Mary Jamieson Leland was born June 28th, 1809, died Jan. 13, 1891 at Ashmore, Ills. She married Edward Cox in Virginia, Dec. 21st, 1833. He was a fine penman as shown by his report of his guardianship of his wife's younger brothers and sisters, Ann Maria, Elisabeth Fauntleroy, Sally Moore, Baldwin Mathews and John A.C. this document is dated Aug. 21st, 1835. Does not state what period it covers, but he received $2.00 for each ward - $10.00 in all. Note: This document is not in manuscript. They left Virginia soon after this and after a short stay in Ohio, continued to Illinois, settling near Ashmore. Conditions were pretty hard in that new country as shown by some of the letters to her sister Judith:
New letter from Mary Jamieson Leland
"In late summer or early fall of 1832, Elizabeth Kenner Turner Wood directed a letter to B. M. Leland. It arrived after his death and was answered by Mary Leland, who in 1833 married Edward Cox."
April 26th, 1842
My dear sister Judith;
I have very little time to write but have determined to write to you if but a half a dozen lines. I suppose the reason I have not heard from you before this is because I have not answered your last, but I know you will excuse me when I tell you we have been without paper for a long time and never got any until yeaterday.
I am glad to tell you we are all tolerably well & sincerely hope this may find you all in good health. I received a letter from sister Margaret that gave us very unexpected intelligence of your marriage. My dear sister I suppose it is a fact that you are married. Oh I do wish you all the Happiness that a Connubial state can afford and that you may spend your days in the faithful service of God, do I ask it as a particular favor as soon as you receive this answer it and as I can't have the pleasure if seeing you, tell me all about how you are situated and who you have married, let me hear from dear Augustin and my dear sister's little children. Hannah and Lizzy often talk of their little cousins and cry and tell me that they love them so well because they have no mother, let us hear from cousin Peter & from Mrs. Wood's family if you please.
My dear sister Judith I hope you and dear Betsy will try & write to me oftener. I think you have slighted me a great deal but I forgive you if you could know how I am situated you would write oftener.
I am going to make another request of you, do try and come to see us this spring how glad I would be to see any of you cant Betsy come Oh I wish she would do sister Judith try to persuade your husband to bring you this spring you can come now better than you will ever be able to come hereafter, try to come and get Betsy to come with you, we are very poor but we would be the more rejoiced to see you does Augustin never talk of trying to come & see us? We have been looking for Cousin Peter this spring & still hope that he may come. I think if you could all see this Country you would fall in love with it it looks lovely at this time it seems more like the last of May than April.
We are still hoping to sell because we are so involved we are obliged to sell to pay our debts & the remainder we will take go somewhere, we have not determined yet we sometimes talk of going to Ohio; O how glad I would be to live near you once more I would feel like I had got home once more. I know I would be willing to live on bread & water from here to Ohio for the sake of seeing you but that can never be for you do not know half how poor we are & if I ever see your dear face on earth you will have to come & see me.
When I heard from Sally her Husband's Health was very poor they talked of locating.
Now my sister, I must conclude My dear Edward & my little children unite with me in love to you all. Kiss the dear little children for me. Farewell my sister may we meet in heaven is the Prayer of your sister
Mary J. Cox
After I finished my letter I read it to Hannah she asked me with tears in her eyes to ask her Aunt Judith to bring her little cousins with her and we all wish it as much as Hannah. I must ask you all sister Judith to pay the postage on the letters you write to us until times are better with us I will not pain you by telling you of our necessity. Please excuse this for I am ashamed to send it.
Your sincere sister,
Mary J. Cox
Excerpts from letters of Mary J. Leland Cox:
(Note: As you read these letters bear in mind, this
women was a gentlewomen of Virginia, her father had been a Lawyer and a
Planter, and she had been raised in fine style, a true Southern Belle.)
