Saturday, March 14, 2020

Saturday's postcard: Adams County note from 111 years ago

This note was written almost exactly 111 years ago, on St. Patrick Day's (March 17), 1909. It was sent from Fairfield, Pennsylvania, to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Those places are both located in Adams County, Pennsylvania, about eight miles apart.

I am actually surprised that this is the first mention of Fairfield on Papergreat, nearly 3,400 days into the blog. It's a scenic little borough near the Pennsylvania/Maryland border. When I worked at The Gettysburg Times from spring 1993 until the end of 1994, I covered sports at all of the Adams County high schools: Gettysburg, Fairfield, Biglerville (Upper Adams), Littlestown, New Oxford (Conewago Valley), Bermudian Springs and Delone Catholic.

This postcard was sent from Emma in Fairfield to Miss Blanch Culbertson in Gettysburg. The "Fairfield Letter" in the October 10, 1891, edition of the Adams County Independent reports that Miss Blanch Culbertson had left to attend Wilson College in nearby Chambersburg. In February 1915, the Adams County News listed Blanch among those attending a "very enjoyable evening" at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Armor Weikert. By 1936, she was back in Fairfield and at some point had become Mrs. Blanch Culbertson Moore, according to The Gettysburg Times.

And it might just be that her first name was misspelled by friends and newspapers all those decades, because Find A Grave notes that Blanche Culbertson Moore lived from 1873 to 1941 and is buried in Gettysburg. She spent a major portion of her life working at The Peddie School.

Here, based on my best reading of the cursive writing, is what Emma wrote to Blanch/Blanche 111 years ago:
March 17th 1909
My dear Blanch,
Was glad to get your card, sorry to hear your mama was still in bed. Glad Aunt Beckie is staying longer. Jimmy [?] has been having a terrible time with his abcess. It shows signs of opening today for the first. He is looking very pale and badly, can scarcely eat at all. Mattie [?] is still in the office. I am feeling some better. I have engaged a girl by the name of Macklyn [Mackly??], from the mountain. I don't know what kind of a girl she may be, but she will do until I can do better. Much love to Mama and Beckie. Do write every few days.
Aunt Emma
And yes, I lament that we will never know more about the girl from the mountain.

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