Couple discovers 116-year-old love letter in wall of house - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Couple discovers 116-year-old love letter in wall of house

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Rita Jones holds the 116-year-old love letter found in the wall of an old Wisconsin home she and her husband are fixing up Rita Jones holds the 116-year-old love letter found in the wall of an old Wisconsin home she and her husband are fixing up
STRAWBERRY POINT (KWWL) -

A mysterious discovery in the wall of an old home has one woman seeking answers from the past.

When Rita and Rod Jones of Strawberry Point bought an old home in Prairie du Chien, Wis., they thought they were just getting a fixer-upper. What they didn't know was a 116-year-old love letter, dated 1898, was hiding in the walls, discovered earlier this month during renovations.

"We have no idea how this letter ended up in that house because trying to trace down the people that owned it, you know, we bought it from a Byers, and I can't remember who they bought it from, but I found that name and that wasn't it," Rita Jones explained Tuesday afternoon, holding the letter's yellowed and aging papers in her hand.

The letter contains words intended to make a young woman swoon.

"I received that precious letter you wrote me. For my darling baby, that's the sweetest letter ever written. If you will be as true as you say you will be, I will make you one of the proudest of women," Jones read. "I will be all that a man can be to the woman he loves, for my darling, I love you better than life."

The letter was intended for a young woman named Loretta Tierney, whose obituary Jones managed to track down.

"Less than two years after this letter was written she died," Jones said. "She was 26 years old. She still died unmarried, so she never did marry him."

The fate of Loretta's admirer may remain a mystery.

"The last page (of the letter) is gone," Jones said. "We know his name was Billy, but we have no idea what his last name was."

She said this hand-written letter is not only a mystery, but it also represents a dying art.

"Have you ever gotten a letter like this? I have not," Jones said. "You get texts, phone calls."

Loretta Tierney, however, got a letter -- one filled with adoring words from a man she would never marry.

"It makes me very curious," Jones said.

They found the letter in the wall of the Prairie du Chien house below a cubby hole on the floor above. Jones speculates the letter got shuffled to the back of the cubby over time and eventually slid down a crack in the back.

She said she'd love to get the letter back in the hands of the descendants of Loretta Tierney. She'll return the letter at no cost, Jones said, but plans on keeping the envelope's two-cent George Washington stamp.

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