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.