Oakley July 2nd, 1859
My dear mother, I received your kind and interesting letter of 29t May which gave me much pleasure I was truly happy to hear of your [burned] health and prosperity - we are all well
I are going to school & I think I learn well though I am very mischievous - mallisa says tell Alphius that she will answer his letter when she can write herself
we have had a delightful summer The crops are good wheat is good. They are harvesting, corn, grass oat, & everything is the best that I ever saw. Mr. Rea [burned] delighed with the prospect he says hard times will soon be over the farmers are all well pleased - the health is good everywhere we have the finest garden that is in the country The dunkards are going to take this county, they are moving here every few weeks
Elizabeth Smith is [burned]rried to youg man by the name of Brooks who live near where we youse to live & Sally Ferry is married to a man by the name of Ables Old Mr Wheeler is still alive and well
Our country is improving very fast the prairie is all improved as far as you can see & all the stock has to go to timber to graze
I will come to see you when I [burned] Eighteen if I do not stay, with you every thing will be so strange there.
Mr and Mrs Rea joins me in sending their love to you & [illegible] Mr Rea will write after while - from your affectionate
The letter was in a collection of Cox papers donated to the Museum of the Albemarle by Faytie Johnson of Elizabeth City, NC. The above letter is unedited except for the paragraph breaks to make it more readable. It was written to the Coxes by their daughter Maggie (who was 13ys 6months old) after they returned to North Carolina after living in Illinois for a few years. Maggie was living with the Wm Rea Family on the 1860 census (the census gives her age as 18 but she was only 13+). Also, in the Rea household was James Willett (23 years old in 1860). Margaret married him in 1861 at (15years 8 months of age). Mallisa was the daughter of Wm Rea she was 9 on the 1860 census. Alphius was Maggie’s older brother. Elizabeth Smith married Wm Brooks. Unable to identify Sally Ferry’s husband. Garland Wheeler of Oakley was the oldest Wheeler in Macon County on the 1860 census.
March the 18th 1867
My dear Brother,
You’re very welcome letter of Mar the 2nd came to hand, a few days ago. It afforded great pleasure for I had not received a letter from you in almost two months, when I got your letter I expected to find yours and Elijahs photograph enclosed. As I had written for them, To give to that charming lass that I have selected for you. She is inteligent, graceful, handsome and good. And will soon graduate. I have been looking for your arrival here at Kittrells for a long time. And now you say you will be here by the last of April. I will see if you are true to your word. At least I intend to look for you then.
Lizzie and Mollie, sends their best respect to you. Spring has come in and I perceive that the trees are beginning to bud. But I know the heavy snow that fell last night - will cause them to die. The hills are covered as far as I can see, and look as if it will snow any time. When I wrote I told Elijah to send me some money to pay for a pair of shoes that I had bought and old Mr Riddick paid for them, but I heard he did not like it because I had not done so before. And also I owe him a dollar for a box. All amounts to three dollars and seventy-five cents. My shoes were no accout thy are nearly worn out ma misunderstood me she thought that I wrote for them. But I am now glad she did for I shall be barefooted for the rocks cut our shoes heavs [halves?].
Dear Brother there is no news up here for me to write excuse this bad hand writing for my pen is no account. Write to me often you know that you don’t mind writing. And nothing gives me more joy than to get a letter from you for I know that you will write me all the news. I wrote to Ma and Cousin William and Ann. I have done so several times. I want you to come up here at the concert we are going to have a fine time, don’t fail to answer this soon, your Affectionate
Sister Lizzie, Cox
P.S. We will have two months vacation this summer. All of the girls are going home. We heard Cousin Annie was coming to see us. Alpheus, Cousin Kittie Bell daughter to Uncle James is up here at school, Adieu Lizzie
Mr. Alpheus, Cox.
Letter from Mary Elizabeth (Cox) Willett to her brother Alpheus Cox from boarding school in Kittrell Springs, N.C. from papers donated to Museum of the Albemarle by Faytie Cox Johnston. The letter is unedited except for paragraph breaks to make it more readable. Mary Elizabeth Cox was just a few months short of her twentieth birthday when she wrote the letter. The papers are going to be sent to the North Carolina State Archives.
