26 February 1864: “…often when I press the precious child to my heart I feel that it will break. I do not know why it is, I often fear it may be a presentiment of future evil, but when I see him so perfectly lovely and angelic in his nature, I fear that he is but a loan from God, which He will soon recall…”

Item Description:  Letter dated 26 February 1864, from Annie Maney Schon to her sister Bettie Maney Kimberly. In this letter, Annie discusses her health after childbirth and the worries and fears she has as a mother.  She also discusses parenting, family life and travel.26Feb1864126Feb1864226Feb1864326Feb1864426Feb1864526Feb18646Item Citation:  Letter dated 26 February 1864, in the John Kimberly Papers #398, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Mrs. John Kimberly
Chapel Hill N.C.

Atlanta Feb 26th ‘64

Dear Bettie
I wrote to Ma last Friday and today. I will write to you although I have to do it by stealth as Mr. Schon scolds and gets frightened every time I use my eyes or exert myself in any way. And he is not the only one who scolds—the doctor was out last night and told me I had acted very imprudently and that I might regret it as long as I lived regret getting up so soon. I had thought all the time that I had been very cautious and careful I got out of bed and sat up the day the baby was ten days old and have been sitting up every day since and as yet I feel no bad effects from it. I have not yet gone out of my room, but I hope to do so on Sunday, and the day the baby is three weeks old Mr. Schon has promised to take me driving if I will follow his directions until then, which are not to write, not to walk except from the bed to the chair, in short to do nothing but lie perfectly quiet all day. But at this time to be quiet is impossible, for several days precious little John has been very unwell and yesterday I discovered his throat was badly ulcerated, which alarms me very much. I sent immediately for the doctor and I trust he will soon be well again—oh Bettie he is too good, too lovely, and the most patient little being I ever saw. In his suffering he does not fret at all but begs me all day to hold him and rock him and will not go to sleep at night unless his little arms are clasped around my neck. Bettie often when I press the precious child to my heart I feel that it will break. I do not know why it is, I often fear it may be a presentiment of future evil, but when I see him so perfectly lovely and angelic in his nature, I fear that he is but a loan from God, which He will soon recall – that Bettie would crush me forever. I could submit to the will of God in everything, even were He to take my child from me I could feel that in His great wisdom He did all for the best, but my heart would be broken and all spirit, all life would be crushed within me. We have never known what it is to lose a child when the heart is completely wrapped up in it. God pity those who have and oh may any and every sorrow but Death if loved ones be sent upon us. I am writing a gloomy letter Bettie, but I cannot help it. I feel so unhappy about dear little John. You say in your last letter you think I am making him too good. It is his own nature good and angelic. I have not made him so. On the contrary I often think I would rather see him manifest a disposition less good. I never have to whip him. Sometimes I have had to tap him on his dear little hands to make him know I was in earnest, but he never requires whipping and he is so obedient. No I am not making him too good and I would rather see him perfectly unmanageable than to have his spirit in the least broken. While I teach him obedience, I do it by gentle means and teach him at the same time not to be imposed upon, but to resent any teazing from any one. While I gratify him in every way in my power, yet when he wishes to do any thing that can hurt him, I make him obey me and leave it leave it by showing him how it will hurt him. To give you an instance of his obedience – nothing delights him as much as to bring chips and throw on the fire which I tell him he must not do without asking me and I wish you could see the dear little fellow, he will get a chip but never offer to throw it on the fire without first asking me, and if I say no and tell him to give it to Mama, he does it unhesitatingly. I dislike to deny him these little pleasures, but I have such terror of a child’s being burned and seared, if not burnt to death. I have written so much about John that I have left but little space for Maney’s merits. He improves daily and is much more like my family than John, to me he looks very much like Pa. Did you receive a letter I wrote you a few days before Mr. S wrote Ma announcing Maney’s birth? In it I enclosed to Ma a copy of a letter I had just received from Pa. Tell Ma I have had no further news from Pa. I wrote to him by flag of truce & sent him some confederate stamps so he could write again & letters can neither come or go without confederate or Federal stamps. George & sister are now in Atlanta. George expects in a few days to pay another visit to Dalton. Sister will stop in Cartersville & will remain there with Miss Fannie Yandell, expecting the Federals to take the place. Miss Fannie has not yet gone through, but has concluded to go by Chattanooga. George is doing very well, is almost himself again. Will passed through Atlanta a few days since on his way to Mississippi, his brigade was ordered there to meet Sherman. Frank is in Savannah still I suppose, but I have not had a line from him since Ma left. Jim is still in Covington but is going on in a few days to bring his family out. I must now close. Give best love to Ma & Mr. K with love for the girls & thousands of kisses for the dear children.
Your devoted sister
Annie M. S.


This entry was posted in Southern Historical Collection. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.