Tag Archives: Lucy Ann Kyle

This Week in History: August 10

In hon­or of the dwin­dling days of the lazy sum­mer, this week we’ve post­ed a let­ter from Lucy to her son-in-law Robert where she chas­tens him to get out of the office and take a vaca­tion with the fam­i­ly.  Lucy also express­es her hopes that Robert and Vir­ginia will take in Vir­gini­a’s sis­ter Eleanor over the win­ter because she’s had a rough go of it late­ly.  Poor thing is mar­ried to Wal­ter Otey, a slave trad­er, and Lucy dis­likes him so much she has in oth­er let­ters called him a “Demon clothed in human flesh.”  Yikes.


Cov­ing­ton Aug 10th
My ever atten­tive & thought­ful son,
Was it not for you I should not yet know whether Via & the  chil­dren ever arrived in Pha or any­thing about their move­ments since, I am glad to hear they are so pleas­ant­ly  sit­u­at­ed & tru­ly sor­ry to hear you were com­pelled to leave them & return to St. Louis to be still con­fined to busi­ness, as soon as you get the Graders & boats off, can’t you return to them for  sev­er­al weeks & take a lit­tle recre­ation to your­self, I am sure  you have not had much, to have got­ten through your fall pur­chas­es so ear­ly, I judge one year by anoth­er, last year if I remem­ber  right you went on some­where about the first week in August, now  you return about this time hav­ing com­plet­ed your busi­ness there  so by this way of rea­son­ing, I think

[Pg. Break] after you get the Boats off, you might take a lit­tle  time for your­self & all to return togeth­er the 1st of Sept.  I  know you will say Mrs. Kyle is a poor judge about my busi­ness, &  like oth­er ladies think they know a good deal when they know  noth­ing about it.  Well I con­clud­ed before I left Brighton that  you would not return until you brought all back with you, at  least I thought it very doubt­ful, so I con­clud­ed to come right  off to Cov­ing­ton, as I am much hap­pi­er here every way, I am with  those who are very near & dear to me & who take plea­sure in any  way in their pow­er to pro­mote my com­fort & plea­sure, if I could  have board­ed in the same fam­i­ly with broth­er George & where  sis­ter E. board­ed  in the win­ter, I might have remained in  Brighton, but as I knew they did not wish to take board­ers I did  not apply to them.  The house I was at had no blinds too.

[Pg. Break] They had only shades to any part of it, it was so  light is was very severe on my eyes & the room I had was so very  warm at night & a feath­er bed too, the straw bed was too hard, so I thought there was no use in my stay­ing there any longer I  liked the fam­i­ly  very well & they kept a good table & I was as  polite & atten­tive to me as pos­si­ble, if I had been cer­tain of  your return I would have remained & met you in St. Louis & it  would have giv­en me great plea­sure to have it in my pow­er to be  in the degree ser­vice­able to you, I sup­pose now we  shall all meet some­time next month I am tru­ly delight­ed poor Eleanor is with Via & all our oth­er friends, she has had more  tri­als to bear since her mar­riage than any­one I ever knew.  I am  glad she is where she can enjoy some good soci­ety & see some­thing of the world, besides that of see­ing her sis­ter & cousins,

[Pg. Break] I hope you & Vial will invite her to accom­pa­ny you  home & do what you can to make her enjoy her­self this win­ter, I  have thought per­haps she would place Bet­tie at Board­ing school in Pha I think she and Via might write to me. The dear chil­dren how often I think of them par­tic­u­lar­ly sweet lit­tle Hazlett I know  Eleanor is devot­ed to them all she is so fond of chil­dren in fact I sup­pose both he & the baby are so much [?]_______ I don’t see  how they stand it every­body must have a play with them.  I sup­pose Hazlett is the great­est favorite of all the chil­dren with your  Broth­er and all, Please give my love to cousin David I sup­pose  you find him good com­pa­ny in the evening say to him that broth­er  Thomas received the Box of things & says they were all  sat­is­fac­to­ry which I was glad to hear he wrote to me from Nia­gara sis­ter Amelia sends her love to you & cousin David with a great  deal of love I remain now
and ever your affectionate
Moth­er in law
LA Kyle

[Pg. Break, side of 1st page] Remem­ber me kind­ly to the  Mack­en­sies’ Woods’ Allens’ and Mr. Yeat­man if enquired after by them.

