East New Market


December 1847

Anthony L. Manning to his father, Anthony Manning

(Collection of Karen Nicholson, Arlington, VA)


Dear Father,

William J.  Thompson did not come on with us any further than Harrisburg as I neglected to mention in my first letter to you, and as we knew nothing of the boarding of this place, we took Board in west College with Mr.  Bell at $1.50 cts per week and roomed in west college as that was the only the only room which was vacant at the time we came here and I can tell you that it is bad victuals that we have to stomach; for 75 cents per week we can get good victuals at Mrs.  Miller’s where James H.  Thomas now boards and now that it is required that we should receive word from our parents before removing from the place where we first took board to a higher board or a room one that we have to pay a little higher price for whether we can remove or not.  So I wish you to grant me the liberty of removing my board or rather my eating place to Mrs.  Miller’s next session.  I should wish to remove now, but she cannot take us to next session.  But she says that she will take us with pleasure next session if we wish either for board or rooming or both if desired.  But I do not wish yet to change my room, yet if I should find it advantageous to me, and just as cheep to you I will write on to you to let me change that also.  If I should wish to change rooms I think I can get one of her or some one else equally as cheap as this college room and much more comfortable.  You recollect the book you got of Mr.  Leckie and which belong to Rev.  Mr.  Curon respecting the institution; stated that the boarding houses were not allowed to charge over $1.75 per week for board, but it is not so, for scarcely any of the students board for less that $2.00 and $.75 cts per week, for if they did they would scarcely get victuals fit for any human being to eat.  Mr.  Bell’s boarders are leaving him very fast, and in a short time, I think he will have none.  However he has very view? to leave him for those who are acquainted in this place will not board with him.  Dear Father I do not want to run you to any unnecessary expense, and, I will not do it.  To prove this to you, when I got to York I would not eat any dinner.  The students all have their fires maid or nearly all; that I make myself.  Most all have their boots blacked, but I will not, although Robt Thompson does, who rooms with me.  Nearly all have lamps that cost from a dollar to a dollar and a half and two dollars, yet I made choice of a lamp which costs 75 cts although Bob wanted one that costs $1.25 and most of the students have foot lockers to wash their feet in which costs from 75 cts to $1.00 yet I took one at 50 cts in preference. 

Do not tell Bob’s father, because he might wright something to him concerning it, and that might cause us to disagree, but what I tell you is certainly true.  What I meant when I said get word from our parents if we want anything or to make any change is that our parents will wright us stating their approbation or disapprobation to our wishes.  so then I ask your fatherly consent for me to do anything, you can wright to me either approving or disapproving of my wish.  I forgot to state to you who I got for my treasurer or patron as it is called, when I first wrote you dear father, for I do assure you my love to see you, grows stronger instead of weaker.  But I will now state to you who it is, it is professor Allen or rather president Allen, at this time in president Emory’s place until his return from traveling.  I thought that the grammar School or preparatory department was all united in one class, but I find that it is divided into classes designated first second and third prep classes and we are placed in the third, the lowest class in the grammar school so it will take us at least 6 or 7 years before we can possibly graduate no matter how hard we study and if we get into College in 2 years we shall be doing good business.  This place is not what it is reported to be: Dear Father, no one knows the loss of a dear father unless he is separated by the master hand of death, or torn from him like your loving son is now from you.  Believe me dear father, I would give not only a world, but worlds, if I were possessed of them to behold you, for when I left you I snapped the chord that strongly bound me to earth and I have also nearly snapped the chord of my life by that mighty separation.  I have endured the pains and sorrows of an almost broken heart that dearly loves you thus far, without wrighting for my return, and which I do not intend to wright for, if I can hopefully avoid it.  But dear father if this son that sincerely loves you does wright, please wright to him that he may return to your embraces, Because if I do wright, you may know that this almost lifeless heart can stand the shock and endure the pains of this separation no longer, Because I shall put it off to the very last, and if you refuse me it must certainly cause that long sleep to come over me, from which hundreds and thousands wake no more.  Then you will think of my poor mother. 

When my heart ceases to beat,
When my tongue ceases to speak,
When my pulse is still in death
When my breast is without breath
When my cheek is pale in death;
When my hand ceases to be extended,
When my dying words in death are blended,
When I am lain within the silent tomb
To be buried in my youthful bloom. 

Dear Father I am going to send this piece of poetry to cousin [Carry?] with the addition of two more lines to wright in cousin Mary’s book, as it is my own composing. 

Dear father I neglected to mention in my first letter what it cost to take me and luggage down to the cars to come from Harrisburg to this mean place.  So I will give you the amount of that together with some other small expenses which I neglected to mention. 

Mottoes for letters                                  .08
Taking me and luggage down to the --- to come here   .25cts
Wafers for sealing letters                           .03
Matches                                              .03
One fip's worth of envelope for letters              .06 1/4
One small blank book to keep a list of my expenses   .06 1/4
One breastpin mended which cost 18 ¾ cts but I
paid a fip in old silver, do it was reduced to       .12 1/2
                                                     .64 cts

Dear father as soon as you get a letter from your almost broken hearted son please answer it immediately, for it is the only thing that can cheer me in this grieving apartment.  Oh do not forget it, and do not forget to look in the post office often, so that you may get my letters and answer them soon that they may cheer my gloomy situation. 

Dear father do not send my little sister Eugenia away to boarding school, because I am sure, she will never be able to withstand the pain of separating from a dear father and friends, nor do I believe I shall be able to withstand it much longer myself.  I feel about half sick, half well, and one half of the victuals I eat is forced.  I really believe that I have fallen off at least several pounds since the short time I have been here and I continue to fall off.  Dear father, I have had the pleasure of beholding the gallant Capt.  May.  As there was a military procession held over one of their deceased colonels.   Capt May was here to command the march of this solemn procession at the sound of muffled drums as he is stationed at the barracks within about quarter of a mile of this town.  He is about 6 feet high and is very large yet straight as an Indian with beard that reaches about halfway his bosom, and eyes that seem to shoot fire at every glance. 

His hair is cut short; and if it was not, he would be almost enough to frighten old Mexico herself.  Oh I would love to have you see this brave commander, who clapped his hands upon Gen La Vega’s shoulder and told him that he was prisoner.  Tell Doct Edmondson, Col Hodson, Col Vincent, Mr.  Vincent, Brother William, and all of those folks about home that I have clasped the hand of the celebrated May that cared not for the fierce glance of a savage.  Mexican and who defied their cannon balls as they fell like hail around him.  Although I have witnessed this, yet my spirits seem not to revive.  Thought after thought passes unavoidable through this mind, which seem in vain some other occupant.  Tears flow fast and long from these eyes that have sought sleep in vain, amid the thoughts of you I love.