Monday, December 31, 2012

December 20, 1911

Hello: What are
doing this pretty
weather talking to B  I
guess. Esther, Susie
said that she wished you all would come
down here Sat and
bring her trunk that she didn’t any
clean cloths to put on and for you
to come ___ Pearlie is coming

__ ___ ___ can’t come and stay.
U__ x mas
come and stay a day or two be sure and
come and bring Susie’s trunk if you can.

Postmarked: ______, VA
Addressed: Miss Esther Richardson
R.F.D. 2     Virginia

The writer of this postcard was most likely Ila [Adams]. She signed her name just above the "o" in Post above.  Ila Adams (b. 1889) was the daughter of Julia Richardson and  Thomas Adams and first cousin to Esther. There is a possibility the writer was Ila Aherron, another first cousin to Esther and the daugther of Lucy Richardson and Thomas Aherron.  However, indications are this Ila went by the nickname of Sootie.

Pearlie may refer to Esther's first cousin Pearl Gosney (b. 1890) and daughter of Thomas Gosney and Amanda Sarah "Sallie" Richardson.  The identity of Susie is currently not known.

Friday, December 28, 2012

December 13, 1911

            How are
you all getting on
by this time fine
I hope I am getting
on all right
I have gone to
guess I will see
you Xmas.

Postmarked: Danville, VA
Addressed: Miss Esther Richardson
                  Ringgold, Va

The writer of this post card is Atwood Gosney, first cousin to Esther and son of Amanda Sarah "Sallie" Richardson and Thomas Gosney.  Previous postcards dated  January 2, 1909 and May 2, 1911 were also from Atwood.

Friday, December 21, 2012

November 24, 1911

Nov 24 1911

Dear Esther-
            How are
your boys getting
on up there. What
do you expect to do
on Thankgiving.
You bet that fellow
cleaned out your
well. I know he
will be there Ha Ha
C.T .Barnett

Postmarked: None

     Miss Esther Richardson
     Ringgold, Virginia

C.T. Barnett may have been Esther's first cousin Cam Barnett, the son of Cynthia Elliott and Sam Barnett.  If the writer was indeed Cam Barnett, he would have been about 11 years old.  This seems perhaps a little young, but maybe not.  Of course, the writer could be a different Barnett altogether.

Barnett cousins, what do you think?

Wishing your family a Merry Christmas!  Look for Dearest Esther to return December 28th!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

October 16, 1911

            How are you
standing this
pretty weather fine
I guess.
When you are sitting
all alone
and thinking of the
Remember that
 you have a
friend as long as
life shall last.

            By By Willie W

Postmarked: News Ferry, VA
     Miss Esther Richardson
     Ringgold, Virginia

The identity of Willie W is not known.  He appears to be a friend and early suitor of Esther's.

Monday, December 17, 2012

September 11, 1911 - Will Elliott

Surrender of Santa Anna, April 22, 1836

Hello      Sep 26.1911
            Received card all
O.K. was very
glad to hear from you and to know that you are enjoying
Life so well. Give all
my love and best
regards.  Bye Bye, Will

Postmarked: San Antonio, Texas
     Miss Esther Richardson
          R.F.D. #2          
          Ringgold, Va

Will Elliott is the son of CR Elliott and a first cousin to Esther on her mother's side.  Will wrote Esther frequently and at times signs his name W F Elliott or W F E.  His distinctive handwriting as well as the postmarks on his cards, make him easily identifiable. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

August 23, 1911

Hello how are you feeling to
day we are well as usual
Mama was to see Aunt Eliza
Sun. how is Aunt Hattie getting
on?I went to cousin Bill’s and got
Figs yesterday. You all
must be sure to come down
here while Ora is there and
bring her with you. Mama
says tell Aunt Hattie she must
come real soon come one
day this week. I am going to look
for you and Ora soon. Yours as ever

Postmarked: Ringgold, VA
Addressed: Miss Esther Richardson
                  Ringgold, Va
                  R #2

