Family letters: Opening the door to our ancestor’s lives

If a photo is a window into a family’s life, then a letter must be the door whereby you enter. This 1904 portrait of the Emma Woolley and Charles Rich Clark family is beautiful, but offers few clues about the challenges, personalities and relationships between these family members.

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Today, we transcribed a letter written by Emma Woolley to her husband Charles Rich Clark while he was away serving a church mission in 1892.  In this letter we learn that Emma had a migraine, and that the oldest child, Marion, was the serious one who concerned himself with his mother’s help and offered a little prayer on her behalf. We learn that Vernon, the next oldest, was the silly one and said funny things that made his mother and neighbors laugh. We learned how devoted Emma is as a wife, managing the family accounts, nurturing sick children, doing laundry,  and settling debts. She closes the letter saying,

“I guess this is not what would be called a love letter but it is written in love all the same, and I am proud of the man I love, and hope to keep ever fresh and alive that affection that exists between us”

To read the full transcription, go to the Ezra T. Clark Family Archive.

Make insights like this possible with your own family records and start your own family archive. Upgrade to an Unlimited + Collaborative Archive for just $99 this week only!

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