Historical Document Archives

The Hill Collection - Index: LoveLetters

The Story Behind These Loveletters

For over 100 years, the original letters (about 80) of William Hill and Mary Carnes Hill were stored in a small box at the home of their son and my grandfather, Dr. William Walter Hill. They have remained in remarkably good condition. In transcribing them, I have attempted to faithfully retain the original spelling and wording throughout although on a few occasions I have added words or letters in parentheses for clarification. In a number of places, I have inserted blank spaces to indicate my inability to make out wording. I cannot guarantee that I have been able to find all of my typographical errors even though I have made a concerted effort to do so.

About 1850, William Hill and Mary Carnes first met when they were students at Burritt College in Spencer, Tennessee. They both completed the course at college in 1852. William went back to his home in White County and began working in a bank, but Mary stayed at the college where her father, William Davis Carnes, was president. She began teaching at the school and continued to study music and other courses. Click on the links below to read the remarkable and historic love letters of William J. Hill and Mary Carnes.

Charles Massey


Early Courtship (January 8, 1853 - March 1854):

William Hill to Mary Carnes, January 8, 1853
Mary Carnes to William Hill, January 10, 1853
Mary Carnes to William Hill, August 1, 1853


Plans for Marriage (March 1854 - July 1854):

William Hill to Mary Carnes, March 7, 1854
Mary Carnes to William Hill, March 27, 1854
William Hill to Mary Carnes, March 29, 1854
William Hill to Mr. and Mrs. W. D. Carnes, April 4, 1854
Mary Carnes to William Hill, April 7, 1854
William Hill to Mary Carnes, April 25, 1854
William Hill to Mary Carnes, May 9, 1854
William Hill to Mary Carnes, May 27, 1854
Mary Carnes to William Hill, May 30, 1854
William Hill to Mary Carnes, June 8, 1854
William Hill to Mary Carnes, June 17, 1854
William Hill to Mary Carnes, June 30, 1854
William Hill to Mary Carnes, July 6, 1854
William Hill to Mary Carnes, July 8, 1854
N. D. Estabrook to Mary Carnes
Mary Carnes to William Hill, July 10, 1854


Early Marriage (July 1854 - June 1856):

William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, December 20, 1854
William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, December 27, 1854
Elizabeth Carnes to her daughter Mary Carnes Hill, March 18, 1855
William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, June 27, 1855
William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, September 30, 1855
William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, December 26, 1855
William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, December 30, 1855
William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, February 24, 1856


The Death of Elizabeth (June 1859 - September 1859):

William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, July 3, 1859
William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, July 5, 1859
William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, July 7, 1859
William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, July 12, 1859
William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, July 17, 1859
William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, July 19, 1859
William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, July 24, 1859
William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, July 26, 1859
William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, July 31, 1859
William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, August, 1859
William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, August 22, 1859
Mary Carnes Hill to William Hill, August 25, 1859
William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, August 28, 1859
William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, September 2, 1859
William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, September 4, 1859


The Texas Letters (March 1861 - June 1861):

W.D. Carnes to Mary Carnes Hill, March 23, 1861
W.D. Carnes to Mary Carnes Hill, April 8, 1861
William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, April 24, 1861
William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, May 4, 1861


The War (November 1861 - February 1862):

William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, November 28, 1861
Mary Carnes Hill to William Hill, December 1, 1861
William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, December 4, 1861
Mary Carnes Hill to William Hill, December 15, 1861
Mary Carnes Hill to William Hill, January 7, 1862
William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, January 12, 1862
William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, January 15, 1862
Mary Carnes Hill to William Hill, January 19, 1862
William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, January 21, 1862
Mary Carnes Hill to William Hill, January 22, 1862
William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, January 26, 1862
William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, February 2, 1862
William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, February 6, 1862
Mary Carnes Hill to William Hill, February 12, 1862
Mary Carnes Hill to William Hill, February 16, 1862
William Hill to Mary Carnes Hill, February 21, 1862


Survival (1862 - 1881):

Mary Carnes Hill to W.W. Hill, October 30, 1881

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