Charleston, Ills. October the 26th, 1847
My very dear Sister Judith, I feel that it is my duty to make an apology to you for my long silence. Notwithstanding I have had much affliction and many real hindrances. The 24th of August I had another Babe, but the Lord who gave it has taken it away & it is my desire to bow in humble submission to the will of my Heavenly Father . . . . . One after another until three dear ones are gone & I expect through Grace to meet them beyond this world of affliction. . . . . Hannah is just thirteen and lizzie ten and Ann Maria six. . . . . they do our work without hiring any help, they have spun about fifty pounds of rolls this year. We have nearly all of our weaving done which we pay for with fruit and knitting. We have dried about nine Bushels of Fruit & made our Apple Butter. . . . . . Please give our love to everyone of your dear family, to dear Betsy and family, to dear Baldwin, Augustin & Huldah, to dear Mrs. Wood and family. . . . . . Edward and children unite with me in love to Br. Stevens yourself and family Kiss dear Eliza forus Again farewell may we meet in heaven.
M. J. Cox
Charleston, Ills. July 25th, 1849
My own dear sister Judith
I think last September twelve months I wrote you since that time I have not had a line from you my dear sister nor have I had a line from my dear sister Betsy, Baldwin or Augustin I ask my dear sisters and brothers why you do not write. . . . . .
I have six children and poor health. . . . . .
There have been very many changes in this settlement since I saw you we have some excellent society now. . . . We had no meeting house then now we have two. The Old Presbyterians and Cumberlands each have a Sabbath School We still have regular preaching at our house and are glad to have it and the good society also. . . . William is learning to milk. . . . Roberta is a fine little girl with as curly a head as you ever saw. Ellen Miller is a fine sprightly babe. . . .
Since the birth of my youngest child I wrote to Br. William in conclusion I wrote that if I did not think my constitution was so near worn out I wd ask his advice I did not think that sentence would awaken all his Brotherly feeling for me. Br. Wm wrote me and his wife also & I Judged from his letter that Baldwin is married. . .
Write me about Nancy, Frances, James, Sarah and dear Eliza & give my love to dear Mrs. Wood. Remember me to sister Rachel Jane Stevens, Eliza Smith Old sister Workman. . . . Farewell sister may we meet in heaven
M. J. C.
Letter from Mary Jamieson Cox to her brother Baldwin Leland, on the back of her husband's letter to him of Oct. 5, 1849.
My dear Brother:
We have not received a line from you since we left Ohio.
I have written to Sister Judith twice to Betsy once and to Augustin once
but not a word can I hear from Ohio. . . . . . I expect my dear
Brother to hear that you are married I hope you have made a happy choice
& I sincerely wish you all the happiness this world can afford and
more. Prepare to meet thy God, If you have never sincerely thought of this
matter be persuaded by me that loves you to begin. Seek first the Kingdom
of Heaven, let the Bible the word of God be your guide. . . . . . .
. Farewell my dear Br. may we so live as to meet in Heaven is the prayer
of your affectionate Sister
Mary J. Cox
The letter from Edward Cox:
Oct. 5, 1849
I have not had a line from you since we parted in Ohio and have concluded to write you this leaves us in the enjoyment of tolerably good health and ardently hope this may find you and friends in good health our country for the last two seasons has been very healthy and the improvements are so great you would scarcely know it to be the same country Charleston has ten stores and will soon have a block of buildings that will encircle the public square in the public square is a courthouse and 2 offices there is a brick jail in the north part of the town and 4 meeting houses, two printing offices, three saddle shops, one tinware shop, three shoe and boot shops, 3 or 4 blacksmith shops and two wagon shops, 3 or 4 cabinet shops and as many carpenters and Joiners
I was asking one of the merchants in town a few days ago what amt of goods were sold annually he said about $80,000. I said it appeared to be a large amount for the county he asked me what surplus amount of stock and grain was raised in the county I said it would be impossible for me to say he said there was $4. or $500,000 worth the prairies are largely grazed on the wolf hill there can be seen from it some 8 or 10 hers of cattle at a single view containing some 15 hd or 2000 cattle our country is great for cattle, and horses and hogs, I have given you some of the particulars and hope you will think enough of me to do likewise remember me to all our friends particularly the two Messrs Stevens and families and Augustin and his and I believe yours
truly yours E. Cox
Letter from Mary Jameson Cox to her sister Judith
Charleston, Ills. June the 16th, 1851
My own dear Sister Judith
I sincerely trust you will excuse me for not writing to you About two years ago I received a letter from you. I felt truly thankful to you for it, but that precious letter I have never set down to answer until now. . . . I do not think there is an hour in the day but what I think of my dear friends in Ohio . . . . . . I think if our family was not so large I would willingly go in the wagon to see you all again but my dear Edward thinks we can never undertake such a trip again . . . . .
