This letter was written by Hugh Gilkeson Guthrie (1795-1881), the son of John Guthrie (1760-1845) and Margaret Gilkeson (1772-1815). He wrote the letter to his wife, Elizabeth (“Betty”) E. (Patterson) Guthrie (1817-1886), the widow of a cousin, John Gilkeson. Betty was visiting relatives in Winchester, Virginia, when this letter was written in 1852. They had no children.
Hugh was a wealthy plantation owner. Prior to the Civil War the census shows his real estate to be valued at 50,000 and personal property at 46,700. The Slave Schedule of 1860 lists him as the owner of 17 slaves aged 4 months to 64 years.
The sicknesses referenced near the end of this letter probably were slaves of Guthrie’s.
Addressed to Mrs. E. E. Guthrie, Winchester, Frederick County, Virginia
October 23, 1852
My Dear Betty,
I will write you a few lines today & as I have no chance to send it to the office, will finish it on Monday. We are all in our usual health & hope this will find you enjoying a like blessing. You have had thus far delightful weather & hope it may continue until you get home. I have no doubt you are enjoying the pleasure of hearing fine preaching as well as the society of kind friends. Give them all my best respects — especially Esq. John Gilkeson & Lady. I feel vey lonesome sitting here by myself — boys are all gone. Bagnell went to Christian’s Tuesday, Brown’s on Thursday. I feel there is a void that can only be filled by your return to your now lonesome home. I can get along as I have, will be from home some 4 days next week, but don’t tell me being lonesome prevents you from enjoying your trip & making out your visit as it will be necessary for me to be as long absent from home after your return & have no doubt you will feel then as I do now.
Nothing new. I received a letter for you from H. W. G. I opened & read it & seal it up for your return. He is well & health of neighborhood as good as usual. The Doct. & Lady came & took the child home with them 40 miles ___.
Boys got home from RIchmond today. Done well & will start them back on Tuesday with 34 cattle. I expect to go to ___ bridge on Tuesday or Wednesday [and] be gone two days. Bagnell came back tonight.
I feel very lonesome tonight but hope to have the pleasure of your company at farthest by this night week.
Sunday Eve. Mr. Trimble preached for us today [and] gave us a very good sermon. Had a tolerable congregation. Mrs. White is still living. Alexander on the river is very low with the fever. Friends here all well. Weather still continues fine. I hope to hear from you tomorrow. I begin to feel very anxious to hear from you & when you expect to get home.
Sarah went about & done her worth as usual. Attended to the table, at supper. Money came in for a candle before 10 o’clock & told me she had a Ten & was quite ____ about 3 o’clock in the morning & also Rachel came to my window & told me I had better send for the doctor — that she could do no more for her. That she was in a bad situation. Happen fortunately he was at home, came & very soon he told me relieved her. Said old Rachel had kept her suffering from 10 o’clock to 4 in the morning. Since that, getting along pretty well. Will finish my letter in the morning.
Monday. Sarah is still getting along pretty well. I will expect a letter from you at Barterbrook or by Mr. Dubois Wednesday & then I will know where to meet you in Staunton. I suppose Mr. Dubois has left as he told his boys to come to school on Tuesday, but write & will get your letter at Barterbrook Wednesday. If there is not time for it to reach Barterbrook, direct to Fishersville & will send their Thursday Eve.
My present arrangement is to start to Richmond on Wednesday next if that suits you to come homee short of this week.
Give my respects to all my friends. Tell Bill & Coz. W. Gilkeson she must come & see us.
Your affectionate husband, — H. G. Guthrie