The following is a transcription of one of two Chalmers family letters preserved in the Southern Historical Collection of the Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Clarifications are added by RWM in s:
3743 Jocelyn Street N.W.
Washington 15 D.C.
April 21 - 1955
Mr. James W. Patton,
University of North Carolina
My Dear Mr. Patton:
I received from my cousin, David Chalmers of Kansas City, Missouri, a letter apparently written by our great-grandfather to his two little girls at school in Salem .
This James Chalmers was the son of Ronald Chalmers of Gadgirth in Ayrshire, Scotland, and his wife, Lady Janet Hamilton. James came to this country and married Col. Robert William's daughter , she then being the widow of Micajah Watkins. Their children were James Ronald Chalmers, born about 1799; at Chapel Hill 1816; elected by legislature of Tennessee to be solicitor for western (16) district of Tennessee (counties of Weakley, Dyer, Gibson, Obion) in 1823; on August 26, 1824 he died being about twenty-five years old. An obituary is to be found in the Nashville Whig of September 6, 1824.
2d son John Gordon Chalmers born Aug. 25, 1803 , at Chapel Hill in 1821, educated for a physician but was in politics (delegate in Va. Legislature 1826-27, 1827-28) and journalism. In 1827 he married Mary Wade Henderson , daughter of Alexander Henderson of Milton, N.C. Moved to Jackson, Tennessee, merchandizing and farming; moved to Texas about 1840, was one of the three Secretaries of the Treasury under President Mirabeau Lamar; died Jan 1 - 1847 (See Biog. Hist. Notes in Texas State Archives).
My grandfather, David Chalmers, born Feb. 3, 1805, was at Chapel Hill 1821, married Nov. 29, 1826 , the only one of the brothers who did not go West. He bought the ancestral home from his youngest brother when he wanted to go to Tennessee where his motherÂ’s brother, Nathaniel Washington Williams, was judge of the Superior Court.
The youngest son Joseph Williams Chalmers born 1807 died June 1853 in Holly Springs, Mississippi.
There were three daughters of James Chalmers: Lucinda married to a Mr. Galloway; Janet Hamilton , named for his mother, to whom this letter was written ; and Sarah named for her mother and married to Mr. Glenn from whom came , 1844-1918, and Mr. David Chalmer's father, William Murray . My father's daughter, Carrie Carter Chalmers, was married to Mr. V.F. Ward and their daughter Carolyn Chalmers Ward graduated at Chapel Hill about 1933. The brother William was at Chapel Hill about 1940 but went into the Navy and made the supreme sacrifice in 1942. His younger brother, Dixon Henry Ward was at Chapel Hill after World War II studying agronomy and now lives in Warrenton, North Carolina.
I am sending the letter received from Mr. David Chalmers in separate enclosure.
Very truly yours,
Horace H. Chalmers
The son of my other sister, Henry Edmunds Coleman, Jr., of Lexington, Kentucky, received M.A. in English from U.N.C. about 1933.
As time permits, I'll transcribe the copy I received of my g-g-g-g-grandfather's letter, written over 180 years ago.