Pieces of the Past

Belle Grove Plantation
during the restoration process
1997- 2003

When Belle Grove went through the restoration process between 1997 to 2003, the manor house was taken apart and restored piece by piece. The construction crew took off the slate roof that was crushing the house and took the house down to the studs. While they were working they discovered two pieces of paper. These pieces of paper look to date back to the Turner family (1839 – 1900).

The first piece of paper is a small section of an envelope. You can’t make out the full address, return address or post mark. From what we can see, it looks to be addressed to S.A. There was only one S.A. during the Turner family’s time. Susan Augusta Rose Turner, wife of Carolinus Turner. Could this have been for her?

The second piece of paper looks to be an advertising card for “Mourning Dyeing”  “A Specialty”. The company was established in 1868. The card is for “R.C. Douglas” and the address is for 1336 14th St. Bet. N St. and R.I. Ave. I have looked for this company or the representative, but I haven’t been very successful. But this isn’t the best part of the paper.

Written across this piece of paper seems to be some kind of note. Who it is written to or the exact message is unclear. There are missing bits of paper and some of the writing is too faint to read. Here is what I can make out of the writing:

“If you _____________________ you _________

knife can cut in too.

Kiss me quick and kiss me ____________ (looks like curr ?)

ing (looks like a carry over from the last word) I think I hear my mother (or could be brother)


Hear I sta (could be stand) ____________ little ________ (looks like knife)

come and ____________ little ________

lifes. Dear little _________________ sweat

as a rose you ___________________

no body.”

My thought is that since this card is dated around 1868, could this be a note to Carrie from the unknown person “Vanderburgh” whose name appears in the window with Carrie’s? Could this be a note from Carrie to “Vanderburgh”? Or could it not be a love note at all, but a note of distress? Maybe a note contemplating suicide? Maybe it could be Carrie writing of her sadness after losing “Vanderburgh”.

Etching in the Window
“Carrie Turner
W (or M) Van der burgh
May 18, 1869″

I guess we have another mystery to add to the writing in the window!

47 thoughts on “Pieces of the Past

  1. Ashima says:

    Wow! must be so amazing to find these old writings! and here I was getting thrilled at finding my graddad’s journal which are only 60 years old.. 🙂


    • Wow! That must be something wonderful for you! I would love to have something like that from one of our families at Belle Grove. Just think what it will mean for generations from now to read what your Grandfather was thinking!

  2. Susan Norden says:

    I am intrigued, to say the least!

  3. How very cool! What great finds!

  4. Lois says:

    Wonderful… I like your detective story, a fascinating glimpse into the past!

  5. terry1954 says:

    i love it, history, a hidden part of the truths. let us know if you get anymore info!!

  6. Fascinating artifacts. I love piecing together past bits of history.

  7. Madhu says:

    Fascinating 🙂

  8. colmel says:

    I think you may have to ask Carrie. Perhaps that’s who your pup is “waiting” for. Either way, you have some really fascinating stories to research. I’m absolutely sure that the more you find – the more you will need to find.

  9. So much history, thanks for sharing!

  10. squirrel circus says:

    So intriguing!

  11. My gosh, I love reading these posts and this one is just amazing. So mysterious and plausible, too. I’m so glad you’re sharing all this, wish I lived closer so I could visit.

  12. Raquel says:

    That is incredible! I can feel the climate of that era, just looking at the photos of the notes!

    • It really is a lot of fun finding these pieces. It feels just like it did when I was doing the research. I had the chance to hold pieces of papers and notes from days gone by. It was just so overwhelming to know that it was around during different periods of our history.

  13. shawncolbornphotography says:

    I love all of the thinks you have found there. They are little pieces of history.

  14. Dianna says:

    Maybe the “curr” after kiss me quick and kiss me…. is actually Carrie…..?
    It is intriguing, and although you most likely won’t ever know for sure, it’s fun to come up with all sorts of possibilties…!

    • I thought about it saying Carrie, but in it says “I think I hear my mother coming”. I don’t think it would be a boyfriend saying that so I don’t think it could be Carrie. The more I read it, the more I think it was Carrie writing it. But the question is to who and what is the meaning of the note.

  15. […] was inspired to write this post after reading Michelle’s Pieces of the Past. They have this beautiful bed and breakfast in Virginia, steeped in history. And they keep adding […]

  16. Great posts this week, I really enjoyed all of them ~ sorry to respond to one only but time is just running away with me today! 🙂

  17. Jane Sadek says:

    What amazing snippets of history!

  18. Gregoryno6 says:

    In 1987 I had to take up the linoleum flooring in another housd and found sheets of newspaper from WW2. They weren’t in good condition, but I remember a cartoon of Mussolini in striped prison gear. The punchline was ‘The Shirt for Musso’. Not sure how many shirts they sold with that line…

  19. juliesruth says:

    The writing you found is pretty neat, it’s like delving or getting to preview that time period through this individual’s writing or at least a small portion of their life.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s