Climbing Family Trees: The Letter - Author Unknown

Climbing Family Trees

More great stories, poems, and helpful hints about genealogy and searching for your family's roots from the twin authors of "Climbing Family Trees: Whispers In The Leaves"

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Letter - Author Unknown

“The Letter”

My story begins with Elizabeth Travers Chinn. She was born in 1775 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and died in 1835 in Loudoun County, Virginia. Elizabeth is my 4th great grandmother, and a Mayflower descendant, having descended from very prominent Richmond County families such as the Allertons, Travers, Tarpley, Sydnor and Chinn. Then she married John Wilson. End of story! Well not actually. Ruth Wilson Dillon, author of “The Chinn Book”, which nowresides in the Library of Congress, wrote about this family. Through her years of research she could not find the parents of John Wilson. No one knows where he was born or anything else about him, other than a Bible record of his death. I was lucky enough to obtain a copy of a letter written by Elizabeth, although she signed it “Betsy.” I've read and reread this letter dozens of times. It haunts me. There is a message in there somewhere. I feel like she's right there with me. I can see her writing the letter and the worries on her face. In the letter she asks about her son’s intended trip to New Orleans, the Steamboat accidents, the illnesses at home, the deaths of neighbors and friends.
I've taken the names in this letter and, along with the family stories about John Wilson, believe I have come very close to proving the names of his brothers, their wives, children and his parents. Ruth Dillon Wilson knew these boys were related but could never figure out how. Later I received a copy of another letter from the husband of one of Betsy’s granddaughters that talks about the three Wilson brothers and their wives, proving my theory to be correct. Nothing has driven me like this letter!

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