Finding-Aid for the Craft/Fort Family Letters (MUM00091)
Questions? Contact us!
Craft/Fort Family Letters.
Collection consists of transcribed correspondence related to the life of the Craft family written 1840-1878.
Craft/Fort Family Letters (MUM00091). The Department of Archives and Special Collections, J.D. Williams Library, The University of Mississippi.
Collection consists of transcribed correspondence related to the life of the Craft family written 1840-1878.
The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use”, that user may be liable for copyright infringement.
ALS. Undated. [D.S. Collier?] to “My Dear Elizabeth” [Elizabeth Craft]. 3pp. Back of letter used as envelope.
On Board [several illegible words]
My dear Elizabeth,
If you will believe it, here we are, that is to say, you Aunt [illegible word], Ann, Emma, David, Mifs. [sic.] Welty (our children, and Mary [Rimer], on our way to New Orleans. We shall probably remain there [two illegible words], and [illegible word] on the same boat. We should be rejoyced [sic.] to see you all, and feel that it is not right to pafs [sic.] you by when within 40 miles of Holly Springs. Still we find it [illegible word] to leave the Boat at this time, and [illegible word] our way over [two illegible place] to your place. If I was by myself, nothing could prevent me from landing, and spending a few days with you. But our party is too unwieldy a one to manage–only nine of us, including the Babe, nurse, etc.–and no one to afsist [sic.] me, but David our eldest son, who by the way is of great service.
We left home on the 7th and arrived at [illegible word] on Saturday. There we remained until [two illegible words] All your relatives at both places are well, and have the same anxieties, and the same ardent attachment for you all, that they ever had. At [Binghampton?] also they were all well but a few days since. Time has made many sad inroads upon the circle, however, and there are many incidents of recent occurence relating to the family circle, both at Binghm [sic.] and in Ohio, which would interest you much, and which I would desire an opportunity of communicating in person, but when that will be no one can [illegible word]
Your Uncle Wright and Aunt [Lucy?] although they would appear older than when you saw them last still [several illegible words due to tear] better health than formerly, and in [illegible word due to tear] spirits–They are surrounded by a group of grand children, which seems rather to cheer them up and direct them from other cares. Your Uncle [James?] enjoys good health, and appears pretty much as when you saw him last. Elizabeth is married, and very comfortably situated–and the Boys are on the river as [Clerks] [or Engineers?] except Frederick, who is now at Pittsburgh and doing well–Your Uncle [Worten?] has been almost helplefs [sic.] by infirmity and age–and your Aunt [Worten?] though enjoying health, has been so corpuletn as to make it a task for her to get about. Still she looks very much as her most excellent Mother formerly did.
I [saw?] your Letter to your Aunt Mary at [illegible word] and was grieved to hear of your feeble health. I hope you may still be soon [recovered]. You [illegible word due to tear] Mother contemplated visit–I wish she could arrange it to [illegible word] our Boat on her return from [below?]. We should be over-joyed [sic.] to see her, and [illegible word] to have her with us. Why can’t the arrangement be made?
Your Aunt, our children, and Mary [illegible word] unite in love, to yourself–and family, your good Mother &c and desire especially to be remembered to your dear children.
Crafts Wright will certainly be with you in about two week and will then give you all the news.
Do let me hear from you or yours let us [several illegible words] situation [several illegible words[ your Mother–Sister–[children] [illegible word]
The [boat?] shakes so that I can hardly hold my pen. If you can decipher this you will do well
Affectionately & Truly Yours
ALS. November 23, 1840. Henry [Craft] and E.R.C. [Elizabeth Craft] to “Dear Sister” [Martha Craft]. Holly Springs, [Ms.].3pp. Note: Back of letter used as envelope and addressed to “Mifs [sic.] Martha Criaft, Macon Ga. By Sam.”
Holly Springs 23 Nov 1840–
I would have written to you before had it not been for the known scarcity of Postage money with both of us. But as [Sam’s] journey annihilates such an excuse you shall now have a specimen of my [chirography] in the shape of a letter–I have been very well this summer-an exception to the family As you have heard I was for a time invested with the dignity of a [illegible word] Scholar but I am now doing nothing. I am very anxious to go to Ga with Sam but am not able just now to raise the funds. so [sic.] that I must even content myself to remain in this wild woods a while longer. You have heard long ere this that Sister is no longer among those who drag on a wretched existence in this miserable world. Her emaciated and worn out body is mingling with dust of the grave. Her gentle Spirit rests in the bosom of her God–where there shall be no more pain nor sorrow nor disease. with [sic.] her Sainted Mother she now tunes her harp to the praises of that Love which makes a “dying bed feel soft as downy pillows are” To her Death was indeed the harbinger of better things. The herald of mercy commissioned by a pitying God to [cap?] the thread of a miserable painful existence. and [sic.] welcome her released spirit into those “bright realms where seraphs gather immortality from lifes [sic.] fair tree” If Death would come to me in such an angel form–I would ask no longer to stay in this world of toil and woe–I hope that an arrangement will be made by which you can return with Sam–You could be of much use to Ma [Transcriber’s note: the word “Sam” has been crossed through]
While I was teaching school I thought that I would shift for myself the rest of my life but then I lost that situation I could not get another or nor get pay for what I had done so that I came back upon Pa’s hands again. But if I live till another Year I am determined to do something or other. so [sic.] that I may [Transcriber’s note: illegible word crossed through] make a living for my self [sic.] or at any rate I will never come home again to be supported. If you come out here you and I can set up a male and female school. Pa thinks you would make a good school mistrefs [sic.]. I think however that I have earned my bread this year. Sam and I made a much better crop than all of them ever made in [Vinveville]. I am glad to hear that [Dan?] Clopton got the 1st honor. I suppose he has entirely forgotten me by this time. [Transcriber’s note: the words “If Ma” have been crossed through] Ma to write something about a cap that I left there in the store I told her to give Tommy the cap but save the tassel on it for me. If [Transcriber’s note: the word “you” has been crossed through] it was ever got I wish you would send me the tassel as for particular reason I think a great deal of it–And I would be very glad if you would send me a few books if Sam can bring them. Such as you would suppose to be most interesting to me. I left a good many of my school books at the store I would like to know what became of them. Holly Springs is a right pretty place. Massissippi [sic.] is a fine country. Heber says send Charles out here to him. I got a letter from Cousin Martha a few days since and will answer it shortly I believe I have written about all I can think of and as Ma is going to fill the sheet I will stop. Remember me to Aunt Jane and the rest. Your Brother Henry–
Dear Martha I have not written especially to you in a long time but I knew you would hear from us by the letters sent whether addrefsed [sic.] to you or not, which amounts to about the same thing. I am very anxious to have you all come tho’ I think you are opposed to the thought of moving to Mifs [sic.]–it is however a more civilized place than you imagine, there [are] many girls of your [age] here, & you may be better pleased than you think for I like it very well. My children have all been sick, but they are better than they have been & now the weather has got cold I hope their chills will not return they begin to look more like themselves, they are taking [baths?] and no poor souls ever hated anything worse–
You have heard of your poor Sisters happy death I hope Martha you & I may be as well prepared to go when we are summon’d [sic.] before our Markers’ presence no one could be more willing to go than she was. I wish you could have heard her, with her failing dying breaths pray for your salvation, Martha you [illegible word] of this, if you ever wish to meet her in [heaven], where I doubt not her happy spirit dwells–she was a [great] sufferer but a more patient one, she never thought twas [sic.] hard to bear the pain she felt or take the many disagreeable doses given her She loved the Bible, once she said if ’twas the Lords will she would like to get well to join the church & be a sabbath school teacher, but she was willing either way as deemed best to God. before [sic.] she died she said she loved every body– I mifs [sic.] her very much but she is far better off than we–Heber talks a great deal about her, wants to know if she sees us & if she will come down from heaven to us when she gets–I have been so much engaged that I put off visiting till today & Sam starts early in the morning. I was going to write this afternoon, but a lady came with her work & sat till after sundown. I wanted to write to Mrs. [illegible word] but cant [sic.] tonight & I am sorry for it, give much love to her for me & say I think very often of her & to Mifs [sic.] Jane too if she is there, we have heard nothing of her relation who lives in Vicksburg he never comes this way, I want to write a little to the other children, but it will have to be but a short piece to all, as I am getting tired & tis [sic.] getting late–If you wont [sic.] come, you must be sure to write by Sam. & tell me all the news, good & bad but I hope you will come, & then I shall keep wishing till my sister & her husband gets here—
Goodbye this is a miserable pen
Your affe [sic.] Mother E.R.C–
ALS. November 23, 1830. Nathan & Dicy Haggard to “Dear Son & Daughter.” Elizabeth, Arkansas. 2pp.
