The Art of Letter Writing

In your lifetime, have you ever waited for a letter to come? I used to get letters from my grandfather. I waited for each precious letter for weeks sometimes, and every letter held much meaning for me. Reading them over and over was the best part of receiving one. When I had a boyfriend at the age of 15, we wrote letters to each other all the time. We both decided that we loved this because those words were meaningful to each of us. If we felt down, we could get built back up again if we were able to remember the way our love for each other was expressed; through these special letters. If you’ve ever written and received letters, then you know what I’m talking about.

I always take special care that when I send a “Get Well Card,” or a “Thinking of You Card,” that I write something special for them. It has to relate to them personally. Something such as “we miss your face at the Sunday meeting” or “I understand B has his garden going already, make sure you save a couple of tomatoes and corn for us.”  Because of the lack of having a large vocabulary,


those words may not be stirring but they still mean something to the receiver of that card or letter. The letters, stories, books,  movies, TV, and magazines seem to lack a vocabulary that is fit for the human race. Oh boy, excuse me, but that is another whole can of worms. We’ll just stick to the subject.

This is not an English lesson, but I thought about this all week. Our family possess Ancestors letters from the 1800’s. I’ve done a lot of research into life during that time period for a book I wrote. The word romantic;

According to the Encarta Dictionary: English (North America)                                                 Romantic (adjective)

Romantic        Of 18C artistic movement …

relating to a movement in late 18th- and early 19th-century music, literature, and art that departed from classicism and emphasized sensibility, the free expression of feelings, nature, and interest in other cultures

 Romantic artist involved in romantic movement …

a writer, composer, or artist who was involved in the Romantic movement during the late 18th and early 19th centuries

Now, take the letters written by our ancestors, our letters today could not even come close to matching those letters written so long ago. Our words usually are lacking expressive words, except maybe for poetry, and are nothing compared to the romantic and meaningful words that are put together so eloquently in a letter written in the 1800’s.

I would like to put three short letters within this post. The letters were written by an exasperated mother to her son who was in HMS  They were written by my ancestors from the 1840’s.  Her words express her feelings completely and you can get a glimpse of how everyday people wrote to each other even though they were family. That style of writing has gone by the wayside more than 60 years or more.

These letters are typed out so the original words are distinct since the English style of writing in that time period was very difficult to read. The style is that of the uneducated working class of people. “Workhouse” is the “Poor House” Horrible conditions. Keep in mind that these people were not college graduates. In fact, they probably had little more than a grade school education if that.


Mr.Wm F.Garrood

Acting Agent Hon

.16B. M. Packets

Rio de Janeirio.


9 Thornhill Street,

Pentonvill, London

September 2 1843

My dear son

Since last wrote, I saw your aunt Caroline, and she has heard from the country. The property you expect is in Chancery. Until the right heir will be found out. I hope my dear son that you will not think of going further off than you are. I know a gentleman that would employ his lawyer to recover the estate for you if were in London. I hope I shall be able to let you know more about it in the next letter, which I will send off as soon as I will have any certain news to communicate to you, my dear son, and I and my husband will go down to Tooting as soon as I get a little better to enquire.

Your cousin Mercy has come to London; she has got a situation on the New Road, and, she intends to answer your letter as soon as possible. I was very sorry my dear son, to hear of the dreadful accident you met with last Christmas. I hope my dear son that you will carefully guard against a return of all such accidents, and preserve your health, without which life is valueless

 Please to let me know as soon as possible if you have quite recovered from this dreadful accident. Your aunts Sarah and Caroline and your Louisa and Rebecca send their kind love to you. Mr. Francis Kibble sends his best respects to you. I send you “the weekly chronicle Sunday August 27th which will let you see (past & happy){?} events. Please to write as soon as possible and send me 2 Brazil papers and believe me to be Your Affectionate mother.

