1848: Bettie to Hester (Pope) Edwards

This letter was written by a woman who signed her name “Bettie” which was a common nickname for Elizabeth. Unfortunately there are several Elizabeth’s residing in Warren County, Kentucky in 1850 which makes it difficult to conclude definitively who wrote the letter. There are too few clues in the letter to quickly connect the author to the recipient, who may have been a distant relative but more likely only an acquaintance. More research is required to nail down Bettie’s identity.

This letter was written to Hester (Pope) Edwards (1788-1868), the daughter of Col. William and Penelope Edwards Pope of Louisville, Kentucky. Hester was the widow of Hon. Presley Edwards, the son of Benjamin Edwards and the grandson of Hayden and Penelope (Sanford) Edwards.

John Pope, Kentucky Senator

Hester’s brother, John Pope (1770-1845), served variously from 1798 to 1842 as a U.S. senator and congressional representative from Kentucky, secretary of state for Kentucky, and the third territorial governor of Arkansas. Initially affiliated with the Democratic-Republican Party, he joined the Whig Party in the 1830s. During his tenure as territorial governor, he worked to establish a legislative program to promote migration and economic development and to rid the region of its reputation as a violent and politically unstable frontier. John Pope was the father of Union Army General John Pope (1822-1892).

Stampless Letter

Addressed to Mrs. Hester Edwards, Russellville, Logan County, Kentucky

Bowling Green [Warren County, Kentucky]
October 25th 1848

Dear Mrs. Edwards,

Every night since my return to Kentucky, I have retired with the determination of writing on the morrow, but with the dawn would come interruptions that were truly unavoidable. But this night I will write. You know that after our long absence, all the villagers were curious to see us. Anxious too, to know whether we had changed or not. You may remember my utter detestation of mere ceremonious calls. The dislike has increased in strength so you may imagine what an ordeal I have had to pass. Fortunately, people’s curiosity was at last gratified, but then that more terrible of evils, the chills recognized me as an old acquaintance & I have had two severe spells. I have just recovered from my last attack, combined with pleurisy. I suffered a great deal but recovered rapidly.

I saw Aunt Lucy for the first time since her return from Russellville & regretted to learn you were so much indisposed she did not see you. Is not your health better than when I last heard from you? I am afraid you _____ nursing. Aunt was very sorry she did not see you. I believe you know her & if you do not, I am sure you would like her.

Sister Margaret is incorrigible & I do not think I will write to her again. Surely she can find one moment to tell me how you all are. Is she completely occupied with her boy?

I promise myself the pleasure of seeing you at the Circuit Court if Uncle returns so that I can accompany him down. We heard from him this morning & he has gone to Paducah, & I must fear he will not return here. But if he does not, I will avail myself of the first opportunity & come down.

Russellville must have improved in sociability & agreeability for Aunt returned perfectly delighted. Have you made Mrs. Norton’s acquaintance? She is a pleasant, clever woman.

I purpose writing to Aunt Eliza tonight but what I will find to write about, I cannot imagine, for there is such a dearth of news. I saw Mary Coldwell during her stay here & she gave me the news “en masse” [and] told me many astonishing things. Certainly everybody was married &c. I would scarce recognize the place; however, I am coming to see you & trust to find you unchanged. Aunt told me you had some relations visiting you. Have they left? It may be inconvenient for you to receive me. Please inform me if it is so for I will then stay with Aunt Mol, for she has given me many invitations & I will see you all the time as much as if I am staying with you.

My love to [Gen. George] Trotter & Sister Margaret. Kiss to the children & forget not your truly attached, — Bettie


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