Tuesday, August 25, 2015

May 1868 letter from B. F. Tisdale to Belle

B. F. Tisdale letter, belle.tisdale.blogspot.com


Original, 7 3/4” x 12” paper with faint blue lines, handwritten in ink on one side by B. F. Tisdale to his daughter Belle Tisdale, good condition, original in possession of Vera Booksh Zimmerman, transcribed exactly as written.

   New Orleans   May 5" 1868

My Dear Daughter
I am in receipt of Your letter of the 25” of April and it gave much pleasure. I dearly love to hear from You all: and When Your letters tell Me that all are Well I rejoice. I am of Course glad to hear of Your recovery. I Will treasure the lock of hair You Sent Me both for Your Sake and for his Sake from Whose little Sweet head it was taken. In the bundle by the Iberville Friday I Will Send a line for Mary and a Cork for You and Some hooks.
You object to My addressing You as Arabella Maria. Well I Will not do So, but the reason I have done So is, that the Names are associated With pleasant Memories and Sad ones too. Maria Was the Name of a favorite Sister Now dead and gone, one of the Most lovable Women I ever Knew. And “Arabella” Was a pet Name I gave Your Mother in the days that are gone - the days When She loved Me – in the days When I Was happy, and the Future promised No Such Sorrows as I have Met with Since. Their Names are dear to My heart and it Was I who gave them to You. But I Can Keep them to myself now – and perhaps it is Meet that I Should do So – for are they Not like Names upon Graves Showing Where Something We loved lies buried.
Good bye My Daughter, love and Kisses to all. Mr. Pickham & Winnie have Concluded to leave today for Mobile. Winnies health is not good. Pollys eldest child, Maria is With them. She is Sweet and pretty & good.
God bless You My Dear Daughter – Write to me as often as You Can. It cheers Me up some.

Your loving Father           B. F. Tisdale


B. F. Tisdale sounds depressed in this letter to Belle on May 5, 1868. The economic situation in New Orleans was still very unsettled which probably contributed to his mood. He mentions the lock of hair that Belle sent, most probably from her little brother Robert Rafael Tisdale. His gift of a line, a cork and hooks will enable the girls to go fishing in the Amite River and supplement the family's food.

In the paragraph about Belle's name, Benjamin Franklin Tisdale refers to his sister Maria who is “Now dead and gone.” This would be his half sister, Ann Maria, daughter of Nathan Tisdale and his first wife, Mary Bryan, of New Bern, North Carolina. According to family tradition Ann Maria and Arabella Maria's middle name was pronounced Ma RYE ah, and was sometimes spelled Mariah.

B. F. Tisdale remarks wistfully that Arabella was his pet name for Eliza “in the days that are gone – the days when she loved me...” Eliza must have still loved him though because two more children were yet to be born, Marion Eugene in 1871 and Charles Harry in 1874.

B. F. Tisdale's half-sister Ann Maria was born 29 December 1802. Her mother died just before she reached the age of one and her father, Nathan Tisdale, remarried on 4 August 1804 before she was two. Nathan's second wife was Mary “Polly” Wade. B. F. Tisdale was their eighth child and was born 19 March 1823. He was named for the famous Benjamin Franklin, his great great grandmother's first cousin.

The Nathan Tisdale family moved from North Carolina to Alabama about 1830 when Benjamin Franklin Tisdale was seven years old. Though some of Nathan's adult children from his first marriage joined the family in the move to a new state, Ann Maria and her husband Stephen B. Forbes did not move to Alabama with the family. Both are buried in the Cedar Grove Cemetery in New Bern, North Carolina. Nathan purchased a small plantation on the Tombigbee River in Alabama to which he travelled [sic] by caravan with a lot of other families." (From a letter by Mrs. Nancy Lee Tisdale Lawson) Many people were leaving New Bern around this time because of the silting in of the approach to the harbor.

B. F. Tisdale's Family


B. F. Tisdale's father, Nathan Tisdale was born about 1766 in New Bern, Craven County, North Carolina. He became a silversmith like his father William Tisdale. By his first marriage to Mary Bryan he had eight children, four of whom lived to adulthood:

William Tisdale, born 30 January 1791 in New Bern, North Carolina
     married Sarah Jane Haddock in 1817
     died 12 December 1861 in Canton, Mississippi
Nancy Tisdale, born 1792, died 1793
James Cutting Tisdale, born 1794, died 1795
Hannah C. Tisdale, born 1796
     married James M. Smith on 12 April 1836 in Mobile, Alabama
Elizabeth Tisdale, born 1798
     married Jacob Gooding
     died 1862
John Tisdale, born 1800, died 1805 in New Bern, North Carolina
Ann Mariah Tisdale, born 29 December 1802 in New Bern, North Carolina
     married Stephen B. Forbes, March 1823 in New Bern, North Carolina
     died 11 October 1855, New Bern, North Carolina
Thomas Bryan Tisdale, born 1803, died, 1804 in New Bern, North Carolina

After Nathan's first wife died on 23 November 1803, he married Mary “Polly” Wade on 4 Aug 1804. They had nine children, five of whom lived to adulthood:

Charlotte Wade Tisdale, born 1806, died 1811 in New Bern, North Carolina
Joseph Wade Tisdale, born 4 May 1808, in New Bern, North Carolina
     married Mary Amelia Wilson on 4 March 1830 in Edgefield, South Carolina
     died 4 May 1848 in Covington, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana.
Mary Eliza Tisdale, born 1810 in New Bern, North Carolina
     married Jacob Magee on 4 December 1834 in Mobile, Alabama
     died 21 September 1882 in Kushla, Mobile County, Alabama
Hannah T. Tisdale, born 1812
Sarah Tisdale, born 1813, died 1813
Twins Tisdale, born 1815, died 1815
Nathan O. J. Tisdale, born 1816 in New Bern, North Carolina
     married Maria Louisa McCrae, 29 September 1838 in Mobile, Alabama
     married Rosa Roux, 31 July 1851 in New Orleans, Louisiana
     died 31 Jul 1870 in New Orleans, Louisiana
Benjamin Franklin Tisdale, born 19 March 1823 in New Bern, Craven County, North Carolina
     married Maria M. Pike, 25 August 1846 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
     married Eliza Helen Pratt, 29 July 1851 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
     died 16 June 1876 in Kushla, Mobile County, Alabama
John B. Tisdale, born c1825 in New Bern, North Carolina
     married Virginia M. Read, 15 February 1849 in Mobile, Alabama
     died between 1880 and 1887

Nathan Tisdale died 20 September 1839 in Mobile, Alabama. His wife, Mary "Polly" Wade died the next month in October 1839. Both are buried in Whistler, Alabama.
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