Elizabeth Kibble


9 Thornhill Street, Pentonville

London Feburary 20, 1844

My dear son

I received your kind letter on 8th jan,Y .1 am sorry I could not answer it sooner. I was obliged to remove back again to town. I have taken a room in Tottenham Street for which ¡ pay 2:g Is per week. I am sorry that you have been out of employment. I hope now my dear son that you are settled. Until you return to England I am very thankful to you my dear son for your promise to me concerning your prize money. I have not seen the gentleman since I last wrote to you but I have no doubt but, he will be as good as his word. Your uncle and aunt Kibble send their kind love to you, also your cousins Mrs John Stone and Mrs Rogers your cousin Mercy has lately been baptized; her name now is Rebecca Mercy. Her aged aunt, has sent for her back to Norfolk, which I think is a very good thing for her as she is in business and got some property. Her address is, R. M. Bagnell, at Mrs Drakes,

Harling, Norfolk

My dear son, I feel it my duty to inform you that, in the event of my death, before your return to England, you cannot recover your property unless you produce my marriage certificate with your father: also you will require a certificate of your baptism. I was married on 13 JanY 1817 at Saint Anne’s Church (Blackforans or Blackforest). The late deceased Reverend 2 Isaac (Laundew), who died in the pulpit, performed the ceremony. I will be happy to hear from you my dear son as soon as you can write remain your very affectionate mother

Elizabeth Kibble


no9 Thornhill Street Pentonville, London

April 28, 1848

My dear son!

I received your kind letter the 24th instant, and am sorry to inform you your father is no more. Five weeks ago, he got thoroughly wet at his work and was taken with the shivenng fits. He was ordered to the infirmiry. I got him to lslington, and, altho’ he was in a dying state the doctor sent him next day to the London fever hospital he expired at 2 o’clock the morning after, 31 st March. His complaint was the dysentery and fever. He was buried 5th Ins0 at the Chapel of Ease in The Liverpool Road. I am sorry also, my dear son, to inform of the death of your Aunt Caroline she expired 12th last August. She
was getting over her affliction When she was seized with the bowel complaint which soon deprived her of life. She was buried in (Bayouwater). I went to see her and enquired if she had any papers respecting the property? She said “She had not got any.” But, “her cousin Thomas Garrood has got them, he lives at Tooting.” I called on him, and , they will give you every information about the property when you call on them. I have been fairly worn out looking after your Prize Money of which I cannot get one farthing. I took a friend with me who had to get it for me I also being present, but the clerk said” Nobody could get it but yourself” “They gave me a paper that they said should be signed by the officers who were on board your ship when you took the prizes.” And I did not feel justified in (handing)? you with such a paper, as I could not see me use or necessity of so many signatures. I must now say a few words my dear son concerning yourself I am glad to hear you are to come home in June, which is only 2 short months away. I am sorry to say I am in great poverty and have nothing to support myself but my own scanty earnings? If you could send me one (Soveneign)?? Miss Barnes would receive it for me and give it to me. It’s with the greatest difficulty that I can get anything after I have (nobly) earned it.

I am sorry to hear dear son that you have had the Brain fever; but ,I am thankful to God that you are recovering. You aunt Sara sends her love to you. Your uncle Edward is in the infirmary in a very bad state. Your cousins Louisa and Rebecca send love to you. I saw your uncle (Bagnell)? He owns a nice cottage at Kentish Town. His two cousins Mercy and John send their kind love to you. They will be very happy to see you when you come. I have my dear son complied with all your requests in sending your love to your relations.

The reason I did not answer yours of April and July was I could not find where (CW Shurity)??? lives. ‘.

My dear son] I sincerely hope to see you before long and this sight will afford much pleasure to me. Your affectionate mother

Elizabeth Kibble, widow

1 thought on “The Art of Letter Writing

  1. we used to write our sisters and friends all the time, I remember looking for fun things to slip into the envelopes, going out of my way to entertain the reader, and be entertained by their return letters (all of which I still have). a lost art.


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