1862: Thomas Franklin Sheldon to Fanny (Bragg) Sheldon

How Thomas might have looked
How Thomas might have looked

This letter was written by Thomas Franklin Sheldon (1825-1884), the son of Christopher Sheldon (1784-1846) and Amelia (or Alma) Holmes (1787-1848) of Pawtuxet, Rhode Island. Thomas was married to Sarah Frances (“Fanny”) Bragg (1830-1897) in 1848 in Greene County, Alabama. Together they had seven children: Albert (b. 1849), Ida (b. 1851), Leslie (b. 1855), George W. (b. 1858), Evelyn or “Eva” (b. 1860), Willie (b. 1862), and George A. (b. 1869).

In the 1860 U.S. Census, Thomas F. Sheldon is enumerated in Mobile, Alabama, with his family. Thomas’ occupation is given as “bookkeeper.” Thomas was born in Rhode Island but moved to Ohio and then to Greensboro, North Carolina, where he met his wife. He afterwards moved to Mobile and during the Civil War, he was a bookkeeper for the Confederate States Government at Mobile and temporarily at Selma. After the war he was a bookkeeper for the Parker Lake & Company — a cotton commission and wholesale grocery business.


Selma [Alabama]
26 June 1862

My dear Wife,

I am in receipt of your dear letters — yours, Albert’s & Ida’s — of Monday and am truly glad to learn that you are improving and that Mrs. Horton is so very kind to you. I shall never forget her kindness.

My health continues good and I am working on in hopes to be able to return home sometime next week or the week after at furthest. I had better stay until I get my books balanced before I leave. Col. Parker is here this morning, was glad to see me, inquired particularly after you and the boy.

Mr. Whitaker passed through here on his way to his family who are at Newbern; they went up to Tuscaloosa, you recollect, on the Cherokee when we did. Well they got dissatisfied and traveled by private conveyance — carriage & waggon — to Newborn nearly 60 miles, and are now boarding at the Hotel there. Mrs. Whitaker has been quite sick and therefore Mrs. Whitaker went up to see them. He wishes his family were back in Mobile, as do all I see who have left there.

Well I am getting along a great deal better since I came back in the way of boarding. Some young men commenced a Bachelor’s Hall since I was here and invited me to join them — a Mr. Hagood, Capt. White, Capt. Menge, Mr. Ryan, Frank Horton and myself comprise the family. We have chickens, eggs, honey, vegetables, &c. and everything clean, nice and well-cooked so you see that I am much more comfortably situated, but I want to see all so very much all the time.

Albert & Ida must write again. Their letters pleased me very much. Tell Albert I bought his shoes yesterday and Eva, the little darling! shall have some candy. So shall Leslie and Mary. Kiss all for Pa and get well as soon as possible. God bless you my dear Fanny and make me more worthy of such a treasure.

Your affectionate husband — Thos. F. Sheldon

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