Letters From Henry to Miss Mattie

Contributed: January 2007

Submitted by Barbara Tynes Claiborne

Contributed by Louise Williams, found in a trunk of her grandmother Carrie Tynes Wright who was the first child of Henry and Mattie Rogers Tynes. (spelling is Henry’s)

Booneville Miss          
Jan "2" 1872 Dec "31” 1871

Miss Mattie
                    Your sweet little note so long looked for came to hand this evening. I am indeed sorry to know that you think me inconstant. Have never failed to write at the proper time since our correspondence commenced untill last week and then I wrote anyway, yet I knew you would not get the letter untill Friday.
          Miss Mattie you have no reason to think that I am not ever thoughtful of you. Have I not proved by actions that I almost worship you, have never thought of loving any one else since I met you. Since it seams that you have no reason to think me devoid of the feeling for you that I profess to have it must be that you do not like me as you ought. Still I will not accuse you of practicing such hypocracy with me as to profess to love and then not to.
          Hope you will have a good time with your sweetheart. Though tell him not to call to often. Guess you felt considerably fatigued after keeping such late hours at night, have not entirely recovered from dancing and sitting up yet. We intend having a party tomorrow night, but it is raining now, and if it continues we cannot have the party, which will suit me for I do not want to go.


(note: this letter is severely blotched and barely readable, words are missing)

Booneville Miss          
April 1" 1872

My Dearest Mattie
                    In the way of vanity I will send you an April Fool, though I guess you will know the handwriting at a glance. It is your letter to ___ that I have reference to ___ Wright. I sent him a nice little note requesting him to call and see me, that I had some particular business concerning him and after a few minutes he knocked at the door. After I was confirmed that we would not be interrupted by any of the young gentlemen who frequently call to see me, in order to tell their jokes, talk of bygone days and air sweethearts. So it was late at night before I broached the subject to Robert, commenced by asking him to let me see your letter again. That I did not thourily understand it yesterday as I was in such a hurry. He soon got the letter out of his pocket and handed it to me to read. After reading it I told him to give it to me and I would show it to you and find out the causes at the same time. I ought to have known better. The causes are plainly set before me in the letter.
          We talked a long time about it then. He told me some other things which I will tell you when I go out, though I know it is not true. I have not paid any attention to it and will not until I see you though it is nothing that you should have said but some one else. Also a letter wrote you about me, it will not make any difference no way for I know at least I believe you will like me regardless of other peoples opinions. Now do not mention anything that is in this letter for my sake. And it is for your sake that I have written it. I thought Bob would show your letter, which I know he would do even though it was a regular sell on him at the same time. He thinks it an honor to receive a letter from you whether favorable or not. Write me Friday. As thine, your

Henry Tynes


Booneville Miss     
April "29" 1872

Miss Mattie Rogers
          Dearest Mattie
                    You must excuse me for not complying with my promise of last week.
                    My Brother was very sick. Some better today and if he improves fast I will be out one day this week. This appology I hope will be satisfactory. Have not received any letters from you in two weeks. Guess you have not had an opportunity to write or else you are sick. Hope it is not the latter. We had considerable amusement in town last week. Two slight of hand shows and the Orphans of Laudadale Springs Miss gave a concert Friday night. Besides we had a Party Thursday night.
          Suppose there is to be a May Party at Corinth 1st of May and a Ball at night. I would like to attend but circumstances are such that I can't leave. Robert Holly said he saw you in Jacinta Sunday two weeks ago, though said he never spoke to you. Circuit Court was in session last week. Condemned one negro, found him guilty of murder. The Jury sentanced him to the Penitenciary for life time. And yesterday the Jailer left home and the negro got out, so he has gone. I guess for good. I do not know of any thing interesting to write. Therefore please excuse brief letter. You must not be mad because I have not gone out, for I will come soon.

