Sunday, January 31, 2016

Photo of the Week: Joseph Throckmorton Sr. Letter (1862)

Joseph Throckmorton Sr. [1]
(By Candice Buchanan, Greene Connections Archivist)

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: On August 2, 1862, Joseph Throckmorton Sr., age 77, sat down to write a letter to his second wife, Laura (Peck) (Gilbert) Throckmorton, age 63. Laura was at home on their farm in Morrow County, Ohio, to which the envelope is addressed, while Joseph was visiting his family in Waynesburg, Greene County, Pennsylvania, from where the letter was written. The envelope itself is postmarked in nearby Harvey's, Pennsylvania, a post office in Center Township, Greene County, on September 7.

Joseph's letter - page 1
Unique documents such as this letter, family Bibles, diaries, and more are being scanned along with photographs for preservation and access as a part of the Greene Connections: Greene County, Pennsylvania, Archives Project. You can view shortcuts to those that have been posted so far on the Documents tab.

Rare documents like this letter are treasures that hold a variety of precious gems for family and local history. Most obviously, Joseph's letter mentions the death of his niece Catherine (Throckmorton) Cole and her children, and also notes several of the adult children by the first marriages of both he and his current wife, Laura. Locally relevant, is a single line about the formation of a company preparing to leave Waynesburg for the Civil War, as well as an infestation affecting the crops. To the many descendants of Joseph, though, the most impacting aspect of this letter will no doubt be the opportunity to know his time and place, and practically hear his voice, for these few moments on August 2, 1862.

Joseph's letter - pages 2 and 3
Joseph's letter - page 4
Joseph's handwriting, word choices, grammar, subject selection, and endearments to his wife, all give us a small glimpse into his personality and mannerisms in a way that the cold vital records we so dutifully collect never can. Documents like this are uncommon finds and should be scoured for every detail they reveal. This letter has been transcribed for ease of reading, but if you do not also study the handwritten pages you will miss out. My favorite little insight is on the bottom of the last page, when Joseph is affectionately signing off and inadvertently misspells his wife's name. He scribbles out his error to write a corrected version. This notable fix stands out among other misspellings he left alone. He was dutiful about how Laura's name was to be written.

Before leaving you to read Joseph's message, I will end by noting that this recent acquisition was obtained via eBay auction, fortunately seen and able to be obtained for Joseph's descendants and is now in the custody of Glenn Toothman, Joseph's third-great-grandson. Recently, an incredible photo album shared for this family was found at a flea market (see the VanCleve-Throckmorton Album). Keep an eye out for your ancestors' priceless heirlooms, they could be anywhere waiting to be found!

Joseph and his family are being gradually added to the Greene Connections Tree on Ancestry, view Joseph's profile to see his obituary and more. If you would like an invitation so that you can view the tree for free email

Joseph's letter - envelope with Harvey's Pa. postmark
Joseph's Letter [2]

"Waynesburg Green[e] Co Pa

August 2, 1862

Dear wife

I take the presen[t] / opportunity to let you [know] that I / received yours the 23 July / and am glad to hear from / you that you are well as / common, as for my self I / am not very well I am / very weak and have fell / away very much in flesh / I wrote a letter to John that / if he would come in in the / turn of 2 or 3 weeks I would go / home with him Daniel & Joseph / has so much to do & it will / be so late before they are done / harvesting or one of them would / come home with me, pleas[e] let / me know on what condition you / get the hay cut & who done it // as I wrote to John to / consult you & to get some / one to cut it & I would pay / for it[.] 

I wish you would get some / one to cut that wood if / you can if Jack won't do it / & I will pay for it.

I wish you would let me / know how the mare looks / & if they tended the corn / with her[.] I would like to / know how the hogs is doing / and if they have growed / much[.] There is a great / many little things that I / would like to know a / bout, but I cannot mention / them in / a short let[t]er you will / pleas[e] let me know in your next / anything that would be interesting / to me // as I think a great / deal about you & home[.] / you wished to know / which one of James['] Daughter[s] / it was that died it was / Catharine, Cole[']s Wife[.] She / lost all four of her children / & dyed [sic] her self.***

Those lice you speak of / has ruined the oats in / this county and I think / they hurt / some of the wh / eat all though jenerally [sic] / the wheat is good / they call them abolition / lice here[.]

They are listing men / here for nine months / There is a company make / ing in town & will soon / be full. The children is / all well so far as I know[.] //

I conclud[e] with / my respects to John / & family Needles & / family and all that / may enquire after / me[.]

give my respects to / Mary Dill[.]

let me know in your / next if Whiteley is at / home. Tell Mary Elen / not to let it bee too long before she writes / that letter[.]

So now I conclude with / my sincere love to you / my Dear wife

This from your husband

Joseph Throckmorton to his / wife Laura Throckmorton"

***Catherine Throckmorton was the daughter of James Robinson Throckmorton, Joseph's brother. She was married to John W. Cole. is a free local history archival project. Sponsored by LOLA Energy.

[1] Frances Grimes Sitherwood, Throckmorton Family History: Being the Record of the Throckmortons in the United States of America with Cognate Branches (Bloomington, Illinois: Pantagraph Printing & Stationary Co., 1929), 169, photograph of Joseph Throckmorton [1785-1881] - son of Job Throckmorton & Mary Robinson.

[2] Joseph Throckmorton, (Waynesburg, Greene County, Pennsylvania) to Laura Throckmorton, his wife (Sparta post office, Morrow County, Ohio), letter, 2 August 1862; Glenn Jacob Roy Thornton Toothman III Collection, privately held by Glenn Jacob Roy Thornton Toothman III, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, 2016. Glenn received the original letter intact with its envelope after it was purchased via eBay auction. Joseph was visiting Waynesburg and writing the letter to his second wife, Laura (Peck) (Gilbert) Throckmorton, at their home in Ohio. Owned and shared with the Greene Connections: Greene County, Pennsylvania Archives Project in 2016 by Glenn Jacob Roy Thornton Toothman III - son of Glenn Jacob Roy Thornton Toothman Jr. & Katherine Jane Throckmorton.

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