The following letter was written by Thisbe Jones Reeves of Hillsborough, North Carolina to her niece Julia Jones. Julia was the daughter of Thisbe's brother Horace Jones of Massachusetts who was visiting another brother, Doctor Calvin Jones in Wake Forest.
Thisbe Jones had married David Higbie around 1805 in Massachusetts but he soon moved the family to New York where he abandoned them. Dr. Calvin Jones described him as a wastral who had squandered everything, abandoned his wife and daughter, leaving for distant parts. In Wake County, North Carolina in 1813, Thisbe obtained a divorce and later married Rev. Willis Reeves of Orange County.
It is a bittersweet letter, Thisbe is noticeably thrilled to be able to have her niece visiting in North Carolina and once again be able to see someone from her home in Massachusetts but she is also somewhat downhearted. From her description, life in Orange County was much more backward than what she had found at Wake Forest in Wake County while residing there with her brother. In spite of Thisbe's melancholy comments it is still a delightful letter and a very personal vignette of Thisbe Jones Higbie Reeves.
To Miss Julia Jones- August 1830
My dear Julia,
you are at last so near me as the forest and yet I cannot see you. I am more impatient than ever to see you. You have not been absent from my thoughts, half an hour since bro- informed me of your arrival. I feel as tho in seeing you, I shall again see my departed parents- my brothers and sisters, and my own dear, dear, native place. I shall also see, not in imagination, but in reality my Julia, the child of my brother in whose house I have spent many happy hours and some of the happiest in carrying in my arms and playing with his Julia.
Shall I indeed once more behold, one of my far distant relations. I now live far from all. Seldom indeed am I blest with their sight. Bro- Calvin is the only one within reach and inconveniences prevent seeing him half as often as I wish.
He came by on his way to the mines but only staid one night- we could not prevail upon him to stay longer. He was not well when he started, I should be glad to hear from him. I was myself but barely able to crawl about. He gave me some medicine which has --- me. When sister writes to him I wish she would tell him.
Your letter arrived a few days after he was here. I was pleased with your coverage- If any one has resolution they can do much - I have --- the time when I could do so, too and have and could again, --- my heart as light and hopes ever highting. But I am now weighted down with many sorrows and forbodings. Thus I have no bright hopes no fair prospect in view, I bless and praise God I have the christian life which extends beyond the limits of mortal --- . By faith I see the promised land where the wicked ? from troubling and the weary are at rest. Yes, there is a land where we shall live forever. Who would not content for ? desire this happy county. Christ the lamb of God has, conjoined death and the graves. then where -- death is thy sting and to grave thy victory.---
If you are not preparing to start when you receive this- do write me and tell me as near as possible when you will come. A week ago, I fixed two rooms for you, sister and the children. Tho I cannot lodge you elegantly- I hope I can comfortable and I do not think you will either (pg torn)
When I do my best the only good so (pg torn) of any size up stairs M- occupies ?(pg. torn) have no right whatever to enter it and ? always keep it locked. I was mortified to put bro. and M- both in the little room- when so warm. I thought I would tell him the cause but had no opportunity nor time. I did not see him half long enough- had I been well I might have managed better. I could have put Mont. with Calvin but did not think of it but I have now turned topsy turvy an unfinished room which is quite pleasant- have moved out many things and would have moved more had I a place to put them, however, I think you will not dislike it. I have even been down on my knees to scour up the old seasoned stairs- make haste and come before it gets dirty. Tell sister to bring her children, there is plenty of room. You are pleased with Carolina. So was I when I lived in Wake- but it is very different in this county. You will here see back-ward style. I give this warning that you shall not be disappointed and hope after all you may enjoy yourself awhile very well the novelty will be something, and I think you will for my sake make yourself contented. I think if I could have you with me a prison would be a palace, at best for a time. This hermitage might so fiting be named a prison for I have no means to get away. I wish you had been here to the ?. I want much to go to a methodist one this fall and if you are here and are desirous to go Mr. R. I think will fix us off .
My love to sister and children- yours ever T.J.R.
(This letter is included here by permission of Pamela G. Boan descendant.)