1861-05-13, James Blaine Wilson

Dublin Core


1861-05-13, James Blaine Wilson


May 13, [1861], Wheeling

My dear Jim[1]

We have just received a letter from Aunt Blaine[2] in which she says that you have not had a line from any of us. I think that is very strange as Emmy[3] wrote a long letter to Callie by Saturday’s mail, and I put a note in for you. Dear Jim, how heartless you must have thought us all! […][4]

Write when you can. We are so anxious to hear from you. You cannot think how lonesome it seems here. If we had a single relation in town! I never felt such a wish to be with you all before, and poor Ma[5] has the same homesick feeling. All the time we are wondering just what you are doing, how each one is getting along – and then some trifle will bring him back to us, and Oh, dear Jim, how dreary it is! Ma has not been well since we came back. One pain was spared her. Dick[6] consented to stay. He was all ready to start on Monday, but the Mayor sent him and the other boys word that if they went I would ruin their families – spoke of Pa[7] particularly, so Dick gave it up. […] About a hundred started for Harper’s Ferry this week, and last night sixty more. A good many families are leaving town. […]

I must stop short, it is time for the mail to close. […] oh the plans we have laid about going to W –[8] to live, buying Rubins house site. My love to all at Aunt Marshel’s.

John is waiting. Good bye -

Your loving
Cousin Beck


1. RHD’s uncle, Hugh W. Wilson, had died and RHD and her mother have returned from the funeral in Washington, Pennsylvania. The letter is addressed to Hugh’s son and RHD’s cousin.

2. Rebecca Leet Wilson Blaine (1789-1866).

3. RHD’s sister, Emilie Mary Harding (1842-1904).

4. Ellipses in the text were in Shaeffer’s text. No originals of the complete letter are available. Most of the letters reprinted in Shaeffer included no closings.

5. Rachel Leet Wilson Harding (1808-1884).

6. RHD’s brother, Richard Harris Harding (1838-1897), who has let his desire to join the Confederate Army be known to the family and others. His family was devastated.

7. RHD’s father, Richard William Harding (1792-1864).

8. Washington, Pennsylvania.


Helen Woodward Shaeffer, “RHD: Pioneer Realist,” unpublished dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1947.


S. M. Harris


“1861-05-13, James Blaine Wilson,” Rebecca Harding Davis: Complete Works, accessed June 6, 2023, https://rebeccahardingdaviscompleteworks.com/items/show/168.

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