The Survival of Thought - Letters from the Past

Recently I was fortunate to find a letter posted on ebay which was one correspondence from James E Price of Michigan to my great grand aunt, Lucy Ann Van Blarcom, the first daughter of William and Catherine A Sutton Van Blarcom and sister of my great grandfather, Joseph C Van Blarcom. I love finding these types of items and am grateful to those who have collected them and taken care of them these past 150 years. The stories they can tell are a small window inside the thoughts and feelings of past family members, the things they were doing, and the thoughts and feelings they were having. Though this particular letter isn't terribly descriptive, it does relay the thoughts of James E Price in the months leading up to his marriage and small details of other happenings in his life and the lives of others. Hopefully some further research can help identify who Lucy's eloping cousin was. Those kinds of details rarely survive if not relayed from generation to generation. Finding these personal details of those from our past humanizes them and makes them more than just another name in the family tree.

If anyone has similar letters related to the Van Blarcom family or adjacent families that are for sale or just for sharing, please reach out to me. A full scan of the letter and a transcription is below.

Romeo June 30th 1867

Dear Lucy

Your early answer to my letter was received Friday of last week. My Dear I admire you for your prompting in writing so early.

I am always so glad to hear from you and that you are looking and feeling so well affords me pleasure–as to myself I have not been very well this summer have complained considerable of late but am in hopes of improving after a little. Nothing serious however that need alarm you–we are having very warm weather and everything looks lively and bright–the trade is not quite as heavy this summer as usual–not as good as I could wish.

My Dear you need not have any fears that I will be extravagant in my expenditures. I shall be governed by judgment and economy. I want everything good and substantial–that will tend to our comfort and happiness - will like to have surroundings such that you will not be ashamed of them. I tell you what I have been schooled in these matters and shall be governed by experience. Dear you have doubtedly discovered ere this that I cannot put on much style - it is foreign to my nature–let me do what I will I am the same Jim Price–I will stop as you say or you will think I am bragging on my plainship.

To be plain with you Dear I shall try to make you happy and contented in such a manner that you may never regret your acquaintance and marriage with me.

I have been prospered beyond my expectations for the last five years and I hope it may continue so that in a few years we may live at our ease. You are doubtedly having gay times in Jersey weddings on every hand coupled with elopements which will make it quite romantic.

I wish Dear that I could drop in upon you this eve and have a good old fashioned visit with you instead of sitting here alone and trying to convey my feelings and sentiments to you upon paper. It would be far more pleasant and gratifying–but space (cannot be annihilated) and we have to submit to circumstances. At least we have the pleasant reflection that Sept will soon come along where we will be united never to be separated in this life of changing vicissitudes.

You must acquaint me with the result of your cousins adventures and his endeavors to secure his wife–I should be glad to know how he succeeds. I admire them for their grit and wish them success and years of happiness in their new relations to each other. With the expectation of hearing from you soon I remain yours truly and faithfully.

James E Price