"Rivermount", Coffee County, T.
Mrs. Mary Cox
My ever dear Aunt;-
Though "lenth of days and long months" have rolled away, since last I wrote to my fathers beloved sister, my dear Aunt Mary, still I feel that a warm welcome is resting ever in your heart for me! And amid the changes, (though many and they are); the change of hearts estranged between your dear family and my fathers can never, never be. Ah, no! it was born in the old "Virginia home," & while our hearts beat; can not die. We are not gathered in the respective homes of "Sister Mary and Brother William" as before the cruel war, but many of us children are now separated from the parental roof, from its protection & its joys, & our own struggling up the hill of life hath alone, on my part, caused the cessation of our former sweet intercourse. You, dear Aunt Mary, are the first of my fathers relatives, to whom I have ever written since I settled in this state. A new home with its many duties, added to the vast attention I give my little ones, leaves me but little time to devote to the pleasing occupation of writing; & up to this time, my father and my mother, brother and little ones, have been the recipients of the letters I have had time to write. I have heard through my mother, & with that knowledge was compelled to be satisfied for awhile. Enough for the new introduction, now let me tell you of my home & loved ones. Would that this blessed Sabbath evening that I would see you in propia persona, but as tis impossible I will begin with introducing you to your nephew, Wm. Hume. There are no words, which could obey my pen, to tell you all he is - in my mind for, he is better than "A Nobleman of nature," he is this; & our beloved Savior's true Desciple too! he and I are very happy together; we are trying, so to walk on earth that we may receive the "Well done good and faithful servants" hereafter & to your Christian heart no more words are necessary. I wish dear Aunt you could be with us & pay us a visit in our dear sweet home. First I must speak a few words of my darlings, then I want to tell you all about my new home. My first born was given me sixteen months after my marriage, on the 15th day of Mch 1864; he is now a handsome little fellow in pants, very full of fun, & oh! such a joy and comfort to me: his name is Leland but he is just the image of his father, he has very expressive dark eyes & fine face generally. My next was a little girl, who stayed with us only a few hours; is now my Angel in the Savior's fold, wooing me oft from the things of this world, to the better life beyond it - on the first day of Dec. 1866, came another baby boy & he is one of the liveliest, smartest, & sweetest darlings you could ever see. he too is like his father, though for a time he was called like brother Willie. These darlings are truly my treasures and blessings. They make me desire more & more, to be good; that I may the better lead my children in the christians path. But need I try to tell a "Mother" how dear these "little ones" are? or, what feelings, (sweet, holy purifying, & enobling) they arouse,. At my bosom.
No! - I feel it is not needed, for well I know in your far away "Illinois home" there lives ever bright in my own Aunt Mary's heart the best feelings of a noble mother! Oh! my darling Aunt, how I long to see you! For dearer to me are you now than ever before; for as onward my best of life travels; & carries me far away from the sweet home of my childhood, & as cares come thickening in; I go over the thought of your separation, your trials, & really feel now, what I used to think I felt. From my earliest recollections I was taught to love "Aunt Mary" & indeed I can hardly realize that we have never met - save only in spirit -
But I must away with my thoughts and ere my time passes, must fill my pages with a few facts. Did I not propose giving you some idea of my new home? You will leave the grand Nashville & Murfreesboro "pike" & go about fifty yards on the old neighborhood road - there is the big gate, open to welcome my dear Aunt Mary - you are in a lovely grove of fine handsome trees; you pass up a winding road through the woodland, & catch ever and anon glimpses of a bold and dashing creek which separates our upper or rather the hill land from our lowland, Now, you cross a splendid blue grass meadow & come gracefully up to the front gate - open the latch to walk up some fifteen yds. and you will be on the old big steps where my precious mother trod, & where oft at eve her Mary sits and sighs, both in gratitude and sadness that dear Ma has come and gone! Yes, really Aunt, my own sweet Ma has paid us a visit and she thought our home a lovely one.
It is most beautifully situated on the mount of the river, thereby its name Rivermount; and the views around are beautiful; away up the creek for miles you see the rich valley of Tennessee; dotted here and there with pretty farm houses; & the scenery varied by hills & vales & at present all covered with the glorious fruits of labour, till it all looks like "one unbroken world of green" - We have everything comfortable around us though none of the elegancies of life, still I do not feel a whit less the happier. I have no piano yet, but have plenty of sweet music for "Leland and Allie" make sweeter music to my heart than any I ever heard & my hands find so much work to do that I am not at a loss to pass my time. Ma says I am a good housekeeper, & I know I am a good cook & would like to prove it to you or some of my cousins at least, if any of yr dear ones could ever come to see us. I forgot Aunt, I have one of the luxuries of life, my husband has a splendid library & you can imagine that my leisure moments are pleasant.
Where are Cousins Hannah and Lizzie? Do write me soon and let me know their directions - How is your health dear Aunt? & please tell me about all the family for they are all dear to me. What is Cousin Willie doing? - tell him my brother Willy is a hard working steady boy, & full of fun too. Brother John is in Texas; is well and doing well.
With much love for you dear Aunt & all my cousins I will close hoping to hear from you soon.
Your affectionate Neice,
Mary L. Hume
copied from The Leland Family of Virginia; 1740-1940 by J.A.C.Leland; Berkely, CA; May 1952.
Note: Spelling & puctuation is how I read it in the manuscript, whether it is J.A.C or Mary isn't known. R.M.Leland III