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I visited my brother John in his home in Boulder Colorado, back in October of 2010 to review the family archives he received when our family home was closed up in 1998. Much to my surprise I found it to be a wealth of vital information, including: photos, pocket watch, certificates, booklets, newspapers, jewelry, wallets, deeds, loan document, financial ledgers, diaries, and letters. I was overwhelmed and focused on photographing and scanning what I could. What I could not address, I shipped home to continue my work. That work is not yet done after seven years! When I discovered several boxes of personal letters, I just had to set them aside for another day, and included them in the boxes headed back to my home in Rochester, NY. Here is what I found for items related only to my grandfather Frank A. Bliley's generation: a gallery of material and outline of items scanned and shared on CD ROMs to the family.
Between 2014 and 2017, hundreds of the letters were scanned. Some were transcribed. The production team included my cousin and fellow family history contributor Norma Venable, and her able husband, Wally. Wally did the scanning; Norma did the bulk of the transcriptions in the bundles I gave them. I took my pile to Florida in 2014 and scanned and transcribed hundreds of letters there. It is an overwhelming project and establishing presentation standards was a good goal, but was not fully achieved. Still, much was accomplished and we have resolved to finish whatever we can and wrap it up by the summer of 2018.
What is presented on this page is what we have produced to date. There are some real gems in this collection. I hope you find them of value and a joy.
Frank was an adventurous young man who regularly traveled to Colorado to visit and work for his brothers out there. He even volunteered to serve in the "Ute Indian War" of 1887 with his older brother, Alex. He also was uncertain as to his career and studied for three different professions: book keeper, teacher, and lawyer. The last was his long term profession in Erie, PA. For more details on his life and career click here. You may also find a chronology of his life beneficial to determine where he was in life when he received these letters.
The following is a list of family members' letters in Frank's archive. In total, there are about 400 items of correspondence.
(Click on Name to See Letters Descriptions)
NAME PHOTO VITALS RELATIONSHIP # LETTERS NOTES 1864–1890? Cousin 34? Adopted daughter of Andrew Blila sister, Mary Bliley Rastatter. Adopted by Andrew in 1866 after mother's death. No certain death date or cause. She was also believed to have been pregnant out of wedlock and bore a female child in 1887. This as an embarrassment to the family in this time period. Bliley, Alex 1848–1905 Brother 22 Moved to Colorado to make a living in the mining industry. Drowned in a mine accident servicing machinery he sold to mining company. Bliley, Charles Anderson Bliley 1822–1906 Father 1 He sent a note to Frank giving him permission to pursue a career other than the family farm. In other words, get a job. We are done paying for you to explore three professions! Bliley, David Charles 1849–1923 Brother 9 Known as the "sailor boy" to me from a tintype of him in uniform while serving in the U.S. Navy just after the Civil War. Moved to Akron, Ohio as an adult and married there. Bliley, Lula Edna Dawson 1875–1945 Wife 11 Married Frank: June 21, 1905. Wagner, Mary Agnes Bliley 1857–1931 Sister 2 Sister who moved back home to live with her parents until they died after her husband died as a young man. She brought two children, Inez and Sam with her. Bliley, Mary Jane Mead 1827–1913 Mother 1 Only one letter to brother Jehu at the end of the Civil War. And, family matriarch. (See Jehu Mead) Bliley, Frank Anderson 1865–1946 Letter Collector Seventh son of Charles and Mary Jane Bliley; collector of these letters and genealogist. It was Frank that collected these letters. Bliley, Ellen Lousina "Nellie" 1863–1899 Sister 60 Beloved sister who died at the age of 26 from a long-term digestive system issue. She was also an intellectual and prolific writer. Bliley, Rosanna "Rose" Jane 1860–1909 Sister 41 Many interesting letters, including 13 postal cards. Bliley, Ross 1871–1941 Brother 16 Six-year younger brother and last child of Charles and Mary Jane. Began working life in Colorado, then returned to PA. Bliley, Wilfred Henry 1859–1928 Brother 2 Slighter older brother who purchased the family farm on Station Road after his parents retired and worked it for decades. Bonnell, Josephine Bliley 1854–1918 Sister 10 Bonnell, Minnie 1867–???? Cousin 2 Deer, Eleanor Ellen Bliley Wilson 1820–188? Aunt 3 Sister of Frank's father who came to America with Andrew's fmaily. Lambing, Barbara Bliley 1852–1928 Sister 23 Lambing, Wilbur 1891–1968 Nephew 1 Careers in leather and insurance sales. A family favorite! Mead, Jehu Brother of Frank's mother. Lived in the Harborcreek area. Wilson, Charles "Charlie" A. Nephew of Frank's and son of Eleanor Bliley Wilson Deer. Lived in the midwest before he began his service in the Civil War.
