Moran Place is located in Dresden,TN. Built by John Williamson Moran for his wife Sophia Riley Gunn. The house used a modified design of George Barber's Cottage no. 36 from his Cottage Souvenir Book No. 2. Construction began in 1895 but was put on hold when Sophia Moran became ill. She died Oct. 7 1895. A few months after her death construction resumed. This blog is about the history of the Moran family & their life at Moran Place. Money is fleeting, History is forever.
The letters include new information! We didn't know Ida Moran attended the New England Conservatory of Music. Shepherd was trying to set Harrell up with a mystery woman named Elise. Well, she probably wasn't a mystery to him but she is to us. The second letter is to Fannie. Shepherd mentions Sophie and addresses her as "cousin". I know there is a Gardner connection possibility somewhere but don't know if that is the family connection being referred to here. Shepherd mentions friends from Wards visiting her. That would be Ward's Seminary in Nashville which later became Belmont College. Fannie also attended Wards. It seems there was a mystery man named Mr. Parks who was interested in Fannie and gone so far as to take pictures from Shepherd's album, presumably of Fannie!
Before proceeding to the letters here's a bit of background regarding Shepherd and her husband William.
Shepherd Milner married William Connell Fowlkes December 17, 1889. If you'd like to see the wedding invitation and birth announcement for Martin Fowlkes in 1891 you can visit that page here. In addition to their son Martin, they had Benjamin M. Fowlkes and George Gardner Fowlkes. The curious thing about Martin is that his birth announcement clearly says his name is Martin Irl (corruption of Earl perhaps?) Fowlkes but other records say his middle name was Milner. According to the death certificate, Shepherd was the daughter of Ben Milner, mother unknown, and was born in 1870. She died at Bolivar in 1952 and is buried at Fairview Cemetery in Dyersburg.
I haven't been able to find anything about a Ben Milner but I believe there is a good chance that wasn't correct anyway. She may possibly be the daughter of Terrisha Aurelius Milner and his wife Rebecca Melissa Abington, who had been married previously to James Richard Gardner. If so that means she was recorded as "Saluda S. (Shepherd maybe?) Milner" in the Census records of 1880 along with her brothers/half brothers Henry, Benjamin, and George. Rebecca and A.T. Milner are buried at Stovall Cemetery in Obion County. The entire Milner listing for the cemetery is here and it includes Saluda Stovall Milner and B.J. Milner, parents of A.T. Milner. (Census Records 1850, Weakley County)
Shepherd's husband William was the son of William P. Fowlkes and Sarah E. Connell. He was born in 1865 and died in 1941 and is also buried at Fairview Cemetery. There is another blog entry about William's sister Sallie. She married William Henry Haywood.
page 1 to Harrell
On to the letters....
The first letter is dated February 1898 and is to "Harold", aka Harrell.
My dear Harold:
No doubt you have forgotten such a human exists, and I can only think of you as "Bob Taylor's" barefooted boy", for I visited at your home seven years ago this past Summer, and I can't remember how you look, only that you were barefooted, but Elise tells met that you are a "thing of beauty and a joy forever" now, and that you were not barefooted while she was at Dresden. She spent one day and night with me last week, and we planned many schemes to get you down here. Presume you will wonder who I am & ask Fanny and she'll tell you.
page 2 to Harrell
Don't you think you can come down and make us a visit, and Mr. Fowlkes will go bird hunting with you, and if you don't like that there is another attraction you know, and we will have a "house party" for a few days. Perhaps I would tell you some of these lovely things to Elise and about you. Tell Fanny I'm going to write her in a few days. I'm nearly wild to see she and Jim. I hear Ida is in Boston at the N.E. Conservatory and so glad she went. We have a young lady from here there at the School of Oratory & I'm going to write her to go to see Ida.
Miss Chiles from Dresden was here today & I just saw her, that was all. We took dinner at the "Hotel Dismukes" and Mr. Crane and Mr. Dismukes both called to see her (Miss Chiles) this aft. Tell Fanny I'll never get through telling her that nice things Mr. Crain said about her. Jim must get a ??
I've written quite a letter. Hope you consider the matter, and run down to see all your friends.
With much love for all. I'm,
Shepherd Milner Fowlkes
Dyersburg, January the Thirteenth, Ninety eight
The second letter is to Fannie Moran dated February 14 1891.
page 1 to Fannie
Feb. 14 '91
My dearest Fan
Your letter received yesterday and I will show my great appreciation of it by responding at once. I've been thinking I'd write, and see what had become of you ever since were to see you in Sept. but failed to so.have heard from you a few times through "Mr. Parks". Certainly I will write him at once for the pictures, which he "stole" out of my Album. he promised to return them, and I'll make him do it. He is over here quite often, and always comes up to see us, really I have him selected for my "second", should I ever need one. What on earth is the matter with you? Know he has given you the "shake".
page 2 to Fannie
Quite a crowd of us are going to Memphis Monday night to hear Jefferson & Florence- wish you could come down and go with us in place of going to Nashville, by the way, can't you make us a visit soon; you can't imagine how much we all would appreciate a visit from you. Dyersburg is unusually gay now, quite a number of young ladies visiting here, and a "dancing school" and a "protracted meeting" in progress help to make things lively.
We have two of our School mates with us, and have been here every since Xmas. One of them, Mamie Heron, of Water Valley Mississippi was my room-mate at Wards, so you know I'm happy she's a lovely girl wish you knew yer. The other one also attended Wards & is up from Pecan Point Ark. I expect to be housekeeping in about a month or six weeks, & I shall certainly expect you to visit me this Spring or Summer.
page 3 to Fannie
We are building now & will have such a pretty home when completed. Connell has fallen very much in love with you, and cousin Sophie too-we fully expected some of you to Conference, but was disappointed. I had a long letter from Julia last week, she apeaks of coming out in the spring.
Carrie & Sallie (Shepherd's sisters-in-law) join me in lots of love to yourself & Mama. Write me as often as you can, am always glad to hear from you. Connell is out here, but I'll send his love any way,