A Father Guides His Daughter
& Shows Her the Light

Hardeman County Tennessee
~ 1846 ~

© 1997, Frederick Smoot. All Rights Reserved.

Manuscript Postmark:
       New Castle Ten, Dec 18th
Manuscript Rate:
       Miss Salley J Palmer, Jackson Tennessee

Spring Grove Hardeman Co Tenn: Dec 17th /46
Dear Sally Jane
       I will now answer the letter you wrote me some weeks since. Your bro: He & Mother received yours to day. I am sorry to hear of your indisposition. I hope it is as Mr Lea seam to think, not serious. A contented mind, is a very great releaf to bodily affliction. You appear to be discontented about many little trifles, be careful to guard against forming a habit of that kind, and when striving by grace to learn to be content in whatever situation you may be in, provided you cannot with proprity change your situation.
       Reflect seriously on your situation and carefully mark every circumstance connected with your position in life, and see how much you have to be thankful to your Heavenly father for.
       And you will find you have no time to learn to be disgruntled, but to be ever greatful, and truly thankful for the many blessings, he is continually conferring upon you. Through mercy (that is the goodness of God) you are blessed with a kind father & an affectionate mother and loving mother and brother and sisters . . and a good home (which I am please to see you so much esteem, and would be glad to see you yet more attached to it.) While many younger than yourself are homeless wanderers, destitute, of food & clothing, father and mother. And no one to protect or advise them.
Now Sally, think why it is you are sent from home & for a time deprived of the societyof your father, Mother brothers and sisters. It is that you may improve yourself, and be the better prepared to injoy the comforts & blessings of a peaceful and quiet home, and make a useful member of the family in promoting the happiness of father, Mother, brothers & Sister & all other members of same (White or Black) with a discontented mind you can never do this. With your heart filled with the love of God, & a constant reliance upon his grace helping, you can do all things well. That is all that your will be required to do --- Your father
P M Palmer

P. S. You seem to be very anxious to come home at Christmas, this is quite natural and right, but when I lett you know it is not convenient & would be a good deal of expense for very little benefit to you. We would all be please to have you with us, but under the circumstances I think it best not to send for you.
You think it will be quite a week of punishment to stay at Jackson a weak and do nothing. That would be as it should provided you spent it in idleness. Now permit your father to sugest to you a good very good way to spend that time.
Read your bible prayerfully a good part of every day apart in secret prayer and the balance in repairing you clothes. Christmas, a day kept in memmory of the birth of our belsed Saviour, a very suitable time for prayer and thanksgiving.
       You and Anna remember this. Your father

Be careful how you write about the family matters of Mr Leas, family, & dont consum yourself about Mrs Lea, feeding people kill their hogs. Remember when you write that many see your letter, communicate to me or your mother whatever you may think proper. We can then gard you against improprieties.

From the Collection of Frederick Smoot
Provenance: The Revenue Specialist, 1997

A Young Lady’s Letter:
Snowballs, Candystews
& Little Paul’s Funeral

Hardeman County Tennessee
~ 1849 ~

© 1997, Frederick Smoot. All Rights Reserved.

Manuscript postmark:
       New Castle Te, Jany 21st
Manuscript rate:
       Miss Salley J. Palmer, Jackson, Tenn

Hardeman Cty, Tennessee Jan 20th 1849
Dear Cousin
       I now seat myself to answer your letter.
       I was very glad to receive a letter from you but I thought you was a mighty long time writing. I have some very good news to tell you and that is I had the pleasure of seeing Mr Mcalister and Ann. They come to Mr Palmers last Saturday and in the evening Ann came over to see me. I was astonished when I saw her - she has grown very much. Mr Mcalister came after two ladies - he succeeded in getting them. They were Sisters by the name of Carter. He wanted Cousin Ann to go but she would not. She told him that if he needed her next year to let her know and she would go. Ann said she wanted to see you very bad. She can talk like the Indians.
       They started from Mr Palmers to day down to Mr Carters (the Ladies Father). They will not start home until Monday. Mr Mcaris has gone to the Indian Territory to teach the Indians. He started before Mr Mcalister got here and never saw him. It will be about One hundred miles the other side of Mcalisters. I saw her before she saw the letter. Brother John received a letter from Rev James W Knott. He appears to think hard of the Preachers for sending him off so far. He is very anxious for Brother John to come to see him he say he will bear his expenses there and back. You may call him a Parson now - Cousin Sally - for he has married a Couple. Dont you reckon he feels right large. I expect he does. Mr Mcalister preached for us last Sunday. I went with him to Mr Palmers from Preaching.
       They are all well. I dont think Louis Phillip grows much but Mrs Tuggles baby grows fast enough to make up for it it is so fat and playful. I love to play with it.
       Brother John says you must be a good girl and the next time you write you must write it plainer what the young lady said and let him know all about it. Mary says she wants to see you mighty bad. Mary Emily and Amanda has gone home. The other snow - Mary Emily and Amanda thought they would snowball Mr Tuggle directly after breakfast one morning as Mr Tuggle was going to his room. They made sam run and hold him. Amanda - she started there and Mrs Tuggle gave her such a lick on her forehead that she run in Mr Parsons room and left sam out there by himself and Mr Tuggle just snowbald as much as he pleased. They laughed at sam about it you must be sure and write to me as soon as you receive this and tell me all the news. I wish you had been here to day to help m ride on the slide. Little Pauls Funeral is to be preached next Sunday three weeks at three O Clock in the evening. I wish you could be here then.
       I did not see a great deal of fun Christmas. I was invited to two candystews and did not get to go to an one.
       There was some Gentlemen here from Kentucky. I believe we are all well at this time excepting bad coals [colds]. I believe most all of us are complaining of them. When you write to me you must tell me how many Scholars there is and what you are studying. You must make haste and graduate and come home. Marybel said she went to school one day and graduated. I am going to school at home now. I am getting very sleepy and lazy as it is bedtime, I will conclude as I have nothing more of importance to write -
Ann Brigg Macgowan

Be sure and write to me as soon as you receive this - Sally Jane Palmer

       A candystew is comparable to a taffy pull.
       This letter and the one above seem to be from a larger group of letters to Sally Jane Palmer. It is said that the letters were sold as a group by a descendant and have since been dispersed. Some of the letters are believed to bear the sought after “Choctaw Agency” postmarks, and the letter contents are thought to focus on Religious schooling of the Indians. Postal collectors, if you have one of these letters, please consider sharing it with us.
From the Collection of Frederick Smoot
Provenance: R. G. Stamps, 1997

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