The following is a working list of letters that have been scanned from the archives. A portion of the letters have notes within the PDF files as pop-up notes, or have a short biographical sketch of the writer and their relationship with Frank. Some files are of transcriptions only to make them easier to read and search for key words.In many cases, the handwriting, jargon, punctuation and spellings are a challenge to decode. Original scans of these letters are available upon request.
- Some are selected because they are uniquely interesting and some are one or two from special people for whom there are very few other examples of their writing or penmanship. I am working on scanning other letters in the collection.
- The linked PDF files are comparatively low resolution for a quick download and viewing. Higher resolution PDF version and very high quality scans are available on request.
- Names without any associated files have letters in the collection, but have not yet been processed. The names are presented here for reference only.
These PDF files are likely to be changed in the future to add notes about the author and possibly a quick summary of the contents.
Consider all the ones with descriptive notes to be drafts. These files range between 150k and 25 megabytes. File size will be displayed for most of these downloads.
BLILA, FRANCES IDA RASTATTER
Letters Written by Frances
- Letter to Frank, April 1, 1876 (270k, PDF )
- Letter to Frank, January 12, 1882 (400k, PDF )
- Letter to Frank, December 12, 1882 (350k, PDF )
Letters Written with Comments About Frances' About Her Out-of Wedlock Pregnancy
- Nellie Bliley Letter—21 May 1884 (Reference found in Nellie's letters in PDF.)
- Nellie Bliley Letter—21 March 1887 (Reference found in Nellie's letters in PDF.)
- "Notes and Reflections from the Diaries of Alex Bliley"—Believed to be compiled by Ross Bliley. The actual diary's location is unknown. (180k, PDF )
- Letter Compilation 1881 to 1887—Nineteen letters and one postal card written by Alex to Frank from 1881 to 1887. Frank went to Colorado several times to work for Alex in Colorado. (500k, PDF )
BLILEY, CHARLES ANDERSON
- Letter of February 1884—Charles' letter to his son Frank. Charles tells him his mother an himself will be no longer offer financial support for his education in yet another career. (150k, PDF )
BLILEY, DAVID CHARLES
- Note to His Sister (Scanned in JPEG / Transcription in Text )
- Letter to Frank Bliley—April 3, 1889 (3.7Mb, PDF )
BLILEY, ELLEN "NELLIE" LOUSINA
- Compilation of Her Letters—February 21, 1863–December, 5, 1889; Draft 9. Letters (47) and Postal Cards (47) (2.6Mb, PDF )
- Sample Letters—Useful for analysis of her handwriting.
- Last Days of Nellie's Life—Written by her older sister Agnes Bliley. See her sister Mary Agnes Bliley Wagner's entry.
BLILEY, FRANK ANDERSON
- Letter to President Cleveland and his reply.—This is an incredible, albeit short, letter to the president Cleveland just months after he left office. In it, Frank (age 24) asks the president what newspapers he likes published in the New York City, or northeast, area that were "true advocates of democracy". Much to my surprise, and perhaps Frank's, the president wrote a short supportive reply on Frank's letter and returned it to him. Thoughtfully, Frank included a self-addressed and stamped envelope. (200k, PDF)
Short Note—Written to his cousin, David Mead, December 1, 1889 (2.7 Mb, PDF )
BLILEY, ROSANNA ("ROSE")
- Letter to Frank, February 25, 1889 (800k, PDF )
Note: This letter to Frank from Rose who is staying at Alex and Hulda Bliley’s home in Aspen for the winter.
