These letters were very faded, and several areas were missing because of paper age and folding.
Lee Valley, March 9th, 1848
Dear Sir, This being a wet morning I sit down to write you. The times and events of our country (as) I may think of them. I received your letter [illegible] 1st came to hand in due time, in which you gave [illegible] us of your country and the well doing of your family all of which I read with satisfaction, your letter [illegible] family well and all our relations in this country is well and getting along as well is the times will allow and without [illegible] particular events among us. I will begin with particulars of our country for the last twelve months, (to wit) our [illegible] election came off with Jacob Miller, son of old John Miller, being elected a floating member of the house of representatives (from washington and hawkins), and fletcher white, son of old W[illegible] white from hawkins, F, white beat A[illegible] , andrew johnson was elected to congress by [illegible] a W[illegible] temple of greene county, the [illegible] with rank electing s.d. mitchell president and [illegible] hancock clerk. old Ap[illegible] kyle and orville rice (?) was verry [illegible] [illegible] our district election and county came off last saturday, a samuel smith, esq., was elected sheriff, geo (?) patrick serket court clerk, and robert c. __reyes__ [illegible] and a w. lowderback county justice, robert rogers and myself was elected magistrates in the 2nd sivil district old [illegible] marker was elected one for the town district. there has been a new county taken off hawkins on the north and from the east part of claiborn and the county [se]at [illegible] (called sneedville) and brother richard was elected as magistrate for the town district. I will now give (you) some of the particulars about our wifes family. [illegible] I hear from them only [illegible] he, old lady duff is well and harty [illegible] to here [illegible] family, nearly all lives and the old tract of land and [illegible] they were when you left this country. claiborn youngs, oldest daughter married a man named pendaldton and he died shortly after. I will now give you the particulars about my family. my wife and [illegible] and somewhat [illegible] we have only my wife and [illegible] and somewhat [illegible] we have only two children living with us. our youngest daughter has been married about [illegible] months to [illegible] geo payne, and he is selling good [illegible] down at james willies where wm renner left my [illegible] owing. alfred and christopher is all living in [illegible] state and is doing well for themselves. one of [illegible] well and stout of her age but is hard to please and wishes to be remembered to you and family but in particular manner to [illegible] debt and about $400 interest [illegible] do me made a good crop last season [illegible] or grain [illegible] in all at country and I have off of this season. I delivered your harty howtedo to old john davis and larkin willis. they are both well and requested me to return their compliments to you when I wrote. old swimp was with me when I opened your letter and read it to him and the old fellow shed tears and requested in a particular manner to give you his compliments when I wrote to you. I was at old richard mitchells not long ! sience him and family is well through him and his old lady both looks very old and what is worse is their situation in their last years is almost pinury and want. THIS YOU NEED NOT SAY MUCH ABOUT. w.b. has a large family and all living there with the old man. I will have to go down in your old settlement. I was at peter agans (?) about two weeks ago on a arbitration between agan and wm begley who married polly agan and old c. mcenelly was with us two days. agans mill is rotten down and is washed of clean and he does not appear to be doing much in life to advantage. I hered from esq(?) eppersan when I was down there he had turned out to hard work and goes [illegible]. the old man eppersan is living pharo roe ownes the old place you moved from and his son in law thomas eppersan lives on it though is not doing much good for himself not anting anybody else ben bray is still living over in the long hollow. marshall m webb has sold his land for $700 in cash and is going to move to the georgia purchase he told me when I was down there. that he was going to look at and purchase a tract of land in sept next. he thinks he will have a $1000 cash to pay down. I will now say something about marriages and deaths in this country. old sally mills was buried on the 19th of last month. dicey [illegible] last fall. mr. walker is broke up and is living with wm. walker, and they both joined the baptist church. joel mills wife died last summer, and joel has sience married one of old peter wolfs daughters. old thomas martin died the 16th day of july last. old mr. sullivan died about twelve months ago. he appointed me of his last will and testament. old charity trent died last spring, and old wm trent was lately married the widow winstead, (say old peggy) pharo roes and his wife has lately parted because she let joseph davis hug her and I don’t know what more, but she went before a justice of the peace and was sworn to do so no more and they are living together again.
sience I wrote the above I have thought of some things which I think will make you laugh [illegible]. john mill has lately married peggy campbell and is living at ransom hayses old place, and ransom is living down the creek near peter again in a kind of pocket in bend in creek, is married a second wife and is presented by the grand jury of hancock for illegal marriage. old ben coffys wife died last fall and he is living with his son caswell and not long sience got drunk and fell of a log and broke one of his legs short off, and is just got so he can go about.
martha is desirious that when you write to me that you send names of Amandy’s children. I have wrote [illegible] and a better scholar than I am and you must make the best of it if you can and receive it from your affectionate brother
Lee Valley, 7 July, 1853
Brother Lewis Sir.