Do not think I have forgotten dear Mrs. Woods family. I have not heard a word from them for several years the last I heard was simply that she had moved to McConnelsville I have not heard whether old Mrs. F. is alive or not (Note: Mrs. Flannery was Mrs. Woods' grandmother. She came with the Woods and was never reconciled to the move but spent the rest of her life contrasting the hardships of Ohio with the glories of Virginia.) My dear Sister, we have had some very serious afflictions in our family since I last wrote you . . . . . . . . Our dear Hannah has had a swelling in her neck that has distressed us much Physicians call it Goitre her neck was swelled to an alarming size at one time. She was advised to use W.B.Farell's Arabian linament & I am truly glad to say that I think it has taken at least two thirds of the swelling away and I have reason to hope that it will take it entirely away.
My dear Lizzie's affliction is the greatest I inferred from Baldwin's letter that you had heard of it. Last July a few days before she was thirteen years old she had a serious fit I never can tell you the deep sorrow it has caused me since that time she has had three more, you must know I am afraid she will always be subject to themm tho I humbly trust she may recover. I am trying to put my trust in Him who is able to heal. (Note: Lizzie recovered) . . . . . .
My dear sister will you do me the favor to learn of Mrs. Wood what she did for her neck when it was swelled The children are all about me asking me to write you about their little Brother who is a great pet with all, he will be ten months old the 20th of this month - Charles Edward is his name tell Augustin, Charles is in remembrance of him . . . . . . This year Brother Wiley has a circuit . . . . .
I remain your affecionate Sister
Mary J. Cox
Ashmore, Coles Co. April 13th 1856
My ever dear Sister Judith
Yesterday the 12th I was in Charleston and received your long looked for, dear and welcome letter O with what pleasure did I read that you expected to pay us a visit in May . . . . . . I have often thought my dear Sister if I could see you it would soften the Sorrows of mylife . . . . There is a Mr. Ficklin in Charleston a celebrated lawyer & member of Congress for several years, who was a particular friend and acquaintance of my dear Husband & I having need of advice (as Mr. Ellington is no more ) thought I would advise with him so I went to his house, Mrs. Ficklin sent for him . . . . Old Mrs. Ficklin inquired where I was from. . . . I found she was born and raised in old Northumberland, a granddaughter of Old Capt Cralle's who married our Aunt. . . . .
Oh could I tell you how I miss my dear precious Edward, I often think if I had one hour to spend with him again but those pleasant hours are gone. I do not know whether or not you have heard that my dear Hannah is married, she was the 20th of last /sept, to Charles Pierce & is living about 30 miles east of Chicago . . . . Oh how sorely grieved was I to learn of the affliction of dear Augustin's little boy (Note: Little Baldy the hunchback) . . . .
I forgot to tell you Lizzie went in to be examined by the S. Co. (Committee?) to teach school, she bore a close one without missing an answer I expect she will commence this week. Direct to Ashmore, Coles Co. if you write it is less than a mile from us . . . . .
