This letter from 1884 was written by Thomas Willis Farley (1841-1903) to his sons “Jimmie” (James Henry Farley, 1877-1960) and “Freddie” (Frederick Lee Farley, 1879-1945). Also mentioned are his children “Annie” (Anne Blanch Farley, 1875-1960), “Sutton” (William Sutton, 1872-1938) and “Pattie” (Pattie Pugh, 1870-1921), as well as his wife, Nancy Rigg Farley (1847-1923). Thomas Willis Farley was working in Coal Valley at that time.
I have this original letter; my recollection is that was in the possession of my grandfather, Willis Hite Farley, who was grandson of the writer. At some unknown time, someone (probably my aunt Alice) preserved the letter through lamination. It made its way to my house sometime in the last ten years or so from my father.
Coal Valley, W. Va. Jan 2d/84
Dear Jimmie and Freddie
I believe this to be the first time that I have written to you. So you may claim this as a New Years gift. Your grand Pap was to see me a while this evening. He was very proud to know that you wanted to come to C.V. to see him. I told him that if he would fix on the first of the week to return home that I would try to persuade your good mother to let you come down with me and then go back with him. He said that he wanted this done and will let me know. Would you be good boys if you could come to C.V. I think you would. Ask your mother what she thinks.
Now if you can arrange the matter with your mother and she will get you ready – won’t we have a fine time.
Tell your mother that I sent the velvet and buckle today. The two cost 37 cents and 3 cents postage. It is now twelve O’ and my eyes are beginning to be heavy. I hope you are all well and sleeping soundly and warm this very cold night. My cold is troubling me some today. Otherwise I am very well and I am now siting by a good, warm, cheerful fire.
If you can’t read this for yourselves probably Annie will. Tell Sutton, Annie and Patti not to get mad because I don’t write to them. Be good boys. I brought the store key with me.
Good night my good boys, affly,
Thomas W. Farley