Your own,     


Booneville Miss     
May "29" 1872

My Darling Mattie,
                    I am afraid this letter will not reach you this week. would have written Monday, but thought I would have represented myself then in person ere this time. Had my Buggy and horse ready for the trip and Oh how anxious I was to be off, when Mrs. Carter sent a note to the store stateing that her child was dangerouslly ill. And Mr. Carter had to attend to it, leaving no one here with me. Consequently all my joyous hopes and anticipated pleasures were soundly blasted. The child is yet very sick, and but little chance for it to recover. I will still be bouyant and not dispond, hoping that disappointment and misfortune will not always be my fate, but that the coming years may bless me with the gorgeous pleasure of being with you all the time. And the noblest boon that heaven could bestow upon me, (is to give thee to me) this one I love, prize and idolize! None other can ever fill the place in my affections that you occupy.
          No news of importance. Great many people were here last Saturday and Sunday to attend the meeting. Some say they would have numbered 12 or fifteen hundred. The Bishop preached in the morning, think he is the best preacher that I ever listened to in my life. Believe every one likes him.
          Had a death in town about ten minutes ago. A young man by the name of Martin. The cars run over him last Friday, cutting off one of hes legs, at least mangleing it so badly that the Dr. had to cut it off. I am very sorry for him and expecially his Mother. She fainted when she first saw him. He was a very stout robust man and his death being so sudden and was caused by being careless and unthoughted makes it grieve her more than if he had have died a natural death. And she says she always have beged him to quit Rail Roading.
          Give my regards to your Pa & Ma, also Hugh, Mollie & Lee. Guess Maggie is at Jacinto, therefore you can send her word about it. Write me when you can, for I will not promise when I am going any more, for I am fooled so often.

Good by                         
Forever your's Henry


Booneville Miss     
June "22" 1872

Miss Mattie Rogers
          Darling Mattie
                    Your kind favor of recent date was read by me this morning. Believe I prized it more highly than all the letters that you ever written me. It was so different to what I expected, though I guess you will think that I ought to have responded with greater appreciation than I represented above. But circumstances made it impracticable. I went to Marietta Monday thinking probably I might find out something about the forged letter. I did not return until yesterday eve.
          My trip was a complete failure, returned in disgust no wiser than when
I left. Many many thoughts have flitted through my brain since the time I received your letter accompanied by one with my name to it. The punishments that I planned to heep upon the Perpetrator are so wicked that I will not mention it. The most severe punishment is too good for him.
         I would like to know who it is that you suspicion with the act, for I have not got the remotest idea who did it. Will be over soon and have you tell me your notions about it. You have no idea how bad it hurt your Darlings feeling when you intimated that he wrote the letter, though you satisfied me about it the last time. They can not make us dislike each other, can they? No, I will never cease loving you untill you tell me when we are face to face, and I know that you did say so. Neither must you ever become fretted at any thing unless you know for certain. People are very low - minded and ____will stoop to any thing. They might tell you things that I should have said and again they might tell you things about me, and if you love me please do not notice the reports of maddam rumor. You will some day know that I have always told you the truth and it never has been my notion to deceive you. And for my sake don't never think about such any more. Tell me you will not in your next letter. Darling you know I love you better than any thing in all the world because I never was constant to any lady before in my life. Remember my promise and do not never be mad with me any more. Good by untill I see you my dear Mattie,

Your Henry


Booneville Miss     
July “22” 1872

My own Darling Mattie,
                    I arrived in town safe, though very much fatigued the way I thought Besides my horse was an awful ruff traveler. How is little Lee? I am almost afraid to ask the question though I hope he is better and will be fast improving “ere” this reaches you. You must not think hard of me for comeing away when I did. I saw there was plenty of company. Moreover I could not do any good and my presence here was needed very much, really do not know what I would have done had I not got here when I did. No nurse in town, smallpox all died out. The Negro woman that had it is dead. Believe I told you about the old Negro man being dead.
          Darling excuse me this time. Mr. Carter has gone out to a burial, no one here but me. Good by, forever

Thy faithful, Henry

P.S. Write me a long letter and I will commence in time the next letter that I write you. Write me exactly your feelings in regard to me. You know mine.

Booneville, Miss          
August 19th, 1872

Miss Mattie Rogers,
          Darling Mattie,
                    I was not favored with a letter from you last night, and for some cause I know not what I had rather receive a letter from you more than at any time since our correspondence; I will still hope that it may come tonight. We had a Picnic Saturday 5 miles south west of the Wm. M. Bounters. Miss Mamie Bramlet and Misses Shinault were the instigators of the affair. They sent us all cards Friday, or at least such as they wanted to attend the Picnic. The Miss Kitchridges from Louisiana were there. They are up as a visit to see their sister. Had with them their Croqua balls. And the fun of it was those on the grounds did not know how to play, and they had a gay time learning. I made it convenient to address myself most all of the time to one of the Miss Kitchridges and by so doing did not have much trouble in learning how to play. They are very lively, and seemed to enjoy the Picnic finely. I am going out in the morning after one of them to come to preaching. We have a protracted meeting here, don't think it will close this summer. My reason for going after her is because they are the F. F. Louisianna, and I know some
parties here will dislike it so much because they think I ought not to notice any one else but them. Tell me if you can come up next week or week after next. If so I will go prepared to bring you with me. I am going out to see you about that time if not providentially hindered.
          Darling, I received a letter from brother Lucius this evening, told me more things that the Misses Gaines have said about me ...their elucidation of the before. Goodness knows if they was to tell you what he wrote to me and if you was to believe it, I know you would never speak to me again, and I would not blame you; however we will not notice them any more and if she does speak to you disrespectful of me, you will do me a favor not to listen at it. For I know I would not allow any person to say ought against you in my presence. And it is probable that she may say something judging from what Lucius wrote. He also stated that Dr. Kirk's little girl died Saturday evening; she was a sweet child and was my favorite of all my nieces; I could not go to see her and I regret it very much.
The bell is now ringing for preaching tonight, can see the young ladies returning from their evening walks and they look very sanctimonious. Believe if the meeting continues this week that all of them will profess religion. I went last night and feel too sleepy to go again tonight.- wish I could see you, know I would not be sleepy. More Saturday -