Not hearing from you for a long time, I this morning conclude to write to you and it may be the means of your [illegible] interest you, but I will give you the most [illegible] events as I may think of them, First myself and family is well, my wife and myself has grown old though staid and hart, as people of our age, we have [illegible] become tolerable [illegible] I weigh about 185 lbs [illegible] our connection in the county is well as fare as I know, there [illegible] two of our nephews at my house at this time G.B. Mitchells son Barry who lives in Houston in texas work at [illegible] carpenter trade and has made money there and [illegible] good looking man and tolerable smart considering his [illegible] in life joseph rogers son david s rogers who has [illegible] about through the world and has not done much for himself, his father is still old dave, git drunk every chance he gets and is doing no good for himself nor no other person, his family makes what they live and scarce at that,
old larkin willis is still living but verry frail your old friend swimp anderson is also living, stout and hardy, abijah anderson lives on the ridg near old swimps and is making property, he has five likely negroes and a great deal of property and some money for a common man here, I will now say something about my children, my daughters is al married and is living in this county,the furthest about ten miles, james harrel (?) lives in sneedville the county site of hancock county which is located at greesy rock. is carying on a tan yard, my boys has all left me, only joseph who is living with me but works for himself, carrys on a black smiths shop and is single, alfred and christopher lives in southern alabama works at the house carpenter trade, alfred is single yet, christopher is married to a good cotton growers daughter who owns 50 negroes and christopher has made money at his trade to buy two hundred acres of land with a good corn, wheat and saw mill, all at [illegible] dam, lewis is living in bradley county in this state owns a good farm and makes good use of it he is verry religious and preaches a tolerable good sermon, I went to see them last fall [illegible] the way of stages and rail roads, cost me about [illegible] made the trip in about four weeks, curren, as you probably have herd went to california and has had the good fortune to be elected clerk of the lower house of the first general assembly in the state and when the legislature adjurned he was employed in the secretary of states office making in all twenty monthes in which time he tells me he relised [illegible] he came to see us this spring twelve months ago and stayed near three months, he lives in jefferson county ark, I will now give you some account of my situation in life so that you may know how I have managed, I have bought some land joining me making with my old land two hundred and thirty acres, I have about one hundred and twenty acres of cleared land all of which I have kept upin cultivation, but owing to the want of help, I don’t expect to do much in the way of farming only by renting my land, I am reducing my stock so that I shant keep much, I have about $15.00 at command and don’t owe one red dime in the world, I was at the sirkit court in sneedville about a month ago when I saw a number of your old acquaintences, to wit, all the mills boys, pit agan, arch macky, beve mays, elijah roby, and shade epperson, old shade is as mean as ever and is living over in [illegible] hollow from where you lived, two of his oldest boys [illegible] old bill wilder is still living but is nearly my [illegible], old g. mcgaw not long sience, he is tolerable well but frail as to getting about, james ettey family is well, the kyles is still in the negro driving buisness, william kyle, franklin and john blevins is now lying in order to drive in the fall, I will say something of old uncle richards boys stockley is living in rogersville and offers for every lucrative office where there is a vacancy but fails to be elected, he has some property but I have been told that if his debt was faced he would not be worth a yock of oxen, wilie b. lives over on the hill east of where the old man did live, his wife has lately died and left him with ten children all of whom is trying to keep at the cortains of the town and I don’t suppose wilie is worth five hundred in the world and has no energy nor management and little dick has drunk until he is almost dried up and is a hundred per cents worth the nothing, so much for them, ambrous mills, son of old john mills, died and he in his lifetime bought nine shears of his fathers land and became in debt and his interest was sold at adminstrary sale not long sience for $4900.10, I will now give you an act, of a number of deaths of your old acquaintences and the particulars of some of them, first old uncle richard mitchell died about four months! ago and strange as it seems it is the trouth, about three weeks before his death he and his wife joined the presbetarian church by the agency of the rev. frederick h. ross, the old man was [illegible] at by may [illegible] and died in very indigent circumstances, the old lady and [illegible] and her two daughters is living on the place together, the rev. john day died this spring verry sudden with derangement in the brain, was taken [illegible] sunday and died saturday following, john epperson married, peter agens sister died, claibourn mccay, old george rogers died last saturday night, old isaac amyx, old cleam moore, we have had a verry dry season, we have made verry good crops of wheat this season but corn looks bad and there is a great deal of sickness in this country this season and a great many deaths persons that you don’t know, old negro jim died about twelve months ago and old bess is living with some free negroes, I have made this season about 200. 25 bushells of first best wheat, I wont to here from you immediately on the receipt of this letter and in verry particular manner relative to the situation of you also about your boys.
Submitted by Sam D. Lawson.