This week in history: February 15-February 20

Over the past few months, we’ve post­ed let­ters from Robert and Vir­ginia Camp­bel­l’s ini­tial courtship:

Jan­u­ary 1, 1837 — William Sub­lette tells Hugh Camp­bell what he thinks of the “coquette” Robert has fall­en for

Octo­ber 8, 1838 — Robert Camp­bell pro­fess­es his undy­ing love for Vir­ginia Jane Kyle

Jan­u­ary 14, 1838 — Lucy Ann Kyle refused Robert Camp­bel­l’s request to mar­ry 16 year old Virginia 

Decem­ber 18, 1840 — Lucy Ann Kyle con­sents to have Robert mar­ry Virginia

Feb­ru­ary 14, 1840 — Robert writes to his fiance of her soon being his “man­ag­er”

Today we post a let­ter from Vir­gini­a’s aunt and uncle Jim and Ann Win­ston to Lucy Ann Kyle, talk­ing about their sur­prise at Vir­gini­a’s intent to mar­ry.  They remind Lucy that Vir­ginia promised (and they have proof in black and white) to come vis­it them before she mar­ried.  Seems these two were a lit­tle behind on the news of their niece!

Robert and Vir­ginia were mar­ried Feb­ru­ary 25, 1841 — 169 years ago next Thurs­day.  Hap­py anniver­sary from Camp­bell House Museum!


[Front Cov­er]
Mrs. Lucy A Kyle

Rich­mond Feb­ru­ary 18, 1841

Dear Sis­ter,
I received your very inter­est­ing let­ter and was very much  sur­prised to hear of Vir­gini­a’s sud­den deter­mi­na­tion and all feel very much dis­ap­point­ed in not hav­ing more of her com­pa­ny and her Uncle says he can’t con­sent to her mar­riage until she ful­fills  all her engage­ments, indeed I have kept up my spir­its with the   antic­i­pa­tion of her spend­ing some time with us and sup­ply­ing the   place of Ann and know not how we shall be able to get over it   unless they will come by and pay us a bridal vis­it which I hope   they will cer­tain­ly do.  Cor­nelia had a real cry about it last night.

I hope you will excuse our not going on to the wed­ding as the   road is a long one and bad for trav­el­ing.  Give my love to cousin  Vir­ginia and say to her I can’t con­sent for Cor­nelia to be   brides­maid, that I was very much opposed to her being brides­maid   for Ann but Ann would have her way, that she is not old enough,   that I can’t think of turn­ing her out yet, that I Had as well   take her from school at once as to send her that far to a wed­ding and for her to be brides­maid too.  Moth­er sends love to V. and   says she has shown her first love is the best and is very   anx­ious to go on and Jean­na also very anxious,

[Pg. Break] we are all anx­ious to see you all but that is not   prac­ti­ca­ble there­fore I hope you will all come here to see us.   Give my respects to Mr. Camel [Camp­bell] and say we would be very much pleased to see him here, that he must cer­tain­ly bring   Vir­ginia through Rich­mond and come direct­ly to our house and stay with us at least a week or longer if they can make it   con­ve­nient, and thee must come with them.

I can very eas­i­ly imag­ine [spelled imma­g­in] thy feel­ings at this  time  altho they may be will­ing and anx­ious yet I know thee is in the great­est dis­tress at part­ing with a love­ly Daugh­ter and  com­pan­ion in your lone­ly hours. Give my love to Amelia.,  I tru­ly sym­pa­thize with her in her dis­tress­es. I hope she will bear with Chris­t­ian for­ti­tude the dif­fer­ent changes of this change­able  world, it is tru­ly unfor­tu­nate but I hope it will be for the best wing up and being a new, love to all
Ann R. Winston.

Dear Sister
I endorse the above.  Tell, cousin Vir­ginia, she promised  us (& I have it in Black & White) to vis­it us before she got  mar­ried & I require the full per­for­mance of her “bond.”

We were thun­der­struck, with aston­ish­ment, to find that she was in Raleigh — our disappointment

[Pg. Break, top of front cov­er] is uncom­fort­able.  We have been  for some time in dai­ly antic­i­pa­tion of her in our house.

