Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Then There Were Other Letters

The letters to Agnes Tully from Father Dan E. Reilly were just enough to raise several questions and answer virtually none. Unfortunately, there are no more of those letters to be found in Agnes’ papers—well, at least the stash that I have. Perhaps they are out there somewhere.

In order to find any more about Father Reilly, I will have to submit to the snail mail task of inquiring at the archdiocese and then wait. And wait. And hope someone will deem it appropriate to send personal information to a stranger who may not even turn out to be family.

I say it’s worth the risk. Hopefully it will also be worth the wait.

This, however, is not the end of all the letters to young Agnes. There are more.

Reaching once again into the pile and pulling an envelope out in no particular order, here we find a three page note of thanks from a gentleman in Vicksburg, Mississippi. How Agnes managed to meet someone from someplace that far south of Chicago will have to remain a mystery. The obvious first guess would have been that he recently moved from a home up north, but finding his name in the 1910 census, it appears that he is a native of the state in which he resides—as, come to find out, is his bride at the time of that census.

But this letter predates all that, being written in 1905. We find the writer, Steve Treanor, to have just entered the employ of the company whose letterhead he uses in sending his greetings to Agnes.

                                                    Vicksburg, Miss., Nov 8th 1905
Miss Agnes Tully
        607 Garfield Bvld
My Dear Little Friend: —
            I received your most welcome letter, and Hallowe’en favor several days ago, and this is the first opportunity I have had of acknowledging receipt of them. It was a great pleasure to me to know that you thought of me on that night, even though I was seven or eight hundred miles away. I am quite sure all of you had a jolly good time, particularly the “ghosts.”

Photograph: panoramic vista of Vicksburg, Mississippi, dated 1910; courtesy Library of Congress via Wikipedia; photograph in the public domain.


  1. They lived and died in Vickburg.


    (In the voice of Oliver Hardy to Stan Laurel)

    "Well, here's another nice mystery you've gotten me into!"

  2. S E Treanor would later become a bank president and head the Vicksburg Chamber of Commerce (1931). He was involved in the "American Committee for Relief in Ireland" effort (1921).

    An interesting man...

  3. It is so interesting to see what was saved. I wonder if some letters were saved just for being unique? One of my great-aunts saved letters from someplace "new". She had seemingly insignificant letters from people she could barely remember - but she could recall the letter came from Ocala, FL or Zanesville, OH.

    1. Susan, if your great aunt received letters from Zanesville, my first thought is to try and connect her with my in-laws who, believe it or not, came from that area of Ohio. Again, we are on--or nearly on--the same wavelength.


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