1850: Mary Hester White to Eunice Susan Merrill

Rev. Gideon Stebbins White

This letter may have been written by 15 year-old  Mary Hester White (1835-1897), the daughter of New School Prebyterian Minister Gideon Stebbins White (1803-1863) and Mary Eliza Jarnagin (1819-1880). Mary married William Ethan Allan Meek (1829-1890) in 1853.

Mary wrote the letter to Eunice Susan Merrill (1821-1891), the daughter of Theodore Merrill (1790-18xx) and Susannah Bangs (1794-1863) of Sidney, Maine. Eunice attended the East Tennessee Female Institute (formerly known as the Knoxville Female Academy) with Principal D.R. McAnully in 1848. Miss Mary White probably also attended the school at that time. Eunice married George Kinsley in 1852. They had three children: George, Theodora, and Kate. On Dec. 22, 1891, she passed away in Boston, Massachusetts.

Stampless Letter


Addressed to Miss Eunice Merrill, Sydney, Maine

[Knoxville, Tennessee]
September 11th 1850

My Dear Miss Merrill,

Page 1

We have been waiting to hear from you very patiently. I thought that you must be sick by not writing, but I hope not. I expect that I will trouble you by writing. I am going to tell you some news.

Mr. Philip White has been here to speak again. He did not tell as many anecdotes as he did before, but what he did tell was very funny. The first time he spoke was at night in the First Presbyterian Church, and in the morning on the Methodist hill. I went to hear him both times. There was a great many people there both times, but none but one joined.

Page 2

Miss Muenscher has written to mother. I hope that you and Miss Muenscher will come back, for I want to see you both very much. Miss Julia stays with us yet. She has been very sick. She went out one morning in the garden to gather flowers for she still makes flower pots, and she got her feet wet, and has been sick ever since. Yesterday is the first morning she has been downstairs since she has been sick.

I have spent the vacation very pleasantly for I have been sewing all the time. I don’t expect I will go to school next winter. I am very sorry I am not a going.

Embossed Shield on Letter

I have forget to tell you the news. Sarah Rogers is married to Mr. Moore. I was surprised to hear it. Aunt Anna Humes has a baby. It was four weeks old last Sunday. Mrs. McAdams is to be the music teacher. This is the first letter that I ever wrote so you must excuse my composition.

Write soon. Yours affectionately, — Mary White


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