Courting a Davidson Lady: Part 1
These letters are part of the Louise Withers Sloan Papers in the Davidson College Archives.
Valentines has come and gone. Candy hearts are giving way to colored eggs. Love can spring up and then fade away. Miss Louise Sloan, [http://libraries.davidson.edu/aroundthed/the-calling-cards-of-miss-louise-sloan/] Davidson legend, was courted for years by William Holt Richardson. He wrote her regularly, pleading his case, but Louise remained unpersuaded. His letters tell of love but also, since he was a newspaper reporter, of state and international events from 1914-1921. Louise was 22 to 29 years old when the letters were written.
Below are some of his early letters.
Raleigh 29 Sept 1914
If I write much oftener you will no doubt reach the conclusion that I am writing too often. But I just want to write you a note this afternoon. I will mail it in a box so you won’t get it until later than the time you receive the one I sent at lunch time. Life had not come when I was by Alfred Williams’ just awhile ago, but I guess it will be in by night. I am so glad you enjoy it.
Louise, dearest, does it seem queer to have me writing you from Raleigh again? Sometimes it seems to me as if I had been away from Chattanooga an age. That is when I would like to see my parents. I told you about my father’s going to Atlanta. He will preach there Sunday. He has a first cousin there who is Baptist State Sunday School secretary and will stay in his home.
Dr. White preaches a very good sermon Sunday morning. The choir is just fine now. It has always been good but I think it is better than ever.
When Miss Elsie Stockard (Mrs. Wilson) was here for her father’s funeral she inquired particularly about you. She said she thought you were such a sweet little girl. In Chattanooga she used to ask me about you every time she saw me. Miss Pauline Hill visited her over there in early Spring. Just after Mr. Stockard’s death one of the little children in their home was taken with scarlet fever. It was after Miss Elsie left, however, and I was glad it was for she had her baby with her.
Tomorrow Raleigh’s new Markethouse will be formally opened. Too, the Times will use its new press for the first time. Several thousand have been added to the circulation since the war. And, by the way, the war is continuing in all its fury. Next Sunday is set apart for prayer for peace. I hope the prayer of the righteous will avail. War is an awful disaster. It should stop. I’m opposed to it.
Sweetheart, will you write me soon? Please do. I want you to tell me what asked you. Do it now! Write soon, darling.
6 October 1914 Raleigh
My darling sweetheart,
I hoped to get a letter to day, but it did not come. I know that you would have written if you could, so am waiting for tomorrow’s mail with the hope of getting it then.
How has my little girl been feeling since Sunday? Well, I hope. You asked me if I ever wrote editorials. I wrote two today and they will be run in a day or two as needed. One is on why that American people should be specially thankful this coming Thanksgiving day and the other on “What Does Raleigh Mean to You?” I will send you copies of the papers they are in. Sam Farabee would like for me to write them often for him, but I don’t have time with all the city work to look after. He has run all I have ever written.
Sweetheart, my aunt was asking me about you this afternoon while we were sitting out on the porch together. I told her you were the sweetest little girl that ever lived. She wanted to know why I did not bring you to Raleigh. She told me that you would be welcomed in her home whenever you chose to come and that we could have any part of the house we wanted. I wish you would come. Why not? Really, we could stay there if we chose to and it would be pleasant for only grandmother, aunt and uncle are there. They have two servants, — a woman who does the cooking and a butler, a negro boy. It is a very convenient place. Then, if we decided we wanted to leave Raleigh at any time we could go. Darling, if we are married, my people will all be just as good to you as they can. You will learn to love them. I know you will love my mother. Will you come the first of the year? Why not stop teaching then? If not then, at the end of the session? Please do. We will both be happier. It will be like heaven on earth to have a home with YOU as its queen. Think of the pleasant times we could have together,– of the long evenings we could read together and talk together about all kinds of interesting things, and enjoy being with each other,– of the places of amusement we could go to together. We could both get passes to go to either of your homes, the one at Davidson or the one there in Clarkton. Darling, you would be the light of my very life. You are all the world to me.
Write me soon, will you? I will write again mighty soon, if nothing happens.
Jan Blodgett moved to Davidson in 1994. In 2017, she retired after 23 years as the Davidson College Archivist. Jan and former Davidson College history professor, Ralph Levering, are the co-authors of "One Town, Many Voices: A history of Davidson, North Carolina."