By: Jonesborough Genealogical Society
The years immediately following the Civil War were economically difficult for most Washington County families. One, alexander Febuary, a tailor by trade, was not able to support his family and in desperation, wrote the following letter:
October 6, 1868
Hon Andrew Johnson,
President of the United States
Washington City, D.C.
Dear Sir: I have been on the eve of writing to you many a time, then I thought that you was pestered and annoyed so by so many people, asking you to help them in one way or another, that I thought I would not trouble you. But my circumstances have at last forced me to ask you if you remember your old friend A.D. Febuary, who came across the mountains with you in 1826 with a wagon, with your step-father and mother, as a Journeyman tailor. Do you remember the Panther that come and knocked the skillet off the fire where we camped that night? And do you remember on the top of the Blue Ridge when you snapped your shot-gun so often at a bear? I remember all these incidences, and the hard time we had on our journey. I remember what long hard days of trouble we had through the mountains. Since that time you have been fortunate in your pursuits of life – some how, I have been rather unfortunate, but have always worked hard and provided for my family. I have even been your friend – and whilst others have been against you in politics I have stood square for you, and am yet your undying friend. My son was a Lieutenant in the Union Army for over three years, and was with you when you made speeches to the East Tennessee boys, and encouraged by your words of cheer to stand up for the Union Cause. I now take a leaf out of my old account book to write to you and ask you – if it be possible to aid me by giving a position of some kind that will help me, as Masons say, “The better to provide for my family.” Is there not some humble place where you can place me as an old confidential friend, where I can make something for my family. My eyes have greatly failed me & I am getting too far advanced in age to make anything at my trade. I think there is something due me in France, of my father’s estate, and I I may be able some day to repay you for your kindness. For God’s sake and the sake of our former friendship, please help me. I can bring the best citizens of this country to prove that I have ever been your warm friend and political adherent.
If you cannot help me, I have a son named Joseph A. Febuary, 23 years of age in this place, who was a Lt. in the U.S. Army – a good soldier. Can you not help him – so he can care for me in my old age. I lost two sons in the U.S. Army besides. One was killed at Chicagauga and the other died at Knoxville from disease contracted on the campaign at Perryville Kentucky.
Do not let me be a trouble to you. I would not cause you the least trouble, for I know you are annoyed enough. But if in your kind heart, you can help an old man or his son, who has been your livelong (sic) friend, I shall ever feel grateful to you for your kindness, and return my heart-felt thanks for so doing.
Will you be so kind as to let me hear from you? Please write to me at this place.
Your Sincere Friend
President Johnson came to his friend’s aid and gave him a position in the tailor shop. Febuary died in 1873 from cholera during the epidemic in Jonesborough.
The following is information from the family Bible of Maria Febuary, grandmother of Margaret Mathes Rhein, present owner of the Bible:
Alexander D. Febuary was born April 27th, 1801, died July 25, 1873, came to America from St. Jean John France when he was 14 years old.
Maria Sneed Febuary was born Aug. 20th, 1824, died April 17, 1911 in Jonesboro, TN; was born in Bilston Staffordshire, England.
(on back page of Old Testament) Alexander Febuary was born in De Angolon France.
Alexander Febuary was married to Maria Sneyd, March 26, 1844.
Married Sept. 7, 1871 David V. Cash and Mary C. Febuary.
Married Feb. 16, 1875 James A. Templin and Louisa Febuary.
Married Sept. 29, 1880 W. G. Archer and Nettie (Henrietta) Febuary.
Married Nov. 23, 1889 Alex P. Mathes and Annie Febuary.
Alexander D. Febuary was born April 27th in the year of our Lord 1801.
Maria Febuary was born Aug. 20th in the year of our Lord 1824.
J.A. Febuary was born Sept. 13th in the year of our Lord 1845.
William Seth Febuary was born June 24th in the year of our Lord 1847.
Mary C. Febuary was born Oct. 3rd, in the year of our Lord 1850.
Sarah Alice Febuary was born June 20th in the year of our Lord 1853.
Louise Febuary was born Sept. 8th in the year of our Lord 1858.
Henrietta Febuary was born Oct. 16th in the year of our Lord 1862.
Annie A. Febuary was born June 6th in the year of our Lord 1866.
James Templin was born in 1880.
Mary Febuary Cash died 1919.
David Cash died 1918.
James Templin died Feb. 3, 1918.
W.G. Archer died 1918.
Alexander Perry Mathes died Jan. 15, 1919.
Annie Febuary Mathes died Jan. 1958.
Louise Febuary Templin died Nov. 24, 1939.
Sarah Alice J. Febuary died March 20th in the year of our Lord 1869.
Alexander D. Febuary died July 25th in the year of our Lord 1873.
William S. Febuary died Nov. 23, 1899.
J.A. Febuary died April 17, 1915.
Maria Febuary died April 12, 1911.
Lydia Keen Febuary died Dec. 30, 1929.
Georgia Caraway Febuary died —-
Rettie Febuary Archer died Nov. 1935.