Good night,     


Booneville, Miss     
Sept 2, 1872

My Darling,

                    I wrote you a letter last night, but I read your sweet letter over again a few minutes ago which causes me to write you this one: Darling I know you are superior and the best lady in the world and if you will forgive me never again will I do anything to trouble you. Some things Darling have occured with me that makes me sick even to think of it.
          Ma was sick when I got home, and she had heard I guess the same that you have about me. She kissed me and cried nearly all night and I could not get her to tell me what was the cause of it untill next morning. She then told me all about it. When I left Ma kissed me several times and said she would forgive me, at the same time begging me never do so any more, for she said she loved me better than any one on earth, that I was her favorite child and for her sake never act in that way again. Now Darling, my Ma who loves me dearly said she would forgive me and you must also and I know you will if you love me as she does, and I believe you do.
          Darling, great many things are false I know that you have heard. Still some of it is correct, and I regret it more than you do, or any one else. Young people are liable to be contaminated and be carried away from all that is good and pure, and never return again to the faith of honor, righteousness and duty, but Darling I am glad to know that I am possessed with enough self esteem and self confidence to quit any thing regardless of the habit or attachment that I may have for the indulgeance that I might become a victim. Yes Darling, I love you and for that reason there is reformation for me. I will from this time forward live to honor and love you darling. I admire your frankness with me, still I always knew you was conciencious and frank about every thing, and for that reason and great many other qualities which you are possessed with, that I admire and cannot find in but a few caused me to first love you. I have Darling been with and associated with great many ladies in my life, which you know to be a fact, therefore this experience that I have, however I am quite young, teaches me that you are more perfect, more graceful and elegant than any lady that I ever met. Yes you are the ideal of my affections, the image that I pictured and painted in my memory when a boy and I know you are mine. And all the combined flowers of earth can not take you from me. Darling let who may talk to you of me, but they can't hurt me; for I have too much energy and can out live all such insults, and the very ones that speak the most bitter language of me are the most ready to speak sweet words and profess friendship when in my presence. There will be a time when they will regret what some of them have done.
          I know I do not harm anyone, either by words or actions, and why should they busy themselves about me so much. Now Darling write to me exactly what you think about the affair and you need not disguise any thing about it. I will not think hard of you, makes no difference what you write. I will wait untill I hear from you before I come. Write soon and a long letter. Good bye

Your faithful.     

P.S. We have Methodist meeting going on here. Believe all the young men are morners some of them professed, I hear them shouting now.


Booneville Miss     
Sept _ 1872

Miss Mattie Rogers
          My Darling Mattie
                     I thank you for your Goodness and Kindness to me. Darling I love you a thousand times better than I ever did. Yes, the combined intelligence of earth could not assess the devotion, the affection and quality of feelings that fill my heart for you. Your Sweet letter, though brief, meant as much as the dozen __(unreadable)__ gives me pleasure every time.
          I feel too unworthy of you. But I hope through your goodness that I may be made good, and I hope that I may live to honor and love you. Darling I love you. Yes more than I can tell and more than you will ever know.
          Daniel Wright was here Saturday. He and I had a long conversation. Daniel is a good man, besides a good friend of yours as well as mine.
           I suppose John Owens thought through his _(unreadable)_____ supplication__ would correct___. When I went to the morners bench he came to me and said something. I do not know what but I did not give him as much attention as I would one of Hugh’s hound dogs. He got mad with me last Spring about Miss Fannie Patrick and kept talking about me untill I stopped him. And he is still mad because Miss Fannie will not allow him to visit her, says I am the cause of it, when I never had nothing more to do with his & Miss Fannie’s business than some one’s that I never saw. He knows that I do not associate with him and his sort, and he does not like me for it. I know that I am better than John Owens and ever expect to remain so. Really I do not notice him at all, since he has acted so mean with me. It is like Miss Ida Norwood said, I am to good for John Owens to talk about if I do not always do right. I went up other camp meeting yesterday. Had a fine time. Eight of us went in a hack, and the horses would run down hill and scare the young ladies, and some of them would laugh and hollow. The meeting broke last night, but our meeting here is still going on, and not much telling when it will close. I will be over soon, Good by, Your own Henry

