Merry Christmas from Campbell House!

Mer­ry Christ­mas to all from Camp­bell House Muse­um!  This week we post a let­ter that Anne Camp­bell wrote to her broth­er Hugh on Christ­mas Eve in 1842.  Hugh sent it to Robert some months lat­er with an addi­tion­al let­ter.  Anne is deeply wor­ried about her niece Bessie, who had caused so much trou­ble in Amer­i­ca that Hugh had sent her back to Ire­land.  Appar­ent­ly she is caus­ing trou­ble there too, because her father Andrew start­ed drink­ing again after Bessie came home.  Read all about the trou­ble­mak­er of the fam­i­ly in Anne’s letter!


Augh­a­lane Dec 24, 1842
My ever Dear Brother,
I recv’d sis­ter Vir­gini­a’s very kind let­ter in this time as I may say I had no tid­ings ready at that time, at least none that would be agree­able to you.

Ten days after Bessie’s return home poor Andrew was sor­ry (as we all were at the event) and he again began in tem­per­ance in spite of all remon­strance he con­tin­ued so late in Oct. since which time he has been strict­ly tem­per­ate.  Time win­ter com­menced he had a school for his fam­i­ly every night and is school­mas­ter him­self it is won­der­ful how the very youngest is pro­gress­ing.  But to return when Andrew began to drink Bessie grew quite uneasy and no won­der (as you and I know there is no being on earth that intem­per­ance makes so great a change on) she told me there was two things she was unde­cid­ed which to do, the last objec­tion­able of which was that she would fly from her fathers and try to get ser­vice in some gen­tle­mans fam­i­ly; I knew that this would not only blight her prospect for ever but blight the prospects of her youngest sis­ter, there­fore after con­sult­ing with my moth­er I told her should my days ter­mi­nate in the work­house she should e wel­come to every kind­ness and atten­tion it was in our pow­er to pay her; she accept­ed and after being near­ly three weeks in her fathers she came her per­ma­nent­ly to reside.  The task is more ardu­ous than I expect­ed but to save a fam­i­ly from des­o­la­tion was my aim.  My motives may be attrib­uted to oth­er caus­es.  I expect no grat­i­tude from any­one on this the atlantic and will think myself favored if I escape cen­sure Moth­er is old and tak­ing care of her would be enough for one advanced in life as I am yet I nev­er could for­give myself if any­thing dis­grace­ful had occurred and the Almighty that saw the puri­ty of my inten­tions.  I have no doubt will sup­port me.  Poor Bessie is to be pitied her mis­for­tunes were some of her own choos­ing.  I think Mr. Boyle was the cause of all for when broth­er Hugh was her in 1835 and ’36 he thought bet­ter not take any of Andrews chil­dren before that time he had cer­tain­ly asked one of the chil­dren to edu­cate it, and in anoth­er let­ter to make a lit­tle repub­lic of it.  I told Andrew he did not want any of his chil­dren as I was allowed, but there hopes were aroused by for­mer invi­ta­tions and this with Mr. Boyles advice made them send her and sure­ly an edu­cat­ed lady in an obscure coun­try place is a pitiable object.  The first part of my life was chi­quered [?] per­haps it is bet­ter for me now that it was not con­tin­ued sun­shine, yet of poor Bessie return has lain heav­ier on my heart than almost any occur­rence of my life Moth­ers mem­o­ry is not so good as usu­al but her health is pret­ty good Andrew and his fam­i­ly are well the clothes Bessie wears I washed in her fathers there­fore we do not require a sec­ond girl.

Excuse dear broth­er so much of my own and oth­er peo­ples affairs.  I trust in God that you, sis­ter Vir­ginia and James Alexan­der well, that dear name, God bless him, and bless you all.  You or broth­er Hugh are sel­dom many hours out of our minds, I feel plea­sure think­ing of you both, and fool­ish­ly con­clude if I saw you every anx­i­ety would vanish.
I am Dear­est Robert,
Your affec­tion­ate sister
Ann Campbell

Dec. 27
Jack Young’s daugh­ter Eliza Jean went with a young man the name of Gray, last night who lives near Gortin, she will be brought to her fathers to night when the wed­ding day will be set the young man is wealthy.

Dec. 27,
We had a very pleas­ant Christ­mas in Andrews.  James McFar­lands child (Anne) is three months old all of them we hope will be with us as usu­al on Sat­ur­day broth­ers birthday.
The name of Annes child is Alexan­der it is inter­est­ing like herself.

March 9, 1843
Dear Robert:
This let­ter from Sis­ter Ann explains and jus­ti­fies Bessie in remov­ing from her fathers house — but it is no apol­o­gy for her indo­lence and refus­ing all kinds of use­ful employ­ment.  If she were only to teach her sis­ters wash her clothes or do any­thing to show fil­ial affec­tion grat­i­tude or com­mon sense, I would read­i­ly excuse her.  I fear she will be indulged in her present course by our good moth­er and sis­ter.  She cer­tain­ly required rigid con­trol.  Amongst them all she is like­ly to escape every restraint.
In Ann’s let­ter to me (inclos­ing this) she dwells on the finan­cial affairs at great length.  It appears that Richard Key’s has not paid in full.  Ann does not like to have Andrew as a pay­mas­ter to her.  In fact it appears he will nei­ther pay her inter­est (accord­ing to our instruc­tions) nor give him­self any trou­ble about any debt due her.  He con­sid­ers all he gets as so much land off the sea — and doubt­less thinks it would be like throw­ing it into the sea again to repay either the prin­ci­pal or inter­est!  He is not like­ly to get any more from either of us.
After all per­haps it is as well that she direct­ed the mon­ey to be col­lect­ed from R. Keys.  The fact is I doubt whether he is worth any­thing and believe it might have been total­ly lost if not then col­lect­ed.  It is bet­ter that poor Andrew should have it than such to be the cause.
I real­ly do not know how to advise Ann to invest her mon­ey.  She ought to avoid inti­mate friends — and she ought also to have real estate secu­ri­ty.  Whom do you think she should apply to for advice.  She has now about $100 lbs. to invest.
You should write either to Ann or Andrew and give your views on all mat­ters about which they have writ­ten.  I will not write till after you have written.
Yours truly,
Hugh Campbell

Mr. Robert Campbell
Saint Louis

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