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Title: Letter from John T. Jones to Mary Ann Lenoir, February 11, 1836: Electronic Edition.
Author: Jones, John T., d. 1838
Editor: Erika Lindemann
Funding from the State Library of North Carolina supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text transcribed by Erika Lindemann
Images scanned by Mara E. Dabrishus
Text encoded by Sarah Ficke
First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 23K
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2005
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text
The electronic edition is a part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2005-03-15, Sarah Ficke finished TEI/XML encoding.
Part of a series:
This transcribed document is part of a digital collection, titled True and Candid Compositions: The Lives and Writings of Antebellum Students in North Carolina
written by Lindemann, Erika
Source(s):
Title of collection: James Gwyn Papers (#298), Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Letter from John T. Jones to Mary Ann Lenoir, February 11, 1836
Author: John T. Jones
Description: 4 pages, 4 page images
Note: Call number 298 (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Topics covered:
Education/UNC Administration
Examples of Student Writing/Letters
Travel and Entertainment/Social Events
Travel and Entertainment/Vacations
Editorial practices
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Transcript of the personal correspondence. Originals are in the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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For more information about transcription and other editorial decisions, see Dr. Erika Lindemann's explanation under the section Editorial Practices.

Document Summary

Jones writes to his cousin that he spent his Christmas vacation in Raleigh, NC; Norfolk, VA; Baltimore, MD; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; and Washington, DC, where he met President Andrew Jackson.
Letter from John T. Jones to Mary Ann Lenoir , February 11, 18361
Jones, John T., d. 1838



Page 1

Cousin Ann I fear that my letter is so badly written that you will not without great difficulty, be able to read it,—and if I had the time, I should certainly give you a copy in a more legible hand write. You must excuse me, in some parts where I have dwelt too long on certain points that I feel must be entirely uninteresting to you.

Chapel Hill 11th Jan Feb. 1836

Cousin Ann

I am in hopes that this letter will reach you before you come to the final conclusion to blott me out from your books, and that, before you are done reading it, you will meet, with at least some sort of a half excuse, for this breach of politeness, i.e. in not answering a letter that gave me so much satisfaction in reading it.
I had thought that I would give you a pretty full account or detail of my vacation expedition; but it would be almost like telling an old tale, and in fact, I would not have space or time to do so, even if I thought that it would be interesting to you. I will at least tell you, where I spent my vacation. From Chapel Hill, I went to Raleigh and after staying with sister Caroline three days, I left for Washington, going by the way of Norfolk, and thence to Baltimore, where I remained 3 or 4 days, and spent my time quite agreeably, and visited such places as would be were new and interesting to me. I then went to Washington City, where I met with Mr Williams , and some others of the members that I am acquainted with,—and soon become acquanited with Mr Rencher and some other members from N.C. by whoom I was treated very kindly. Of course, I saw most of the distinguished men in congress, and had the pleasure of hearing many of them speak. I went with Mr Williams , and called to see the President [Andrew Jackson], whoom I found to be quite agreeable, and talkative—I was invited to his party which was to take place on Christmas eve, I accordingly went with Mr Rencher , and found several hundreds collected. The President stood in the centre of his a circular room, and received every person, that as they came in, by the hand, ladies and all, so you may know that he must have been tired of shaking hands even if they all had been ladies.

Page 2
To say that the supper and every thing else was splendid, would be useless. But to remark on the characters, that were present, I must say that as for the ladies, I never before saw so little beauty in a collection of that kind, and I must add that it was one instance of ladies making themselves appear worse by their manifest anxiety about their gewgaws, and I thought that they made a great display of their finery, without much delicacy of taste—Of how little avail is useless ornament, in making any one appear intelligent—There were present a great many officers of the army, and all of them had on their military dress coats, with their caps,—and also their swords hanging at their sides—they appeard to be the greatest gallants present, and I suppose the ladies were very well pleased at it; as that class of men are generally most pleasing to them. I, myself, as well as a majority present, amused myself by going over through the room, in the midst of the crowd, and looking at the movements of others—making myself pretty-much at my ease. Many amused themselves in waltzing—for they had a fine band of music. As regar regards the waltzing, I don't think that it will add any thing to the refinement of our North Carolina ladies, when it may become quite costomary amongst us—It is not like our good old fashion of dancing reels and gigs, which is calculated to give good wholesome exercise to the frame,—but it is a continual, whirling round and round, which must have a disagreeable effect upon the head
Well I can spare no more time in running down the amusements of the Washington ladies—It is none of my business—let every community have their itsown notions. My principal object, in my remarks, was just to let you know that I don't like them as well as our Carolina lassies—After staying in Washington 10 or 12 days, I left and went immediately on to New York. I spent 3 1/2 days there very pleasantly, and saw a great deel, that was new and interesting, although the weather was very bad part of the time. I become acquainted with several that had moved from N.C. and met with 2 or 3 old acquaintances. While there I was somewhat (if I may use the expression)—