Elizabeth Arkansas Nov. 23rd 1840
Dear Son & Daughter. We recd [sic.] your letter giving an account of your family affliction which produced in us the united & spontaneous sorrow–but still it is a source of gratitude that none died–We are still uneasy fearing relapses–or further attacks-[illegible word] have got along in [illegible word] since you wrote–We have health except Wm he has chills & Fevers when he exposes himself improperly–He was elected clerk and awhile after your letter, saw [proper] to marry a Girl named Margaret Crump. too [sic.] young indeed but it may save him from some of the prevailing vices of the day. He now says he is determined to read law. How he will do, we can only hope for the best–we can tell nothing as yet–his wife’s father is dead her mother holds everything during her life–Margaret get nothing yet if [illegible word] [Erline?] yet lives with us–in fine health–your Mother is in excellent health-& your father is stirring about–Montgomery and Jane are in good health–We live 3 families–in 400 yards of each other–I told you the Legislature were [sic.] to decide where we were to live–The arrangement then was that I was to take the judge’s appointment on this circuit–which matter was deranged again by the [continued?] influence of the Land-office Democrats & Whigs–one of the Land officers–Register–was nearly dead for it & the coalition was too strong–an appointment was tendered me equally profitable perhaps–but more laborious–States Attorney for the 3rd Circuit (this Circuit) which after much hesitancy & difsatisfaction [sic.] I accepted–and should I live 2 yrs–those years are to be spent in this circuit. Your Mother has lost all hope of seeing you shortly–The Swamp is up as it was “when Capt Rice [illegible word] a tred”–The Boat now running here is old & shattered & she still fears that things would not go right in her absence. You know her care & economy. This are said to be Hard–as they always will be while the Balance of trade is against a Country. Our banks are regaining their credit–but all soulefs [sic.] corporations and the Doctors who administered cold water to allay the thirst of a Feverish patient–but enough of that–How is Mary Jane? Can she write a [joining hand]. How does she progrefs [sic.] in [Imitations] &c What is James doing–has he forgot his pot hooks==And how of the little ones?_____ There is a snow on the ground near 6 inches deep–we are engaged in keeping up fires &c We have nothing to boast of–we expect to try to move to another place not far distant by Christmas–life & health lasting–In our new arrangements we are although old, compelled to move a short distance and more. How is my old friend [Sam?] & family–Mr. Campbell & Polly–How has Mr. Roberts’ family got–Does Mr. Roberts say there is any House–[Rent] due me? if [sic.] there is–Tell him to pay it to you–from one cent up–How is C.C. Means family?
Your father & Mother
Nathan & [Dicy] Haggard
M. R. [illegible letters] Anderson
ALS. Dec. 5th, 1840. [L.J. Gartrell?] to “Dear Todd” [Mr. James Fort]. Mount Sylvan. 3pp. Note: Back of letter used as envelope and addressed to, “Mr. James Fort, [Bell?] College, Boydton Virginia.”
Mount Sylvan Decr. 5th 1840
Your highly valued letter having date 14th Nov. has been joyfully received, and its contents perused with and [sic.] inward pleasure, mingled with the sensations of inexprefsible [sic.] weal and an inate [sic.] & unchanging gratitude. What bosom can there be (labouring [sic.] under such circumstances as my own) that could remain cold & insipid to every feeling of our nature while scanning the noble and soul-animating sentiments of which your letter is composed? Were I able to summons at one grand review all the pleasures, sports, and youthful associations, which are so soon forgotten, and array them in their most exorbitant and imaginary forms and enhance their splendor with imaginations airial [sic.] suggestions. I assure you that even these, as august as they may seem, could not fill my soul with more exquisite [sic.] delight–than the plain and primeval afsurances [sic] of a true & undeviating friend. Such an [sic.] one I can but esteem yourself! In reading your epistle. I find one part in particular, that attracts not only the eye of pleasure joined with surprise: but also wins the admiring gaze of lingering hope and fervent prayer. You say that “you have been brought to feel the invaluable comforts of religion.” Oh! what words could exprefs [sic.] the third part of my feelings while reading this glorious this magnamimous [sic.], this soul-saving phrase? Yes truly with the sincerity of Daniel of old, I would with all my heart, with all my soul, and with every power of my strength, cry amen! amen! I thank God that you know that your Redeemer liveth–that he lived & suffered [illegible word] and buffetings, and died finally upon the accursed wood, and all yea, all for sinful, depraved, lost and ruined man! Oh well might the poet say in the fullnefs [sic.] of his soul “amazing pity grace unknown and love beyond degree.” Permit me to tell you that I have been seeking, while at home, a deeper and purer work of grace, and I praise God that I can now say “Here Lord I give myself away it’s all that I can do.” Yes [Todd] I would say here Lord (may I ever venerate the name) take my sinful-my wild and unconquerable heart tame it to an [sic.] humble and obedient submifsion [sic.] to they everlasting will and seal it for thy eternal courts above–where soaring higher & higher it will brighten and transport in the sunshine of eternal day. While averting to earth & earthly things, the christian can but conclude that this world, “as you say is a mere dream”–a phantom soon forgotten–a metior [sic.] that flits acrofs [sic.] the universe and is soon lost in the distance of unbounded space–a transitory abode from which we must soon depart to sojourn in worlds unknown and awfully grand. There to share our never ending portions of weal or wo [sic.]
I fondly trust that you may never turn back to the world: but continue faithful to the end, then will you find for your wellcome [sic.] reception “a building not made with hands eternal in the heavens.” Oh! [Todd] it is the christian when this world is about to close in upon his sight “oh death where is thy sting, oh! grave where is thy victory.” His soul has become perfect in the love and obedience of his Maker and he learns this frail & troublesome world without uttering a groan or hearing one sigh of regret–yea he has finished his course, the race is run, the glorious prize is gained, and he is now going to meet his Master & Lord in whose regions of blifs [sic.] he will sit evermore. AS you have just begun the christian course, you will no doubt [illegible word] by [illegible word] temptations, this is the trying ordeal through which every follower of the Lamb must pafs [sic.]. But prayer, prayer is the one thing needful: to this we are commanded to fly in times of temptation and danger–its saving influence will defend us against Satan’s firey [sic.] darts, and secure us at last a peaceful rest in the Land of blifs [sic.] of happinefs [sic.] and joy. May such be the final end of you.
I thank you for your attention to my certificate, and also for the Discourse of Judge Tucker, it needs no comment I would only say honor is due & honor be to the writer. Please let me know who are the members of the “Lux Fiat”–may it prosfer [sic.], may it triumph! May peace, happinefs [sic.] & your everlasting portion in Heaven. I remain affectionately your unchanging Friend L.J. Gartrell
N.B. I shall leave for Athens about the 8th January. I shall expect and answer before that time L.G.S.
ALS. June 29th, 1842. “Matt” to “My dear cousin” [Mifs. Martha Craft]. Jones City. 4pp. Note: Back of letter used as envelope and addressed to, “Mifs Martha Craft, Holly Springs, Mississippi.” With a Clinton, GA postmark.
Jones cty. June 29th 1842
My dear cousin
I suppose I must make a few apologies for not answering your very very welcome epistle sooner. I expect you have “marveled much at my long delay.” you [sic.] know it is so unusual a thing for me to neglect your letters that it will no doubt be a disappointment to you. but [sic.] it will only heighten your anxiety to hear from me and my letter will meet with a more welcome reception for being a few days later than you anticipated. In a few days after I received your letter I had to go to town and staid [sic.] a week. Mr. Pierce (Geo) had a protracted meeting there which lasted a week and I of course must be there–as soon as the meeting was over I went down to Grand Ma’s and staid [sic.] several days. so [sic.] you see I have been visiting so much that could not get an opportunity to write sooner. You are satisfied I hope with my excuses. I must tell you something more about the meeting–Mr. & Mrs. Parish joined the church again. I think the Madam is more serious than I ever saw her. Mrs. Hamel and Aunt Mary profefsed [sic.] religion and joined the church–I am afraid tho’ that their good feelings will not last long but I will not doubt their cincerity [sic.]. Carry Billingslea Kitty Sullivan and Cordelia Catchings joined the church and a good many others that you don’t know anything about. Lizzy Hardeman was there as well and recklefs [sic.] as ever. her [sic.] father exhorted for us a time or two–I scarcely sever hear anything from Clinton these days and I never go there unlefs [sic.] something of importance calls me there so I have no news at all to tell you and I know you will not be much interested in my domestic affairs–I hardly know what to write about.
A few days before I received your letter “Cousin Dave” (as you call him) was going to town and he asked me what he should bring me I told him a letter from Craft. he [sic.] said very well, and sure enough when he came home he handed me a letter from Hollysprings [sic.]. I broke it open and commenced reading. When I had finished the first sentence I remarked that it commenced just as the one before that–did but he looked very serious and I read nearly a page when I found out that it was the same that–I had read half a dozen times before–I was sadly disappointed I assure you. he [sic.] was wonderfully pleased you know he is full of mischief–How very sorry I am to hear that you are falling off so much and getting to be sickly-I am sick sometimes but I am larger than I ever was I am larger round the waist than you ever were I expect. You must not let me beat you fatening [sic.]–You would laugh I know if you could see me now–I look something like Aunt Mary used to winter before last–Craft, if I could see you I could tell you so much about what has happened since you left Geo–my life has been a continual scene of novelties almost-but I fear it will be a long time before I shall see you. perhaps I never may–Life you know is uncertain with all of us but particularly so with me at this time. I hope tho’ that I shall live to spend many more happy hours with my cousin yet. Don’t you think I am a strange creature–My thoughts are wandering and it seems impossible for me to collect them–you must just take them as they come–
Why did you not come to Georgia with Mr. Lumpkin? If you were half so anxious to get here as I am to have you come–you could certainly find some way–I am talking about you nearly all the time but I cannot possibly send for you this year.
