Letters Reveal Private View of 1800’s North Carolina Life

Personal Letters Dated 1871-1880 to Salem Resident Livingston N. Clinard

Document the Pioneer Days of Hickory, North Carolina

ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA – May 1, 2007 –Reminiscing Books’ latest publication, My Dear Father and Mother, is a compilation of over 250 vintage letters written by family, friends and business associates of Livingston N. Clinard of Salem, North Carolina. The letters document the personal experiences of a close-knit 19th century family and include detailed eyewitness accounts of early business and social activities.

“After reading these letters I knew they were destined to be shared, so that others could learn from them and enjoy them as much as I did,” said co-compiler Karen Clinard, after receiving copies of the nearly forgotten letters from a cousin researching their family history. “I found myself visualizing the people, the clothing and the sights of the era”

Frank Clinard, son of L. N. Clinard and author of many of the letters, left Salem in 1873 to become a store clerk in the small town of Hickory, North Carolina. The letters follow his personal growth from a young man whose attention and interests were focused on learning the “fancy dances,” to a mature and dedicated husband, father and businessman. “I have found out one thing, & that is, if a man expects to make any money or a name for himself, he must go in business & not work on a salary…I must look ahead. I have some children that I expect to try & give good educations.”

Life was not easy for those early settlers. Throughout the letters sickness and disease is a major fear. In 1876, “Diptheria is raging here at an alarming extent…Every body is burning tar, & every old log & chips…Every cellar & filthy place in town has been cleaned up. Even in church today they had a bucket of tar burning…I have been carrying a disinfective in my pocket till I smell like an old Carbolic soap box.” And later, "The grave yard looks bad, got new graves all over." In 1879, “Our baby is very sick, has not slept for two days & nights & Dr. says if she does not soon sleep, she can't last much longer,” states a distraught Frank, “I hardly think she will live 24 hours.”

The growth of Hickory is detailed as it was becoming a thriving hub for local and mountain farmers to sell and trade their produce and other goods. “It seems that nothing will stop these mountain wagons from coming in here…We have shipped about 800,000 lbs dried fruit and berries, think we will reach 1,000,000 lbs.,” said Frank in 1877. In another letter he comments, “Hickory is on the upward tide, several families have moved here recently & more coming. There are several Tobacco Factories to be opened here shortly. There are six or eight new houses being built at present.”

Other letters discuss politics of the era, concerts and entertainment, local fairs, balls, temperance meetings, the railroad, tobacco, the marriage of Frank Clinard and the birth of several of his children. Also the hotel business in Athens, Ga, descriptions of the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia and correspondence about medications from World’s Dispensary Medical Association used by Mrs. Livingston Clinard.

Selected letter excerpts may be read on-line at ReminiscingBooks.com

My Dear Father and Mother, The Personal Letters of Livingston N. Clinard
is published by Reminiscing Books, Asheville, N.C.
Publication date August  2007.     $24.95


Also available online at ReminiscingBooks.com or via mail at

Reminiscing Books, 1070-1 Tunnel Rd., Suite 10 #326, Asheville, NC 28805.

Distributed to the book trade by
John F. Blair, Publisher
Winston-Salem, NC 27103


My Dear Father and Mother, The Personal Letters of Livingston N. Clinard
compiled by Karen L. Clinard and Richard Russell.
First edition, 6 x 9, 280 pages,
ISBN-10: 0-9793961-6-6, ISBN-13: 978-0-9793961-6-8.
See our site
for cover photos.

Contact: Richard Russell
Reminiscing Books
1070-1 Tunnel Rd., Suite 10 #326
Asheville, NC 28805

info@reminiscingbooks.com               http://www.reminiscingbooks.com/