The Mae Wynne McFarland Research Collection is composed of five series: Personal Materials, Walker County/Huntsville, Texas History, War of 1812, and Women and Charitable Organizations. Although each series has interesting points, the most interesting, in my opinion, can be found within the Texas History series.
The Texas History series holds ten boxes of information on subjects such as the Texas prison system, early Texans, and several Texas counties. Amongst this variety of topics, are copies of letters from people who lived and fought during the Civil War. Most of the letters concerning soldiers are accompanied with biographical information.
One interesting set of letters is from Ella Scott of Waverly, Texas to Jeanie English of Montgomery, Texas. While only Ella’s side of the conversation is available, much can still be learned about the mindset of youth during this time. For one letter in particular, Mae Wynne McFarland notes that she didn’t copy it for historical value, but rather “to show that the youthful feminine was the same as today and that ‘war and rumors of war’ had not altered the girlish outlook at that time.” This idea is portrayed throughout the letters, as most are filled with gossip of marriage and engagements of mutual friends of Ella and Jeanie. Ella confesses that she would have to wait until after the war to wed because she wanted a war hero for a husband.
Another letter is just an example of similar stories men dictated on paper to loved ones back home. It is a letter from Charley Waters to his father, Mr. P. B. Waters. Charley describes several points of fighting and rest, mentioning that he was even able to aid three wounded comrades. Exhaustion and uncertainty consumed the men, regardless of rank. Mae Wynne McFarland was able to obtain a copy of this particular letter from Mrs. E. W. Bragg, the sister of Charley Waters, and her granddaughter Mrs. Philippa Kynette.
The Mae Wynne McFarland Research Collection is open for research and available in SHSU Special Collections. Please see the finding aid, here: https://archon.shsu.edu/?p=collections/findingaid&id=92&q=