Mr. Blount would go for you but I cannot let him leave me before winter and you know you could not travel well then, besides his sister from Alabama will be here in July and spend the remainder of the summer & part of the fall–O, do try to find some person coming on and come with them–I wish you had never gone to Mississippi–There is no probability of our moving to Mifs [sic.]– Your “Cousin Dave” will buy more land in Georgia I expect if he does we will spend our lives here–If you ever expect to see me again you must come to Ga–
You seemed so anxious to know something about your “second cousin” I reckon I must tell you that the prospect is very [flattering] for you to have one in the course of a few months–so you can make the drefs [sic.] and send it by the first opporutnity–If you love me [illegible word] don’t [let any] person read this letter–Cousin Lizzy George has a daughter about two months old–I have not seen [Kitty] Comer in so long that I do not know anything about her. She never goes any where scarcely- Lucy Patterson is married and come back to Geo. to live She married Mr. Ogilby ([Pena’s] Uncle)–Mr. James is dead–he went on with Mr. Ogilby to bring Lucy and a few days after he returned he died with an apoplectic fit. he [sic.] was taken off from the house and never spoke after he fell–he lived only an hour or two after he was attacked–his wife is nearly crazy about it. I do really pity her. don’t [sic.] you remember the evening he prescribed for your cold? – I thought I would put off writing this letter until the “forth of July” but we will have no celebration anywhere about here and if we were I should not go so I would have nothing more to tell you than I have now–Neither of us will spend it half so pleasantly as we did last year–I know.
I have nearly filled my sheet before I knew it–Has Cousin Henry gone to Arkansas or is he still at home? I am at a lofs [sic.] to know whether to answer his letter or not–he says that he did not write it because he wanted an answer that he wrote it more from pique than anything else–If I answer it I shall do it form pure motives of friendship–he is certainly a strange chap–I would write to him right away but I do not know whether he is at home or not or where he is–Write to me when he will be at home and I will write–
“Cousin Dave” send his love–he promised to put a pstscrip [sic.] in this letter but he went off this evening and would not do it. I will make him write soon if I can–Your true Coz. Matt
What are you all [driving] at now? Is your grandma as much dissatisfied as ever? Tell her to fix up and come back to Geo. and bring you with her. Uncle Icca came to see me not long since and insisted on seeing your last letter he asked a great many questions about you. I did not show him the letter but I shall have it to do it the next time he comes or tell a lie–So you must not be angry if he sees it-I cannot help thinking that you let your brother see mine–If I knew you did I would not write to you again soon.
I forgot to tell you that Mrs. Bennett Beall is dead. It is thought that she had the consumption-her mother still lives with Mr. Beall–I never hear anything I believe I have told you nearly ever thing I know. I never see any from your old beaux at all–[illegible word] dined here on Saturday last–he is the same old [List]-he does not seem to think of marrying–[illegible word] was out here last week don’t you want to see him–I never see Major [several illegible words] you cannot expect me to know anything about the young gentlemen–One is quite as much as I can attend to–Don’t show this letter to your brother he might criticise [sic.] Give my love to him when you would see him.
Pa’s family are all well the children are getting along finely he is the same “Mafs [sic.] Jack” yet. he [sic.] has the blues as often as ever but he is a mighty good old fellow notwithstanding. I love him a great deal better than I used to when he scolded so much about our little parties–Uncle [Peyton] is jogging along after the same old style–he asks me sometimes how you are getting along. What your brother is doing and &c Mrs. Hamil comes sometimes and stay with me a week or two– [Patsy?] never comes to see me now–I am getting too old for her- Do write to me very soon and try to find some way to get here this summer–I have a particular use for you in the fall. Good bye Matt
ALS. February 15, 1843. Martha [Blount] to “My dear Craft” [Martha Craft]. 1p. Jones City. Note: back of letter used as envelope and addressed to, “Mifs [sic.] Martha Craft, Holly Springs, Mississippi.”
Jones cty. February the 15th 1843
My dear Craft-
I will try and be a little more punctual than I have been heretofore in answering your letter–it has not been a week since I received it. Could I only exercise faith in Cousin Hal’s promise about bringing you to Georgia in lefs [sic.] than six months I should be almost in extacies [sic.] but I cannot believe that there is so much pleasure in store for us as to meet again in this world. Do Craft keep him in the notion of coming and don’t wait so long come in April–you know what part of your letter pleases me most–I cannot feel like [writing] about anything else. When there is the least shadow of a a [sic.] hope of my seeing you soon that is, in the course of a year–Since my little boy died I have thought of you all the time you know you could cheer my loneliest hours and next to one your presence would add more to my present happinefs [sic.] than any person living now– [Pussy] stays with me all the time she recites three lefsons [sic.] to me every day. she [sic.] is a dear precious little creature. I would not give her up for any thing if I could help it. I felt so lonely when “Cousin Dave” was out on the farm that I could scarcely stay at home and you know he is compeled [sic.] to stay from the house nearly all the time. So Pa pitied me and gave me [illegible word] she will remain with me until summer and then (should we all live) I hope you will be here–what do you think of it? For once in my life I am really at a lofs [sic.] to know what to write about. I got out a sheet of foolscap paper to write on and Davy told me to get a sheet of letter paper for fear I would not fill it he guefsed [sic.] well for I am remarkably dull this evening–but after writing a while to you I hope I shall be [revived]
I was really in earnest about your marrying but you have in some degree dispeled [sic.] my fear and I feel better satisfied. You must come here if you want to marry. Pa says you must make haste and come before all the young men and bachelors get married. I expect Maj and [Patsy] will marry in two or three months. Mr. Tippit, Dr. [Hangman], [T] Bowen, Foster, Stubbs, Bert and Quincy are about all that are single now. Mr. Gray it is said is engaged to Mifs [sic.] Ripley a music teacher in Clinton. Uncle Icca is still alone in the world. Poor Icca he is in trouble now you know he was in debt a good deal when you left-he has sold part of his negroes [sic.] and I fear it will take all to pay him out. He and Matt Gray are practising [sic.] law together I believe. I am sorry for him but it “can’t be helped now.” Had you heard that Uncle Noels wife was dead? She has been dead about three months Cousin Eliza lives with him and takes care of his children. Capt. Locket died very suddenly about two weeks ago–he went out in the country to church and went home with a friend and dined very heartily went to get a drink of water and was dead in three minutes after he swallowed it. he [sic.] had been in very bad health for sometime before his death and died it is supposed of the cramp colick [sic.]– Martha Mafsey [sic.] staid [sic.] with me a week not long since she is the same old Patsy–she talked about you and told me to tell you to come back and live with us again.
I seldom see Uncle [P] and his lady. I do not go there often and they scarcely ever come here. they [sic.] stay down in the piney woods half the time. Mrs. Hamel and Cousin Mary keep house in town–Craft I have all sorts of a [beaux?] for you when you come to see me I expect I have told you before about- “Davy’s Cousin Henry Blount” he is an old bachelor (not very old) he stays with us a good deal I expect he will live with us altogether this year–I have been talking to him about you he says that I must give you to him when you get here–I told him that I would never give you to any person if I had you under my control–you must come and see how you like him. he [sic.] is a mighty clever good sort of fellow. You inquired in your letter about my health. I have not been in good health since the birth of my poor little babe. I am very feeble yet but I trust I shall get healthy after awhile when cold weather is gone. Sometimes I think that I shall never be well again. I expect I get low spirited and think that I am worse than I usually am–I am never sick enough to keep my bed but still I never feel right well. I feel sometimes like I should die very soon and then again I feel a great deal better. I think that I am improving very slowly–you must not laugh about my lines. it [sic.] was nearly dark and I thought I could finish without getting a candle but I had to light one a last. Do you hear anything about Wm Millers belief (that is) that the world will end before christmas [sic.] comes again–some of our people are very much alarmed about it. Mostly those who are not much acquainted with the bible. I have not suffered a great deal about it yet. It is true “We know nothing about the hour when the Son of God cometh” it is our duty to be always ready–and it is my determination to try and be ready. I suppose you have never joined any church yet–If you have not Craft it is time you were thinking about it–life is very uncertain very–My greatest trouble on earth is about my husband. O I would five every thing that I possefs [sic.] to have him soundly converted-and you too Craft- but I have some hopes of you.
Now I must finish my sheet with [illegible word] not to disappoint me about coming. Do dear cousin–Come in April. Tell Cousin Henry to start they first Monday in April if it is possible for him to set off.