Please remem­ber us most affec­tion­ate­ly to Bro. Simp­son and sis­ter Amelia.  My heart bleeds for these & for their lit­tle ones.  My  relations

[Sec­tion Break, bot­tom front cov­er] may (after May 1820) and no  doubt often have thought us, cold, self­ish, & unkind.  But not so sir, my wife (the best in the round world) knew for many years  the depths of my woe’s.

I had a work before us, that, did not allow me, to, loi­ter, in  this way & con­se­quent­ly, I had to look first &

[Pg. Break, top inside cov­er] exclu­sive­ly, to the wel­fare of my  wife and chil­dren.  I deter­mined to appro­pri­ate my undi­vid­ed time & I knew I had not a moment to spare, first to them.  They had  no oth­er define device, and now it is no bet­ter — my cares and  thee demand on my time, & exer­tions, and unable.  I have grown  chil­dren to aid instead of infants, added to lit­tle helpless

[Sec­tion Break, bot­tom inside cov­er] grand­chil­dren.  But for this of course, my fam­i­ly would have fall­en into irre­triev­able  dis­grace.  Very few seen have had to con­tend, with, the odds I  have.  Look at Doct C’s sit­u­a­tion under a course, dif­fer­ing  rad­i­cal­ly from mine.  I do not can­not  boast for I am not out of  the woods.

Affy my sis­ter, Jim Winston

This week in history: January 7‑January 15

172 years ago this past Wednes­day, Lucy Ann Kyle wrote an impor­tant let­ter to Robert Camp­bell.  The wealthy Camp­bell had sent a let­ter to her ask­ing to mar­ry Lucy’s daugh­ter, 16 year old Vir­ginia Jane Kyle.  Most wid­ows faced with the pos­si­bil­i­ty of mar­ry­ing their daugh­ter to a rich man that loved them in the 1830s would have jumped at the chance.  Robert cer­tain­ly thought she would.  But Lucy was dif­fer­ent from most.  Read all about Lucy’s thoughts on her daugh­ter’s mar­riage and her con­di­tions in this fas­ci­nat­ing and impor­tant fam­i­ly letter!


[Front Cov­er]
Mr. Robert Campbell
Care of Gill Camp­bell & Co

Raleigh Jan 13th 1838
Mr. Campbell,
The impor­tant sub­ject of your com­mu­ni­ca­tion of the 7th inst. which now lies before me cer­tain­ly demands an imme­di­ate reply.   My mind was not at all pre­pared to receive such intel­li­gence, it  came like an elec­tric shock.  Tis time I knew of your attach­ment  for Vir­ginia some eigh­teen months ago, but nev­er until [sic]  yes­ter­day did I have the slight­est inti­ma­tion of her feel­ings  towards you.  I have fre­quent­ly endeav­ored in dif­fer­ent ways to  find out, but she would nev­er speak with me at all on the sub­ject but turned it off in some light, friv­o­lous way.  I am at a loss  to con­jec­ture how it is such a great change has tak­en place, and  that too with­out con­sult­ing her moth­er even on the most impor­tant  event of her life.  Mr. Camp­bell you have made a request, no less than the Gift of my dar­ling Vir­ginia, the grant­i­ng of which is  like tear­ing my heart strings asun­der.  I nev­er before con­ceived  I should have such feelings.

[Pg. Break] No I can not give away my child, by so doing my fond  antic­i­pa­tions so long cher­ished would be for­ev­er blast­ed.  Yes  with what a devo­tion of heart have I looked for­ward to the time  of the com­ple­tion of my daugh­ters edu­ca­tion, when we can again be unit­ed around our own fire­side and in our own house and at least for a few years to enjoy their undi­vid­ed con­fi­dence, joys, and  sor­rows.  Think me not hard in say­ing I can not give away my  child, for I ver­i­ly believe all the devo­tion of all the men in  the world is not half equal to a moth­ers love.  Was Vir­ginia of  an age which in my opin­ion would jus­ti­fy her mar­ry­ing, my mind  might change, but as it is I feel bound by the strongest ties of  mater­nal affec­tion to keep her with me.

As to your pri­ma­ry affairs I have no inquire’s to make, wealth  over a com­pa­ten­cy is pro­duc­tive of more evil than good, and I  trust Vir­ginia will nev­er be influ­enced by such a motive, she has an inde­pen­dence of her with which pru­dence will sup­port her  through life.

