Kingsport: From your dear mother

Any letter that comes into the archives where I volunteer that mentions ‘hogs’ and ‘lard’ in the same paragraph is guaranteed to get scanned. One of my favorite collections in the Kingsport Archives is the A. Preston Gray Family Papers. I blogged about it when items from it were featured in our “One Family at a Time” exhibit.

smap3Recently, an addition to the collection was made when the current owner of what was once Preston’s desk donated its contents to the archives.

In 1923, A. Preston Gray was a minister in Shreveport, Louisiana for Kings Highway Church of Christ.

shreveport04His mother Sarah Catherine Maupin, who was a 66 year-old widow at the time, wrote to him from Kingsport.

smenvelopeSarah Gray’s letter is a little window into what life was like in 1920s Kingsport.



Dear Rev. and daughter,

I will drop you a few lines to let you hear from me. I am well as could be expected. Hope you are both well.

I have killed my hogs. Got two cans of lard; they was fine, and ten cans of sausage and packed down two gal. crocks full.

Do you think you can read this? I can not see even a black mark ok. I never expect to see you as I have. It worries me so much I can not see.

I will close with lots of love to both.

Ada is trying to guide me but she has a ??

From your dear mother,
Sarah C. Gray

P.S. I am sending you a picture of a [grandson ??]



In spite of Sarah’s failing vision, she was industrious, practical, and affectionate. Qualities not always evident in our digital, social media-driven society today.

Anderson Preston Gray, 1884-1972

Anderson Preston Gray, 1884-1972

Feature image: A. Preston Gray at the Pulpit of Kings Highway Church of Christ, undated

This entry was posted in Kingsport and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.