“On earth I ask no more than to find a place in your heart. I think as a general thing girls have good hearts, but let that be true or not true, I ask for no better home here below than in yours to dwell, for this would be the very quintessence of earthly happiness.” —George Smith to Mollie Byars, 1889
Over 250 pages of letters exchanged between George Smith, a Baptist preacher from Princeton, Arkansas and Mollie Byars, a Methodist schoolteacher from Pittsboro, Mississippi, were rediscovered by their great-granddaughter in the summer of 2015.
Written between July 1889 to May 1890, these courtship letters reveal the beginnings of a mutual love and respect which would last throughout their lifetime together. Interwoven among the exchanges between George and Mollie are detailed narratives of events in their homes and communities that give rare, first-person accounts of the rural South in the late 19th century.
In an age where much of the correspondence is now digital, it is gratifying to become immersed in their writings and to remember a time, not very long ago, when the arrival of a letter addressed with a loved one’s handwriting brought so much excitement and joy.
My Own Precious One retails for $20 per copy and is available for purchase at the Dallas County Museum at 221 North Main Street, Fordyce, Arkansas 71742. For secure online purchases using your credit card or Paypal account, you can order a single copy of the book using the button below. Taxes and shipping & handling charges will apply. To order multiple copies, or to order using a personal check, please contact us for pricing and shipping information. All proceeds from the sale of the book are donated to the Dallas County Museum.