You say “That you are ware that my only objec­tive  is to see my daugh­ters hap­pi­ly sit­u­at­ed in life,” if you mean  mar­ried and set­tled I beg leave to differ

[Pg. Break] from you, this is the very point at present I most  fear and least desire.  Mr. Camp­bell, I know you admire can­dor, I will there­fore impress one more sen­ti­ment.  It will be use­less for you to urge this mat­ter as I can nev­er con­sent for Vir­ginia  to mar­ry under the age of eighteen.“This res­o­lu­tion has been  long formed and for which I could assign many sub­stan­tial  rea­sons, should Vir­ginia dis­re­gard this opin­ion, she will not  have the promise of her Heav­en­ly father to obe­di­ent chil­dren nor  the bless­ing of her mother.

Very respect­ful­ly,
Lucy Ann Kyle

This week in history: December 12-December 18

Decem­ber 18, 1840 let­ter from Lucy Ann Kyle to her daugh­ter Vir­ginia Jane Kyle.  Just before Christ­mas 1840, Lucy final­ly admits that “if there is any one event which could occur that would please me, it would be to see you mar­ried to Mr. R.C.”.  She cer­tain­ly wish­es her all the best in the let­ter.  Read all about Lucy and Raleigh, North Car­oli­na’s feel­ings towards Vir­gini­a’s fiance Robert Campbell!

Decem­ber 18, 1840
My dear Virginia,
I received your inter­est­ing and accept­able let­ter two days since, it affords me I may say almost the only plea­sure I have to know you are so hap­py and that you are enjoy­ing the soci­ety of those who I so high­ly esteem and in whom I have all con­fi­dence, the only injunc­tion I lay on you, is to act in accor­dance to their wish­es in every aspect con­sult them on all lit­tle mat­ters our life made up of lit­tle inci­dents, and from a very small mea­sure the most impor­tant of our life often arise.  You are so much pleased with all your vis­its, Rich­mond, Sur­rey, and now Nor­folk of all oth­er pleaces is the best, I wish you could be trans­port­ed to St. Louis and see if that is not the finest place after all, I was not aware that your uncle was such a warm friend of Mr. R.C. but I am glad to hear it, per­haps his good opin­ion will have some effect on you, you are “well acquaint­ed with my opin­ion and wish­es it has nev­er changed or wavered since first

[pg. 2] I had the plea­sure of his acquain­tance, but at the same time, as a moth­er I would say to you nev­er mar­ry a man if you do not respect and esteem him more high­ly than any oth­er, nor if you have any secret rea­son (pro­vid­ed it is a good one) for not mar­ry­ing him, which must be the case with your­self, or you nev­er would have act­ed so strange­ly, you know you nev­er have com­mu­ni­cat­ed with me on the sub­ject, but if there is any one event which could occur that would please me, it would be to see you mar­ried to Mr. R.C. — I hope you have received Mrs. McPheeters let­ter I think you should take it as a great com­pli­ment for her to take time from her numer­ous engage­ments to write to you, I real­ly believe she thinks a great deal about you and of you, she comes up fre­quent­ly and will make me read part of your let­ters to her, I read to her most of your last par­tic­u­lar­ly that part about R.C. She is most anx­ious­ly expect­ing an answer every day, request­ed me to say to you, that she for­got to ask you to write, but that you must be sure to do it and answer all her ques­tions, I spent last evening with her, the good old Dr. enquired after you and said Has she received our let­ter yet?  I do hope (if you have not already done it) that you will not delay it anoth­er day, she will

[pg. 3] feel her­self slight­ed and hurt, Samuel says tell Miss Vir­ginia “I am 21 and intend to get mar­ried as soon as I can, she must come home to be one of the brides­maids etc. etc., Susan and Cather­ine send love and say they wish you would come home, Mrs. Mc says don’t get mar­ried to that wid­ow­er [? what wid­ow­er??] before you come home, that she and I are to be your first brides maids, I want now to say a word or two to you respect­ing your inter­est in Fin­cas­tle, you say your Uncle David is going up there, Mr. Ander­son who is your guardian wrote to broth­er Simp­son three years ago that he then had $5 or 600 in hand belong­ing to you and your sis­ter aris­ing from rents etc. but that the law [?]_____ (required?) him to keep it until you become of age 21 now [?]______ (this?) seems to me very unrea­son­able that both the prin­ci­ple and inter­est should remain in his hands, [?]______ (and?) I was think­ing per­haps if broth­er David would apply to him and tell him your age he would let you have some of it, I think you had as well have the inter­est or rather that part of the rents which is com­ing to you, now, and to enjoy it your­self in any­way you please, to pur­chase a piano or any­thing else, as to hoard it up, per­haps for some prof­li­gate hus­band to spend, I want you to men­tion it to broth­er David, and ask him, if his chil­drens part is to remain in their

