Many of these letters were purchased from the internet in the course of conducting historical research. Some were useful to me and others were not. But I have found all of them interesting for one reason or another and I have enjoyed researching the people and places mentioned by the 19th century letter writers. If you can add any supplementary information to what I have gleaned from the internet, I’d love to hear from you.

Old letters are golden links in the mystic chain that binds us to the past; precious mementos serving to remind us of the scenes and associations of other days. Especially is this true when the writer sleeps in the quiet stillness of the church-yard, while the little grassy hillock marks the place of his sweet repose.

— B. F. Brewington, 1862 Ladies Repository, page 349

19 responses to “About

  • John A. Coulter


    Fielding, J.H. (February 1, 1834). Letter to Supreme Court Justice John McLean . Retrieved from Spared and shared- old letters spared from obscurity website 1834: Rev. John Hunter Fielding to Supreme Court Justice John McLean

    Thank you for saving that letter. Fielding was the first President of St Charles Military College in Missouri which was the nation’s first Methodist military school. It remained open from 1831 to at least until about 1916.

  • Amelia Hartz

    I was pleased to see the David Todd Stuart/Hall letters posted. My gggrandfather’s photo and others were borrowed from the family tree on ancestry.com. If you have any desire to offer the letters for sale, please contact me before June. We are hosting a Stuart reunion the weekend of the 16th.
    Thank you for your attention.

  • Griff

    I’m pleased you found the Levin Lawrence will and Stuart family letters informative. Please feel free to download copies of the scanned images for your family records and to share at your upcoming reunion. And thank you for posting the family pix on ancestry.com; they are a wonderful complement to this posting. Unfortunately, I’m confident these items were sold by my acquaintance in an e-bay auction two or three months ago. He permitted me to scan them before he offered them for sale so that others, like you, might benefit from knowing their contents. As a descendant, I’d very much appreciate your adding any additional information or pointing out any factual errors I may have committed in researching this family. Please add these remarks in the comment field at the bottom of that particular page, however, so they are connected with the letter. — Griff

  • Elsie

    My 2 times great grandfather was Miles Toby Granger. While working on the Granger genealogy I came a cross your site. I love the title. I did download the letter from Caroline Toby Granger to her brother Miles Toby Granger to my family tree on ancestry.com. Thank you so much for sharing. If you are still in possession of the letter would you be interested in selling it?
    P.S. Although I haven’t yet researched it, I think the Sarah that Caroline talks about in the letter might be Sarah Ferguson whom he later marries.

  • Pat Dupes-Matsumoto

    I was pleased to see Daniel Underhill’s letter to his sister. He was my gr gr grandfather and I’ve been tracking him for 32 years. That’s definitely his handwriting and what he writes is consistent with other known information. Apparently Daniel was an infrequent but good correspondent with his family, as there are other letters still in circulation and I have seen photocopies before. Should other Underhill researchers trip over this and want to share information I would be very happy to do so.
    Pat Dupes-Matsumoto

    • Griff

      I appreciate your comments and hope this brings you in touch with other Underfill family researchers. You may want to add the same or different comment on the page where his letter appears rather than the “About” page as it may go unnoticed here. — Griff

  • Eric

    Do you sell any of your letters?

    • Griff

      The few letters I own are of some particular family value to me and I do not intend to sell them. Rather I will probably donate them to a library archives someday. The vast majority of letters on this blogsite appear here by the express permission of the gentleman who owned the letters and allowed me to transcribe them prior to his selling them on e-bay. I trust this answers your question, Eric, and I hope you found one or more of the letters useful to you in your research. — “Griff”

  • Terri Wilson, President, Avon Historical Society, Avon, CT

    Hello Griff,
    I am the president of the Avon Historical Society, Avon, CT. We found on your site the following letter which refers to a house that we are currently restoring – 1841: Dan D. and Ammi G. Derren to Timothy Derren.

    I read above that you are willing to donate your letters to a library or archives. If you are willing, we would be more than happy to accept a donation of this letter as the Derren (now Derrin) family had three homes in our town. Two are privately owned and ours is the one we are sure is referred to in these letters. It would be very exciting to own them as we are continually researching the origins of the family which has been in our town since the late 1700’s when Avon was called “Northington.”

    All our documents are stored archivally in the Marian Hunter History Room of the Avon Free Public Library. The town just completed an extensive renovation and expansion fo the whole library recently and our History Room is now much larger and completely humidity controlled for the purpose of preserving our empherma.

    If you are interested in donating them, please let me know. Thank you very much.

