A Guide to the James Francis Heizer & Phoebe Anne McCormick Heizer Collection, 1861-1868 Heizer, James F. & Phoebe Anne McCormick Heizer Collection Ms2016-013

A Guide to the James Francis Heizer & Phoebe Anne McCormick Heizer Collection, 1861-1868

A Collection in
Special Collections
Collection Number Ms2016-013


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Special Collections, Virginia Tech

Special Collections, University Libraries (0434)
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Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
USA
Phone: (540) 231-6308
Fax: (540) 231-3694
Email: specref@vt.edu
URL: http://spec.lib.vt.edu/

©2017 By Virginia Tech. All rights reserved.

Processed by: Kenna Crane, Staff, and Kira A. Dietz, Archivist, Special Collections

Repository
Special Collections, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.
Collection Number
Ms2016-013
Title
James Francis Heizer & Phoebe Anne McCormick Heizer Collection, 1861-1868
Physical Characteristics
0.3 Cubic Feet 1 box
DIGITAL CONTENT
This collection has been digitized. Digitized documents and transcripts are available online.
Creator
Heizer, James Francis, 1841-1930; Heizer, Phoebe Anne McCormick, 1845-1906
Language
English
Abstract
This collection consists of 100+ letters written between the years of 1863–1868, accompanied by a book entitled, The Heizer Family: American Pioneers by James Marion Heizer c.1861-1868. The majority of the letters are authored by James Francis (Frank) Heizer, a private in the Confederate army, whose letters are mostly addressed to his love interest and eventual fiance, Pheobe Ann McCormick.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from James Francis Heizer & Phoebe Anne McCormick Heizer Collection must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: James Francis Heizer & Phoebe Anne McCormick Heizer Collection, Ms2016-013, Special Collections, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the James Francis Heizer & Phoebe Anne McCormick Heizer Collection was completed in June 2017.

Acquisition Information

The James Francis Heizer & Phoebe Anne McCormick Heizer Collection was purchased by Special Collections in December 2015.

Alternative Form Available

This collection has been digitized. Digitized documents and transcripts are available online.


Biographical Note

James Francis "Frank" Heizer was born in 1841 in Churchville, Augusta County, Va. His parents were James and Sarah J. Heizer and he had at least three siblings. Prior to the Civil War, he lived on his family's farm and worked as laborer. On April 19, 1861, Frank enlisted as a private in Company I, 14th Regiment, Virginia Cavalry and McClanahan's Battery. Alongside details of Frank's military service, this collection details the relationship between Frank and his longtime friend and love interest, Pheobe Ann McCormick (1845-1906). Pheobe Ann(e) McCormick (also known as Annie) was born in Augusta County, Va., in 1845.

The pair's first engagement took place on April 18, 1864, when Frank revealed his feelings to Pheobe in a letter. A year later, the pair broke their engagement on August 10, 1865, based on Frank's "wishes to be released" so that he could freely pursue a career as a student and later, a traveling artist. The pair kept in touch through the years and eventually reconciled on January 21, 1867, re-establishing their engagement.

In a letter dated January 22, 1867, Pheobe accepted Frank's second proposal by stating: "I feel that I can't trust myself to write you a long letter now but will give you the reply that Gen'l Jackson sent to Santa Anna. 'If he wants me, let him come and take me.'" The pair married on February 21, 1867.

By 1870, Frank and Pheobe were living in Augusta County and they had the first of their children. Records suggest they had at least eight children: William A. (1870-1932); Ida B. (later Ott) (abt. 1874-?); Mary R. (later McComb) (1874-1949?); Eveline Frances (or Frances E. or F. Evelyn) (1878-1960); Willie (abt. 1877-?); James W. (married Lillian Holt) (1880-1945); Robert E. (1882-?); Francis P. (1887-?).

In 1880, the family was still in Augusta County and Frank's occupation on the census was listed as "farmer." By 1900, they had relocated to Buena Vista and Frank was working as a carpenter. Pheobe died in 1906, at the age of 61. James lived another 24 years and his daughter Frances continued to live with him. By 1920, Frank was working as a commissioner of revenue at the court house in Buena Vista. He died in 1930, at the age of 88. Both he and Phoebe are buried in Buena Vista, along with two of their children.