Your affectionate Sister
Mary J. Cox to Judith, June 6th, 1858
This long letter was written in installments in answer to one received two months before. She says, "Iwill write you that we are as well as usual (or nearly so)." She is worrying about Sister Sally Wiley's situation and about John and Lizzie Cox, her sister Ann Maria's children. The father, Peter B. Cox has married again and John and Lizzie have gone back from Clarke County, Ohio, to their relatives at Cumberland, Ohio. She quotes Peter, "Poor children! They have few to love them now." Stepmother trouble apparently. Lizzie is married to Mr. Gallup and has a boy 2 months old named Frederic Cox Gallup. Gallup is a lawyer and they have located at Paris, Ills.
June 7th Roberta has been suffering with toothache. Only Roberta and Ellen are at home as Annie is with hannah, going to school. "I hope to see my dear hannah this fall she is as good and-pretty as ever." Perhaps greataunt Mary was afraid the "pretty" was not literally true. "Willie is nearly grown will be 19 the 22nd of this month is nearly as large as his father was reminds me of himm tho' he has dark eyes Charlie is a fine healthy sprightly little boy, begins to help Willie a good deal."
June 23rd, "Today we have put out a large washing and I have written to Cousin Peter offering him 60 acres of our best timber land to pay the debt we owe him . . . . . It is impossible these hard times for me to raise money . . . . . . I think, indeed I know I have never felt such heavy care as to how I should provide for my family. Since I commenced this letter we have lost the last horse we had that Wm. could depend on for a crop . . . . . Oh how ungrateful we are if we murmur may we be preserved from it. Wed. July 7th since I commenced this the times are harder than ever in consequence of the failure of the crops." Too much rain. "We have upwards of twenty acres in oats, one week ago they were thought good now I do not reckon they are worth a dollar, destroyed by the rust. The wheat and rye are good and a great deal of buckwheat sowed but we have no small grain Flour can be bought for $4 per barrel We have one piece of land rented for $100 in cash. There is allmost an entire failure of fruit I do not think we have 10 bushels. Do write soon Your own Sister
Mary J. Cox
June 11, 1859
My dear Sister
I received your very kind letter a few days ago, inclosed was ten dollars, - Well I have been sitting here with my pen raised, my mind wandering back till my eyes were brim full of tears thinking how I could thank you for your very prompt attention to a sister in need Oh, I cannot, I have no language to suit me, you can feel, - it is hard to be in need & have to tell it, do not sweet Sister send me any more money, I will return this as soon as I can, but I cannot say when, for indeed the times are hard with us. I have one loss after another with much affliction until I have felt want more than I ever have in my life - - Willie and Annie have gone to Charleston today. Willie took the money along to try and procure something to make bread it is scarce and high nothing but money will buy it. I have never seen such times before. Annie went to try and dispose of some nice needlework.
You wish to know how we are getting along and how my health is, my health is better at this time, tho I have suffered much since I wrote last my dropsical symptoms are nearly all gone, I hope to get well again if it be the will of the Lord My Sister you know from all I have wrote that we do not get along very well, need I tell you we miss the Husband & Father iyr dear earthly Protector but we will cherish his sweet memory while we live, try to do the best we can & trust in our heavenly Father. I pray that I may be preserved from murmuring . . . . Our corn and garden are good considering the dry weather, I think we have plenty of fruit for our own use & I hope some to spare . . . . Monday the 13th We had a fine rain last night Wm. & Annie got home safely Saturday night & succeeded very well in what they undertook . . . .
Please tell me the names of some of my nieces and nephews Betsy's youngest, Baldwin's youngest & the names of all of Augustin's children, How is the dear little lame one Remember me especially to Br. Stevens. Farewell my own Sister, if we never meet on earth again may we meet in that happy world where there will be no parting.
Your affectionate Sister
Mary J. Cox
From the manuscript of J.A.C. Leland, The Leland Family of Virginia, 1740-1940; pgs.30-31.
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