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1890 Letter Written by Samuel Guinn Bittick to James Henry Bittick

Original letter from the John R. & Cyntha Bittick Bible; owned and transcribed by Ronda J. Snider, 1999

[  ] = added by me; (sic) = as it appears in the original; no corrections to spelling or punctuation were made.

Page 1        Page 2        Page 3        Page 4        Page 5        Page 6        Page 7        Page 8        Envelope


Henrietta Clay Co


                June 14th 1890

Mr. J. H. Bittick [James Henry Bittick]

            Dear Sir & Kinsman

    I received your letter to day and take pleasure in answering it. My Great Grand Father on my fathers side was named Francis. He had Five sons Their names were John, Simeon, Thomas, William and Samuel. This Samuel was my my (sic) Grandfather and I was named for him.


My Fathers name was Francis--he being named for his Grandfather Francis. My Great Grandfather Francis Bittick settled near St. Louis about the year 1800 and my Grandfather Samuel died there when my father was quite a small boy. My Father with his mother moved to Arkansas when my father was quite small. My father moved to Texas 1852.  James Bittick who lived in Jefferson County Missouri


and who died there last winter in his 79th year was an own cousin to my father. I had corresponded with him last year. He was a son of Old John Bittick a brother to my Grandfather Samuel. Every Bittick in Missouri I presume is a descendant of my Great Grandfather Francis. My Great Grand Father Francis had a brother named Samuel who came with him from Wales to America. This Brother settled in Tennessee.


And Tennessee is full of his descendants a good many of his descendants are in Texas some of whom I have seen. But I have never in my life seen a Kinsman of my fathers name who was a descendant of my Great Grand father Francis--and it would be a curiosity to me to see one of my fathers people.


My father had no brothers and I have none. I had one sister and she has been dead about fourteen years. My father died 15 years ago at the age of 64. My mother is alive and lives with me she is 81. She has told me more about my fathers people than any one else. She lived in Missouri when a girl and knows a good deal about the old stock.


I have heard her talk about the Hilder brands you speak of. My Mother knew all the old members of the Bittick family. You ask if my father had an uncle by the name of Thomas. Yes. He an Uncle Thomas an Uncle John and Uncle William and an uncle Simeon. Well you can tell from this what our relationship is. I will be 43 years old next September. I have six children 3 boys and 3 girls  My oldest boy 19 years old is called Leonard Marshall.


My next boy is named Francis E. Bittick and my next boy is named Samuel F. My oldest Daughter is named Mary Lena she is 17--she has just got home from College. My next girl is Leona V. She is 15 years old and my youngest named Birdie is 18 months old. I have been in Texas ever since I was four years old and don't know anything about any other Country. When you write tell me your fathers Name and your Grandfathers name


and your Great Grandfathers name I know we are descendants of the same stock and the same blood Courses our Veins. Write and tell me all you can think to say for I like to get long letters. Send me your Photograph and I will send you mine. How much do you weigh? I weigh 216 but a good deal of this is tallow. Yours Truly.

Samuel G. Bittick [Samuel Guinn Bittick]



[return address; pre-printed on envelope] 

S. G. Bittick, M. D. 

Henrietta, Texas

{postmark = Henrietta Jun 14, 1890

Mr. J. H. Bittick


Douglas Co., MO

[on back of envelope]

{postmark = Florilla, Mo Aug., 12, 1890}

       Dr. Samuel Guinn Bittick wrote this letter in answer to a previous letter from James Henry Bittick. ["I received your letter to day and take pleasure in answering it.", page 1] Samuel G. and James Henry were second cousins (their grandfathers were brothers) ["Well you can tell from this what our relationship is.", page 6].  The letter was placed in the John R. and Cyntha Bittick Bible after James Henry died.  James Henry's brother, Milton Taylor Bittick, inherited the Bible.  

        Samuel G. had previously corresponded with James Bittick, born 1811 (they were first cousins once removed).  Of the correspondence between Samuel G. and James and Samuel G. and James Henry, this is the only letter known to survive.  

        There are several interesting features in this letter.  Of the six sons of Francis and Mary, only Solomon is not listed.  Samuel G. does not name any of Francis and Mary's daughters, but the "Hilderbrands" [page 6] may refer to Hannah Bittick who married David Hildebrand, born 1780.  

       The account of the Bittick origin is also interesting, although not proven. Samuel G. says that Francis and his brother Samuel came from Wales about 1800.  Francis settled near St. Louis, and Samuel went to Tennessee.  [Also see Heirlooms-Our Family Tree] Although there is no proof that Francis (born 1759) had a brother named Samuel who went to Tennessee, Francis was living near St. Louis about 1803.   In James Henry's family, the tradition is similar, although not identical.  According to James Henry's branch of the family, the Bitticks came from Wales to St. Louis about 1800. [Francis was in Missouri near St. Louis prior to the Louisiana Purchase in 1803-see Other Documents-Francis Bittick Land Claim-1808]. They then settled in Missouri, Tennessee and North Carolina; Texas is also mentioned.  These family traditions are interesting, however, to date, there is no evidence for a Francis Bittick (or other spelling variations) coming to the American colonies. While it is unlikely that Francis was born in Wales, it could be possible that his father was Welsh.  The original immigrant or immigrants probably came to the east coast, and the family then moved to other areas.  While most families have their own accounts, the traditions in the families of Samuel G. and James Henry are interesting due to their similarity.

        This letter was nearly two months in transit.  During this time period, mail was often postmarked twice, once at the post office of origin and again at the receiving post office.  At the time of his death on September 28, 1890, James Henry was postmaster at Florilla in eastern Douglas County, Missouri.   Any letter written by James Henry to Samuel G. was probably lost in a fire shortly after this time, according to Alice Dollahan, a descendant of Samuel.

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