Francis W. Edmonds papers  1780-1917 (bulk 1825-1863)
full text File Size: 74 K bytes

Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection (63 items) contains Ella St. John Whallon's personal correspondence, including letters from friends and family members in Michigan, as well as love letters from her husband, James M. Whallon of Dowagiac, Michigan. The collection also has letters to Lizzie Wittle of Columbia, Pennsylvania, from Edward E. Seifred, a member of the United States Army's 18th Infantry Regiment who served in the Philippines, and another correspondent, dated between 1903 and 1909. Other items include financial documents, tintype photographs, a commemorative ribbon, and a leather postcard.

The Correspondence series (58 items) contains correspondence related to Ella St. John Whallon and Lizzie Wittle. During the final years of the Civil War, Philena Hood of Saline, Michigan, wrote to Ella St. John about her experiences in school; one of her letters encloses a small piece of fabric (October 16, 1864). Several of Ella's cousins wrote to her during the late 1860s, mostly about family news from Clinton and Lansing, Michigan. One cousin, Wallace J. Hunt, commented on his experiences while serving with the Union Army in Winchester, Virginia; his letter of January 31, 1865, encloses a tintype photograph.

From 1871-1874, James M. Whallon wrote 27 letters and postcards to Ella St. John, pertaining to his life in Dowagiac, Michigan, his feelings for Ella, and their anticipated marriage. After their wedding, he sometimes wrote brief postcards while traveling. In 1872, Ella wrote 1 letter to James and received 2 letters from her mother. In August 1876, a relative wrote to Ella about his experiences at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. She received a postcard from her brother Frank in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1917, and a partial letter from a friend in 1923.

The second group of correspondence is comprised of 5 letters to Lizzie Wittle of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Edward E. Seifred wrote 3 letters while serving with Company I of the United States Army's 18th Infantry Regiment in Manila, Philippines, in 1903 and 1904. He discussed his feelings for Wittle, proposed marriage, and reflected on his life as a soldier. In 1909, she received 2 letters from "Andrew," who explained his decision to delay marriage until achieving financial security and reported on a couple who had eloped in York, Pennsylvania. Undated items include a leather postcard addressed to Lizzie Wittle with an ink drawing of a bulldog on the back.

Five receipts are integrated with the correspondence, including documentation of wages paid to James M. Whallon during his Civil War service (October 24, 1863) and 4 receipts for Samuel St. John's contributions to a church building (1869-1872).

The Photographs series (3 items) contains a tintype portrait of Ella St. John Whallon, a tintype portrait of Samuel St. John, and a carte-de-visite portrait of Ella St. John Whallon.

Ephemera items include a poem that Philena Hood wrote for Ella St. John, with a pencil drawing of a bird on the back, and a ribbon from the 11th Michigan Cavalry Regiment's 1889 reunion in Battle Creek, Michigan.

Show all series level scope and content notes