MARSHALL TN 1,
Folded Letter Sheet.
Manuscript postmark, Belfast Tn, 12 Jan and m/s rate, 10
Daniel P. Osborn
Oliver's Prarie P O
State of Tennessee Marshall County December 30th 1849.
Dear Brother and Sister,
After some lapse of time I avail myself of the present opportunity of addressing you a few lines. We are all enjoying reasonable health at present, and hope these lines will find you in health and prosperity. Brother Nathan and Mother have sold their land and this day start to Hamblin. H. Blakemores to stay until next September when they expect to move to Texas. Nathan got for land and property he sold upwards of fifteen hundred dollars. he has besides a very likely negro woman. He is a very industrious careful boy (you recollect I told you Sally was married to Blakemore) He is also going to move to Texas next fall with Nathan. I have a strong notion of Texas myself but my wife is too weakly for a new country there are too many hardships in a new country to undergo to carry a weakly wife to unless I had more family than I have. My Daughter Josephine is now nearly grown and a fine stout girl she is too besides I have only a negro girl that I bought near 3 years ago. She is very smart and does every thing only the particular business.
Berry Blackwells family all went to Texas this fall but Berry would not go he is now at his brother James's he has been nothing but a perfect lot nearly ever since you left here doing nothing for his family but spending every thing he could get hold of for whiskey even to his clothes sometimes when he could get it no other way. I judge he thought he could not get whiskey in Texas was the reason he would not go.
John Blackwell has also gone to Texas and all the Moseleys and nearly half the people in this country. Daniel Davis has sold his place to George Woodward and bought a place below farmington two miles.
There has been a terrible stiring around here Grand Father Blackwell died last April and you may depend that they have had old works ever since he willed all his property and money to seven of his children (to wit) Gabriel, Josiah, Shrewsberry, Saraha, James, Mary and John. Then you see I was sorter mad for you know these very ones had always been getting from Grandfather when we had been receiving nothing atall. So myself and Nathan brought suit against them immediately but I found the will would stand any how. I then determined to keep the suit off. I done so for I knew that they all needed the money and I guessed right for at our November Court they agreed they would pay all costs with my lawyers fees and give us one hundred dollars to draw it after considering the matter and finding that there was nine chances for the will standing to one breaking it I consent and glad of the chance to get out that easy.
Though we all got along tolerably friendly and are still so but I tell you I have tried them all and Old Josiah has more honor than the whole of them (them is scratched out and above he wrote "the balance") put together. He has now gone to the South with a drove of Hogs.
They are nearly at loggerheads hardly any two will speak together unless it is now. Old Jim has given whiskey entirely for the last two years but I believe he is a bigger fool than when he was drunk though now for the last few weeks I think he has cooled down for he had concluded to take every thing by storm. So when an old not came against him he went and swore it off but when he found that they were about to prosecute him for it he went and agreed to pay it so he was not prosecuted for it, if he had been he would have been sure for the Penitentiary. He and Josiah bought the Hogs at Grandfathers sale and after they had divided them Jim kept going and taking old Jos' untill he finally went into his fattening Pen and made a draw for which uncle Jo Prosecuted him but when it went to Court the people thought it looked too bad for one brother to put the other in the Penitentiary and they begged uncle Jo out of pushing it so old Jim by paying the States Attorneys fee and Costs got out of it by Old Jo's consent. They are a terrible set I tell you and I want to get away where I can never hear tell of a Blackwell.
Daniel I really want you to write me a letter when you receive this and give me the condition and prospects of your Country. How you are situated and whether or not the country and your business is profitable to you.
Brother James has two fine sons John and Zechariah. (what a name!) Sallay has one six months old and I believe it is the peartest child I ever saw and takes more notice to every thing its name, Nathan.
When they all get to Texas we will all be pretty well scattered. James will remain where he is for his wife is next to old Tom Smiths girls of any body you eversaw for Paps house and she makes him do when and what she says almost.
Give our love to all the friends and relations and receive the same yourselves without dissumulation.
Yours forever most truly
Signed. J.W.H., Martha and Josephine B. Blackwell
To D.P. & M.G. Osborn and all the children
From the Collection of Mike Osborn
Note. This letter was written to Daniel P. Osborn, great great grandfather of Mike Osborn. Joel W. H. Blackwell, the author of the letter, was Daniel P. Osborn's brother-in-law. Mike Osborn writes: the letter was one of those annual letters that brought the family up to date on the goings on back home.