- Compilation of Rose's Letters: 1880–1890 (4.5Mb, PDF )
- Letter Home—A journal of his move from Corry, Pennsylvania to San Diego, California in 1942
Jehu appears to be the skeleton in our family closet. He was a farmer, lumberman, hunter, Civil War draft dodger. He could not afford buying a replacement for his draft call, so he headed off to an unknown area in northern Michigan. A decade after the war, he fraudulently filed for a soldier's pension after the Civil War based on wounds he used in his draft exemption. It was denied.
The following are a set of letters written by his bartering regarding his request for a draft deferment, and then at the end of the war, a letter from his sister asking him to return home and all was forgiven.
WAGNER, MARY AGNES BLILEY
This letter is a very interesting description of traveling across America in the early days of World War II. It is an excellent story with humor and commentary on the civilian life inn San Diego, California.
- Last Days of Nellie's Life—Written the passing of Agnes' young sister in December of 1889 in Harbor Creek at the family home. (3.9Mb, PDF )
WILSON, CHARLES ("CHARLIE") A.—CIVIL WAR SOLDIER, 1861–63
There are four letters in the collection authored by Charles A. Wilson in 1861 to 1863 in the possession of the Bliley family and scanned in November 2011, by Charles A. Bliley of Rochester, NY. Two of the letters were written from Iowa and the other two from other locations while he was serving in the Union Army during the Civil War.
After the marriage of Charles A. Bliley and Mary Jane Mead, Charles' mother (Catherine Eich) and Charles' nephew Charlie Wilson, lived with them in the Kuhl Road house, located about a mile south of the Colt Station Road. Charlie was pretty much raised by Charles and Mary Jane. When he was twenty, he traveled to Renick, Missouri and spent six months there with his mother, Eleanor ("Ellen") Bleile-Wilson-Deer. He then went to Iowa and had worked there about three years when he enlisted in the Civil War. He was in the war something less than one year when he was stricken with a fever and died. He was buried in New Orleans.
- About the Letters of Charles A. Wilson (Draft Web page and PDF )
- Letter of October 28, 1859—Charles writes asking his uncle Charles A. Bliley for assistance in getting his other uncle Andrew Blila to ship him the box of clothes he needs to use for work. He also describes the lynching of a horse thief in town. Also, a note of support from Charles’s mother, Eleanor Bliley Wilson Deer.
- Letter of February 11, 1863 ( 800k, PDF )
- Letter of February 15, 1861— Letter to Uncle Charles A. Bliley describing his new life as a farmer leasing 55 acres from George Beamers. (800k, PDF )
- Letter of March 16, 1862 (800k, PDF )
- Letter of October 28, 1859
Letters to Be Published
BLILEY, WILFRED HENRY
BLILEY, LULA EDNA DAWSON
BONNELL, JOSEPHINE BLILEY
DEER, ELEANOR "ELLEN" BLILEY WILSON
LAMBING, BARBARA BLILEY
WOOSTER, MARY KATHARINE "MEME" DAWSON
- Colorado Bundle – 60 Letters from family & friends
- Letters were found from several friends in Denver to him in Aspen were in the collection.
- Ellen Lousina signed her letters with “Nell” and “Nellie”
- Aunt Ellen Bliley Wilson Deer wrote to Frank in Aspen in 1886/87. (Her husband, W. H. Deer, was the Publisher of the “Renick Reporter” of Missouri.)
- 1905—Rt. Rev. F. S. Spalding (bishop), Episcopalian Bishop of Utah wrote to congratulate Frank on his marriage. Frank was an Episcopal, but his connection to his man is unknown to me.
- Letterhead –Alex Bliley, Deane Street, Aspen, CO: “Fay’s Water-Proof Building Material, for roofing, siding, ceiling, in place of plaster. Made also into carpets and rugs.
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This site and associated images are Copyright 2017, by Charles A. Bliley, Webster, NY, U.S.A.
Permission granted for use in personal genealogy work and non-profit distribution with copyright and source credit.
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