1833: Levi Holbrook to Eliza (Grout) Holbrook

This letter was written by Levi Holbrook (1797-18xx) to his wife, Eliza (Grout) Holbrook (1807-1837). They resided in Danville, Virginia, where Luther started a boys school in 1817 that evolved into the Danville Male Academy. This school eventually began taking young ladies as well.

Stampless Letter

Stampless Letter

Addressed to Mrs. Eliza Holbrook, Danville, Virginia

White Sulphur Springs
September 16, 1833

My Dear Eliza,

Arriving at White Sulphur Springs in 1830s

Arriving at White Sulphur Springs in 1830s

I wrote you last Wednesday from Fincastle. That afternoon I came part way to the Sweet Springs. Arrived there Thursday at one o’clock, stayed till 4, came 7 miles that evening. Arrived here at 9 next morning. I found 2 acquaintances at the Sweet Springs and 4 at this place, viz: D. Count — an old student and much esteemed friend, R. Moon, Lewis Williams ¹ — representative in Congress from N. Carolina, and Mr. Mills of N. C.  Mr. Moon left yesterday for the Latt Sulpher. He will be in Danville next month. His wife is well and much pleased with her situation in Oxford, Ohio. I took room with Mr. Moon. He treated me very kindly. When he left, Mr. Wilkins (brother to the one who married Mrs. Brodnax) took room with me. He is a very agreeable companion. Friend Count is in very bad health.

There are no distinguished characters here except Mr. Wirt ² and family. There have been 300 persons here at a time this season. At present, not more than 60. They are constantly leaving. There were about 200 at the Sweet Springs when I was there. The weather has been quite cool since I left Fincastle.

Capt. Stone and wife came here Saturday [and] left next day on their way home. They will probably get home next week. Mrs. Stone is much improved in health though she thinks she is not entirely well. Call and see her when she comes to Danville.

Sketch of White Sulphur Springs in 1830s

Sketch of White Sulphur Springs in 1830s

I feel perfectly well. The water here the two first days made me a little sick at the stomach. I doubt whether the water will do me any good for I am inclined to think that I have too much bile. The exercise will undoubtedly do me much good. I am glad I came horse back. Many are sorry they did not come horse back. They cannot leave when they wish — the stage being constantly full. Besides a man wants a horse here to take a little exercise every day or two. Were it not so late in the season, I would go to several other springs. I think it will be too cold after a week or two. I think I shall leave here the last of this week, stay a few days at the Sweet Springs, a few days at the Botetourt Springs, and make my way leisurely home about the first of next month. It is probable I shall not write you again. There will be no direct mail to Danville after I leave the main road to Lynchburg. The stage will not leave here for Lynchburg till Wednesday. I suppose you will get this Friday.

The road from this to Danville with the exception of about 30 miles in Botetourt is the most dreary and lonesome I have ever travelled. I had company only 5 or 6 miles the whole distance which is about 144 miles. The first mountain this side of Fincastle is 7 miles across. The road is very good. I passed a gap of the Blue Ridge. The road was nearly level.

I have been out to Greenbrier River 5 miles from this place. It has a bridge over it nearly equal to Hartford Bridge. The river is not quite as large as [the] Dan. The country is by no means as pleasant as is represented by some.

The principal amusement here have ceased. [James] Calwell ³ — the proprietor — gave a Musician, an Italian from Washington, $600. He is now gone. Great complaint is made against the fare here. I get along very well. The bread is very fine. I drink tea altogether — the coffee being bad. The desert is very good.

Most affectionately yours forever, — L. Holbrook

It is possible I may not be at home the first day of next month. If not, I think you had better kick the scholars out of the rooms just plastered as much as you can. I possibly may want to stay 4 or 5 days at the Sweet Springs and stop a little on the way. If so, it will be some day in October before I get home. That will depend on the chance for improvement.

Tuesday evening the 17. This has been a very fine day. it is said to be as warm as it twas a month ago. I continue to be quite well as far as my feelings indicate. The company have so dispersed that the fare has become very good.


¹ Lewis Williams (1782-1842) was a U.S. Representative from North Carolina.

² This is probably William Wirt (1772-1834) who was once the United States Attorney General.

³ James Calwell, a former sea merchant of Baltimore, became the owner of the White Suphur Springs property when he married Mary Boyer, who inherited it from her father. Calwell built a tavern on the property which comprised eight acres and had three springs — the White Suphur Spring, the Black Sulphur Spring, and the Iron Chalybeate Spring. Eventually, more and more accommodations were constructed on the property. Mr. Calwell — described as a “courtly gentleman” died in 1851.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

The Glorious Dead

Letters from the 23rd Illinois Infantry, the 111th Pennsylvania Infantry, the 64th New York Infantry, and the 14th Pennsylvania Cavalry

Cornelius Van Houten

1st New Jersey Light Artillery

Letters of Charley Howe

36th Massachusetts Volunteers

Sgt. Major Fayette Lacey

Co. B, 37th Illinois Volunteers

"These few lines"

the pocket memorandum of Alexander C. Taggart

The Civil War Letters of Will Dunn

Co. F, 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteers

Henry McGrath Cannon

Co. A, 124th New York Infantry & Co. B, 16th New York Cavalry

Civil War Letters of Frederick Warren Holmes

Co. H, 77th Illinois Volunteers

"Though distant lands between us be"

Civil War Letters of Monroe McCollister, Co. B, 6th OVC

"Tell her to keep good heart"

Civil War Letters of Nelson Statler, 211th PA

"May Heaven Protect You"

14th Connecticut drummer boy's war-time correspondence with his mother

Moreau Forrest

Lt. Commander in the US Navy during the Civil War

Diary of the 29th Massachusetts Infantry

Fighting with the Irish Brigade during the Peninsula Campaign

"Till this unholy rebellion is crushed"

Letters of Dory & Morty Longwood, 7th Indiana

"I Go With Good Courage"

The Civil War Letters of Henry Clay Long, 11th Maine Infantry

"This is a dreadful war"

The Civil War Letters of Jacob Bauer, 16th Connecticut, & his wife Emily

Spared & Shared 16

Saving History One Letter at a Time

Lloyd Willis Manning Letters

3rd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, Co. I

The Yankee Volunteer

A Virtual Archive of Civil War Likenesses collected by Dave Morin

William Henry Jordan

Co. K, 7th Rhode Island Infantry

No Cause to Blush

The Bancroft Collection of Civil War Letters

William A. Bartlett Civil War Letters

Company D, 37th Massachusetts Infantry

%d bloggers like this: