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An 1854 Valentine

The Monroe County History Center recently received a very special donation from a man in Santa Cruz, CA who had acquired a tub of family documents from a friend. In it was a valentine sent from Bloomington, IN dated February 14, 1854. All information about the couple was learned from the donor with dates and names checked against the records in The quote in the valentine is from a poem by Letitia Elizabeth Landon (1802-1838) titled The Basque Girl and Henri Quatre

‘Dear Jane,  The pleasant memories of other days cluster around me. And I fain would be with those whom I have known, now far away. “Oh! Only those whose souls have felt this one idolatry. Can tell how precious is the slightest thing affection gives and hallows! A dead flower will long be kept, remembrancer of looks that made each leaf a treasure.” Yes. Memories harp sends forth harmonious strains when played upon by the fingers of those times.                     -Valentine’



The recipient of the letter is a Miss Sarah Jane Stewart of Putnam County, Indiana. The sender, originally from Ohio, is Joseph A. Smith. What Joseph was doing in Bloomington at that time is unknown but the two were married two years later in Putnam County before moving to Minnesota. In Minnesota he joined the Union Army and fought in the Civil War and later died in Kansas leaving behind his wife and four children.


Blog post by Megan MacDonald

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