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Mary Coley Letters

Identifier: Ms-1991-065

Scope and Content

This collection contains 24 letters addressed to Mary Everit Coley of New Haven, Connecticut, from relatives and friends. Included in the collection are seven letters from Coley's mother, S. M. E. [Sarah Mansfield Everit], which largely consist of family news. She also briefly describes a train trip to Akron, Ohio, to visit William and Addie; mentions the Battle of Gettysburg and William's position as a captain of a home guard unit; and complains about some dental work performed on her. She also describes a doctor's remedy for a head injury suffered by her grandson and discusses other family illnesses and the excitement surrounding the return of Union volunteers during the American Civil War. The collection also contains six letters from Coley's friend Isabelle [Isabelle Mercein Fuller, variously identified elsewhere as Isabel and Isabella]. Many of Fuller's letters focus on her mourning and coping with the deaths of three of her children in their infancies. Also included is a letter from niece Mary L. L. Mettauer of Prince Edward, Virginia, discussing the recent yellow fever deaths of her sister Sarah and brother-in-law. The collection also contains three letters from friend M. H. Goodyear [Mary Henrietta Colt Goodyear], who discusses family illnesses, including whooping cough. Within the three letters from friend Chas. H. Prescott is a description of an 1876 trip to Malaga, Spain. Other correspondents represented with letters in the collection are "Sister S. M.," M. A. Colt, Edward Eld, and (with a telegram) W. B. Coley. Also included are a railroad tax receipt for William E. Lane of Lebanon, Indiana; and two envelopes.


  • 1851 - 1876


Language of Materials

The materials in the collection are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials.

Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: Please contact Special Collections and University Archives ( or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.

Biographical Note

Mary M. Everit, daughter of Captain Richard and Sarah Mansfield Everit, was born in Connecticut around 1829. She married John H. Coley Jr. (ca. 1828-1892) in New Haven, Connecticut, on August 9, 1851; the Coleys would have at least four children (Mary C., Isabel C., William B., and John H.). The 1860 census lists John H. "Cooley" (a 31-year-old merchant) and Mary Cooley, 30, among the residents in the New Haven, Connecticut home of Richard and Sarah Everit. By 1870, the Coleys were living in their own home in New Haven, with five children and three servants. Late in life, John H. Coley suffered a financial setback and moved with Mary to Kansas, trying with mixed success to rebuild his fortune; by 1887, he was operating a steam laundry business in Emporia. He died in Parsons, Kansas, June 27, 1892, and was buried in New Haven. A widowed Mary M. Coley, 81, appears among the residents in the Litchfield, Connecticut, home of her son-in-law, Frank B. Draper, in the 1910 census. By 1912, Coley was living in New Milford (Litchfield County), Connecticut. Mary Everit Coley died in New Milford on July 7, 1912.


0.1 Cubic Feet (1 folder)


Letters addressed to Mary Everit Coley of New Haven, Connecticut, from relatives and friends, focusing on personal activities and news, particularly illnesses and deaths, including the deaths of three infant children of Coley's friend, Isabelle Mercein Fuller.

Source of Acquisition

The Mary Coley Letters were purchased by Special Collections and University Archives in 1991.

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the Mary Coley Letters by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (

Processing Information

The processing and description of the Mary Coley Letters commenced and was completed in October, 2022.

Mary Coley Letters, 1851-1876
John M. Jackson
2022 (CC0 1.0)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US