The writer of this postcard is Mannie, likely the daughter of CR Elliott and his first wife Evelyn New.  Aunt Eliza is Eliza Richardson Yeaman, Esther's paternal aunt.  Ora [Yeaman] is Eliza's daughter.  If Mannie is indeed Mannie Elliott, it would appear Hattie Elliott Richardson was not the only Elliott to interact with the Richardson.  Currently I have found no other connection between the Elliott and Richardson families.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

August 21, 1911

Fort San Cristobal, San Juan
 August 21, 1911
Vernon Hill, Va R.F.D. #1

Kind Friend can you
give me any information
where Mr. S. O. Talbott
is or please give me his address obliged
            Vernon Hill, Va

Postmarked: Vernon Hill, VA
Addressed: Miss Esther Richardson
                  Ringgold, VA
                  R F D #2

I am not sure who C. E. Talbott or S. O. Talbott is.  Esther Richardson was associated with the Talbott family.  Her uncle CR Elliott married Sarah Elizabeth "Bettie" Talbott in 1915 and she herself married Boss Henry Talbott in 1915.   However, this letter was written prior to either of these events.  Of interest is the picture from Porto Rico on the front side of the postcard.  The postmark is from Vernon Hill, [Halifax County] VA.  This postcard is the first mention of Esther's knowing/interacting with the Talbott family.

Monday, December 10, 2012

June 18, 1911

Fort Sam Houston Camp, San Antonio, Texas

Hello Esther.
            How is
every Body?
Give all my
love and best
Bye Bye.
            [Signature rubbed off.]

Postmarked: San Antonio, Texas
Addressed: Miss Esther Richardson
                  R. F. D. 2
                  Ringgold, Va

The signature for this postcard has rubbed off; however, all is not lost.  This postcard is from W F Elliott, Esther's first cousin and son of C R Elliott.  The writer of this postcard is identifiable since Esther received other postcards from San Antonio, TX from WF Elliott who was apparently stationed there.

Friday, December 7, 2012

June 16, 1911

Hello  how did
you enjoy the wedding all
OK I hope
I liked it just fine good
by from a friend

guess who

Postmarked: Ringgold, VA
Addressed: Miss Estha Richardson
                  Ringgold, Va
                  R.F.D no.2

Guess Who appears on a number of Esther's postcards.  Often times there are clues somewhere on the postcard as to the identity of the writer.  Unfortunately, that is not the case for this postcard. I would have to guess that Guess Who is one of Esther's earlier suitors.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

June 1, 1911

Hello Hattie
            how are you
feeling this dry weather[?]
there. we are well as usual. we all
went to Eliza’s Sun had a nice trip.
we are coming over there before long.
you all must be sure to come next
Sun and get some cherries. they will be
about as good by then as they will
be at all so you must come next
Sun. let me know if you can come
and bring me a pink geranium________
I will send your patterns first ______
or by mail if you need them. I will
look for you  write soon.
Yours lovingly  Ruth

Postmarked: Ringgold, VA
Addressed: Mrs. D.T. Richardson
                    R #2 Ringgold, Virginia

Mrs. D. T. Richardson is Harriet (Hattie) Elliott Richardson, the mother of Esther Lee Richardson.  This is a postcard sent to Hattie from her sister-in-law Ruth Richardson Ricketts. Eliza is Hattie's sister-in-law and Ruth's sister Eliza Richardson Yeaman.  I love the every day things  these young mothers talk about.

Monday, December 3, 2012

May 5, 1911

Brackenridge Park, San Antonio, Texas
            Received card
this a.m. am getting
on fine. Give all my
love I am sending
D.T. a paper. had
a very nice Easter.
write soon. By By

Postmarked: San Antonio, TX
Addressed: Miss Esther Richardson
                  R.F.D. #2
                  Ringgold, Va

The writer of this postcard is not definitely known. It is simply signed Elliott.  Based on the postmark and the handwriting the writer was likely William F Elliott, Esther's first cousin and son of CR Elliott.  The D.T. referred to is Daniel Thomas Richardson, Esther's father.

