The Jane Walker Letters

1823-1884

Arkansas

The Jane Walker Letters collection comprises more than 100 Walker and Hawkins family letters that were written between 1823 and 1884, and were sent among family members in Fayetteville.

The family matriarch, Jane Curl Walker Hawkins (1804-1884) saved these letters during her lifetime in an old shoebox that was preserved and passed down to successive generations. In the mid 1980's, Jane's great great-granddaughter, Joanne (O'Kelly) Ferguson painstakingly transcribed the handwritten letters, and annotated the letters to place the writers and subjects in context. Her monumental transcription project has opened a window through which we can meet these 19th century family members on a personal level.

The Jane Walker Letters offer many insights into life in frontier America in the 19th century – 3 examples are discussed in the first tab to the left: the purchase of a stove in 1845, a letter from the California Gold Rush in 1849, and a letter from a Civil War battlefield in 1861.

Several letters are of historical interest regarding specific events in American history – these historical events and the associated letters are summarized at the second tab to the left.

The original handwritten letters were generously donated by Joanne Ferguson to the University of Arkansas Library, Fayetteville, Arkansas, where they now reside in the Special Collections section. The third tab to the left accesses Joanne's complete transcriptions of the letters, complete scans of the original, handwritten letters themselves, an annotated table of contents of all the letters, an index by topic and keyword, and an index by people and places.

Finally, read Jane Curl Walker's life story here.

© 2015. The Jane Walker Letters and transcriptions are protected under copyright law. No commercial use of the letters or their transcriptions is permitted without the express written consent of the Mullins Family History Project. Non-commercial, personal use is permitted with proper attribution to the Mullins Family History Project.