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Collection Title: Lotterhos (P.A. "Gustus") Correspondence

Collection Number: M304

Dates: October 28, 1897 - February 8, 1901.

Volume: 11 items

Provenance: Donated by Bobby Holmes. Date of receipt is unknown.

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

Philip A. "Gustus" Lotterhos was born in Crystal Springs (Copiah County), Mississippi, in August 1881. He was the second son of Augustus and Magdelena Lieb Lotterhos, who were married in May 1876 and had six children -- Frederick Charles (Fritz), Philip Augustus (Gustus), Evelyn (died in infancy), George, Edith, and Julius.

The Lotterhos family originated from Bobanthal, Rhine Pfaltz, Germany. In April 1859, Philip's father, Augustus, left his homeland with other members of his immediate family and traveled to the United States, arriving in New Orleans in June 1859. Augustus settled in Crystal Springs, Mississippi in January 1860 and set up a confectionery and grocery store in the town. Following the American Civil War, in which three of his brothers were killed, Augustus expanded the family business into a general merchandise store, selling dry goods, hardware, and farm supplies. The Lotterhos family was influential in the vegetable growing industry, developing new growing techniques and introducing modernized transportation methods. The family also gained prominence as the largest shipper of tomatoes in the United States, at the time.

Instead of entering the family business, Philip left Mississippi to attend college in Clarksville (Montgomery County), Tennessee. Following graduation he became an Indian missionary, and served as a minister throughout the state in the early years of the twentieth century. No other information concerning the life and activities of Philip Augustus Lotterhos is available.

Scope and content:

This collection consists primarily of correspondence received by Philip A. "Gustus" Lotterhos from his brother, Frederick "Fritz" Lotterhos, and his cousin, Emma Dietz. One letter in the collection was written by Fritz Lotterhos to his mother. The correspondence is all handwritten and dates from October 28, 1897 to February 1, 1901. Four of the letters have their original envelopes attached.

The four letters dated October 28, November 3, December 8, 1897, and January 9, 1898, were all written by Fritz Lotterhos from Princeton, New Jersey, and addressed to P.A. Lotterhos in Clarksville, Tennessee. The first, dated October 28, 1897, is a short informal note telling Gustus of Fritz's safe arrival in New Jersey. The other three letters primarily contain details on university life and family matters, as Fritz asks for information concerning the welfare of family and friends in Tennessee. Of interest is the letter dated January 9, 1898, in which Fritz informs him that if he (Gustus) wishes to attend Princeton to study music, he must practice playing his mandolin. Apparently, Princeton had some exceptional mandolin players. Also of note, is the letter dated November 3, 1897, which is written on the company stationery of Lotterhos and Huber, Jobbers and Retailers of General Merchandise in Crystal Springs, Mississippi.

Six letters dated between October 19, 1898 and February 8, 1901, were all received by Gustus in Clarksville, Tennessee. Four are from his brother, Fritz, and two from his cousin, Emma Dietz. In the letter dated October 19, 1898, Fritz describes in detail a yellow fever outbreak in the Crystal Springs area. He tells Gustus not to worry, as the family is in no danger, but the business is suffering because of the outbreak. The letter dated May 6, 1900, offers an interesting note in that Fritz informs Gustus that the family home now has running water and electricity installed. The remaining two letters from Fritz, dated January 30, 1900, and February 8, 1901, concentrate primarily on family matters and details concerning the business. In the February letter, for example, Fritz describes a visit to New Orleans in which he attended the funeral of his uncle, Emma Dietz's father.

The correspondence from Emma Dietz provides information on the welfare and health of particular family members. The letter dated November 9, 1898, offers an interesting anecdote in which Emma informs Gustus that the family's pet racoon is doing well. The other letter, dated November 11, 1900, describes the health of particular family members and provides Gustus with details concerning the family business. On a curious note, Gustus apparently used the letter at a later date for studying, because on the back of the letter there appears to be written a series of scientific formulas.

The remaining item is an undated letter addressed to "Mamma", and signed by Fritz. The letter was written from Louisville, Kentucky, and describes Fritz's sojourn there, offering details on the weather, the town, and the people. Curiously, the back of the letter lists the different winning hands in poker.

This collection should be of interest to anyone researching social history in Mississippi at the turn of the century, or the history of immigration and how immigrant families adapted and settled in the United States.


Created by: Bobs M. Tusa
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Revised: December 17, 2004