Sources:
https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=10479242&ref=acom
Ancestry Library Edition

Scope and Content

This collection consists of 100+ letters written between the years of 1863–1868, and is accompanied by a book entitled, The Heizer Family: American Pioneers by James Harion Heizer c.1861-1868. The majority of the letters are authored by James Francis (Frank) Heizer (1841-1930), a private in the Confederate army, whose letters are mostly addressed to his love interest and eventual fiance, Pheobe Ann McCormick (1845-1906). This collection also includes a few of Pheobe's letters to Frank, though many of her letters were burned after being answered, as per a request by Pheobe in an attempt to conceal their relationship status until after the war. The letters include a variety of information about the war and Heizer's movements throughout the state, along with his wishes for leave and travel plans. Along with these wartime details, the letters include a good deal of conversation involving the blossoming friendship between Frank and Pheobe, and eventually their romantic relationship. This period includes letters in which their engagement is made and then broken, and is followed by letters that include much sarcasm and veiled insults towards one another. After about a year, the pair had reconnected and had re-established their engagement, eventually marrying and having 9 children together.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged in chronological order with undated materials are at the end.


Index Terms

    Persons:

  • Heizer, James Francis, 1841-1930
  • Heizer, Phoebe Anne McCormick, 1845-1906
  • Subjects:

  • Civil War
  • Local/Regional History and Appalachian South
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
  • Genre and Form Terms:

  • Correspondence
  • Geographical Names:

  • Augusta County (Va.)
  • Buena Vista (Va.)
  • Staunton (Va.)

Contents List

This collection has been digitized. Digitized documents and transcripts are available online.

Box-Folder 1
1
Letters and Heizer's Record of Service, 1861-1865
Scope and Contents

This folder includes letters that discuss information about Heizer's regiment movements, friend/family news, and conversations about Frank and Pheobe's personal correspondence. In a letter dated April 18, 1864, Frank confesses his romantic feelings to Pheobe and asks her to accept his marriage proposal. Also included in this folder is Heizer's written record of service during "The war between the states - 1861-1865".

Box-Folder 1
2
Letters, January - December 1865
Scope and Contents

This folder includes letters that discuss information about Heizer's regiment movements, friend/family news, questions about personal correspondence between Frank and Pheobe, and Frank's desired educational pursuits. In a letter dated Aug. 10, 1865, Frank and Pheobe broke off their engagement on the basis of Frank's wishes to be released from the relationship.

Box-Folder 1
3
Letters, 1866
Scope and Contents

This folder contains letters that discuss Frank and Pheobe's personal correspondence, each person's daily activities, family and acquaintance news. Additionally included, is news of Frank's leaving school at Roanoke College to pursue work as a traveling artist.

Box-Folder 1
4
Letters, 1867
Scope and Contents

This folder includes a letter from Pheobe's sister, Becca and letters that discuss Frank and Pheobe's personal correspondence, family and friend sickness updates and each individual's travels. In a letter dated January 21, 1867, Frank recants his earlier wishes to be released from the pair's engagement and asks Pheobe again to marry him. She replies in a later letter with the simple phrase: "I feel that I cant trust myself to write you a long letter now, but will give you the reply that Gen'l Jackson sent to Santa Anna. "If he wants me, let him come and take me." The pair married in February 1867.

Box-Folder 1
5
Letters, January - July 1868
Scope and Contents

This folder contains letters that detail information on Frank's teaching and travels, news of Pheobe's sickness/family sickness, the health and well-being of the pair's new baby (birthdate unknown) and news of house repairs.

Box-Folder 1
6
Letters, n.d.
Scope and Contents

This folder includes letters to Frank from his sister Jennie, from Pheobe's sister Becca, both womens letters detail Pheobe's sickness and health news, along with the welfare of Frank and Pheobe's baby.

Box-Folder 1
7
The Heizer Family: American Pioneers, by James Marion Heizer

Significant Persons Associated With the Collection

  • Heizer, James Francis, 1841-1930
  • Heizer, Phoebe Anne McCormick, 1845-1906

Significant Places Associated With the Collection

  • Augusta County (Va.)
  • Buena Vista (Va.)
  • Staunton (Va.)