Friday, November 30, 2012

May 2, 1911

Post Office, Danville, Va
            how are you all
by the fine, all
O K ___ ha ha
I had good luck
the other morning
I came form there
the train past the station
just as I got along there
about Dr Taylor as I
had to ride the gravel
train I got there about 6.30
how is Aunt Sara. Henderson 2.1.7

Postmarked: Danville, Va
Addressed: Miss Esther Richardson
                  Ringgold, Va
I am unsure who Aunt Sara Henderson is in the above text.  Note the numbers at the bottom of the postcard: 2.1.7.  This is a simple letter replacement code for the initials of the writer seen frequently in later letters.  The numbers stand for the initials B.A.G.  These could be the initials of Beverly "Atwood" Gosney, son of Amanda Sarah "Sallie" Richardson and Thomas Gosney.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

February 11, 1911

Dear Esther, Your note rec’d
yesterday. Many, Many thanks
to you for same. I think it is
perfectly beautiful I am coming
to see you all before very long.
Tell them all hello for me.
Write soon                   
            With much love,
            Your cousin

Postmarked: Ringgold, VA
Addressed: Miss Esther Richardson
                  Ringgold, VA
                  R.F. D.#2

Edna, the writer of this postcard, could be one of two first cousins of Esther: Edna Elliott (daughter of Elie Elliott) or Edna Yeaman (daughter of Eliza Ann Richardson Yeaman).  I believe the writer is actually Edna Elliott.   The handwriting of this card is very much like that of a postcard Edna Elliott sent to Esther in 1909. You can view the 1909 postcard here.

Monday, November 26, 2012

July 16, 1910

This is the only postcard or letter in the collection to Esther Richardson for the year 1910.  Esther kept all her correspondence, so I can't help but wonder what happened to the other letters from that year.  

Hello, Esther. received
your letter a fue
minutes ago. will
write soon. Give all
my love. I Remain as
ever.  WF. Elliott

Postmarked: Fort Slocum, NY
Addressed: Miss Esther (torn) Richardson
                  R.F.D # 2
                  Ringgold, Va

W.F Elliott was the son of C.R. Elliott and Eudore Ware (source: WFE's death certificate) and a first cousin to Esther. Notice the faint penciled name Mannie at the top of the card. That would be WFE's brother Mannie Elliott.

Friday, November 23, 2012

December 2 1909

Lafayette Square, Buffalo, N.Y.
Write soon.
            By, Bye.

Postmarked: Buffalo, N.Y.
Addressed: Miss Esther Richardson
                    Ringgold, VA

Bill is most likely Esther's first cousin William F Elliott, son of C. R. Elliott.  [C R Elliott was the brother of Harriet Elliott.] William Elliott wrote Esther a number of postcards and letters over the years.  Typically, he signed his name W F Elliott and sometimes Will Elliott.  However, the handwriting here is remarkably similar to postcards you will see in the future.  W F Elliott was in the military and many of the postcards sent to Esther were from areas where he served or visited.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

September 9, 1909

Top Left Front:
address Buffalo Junction
Reuben Richardson

Bottom Front:
Hello Ester  How are you progressing
this rainy weather?                  Edward B

The backside of this postcard has been used by someone to practice penmanship.  The  multiple names written on the back included Katie Richardson, Danville, Reuben, Ringgold, and Willie Richardson. Willie was Esther's younger brother born in 1909.   Katie was Esther's younger sister born 1901. Perhaps it was Katie who used the postcard to practice her penmanship.

