Valley of the Shadow
The War Years
Spring 1861–Spring 1865

Letters & Diaries


Houser Family (1863-1864)

The Houser family lived in River Head Township in Augusta County, Virginia. Samuel Houser worked as a carpenter, along with Isaac L. Houser, a younger member of his household. Mary M. Houser, in her late twenties, contemplated spinsterhood, but the Civil War brought new courtship opportunities. The 1870 census taker, however, found her still living with her parents in Augusta.

The following links provide access to the most likely matches in the Valley of the Shadow databases:

Houser Family

Mary M. “Mollie” Houser wrote most of the letters in this collection to her cousin James H. Houser, who served as a Confederate soldier. The collection also includes one letter from Kit Hanger to Julia Houser and another letter from Mary M. Houser to Willie Houser, another cousin. There is no entry for a Julia Houser in either the 1860 or 1870 Augusta County census. Kit Hanger may be Katherine Hanger, who lived in Staunton in 1860. Willie Hanger is possibly William S. Hanger, a carpenter, who, like Mary M. Houser, lived in Fishersville in Augusta County by 1870. These letters, written by women on the homefront, describe domestic production, relations among female relatives and friends, possibilities for courtship, and the dire prospects for the Confederacy.