[Enve­lope, top] guardians hands until they are 21 -, in short I want you to inquire of broth­er David because he knows all about it, and under­stand for your­self how you will stand.

You will not doubt be sur­prised to hear that it is my inten­tion to keep house next year I have rent­ed Mr. Lacy’s house and intend to live there next year if I live on bread and meat alone I have fur­ni­ture enough to answer my pur­pose with

[Enve­lope, bot­tom] a lit­tle addi­tion­al par­lour [par­lor] fur­ni­ture chairs and a lit­tle tea table and I think I can live in a very plain style for near­ly the same expense we now live, I have come to his deter­mi­na­tion for many rea­sons too tedious to men­tion, sis­ter says she will give me half of their pre­served pick­les ketchup and she has already put up a lot of pick­les for you and one for me, I would rather you would say noth­ing about this at present, I begin to feel anx­ious about you com­ing home how you are to get home etc.
Your ever devot­ed Moth­er LA Kyle

[Side pg. 1] I send you $30 more pay your uncle David and buy noth­ing on cred­it I think you had bet­ter buy a muslin, if you can meet with a very pret­ty one don’t buy one unless you like it, muslin is always con­ve­nient, I will send you $20 more the next time I write to pay your pas­sage home do you ever hear of any oppor­tu­ni­ties from Nor­folk or will you have to go to Rich­mond be sure to write imme­di­ate­ly to Mrs. McPheeters, the Gov is to be inau­gu­rat­ed on the 1st of Jan be sure to acknowl­edge the receipt of this imme­di­ate­ly, Best love to broth­er David, sis­ter Eliz­a­beth respects to Mr. Lee and a kiss for all the chil­dren I would who could tell you so much stuff about Dr. Clark I don’t believe one word of it, he has many ene­mies no doubt.

Miss Vir­ginia J. Kyle
Care of Mr. David Kyle

Jan 1

This week in history: November 12-November 18

Novem­ber 18, 1841 let­ter from Lucy Ann Kyle to her daugh­ter Mrs. Robert Camp­bell.  This let­ter was writ­ten 9 months after Vir­ginia and Robert’s wed­ding.  Lucy updates her daugh­ter on all the lat­est news in Raleigh.  She cov­ers the Tem­per­ance Soci­ety’s state con­ven­tion she attend­ed, the health of fam­i­ly friend Mar­garet Ann McPheeters, and which friends are in town for vis­its.  Notice that Lucy asks if Mr. Camp­bell (Robert) has decid­ed what to do with Car­o­line, Sime­on, and Hazlett at the end — these are the 3 slaves that Lucy would lat­er send to Vir­ginia.  A few months lat­er, in Feb­ru­ary, 1842, Lucy would write to her son-in-law Robert with instruc­tions about “send­ing Ben, Lin­da and Robert with your three”, mean­ing the three slaves Robert was freeing.
[Front Cover]

Mrs. Robert Campbell
Care of Sub­lette & Campbell
St. Louis

Raleigh Nov 18th 1841
My Dear Virginia,
I think I promised that I would write you once a month.  I   have been wait­ing a week or two think­ing every day I should get a let­ter from you but was dis­ap­point­ed until a day or two since   when I received your last of the 2ND inst.  I am glad that both   you and Mr. Camp­bell have paid Mar­cel­lous so much kind atten­tion  he spoke of both of you in his moth­ers let­ter which she read to  me with great respect and affec­tion, and I know all the fam­i­ly  feels grate­ful to you.  I hope you will con­tin­ue to do all you  can to advance him in his pro­fes­sion.  The Methodist con­fer­ence  has been in ses­sion here for a week or so.  I went fre­quent­ly to  their meet­ings and was much pleased with the ser­mons I heard, a  young man about twen­ty from Bal­ti­more who has joined this  con­fer­ence and a mis­sion­ary from Africa were the most con­spic­u­ous preach­ers and attract­ed crowd­ed hous­es.  We have also had a  great tem­per­ance State Con­ven­tion, del­e­gates from all parts of  the state.  I have been very much grat­i­fied in attend­ing their  meet­ings at the time, and sev­er­al times since a great many very  inter­est­ing address­es were deliv­ered encour­ag­ing the soci­ety and  telling of the good it had done, a great many lit­tle anti­dotes by way of illus­tra­tion were relat­ed, and a Mr.

