  Some things I have to pay down.  Please bring or send me about 50 fifty dollars when convenient with you and oblige your friend

                                                                        M.C. Lillard

[ On back of sheet]

                                                                                                                        June 23, 1910

Miss Call;  I at once send you inclosed check for $25.00 and will send the balance of the amount you request in about ten days.

                                                                                                            Your friend

                                                                                                            Frank Berry



Chapter 7      Hattie Lillard  


            Hattie E Lillard (1895-1959) was Cal’s niece, the daughter of brother Joseph Berry Lillard.  The first hand memories of her daughter below add reality and color to life at the farm in Philadelphia.





 Remembrances of Margaret Estelle Callaway Hyde

Written by Margaret Hyde

Transcribed by Virginia C. Hyde



Mother [Hattie E Lillard (1895-1959)] lived on the farm near Philadelphia, TN all of her young life.  She told me of things and as many of these happenings as I can I will record.  She told me of how they were walking along on the farm and their dog Watch would not let them go ahead.  There was a poisonous snake there which they didn’t see.    The dog was bitten by the snake and died.  Mother also said that when she was little she went up in the hay loft and smoked some tobacco.  She got real sick, and wouldn’t tell her parents what was wrong.  So the doctor was called and he diagnosed her case correctly.  Mother had a cat and she would slip the cat upstairs to sleep with her when her parents weren’t looking.  The bedrooms were not heated and were quite cold.  Mother also said that Aunt Minnie [Minnie L Lillard 1890-????] kept stealing some of her supper one night so Mother grabbed a butcher knife and whacked Minnie on the head.  They put salt in the cut and called the doctor immediately.  Mother was scared to death. 


Mother also said that she used to walk across the foot log and collect hickory nuts.  One time the dog was going on the foot log too and he pushed her in the creek.  There used to be fish in the creek.  Mother said that when her Father [Joseph Berry Lillard 1843-1920] was very ill she would go down to the stream near the barn and catch fish for him to eat.  Later a tannery was built in Sweetwater, and dumped its waste into the stream and thus killed all the fish. 


Mother and Aunt Minnie used to have a good time.  The TMI boy would come down to visit them and bring sheet music.  Then they would have a real good time playing and singing.  Mother’s Father was a great fiddler.  He would play for dances, but would never let his own daughters dance. 


He also had beautiful handwriting and he was asked to write the diplomas and lots of formal deeds and such.  Mother said that they were visiting some relatives a few miles away once, and there came a big thunderstorm.  The lightning struck the barn and it was completely burned to the ground along with two horses, a shay and a carriage and all the hay etc. 


Mother’s Father did not believe in slavery so he fought on the Union side.  His brother [ A.J. and Wash Lillard] fought on the Confederate side.  He had a farm and he freed all of the colored people and gave each of them some land.  Mother’s father built his own house and all the woodwork was heart pine from the farm.  They had to walk to school all of the time.  They walked 1 or 2 miles along the railroad track to Philadelphia.  She said they would wear long underwear and in the Spring their Mother [Margaret J Harrison Lillard 1863-1932] would cut their underwear legs and arms shorter and shorter as the weather got warmer.  The name of the high school where they went was Bogart High School.  Mother said they were walking across a railroad bridge once and a train started coming.  Mother’s shoe got caught in the tress and she had to wiggle her foot out of her shoe and get off the bridge and the railroad tracks.  Mother and Aunt Min went out to Oklahoma to visit their brother Fred [William Frederick Lillard 1886-1946] whom everyone called Bub.  They were late getting to the train so the train waited till they got there.   


Mother said that when they were little an orange, banana, or tangerine was a great treat and they would get one of them in their stockings at Xmas.  They would have to go to Philadelphia to get mail or a newspaper.  Mother said when they were young they would have lots of parties.  One fad was the girls would wear boy’s neckties.  Some of the girls would take boys’ neckties away from them.  I guess maybe their boyfriends.  


