January 21, 1842. Virginia Campbell writes from Sulphur Springs Farm to her husband Robert Campbell who is away on business in Philadelphia. Virginia is pregnant with her first baby. The two are still newlyweds (they were married February 25, 1841) which is why she teases her husband “be sure and tell me which you think is happiest married or single life.”
Virginia writes from Sulphur Springs Farm, the home of William Sublette, Robert Campbell’s business partner and a good friend of the family. At the time, Sulphur Springs was in the country, quite a distance from St. Louis. Today, Sublette’s huge farm would encompass parts of Dogtown, the Hill, St. Louis Hills, and South St. Louis, with his mansion at Highway 44 and Hampton.
Mr Robert Campbell
Care of H & A Campbell & Co.
Sulphur Springs farm Jan 21st 1842
My Own Dear Husband
Mrs Cook came in to see me at Mrs Kerr’s and gave me a pressing invitation to come out here to visit her. I told her it would give me great pleasure to do so. William came up yesterday morning and wanted to know when he should bring me out, he said that Mr Sublette’s barouche [?] was coming out so I concluded to take that opportunity and accordingly I came. I must describe to you my ride. I told William to come by Judge Carr’s and I remembered every step of the road and directed him which way to go, I shall always feel grateful [spelled gratefull] to him for his kindness for every time I wished and saw a bad place he let me get out and walk as far as I pleased it is true, he tried to persuade me to stay in but as it was not you I would have my own way and I think I walked one third of the distance. It was freezing cold and the ground was very hard frozen and I thought about Hannah the whole way.
[Pg. Break] I stood a few minutes at the little bridge where the horse we had before fell and it is really a frightful place notwithstanding it was hard frozen. William I shall always think an excellent driver, he says he can drive a great deal better than you, and that I would believe him after you turned me over several times. I was frightened all the way and I did not take my eyes off the horse once. I had on my own hood and Mrs Kerr’s too. I begged William to put on one under his hat but he was quite insulted. Mrs Cook is very kind to me and I am glad I came for it gets colder every day.
I went to Mrs Sarpy’s party on Wednesday. I did not feel any desire to go at all. Dr McPheeters went with me Mr Ricketson with Cornelia and Mr Elliot with Mrs Kerr. Cornelia and Mr Kerr stayed [spelled staid] until about 2 o’clock. Mrs Kerr and I were in bed by one – I don’t think I will go to any more parties this winter. I feel so mean in company and it seems to be more proper not to go out in my situation, I am perfectly well but I feel so much ashamed to walk about more particularly as you are not here. I am writing a great deal about myself I would rather have you write about yourself than any one else.
[Pg. Break] Mr W Sublette was not out last night but will be out to day. I am just as happy as I can be without you but dearest I think of you the whole time & I make so many good resolutions never to do any that annoys you again. I will never consent to be separated so long again, every one seems to try to contribute to my happiness & I try to be happy but I think it is a most unnatural way of living.
Mrs Cook sends her love to you and Mr Andrew Sublette his respects. I think perhaps Mrs Cook will send to get some things by you but will consult her brother first. Do I write too often dear, I love to write you and you could no write often enough. Mr Kerr teased me a great deal about writing, he asked me every day if I had written. Major Stuart said he heard from you about 50 miles from here through [spelled thro] one of the officers.
Give my love to Mrs Ashley and Mrs Kerr. I hope the former will not captivate you again. I forgot to tell you that we had quite a scene at Mrs Sarpy’s Party — Mrs Dean fainted, she recovered after some time, and danced away as well as ever.
Give my best love to cousin Mary and the girls. Mrs Cook says you must eat some fine oysters for her and some ice cream for me.
[Pg. Break top of back cover] I have written a very interesting letter but I have nothing to write that will amuse. Mrs Cook says she wants me to stay until you come home. I like to stay out here very much indeed. I think Mrs Cook a most excellent woman and she seems very fond of you and me too.
[Bottom of back cover] Write me every other day and be sure and tell me which you think is happiest married or single life.
Dearest you know I am your own entirely.
Virginia J Campbell