[Pg. Break] Care of Bal­ti­more, a reformed drunk­ard was invit­ed to attend the con­ven­tion.  I sup­pose for the pur­pose of aid­ing them in estab­lish­ing a teto­tal [?] absti­nance soci­ety, he relat­ed his expe­ri­ence or rather a his­to­ry of his life and it was enough to  make one shud­der to hear him tell of the mis­ery, degra­da­tion, and dis­grace he brought on him­self and his fam­i­ly too, all from  drink, he was invit­ed from here to Hills­bor­ough, a great num­ber  have joined the teto­tal [?] pledge in Raleigh and a great many  the old tem­per­ance soci­ety.  I signed the teto­tal Pledge and my  prin­ci­ple rea­son for dong so is that exam­ple is bet­ter than  precept.

Ann Wadsworth is now on a vis­it to her friends, she is much  pleased with Lynch­burg, will remain there next year, she says she wrote to her moth­er every Mon­day while she was absent, you know  she was always a great favourite of mine.  E. Bak­er & H. Dud­ley  both wait­ed on her there was a ball giv­en to them fur­nished by  Mrs. Stu­art.  I under­stand all of the con­nec­tion must intend  giv­ing them a par­ty, the Gov. gives a large par­ty tonight. Say to Mar­cel­lous I was down to his fathers yes­ter­day that they were  all fix­ing up Cather­ine to turn out at the Gov. par­ty.  Susan was not gong she was not very well but said she intend­ed to go to  Mrs. Hogs par­ty.  Mrs. McPheeters request­ed me to say to  Mar­cel­lous that she intend­ed writ­ing soon but would put it off a  lit­tle longer as I told her I was going to write, she says that  the Dr’s health con­tin­ues about the same

[Pg. Break] that Mar­garet Ann is improv­ing slow­ly, she has no  affec­tion of the lungs now, but her stom­ach is out of order can  not eat any­thing but lit­tle sam­ples, I sup­pose you know she has a son named after the father, he is just four weeks old and  Mar­garet is only able to sit up a lit­tle.  They all send a great  deal of love to you, Mr. Camp­bell, and Mar­cel­lous.  Mrs. Mc. says tell M. that just as soon as he gets mar­ried and set­tled she  intends send­ing Susan & Cather­ine out to see him and holds in  antic­i­pa­tion a trip her­self.  Ann Hugh­es & Mr. Col­lier are to be  mar­ried very soon, they will spend the win­ter in Alaba­ma.   Mar­garet Beck­with has not left Raleigh yet.  I have not seen Emma [?]_____ since you left here except in the street.  My dear  Vir­ginia I feel that this let­ter will be very unin­ter­est­ing to  you, and yet I feel that if I was to unbur­den my mind to you and  write on sub­jects which I feel most deeply inter­est­ed in and  which con­cerns me most, that my let­ter would even be less  inter­est­ing than it is — my health has not been good for the 1st  month or so.  I have a bad cold too which is very uncom­mon for  me.  In your next I would be glad to know if Mr. Camp­bell still  thinks of tak­ing Car­o­line, Sime­on & Hazlett out in the spring or do you want Car­o­line hired out, you know new year is the time  for mak­ing all arrange­ments with ser­vants.  I am only keep­ing her with me for her good, though she is very use­ful in the fam­i­ly  and Mr. Simp­son does not charge any board for her as her ser­vices are equiv­a­lent to her board.  I am still will­ing to keep her on these terms until you want her if it is your wish.

[Pg. Break] Remem­ber me most affec­tion­ate­ly to your bet­ter half,
As ever and for­ev­er I remain
Your affec­tion­ate mother
Lucy Ann Kyle