Bub went to work in Oklahoma in the oil fields and he met a girl who was a lawyer.  They were married, and later on they were divorced.  Bub used to be a fastidious dresser, and after the separation he never cared how he looked and he never was the same. 


There was a big conch shell on the back porch which they used to call men from the fields.  There was a wooden barrel at the back of the house that they kept rain water in.  That was always used to wash hair and I think clothes in.  There was an iron pot in the backyard where clothes were washed and boiled.  Also lye soap was made in that pot.  Bub wanted to go in the services in the first World War.  He has some disability so that he couldn’t go, but Uncle Murl [Joseph Murl Lillard 1896-1976] didn’t care about going at all and he had to go.  He fought in France.  Mother said that every time her Mother would bring bread out of the oven Mother would be there to get the real hot end piece of bread.  Mother said that a man with an organ grinder and a monkey used to come to the farm and play outside the window for money. 


People would come by and want to spend the night because places to stay were few and far between.  Once a person came to spend the night.   He was an artist and he painted a picture on the slate which we still have and he wrote a poem on the back of it.  The picture is a picture of the farm house with snow falling.  No doubt it must have been winter.



Written in pencil on the back of the slate is the following poem:



Nightfall in Winter


Now the winter’s day has ended

Swiftly passed its hours by,

And its spirit, stern, unbended

Lingers in the clouded sky.

Chill, the air blows o’er the mountains,

Softly falls the driven snow,

Silent are earths babbling fountains

Death is keeping watch below.


N.W. Lippencott

Nov 25-1914

















 Another time a person came and knocked on the front door and when someone opened it and he ran in the front door thru the hall and out the back door.  After awhile someone else came to the door and asked us if the person had been there.  Then this fellow ran through the door and after the other guy.  They never found out what the trouble was.


 Mother said that they bought a T Model Ford.  She got out in the field and learned to drive the car by herself.  It used to get real cold in the winter time.  The stream back by the barn would freeze over and the kids would take straight chains and slide on the ice.  They didn’t have ice skates but that was just as much fun.  Mother said she visited her Aunt Betty Jane in Madisonville and she had a big house with a winding staircase that went three floors.  The very top floor was a ballroom.  Mother used to slide down from the top to the bottom of the railing.  During the war Mother worked as a reporter in the Knoxville Journal.  She typed letters from the soldiers overseas in World War I.  When they ran out of letters Mother would have to make up letters.  On the main road not far from the Farm was an aunt’s big ??? home.  It was empty and some tramp came in and set it on fire and it burned to the ground with lots of nice furniture and everything else.  Also at Aunt Betty Jane’s she said she was at the corner of the yard and there was a rattlesnake and it nearly bit her but she escaped just in time.


At the Lillard Farm -- Things I Remember When I was Little-- by Margaret Callaway Hyde

