Date Original

1879 September 5


Letter from John Rector to his sister, Annie Rector Copeland.

Biographical/Historical Note

Annie M. Rector was born in July 1855, the daughter of W.A. (William) Rector of Little Rock, Arkansas, and Martha Hinston, who died in 1858. W.A. Rector was born a slave of Chester Ashley, United States Senator from Arkansas, 1844-1848. During Reconstruction, W.A. Rector was elected city collector, city marshal, and constable. He was also a member of the famed Ashley Band of Little Rock. Annie married William L. Copeland on October 22, 1874, in Pulaski County. Copeland, a lawyer, was born in 1845 in Oberlin, Ohio, and served in the Union Army during the Civil War. He also served in the Arkansas Legislature from 1873-1875, representing Crittenden County. The family moved back to Little Rock at the end of his legislative career. Copeland worked for the postal service before becoming a Little Rock policeman. He died in the line of duty on December 30, 1885, from wounds received in an attempt to apprehend a convict. Annie Rector Copeland died on May 12, 1915, in Hot Springs, Arkansas. She is buried with members of the Rector family in Fraternal Cemetery, Little Rock, Arkansas.


Little Rock Ark Sept 5th 1879
Dear Sister your long expected and interest-
ing letter is received and I answer with extra
promptness because the time that I desire to
come and see you is not far away and
I thought it proper to inform you of circum-
stances. You see if I expect to return to school
I will come about the 24th as school begins
on the 1st monday [sic] in october[sic]. Sister don't think
that I would under any circumstances use
formality toward you but as both of us are
so neglectful as to writing I thought it no
harm to recall the time when we did write
but I guess the testimony is on your side as
I remember you were continually asking me
to write, I will now confine myself more
strictly to answering the contents of your
letter. The cause of Alice's death was fever
produced from some of these women complaints

which I think is termed mis-carried
and what is worse[,] Mr Handy came to see
and nurture her bust was driven from home
by Mrs Richmond. I know you see Pa know
for you (?) him with those fits. Mr
Jenifer is improving but is not well
Mrs M(?) leave for Cincinnati on
the 8th[,] will be gone about 1 months
I sent you a postal in which I told you
that Henderson Sparks was bad. But I did
not explain. He and several other boys
were out on a serenade during which time
a quarrel ensued between Henderson and William
Logan or Watson about music which terminated
by Henderson kicking Logan in the stomach where
upon Logan cut him in left breast under the
heart but was not thought serious as the wound
was not deep. Logan visited Sparks and promised to pay
his Doctor bill, Sparks would not prosecute him because
they were intimate friends. this [sic] was done on Friday night
Sparks died on Sunday night. Logan came to see him
when he was dying. But went down town and on
his return I told him Henderson was dead

he [sic] went home and fixed[,] then came down and gave
himself up to the officers. I don't think Judge
Gibbs intends locating in Kansas but was appointed
on that Windom committee which was sent there
to express there [sic] thoughts as to whether it would
suit the negro or not. We live in the house
just back of the Scott St house only on Cumberland
it is very nice and Willie Josenburger and Reed May(?)
in one room of it. Mary has another little
old girl, arrived on the 1st Sept just like
Elias. If I come you know milk and butter
and especially clabor I will enjoy.
Chicken and eggs too are nice[.] We had a very
nice concert last night. Elias and Sallie Wilson
sang a piece which was played by Mrs Smith[,]
wife of Dr Smith[.] I guess you remember him
Wash Clark has gone to Jersey City after his
family. When he returns I will come and see you
if possible. I do at McCabe office just as
Willie Joshenburger does at the Fort Smith
office and am a little deputy too. I guess you
have got enough news in this letter if you
can read it[.] All send love,
excuse bad writing as I am tired But
I guess you can read it because Mr Copeland
write like it.
Louis and Chas send kiss
Yours Affectionately
John Rector

Physical Description



Correspondence; Family


John Rector

Geographical Area

Little Rock, Pulaski County (Ark.)




MS.000541, Box 1, Folder 7

Resource Type



Rector-Copeland family collection, MS.000541


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

Letter, John Rector to Annie Rector Copeland, Rector-Copeland family collection, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.


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Letter, John Rector to Annie Rector Copeland