Your Cousin Dave” told me to tell you that you must let nothing prevent you coming that you must come let what will happen if life is spared–Come and live with us. Until you marry–if you were here I should never want you to leave me again–You must answer my letter and tell me that you will be here by the last of April—
Well cousin Hal What shall I say to you? I have not room in this letter to make any apologies for not writing to you. I will only try to persuade you to come to Ga and see me and then I will be prepared to apologize and you can scold me as much as you please. Won’t you and Cousin Martha come [several illegible words] Do my cousin if you please–I am perfectly delighted at the idea of [seeing] you both again don’t disappoint me for pity’s sake Write to me [illegible word]
I have filled my sheet with something I hardly know what I am so little in the habit of writing that it seems right awkward for me to write a letter. Write very soon if you please–Give my best love to your brother–Your true cousin Martha B
Cousin Henry a [illegible word] your [illegible word] days that you must come in April and fish with him–he is very fond of it. we have four or five little creeks and branches near us. I fished a great deal last spring. Mrs. [Parrish] says that she will bring her crowd out this spring and go with me she owns a mill pond close by here-do persuade Cousin Henry to come in April and we can fish and ramble through the woods and read and talk and enjoy ourselves finely–You must begin to make preparations as soon as you receive that [illegible word] dear Craft–come won’t you? Your true Martha Blount
ALS. March 8, 1843. William Fort to Mr. Craft. New Orleans. 1p. Note: Back of letter used as envelope and addressed to, “Mr. Hugh Craft, Holly Springs, Mississippi, Mr. Cage.”
New Orleans March 8th 1843
Your favour [sic.] by Mr. Cage is to hand Covering One Hundred Dollars Farmers and Merchants Bank Memphis. I will execute [an] order and send by first [illegible word] in the Memphis trade–one will leave (in [illegible word] this week. shall consign to James Abernathy & Co. & [illegible word] to send out to you without orders. The weather has been very bad several days or I would send the things in charge of Mr. Cage.
I am pretty well pleased with New Orleans–living is cheap as in Memphis, except a small difference in Rent–we have had generally good health–my respects to your family–
ALS. April 1, 1844. Henry Craft to “Dear Father” [Hugh Craft]. Macon, [Georgia]. 4pp. Note: Back of letter used as envelope and addressed to, “Mr. H. Craft, Holly Springs, Mississippi.”
Macon April 1st 1844
After a very rough and fatiguing journey of four days and nights we arrived safely in Marietta on friday [sic.] afternoon. We remained there till Saturday morning when we left in a miserable Hack & reached Griffin at 10 O’clock Saturday night. Sister & I were both very much exhausted after the first 48 hours but by that time we had learned to sleep as soundly in the stage as in our beds and were consequently not much travel worn when we got to Griffin. I think the route will be after a while as pleasant a one as any in the country. The accommodations are not pretty rough & the roads also but the coaches & horses are very passable & the drivers taken as a whole the most pleasant and accommodating I have ever seen. The travelling [sic.] is incessant but not very expeditions, not averaging 4 miles an hour but they speak of making it a daily line throughout if they do the speed will be very much increased. The contractors are all promising to get new coaches of the best kind during the summer and arrangements are making to work on the roads & keep them in good repair when all this is done & is done & the rail road is completed to Rome (which they say will be in the course of the year) I think there will be no route preferable to it. The trip from Memphis to Macon will then not require more than 5 days at the outside probably not more the 4. Our stage fare from Holly S. to Tuscumbia was 8 dollars each; then we got on the Rail road (now operating with horse power) & were carried to Decatur at 5cts. per mile. At Decatur by paying all the way to Madison Ga we obtained tickets at 5cts. per mile otherwise they would have charged us 8. Sister slept a little the first night & learned by the second to sleep tolerably all well but I scarcely slept at all till the third but slept then so soundly that the breaking down of the stage did not wake me. The weather was very unpleasant for night travelling [sic.] being exceedingly cold most of the time. We had one little runaway two breakdowns and some minor mishaps, nothing serious however. We met at Tuscumbia two gentlemen & a lady going on–one of the gentlemen to Augusta & the others to Richmond or Petersburgh, Va. We found them very agreeable companions & parted with them at Marietta very reluctantly. We remained nearly a week at Griffin. We found Mr. Lewis there & Aunt Jane got there a day or two after our arrival–We all came down together on the car last friday [sic.] evening. I was in Mr. L. store most of the time, while I was there one day his sales amounted to $288 $130 cash. Val advanced on cotton in hand. His stock consists of Groceries & staple dry goods excluding fancy articles, his business seems to be a very safe one; the profits are small but he sells a great deal & gets the money; his cotton operation he thinks will pay him $1500 or 2000 profit notwithstanding the decline. Had he let go at the right time, he would have realized a great deal more. The cotton he has now on hand is mostly low priced though of good quality. He [illegible word] selling all the poor cotton he has as soon as possible & holding on to the good till next season if necessary, to make it pay. There will be much heavy loss on cotton in Macon. Jerry Cowles has now some 400 or 5000 bales most of which he bought at high prices. He made some 8 or [illegible word] the first of the season & reinvested when the market most excited. There are many others who have been holding back at great sacrifice for later advices from Europe & are no compelled to sell under all the disadvantages to which the last news of a still farther decline subject them. The warehouses here are crowded to overflowing. Mr. Taylor went int o the speculation, at a very late period. I have not heard how much he has on hand a good deal I presume. He is now absent at Savannah & I have not been able to see him. I saw Mr. Goddard this morning & gave him your letter. he [sic.] seemed very well satisfied, I have also seen [illegible word] Hines. your [sic.] letter threw him into a great fluster upon examinations of the [Deeds]. I find that it is the NE ¼ of Sec 23.4.4 which belongs to him instead of NW ¼ . The receipt shows that you paid on NW ¼ last year. Hines went to Goddard about it & tried to get him to lose half the redemption money but G. says it is your negligence in not looking at the Deed as well as the Relinquishment & therefore you are to blame. I told him I thought it was more Goddard’s fault than yours but that you would loose ½ if he would: He says he hopes you will redeem it as soon as possible. Hines has in his possession the whole chain of title to the 4 quarters which he owns viz. Patent to [illegible word] Burch. Burch’s deed to Eckley & Ward Ward & Eckley to Goddard & Goddard to him. but [sic.] none of them have the clerk’s certificate of record. These deeds are made our separately (except Goddard to Hines) for each qr. & Goddard says that to save expenses in recording he got Ward & Eckley to execute another deed for the whole together which is recorded in Deed Book C Pages 230&231. Hines wishes you to find out immediately whether this is so & write to him. Hines says that G. bought Ward’s interest sometimes before he did Eckley’s & I think it probable that it is the conveyance of Wards ½ Int. then obtained that is recorded as above & that he did not have the joint deeds recorded which Ward & Eckley made when he subsequently completed the purchase. Goddard is very gruff & cross upon this subject I judge from what Hines tells me, but he ought to know that it is now to his interest than Hines’s to have these deeds on record. He is a man for whom I entertain anything but the most profound respect & I will not be backward to let him know it if he gives me occasion He has [illegible word] Hines badly in these lands making him pay in hard [lick?] & cash advanced for building materials between $2500 & $3000 for them. Hines has no confidence in him whatever. He seems to be a very clever though not a very shrewd man. Goddard [illegible word] becoming quite uneasy about his business. He says he wrote to you a short time since
Mr. Lewis thinks Taylor will not be willing to transfer the stock & is not willing to give a Quit claim himself because he says he has no interest to release. His interest has not yet been sold the sale will take place at Savannah he says he is watching it & will buy in. He thinks nothing can be effected by my seeing the [creditors?]. He has been using every exertion to get them to come into the arrangement & thinks he will be able to succeed with most of them in the course of the summer. I will not as anything till I see Mr. Taylor. If he consents to transfer the stock it can do no harm to state the facts to them so far as you are concerned. Mr. L. is already free & if they are reasonable & have half the confidence which they profess in the honesty of [illegible word] they must see that they cannot loose [sic.] anything by giving you an opportunity to try to pay them I saw Mr. Poe & his wife yesterday (Sunday) they treated me very politely & asked me to come with Sister to see them. Mrs. Poe came up on Saturday (the day after we got here) as soon as she heard we were here to see sister & told Aunt Jane confidentially that she was going to give a party in the course of this week & wanted us to stay here to attend it. I suppose if I cant [sic.] get some good excuse to go away I will have to attend though I would rather take a dose of castor oil than to go to any party in Macon: still I feel grateful for her kindness. I saw Eugenie Nisbet today Mr. Clay staid [sic.] with him while here: they all inquire particularly about your health & that of your family & Mr. Collier. We heard Mr. Hooker preach yesterday. He is an excellent preacher. the [sic.] congregation is much smaller than it used to be but will [no] doubt increase when his excellence becomes known. I have placed your letter to John Rawls in the Post office. I have not seen Mr. Stone yet. Mr. [L.?] says he is not worth anything at all but I will see him as he may be able to arrange it as you proposed. I saw Mr. Key in Jacinto as I came through, he promised to write you immediately. Coffee had risen so much that Mr. Lewis thinks there is no chance for a speculation in it for some time. He says it can be bought as low 5 months from this time as now. He proposed to Mr. Day early in the season to sell out their cotton clear & invest the profits in Coffee but Mr. D. said that there was no chance for speculation in it while the price was so depressed in Europe. The shipments to this country last year were 20,000 bags more than usual & the stock must become somewhat exhausted & the shipments take a different direction or the growers reduce their [illegible word crossed through] the quantity of that production before the price can rise. I will though act in accordance with your views when I hear from you. I send enclosed a letter to Ma which I wish you to read & hand to her if you think proper. The more I think of our course the more I regret yet I hope Ma has changed her opinion of us. I do not wish to wound her feelings further & if you think this letter contains anything calculated to do so I wish you to destroy it. Your affectionate son Henry Craft
You can say to Eliza that [Warren?] Charles & William are living here. Chas. & William came up yesterday to see us. I was not here but sister saw them. They inquired very particularly about Eliza’s conduct & when sister tried to evade their questions tears started in the eyes of both them [sic.]: Sister referred them to me. I have not seen them yet, but hoping that Eliza has changed her course I will represent her to them as favorably as possible. Their Mother & Sister are keeping an eating house in N. Orleans. Their Father has gone to Savannah. Old Sally & Allen have also been to see us. they [sic.] both seem very anxious to belong to you again
Sally belongs to Mr. Benton & Allen to Thos. Taylor. William is still living with Mr. Wood he belongs to Ira Taylor. Chas. belongs to [Sattamarsh?] & is working at the Blacksmith trade Warren is living at the Central Hotel. I rode out to the old Vineville place today. Mr. Brewer has bought the lot just in front of the fruit yard & is building on it. He pushes his outhouses just as much in front of the House as possible. It spoils the place very much. Your well known antipathy to long winded letters ought to have [illegible word] me from filling this sheet, but I have not yet written all I wished to write. Sister will write before long.
