Dear Lisa…

January 1900

Dear Lisa…

This morning I awoke in this grand hotel with the crisp mountain air bringing life to my unopened eyes. Yes, I know, I slept with the window open again. The sun broke the mountains and showered my room with light and warmth forcing me to arise from my bed. The train that will bring me home to you doesn’t leave until tomorrow, but my mind will not let me rest from the vision of your beauty.

Harpers Ferry is everything your brother said it would be. There are jobs here. Virginius Island is a bustling little industrial center situated on the shore of the Shenandoah. I might have a job offer already. I am meeting with Mr. Lovett, the owner of the Hotel, this afternoon and hopefully, if things go well, I will have a good job with good pay, and we can finally leave the dirty streets of Baltimore behind, like we have always planned.

I think you will like it here, Lisa.

The town is situated on a hill that is very nicely framed by a halo of mountains and wreathed by the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers. Your mother couldn’t have painted a more picturesque town. The sky is so much cleaner than Baltimore. There’s a lot fewer people here, but the ones that are here are so much nicer. Remember that vagrant? Vintage engraving of a Young victorian man writing a letterThere’s nothing like that gentleman here. Everyone is pleasant and cordial. Even the blacksmith, you know how rude they can be in Baltimore, is a gentleman of the finest order. The sheriff, a veteran of the great conflict, gave me a tour around town yesterday. I believe it was his way of making sure I wasn’t here to cause trouble. The canal and railway workers from across the river came into town and often get a little rowdy. But please don’t worry, it is nothing like the harbor area in Baltimore. Sheriff Kincaid assure me of that because he too came from Baltimore and left for the same reasons we wish to leave.

When we walk down the main street of town, you will find it hard to believe that this was a cauldron of the great conflict that burned our country a scant 36 years ago. The old federal armory is gone now. The buildings are being used by the railroad for storage and commerce. And most of the workers have left for better opportunities elsewhere. Which means there are housing opportunities like we would never have in Baltimore. I have my eye on a house.

I know you’ll love it. The house is larger than any our families have lived in. The parlor is as big as the rooms we occupy now. it even has a yard. As big as the Park on 4th. It’s practically a manor. I know what you must be thinking, “How can we afford that?” Well, Lisa, as I stated the Armory workers have left town and are desperate to sell their property. I have made an arrangement with the son of one Mr. Ambrose Cross. His name is Malachi. He and I have come to an agreement. When I secure steady employment, at the hotel, he will rent me the home, the entire home, for what we are paying for the squalid rooms we have in Baltimore. An offer I could scarcely refuse, and have shaken hands upon it.

So for now my room here in Mr. Lovett’s Wonderful Hill Top House hotel will suffice. The view is something I wish I could show you. I’ve looked for a suitable postcard but have found none that do the vista the justice I feel it deserves. you will see it in due course though. I look forward to the days when we can stroll up here, hand in hand, and watch the leaves change in autumn. I am told it is breathtaking. The sunrise between the mountains is something out of a painting. My words would fail miserably to do its majesty any credit. The dinner menu at the hotel is wonderful as well Lisa my love. It’s nothing like your cooking. But the crab cakes are remarkably fresh for as far from the shore as we are.

My darling, I miss you desperately, and cannot wait to see you again. As comfortable as the beds are here, I miss the soft embrace of your arms and the warmth of your kiss. Soon my love, my heart, we will begin our lives here in Harpers Ferry.

I look forward to watching the sun rise between the blue ridge mountains together from the front porch of our home for many years to come.

Yours with Love Forever



*Author’s Note

What ever happened to the art of letter writing? Do you remember having pen pals? Or Post Pals? (you know people you traded postcards with?) Whatever happened to the simple joy of getting a handwritten letter from someone? I remember feeling the personal touch of someone putting pen to paper, bringing words to life and sending them off for someone else. It was a very intimate and personal thing for one person to do for another. In this pre-programmed, instant satisfaction age of electronic forever information and news……

I challenge you to pick up the pen, or type a letter, and put your thoughts to paper for someone you love…even if its someone you see every day…and give it to them, mail it to them, leave it on the car seat, put it in their lunch, tape it on a mirror. it will mean more than an email or a text message.

Fountain pen on letter



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