Civil War Love Letters: After the War
After an extraordinary life that included immigrating to the United States from Ireland, traveling to Australia and living there for four years, and then surviving four years of war, James Love married Molly Wilson on May 2, 1865, and then had an ordinary, presumably happy, life. Unfortunately, he did not leave behind any correspondence, diaries, or other papers to document the rest of his life, but city directories, the census, and other sources at least provide information on where he lived and his occupation.
In 1866, James and Molly lived in their first home, located at 927 North 20th Street in St. Louis. James worked as a bookkeeper for wholesale grocer Francis Lepere, the same place where he worked when he first came to St. Louis in the early 1850s. On May 20, 1867, James and Molly had their first child, and only son, William S. Love. In 1868, James started to work as a cashier for the Union Savings Association, where his brother-in-law William C. Wilson was the vice-president. The following year, James and Molly’s first daughter, Maude, was born. In 1871, James and Molly moved to a new home at 1916 Wash Street, and on March 23 of that year, their daughter Jessie was born. James continued to work as a cashier for the Union Savings Association until 1877, and on January 19 of that year, James and Molly’s final child, Edith, was born. For the rest of his life, James worked as a cashier, clerk, or bookkeeper for various businesses, including Kehlor Brothers flour mill, architect Alexander Cameron, S. E. Grote Paint Store Co., Chemical National Bank, and the St. Louis and Tennessee River Packet. In 1884, James and Molly moved to 1818 Wash Street. They remained in that house until 1898, when they moved farther west to their final home at 5714 Maple Avenue. James died on December 27, 1905, and was buried at Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis.
Molly remained in the house on Maple Avenue for the rest of her life. Her daughters and grandchildren lived with her for many years. According to her great-grandson, Molly was a fervent prohibitionist. She died on April 1, 1924, after falling down the stairs at her house. She was 90 years old.
William S. Love attended school in St. Louis, including Smith Academy and the Manual Training School of Washington University, from which he graduated in 1883. He then worked for a year as a railroad surveyor for the Texas and Pacific Railway in Arkansas before returning to St. Louis to attend Washington University. William graduated from that institution with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1888. Immediately after graduating, William started to work for the Pond Engineering Company—engineers for power plants—and eventually took charge of the company’s Chicago branch in 1892. That same year, William married Martha Ann Archibald, daughter of James Miller and Alice (Gilson) Archibald. He remained in Chicago, working for various engineering companies, until 1906, when he moved to New York to work in the home office of the Wheeler Condenser and Engineering Company. He died on December 11, 1907, at East Orange, New Jersey, leaving behind his wife and an adopted son, Douglas Love. William is buried with his parents and his wife at Bellefontaine Cemetery.
Maude M. Love lived with her parents at 5714 Maple Avenue as late as 1900. In the late 1890s and early 1900s, she worked as a teacher and stenographer. By 1910, according to the census, Maude was still single, lived in Sundance, Wyoming, and worked as a stenographer for the U.S. Land Office. At some point between 1910 and 1920, she married a man with the last name of Kise, because on the 1920 census she is listed as Maude M. Kise, widowed, living in Converse, Wyoming, and still working as a stenographer for the U.S. Land Office. However, in the 1930 census, Maude is listed as divorced. At that time she was living at Our Lady of Lourdes home in Dubuque, Iowa, and she continued to live there until at least 1940. Maude died on June 26, 1958, at the St. Francis Home in Dubuque. She is buried with her parents at Bellefontaine Cemetery.
Edith R. Love still lived at 5714 Maple with James and Molly in 1900 and worked as a teacher. Around 1904, she married Joseph R. Sevier, and in 1920 they lived in Augusta, Georgia, where he was a Presbyterian minister and they had two children. Around 1924, Joseph purchased Fassifern School, a private girls’ school in Hendersonville, North Carolina. According to the 1930 and 1940 censuses, Edith and Joseph lived in Hendersonville and Joseph was principal of the school. Also in the mid-1920s, Joseph purchased land for a Christian summer camp for girls. Camp Greystone continues to operate today in Tuxedo, North Carolina, not far from the area that James Love passed through after escaping from prison. The camp has remained in the family throughout its history, and the current director is James and Molly’s great-great-grandson. Edith Love Sevier died in Hendersonville on April 11, 1945.
James and Molly’s other daughter, Jessie, and her son Lewis were the link between James’s letters and the Missouri History Museum. Her life will be explained here on March 30, in the final posting of the Civil War Love Letters series.
—Molly Kodner, Archivist