But for Warrenton resident George Holliman, the letters -- creased, yellowed and stained -- are a chronicle of his family's life in Post-Reconstruction Georgia. On Friday, the letters returned to Warren County, where his grandmother Sallie Holliman wrote them to her sister, Anna Holliman, between 1879-85.
"Surprised is the word," said Mr. Holliman after he was presented the letters during a surprise luncheon at Miss Jane's restaurant in downtown Warrenton. Mr. Holliman plans to donate the letters to the Warren County Library for public viewing.
The letters' journey back to Warrenton started 21/2 years ago with a Washington state nursing student and her passion to personally return the correspondence to a member of the Holliman family.
"I was so happy to hear that a family member had been found," said Channa Carsey after presenting the letters to Mr. Holliman, a World War II veteran who served as Warren County school superintendent from 1959 until his retirement in 1981.
There were some photographs and other family heirlooms with the letters.
Ms. Carsey paid $480 for the letters, and immediately knew they were not for her to keep.
"I figured somebody needed a piece of their family history back," she said.
As a token of their appreciation for what she did for Mr. Holliman, members of the American Legion Post 96 and individuals through the Warren County Chamber of Commerce donated money to defray Ms. Carsey's travel costs from Seattle, according to Warren County school board member James Newsome.