100-year-old love letters found in Midtown home

Updated: Dec. 25, 2019 at 10:33 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A Midtown couple who decided to renovate their more-than-a-century-old home last month came across a little piece of history.

A worker found letters written by a man who appeared to be an officer-in training towards the end of World War 1, professing his love for a young woman right here in Memphis.

The recipient of the letters was a woman named Anna Bunch. She was born in 1901 and started getting the letters from a man named James Hill Foster in 1917.

It’s a love story told through about 25 letters found tucked away covered in soot under a floorboard in the attic.

“Because you really can’t even unfold the letters without breaking the fibers in it. It just crumbles,” said Katherine Singley.

The home where the letters were found belongs to Singley’s son and daughter-in-law.

Her son knew she would be the perfect person to piece together the historic find.

Singley has done contract work for museums and private collections throughout the Southeast for over 40 years. She’s a trained object conservator. Although she doesn’t specialize in paperwork, she has handled some very impressive pieces.

Some of her work includes a Hawaiian tapa cloth from President Franklin Roosevelt and a traveling suitcase from Dr.Martin Luther King Jr.

Her son asked her to bring some of her tools to Memphis to help unravel this more than 102-year-old romance.

According to ancestry.com, Anna Bunch and her three siblings lived in the house in the early 1900s.

The letters started coming to the home on Linden Avenue in 1917.

“They used to deliver mail twice a day, so some of them say, ‘I’ve waited for the afternoon mail and your letter wasn’t in there,’” said Singley.

Most of the letters came from an Army post in Clinton, Mississippi, but the stationery shows he possibly moved around a bit.

Some of the stationery includes The Peabody Hotel, the YMCA and Hugh Foster Insurance in Hernando, Mississippi.

Anna Bunch eventually married him in Oklahoma after a nine-year courtship.

She died in 1993, but her love story has suddenly been given new life.

James Hill Foster died in 1964.

Other than the Bunch family, there have been only two other owners including our WMC-TV producer, Ned Dannenberg who now lives in the house.

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