Saturday, November 25, 2017

Letter from Robert Tisdale to his mother 1875

On November 18, 1875 Belle's little brother Robert wrote a letter to their mother, Eliza Pratt Tisdale. He was 9 years old and staying with his aunt Frances Pratt Anthoine and her husband Henry. He is just learning to write with a dip pen and does a very good job.

Letter from Robert Raphael Tisdale to his mother Eliza Helen Pratt dated November 18, 1875 with note on reverse by Henry Anthoine, husband of Francis Pratt.
Copy of 8” x 6 1/2” page of stationery written in ink on both sides, email from Peter Tisdale. Location of original unknown. Transcribed exactly as written.

His Uncle Henry adds a note on the back of the sheet:

Page 1
Printed letterhead with drawing of fruits and nuts
Office of Tramontana & Co.
Wholesale Dealers and Importers of
Nos. 7 & 11 Front and 10 & 14 Fulton Sts.,

New Orleans, November 18th 1875
Dear Mama
I have just received your letter and was very glad to get it, Aunt France Uncle Henry and I went to the Circus last night, I saw all the Animals, there was five Elephants, one Dromedry, Lions, Tigers, Hyenes, and a grat meney other Animals, there was also two little Boys onli five years age acted on the Trapeze injoyed [crossed out] I enjoyed it all vey much, and wish you was heare to see it too. I cant tell you all I saw, but it was all beautiful.
Uncle henry b [crossed out] Henry bought me a new Coat and Hat for Sundays, he is also teaching me how to write, and I hope next time I write to do better than this time,
Kiss Lee, Marion and Harry for me, and write soon a gain, give my love to Willie,
I remain your loving Son
Robert R. Tisdale
Page 2

My dear Sister-in Law
I take pleasure to hand you a specimen, or rather an essay of your son's ability in penmanship. This is the first number of the edition, and of course can't be expected much; though he has been going to school for some time.
I am confident , his present teacher will do better. He is the uncle of your son and you will confer a good favor to him (the teacher) by calling him so; at least, when you speak to Robert, as he recognise me, as Uncle Henry, not Mr. Henry. ___
Between us however you can continue to call me any thing you choose, I am indifferent. ___
Hoping this may find you all well
I am yours respectfully
Henry Anthoine

Henry Anthoine c 1870

It's hard to tell from his note whether Henry was trying to be humorous or sarcastic. From this carte de visite of the dapper Mr. Anthoine it looks like it might be either. The photo was taken in Trieste, not far from Venice, Italy, perhaps in 1873 when he applied for a passport.


About Henry Anthoine

Henry was born July 12, 1835 in Venice, Italy, according to  his 1873 passport application. He arrived in the United States in 1855. He first appears in relation to the Pratt family in February 1867 when he signs as a witness to the marriage of Kate McCaughey and T. H. Durr. She was the daughter of Frances Pratt and the deceased William McCaughhey. That same year Henry is listed in the New Orleans City Directory as a clerk at 333 Conti Street. In 1868 he is naturalized as a citizen of the U. S. 

In the 1870 census he is listed as a bookkeeper in Ward 3 of New Orleans with wife Francis Antoine and her daughter Kate McCoy, a seamstress. 

In the 1880 census Henry, Francis and Kate, now a widow, are living at 249 Treme Street. He is a Bookkeeper, according to the 1879 City Directory, for S. Oteri & Bro. In the 1890 City Directory Henry is a bookkeeper for Abramovich Brothers & Patrovich.

I can't find Henry in the 1900 Census, but Frances is listed as Francis McCoy at 1028 St. Andrew Street, New Orleans, in the home of her daughter Kate McCoy, a trained nurse, and Kate's 18 year old daughter Olive McCoy. Both Frances and Kate are listed as widows. I do find Henry Anthoine in the 1891, 1902 and 1903 City Directories so I don't think he was dead in 1900.  Frances died 14 September 1903.

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