This is one of my many documents in my “to-do” file that needs to see the light of day. A reading of it is sure to remind one to count his own blessings.
It is only a photocopy of a single page of a letter. I can see that the original had been folded in half and then in three. There probably was at least one more page, but this is all I have. I do not know how I acquired it, or who the sender was. It is written in a very fine hand.
Because it mentions Ullmans, which was a woolen mill off Nicholson Ave, I might assume that “Mary” lived in what is now Waveland. It appears that it had been a hard winter, thus far in January of 1881.
My assumption is that the writer was stationed at a lighthouse in the Chandeleur Islands, possibly a military outpost. It is a reason for curiosity, as the Civil War was over for 15 years, and no threats of a military nature are known to have happened at this time. A post at Cat Island would have involved more personnel with quarters at Fort Masschusetts, obviously preferable to the desolation at Chandeleur.
The transcription, allowing for the same spellings and capitalizations, follows:
Chandeleur Jan 31st 1881
I am Here, and I must say it is the most dismal Hole I Have been in for many a yeare. There is Nothing but Water Marsh & Sand Hills. I have some Hopes of Getting exchanged to Cat Island. I Have coming to Me at least $16 and it May be $33. Ed Will send you some Money soon after the 15th of February, that is about 20 days, as soon as you can go over to Ullmans go and tell them what you want and I think they will let you Have it. get some feed for the cowes if they are not all dead feed them well to bring them through take Courage I think we will soon weather the Storm, when Life will be Easere, We must live for our little ones, I know your life is a dredful one at Present, but I Have reasons to beleave that there will be a change for the better. I am….