Mother [Hattie] was sick with TB in Asheville so I spent my summers at Grandmother’s [Margaret J Harrison Lillard 1863-1932] Farm mostly and Winters at Gran’s [Lula May Harrison Callaway] house.  At my Grandmother’s I used to sleep with her in the sleigh bed.  It had a wonderful feather mattress.  It was wonderful.  I would sink way down in it.  Grandmother used to grow popcorn.  We would shell it rubbing one ear against the other and then popping it in the fireplace.  There was a smoke house where the meat was kept.  Grandmother and I would go out to cut pieces of ham for a meal.  She would always give me little bites.  Grandmother would wring chickens’ necks to kill them.  Then they would flop around all over the place.  Grandmother would have huge breakfasts sometimes – fried chicken, fried ham, potatoes, and biscuits and other things.  I used to play at the side of the house by the foot of a big tree.  I would make highways and XXX etc.  Also I played on the landing of the stairs with paper dolls, regular dolls, and a little ironstone.  Grandmother and I used to take a walk to the back of the farm to where there was a mill and we would get meal and flour ground.  We would go visit the Cooks.  There was a stream down in front of their house that I used to like to play in.  The stream was real clear with lots of pebbles in it.  There were also lots of ducks there.  They would make down pillows from their feathers.  I used to go out and feed the chickens.  We had Plymouth Rock hens.  These are the black and white spotted ones.  There were also lots of baby chicks which I liked a lot.  The mother hens would go clucking along with their chicks behind them.  Once Bub took me over to visit Cousin Ida Reagan and her family [Ida N Ragan (1871-????) Was married to Joseph C. Ragan who was the son of Cal’s sister Louisa Jane Lillard].  We walked there.  It was quite a ways, over a mile I would say.  They put me up on a high mule or horse.  He rose up and pushed me off but Bub caught me.  She had lots of little doll dishes.  She gave me a pretty little plate with gold trim on it.  It was quite a long way to walk.  Sometimes we would go to Sweetwater.  That was a big occasion.  Once Grandmother got me a little New Testament which I was so proud of.  We would always cross the stream on the foot log which often made me wonder if I would fall in.  Sometimes when I would sleep in the upstairs front bedroom I would be awakened by a train coming by.  It would wake me and it sounded like it was coming right in the room and I was surely ???.  Also when I would wake up Grandmother’s rooster would crow and then I would hear another rooster answering back from another farm, the Cannon Farm next door.  It really sounded nice.  Daddy [Joseph Harrison Callaway 1887-1966] would come down sometimes on the weekends and I would be looking out for him.  He would come on the train or bus to Philadelphia and then walk ???.  Grandmother would always fix real good big meals.  Uncle Murl and Aunt Myra were there part of the time.  Bub had two hunting dogs he kept in a building all the time they weren’t out hunting.  There were pines in the front yard which smelled so good and make a nice sound when the wind blew.  We would have our hot meal at Noon and enjoy the afternoon sitting out on the porch.  I could put my ear to the metal rail on the railroad and could hear a train coming miles away.  It was the vibration.  Once I put some little rocks on the railroad to see what would happen.  The wheels just ground them up.  Grandmother and I would get sweet gum twigs and brush our teeth with them.  Grandmother would keep food in crocks in the basement.  She used to churn and make butter and cottage cheese.  That was lots of fun.  Mother said that at Christmas they would go to church and the tree would be lighted with candles all over it.  Mother said she didn’t know what kept the church from catching fire.  At my Grandmother’s, there were only kerosene lamps.  I remember how every day Grandmother would clean the lamps’ chimneys with newspaper to keep them clean and shiny.  There was a fenced in garden behind my Grandmother’s home.  At the back of the garden was the outhouse which accommodated two persons.  There was a path by the garden and there were sweet violets growing there just as we entered the garden there.   Mother said her Father used to bring her rings when he came back from trips.  Once he brought her one with red, white, and blue stones in it.  She lost it in her front yard and never found it. 


Reminiscences from the Farm

Grandmother used to make cornbread and she always kept buttermilk in an old pitcher without a handle which we still have.  One of my favorite dishes was buttermilk and corn bread broken up into it.  I would stand on the back porch and would call out.  On the bluffs back by the barn the echo would come right back to the porch.  There was a cistern by the back porch which was real convenient to the kitchen.  There was a dirt dauber (sort of like a wasp) nest and the insect stung me and it sure did hurt.  Grandmother put soda on it which made it feel so much better.  Grandmother's parlor was the room on the right as you came in the front door.  That was a room which we did not come into hardly anytime except for company.  There was no central heating just fireplaces in every room.  There was a telephone in the back hall but there were not enough customers so they didn't bring the telephone lines into the house.


When Mother, Daddy, and I would go down to the farm we would always cross on the Niles Ferry.  That was lots of fun.  When we would turn off the main highway to go into the farm we would often get stuck.  The people who owned the land by the road asked way too much for the land so that was why the Lillards didn't own it.  The road was so bad right off the main highway.  Then we would cross the railroad track and not have too much trouble the rest of the way.  In the Fall just after we crossed the ferry there would be someone making molasses using ??? the old fashioned ??? on the right just after leaving the ferry a short way.