I have written the enclosed letter to Ma since writing the one to you. It is so long that I am ashamed to send but I could not well say what I wished to say in lefs [sic.] space. I will write to you again on the 8th Augst.
ALS. September 5, 1844. Martha Blount to “My dear Craft” [Martha Craft]. [Cap County]. 4pp. Note: Back of letter used as envelope and addressed to, “Mifs. Martha C. Craft. Macon, Georgia.”
Cap county Sept. the 5th 1844
My dear Craft
I should not have written to my cousin so soon but I remembered that to-day was her birthday. and [sic.] I was vain enough to think that you would esteem a brithdays [sic.] present from me very highly if it was nothing but one of my poorly written letters. If you could see what a romantic situation mine is you would expect something very sentimental from me. I am seated in an old log cabin that has today been deserted by its owner. no [sic.] one is near me except an old negroe [sic.] woman who is knitting in the kitchen. There are three mineral springs very near and a tavern where there are some very fashionable ladies. I have just had a call from three of them and as soon as they left I retired to this lonely hut to think of you. I thought when I came down here that I would write something pretty. but [sic.] I have so much commonplace news to tell that all my sentimental notions have banished. I will give you a brief history of my journey and my occupations since my arrival in Cap county. We left Clinton on Wednesday the 21st of August and landed in Capville on Saturday. I was quite sick two days on the road I had to lie down nearly all the time on the front seat in the carriage. When we arrived in Capville Mrs. Underwood was out at the Springs (nine miles from town). Mrs. [Slade] had gone to meet us, and we all staid [sic.] there until Monday when we rode out to the Springs where we have been ever since.
Mrs. Underwood has a little log cabin out here and we all sleep in one room there is quite a crowd of us. I take the shower bath every morning we have a bathing house and a great many ladies bathe. there [sic.] is a tavern here built of logs just for a summer residence and a good many families living here in their log cabins. I have spent my time very pleasantly indeed. We will move in town to-morrow I expect. Lizzy has been a little sick since we came here but she has recovered. My health is just as it was when I left home. You know I have hardly had time to improve much. Davy is out here with us. he [sic.] wanted to write this letter for me but I thought I could suit myself better in writing than any one else could. When I started off down here Mrs. Slade gave me a letter that she received from her husband last week to copy from. it [sic.] is very well written but most too loving for my disposition.
Well I suppose you are eighteen to-day. Your girlhood years are fast passing away. When you were quite young you pictured to yourself a great deal of pleasure and happinefs [sic.] before you were eighteen-but have you not been disappointed? Do you not find as you grow older that every day brings with it new troubles and perplexities? Every year as it pafses [sic.] away leaves us more thoughtful and leaves us many sins to deplore. Every birth-day we should try to commence living a new life–we should offer many grateful prayers and our hearts should overflow with thankfulnefs [sic.] to our Maker for his kindnefs [sic.] in preserving us. We may have seen hours of trouble but our blefsings [sic.] are for more than we deserve. What changes have taken place since your last birth-day! Many things have happened for which we dared not even to hope. We two have met and you know we thought not of meeting last September–I reckon I have said enough about your birth-day unlefs [sic.] I could say something better than I have said. This is also Capt. Henry’s birth-day. Had you thought of it? he [sic.] is 45 today. Have you heard from him since we left home? I should like to see you and the Captain and my other friends in Jones. We expect to start home the first day in October. Davy wishes to be at home the first Monday to the election. he [sic.] is getting a little tired I think. I wrote to Pa this morning. You must be sure to go up to Clinton the last of this month and be then ready to go home with me when I get there. you [sic.] must go to see grand-ma. I am uneasy about her she was quite unwell when I saw her last. How are you spending your time in Macon? I know you are enjoying yourself for I know your Aunt is doing all in her power to make you happy and you ought to be contented while with her for I [illegible word] her a mighty clever woman and she loves you and wishes you well. I expect there is a letter at home for me from your brother–I did not tell the Captain to send it to me so I will have to wait until I get home before I see it. We are expecting Mr. Slade here all the time we will have quite a jolly crowd when he gets here. I cannot think of any other news except what I have already written I have to be in a great hurry for it is getting late and I have no candle in my old deserted cabin. This is a very poor letter but you must take the “will for the deed”. You know I can do a little better sometimes. You must write to me soon? Your affec cousin
since I closed Thomas (Mr. Slade) son came down and brought me a roasted potatoe [sic.] he sends his love to you. he [sic.] is a good fellow. I love him very much. he is waiting for me to go to the house with him to supper. Write to me. Give my love to Mrs. Lewis and Lizzy.
ALS. September 7, 1844. Henry Craft to “My Dear Sister” [Martha Craft]. Holly Springs. 4pp. Note: Back of letter used as envelope and addressed to, “Miss Martha Craft, care Mr. Curtis Lewis Macon Georgia.”
Holly Springs September 7th 1844
My Dear Sister
Your last arrived some time since but I only returned home yesterday after a months absence. I have been to the Heardin Springs in Tenn 24 miles north east of Jacinto. 95 miles from here. About the 1st of August I was taken sick in the woods & brought home but with a little doctoring mended up enough to go about very well. Dr. Pittman advised me to go to the springs & spend a few weeks. I went as far as Jacinto in the stage leaving here just before night. The stage (the same one in which you & I travelled [sic.] to Ripley) was crowded & I was compelled to ride with the driver all night. When we reached Ripley about day light I was very cold but felt well. About dinner time we got to Gallaher’s (the place you would not eat any dinner at–2 miles from Jacinto) then I eat [sic.] a hearty dinner. I was to go from there to the springs by private conveyance & had to wait till morning. After dinner I laid down in the [porch] & fell asleep & did not wake till dark. I then had a chill on me. I went immediately to bed and had a high fever. next [sic.] day I kept my bed all day & was quite sick the day after I managed to get to the springs but did not get to the table & scarcely out of my room for a week. The accomodations [sic.] there are very rough & I experienced fully the difference between sickness at home & away from it. I remained there two weeks after I got up & improved very fast. There were a good many girls there & we enjoyed ourselves finely. Among them was Miss Margaret Madin, Miss Betty Hill, Cornelia Mayer, Louisa Henderson &c. Mrs. King was also there. I think my health is now about as good as when I left Georgia I hope to get into the woods again in a day or two. I have been at home only 5 weeks during the past 6 months-but have lost most of the time.
