|Dear…….Yours rec just a few days ago and was very glad to heare frome you and to heare that you were enjoying your self just fine………|
|Boss Talbott’s signature|
Above is the first page of a six page letter Boss sent to Esther in May of 1914. I believe this may have been one of the earliest letters of this type he sent to her. It was not unusual in his letters for Boss to address Esther as simply “Dear”. I find that rather, well, endearing.
Unlike many of her other suitors, Bossy was not a “city boy”. He grew up in Mecklenburg and Halifax Counties,Va. He was the son of a farmer Joseph M. Talbott and his wife Rosa Bowen. (His real name was Johnnie Hodies Talbott. No one is quite sure why he changed his name or when. He was using the name Boss as of 1914.) Bossy was their second child born 15 Dec 1886. He was a farmer and worked on the family farm until he was able to have his own. Even then he lived next door to his parents.
How did Bossy and Esther meet?
I have no direct evidence of their first meeting. I can only put together the clues taken the letters of Esther, her mother Hattie, her cousins and the federal census records to come up with possibilities. In Nov 1912, Esther’s father Daniel T Richardson died. In the January of 1913, letters between Esther and her friend Nannie Lee Farson indicate that Esther’s mother Harriet moved the family to News Ferry, Halifax, VA. Census records for 1910 and 1920 show Harriet’s brothers (and Esther’s uncles) C. R. Elliott and John Elliott were in the same vacinity of Halifax County. (C. R. died in 1915.) It appears that Harriet moved her children and herself to be closer to her family.
If one backs up in the census records to 1900, C. R. Elliott and his family including his son William F Elliott was living next door to the family of Joseph M Talbott including his son Bossy (Johnnie). It can also be noted that C. R.’s wife Bettie was Bossy’s sister Sarah Elizabeth “Bettie” Talbott. Obviously the Talbotts and Elliotts had close family ties from the time Boss and Esther were very small children. Possibly Esther and Boss met as children or as young teens while visiting relatives or attending a community event. It is impossible to know for sure.
How they met is perhaps not as important as the fact they did meet and a courtship took place. A letter to Esther from her sister Katie alluded to the fact that Esther and Boss initially kept their engagement a secret! No reason was given and the wedding was itself not a suprise. I do think the Esther and Boss’s wedding broke a few young men’s hearts!
The story of Esther’s courtship is complete, but her story is not. A new chapter is starting, and I hope you will continue to follow Esther’s story in coming posts.