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For sixty years a packet of late nineteenth-century love letters were stored away in the attic of the Isaac Swalm farm near Duntroon, Ontario. The letters and a photograph, discovered by Isaac's son, Ernest John (E.J.) Swalm, were written by Isaac to his first love, Minnie Kelly.

These very personal letters of love and faith provide an intimate look at a young man, newly converted to the Brethren in Christ, who is trying to explain his conversion and "plain" lifestyle to his beloved (but Presbyterian) Minnie Kelly. The correspondence is a blend of typical love letters, including declarations of hope for marriage, and an explanation/defense of Brethren in Christ doctrines and practices in the last decade of the nineteenth century. The grammar and spelling in the quotations used throughout have not been changed.


Originally published as:

Mark, Beth Hostetler. "'From Your Loving Isaac': A Nineteenth-Century Courtship." Brethren In Christ History & Life 32.3 (2009): 369-391.

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