Love letters. Manuscripts, American -- 19th century.
Littleton W. T. Wickham was the son of Richmond, Virginia attorney John Wickham (1763-1839), who tried the federal treason case of Aaron Burr in 1807. Littleton's mother, Elizabeth Selden McClurg Wickham (1781-1853), was John Wickham's second wife. The family lived on the East Tuckahoe plantation in Henrico County, later named Woodside. Littleton attended the University of Virginia and had a successful law practice in New Orleans, Louisiana; eventually he split his time between New Orleans and Richmond. His first marriage to Eliza Wyckoff Nicholson left Littleton a widower in 1850. Through his business travel between Richmond, Charleston, South Carolina, and New Orleans, he met Elizabeth Peyre Laurens, nee Ashby (1824-1859)--also widowed--through business with her father Thomas Ashby of Bunker Hill plantation in Darlington, South Carolina. They had three children: Elizabeth "Bessie" Wickham, b. 1856; Thomas Ashby Wickham, 1857-1939; and Littleton T. Wickham, b. 1858.
The collection chiefly contains courtship letters (folders 1-2) from the spring of 1853 through December of 1854, between Littleton W. T. Wickham and future wife Elizabeth "Lizzie" Peyre Laurens. Their letters include declarations of love, discussion of their engagement, and marriage, which most likely occurred in December of 1854. Some of the exchanges include the whereabouts of a lost shipment of slippers sent from Laurens to Wickham and even a misunderstanding of the wedding date. Laurens writes from her home in South Carolina to Wickham in New Orleans and Richmond. Also included are a few letters to Littleton Wickham from his brothers William Fanning Wickham, Maclurg Wickham, and John Wickham (folders 2-5). This correspondence discusses the sale of the Virginia plantation in 1854 after the death of Elizabeth Selden McClurg Wickham and the division of proceeds and property, including in one letter from William the fate of some slaves. A detailed ledger page of the final sum for each sibling is enclosed in one of William's letters. The three brothers also relay the living arrangements and welfare of their sister Frances "Fannie" Wickham.
Sold by Michael Brown Rare Books (Philadelphia, Pa.), 2010.