This Week in History: August 23

This week, a glimpse into every­day life for the Camp­bells.  Vir­ginia writes to Robert from Philadel­phia and she talks about the chil­dren, trips to the den­tist, trav­el­ling, and she gives her two cents on an acquain­tance’s less-than-affec­tion­ate mar­riage. Does this sound famil­iar?  Vir­gini­a’s sen­ti­ments just go to show that times real­ly have not changed all that much.

Inci­den­tal­ly, Mount Car­bon was a bustling rail­road hub, locat­ed about 100 miles north­west of Philadel­phia.  The Mr. Otey referred to in the post script is Vir­gini­a’s sis­ter’s hus­band, the infa­mous slave trad­er Wal­ter Otey.  To put it light­ly, he was not very pop­u­lar in the Kyle/Campbell fam­i­ly.  (For more on Wal­ter, see last week’s post here.)

Philadel­phia Aug 26th 1856.
My Beloved Husband,
We arrived here yes­ter­day at 12 o’clock after a very pleas­ant  trip from Mt. Car­bon.  The weath­er is delight­ful­ly cool and we  enjoy going about in the city to the shops.

I was so pleased to find a let­ter wait­ing for me, in which you  rec­om­mend me to come home with Mr. Ed Miller, Broth­er Hugh thinks we had bet­ter return with Mr. Wal­lace and I think so myself‑I  think he would be will­ing to stop if it was nec­es­sary and I would not like to ask Mr. Miller as he always trav­els in such haste.

I have not giv­en up all hope that you will yet be able to come  for me I know you will if you pos­si­bly can.

You seem to speak as if there still exist­ed an uncer­tain­ty in regard to your move­ments.  I would be so delight­ed if I thought there was a prospect of hav­ing you to take us out,  but dear hus­band I will not be self­ish, it is a long and  fatigu­ing jour­ney for you to take mere­ly to turn around and  return, if you could stay a few days it would be so delight­ful.   I will do the best I can for the chil­dren and I trust we will be  spared to reach home in safety.

I wish you could see our dear lit­tle fam­i­ly.  Bar­bara & Eliza and the three chil­dren are just start­ing to go out to Fair Mount, and they are all so delight­ed.  The two lit­tle ones are fixed up in Pol­ka jack­ets which I got them this morn­ing and which delight the nurs­es, and they do look so sweet­ly and act so sweet­ly that I wish in my heart you could just see them for a few moments.  They were half an hour telling every body good bye and get­ting started.

Mr. McCauly dined here to day. He is just from Brat­tle­boro he  speaks of Char­lie as much improved oth­ers think dif­fer­ent­ly.  I  think it is all very well for them to feel so encour­aged for how blank life would be all these long years. I saw Miss Whar­ton today, I will get her a cou­ple of  dress­es to make for Bet­tie-she is mak­ing up Miss Puss Mor­gan’s  wardrobe to be mar­ried-she told me to whom had I for­get the name.  I shall not get any dress­es at present for myself as Levy has  not received his win­ter silks or woolens yet.

Dear Hus­band if you were only here to go with me to Dr. Hay’s I  hate so to go by myself there.  I am going over to Dr. White’s to get him to appoint a time to fix my teeth.

I saw Mrs. Stiles yes­ter­day, they are busy prepar­ing to go to  Europe.  We also saw Mrs. Bon­neville she talks of going to Europe with them — I dont see why they  mar­ried they nev­er live togeth­er it is so with many cou­ples I find I trust we will nev­er arrive at that point of indifference.

Your devot­ed wife
Sis­ter received a let­ter from Mr. Otey at the Sweet Springs, he was very glad that Bet­tie was so well satisfied.