The William Soutar (1842-1918) Collection is discussed briefly in two previous posts, one presenting letters from his employer Wm. Jenkinson, and the other, letters from his friends. Below are scans of letters–written in pencil–from his wife Agnes (an obituary refers to her as Ann Bell; The Times Herald March 25, 1918, page 5). They are from Rattle Run, Michigan, where Agnes lived on a farm during a period when her husband made income while being employed elsewhere. Agnes’ writings give a little glimpse into rural life as well as what was, apparently, customary social exchange between husband and wife. A baby was born during this time, and in her excitement (probably coupled with exhaustion) Agnes forgets to date the letter.
The envelopes that were with these letters are addressed to William, via Henry Batchelor (or Batchelor & Son) in East Saginaw, Michigan. An empty envelope from 1881 (not shown) is addressed to him alone, in East Tawas, Michigan. We don’t know if the box of letters and receipts that make up this collection were the only ones saved by the Soutars, or the only ones that happened to survive, but there is a note included at the end from 1915, a full 35 years after these 1880 (and one 1881) letters. William was living in Port Huron by 1883, so perhaps his family finally joined him.
The images that are grainy and dark are those that have been greatly enhanced in order to read them, as the writing in pencil is extremely light. Click on the images to see the large uploads. If using any of our images, please give a proper citation. The remainder of the collection is a large number of letters from various family members back in Scotland. We hope to have these available in the future as well.