Notes from Virginia Hyde

-        There are several mentions of an ‘Aunt Annabell’, ‘Aunt Annie Belle’,’ Aunt Anna Belle’.  I am not sure but I believe these to be the same person.  This person is ‘Annie Bell Callaway’, born 10/20/1889 and died 7/30/1947 in the Callaway Family Tree on ancestry.com.


-        There is mention of ‘their brother Fred whom everyone called Bub’.  I again am not sure but I believe that this is the brother of our Mother’s Mother Hattie Lillard.  In the Lillard Family Tree this person is shown as ‘William Fred Lillard’.


-        Our Mother’s Aunt Elizabeth had 2 husbands.  The first was ‘Gustavus A. Hutcheson’, 1879-1924.  They had 3 kids, James W that our Mother always called JW, Humphrey Grey that Mom used to always call Grey, and Elizabeth A. who was born in 1921 and died in 1922.  I am guess that Elizabeth A is the person referred to in the text ‘She had a little girl and Aunt Elizabeth went visiting in Virginia and the little girl got a real bad strep throat and she died of it.‘  The second husband was James Lee Cawthorn I think.  She married him 3 Jan 1930. 



Chapter 8   The Callaway’s to the Present Day


Hattie Lillard married Joseph Harrison Callaway on July 2, 1921.  There is only one letter in the little tin box about the Callaway’s.  It was probably put there by Hattie.



In the letter of condolence below, Jim is James M Callaway (1861-1920).  His wife Lulu is Lula May (Harrison) Callaway (1865-1949).  The writer of this letter is Lula’s father Dr. Josiah J Harrison (1834-1917).  Little Jimmie was 2 weeks from his 3rd birthday.




J. J. Harrison M.D.                                                                             H.M. Harrison M.D.

                                                            Drs. Harrison

                                                Physicians and Surgeons

                                                Loudon, Tenn,  Aug 12 1896

Dear Jim & Lula

            I am so sorry to hear of the death of little Jimmie – so sad but we must submit to the will of Him who does all things well.  Dear Lula and Jim you must not grieve the little Jewel – he’s only gone before you ???? ???? piece again on the other side of the river, where happiness will again be supreme.

            Henry is not so well this evening.  I am afraid to leave him though if he is all ????? I will go in the morning.

            I expect in the near future to remove all our dead from the family grave yards – to the steaky cemetery.  As soon as I can get a lot there.  I have long thought of this move because we cant tell in years to come who will be the posesor of the lands.

            If I fail to get there in the morning remember my sympathy and prayers are with you.


                                                                                                Your Papa

                                                                                                J.J. Harrison


Back side of letter has unrelated writing- no date or signature.


Is last payment on land he has bought the last six or eight years.  The other half of his debt they will have to take whatever it will pay.  Its said by some it will not pay more than fifty cent to the dollar.  I have been thinking of going to visit you shortly.  If you will come to Loudon on the first Monday of next month I will go home with you and stay several days.  Taylor come home after regain?? his dog.  He had seen two ??? Tomes?  And he put out its ???nearby youre & Fork and has got back.  Willie Grant has been ????  the last two days went home this evening.  Mother is stay with me and says she will stay with me as long as I want for I do not know what I should of done if she left me.  My cropper[?] Moved in Monday and that will relieve me in part.  Roger H Abbott all well Frank says hes coming home



Some of the Callaway’s lived in Monroe county and they were known to the Lillard’s as far back as the letter of  May 26, 1852 when Lockie Elenor Howell wrote to Cal “The school will be out in 9 weeks, and then you will see me sailing up on the Cars as happy as me and Mr. Caliway would have been that night going to the party “without any clothes””.