Page 3
somewhat independent of the bad weather, as I was more agreeably situated on account, of boarding in a private family, (instead of a public house), and where there were about 20 boarders and about 10 ladies of the number, who would sometimes play on the piano, and engage in other amusements—which added considerably to my enjoyment. There were some school girls, and taking them all together I was tolerably well pleased with them—I was particularly pleased with Mrs Bryan (formerly a Miss Haywood of Raleigh) whose husband moved from N.C. to New York last fall, they were boarding until they could get a place to suit them). Mrs B. of course appeard much more like an old acquaintance than any of the other ladies, and I enjoyed her conversation very much, she still has the North Carolina characteristics
From N. York I returned to Philadelphia where I stayed 4 1/2 days and saw more than I did in New York, While in Philda also the weather was very bad, and the snow fell untill it was more than two feet deep—I did not on that account, get to see very many Quaker girls— Philadel. is a much handsomer place than N. Y. owing to the regularity of the streets, and the cleanly manner in which they are kept.
From Phil. I returned to Balte and Washington, where I stayed one day—and the then travelled down the Potomac River 60 miles passing by Mount Vernon &c. took stage fro Fredericksburgh, and Richmond, where I stayed a day, saw the Legislature in session &c.—thence to Petersburgh &c. to Raleigh. Stayed a day with sister Caro. and left her rather unwell—I have not heard from her since. Nor have I received a single line from home this session. They don't treat you so badly as that, do they cousin Ann . If you will condescend to answer my long delayed letter, remember how they have neglected me at home, and write all the news of our valley—Since cousin Julia has left them, I recon it appears right lonsome,—To2 cousin Laura particularly, as you are absent also. If a few more of our young folks should take a notion and get married, I don't know what the rest of us will do. Are you agreeably situated this session, as regards your room mates. What Western ladies, beside yourself have you in the school. How long do you expect to remain, before you go home. Are you home sick, I suppose not for you submit cheerfully to the privation of home for a certain period, in order to reap the benefits of study—(I should have said more properly) in order to sow the fruitful seeds of study. You must let me know how you spent your vacation. I have have not written wrote to your dear niece Sally since I received your letter—I suppose she has answered your letter by this time without the sckolding

Page 4
Do when you write to cousin Louisa again give her my very best love, and all the assureance that I am the same cousin John .—You were disappointed in seeing uncle Thomas and Walter this winter; what are the plans, in regard to sending him to school, at this time.
Waightstill spent the vacation in Raleigh, and had all the satisfaction of being at all of the wedding parties, of Miss Ann Iredell and at the wedding too— Moulton spent a few days in Raleigh—and the rest of his vacation he stayed here. If they knew that I was writing to you they would probably send you some word.
Well I have not given my excuse for not answering your letter no sooner before this time—but just let me inform you that it is 12 O.C. at night, and I think your generous disposition will forgive me, without putting me to the trouble, at this late hour, of trying to invent one. But seriously cousin Ann, I intended writing to you immediately after I arrived, but, for more than a week, I was unfit for writing letters, or engaging in any such mental exercise.
I hope to hear from you shortly, and that you are well,

your affectionate cousin

John T. Jones

Miss Mary Ann Lenoir

N. B. My best respects to Miss Charlotte and Miss Louisa.

Endnotes:

1. James Gwyn Papers, SHC. The letter has been folded but contains no address. Other correspondence in the James Gwyn Papers confirms that Jones is writing to "cousin" Mary Ann Lenoir (1819-99), enrolled in an academy in Pittsboro, NC.

2. Jones wrote T on top of t.