Harrisburg Nov.[ember] 11th 1863
Nancy (3) baked the cup cake, the fruit was done at Felix's (4) and the ginger crackers and sand tarts were done by your humble servant with Marty's and Hermy's (5) attendance. If you need your new dress, send home for the money as father said you could have it whenever you wrote for it. Marty got a Balmoral (6), and a cheap mousseline-de-laine [sic] (7) dress. I wish you would tell her what to do about her hats as her summer ones look rather airy. I thought we would not be in a hurry about a good dress for her as I see woolen goods are being reduced on price. Mary Cameron (8) has been in New York and I sent with her for a suit and hat for Hermy (9). She brought him a beautiful dark blue army cloth shirt and jacket trimmed with white silk stitching that looks like braid and suit buttons, and a black velvet Scotch cap. The dress fits him to perfection, and he feels very grand when he gets them all on. He has that rash dreadfully on his back again, and is still thin though he continues to attract universal attention on the street. Don't show or read that last sentence to anyone.
Harry (10) is growing fatter, rougher and more boyish looking every day and as the same time remarkably good. He sits on the floor half the day and can walk right well with some support.
I suppose you have heard by this time of the two decided sensations we have had within the last two weeks. Ann Cattell's [sic] (11) approaching departure and Mary Silver's (12) elopement. The Cattell's expect to go in two or three weeks, Mr. C. will probably be traveling the greater part of the winter and Mrs. C. (13) will spend her time at Middletown with Mrs. Feriday (14).
Public opinion is very strong against Mary Silver as her marriage with Mr. Pomeroy (15) was fixed for the day before Thanksgiving. She had not written a line to any of her friends here, and is staying in Baltimore at present, where we hear Captain Butterworth (16) has got an appointment, and that she intends to stay until her friends send for her, which I hope they will not be foolish enough to do.
Willie Buehler (17) and his cousin and their ladies have just left here. The Buehler's have them quite a stunning party last week. About one hundred and fifty invitations and there have been quite a number of small parties for them. Mrs. Stephen A. Douglas (18) has been here visiting the Cameron's (19). She is certainly a beautiful woman. The Green's (20) who have been coming for the last six months are at Mary's mom (21), the little girls three and five years old with bows of ribbon on top of their heads- they seem to be very [?] of your set the girls left (22). Their last performance that I heard of was their distinguishing themselves throwing corn and behaving like boys generally on halloween. Parties are so scarce among them that the young gentlemen have to console themselves in one anothers companionship.
I heard of Wills Orth (23) having a partridge supper for the distressed
young men. Miss Meriman (24) has just returned from a visit to Genoa
and says she is so delightfully fixed. But I must stop in case Mr. McCormick
(25) wants to add a line, though I feel as if I had not told you half
of what I intended to. Write to me as soon as you get time and believe
me your loving sister.
1. Margaret Honey not identified.
2. Herman Alricks (Alricks Family Genealogy, p. 83)
3. Nancy, housekeeper of Herman Alricks. (Family letters Manuscript #MG466)
4. Thought to be Felix's Confectionery owned by Henry Felix at 10 Market Street. (Harrisburg Business Directory 1863, p 154)
5. Martha Alricks and Herman McCormick (Alricks Family Genealogy, p. 83 and Cameron/McCormick Genealogy Chart)
6. A Balmoral is a tartan plaid cloak, short and hooded.
7. Mousseline-de-laine is a woolen/cotton fabric used for dresses.
8. Mary McCormick, sister of James McCormick and wife of J. Donald Cameron. (Cameron/McCormick Genealogy Chart)
9. Infant son of Mary and James McCormick who does not survive infancy. (Ibid)
10. Henry McCormick, infant son of Mary and James McCormick born in 1862. (Ibid)
11. Thought to be the wife of Rev. William Cattel of N. Front and Pine Street. (Harrisburg Business Directory 1863, p. 141)
12. Mary Silver is believed to be the daughter of Jacob Silver, occupation unknown, who lived opposite George Buehler on Front Street. (April 14, 1864 letter of Mary McCormick to Clara in Manuscript #MG466)
13. Mr. C. and Mrs. C are believed to be the Rev. and Mrs. Cattel.
14. Mrs. Feriday not identified.
15. Thought to be Theodore G. Pomeroy, of O. Barret &Company. He resided at the Brady house and was co-publisher of the Patriot Union, located at 15 Third Street. (Harrisburg Business Directory 1863, p. 198)
16. Capt. Butterworth is thought to be related to the Butterworth family residing at Aunt Lizzie, a sister of Mary Elder Alricks. (Family letters in Manuscript #MG466
17. William George Buehler, son of William Old Buehler, uncle of James of McCormick who lived at Front and Locust Street. (Harrisburg Business Directory 1863, p. 139)
18. Mrs. Stephen A. Douglas was the former Adele Cutts. She was the second wife of Stephin A. Douglas, the daughter of J. Madison Cutts of Washington and great niece of Dolly Madison. Stephen A. Douglas was Senator from Illinois and was heavily involved in slavery debates until his death in 1861. (Directory of American Biography, p. 401)
19. Sen. J. Donald Cameron and Mary McCormick, sister of James McCormick. (Cameron/McCormick Genealogy Chart)
20. The Greens not identified.
21. Mary's mom not identified.
22. This sentence is confusing and may have had more meaning for Clara than for us today.
23. May refer to J. Wilson Orth, son of Martha Cummins Kerr and Dr. Edward L. Orth of N. Front and Cranberry Alley. (Harrisburg Business Directory 1863, p. 195)
24. Mrs. Meriman not identified.
25. Husband James.
26. A.W.A. are the maiden name initials of Mary Wilson Alricks. I find it very odd that she would have used these initials after being married to James McCormick and producing at least three children by 1863.
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