 However, the Callaway’s did not enter this narrative in earnest until Joseph Harrison Callaway married Hattie in 1921. Hattie and Joe Callaway moved to Maryville.  Joe worked for Alcoa.  They had one child, Margaret Estelle (Peggy) Callaway (1922-1979). 


As seen in her writings above, Peggy practically grew up on the farm in Philadelphia because her mother suffered from tuberculosis and spent years in a sanatorium in Ashville, NC.  Margaret attended the University of Tennessee and received a master’s degree in education.  During World War II she worked as a secretary at Oak Ridge, TN on the Manhattan Project.  She met her husband there, George Edwin Hyde, a chemist also working on the Manhattan Project developing the atomic bomb.  They were married at her parents’ home on Willard Street in Maryville, as shown in the photo below. 



  Their first daughter, Nancy Elizabeth, was born in Maryville 8-2-1947.  George returned to school to get his Doctorate in Chemistry.  Soon after, George got a job with DuPont in New Jersey.  They moved to Metuchen N.J. where Ralph Edwin Hyde was born on 8-3-1951.  Ralph is your illustrious editor and current caretaker of the little tin box.  Virginia Callaway Hyde was born 7-6-1956. 



Other resources


http://www.archive.org/stream/historyofsweetwa00leno/historyofsweetwa00leno_djvu.txt  Contains history of Sweetwater, lineage of the Lillard’s, hints to location of old Lillard Place within the history of the battle of Philadelphia.


This is just too lurid to leave out, even though I don’t know of any relation between these Monroe County Lillard’s and ours.  Perhaps they are black sheep of the family?  From the list of Chancery court cases - Link http://www.tngennet.org/monroe/chancery/chanceryn.htm


No.315) Filed 3 May 1869. James A. Lillard by his Gdn. [guardian] J.H. Worthy vs Mary A. Lillard et al. Lillard a lunatic in Tenn. Hospital for Insane since 1859 is granted divorce from Mary Ann whom he married Oct 1857. They have one legitimate daughter Amanda T. Worthy, Lillard's Gdn., is granted custody of her. But Mary Ann, while she never visited James and he has had no access to her, has given birth to Mary J. Lillard about 1862 who is supposed to be the fruit of her illicit intercourse with one Jacob Moser a married man with whom she at one time eloped, and she has also given birth to Alice Lillard about 1865, the fruit of her illicit intercourse with Joseph Brakebill a married man. Mary Ann and James had another child who is dead. Mary J. and Alice Lillard are declared illegimate and not heirs to estate of James. 1869: witness says Mary Ann has lately married and gone from this country with one James Parks son of Robert Parks.


From   http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nightshade/Lunatic_Asylum.html

 LILLARD, James H., age 30, male; farmer; born in Tennessee; admitted 1859; condition caused by intemperance.


This IS the right guy.   I’m pretty sure middle initial is A not H  reh


1870 Fed census for Davidson Co. district 5 has James Lillard in the Tennessee Hospital for the Insane SE of Nashville.


There is also a CITY of Monroe, in Overton Co., TN



Appendix A

 Further speculation on the earliest document – the deed to land “South of the Holston and French Broad”.    From http://www.tngenweb.org/tnland/frenchbd.htm

Description: http://www.tngenweb.org/tnland/westlnsm.gif


A Map of the
District South of the French Broad & Holston

Description: French Broad map, an thumbnail
Click here for the large version. (235k)

The map* presented here may be the only extant early map of District South of the French Broad & Holston Surveyor’s District. It was found in the papers of Matthew Rhea, and is one of a number of small hand drawn maps that were the basis of Rhea's Map of the State of Tennessee, Taken From Survey By Matthew Rhea, 1832. We date the small District map to be circa 1830. It appears that Matthew Rhea had some independent surveyors create maps of some East Tennessee counties (at least) for inclusion in his 1832 map.

Because of the probable 1830 date, this small map postdates the 1806 establishment of the Surveyors District, District South of the French Broad & Holston, it certainly can not be called contemporary. Still, it is the earliest map of the District that we have found, and it indicates the larger, six by six mile townships within the District.

