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Are You My Cousin?: The Courtship of Esther, Part 5

Are You My Cousin?

Discovering My Ancestors -- One Cousin at a Time

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Location: Raleigh, North Carolina

I tell the stories of my ancestors’ lives. Whether they lived 20 years ago or 200 years ago, they each have a story to tell. Some ancestors tell their stories willingly. Others must have their stories carefully teased from the records. Sometimes the stories are sad. Sometimes the stories are happy. Sometimes the stories are just funny. Regardless, my ancestors’ stories shaped their lives and the lives of those that followed. Come and share in the tales!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Courtship of Esther, Part 5

William F. Elliott

William F. Elliott was perhaps Esther's suitor who endured the longest.  The earliest postcard from William, known as Will,  is dated 1912 and he continued to correspond with her until late1914. Will's story is a little different from the other suitors' stories.  Most of his correspondence came while he was stationed around the country serving in the military. Will generally sent Esther two types of cards.  The first type being the view card which depicted a scene or building from the location he was in.  (This is the type of card often sent today of a place visited such as the Empire State building in New York or the Grand Canyon in Arizona.)  The second type of card Will sent to Esther expressed his thoughts and intentions as a suitor.  It's hard to mistake Will's intention when he sent the cards below.


Postcard from WFE postmarked Ft. McPherson, Atlanta, GA

Postcard from WFE postmarked San Antonio, TX

Now here's where the story gets interesting.

Will Elliott was the son of C. R. Elliott and Eudore Ware.  He was the stepson of Sarah "Bettie" (Talbott). Elliott.  C. R. and Esther's mother Harriett were brother and sister.  That made Will and Esther first cousins.  That gave me pause as I considered the fact.  While this would not occur in today's society, marrying a cousin this close was still a possibility a hundred years ago. 

Will was born 1 in October 1883 and was 13 years Esther's senior. Enlistment records show he enlisted in the military in 1904.  A re-enlistment document was also found for 1910 to include a service period of 3 years. From his military enlistment documents, Will can be described as having had medium brown hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion.  He was 5'7" in height.  Esther received postcards from Fort McPherson in Atlanta, GA, Fort Slocum in New York, and Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX. His military discharge records indicated Will's service record was "very good".

Will's personality comes out in his postcards and letters to Esther. He appeared proud of his military career, often signing his postcards W.F. Elliott  Sergeant Co.A 17th Inf. Family also appeared important to him.  Will frequently asks about other cousins or Esther's father D. T. Richardson and mother Harriett. [D. T. Richardson died in Nov 1913.]  He also frequently referred to having received Esther's own letters indicating this likely was not a one sided courtship. How often Esther and Will saw each other is not known. He was obviously away from home for a number of years while serving in the military.  Perhaps their courtship was mostly by the written word.  Regardless of the nature of their courtship, Will and Esther's courtship came to an end sometime in 1914. Will went on to marry Florence Satterfield and continued to serve in the military through WWI.  He passed away in Durham, NC and is buried in the Elliott Family Cemetery in Keeling, VA.

Like the other suitors, Will proved not to be the ONE.  You'll meet him in the next post.....

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1 Comments:

Blogger Greta Koehl said...

Can't wait for the next post! Though I liked Will an awful lot....

June 7, 2011 at 9:26 PM  

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