Pieces of the Past

19/09/12 11:41 PM

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”Β  “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!

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Year of the Virginia Historic Homes | 47 Comments »

47 Comments 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.. πŸ™‚


  2. 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!

  3. Susan Norden Says:

    I am intrigued, to say the least!

  4. I just hope we can figure out more about them.

  5. How very cool! What great finds!

  6. I think so too! I hope we can figure out where the note came from.

  7. Lois Says:

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

  8. It has been so much fun! I just wish I had the resources that the history detectives have!

  9. Lois Says:

    Wouldn’t that be just great, to travel and to get access to all the private material and records!

  10. It really would! Just think of what answers I could find!

  11. terry1954 Says:

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

  12. I will for sure! I Just hope we can find out more.

  13. terry1954 Says:

    u will, it is only misplaced from your eyes for this moment only………………………

  14. You are such a great support πŸ˜‰

  15. terry1954 Says:

    it is easy when i love what you do!

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

  17. This is my first big adventure into piecing it together. I just love the small pieces and trying to fit them together.

  18. Madhu Says:

    Fascinating πŸ™‚

  19. Thank you! It has been a lot of fun finding them!

  20. 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.

  21. I would love to ask Carrie! I just wish I could hear her! But as I find things I hope that she will “speak” to me through them. Who knows, maybe it was her Hurley was waiting on πŸ™‚

  22. So much history, thanks for sharing!

  23. Thank you! We love sharing our finds! Yes, there is so much more that I know we have yet to find!

  24. squirrel circus Says:

    So intriguing!

  25. It really is, isn’t it!

  26. JulesPaige Says:


  27. It really is, isn’t it?

  28. 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.

  29. It is like an adventure as we work towards our goal. We are so excited to share them with everyone too. We will just have to share the adventure so you can feel like you are a part of it!

  30. Raquel Says:

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

  31. 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.

  32. shawncolbornphotography Says:

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

  33. Thank you! We have loved finding them! I know was we start doing the landscape and restoring the dependencies, we are going to find so much more!

  34. 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…!

  35. 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.

  36. […] 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 […]

  37. Thank you so much for sharing our blog with your readers! It really means a lot to us!

  38. 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! πŸ™‚

  39. No worries! Thank you! We can’t wait to share all the fun from this weekend!

  40. Jane Sadek Says:

    What amazing snippets of history!

  41. It really was! Wait until you see what I got this weekend!!

  42. 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…

  43. Wow! What a great find! I can’t say we are going to get that chance with the manor house since it has already been restored, but there is always the dependencies!

  44. Fascinating!

  45. Thank you!! I think so too.

  46. 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.

  47. I can’t tell you how exciting it is to see it! It’s like getting a personal note from them or making a connection. I hope we can find a lot more!