Treasures of Carolina: Martha Henley Poteet Letter

[This blog post was written by Andrea Gabriel, Outreach and Development Coordinator for the State Archives of North Carolina.]

First page of a letter from Martha Hendley Poteet to Francis Marion Poteet, June 16, 1864

First page of a letter from Martha Hendley Poteet to Francis Marion Poteet, June 16, 1864. Poteet-Dickson Letters, Private Collections.

Among the items in the Private Collections are Civil War letters, journals, diaries and remembrances. A series of letters between Martha Henley Poteet and her husband, Francis Marion Poteet document the privations of war. Married in McDowell County in 1847, Poteet was working as a miller at the time of his conscription. Thirteen children were born to this union.

Many of the letters that go back and forth between husband and wife describe their separate lives—“I have been in the entrenchments about two month I haint been Releaved in 12 days,” writes Francis from Petersburg. In another letter he requests food. “I have Rote for you to send me Sumthing more to eat of you could I wanted you to send me sum beens &cabetch and one possum & apeace of pork . . . I want you to keep your lamp trimed and burning and tell Thomas and Elizabeth to keep ther lamps trimed and burning you can tell them that I still pray For them . . . “

In a letter dated June 16, 1864 Martha writes to Francis “. . . the sweet potatoes is very pretty and the irish potatoes is the pretyest I ever seen I hav a mess today I wish you was hear to eat some with me.” With this letter, Martha includes a cut-out tracing of her four-week-old daughter’s hand, “My baby will be 4 weeks old Saturday Night she was born the 21 of May write to Me what to name her.”

For more materials from the Poteet-Dickson Letters, see the North Carolina Digital Collections.

Tracing of a baby's hand from a letter written by Martha Hendley Poteet to Francis Marion Poteet, June 16, 1864. Poteet-Dickson Letters, Private Collections.

Tracing of a baby’s hand from a letter written by Martha Hendley Poteet to Francis Marion Poteet, June 16, 1864. Poteet-Dickson Letters, Private Collections.

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A selection of the state’s historic documents will be exhibited in Treasures of Carolina: Stories from the State Archives of North Carolina at the Museum of History, October 24, 2015–June 19, 2016. Documents from the Archives vault, unique letters, historic photographs, public records, and other media will illuminate the myriad of ways in which the holdings of the State Archives document the workings of our government, provide evidence of civil liberties, and preserve the history and culture of North Carolina. This exhibit is sponsored by the Friends of the Archives and runs through June 19, 2016. Additional funding was provided by the N.C. Bar Association Foundation, the Raleigh Times, and Wells Fargo.

To learn more about the exhibit, please see: https://ncarchives.wordpress.com/tag/treasures-of-carolina/ and http://ncmuseumofhistory.org/See-Our-Exhibits/Current-Exhibits/Treasures.

For a full list of documents that will be on display only a limited time, see: https://ncarchives.wordpress.com/2015/09/09/plan-to-visit-treasures-of-carolina/

See the State Archives Facebook calendar or Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources events calendar for more upcoming events.

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