ROBERTSON TN 1,
There is no envelope.
Cross Plains, January 25, 1861
It is a beautiful Sunday morning and I am seated by a pleasant log fire in Dr. Pattersons old house with my wife and two little girls, listening to the many voices while I write and I fancy that if you could look in on our little group you would think the ֧Sunny South a pleasant place after all. Well perhaps you would like to know how we came snugly ensconced here when you thought we were making arrangements to emigrate to Minnesota. That is a question easier asked than answered but I will try. Owing to the political excitement with other various causes it is impossible to collect money. Some of our wealthiest men, men who have large amounts of money loaned, can't raise enough to by their groceries and owing to short crops we have nothing to sell to bring money. So you can see we are in a bad row of stumps. Without a change it would be impossible for me to get off in the spring and being unwilling to do nothing all winter for it is impossible to get work and then fail to get off in the spring which would leave me flat. These with other causes induced me to go in with William and James Berry and rent this place. We get as much land as we can cultivate and the use of the buildings. We give one third of the produce we raise. I have been living here for more than a week. The buildings are comfortable and we find it a pleasant place. And if we can get money enough to buy provisions we think we will get along very well; but not withstanding if circumstances would have admitted, I would rather have gone to Minn. In the spring. I was much delighted with your last and hope you have had as much fun over the frozen corn as I have. The fact is brother James was down a few days before I wrote that letter and being in one of his big ways which you know does not often happen. He told some big tales about Minnesota. I cared nothing for them myself but they had a bad influence on some of the others and that is the reason why I wrote as I did.Signed. J.W. Weir
You perhaps can understand the hard times as you know something about hard times from experience. Property has gone down nearly one half in value whilest provisions are comparatively high, corn is worth 3.50 in cash per lb., wheat 1.25 per bushel, bacon ten cents per lb.. Fodder two cents per bind. When we take into consideration the fact that it is harder to raise one dollar now than it was three of four one year ago. And also that the demand for the above articles is far greater than the supply and that they cannot be had without the money and all so that the people are badly in debt and you can farm a tolerable fair idea of our condition.
We are all well and been since I wrote last. The health of the neighborhood is unusually good your old friend frequently inquire after you and all the family. Bolivor Payne a letter from you some three weeks ago. He had a disliking to the natural productions of the country. Brother Featherston is still preaching for us at Pleasant Hill. He has gradually improved in preaching and also in his personal appearance. The congregation at Pleasant Hill the house pretty well filled Saturday and on Sunday it will not hold the crowd. The church now numbers 130 members and is in a healthy condition. We have recently had the house neatly underpinned with brick and bought a new stove. We have also promised our pastor one hundred dollars for the present year. Brother J. left here last Thursday. He was well. He had been to see brother James. He and family were well. I saw cousin Juditha Glass some two weeks ago. She and family were well. Her father and family and connection were all well. I suppose that you are better posted about the unfortunate divisions of our country than I am. The Gov of Tenn. has issued a proclamation calling upon the voters of Tenn. to decide by a vote weather they want a state convention or not. I think the proposition will be voted down. I do not think Tenn. is prepared to go with the three seceding states.
Give our love to brother George Heart and Lady. Also to all of our friends and receive the same for yourselves. You know when I write one I write to all. I will write again soon. We wish you all to write often.
Tell sister Caroline that I will write to her soon.
From the Collection of Leslie Hamilton Smith Provenance: a treasured family heirloom
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5 May 1998