Booneville Miss          
Nov “12” 1872

My Darling Mattie,
                    I will write you a short note tonight, though I do not think you will receive it this week. I went down home yesterday morning. Started at day light and did not have time to write.
          I found my Ma considerable better than when I saw her last. Hope she will yet get over her sickness. She is willing that you and I to take our Memphis trip still she said. She would send for Sister Mattie and give us an infair* if I desired it. But I think too much of her to impose on her good nature. Sister Mattie would attend to it for her, but the doctors advise me as not to have any excitement whatever during her sickness. Darling I heard you arrived at home safe. Saw Mr. Tipton as he was going on to Texas and he informed me.
          Hope you will be ready on the 17th of December, believe that was the time you requested for our marriage. Make Mrs. Mitchel wait and go with us. She is such a good lady, and will be so much company for you. Tell her that I want her to remain untill we go. Darling, I anticipate a pleasant and happy trip. Certainly it will be pleasant to me as I will be with my Darling, the only one in this world that I love as I do myself. Hope you do not have any doubts on this subject now, for I have proved what I have always expressed.
          Business is very pressing at present and I will not have time to go over to see you but once more. Therefore you must not expect it. Will let you know when I will be over in my next letter.
          How is Howtower & Miss Belle getting along? Tell them to talk fast and get married soon. Write to me this week, certain, and excuse bad writing for I broke my gold pen and have to use a stub one. Give my love to you Ma & Pa, Hugh, Maggie & little Mollie. Good by.

Yours only, Henry          

*(an “infair” is an old custom of welcoming the new bride home.)


Booneville Miss     
Dec “7” 1872

My Darling Mattie,
                     Hugh handed me your sweet letter this morning. It was appreciated to the utmost extent of ardent affection that I have for you. Sorry that I did not remain longer with you Monday as Miss Willie came up. Would have liked very much to have met her, however I guess she will remain there untill next week. I will be over at that time. Tell her that Dr. Smith will be pleased to meet her. He is a very nice gentleman, and stands at the head of his profession. I arrived at home safe Monday, but stopped several times on the road. Consequently I did (not) get here until in the night.
          Darling since considering our affairs I think the 24th of this mo. will suit me as well as any time. Provided this suits you we will get married on that day. And let me know in your next letter or probably I will see you ere you can have the chance to write me. I have made other arrangements about going to Aberdeen, have hired Mr. Selman, a young lawyer to attend to my business there. We have no news in Town. Considerable sickness in and around the vicinity of Booneville and proves to be very fatal. We buried two of our citizens this week. Both old Christian gentlemen, which is some consolation to their kindred and friends. Everything is in such a bustle this morning that I cannot write, therefore excuse this letter. Good by Darling

Yours only, Henry          


Mobile Ala          
Dec. 9th 1874

(Note that tombstone inscription for mother of Henry, Elizabeth Tynes, dates death as November 14 1874 - He calls her “Ma” here. Perhaps her tombstone inscription actually reads 1879? Or is he calling wife Mattie “Ma”?)

Dearest Mattie & Carrie Baby
                    Your letter mailed at Fulton came to hand this morning. I was extremely glad to know that you had received my letters, for I was considerably confused when you wrote me that you had not heard a word from me since leaving. And again I am proud to hear that the Baby is so well and gaining flesh. You can not conceive of the idea how proud I would be to see her. I think of you and her every minute in the day. Also I am glad to know that Ma is taking good care of her and feeding her Pudici. Nothing new has occurred since writing you the other day, only a negro woman fell off the wharf this morning in the river and drowned. Tell Pa that I attended a Democratic Convention last night. It was a grand thing. Thay cast out every man that had ever participated with the radicals. The Catholic Church is still holding their meetings ordaining Bishops vi: I am going to the Methodist Church Sunday. Suppose a man from New Orleans will Preach then. I will close, wroter merely to answer your letter, will write a long letter Sunday.
Good by Your boy Henry. I give my love to all, and tell Hugh to write me.