For all of us who have enjoyed reading Dorcas’ mail, here is a little summary of family dates and happenings that might fill in some gaps. The content is taken from Judy Ruleman Liskey’s informative book, “When This You See, Think Of Me!” It begins with Dorcas’ mother, Evaline Heavner Aubrey’s, history.
Evaline was born on December 25, 1830, to William and Joanne (Custer) Heavner. She was the youngest of 7 children. Joanne was a good homemaker, and besides the usual baking and cleaning, she taught Evaline to spin, dye, and weave their own wool. Papers found with the letters include recipes for dyeing, making soap, and current wine. Her mother left twenty-five patterns for warping the loom. The above skills would be valuable for Evaline later in life.
On December 29, 1859, Evaline married George Aubrey in the parlor of the Heavner home. In 1861, Evaline and George had a one-year-old son, William Casper Aubrey, with another baby due in November. George took her back to her family home when he joined the Union Army.
George was captured and imprisoned in September 1861 in Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia. It seems he was only able to write her two letters. The first was dated December 31, 1861, in which Geroge asked about their little son and her welfare. He asked her to kiss “W” Casper for him. He was hopeful that the war would end soon and he would return home. The second letter found in the Dorcas letters was a sad one written a week later.
In November of 1861, Dorcas was born. There is no record of whether her father ever received the news. He died in August 1862. Sadly, on September 5, less than a month later, 2-year-old Casper died from croup. Two months after Casper’s death, Evaline’s mother died of a stroke.
As a young widow thirty-one, Evaline returned home to the farm in Fulk’s Run with her daughter, Dorcas, where she would remain the rest of her life. She proved to be a remarkable businesswoman of excellent character, respected by many. In a short time, Evaline would take over managing the farm from her father-in-law, William, who was now in his 70s.
Mathias B. Trumbo, a familiar writer of Dorcas’ letters, is a friend of the family and agent who assisted with Evaline and later Dorcas’ business affairs.
In the early 1890s, a young teacher and businessman named Jacob Brenneman began to court Dorcas. They were married on Thursday, May 21, 1896. Dorcas and Jacob were members of the Mt. Carmel United Brethren Church. In 1897, their firstborn son would be born but only survive for a few hours. In May of 1903, Dorcas and Jacob would welcome a baby girl named Mae Zella Brenneman to their family. She had the privilege of growing up in a prosperous family known for hospitality. Mae graduated from Shenandoah Collegiate Institute. While a student, she met Robert Davis Liskey, and years later, they married and had two sons.