Thursday, February 16, 2012

“Gone to Texas” Letters [Thankful Thursday]

Anne Chappell’s Genealogy Pages were last modified in 2000.  How much value could they be?  But I found some priceless letters transcribed there.

Somewhere in the 1870s, several families from Fayette and Tuscaloosa counties in Alabama moved to Hill County, Texas, to seek the promise of the rich soil and open lands.  My great grandfather, Augustus Newell Edmonds, and his family were in the bunch.  Other surnames include Stanley, Richards, and Chappell.

On Anne Chappell’s web pages, I found a transcription of numerous letters back and forth between Texas and Alabama, dated from 1881 through 1977.  According to a heading on the web page,  the letters were saved by Eliza Hester Johns Stanley and her daughters, Missouri McKinney Stanley Chappell and Cornelia Josephine Stanley Chappell, and have been passed down for two more generations.

In addition to being Chappell family treasures, these letters provide insight into life in Central Texas in the late 1880s.  To me, they provide glimpses of my great grandfather, as he and his wife are among the people mentioned:

C. McDuffs family is all well.  gus Emmons is on the mend.  R. D. & B. E. Standley and folks is all well.   uncle jess Ben is complaining Some.
we went to gus Edmonds tuesday, to Tom's tuesday night, friday went to Ben's and Saturday we taken Rufe's wagon and mares and colts and Ben's Willie and went to Col's by ourselves.
pusses Liza called Bet Edmonds Narce all the time.

Elizabeth Shown Mills talks about the importance of the FAN club (Friends, Acquaintances, and Neighbors).  These letters highlight how intertwined the families were.


  1. Thank you so, so much for this post! I'm doing a family research project as part of a history course and my great, great grandmother, grandfather, and children moved from Fayette county AL to Johnson county TX. I'm hoping my professor will let me reference these letters as I have to include a first hand account from one of my areas in the appropriate time frame and these fit perfectly! All from a random Google search of "Alabama gone to Texas 1880s".

    1. Kelley, If you haven't already found it, a good published resource for your project might be "A Memorial and Biographical History of Johnson and Hill Counties, Texas". In addition to being available at some libraries, it is available online as well from a few sources. One of those is the Allen County Public Library at

  2. Thanks! I think that may be one of the many books I've looked at. Also, in doing some digging, the Chappells in these letters are my distant relatives! Such a strange coincidence!

  3. Just had to come back and let you know that not only are the Chappells my distant relatives, so are you! My great, great grandfather's younger brother was married to Fatima Jane Edmonds, the daughter of your great grandfather and his first wife Elizabeth McDuff.