1896, January 10 – Letter from Lewis Hesse to brother George Hesse

Lewis shares a tale with his brother of New Year’s debauchery with girlfriend Rose that went on until 4:30 in the morning, as well as detailing their Christmas gifts.  Read a transcript of the letter below (original misspellings & all) or click on the image links to view the actual letter. As you read the transcript of the letter click on the links to view information & images about what they are discussing.


Click on a link to view the image: (some images can be further enlarged by clicking on them once they open)

Envelope Front     Envelope Back      Letter Page 1      Letter Page 2-3       Letter Page 4-5      Letter Page 6-7      Letter Page 8 


Transcript of letter:

St. Louis Mo,

Jan. 10, 1896

Dear Brother:—-

I received your most welcome letter Yesterday evening & had been waiting for it ever since you left, not knowing if you were in England, Africa, Asia or where you were, but it is better late than never, for it is always welcome.  Now don’t look at my writing for I’ve not done any writeing with a pen for over six months I guess.  Glad to hear you have been in good health all the time & have a good job now, Hope you will make the best of it while you have a chance.  I am still at Horse Shoeing, & working at the same old shop I of C. Roth) & getting along splendid.  We are all getting along quite well at home, Pap Lulu & I are the only ones at home now, Mammie is out at Proctors now.  they moved from Carondelet to Mountgumery Mo.  where Theo. is trying his luck at the Livery Business & Carl is up in Alton Ill., where he is Stage Manager of the Temple Theatre, He was down home about three weeks ago & wanted me to go up there, the next Sunday & see the play (The Country Circus), I went u p there the next Saturday evening & came home about noon sunday.  Oh!  I have been having a fine time since you left, in the first place I joined dancing school, it started sept. 1st & closed Jan. 1st.  there was two evenings out of every week for lesons, & every other week there was a party (Sort of Ball) so that made it being out two evenings one week, & three the next, just for dancing alone, & then of corse besids this there was Sunday Afternoon & Eve that I am at my girls house, so that don’t leave many evenings to go to bed at the proper time.  Oh!  I’ve got a girl now sure thing, we went to all of these dances together & to several other private parties & always have a nice time, I have not gone to bed three nights in a stretch at the proper time from the first of Sept, untill New Years, making it Just 4 Months, & when I was out it was at least 12 oclock when I got back; & still kept well & kept up with my work.  Now last night was party night & we were out untill one oclock.  Mr. Frankel (the Dancing teacher) gives another term just after New Year, but one was enough for me for I know all of the popular dances & even the three new ones tha twere first introduced this year. I tell you we have a fine time, there is about six or eight coupel of yong folks in our crowd & we get together about once every week some where or other & have lots of fun.  New Years night we were all up at my girls house & Rose & I (Rose is her name) got to baking rollemups – (a sort of cake which must be roled up as soon as they come off the fire) untill 11:30 oclock, while the others were enjoying with there string instruments 7 singing all the while, so when 11:30 came we quit baking cakes.  Then me and one of the other boys went out to get something for a 12 oclock supper for the girls, had nothing in the house suitable for the occasion, except a few bottles of wine & a lot of cakes which we had just baked, so we took a coupel of buckets & went to the nearest grocer & got a gallen & a half of Oysters, two large bottles of catsup, 25 cents worth of crackers, a couple more bottles of wine, then filled one bucket up with beer & went back to the house & drank the beer first, then about five minutes to twelve we sat down to eat a big New Years Oyster Supper & I tell you we did eat as though we had nothing for six weeks, well after supper we fooled around untill 1:30 am then we went out to do some serenading, we tried to get an Italian’s grind organ but couldnot, so every one took their string insterments & horns then started out to have a gay time, girls and all were in it.  we called on friens, had to get some of them out of bed, then we would stay there half an hour & move on to the next.  we kept this up untill 3:30am then we thought we would go home, & then is when the lively time came, for e ery door bell we woudl spy was rung, For Rent signs were taken down & put up on other houses, barber poles moved, beer kegs & barrells went in to the gutter, & we didnot forget to make a noise with our horne & boxes. there is a for rent sign hanging on Rosie’s wardrobe now that was taken from 918 Russell Ave two doors from home.  Well when we got back home again (that is to Rose’s house) we stayed there untill 4:30, then we broke up & each one went their way home.  & I did also.  I guess you must think from what I tell you that this is a tough set of girls that I go with, but they are not, they are all O.K. & don’t you forget it, New years night was an exception they just hapened to feel full of fun & we had it too. Well to change the subject I guess you would like to know what we all got for Christmas, don’t you? Well papa got a box of cigars from Carl, & a good pair of shoes from me, Lulu got a bottle of perfume, & two dollars from pops. & two dollars from me, I got a bottole of perfume from papa also, & a beautiful cigar & card case filled with half a dozen good cigars, That came from Rose.  & Rose got a fine silk tight role (??) steel rod  umbrella from me.  Well Carl got some thing from me to, he got a visit from me about a week before Christmass, & you get a letter from me about a week or two after Christmass, Well it is ten oclock now I think this letter is lon enough don’t you? you know how much I like to write letters anyhow.  Hoping to hear from you soon George.  I remain.

Your Loving Brother,


P. S. Carls Addres is

C. D. Hesse

Temple Theatre

Alton Ill.


2 responses to “1896, January 10 – Letter from Lewis Hesse to brother George Hesse

  1. Pingback: 1896, August – Solicitation from a Dance Academy sent to Lewis Hesse | Our Wonderful Family History·

  2. Pingback: 1895 – Solicitation from a Dance Academy sent to Lewis Hesse | Our Wonderful Family History·

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