There has been a great deal of sickness here and throughout the whole of the country this summer. There has been too I am told much fatality in the Town principally though among the people living on the outskirts & I cannot find out who they are. I presume you receive the Gazette regularly and have seen that Wallace Wilson is dead as also Mrs. McDavid. almost [sic.] every body has been more or less sick. Chills & fever was the prevailing disease. Our family have almost escaped. Heeber had a slight attack & Sam we thought would die yesterday from the bite of a spider. he [sic.] is much better today. Pa is in excellent health. The young ladies of your acquaintance so far as I know are well. I saw Miss Adeline & Miss Theodora at church yesterday but have not spoken to either of them for a month. I don’t hear of any marring or courting nowadays. but [sic.] it may be because I do not mingle with the marrying & courting portion of the community. Miss Eliza Morehead & Miss Lucy Smith are in Town I have seen them at church but have not spoken to them. I was at Mr. Mason’s house a day or two before I left for the springs. Mrs. Jones & Mrs. Keeling inquired very particularly for you. Mrs. Keeling says you ought to have written to her you promised to do so. All your acquaintances here among the ladies inquire about you every time I see them. They want to know when you are coming home. I tell them I don’t know you don’t say anything about it. I am willing that you should stay in Ga as long as you can enjoy it & get along well or in other words as long as Cousin Matt wishes you to stay but whenever you want to come back you have only to say so. Things work very harmoniously at home now. I am there only long enough to eat and seldom more than a few days at a time. Your name is seldom mentioned & no allusions are ever made to the past. perhaps [sic.] it is the best. Time may soften or obliterate all that has been–and if you ever come back it may be under auspicious circumstances. I am sorry to hear that [Nece?] Craft has written to you on many accounts I prefer that you should not correspond with him. In the first place the order of his mind is such that you cannot derive any profit & I should suppose but little pleasure from the correspondence. He has been urging me to correspond with him for a long time and I have always kept out of it, but this is not the most serious objection. He is very much given to boasting of his success among ladies & your letters (the mechanical execution of which will not bear close inspection) stand a good chance to become the common property of all his friends. I am very fond of having female correspondents myself but except under particular circumstances I cannot say that I approve of young ladies keeping up correspondence with young men. Were [Nece?] entitled to be considered a particular friend and was his correspondence likely to be improving or entertaining & were his character in some respects different I would not object–but as it is I hope you will discontinue the correspondence. If he write again you can either let his letter remain unanswered or what would perhaps be better you can tell him that I disapprove of your correspondence with young men. on [sic.] account of your miserable handwriting & little experience at the business and that therefore he must excuse you from writing any more. I wish you would inform me fully what kind of society you are thrown into now. Do those overseers about there visit you–there seemed some probability when I left that they would. I do not wish to advise putting on affected airs or anything of that sort-but you are certainly above that class of society & I do not wish you to mingle upon terms of equality with them. Do you see the young [men] of Clinton. They so far as I know them are infinitely below any young lady’s notice. I cannot advise you how to act in company for I don’t know what your company is but I hope you remember always that modesty is the brightest jewel woman can wear. There is nothing I hate more that squeamish timidity & monosyllabic shyness but there is a certain dignity & reserve which [two illegible words] proper [illegible word] & always win the respect as well as esteem of men-but upon this subject you well know what my views are & how anxious I am that you should conform to them
The Dr. says I need not think of a profession. that [sic.] my health will always require an active life–I hope though that I may yet be able to be a lawyer. I don’t know of any news about the place you know I am the poorest hand in the world to tell that Give my love to Aunt Jane & the children. I trust it will be in the power of both of us some day to [illegible word] our gratitude for all her kindness to us–While you are in Macon be independent in your conduct by that I mean do not make the first advances towards any of your old acquaintances. my [sic.] rule was to recognise [sic.] no one who did not first recognise [sic.] me–that perhaps was going too far . This is a long letter [illegible word] there is but little in it. If there is any thing you want to know about the people you must inquire for I can never remember the Town gossip long enough to write it.
Have you seen Cousin Anna yet. Answer this letter as soon as you receive it & I hope I will see from your handwriting that you have acted upon my advice in reference to it. Sam & Sally have postponed their visit to Ga. probably till next year. We have a bride in our family now. Gib Anderson has taken to wife the girl Pa brought while I was in Ga Bye. Your Aff. Brother Henry Craft
My correspondence has increased very much since my return from Ga. but I intend containing it–it costs too much time & money. I rec’d Cousin Matt’s letter five or six week ago. sickness [sic.] & absence has prevented me from answering. I will write as soon as I think she has returned home. I wish you would find out from Aunt Jane whether Mr. Lewis received $30 I sent him when I first returned I have written to Aunt Jane to know & she does not answer me. I am afraid he did not receive it & thinks hard of me-don’t forget this. How finely you keep your promise to write often-I have now been at home 3 months & have received just — 2 letters from you. Can’t you persuade Aunt Jane to write to me. I rec’d a letter from Miss Fanny at the same time that I rec’d Cousins & have been prevented by the same causes from answering I intend writing to her though very soon. I hope she will continue to write. I have also rec’d a letter from Uncle Peyton which I will answer. I shall if my health permitts [sic.] be absent almost all the balance of the year-but will write to you as often as I can conveniently–My earnings will be about equal to my expenses this year I think If I am able to work the balance of it.
Pa is having a very neat residence made of the old storehouse opposite the office. Mr. Lewis has bought for Ma a fine carpet & sofa & she will now have a pretty decent parlor. I believe she intends paying for them with the money she gets for Mr. King’s board I am glad you are going to be with Aunt Jane. I don’t know any place where you would be more likely to improve–for she tells you your faults I hope. Mrs. Collier says she is going to Ga. in a few weeks I would send you some money in this letter but as it will be much safer to sent it by her I will wait. I hope you are not needing it. I am glad you are going to have your teeth fixed. So not stop at two–if the others need it. $10 ought to fix 4 or 5 of them. How much money will you need to buy your winter & fall clothes–let me know immediately.
ALS. September 13, 1844. John Pitts to Martha [Craft]. Clinton. 1p. Note: Back of letter used as envelope and addressed to, “Mifs Martha Craft, care of Curtis Smith, Macon, Georgia.”
Clinton 13th September 1844
Having waited some two weeks expecting a Letter from you, informing us when you wished to come from Macon, and having received none; I have concluded to write you a few lines inquiring when you wish to come. I expected to have come down last week, but saw Mary Pitts and she stated that a Mifs [sic.] Blake stoped [sic.] at her Fathers a few days before and said you expected to leave Macon in company with some Ladies and that you would be absent for several days. I therefore thought it best to wait untill [sic.] I would learn that you had returned and when you would come and when I should find you I reced [sic.] a letter from Martha a few days since her nor Lizzy health had not improved much. She expected to leave for home about the first of October, and I must be sertain [sic.] to have you here & ready to go home with her. If you do not come over in a few days we fear you will have but a short time to spend with us you will please let me hear from you as soon as possible & I will come or send for you immediately–my [White?] Family are in tolerable health
Yours Sincerely–John Pitts
ALS. December 6, 1844. Adeline to “Dear Martha” [Craft]. Holly Springs. 4pp. Note: Back of letter used as envelope and addressed to, “Mifs Martha Craft Clinton Georgia.”