Moyock Currituck Co
March the 21st 1893
My Dear Daughter Maggie
Your letter of January 15th or 16th__ found us tolerably well. I have had a bad cold (that) lasted me a long time David has had a cough nearly all winter he exposes himself so much though he has not given up a day his expenses are great for him he has from 4 to 6 men on account of running the Mill two days in the week in summer and all of the time in winter when the weather will permit there is two little boys and two little girls the oldest is in his six(th) the second 4 and entered his five the oldest girl will soon be three and the baby will soon be six mon(ths) old Maggies (David’s wife) (sister?) lives here and both of them can’t do the work so you see he has a helpless family Elijah is in (the) under- taking business yet he is makeing a living sends his children to school the second girl goes to College and has been going for three years they say she is very smart and I know myself she is very industrious. but it comes hard on poor Elijah for you know these College terms has to paid in advance so you are all having a hard time unless you can hold up poor Sarah Jane(’s)(Holt), children all work none are married but still she works hard Alice (Pritchard) has plenty but she has ten children to look after her last baby is about six weeks old a girl Lizzie (Willett) you know more about her condition than I do the day is so dark I shall to stop but I hope you will make a liveing and that is about all you need for the Bible say we brought nothing nothing into this world and certainly we can carry nothing out how many people in my knowledge has left their Children good beginnings and even fortunes and it is has gone like was before the flame sometimes it did not reach the second generation and hardly even the third. So as Solomon says it is vanity and vexation of spirit do you remember old Mr John Barnard well he was a particular friend of your Father he died last Friday he was the last married man that lived in Moyock when I came here a Bride. He was eighty seven years old he rod on horse back up to tuesday that he died on friday he chose horse back riding and was a very graceful rider and we have Great hope that he is better off your uncle Brickhouse (Cox) is very feeble he was 75 the 14th of this month Jane can get around very well your uncle David Dr Cox had a sad accident he sliped on the snow and fell and broke his hip I fear he will be a cripple the remainder of his Life he is about 65 and has 4 young children by his last wife and five by the first there are three or four Children dead and he was 40 years old when he was married the first time one of his sons is practicing medicine in Baltimore. he has five children Sallie graduated last year at Norfolk College. And now she is teaching school. give my love to your children and Lizzies remember me kindly to Mr. Willett. I (am) well and even hearty I have much to be thankful of write soon your affectionate Mother Elizabeth Cox
Letter written to Margaret Cox Willett by her mother Elizabeth “Betsy” Staples Cox wife of William C. Cox of Currituck. Copied as written ( ) added for clarity.
In the letter she gives Maggie the latest information about family and friends. Maggie’s brother David lived in Moyock with his 2nd wife Maggie Gordon. Brother Elijah lived in Norfolk, VA and married Elizabeth Wiginton. Sister Sarah Jane m. James A. Holt and lived in Moyock. Alice Virginia was the wife of David Pritchard and lived in Camden County, NC. Lizzie Cox went to Piatt county, IL to be with her sister Maggie and there she met and married Robert Willett, brother of Maggie’s husband James Willett. Maggie’s family later moved to Hebron, NE. Lizzie after she was widowed (1892) spent some time in NE and then moved to Sumner Co., KS. Uncle Brickhouse Cox was married to Jane Bray and lived in Currituck. Uncle David Cox lived in Hertford, Perquimans Co. and was married 1st to Sallie ( Sarah A White). His daughter Sallie Cox founded a private school in Hertford 1898. She was from his first marriage. His 2nd marriage was to Clara V. Small.
I wondered how Maggie and Lizzie Cox ended up in the Macon/Piatt Co. area of Illinois. I found out while doing some research on their brother Elijah that William Cox moved the entire family to Illinois in the mid 1850’s. The family was back in Moyock by the 1860 census except for Maggie who in 1860 was a school teacher and boarding in the same household as James Willett.
Mary Ann Willett Tantillo
These letters were contributed by Mary Ann Willett Tantillo. No part of this document may be used for any commercial purposes. However, please feel free to copy any of this material for your own personal use and family research.
© 2010 Kay Midgett Sheppard