Letter from Asbury Coward to his future wife Elise, May 22, 1855


Letter from Asbury Coward to his future wife Elise, May 22, 1855


Letter from Asbury to his future wife Elise while he is at King's Mountain. He is relieved to hear of her better health and the health of his pupils. He talks about his plans to come to Charleston for vacation and the fact that he has not touched a book or played any music for over a month. He briefly mentions the new church in town and teases Elise over a rival for his affections.


A2009.6, Box 2 Folder 1


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York (S. C.)


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Yorkville May 22nd 1855

Dear Elise

I received your letter on the 19th; but being assured that you had recovered, and having much business to engage me, I deferred answering till now. That letter gave me the truest joy I have felt for some time. Perhaps I had imagined you more sick than you really were; if so, it must be attributed to the sickness with which I was surrounded. I hope by this time, all is bloom again, for I could not bear to see you pale and wan. You need not think that it will require any such artificial circumstances to render you amply interesting in my eye; on the contrary, the anxiety they would excite would deprive me of nearly all the pleasure of my visit. I will tell you before hand that I am quite thin. I have lost nine pounds since January; and will no doubt make quite a contrast with your Cousins Sam and Bill. I expect, however, to grow exceedingly fat in June, for I shall laugh all day, eating voraciously, and go to bed every night at ten. My present irregular hours do not suit me.

All of my sick boys are getting up again, and will, I suppose, be able to attend school about Thursday. I feel that a great load is taken off my shoulders; their illness worried me very much. We will fail to make the brilliant examination we had promised ourselves, in consequences of the interruption we have experienced from the disease.

Our uniforms have given us more trouble than the conduct of everything else connected with our school, and I have great fears that we will not be able to appear

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in them at our examination and exhibition. John’s coat is finished but I have not yet seen him with it on, - they will be issued to them on Friday, if completed.

I still have a presentment that I will not be able to leave Yorkville as soon as I expected. I shall lose no time on my [illegible], I assure you. Probably I will be detained in Columbia to arrange some little matter there. I charge you therefore do not fix your expectation upon any particular day; and do not be disappointed if I do not meet you next week at all. I dare not promise myself any day, for I cannot brook disappointment in this matter. Between business managements and our anxiety with regard to our examination and exhibition, our minds are very much engrossed, so much so, that I can scarcely realize the fact that I will meet you so soon. You may judge from this state of affairs that I will be well prepared to enjoy my vacation.

Do not be displeased when I tell you I have not opened a book for useful reading, for more than a month! I promise to do much better next session. I do not know that march yet, for I have not played it more than four times, including the first trial, and have not touched the violin for more than two weeks. This all happens very apropos, for my violin was left at the Citadel sadly out of order; and I know that no person has touched it since I left. Besides, my soul is [illegible] of music - hungered thoughts, which you must tax your powers to satisfy. My long fast has rendered me ravenous for good music. Tell Sis Mary, I shall lay a heavy embargo on her also. I am almost afraid to ask Sis Jane Ann, for I do not think I shall ever be forgiven for “that waddle”.

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Eight gentlemen of the town met yesterday, including Jenkins and myself, for the purpose of electing Vestry and Pastor of our new church. (The Episcopalian I mean.) It is to be called Christ Church. We elected the only one that the Bishop could recommend to us; and he does so on hearsay. His name is Gibson, and is now preaching in Savannah. The church will be a very pretty one when completed.

What did you mean by what you said with reference to your serenade. Dare you accuse me of even being enamored of Miss Lizzie? Oh you little baggage of impertinence, I know you only wish to make me compliment you: - but you will be disappointed this time. Unfortunately, I know too much of Miss Lizzie and her family. Had it been otherwise I would have no doubt have been called upon to sigh in pity for your broken heart. She is decidedly fascinating! I cannot wonder that she is so much pestered with importunate beaux. How does she manage Mr. Westendorf? If she gives him the slipper you had better advise me not to leave Yorkville before she gets another. Apropos, when is Miss Charlotte to be married? Tell her when you see her again, that I am sorry to see that she too has grown so foolish as to wish to abridge her freedom. (If you think you are very sorry for what you said about that serenade I will cease for the present.)

Give my sincerest love to mother, sisters and children, and respects to your father and Mr. Massot. John is quite well and perfectly content. Good night.

Your own

Asbury -


Coward, Asbury, 1835-1925, “Letter from Asbury Coward to his future wife Elise, May 22, 1855,” The Citadel Archives Digital Collections, accessed July 13, 2024, https://citadeldigitalarchives.omeka.net/items/show/1574.