Holly Springs December 6th 1844
This being a rainy evening it affords me an opportunity of answering your letter which I received on saturday [sic.] last, I thought when I finished reading it I will be certain to write on Monday but with monday [sic.] came company and kept company first one and then another so that I could not even commence my letter till now but since the rain has been so favourable [sic.] I hope it may continue till I finish for I am anxious to do away the necefsity [sic.] of apologizing and also to take you at your offer to do better in future and write oftener to each other for I cannot exprefs [sic.] the pleasure if affords me to receive a letter from one I love when I received your last I was out in the yard setting out flower roots Joseph came down to supper he asked me what I would give him for a letter I told him any thing he would say I hurried my roots in the ground so I had to go back after dark with a candle and finish fixing them, I think my yard will be beautiful by Spring. Now I reckon I must tell you all about little Hi, he is married, little Hi has got a wife at last, now let me know in your next if you have no misgivings, no regrets and soon. I did not attend the wedding but Sarah and Laura did, so I am as well prepared to give you the particulars as if I had been present, the bride was drefsed [sic.] in a swifs [sic.] muslin skirt and white sattin [sic.] spencer white ribbon sash tied before the ends touching the floor, her hair plaited behind plain in front, a role [sic.] of narrow white ribbon tied around her head, white shoes, gloves & c. Mr. Young married them as Mr. Baker (as usual) was away. Mr. Walter and Mr. Day was his waiters. Emily [Redus] and Ophelia Taylor hers. the [sic.] table looked very fine it was set in an L with several very large stack cakes of Mr. Wiggs make, on some of them they had Clay and [Frelinghuyson] written in large pink letters (I think Polk and Dallas would have looked much prettier) on others they had Verses but I did not hear the Verses as S and L had forgotten them before they go home, they pafsed [sic.] the evening in playing grind the bottle. I lost my glove yesterday and are you tired of your company & c. the [sic.] bride sent me some cake the next day with a mefsage [sic.] saying the next time she married she would not invite me to her wedding because I would not come to this. Mrs. Lane has rented the house Mr. Mosely lived in when you left and is coming to be near neighbor to us and Hiram and Jane is to board with her and occupy up stairs (your little room you know) so I will have a chance of judging how they get along you know he is baptist and she is Presbyterian they have been to Church but once since they married then there was preaching at both and she went with him to his and all the rest of the family to the other I think they will get along finely. Mr. Moseley intends moving to the house the widdow [sic.] Craft left (Mr. Hurds house) I am very sorry to lose them as neighbors. Your Pa has moved to his new house it is a very comfortable pretty place I like it better than any house I have been in, in this place, I was your Ma [sic.] first Visiter [sic.] after she moved. little [sic.] Emma is as interesting as ever I have not seen them since I received your last. and [sic.] Stella is as funny as ever she keeps me laughing all the time I am where she is her and Addison was here a few days ago Ad said something about politics, Stella said she was a Democrat I told her I reckoned not she said yes she was, Ad said yes Stel and Hebe were Democrat, I told him I thought all his folks were whigs when Stella answered with as much solemnity as any grown person could do and said you are very much mistaken there are two of the strongest sort of Democrats Ad said his Ma said she could not let any body but whigs live in her house Stella said well she will have to drive me off for I can never be any thing but a Democrat. Ad and Heber has been going to school to Mr. Parish your Pa thinks Ad has learnt very fast but Heber very slow but I think Heber will come out yet and surprise them all. Your Ma expects to be confined in a few weeks then poor little Emma, nose will be broken. Your Brother has gone to Pontotoc started last friday [sic.] I think you have no reason to be uneasy about his health for he looks as well as ever he is away best part of his time. William Baker is expected home on account of bad health. Mifs [sic.] Theodora looks about the same she did when you left. Mifs [sic.] Anderson is at her Uncle; again (the one you like) she is a very frequent visiter [sic.] at your Ma’s. I hear no talk of any marriages amongst any of your acquaintances, I suppose you have heard of Sarah Sullivans she had to slope she married a Doctor Ewell a very fine man and an excellent physician and also an Elder in the Presbyterian Church but her father did not wish her to marry at all, but they have since made friends and agree very well. Martha I do want to see you very much we could find so much to chat about that doesn’t do so well to write about, you ought to have been here a few nights ago, there was just 6 girls happened to meet here and staid [sic.] with us, so after supper we talked and laughed a while when some that had attended the wedding proposed playing when we turned in and played every thing they did there and more besides, had you have pafsed [sic.] the house and not have known who lived at it and looked in you would have been certain it was some old fashioned wedding party in the country. Your acquaintances all seem anxious and glad to hear from you and seem pleased to hear of your enjoying your visit among your relatives as well Joe sends his best compliments to you, in your first letter you said I must tell him not to forget his promise, and if he had forgotten I must remind him of [illegible word]. I thought to have written in my last about it and something happened to make me hurry in finishing so that I forgot, but he says let him know what it was and he will certainly comply if it is in his power, he says if you don’t make haste and come home he will come and fetch you whether you will or no, I don’t expect you would know him he has such large black whiskers. James is practising [sic.] dentistry him and Doctor Oswald has been several trips together, and are now off again, he told me before he started to send his best respects to you. Mr. John Anderson also desires to be remembered to Mifs [sic.] Martha. I forgot to write you how I come on dipping in your first letter you said if I had not quit I must do something for your sake but I could not tell what it was as the word happened to be just under the wafer but I was certain it was dip, or quit one, so I wished to be accomadating [sic.] and as soon as I finished reading my letter took my box and brush and set down and took a good dip for your sake, now was I right or not, about two weeks after that time I thought I would quit entirely and did for several weeks and fattened so I had several drefses [sic.] to alter and felt much better than when I dipped I use some now but very little and think after awhile I will, finally quit. My paper is nearly filled I must bring my scribbling to a close, Ma Sarah and Laura join in sending their love to you. I have tried to make Sarah tell me something to write, she says she can’t think of anything. Laura says her school will be out in a few weeks that if you will send your carriage she will come and spend a part of her vacation with you. by [sic.] the time you receive this I expect it will be nearly or quite Christmas if not quite I will wish you a happy and merry Christmas now Martha I shall expect you to answer this just as soon as you are done reading it if you do not you will disappoint your affectionate and sincere friend. Adeline
ALS. February 15, 1845. Henry Craft to “Dear Matt” [Miss Martha Craft]. Holly Springs. 4pp. Note: Back of letter used as envelope and addressed to, “Miss Martha Craft Care of D.E. Blount Esq. Clinton, Georgia.”
Holly Springs February 15th 1845
I received your last letter a week since-I was much surprised at your long delay in writing it and had begun to feel somewhat uneasy–I can but repeat what I have said before that your memory must have proved very treacherous in reference to the many promises you made me to write often. I have just returned home this evening from a trip of 5 days to Lafayette County. Miss Theodora Baker went with me down to Mr. Smith’s. Every thing there is just as when you went down with Miss Eliza. They all seem happy and free from care as they can be. Miss Janette Buford was there & several young men and the visit was a very pleasant one. I was there only one day & night myself as I had business to attend to in the neighborhood. Miss Theodora seemed to enjoy the trip & to be reluctant to leave. I think it very probable indeed that Miss Lizzy Smith will be married before long to a Mr. Barr. Things have a great [squinting?] that way. They say too that a Dr. Thompson is paying his addresses to miss Eliza–They all inquired about you. Things in Holly Springs are as usual–some marriages & some deaths have taken place since I wrote you last but if you receive the Gazette you are informed of them all. I commenced this last night, it is now Sunday night. Capt. Allen & his new made bride came to our church this morning having just arrived in town. They marched arm in arm up the Lady aisle as far as the stove. A suppressed titter ran through the whole house. She is rather an old looking lady and about as good looking as he is-They say she is rich-Mr. Baker still preaches for us. He came very near moving to Missouri a few weeks ago but was induced to remain by the great anxiety expressed by the Congregation that he should do so–Dr. Hawks is still here but intends removing to New Orleans soon. His determination to leave is much regretted. His school will probably be kept up by other teachers. I know of no news to write you. Pa’s family are all well except Sally. Mrs. Collier has a great deal of sickness among her negroes. Our new brother is thriving finely–he is still nameless–I think Ma will call him Lewis. Emma talks so as to be understood in almost every thing she wants to say–she is a very pretty interesting child–but is beginning to be right bad–Ad & Heber go to school to Mr. Parrish. Pa has got his new place fixed off very nicely & comfortably through he is not yet done improving it. Ma will have a very pretty little flower garden–nearly as large as the one at the office & arranged very similarly. She has got a sofa which with other things gives her parlor quite a genteel appearance She treats me very kindly indeed and every thing goes on as harmoniously as possible. Sam is fixing to go to Georgia-will probably start in 2 or 3 weeks–Pa has broken up the farm. William Anderson has had lately a severe attack of hemorrhage from the lungs. His father was very uneasy about him–he is nearly well now and his Father intends taking him to New Orleans in a week or two to spend the Spring–I understand the arrangement is for me to stay at Mr. Anderson’s with Miss Racillia while he is gone that will be fine wont it–Miss R. says she thought you owed her a letter but she will write to you before long. All the girls all well–I don’t hear of any new matches except Dr. Britney &Miss Pearson & Brooks Lucas & myself (what do you think of that?) You must not let Cousin Anna hear of it–I saw your letter to Pa–I suppose you have rec’d his. I was absent when he wrote & did not see his answer–you must tell me how he wrote. I liked most of your letter to him well though you did not act altogether upon my advice–I dont [sic.] like the the [sic.] way you write to me about his not caring any thing about you & all that sort of stuff–It is foolish as you will learn someday you quote from some of my letters & adopt my language-I would advise you if you imitate me in anything not to do so in my very worst follies-but enough–You did not answer my question as to how you came to see Ma’s letter to Aunt Jane. I wish you would for a particular reason. I am very glad Cousins health is a little better. I would be much rejoiced to hear that she was entirely well Cant [sic.] she & Mr. Blount be persuaded to move to Mississippi. I have no reason for thinking that she would be benefitted [sic.] by the change but then she might possibly & the move could not but be advantageous to Mr. Blount. What in the world will Ga planter do–raising 2 or 300 lbs o of cotton to the acre & selling it at present prices–Mississippians who raise 800 & 1000 can hardly live–Cousin has not yet written to me. why [sic.] dont [sic.] she? I suppose you have made up your mind by this time whether you wish to return to Holly Springs. I would be very glad to have you where I am could it be so arranged that you would be happy here but I do not believe that under present circumstances you can be. therefore [sic.] if Cousin wishes you to stay with her–I am willing but I do not advise you–you must decide this matter for yourself as you are the one most interested. I am glad you have been to Uncle Peyton’s try to maintain the most friendly relations with his family. He owes me a letter. Dont [sic.] you want some more money? I would send you some had I not begged you to let me know whenever you wanted it. Be sure & write me whether you want any & how much & I will send it immediately Would you not like to take some periodical if you would I will subscribe for you to any one you want or you can give Mr. Blount the money & get him to do so–It might be pleasant & improving. Mrs. Collins still speaks of going to Ga. Tom Lewis is to come out for her I have no idea of going myself unless you wish to come back—
I told Mrs. Collier I was going to write to you last night & she told me to tell you to try to be a Christian. The best advice I can give you is to say the same I am sorry to see so little improvement in your writing you can have no excuse for a [illegible word] slovenly letter–I would set you a better example in this respect if I had time. You must do better. Tell me what you are reading–I rec’d a letter from Miss Fanny not long since but have not yet answered it–Do you correspond with her? Direct your letters hereafter (Via Tuscumbia Ala) as I do this. Your last was a long time on the road on account of its being sent wrong.
