Heartbreak

Acquainted with Grief

In 1853 Adeline and Washington Driskell (my 2nd great grandparents)  buried Mary, their first baby. In 1856 Millie died two weeks after she was born. Marion died on his 2nd birthday in 1859. They buried one year old George in 1862. And Adeline buried their little five month old Sarah in 1864.

A Letter from a Heartbroken Mother

This letter was transcribed just as written. Sarah (or Sary) Driskell was born in 1863, a year before the sad letter.

While her husband was a patient in a Confederate hospital, Adeline cared for their children and farm. This letter was sent to Washington while he was a patient in the Kingston, Georgia Confederate hospital. It was probably never received. He died two weeks later and the letter was returned to the grieving widow and mother.

georgia                                        forsyth co                                             january the 31  1864
dear husband       i take the presend opertunity of writing you a fiew lines to let you no the trouble that I am in    little sary was taken sick last thursday and she cept ageting worse all day and night     i set up with her all night   and afriday she had 6 hard fits and afriday night she died about 12 oclock and was beried yesterday which was Saturday    I wish you was here    She had the cold hives    i am in a sight of trouble   the neighbors was vary nice and come to stay with me all the time she was sick   it was dark when i got back from buring my dear little babe and you no that i had a sad mind and a heavy heart     elizabeth martin and mrs fentz came home with me last night and staid all night with me    i don’t feel like i wanted to live any longer in this troublesome world    tho my 2 little boys is agrate satisfaction to me    i would wrote to you afriday when she was so bad off but i noed it would jest trouble you and they would not let you come home and i thought it would jest trouble you so bad     the male just leavs here of afriday and then it dont leav nomore till monday    my heart aches bad today and my throat hurts me today but I am in a world of trouble    i had a vary bad sore throat and i wrote for you to come home and they would not let you come home    we put my dear little babe away at bethel     she was put away vary nice    mrs  goolsby and nancy and jane colins and martha loid and lizabeth youngblood was with me when my dear little babe died and the house was crowded all day yesterday with wimen    i hope you are well     the boys are well    i hope you will get to come home   i got that leter and ring you sent by Black   you said you was out of money    i will send you 2 dollars   i want you to rite soon     jest as long as i have a cent i want you to have part of it    rite soon   i will rite in a fiew days again                                                         adline driskell

Through the Years

Although I never knew Adeline, my heart breaks for this mother…even 150 years later. It is amazing how grief has a way of reaching through time.

The letter was kept in a wooden box for over 100 years. In 1980, grandma’s box was in the possession of my cousin, Cleburne Driskell. We don’t know which cousin has it now.

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15 Responses to Heartbreak

  1. Definitely a heart-breaking letter. We think our lives are hard. My grandmother had three blue babies. I know it affected her and made her a hard woman. Thanks for the post.

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    • Ruth Packard says:

      Adeline had two surviving sons. At one point during the Civil War, the three of them and their milk cow hid in a thicket grove to keep safe from the Union soldiers marching through Georgia. I cannot begin to imagine the horror of that war…for either side.

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  2. That’s just so sad. What a gift to have access to something so personal to give you insight to what they experienced in their lifetimes.

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    • Ruth Packard says:

      I regret we do not know which cousin is in possession of all the letters. I do not want them…but would like to have someone make digital copies. The only copy we have was made in the 80s on an old machine. 😦

      Thank you for reading…and thank you, Michele, for all the work you do on your blog sharing site!!

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      • It would be nice to have the digital copies. Thank you for being such an active participant and sharing great stories. Between you and Jennifer (6ftmama), I have this interest in genealogy developing 🙂 It’s been there on and off and I have a few pages in my Book of Remembrance from my “growing up Mormon” days. I think it may be time to grow it!

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      • Ruth Packard says:

        You really should research your family and record their stories. I’m going to write a blog post on how I got started and some fun things I’ve discovered in the process. I would even like to include a series on “Colorful Characters” in our tree. Soooo much to write about…toooo little time!!

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      • I found out my brother has done a lot on my mom’s side and have asked my biological father for information on his side (we have different fathers). We’ll see what I can round up to get me started. Looking forward to your post!

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  3. That’s so incredibly powerful to read. Sad, yes, but the community gathering for her and the child was so kind.

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  4. Things like this letter are powerful ways of bringing history into the present and making us realize that it is the story of millions of individual human beings, with their own tragedies, and victories.

    These are the things that guide my curiosity to fill in the larger world events that set the stage for these stories.

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    • Ruth Packard says:

      I know what you mean, Kate. I spend hours reading old newspapers and end up find amazing discoveries… about their communities and sometimes I find articles about my ancestor!! Even when I don’t find any relative, I have learned more about history!

      Thank you for reading and commenting!

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  5. Beautiful post Ruth. My heart breaks for this mom as I read her letter. What a treasure for you to have a transcript of the letter. Very touching. My niece lost her first born at 7 weeks of age SIDS about almost 7 years ago. It was so sad to see a baby pass away when she was perfectly healthy.

    I am working (well it’s been on hold for 4 years) a huge family book for my father’s family. I will include stories from people who are alive today to put in the book. I hope to find the time this year to start it again and hopefully finish it soon. My reason for writing this book and putting it together is more for the generations to come than the present ones. I wish I knew more about my ancestors. Love that you enjoy genealogy also. xo

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    • Ruth Packard says:

      Your family will love the book!! I began all the ancestry research because my parents said very little. I wish I had thrown myself to the ground…kicking and screaming like a preschooler until they told me more. Alas, it is too late! So everything I’ve found has been literally a labor of love.

      Thank you for reading and posting!

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  6. Sue says:

    What a very personal and heart heavy letter you have shared with us. I cannot even imagine being in such a position. It is wonderful though that you have been able to preserve this piece of family history. Thanks for sharing this beautiful letter

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    • Ruth Packard says:

      Thank you, Sue. To add to the heartbreak…we have a copy of a bill Adeline received from the Confederate Army after her husband died. They charged her for his uniform. I have no idea how long it took her to pay.

      Thank you for reading!

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