Letter – Elizabeth Todd, 10 December 1867

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Letter written by Elizabeth L. “Betsey” Humphreys Todd (step-mother of Mary Todd Lincoln), to her cousin William, from Madison, IN. Betsey is updating her cousin on the current state of her children, in-laws, and grandchildren, but does not mention Mary Todd Lincoln. She does mention her deceased son-in-law, Brigadier General Hardin Helm. Helm was a graduate of West Point, and served in the Confederate army. Betsey enjoys living in Madison, and says that several Kentucky families have followed suit, despite some locals who “try to convert us, being well acquainted with our… disloyal sentiments.”


-Page 1-

Madison Dec

10th 1867

Dear Cousin William

Many things have prevented my writing sooner and thanky you for the history of the family of which I was ignorant soon After the death of my Brother I left Ky and have not sen any of them since. You knew Lucy was dead and soon after her three children with that dreadful scourge Diptheria – Sam left two sons his widow moved to Springfield Ill. her oldest son David at College [is a] fine young man. Tommy [is] delicate Joseph mar[ri]ed a relation Sarah Gibson – died in N[ew] York leaving three daughters IS ok – his widow Resides on the farm near Versailles Ky Belle died just before her father and Annie since having Lucy, Sally & Joe Mary H has never married and lives with her Mother at the home place – I had a visit from Mrs Dawson (Elodie Todd) Col Dawson lives in Selma and by the

-Page 2-

kindness

of one of our distant Preston Cousins (during the sacking & burning of the town) he knew Dede [Elodie] and placed a guard on her lot as well as a camp but they saved her house Col D. was at Manassas & was in the fight when “Wilson” entered the city but escaped with my other son in law Capt White did not get home for some weeks – David H Todd Capt Art. commanded at Vicksburg has parolled with the Army married a daughter of Judge Turner of Huntsville has one daughter Elise Kitty Todd my youngest daughter married since the war Capt Herr & lives near Louisville has one child H Helen Herr – Margaret my eldest child married Mr Kellogg merchant at that time in N.O. [New Orleans?] has considerable property and resides in Covington Ky. he went South under a misapprehenson After the death [of] A.S. Johnson he was carried to Richmond as prisoner – he is right has always been a Democrat

-Page 3-

you may have heard my great bereavement My oldest Samuel Todd fell at Shilo a brave man went with the NO [New Orleans] “Crescents” saw much privation as he went as a private left a wife of four children in N Orleans – My youngest son Capt Alex Todd fell at Baton rouge “young brave & good he was a favorite with his company and much loved by all that knew him B. General Hardin Helm my son in law fell at Chickamauga – My daughter Emilie was in Atlanta with her three children. she had gone out with him and had passed thro’ many trying scenes before the last affliction which deprived her of a most excellent Husband her children of an affectionate father & me of a devoted son & friend – he was a graduate of West Point, but had left the Army and was was a practising lawyer at the opening of the war – the three lie in

-Page 4-

[the] South I never could get Samuel but Alex and Gen Helm were quietly and decently intered. their Graves are marked. The Genl at Atlanta. his Father Gov Helm died one week after his Inaugeration It may be that the bodies may be brought to Ky – I am now indifferent about it. I have left the state, but hope the resurrection may find us all in the [???] prepared for those who love the Lord – Emily is very young to have the care of her family – she purchased the house we live in. All my child being married I remain with her and am rather pleased with this place ’tis quiet and several Ky families have followed our example and we have society sufficient tho’ the Lads seem to convert us being well acquainted with our to “them disloyal sentiments-” I hope you iwll write again and inform me respecting yourself & others of the family or better still come to see us –

-Page 2 & 3, Upside-down Across Top-

I direct to Mr. Gilkinson as I am not sure of your address

-Page 1, Crosswritten-

I enclose my [???] knitting {???] socks and will try to send one of each of my family – write to Mrs Humphrys for theirs – May evry good my dear cousin attend you [???] E.L.T.


Elizabeth L. “Betsey” Humphreys married Robert Smith Todd of Lexington, KY in November 1826, following the death of his first wife in July 1825. She was stepmother to six children, including Mary Todd Lincoln (then age 8), and soon had nine children of her own, before her husband’s death of cholera in 1849. Three of her sons served in the Confederate army, two of which died (Samuel – at Shiloh; Alexander – at Baton Rouge). Her favorite son-in-law, Brigadier General Benjamin Hardin Helm (married to Betsey’s oldest daughter Emilie) was killed at Chickamagua. She was about 65 years of age in 1867, while living with Emilie, her only unmarried child, when this letter was written.

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