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Letter dated September 9, 1871 from Kate Tisdale to Belle [Tisdale], written in pencil on 8” x 10” paper with black border, folded to make 4 pages, good condition. Original in possession of writer. Transcribed exactly as written.
Mobile Sept. 19th 1871
My Dear Belle,
I know when you will see this letter you will say, “The mean witch has at last written to me.” In the first place I want you to excuse my writing with lead-pencil but my ink is so light & I am too lazy to hunt for more. at any rate I am going to do away with all ceremony with you, because you know we understand each other perfectly do we not? Richard has been here but he is now in N. O. we had a pleasant time while he was here.
Belle you are very foolish I must say to go & fall in love with Mr. P. it shows you to be very unwomanlike & with very little pride to turn round & love a man when
you have already refused him. Try to conquer that love for it bodes no good to you. I could whisper two small items in your ear that would turn your love to dislike & well as repugnance! I will tell them to you when you come over next winter, but enough of Mr. P. let us turn to pleasanter things. 1- We have got a house a very nice one & on a pleasant street. 2 - I made the acquaintance of three more beaux, very nice gentlemen to flirt & have fun and you know Belle you like those kind as well as I do, (so does quiet Marie & Mary, between you & I) I hope you still think of coming over next winter – do you not? We will have so much fun to gether – Maman has already succeeded in getting some boarders amongst them are Mr. John Touart Mr. Guiner a Mr. Nevil
who is a very pleasant young man. Last night Joe, John Touart & a Mr. Gwin spent the evening here. we played Poker until half past twelve (we commenced at half past eight) You know when we play Poker we use corn to count our stakes with, - towards eleven o'clock we commenced to cheat and the fine time we had was a caution; just as Mr. Gwin was getting up from the table to go he pick up nearly a hand-ful of corn & threw it in my face then you may be sure we all joined in, & the way the floor of the parlor was streewn with corn and the way I had to pick it up next morning was extraordinary dont you think that was pretty behavior for grown up people? But I know you would participate in it with as much zest as I do. Let me know about what time you will leave Baton Rouge
for N. O. so I count about how many weeks it will be before I will see you and Mary. Marie received Mary's letter and will answer it soon give her my love & kisses You must excuse this badly written as well as badly composed letter, but I have sore throat head ache and growing pains that is a catalogue is it not, Belle. I have got something to tell you very private - I have not even told it to Marie. I will tell you when I see you not before. I do not not like to trust to paper But I must stop- All send love & kisses.
mine Au revoir
More about Kate
As mentioned in my August 5, 2016 blog post, Catharina Margaretha “Kate” Tisdale was born 19 January 1853 in New Orleans, Louisiana, daughter of Bellle's uncle Nathan O. J. Tisdale and his second wife, Rosa Pailhes Roux.
This letter tells us that Kate has evidently made up with Richard, mentioned in her previous letter, and he has recently visited her in Mobile. Kate chides her cousin for falling in love with Mr. P. We know that romance failed, perhaps because of whatever Kate whispered in Belle's ear, because Belle married Samuel Booksh in April 1878.
Kate mentions that her mother has recently taken in several boarders. “Amongst them are Mr. John Touart...” who participated in the rowdy poker game. This is interesting because in 1881 Kate married widower Louis Eugene Touart (1835-1904), who was 17 years her senior. John may have been a relative.
On the 1900 census Louis and Kate are living in Napoleonville, Mobile County, Alabama, with five of their children, Kate, Hinton, Anthony J., Clarence N., and Rupert G., and Louis's nephew Joseph. Kate is the mother of 8 children, 7 of them still living. Louis also had four children with his first wife, Isabella Bobe. One daughter was named Emma Layet Touart, so there may have been a connection to George Layet's family.
Louis died 23 January 1904 and is buried in Mobile's Magnolia Cemetery. On the 1910 census their son Max D. Touart, age 24, Doctor of Medicine, is listed as living with widowed Kate and Hinton, Anthony, Clarence, and Rupert. Son Tisdale J. Touart, age 27, Attorney at Law, lives nearby.
In 1920 Kate is listed along with her half-sister Marie, as Lodgers with the Leslie Bride Sheldon family in Mobile. Kate lived until November 5, 1935 and is also buried in Mobile's Magnolia Cemetery. (See my August 5, 2016 blog post for a photo of Kate Tisdale.)