  • Griff

    Teri; Would that I owned that letter as I would have been more than happy to oblige you with the donation but that letter was one among hundreds that I’ve transcribed over the last couple of years for a friend who has sold them all on e-bay. He gave me permission to publish it in exchange for the transcription. I do this gratis simply so that I can preserve the history that these letters contain and make it available to people like yourself who derive both pleasure and useful information from these fragments of our past. I’m happy to learn that you found this letter useful and also to discover that the house described is being restored. Might it be possible for you to send me some images of the house suitable for my use on this website to accompany the letter? Thanks for contacting me and leaving a message.

  • Terri Wilson

    Hello Griff,

    Sorry to hear the letters were sold on eBay. This happens quite often and we miss out on very good items that should be back in their proper “home.” I would be happy to send you photos of the Derrin House we are restoring if you can give me an e-mail address as I don’t know how to attach something here. Thanks.

  • Terri Wilson (JMC)

    Dear Griff,
    I am a member of the Avon Historical Society and Terri Wilson has asked me to send you a couple/few photos. Sorry for the delay as I expect to receive photos this week and will pick out some representative ones to send you via email if you provided one to Terrii. Thank you, JMC for Terri Wilson, AHS
    August 6, 2013

  • Heather Wells

    Hello, I am a descendant of Julius H. Spencer, and Sarah Perry from their son Norman Samuel.

    Have you done any other research on that family? I have done quite a bit of research, and have traced the Spencer line as far as Nathaniel Spencer b. 1658 East Haddam Connecticut. Some of the female lines are interesting too.

    Rumor in my family was Sarah Perry b. 1818, wife of Julius was daughter of Oliver Hazard Perry.. but I haven’t been able to find proof. What other documents do you look for. I can provide a couple of photos. My grand mother has a tin? photograph of Norman Samuel Spencer (son of Julius and Sarah in a letter) and his wife Leah (Christina, Tina) Stutes.

  • Nancy Kapperman

    RE the letter of Ernestine Strong Alberti. There are many letters of Edwin R Alberti regarding his steam saw mill operation and related business in the Hargrett Library, University of Georgia (Special Collections).

  • John Thomas Richard Burke

    Hello Griff,
    Discovering Samuel Nicholls Gantt’s 1850 letter to his nephew, Dr. James L. Ellingwood on Spared and Shared has been a treasure for me. I am the great-great grandson of Hiram Burke and Rebecca A. (Gantt) Burke. Without exception, the family trees I have seen for Hiram and Rebecca list John Gaunt and Jane Darland as Rebecca’s parents. This letter, along with court papers from Fayette County, Kentucky and DNA matches with both the Smallwood and Gantt families have convinced me that Edward Gantt and Letitia (Smallwood) Gantt were Rebecca’s parents. It is clear that Samuel refers to his sister, Rebecca, in his letter and the facts bear out that she is indeed my great-great grandmother. I am wondering where you were able to locate the information regarding Samuel N. Gantt’s parents, Edward and Letitia? Thanks again for making this letter and others available.
    John T. R. Burke

    • Griff

      John: Thanks for the kind remarks. I’m pleased you were able to find this letter and that it was useful to you in confirming your family ancestry. I wish that I could answer your question but I have researched so many letters since this one that I’m sure I couldn’t possibly remember where I got the information. I should probably do a better job recording my sources. I don’t conjecture relationships, however, without saying so, so I must have gotten it from a pretty reliable source. I now have (January 2014) as many as four Spared & Shared websites with hundreds of letters posted; comments like yours keep me going. Thanks again! — Griff

  • Rev. Richard I. Kepler

    Hello Grif!

    Thank you for your insight to create this website!

    I have a question … when I type in the name Heyward in the search box, I come up with this: ‘1845: Patience Wise Blackett Izard to Frederic Augustus Eustis.’ I do not see any reference to the name Heyward in the letter. Can you tell me why it comes up in the search?

    My ancestor is Nathaniel Heyward, Jr. (brother of Thomas Heyward, the signer of the Declaration of Independence) and he did own hundreds of acres of rice plantations in South Carolina.

    Is the letter from David Damon to his son Norwood Damon available (or where did you find it)? I have Rev. Norwood Damon’s autographed book “Lesson’s In Elocution” that I bought on eBay.

    Thank you for any insight.

    Rev. Richard I. Kepler

    • Griff

      Richard: In answer to your first question, the 1845 letter written by Patience Wise Blackett Izard comes up because she mentions a “Mrs. D. Heyward” in the second paragraph of her letter. To your second question, no the 1832 letter by David Damon was sold a couple of years ago on e-bay which is where the gentleman (who permitted me to transcribe & publish it) probably also purchased it, though he occasionally buys from other sources. Anyway, I hope this facsimile of the letter was useful and enjoyable to you. — Griff

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