World War II letters found in Sevierville knife shop


SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A piece of history was recently discovered in a Sevierville knife shop. A Clarksville woman found nearly two dozen letters sent back and forth by a couple during World War II.

Lindsy Wolke said she was able to find who she thinks is the couple on an ancestry site, learning they got married and had kids and grandkids. Now she’s hoping to get in touch with any of those family members to share the letters with them.

“I’m just so smitten by it,” she said.

The 21 letters date back to the World War II era. The conversations are between Ilaine Murray and Elias Maxwell.

“He was stationed in Samson, New York. She was living in Blackwood, New Jersey and I think they grew up in the same town. So they just talked back and forth about what it was like when they were home together,” Wolke said.

Wolke says she and her friend stumbled upon the collection in an antique section of Smoky Mountain Knife Works. Looking through what she called a big chunk of history, the pair knew then they had to buy the letters.

“These could have easily just been bought separately and separated out, and I just think it’s important to save history and preserve it,” she said.

It’s also important to her to find the couple’s descendants. She’s still trying to get in touch.

“I just hope that we can find their family and hopefully they want them or they want to read them, or maybe they didn’t even know they existed,” Wolke said. “If they want the letters, I think they deserve to have them because if that was my family members I would want them back.”

If you happen to know anything or anyone that could help Lindsy get in touch with family, you can send her an email at

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