Notes and Documents
Courtship and Marriage in 89 os Texas:
The Fain-Bledsoe Correspondence
EDITED BY PAT FAIN
INTRODUCTION BY TOM PILKINGTON*
T HE FOLLOWING "LOVE LETTERS," WRITTEN DURING THE LAST FOUR
months of 1892, were exchanged by David Hasque Fain, forty-four
years of age when the correspondence began, and Jessie Rhoda Bled-
soe, who was twenty-seven. The letters, found in two separate bundles
at two different locations, were a serendipitous discovery that resulted
from several years of research by Pat Fain and her husband, Robert C.
Fain, vice president for Academic Affairs at Tarleton State University,
into the Fain family genealogy.' (Robert Fain is the great-grandson of
David Fain's brother, Louis.) The letters form a complete set, with two
exceptions: David Fain's response to Jessie Bledsoe's letter of October
24 is missing, as is his reply to her letter of November 30. The Fain-
Bledsoe letters have proven to be illuminating documents that shed
light on the customs of courtship and the institution of marriage in
rural Texas of a century ago.
*Pat Fain teaches mathematics at Stephenville High School, Stephenville, Texas Tom Pil-
kmgton is a professor of English at Tarleton State University, Stephenville, Texas.
1Bob and Pat Fain have worked on Fain genealogy for nearly twenty-five years and published
a booklet on the subject in 1976 called Some Texas Famns They became aware of the letters when
a cousin, Neiland Fain, brought half of the set (David's letters to Jessie) to their attention. A
business acquaintance of his had found them in an old dresser he had purchased. Neiland gave
copies of the originals to Bob and Pat, who then sent copies to Lilhe, David Fain's daughter,
then in her nineties. Lillie had the other half of the set (Jessie's letters to David) and sent copies
of the originals to Bob and Pat.
I would hke to acknowledge the work of Pat Fain, who persevered to edit and transcribe the
letters, a tedious and time-consuming task. I think all readers of the correspondence will be
thankful for her efforts. The original spelling, punctuation, and syntax of the letters have been
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101213/. Accessed May 30, 2015.