Below is a quote from our paper, “Tennessee’s Early Surveyors’ Districts and District Boundary Documentation, 1806 - 1836.”

Located in East Tennessee. This district was formed on the bounds of the tract mentioned in the 1796 Tennessee State Constitution, Declaration of Rights, Section 31: “That the people residing south of the French Broad and Holston, between the rivers Tennessee and the Big Pigeon, are entitled to the right of pre-emption and occupancy in that tract.” Even mentioned in the U. S. Congressional Act of 1806: “. . . the people residing in said State, south of French Broad and Holston, and west of the Big Pigeon Rivers provided for by the Constitution of the State of Tennessee, shall be secured in their respective rights of occupancy and pre-emption. . .” Most of the boundary rivers, above, have gone through name changes since 1790's. The river above Kingston but before Knoxville that was originally called the Holston, later became the Tennessee. The Big Pigeon became the Pigeon, and the then Tennessee is now the Little Tennessee. The southern line of this tract would cross over and into Cherokee lands. The dividing boundary was established in the 2 July 1791, Blount’s Treaty, also called the Treaty of Holston. The southern area of Blount County reached past the treaty line. It was not unusual for the county lines or even the later Surveyors’ District lines to cross treaty lines, only later to be open to legal settlement. In 1797, the Hawkins’ Line was surveyed. That line ran east-southeast from Kingston to Blanket Mountain, later being extended to “Megis’ Post” near Clingman Dome on Iron Mountain. 47 In the Treaty of Tellico, 2 Oct 1798, the Cherokees ceded more land in the southwest of Blount County, south of the original Hawkin0146s Line. Here the boundaries were extended southerly and also eastward to the Chilhowie Mountain area. At the conclusion of the treaty of Tellico a tract of land in southeast Blount County still remained in Cherokee hands.

When it was formed in 1806, the boundary description of the French Broad and Holston District was unspecific, according to Whitney. Here we need to return to the Section 31 of the State Declaration of Rights. The district’s southern boundary would simply be “Tennessee” or Little Tennessee. However, it seems that the District did not completely adhere to the Little Tennessee as its southern boundary. Off limits to white settlement was a tract of Cherokee land in southeast Blount County. This tract actually was to fall into the 1819 Hiwassee District. Calhoun’s Treaty of 1819 extinguished all Cherokee claims north of the Hiwassee River which, of course, included any Indian lands that remained north of the Little Tennessee, in Blount County. With the use of the 1851 Hiwassee District map, TSLA #408, we can determine the boundary between this District south of the French Broad and Holston and the Hiwassee the District.

There remains little of the District’s records to help us sort out boundary line or land location. Some land grant and county records remain. One can also find an occasional article that might prove helpful.

The District Office was located at Sevierville. There is no extant original map of the District south of the French Broad and Holston.

*The original Rhea French Broad map can be found in the Tennessee State Library & Archives in Nashville Tennessee. It is in a small collection of personal papers of Rhea Family Papers, Box 2, (#14). Dr. Wayne Moore (TSLA) provided a copy of the map to us.


Description: http://www.tngenweb.org/tnland/westlnsm.gif

Description: TNGenWeb 
Land Page

Click Here


Description: http://www.tngenweb.org/tnland/westlnsm.gif

Description: TNGenWeb 
Maps Page

Click Here


Description: http://www.tngenweb.org/tnland/westlnsm.gif

Copyright 1999, Fred Smoot


Description: http://www.tngenweb.org/tnland/westlnsm.gif

This page was posted,

29 October 1999















This book exists as an electronic document and it is easily portable.  I can imagine it might slowly spread to a small group of people interested in the Philadelphia Lillard’s.  I am offering a CD containing high quality scans of all the original letters as well as a copy of the latest version of this book and some limited other information for $30.


 If you are interested please E-mail Ralph Hyde at: