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  • The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia

The Lee Family Digital Archive is the largest online source for primary source materials concerning the Lee family of Virginia. It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online. We are always looking for new letters, diaries, and books to add to our website. Do you have a rare item that you would like to donate or share with us? If so, please contact our curator, Colin Woodward, about how you can contribute to this historic project.




July 23rd 1870

My dear Mother

George gave me your little note & the papers for both of which except [sic] my thanks. This is the first time since you returned to Lex you have condescended to send me any thing in the shape of a letter. I don’t beleive [sic]. However that I have written to you because I have been waiting for you to commence

However I write to you to night to tell you of a piece of news about myself

You have heard it very often I have no doubt passed around as a rumor but it never has been true until the last two weeks.

In fact Mim “I have done gone done & done it” for I am engaged to Miss Charlotte Haxall with her Father & Mother’s consent. I have’nt done it hastily or without thinking after knowing her for nearly three years & for nearly them very well. I find in her all that I can hope to find in my wife & I love her & she loves me, so she says & I beleive her. And that accounts for it. It is what all young folk you know have been doing since the world began. And I am very glad I am not an exception. When we will be married I ca’nt say—but I hope to be ready on my part by this fall a year at any rate shall try. As to the young lady I suppose if she ever does marry me she can bring her self to it by that time. If I knew where to write to Pa I would tell him of my changed prospects. You must tell him when you write & let me know where a letter from me will find him. Like most of your sex Mim when this event happens to you—Miss Lottie desires that no one except my Family viz father mother brothers & sisters should be told why I do’nt know but you know they are monstrous anxious but awfully sweet. So please tell the girls & ask them for my sake & their future sister’s sake to hold on to the news until this young person gets a little used to it & then I don’t suppose there will be any objection. And you too dear Mim I know you can keep a secret so I don’t fear you, but the girls you know will talk unless strictly enjoined to silence. Also caution my papa. I hope you all will be pleased & I wish you all could be as happy as I am about it.

Tell Mildred that Miss Lottie says, that she has taken her advice, viz “to take the first man that comes along.” For I was the first fellow who was so fortunate as to come along after she gave vent to that airi remark. And my advice to my sister is to go & do likewise or as F__ says don’t put it off, too late.

I have seen very little of George for I have been so busy here threshing my wheat that I can only spend Sunday with him. I am going up there tomorrow. My wheat is turning out very poorly, but I beleive [sic] as good as any of my neighbors, so I don’t complain but only regret that it is not better. It has been terribly hot, more intense & more prolonged than I have ever known it here. I had two cantalopes for breakfast this morning the first I have seen any where tomatoes are ripening slowly have had a few very fine ones. I think of you Mim whenever I eat them you must write me a nice letter of approval if you can, if you can’t say out what you think I’ll never think hard of it. Above all remember outside of your husband & children it is a secret

love to all

 your loving son




Source: Transcribed from photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 g 16-23, Section 6, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Katie Hall, 2018 July 23

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