The following letter was written by Herbert Welsh (1851-1941) to his half-sister, Anna Maria Welsh, in 1863, from Baltimore, Maryland. I have left the spelling and punctuation as he wrote it, with a few exceptions for clarity. I inserted commas in one sentence, on the assumption that he went to the funeral service with his father as well as his brother, Samuel, and others. I have inserted question marks where I could not be sure of a name.
I believe “Sam” was Herbert’s brother, Samuel Welsh (1843-1893). Herbert’s father, John Welsh (1805-1886), was a prominent resident of Philadelphia. Herbert was only eleven years old when he wrote this letter to Anna Maria Welsh, John Welsh’s only child by his first marriage, to Rebecca Bass Miller, who died in 1832. Anna Maria (1830-1914) married James Somers Smith in November 1863, later in the year this letter was written. Presumably, the references in this letter to Smiths concerned members of that Smith family. Here is the text of the letter:
Jan. 25th 1863
I hope you are doing very well. I received your kind letter on Wednesday last. To day I went up to Holy Trinity in the morning with Sam and sat in Aunt Horner’s [?] pew. This afternoon I went out with Father[,] Sam[,] and Miss Young and Willy Young to the house of Refuge, to hear a funeral sermon on the death of Mr. Isaacs Collins one of the managers of the house of Refuge. The gentleman who preached was a Presbyterian minister with a very long white beard coming down over his breast. He preached a very good sermon indeed.
I wish you to tell Jimmy and Daisy Miller and Hammy [?] Smith that I think they ought to be ashamed of themselves for being Rebels. I have been three times to the drill and have got my clothes and gloves and my hat has been ordered a full week but has not come home yet. I went yesterday to see about it but found it had not been sent to the store from the factory and I am afraid it will not be sent home in time to wear it for tomorrow’s drill.
Mr. Smith is here to take tea with us to night. Give my love to Miss Maria Smith particularly and keep a great deal for yourself. Willy Smith is sick in bed with high fever and a little soar throat. He went out yesterday without his scarf after having his hair cut and in that way most likely caught cold. Goodbye dear sister. I remain your affectionate brother.