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.


  1. I love the concept for your blog! What a special genealogical treasure you have in all those letters and postcards. It's amazing that ALL of them were saved after these many years. How fun for you and your family!

  2. How fortunate you are to have someone in your family tree who held onto such a great collection. I envy you!

    I'm new to Geneabloggers. Would love to exchange links.


    1. So glad you joined Geneabloggers, too. I joined about three years ago with my first blog Are You My Cousin?. It's such a great community!

  3. What a genealogical blessing! I look forward to reading along.


  4. I look forward to reading more stories about your great-grandmother Esther. Welcome to GeneaBloggers!

  5. Thanks everyone! I'm looking forward to sharing Esther's letters.

  6. Welcome to GeneaBloggers! I joined September 29, 2012 so we're both from the Class of 2012.

    In my blog: I am also transcribing older letters so they will be preserved. One of my family history goals is to get more of my information on the internet so it will be preserved and available. In family history we all have some things that are interesting to somebody out there.

  7. Found you as well via GeneaBloggers. Great site! I too have a site wherein I transcribe my grandmother's diaries from the 1930s. I agree with you the importance of sharing these first person accounts with others.
    Take Care,

  8. How marvellous to have such a legacy from your great grandmother. I look forward to reading more.

  9. A very lovely photo of Esther. Beautiful.
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)