Thursday, June 16, 2016

M.P. Kelley's Letter to Eliza from Charleston Prison, 1868

© Kathy Duncan, 2016

The following letters were a mystery to M.P. Kelley's descendants for decades. They were all written in the summer of 1868, and while they were written from what seemed to be a military prison, they could have nothing to do with his Civil War service because the war had been over for two years. They focus on his concern for his potato crop, the welfare of his family and the fact that he is not receiving any communication from them.

Eliza Ann Rebecca Thompson and husband Mansel Pinkney Kelley


Then the 21st century and the internet brought the startling information that he had been arrested along with several other men for the murder of Solomon G.W. Dill. He was released in August of 1868.

Charleston July 14th 1868
Mrs. Eliza A. R. Kelley
My Devoted wife I again assume the pleasure of writing you a few lines which will inform you that I am quite well  I have bin sorter puny a day or too but  am all wright again  I hope this will reach you in due time and find you and the children and all the rest in good health and doing well  I havent received but one letter from you since I have bin heare but I look for one tomorrow   I will not send this until the mail comes  I have nothing new to write  time seems quite dul with me and lonesome but I hope it will not be so long  I understand that Mr. B Allen & Gardner Kelley & A.A. Boykin has gon home & I hope I will get off soon for I cant see why they shoud keep me but I dont no what they have charged against me but I hope I will soon find out. I wish the matter was investigated at onst for I think it verry hard and unjust to keep a man in prison for something that he noes nothing about but I will be patient time will prove what I am and where I stand. I want you to see Col. Wm M. Shannon and tell him that I look to him for his assistance. Ask him to try and get a hand secured for me and as soon as he can relieve me from prison that is if that time will ever ? and I hope it will. Tell Johie he must bee a good Boy and I will bring him something nice when I come home write as often as you can fro I am always anxious to heare from you. You may expect at least two letters a week from me let me no how the potatoes looks I will drop in a few lines for Mr. Williamson no letter for me yet. So I will close this and send it off. I want to see you verry bad give my love to all and accept a full share for yourself I remain as ever your affectionate Husband
M.P. Kelley

Charleston July 17th 1868
Mrs. Eliza Kelley
My Devoted Wife I again write you a few lines which will inform you that I am quite well and I hope this will reach you and find you and the children and the next also in enjoyment of good health  My Dear I have not received but one letter from you since I have bin heare   no that something is not working wright I no you have wrote but I dont no why I dont get the letters unless they stop them at head quarters as they have to come that way  this is seven that I have wrote I want you to write as soon as you get this and put it in the envelope that I send directed to myself let me no how many letters you have wrote  I have moved one story hier up the other men are well  I wont write much as I am going to get a friend to put this in the office without going to head quarters  give my love to all and accept the same  I want see you but as I cant I want to heare from you
Your Loving Husband
MPK
Put a stamp on
the envelope I send

Charleston Prison
S.E. Corner 2nd Story
July 21th 1868
Mrs. Eliza Kelley
Dear Wife as this is the fourth I have endeavores to write you a few lines which will inform you that I am still in good health truly hoping that this may reach you in due time and find you and the children in the Enjoyment of good health I will expect a letter from you in a few days  this is the third one that I have written send my compliments to mother & family tell them I am doing verry well considering being in prison. Something never did I expect give my love to all inquiring friends & accept a good share for yourself. If you were only with me I would be perfectly happy. Write soon and often I am getting verry anxious to heare from you all & also to no how my crop is getting on dont let the potatoes bee neglected & also tell Sing that he must try and get my oats housed if he has not done so. Hoping to get home soon  I remain yours Devotedly
M.P. Kelley
Charleston prison
SoCa
Care Commanding Officer

Charleston July 19th 1868
Mrs. Eliza Kelley
My Affectionate wife

It with unlimited pleasure that I write you a few lines which will inform you that I am well hoping that this may reach you and find you and the children and the rest also in good health. I have bin moved one story hier and my room is not quite as comfortable as the other was but  I am doing verry well I am very kindly treated  the Lutenant in charge calls to see me every day I begin to want to heare from you  I havent heard from you but onst since I cam heare write as soon as you get this and send it  write to the office let me no how many letters you have written & also how many you have received this is seven I have wrote. I have nothing new to write. My love to all. I am as ever your affectionate Husband MPKelley

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