Postmarked: Buffalo Junction, VA
Addressed: Miss Ester Richardson 
                  Ringgold, VA 

Edward B was likely Esther's 22 year old first cousin Edward Barnett, son of Cynthia Elliott and Sam Barnett. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

August 19, 1909

            I received your
card  all O.K. Esther cousin
Daniel got his horse and buggy now.
He reached home about
eight o’clock, the horse
is not damaged much,
has fallen off some.
Cousin Daniel is not
so well, he is worried very

bye, bye,  Lizzie


  1. Ringgold, VA (Aug 19, 1909)
  2. Midway, VA (Aug 20, 1920)
This postcard is addressed to Esther in Midway, VA.  It appears she was away from home visiting relatives. I am unsure who the writer Lizzie was. Since the postcard references "cousin Daniel", Lizzie was likely a cousin on the Richardson side of Esther's family. Daniel was Esther's father Daniel Thomas Richardson.

Friday, November 16, 2012

March 9, 1909

1909 Easter Postcard

Hello Esther how
did you enjoy
Easter? I had a fine time. you just
aught to been with
me Easter and hope [help]
me hunt Easter eggs.
Tell Aunt Hattie I say
hello she must let you
come up here to see me      

[Written in the top left hand corner]
Edna has
three the
little ducks
you ever saw.
I will close

Postmarked: Witt, VA

Ora was Ora Yeaman was the 12 year old daughter of Eliza Ann Richardson and Isaac Yeaman.  Ora was a first cousin of Esther's. Esther was 12 years old at the time of this writing.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

January 21, 1909

Hello Esther
            how are you getting
on, having a good time
I guess I reckon I will
be home Sunday


Postmarked: Danville, VA

Atwood is Atwood Gosney, son of Amanda Sarah "Sallie" Richardson and Thomas Benjamin Gosney. Atwood was the first cousin to Esther.

Monday, November 12, 2012

January 6, 1909

Helo Esther. how are you all
getting on at this time
all right I hope we are
all well at this time
we moved to our new home
today and like fine. It
has been raining all day
Santa Clauss brought
me a doll and some
confectioneraies Well Bye By
       a cousin Edna

Postmarked: Buffalo Junction, VA

Edna is likely Edna Elliott and Esther's 10 year old first cousin on her mother's side.  Edna was the daughter of Elie Elias Elliott and Novella King Owen.

Friday, November 9, 2012

December 11, 1907

 Esther's First Postcard

to see
me xmas
me a poste


Postmarked: Danville, [VA]

Rynthe [Ryntha] is likely Ryntha Adams, 11 year old daughter of Julia Elizabeth Richardson and Thomas Jefferson Adams.  Ryntha was the first cousin of Esther on her father's (Daniel Thomas Richardson) side of the family.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Letters of Esther Lee Richardson

Esther Lee Richardson

Esther Lee Richardson was my great grandmother. She lived in Pittsylvania and Halifax Counties in Virginia. Sadly I never knew her.  She died in 1923 of influenza. She was the daughter of Harriet Elliott and Daniel Richardson of Pittsylvania County, VA.  She married Boss Henry Talbott and together they had four children: Crafton, Ruth, Garnet and Alma.

I do know a lot about Esther.

 For one thing, she was a prolific writer of letters and postcards to her family and friends.  What's more, her family and friends were prolific writers as well.  They maintained a social network long before social media on the internet would come into existence. The best part of all that?  Esther kept ALL the letters and postcards she received. Many are dated from before her marriage in 1915.  Even after her death, her husband kept all her things including her letters. It is in reading her letters that I got to know my great grandmother.  She was a pretty amazing woman.

In reading Esther's letters I came to realize that her letters contained not only the stories of my ancestors, but the stories of other people's ancestors, too. I quickly came to realize that  I might have YOUR ancestor(s) in my closet.


I started Dearest Esther to:

  • ...let Esther's postcards and letters tell her story and that of her family.
  • ...share the information on non-relatives/ancestors with other family researchers.
  • ...preserve Esther's letters and postcards by transcribing and scanning them.  After all, many are over 100 years old! 
If you find your ancestor mentioned in Esther's letters, please leave a comment or contact me.