Undated 1859

Transcribed by Mary Walters and annotated by Scott Stegall

No 2.

I must not close my letter with not telling you of our communion last Sunday. Your Father preached four times +& Mr. Rockwell twice.1 It is always a very deeply interesting sight to see a number of your men coming forward to enroll themselves under the Captain of our Salvation. There were nine students (among them Sam Snow)2  besides Mrs Helper3 Miss Bettie Brown4 & a black girl.  Ed Scales did not come forward though his friends seem to think he is really changed, & there were two or three others that we hoped would join, who did not.5 They are never urged or persuaded to do so. Willie seems to have a very good opinion of Sam. I sent him word about the letter & money, I suppose he has sent for them



by this time. I hope they do not intend taking Sam away. I hope he is doing well here.

He had a very sad letter from Mattie the other day, but she seems entirely resigned . I am very sorry you were not able to write before you were taken sick. She says her little boy is growing finely. We have had a little rain to night, a few drops & some thunder & lightning. I did not feel quite as uneasy as usual, perhaps because it was very distant, I pray against this nervousness and hope I shall have grace to over-come it. Did you hear anything of the Mr McDonelly suit, what was thought of it in Charlotte? I hear Mr. Wilson abused Mr McD. very much. I must stop, your Father has gone to bed.





  1. Elijah Frink Rockwell (1809-1888) was born in Lebanon, Connecticut and initially attended Yale. In the following years, Rockwell studied at Princeton Theological Seminary and Columbia Seminary. Rockwell was ordained minister of the presbytery of Concord in 1841. He helped to raise money for Davidson College, and, in 1841, he was elected professor at Davidson. Over the next two decades, Rockwell taught chemistry, geology, Latin, and modern history. From 1868 to 1870, Rockwell served as President of the Concord Female Seminary. He pastored several churches until he died in 1888. For more information, see Neill R. McGeachy, “Elijah Fink Rockwell,” NCPedia,  https://www.ncpedia.org/biography/rockwell-elijah-frink (accessed October 20, 2017).
  2. Samuel Snow was born in 1841 in Raleigh, North Carolina and studied at Davidson College. From 1859-1861, he was a student at the University of North Carolina. Snow later saw service in the Confederate army during the Civil War. He and his wife Sarah moved to Brooklyn, New York where he worked as an accountant. For more information, see W.A. Withers, The Semi-Centennial Catalogue of Davidson College (Raleigh: R. M. Uzzell, 1891), 16.
  3. Sarah Cathryn Adams Helper (1836-1861) was the first wife of Hanson Pickney Helper (1825-1902). Hanson owned and operated a general store and Carolina Inn on Main Street with the help of enslaved labor. During the 1850s, he served as postmaster for the town of Davidson. For more information, see Mary Beaty, Davidson: A History of the Town from 1835 until 1937 (Davidson: Briarpatch Press, 1979), 26-28; “Sarah Cathryn Adams Helper,” Find a Gravehttps://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=114861836 (accessed November 4, 2017).
  4. According to the 1860 census, there were three women named Elizabeth Brown living in the Western District of Mecklenburg County. Bettie might refer to any of these women.
  5. Edmund Martin Scales (1840-1865) was born in Rockingham County, North Carolina and  graduated third in his class from Davidson College in 1859. He went on to study law in Texas from 1859-1861 and then joined the 15th Texas Infantry on April 16, 1862. Scales died on October 4, 1865, at the age of 25, from disease contracted in service and is now buried in Raleigh, Navarro County, Texas. For more information, see “Edmond Martin Scales,” Find a Gravehttps://findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi/http%2522/http/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=42943180 (accessed October 29, 2017); Catalogue of the Officers and Students of Davidson College (Salisbury: Carolina Watchman Office, 1859), 7.