The practice of writing letters on Sunday in which I am now imitating you is not one which I approve under ordinary circumstances.
There are a good many things I want to say to cousin Matt but I will wait till she write to me. Give my love to her & remember me to the Capt. Mr. Blount Uncle Jack’s family [illegible word] Do write as soon as you can-This part of my sheet seems greasy or something is the matter with it which keeps my pen from marking
Your Aff. Brother
Miss Theodora asks about you very often & wishes you would come back. I have not seen Miss Adeline lately. They are all well though I believe. I am sorry I am obliged to write you such hurried letters but I have not time to write as I would wish–I expect to start tomorrow to the Mississippi Bottom examining land- I am absent from home nearly all the time having been at home but 8 or 10 days this year–I am making some money but as usual not taking any care of it. My health is tolerably good Caroline is a great big girls she weighs over 100 lbs–Ma weighs 134 which is more than she ever did before you know–
ALS. February 18, 1845. [C.] Lewis to “Dear Elizabeth” [Craft]. Griffin. 4pp. Note: Back of letter used as envelope. Extremely fragile letter.
Griffin Feby. 18 1845
I received your kind & very welcome letter with the $60–two or three days ago & we are all happy to learn that you are all in good health & rejoicing in the anticipation of a visit so soon from your [Martha]–tell her she [must] not come while there any danger of cold weather. I will send Thomas for her–but cannot spare him for a month or six weeks to come–businefs [sic.] will then be a little slack & the weather milder–will also send some money by him–how much must I lend her–please ask her to write me–tell her we have set apart a room especially for her & we shall try & make her as happy as pofsible [sic.] & hope she will make us a long very long visit–We are all very well in health–[illegible word] suffers a good deal from the toothache she has it nearly every day- our [illegible word] is a pleasant one-all the rooms are [illegible word] & a fire place in each If you & Mr. Craft was only here & a good Presbyterian preacher we would be satisfied say to Mr. Craft Mr. Marks will not do for Holly Springs–since speaking of Presbyterians I have heard today that several of our good friends in Macon–members of the church have been dancing–they have had dancing parties at their Houses–what is this world coming too [sic.] one thing they have a good holy man for a preacher & one who is not afraid of the truth– & he deals out to them very plainly–We have a small church here between 30 & 40 members–generally very poor our preacher (a Mr. Dean) is very deaf–& of feeble health-can only preach once on the Sabbath & we only have preaching once a month–We could only raise 100 dollars for him last year & he has a wife & 3 children–how the poor man makes out to live I don’t know we shall do better for him this year–I wish he could get some other situation–for he is not the man for this place–with a right sort of man a very respectable church might be built up here
We have a Sunday School (Union of all denominations) of about 10 scholars–it is not an orderly one however [illegible word] the Superintendent takes so much interest in that it would be a pity to put anyone in his place.
Tell Mr. Craft [several illegible words] about 1000 Bales cotton on hand that cost [illegible word] under 4 cts. here I have bot [sic.] altogether about 1-200 Bales this season–the 6 or 700 [illegible words] the last 3 or 400 has paid a good profit & I think what I have now on hand will pay I do not believe however that it will do to hold. My calculations are to sell all I have on hand very soon & in the spring when the receipts in [illegible word] show heavy-I expect to see cotton finally as low or lower than it is now–if so I shall buy 800 to 1000 Bales to hold 3 or 4 months–ask Mr. C’s opinion about it. I would like it if he will ascertain what proportion of the North Alabama & Tennefsee [sic.] crop has gone forward & Mifsifsippi [sic.] & write me–do you know that I have some thoughts of Aberdeen–for a place of businefs [sic.] when I leave here–what sort of a place is it–[Jane] wants to settle back in Memphis & sell vegetables & wood if it is the will of Providence I would be glad to [gather] something together here- so that [illegible word] I do move I may be prepared to so some kind of businefs [sic.] upon my own resources I know it would give me as much pleasure if we could once more all be near each other again–as it would you Elizabeth and Laura are taking Music Lefsons [sic.]–so you see I am determined [illegible words] talk for that science shall not die amongst my family–I bot [sic.] a [illegible word] today –how delighted we would all be to be permitted to share it with you. If [several illegible words] would keep–I would send some one by here–do you think it would with about half the salt that its usually put in them.
I am very sorry your sofa got rubber I had the first one put up with a great deal of care & thought some man would do the same in the second instance–the money came in good time I had not needed it–only you ever paid me what does it cost to go from Memphis to New York–in the summer–the state road will be finished nearly to Rome this year. We leave here at 9 o’clock P.M. & arrive in Savannah at 6 P.M. next day 250 miles on take breakfast the second morning in Charleston–give my love to your Ma–Mr. Craft & all the family
ALS. July 27, 1845. Henry Craft to “My Dear Sister” [Martha Craft]. Holly Springs. 4pp. Note: Back of letter used as envelope and addressed to, “Mifs Martha Craft, D.E. Blount Esq., Clinton Georgia.”
Holly Springs July 27th 1845
My Dear Sister
Your letter by Sam and the one written subsequently by mail have both been received since I wrote to you. Upon my arrival at home some 4 weeks ago after a 6 weeks sojourn in the woods I found Cousins letter awaiting me and answered it immediately knowing that you would hear from me through her I thought I would delay writing to you until I was ready to start north. so [sic.] that I might be able to advise you where and when to write to me. Mr. Lewis wrote that he intended coming through this way on his route to N York. and [sic.] we have been expecting him some time I had arranged to go on with him but as he is so late & the season is so far advanced I will go on without him unless he comes in the next stage–Up today I intended to start day after tomorrow but have concluded to wait one day longer for him. My route will be up the Miss River by way of the lakes to Nyork, Boston & c I expect to visit our paternal relations in Maryland and go from there on to Georgia by way of Charleston–so that if nothing happens to frustrate my plans you may I think look for me about the last of October. If you come home with me we will come through New Orleans. Nothing could afford me more pleasure than to have you here pleasantly & happily situated. Whether you would be so situated I am not able to determine. I do not think you would find Pa & Ma much changed or any other circumstances much altered from what you left them Your situation at home as to its happiness would depend in a great measure upon yourself yet However much you may be disposed to discharge your duty I know you will have much to bear. much [sic.] that will require the full exercise of all your patience & good temper. Ma treats me kindly–indeed she is all that an affectionate Mother could be and Mrs. Collier who is living with us is just the same. The children are bad sometimes & vex me a little but I believe they all feel towards me & love me just as though I was their own brother. Stella seems very much attached to me & is not any thing like so bad as she used to be–indeed I could not wish to be more pleasantly situated in my Father’s family than I am and if I only knew that your situation would be equally pleasant I should be very anxious to have you here–but as I said before I know you would have a good deal to beat for some time at least & it would depend a great measure upon yourself whether you were any happier than before therefore I will not advise you in any way. Cousin scolds me for talking so much almost your dependence upon her & I will not say any more about I believe she is glad to have you with her and so long as you wish to stay I shall make no objection. Pa says if you wish to come home he would like for you to do so not otherwise–that he thinks it would depend upon yourself entirely whether you are happier than before. He seems pleased that you acknowledge your past errors & promise amendment. says [sic.] he does not suppose you are improving in manners much as you are so much secluded from society The rest of the family never mention your name. Pa says he will write to you before long I hope you will make up your mind fully upon mature consideration of all the circumstances whether to come home with me or not. if [sic.] I should not be prevented from visiting Ga. I shall be satisfied with your determination either way as it is your own happiness which is mainly at stake–I am glad you write to Pa & hope you will continue to do so tho I would not say any more about the past were I in your place You have said enough of your past faults &c to satisfy any one who could be satisfied at all–Pa continues as he has ever been the best of men & to me the best & kindest of parents-
It was a sad bereavement to us all to lose Emma. She was a general favorite in the family. I was not at home when she died & as you may suppose was much shocked when the unexpected intelligence reached me. Your friend Mrs. Jones has been very sick for a long time & is now going off very rapidly in Consumption. They do not think she can last much longer. Mr. [Keeting] is here–he has been with her up to the springs near Jacinto where I was last summer. Mr. & Mifs. Anderson have also gone there. They are becoming quite a fashionable place of resort from this part of the country. There is very little sickness in Town now & have been but very few deaths this summer–the physicians say they have never known a healthier season. There is nothing at all new that I hear of. You have seen in the paper I presume that Mr. Foster has left the Institute & that Mr. Weatherby has taken charge of it. It promises to be as flourishing as ever I believe. Mr. Lewis wrote that he intended bringing Lizzy on with him & taking her to Ohio to school I have written to him asking him to bring her & leave her All our family are well, as well as all your acquaintances & friends except Mrs. Jones. Mrs. Keeling & Mrs. Jones as well as all the other ladies young old whom I see inquire about you & seem pleased to hear that I may perhaps bring you home in the fall I wish I had your measure to take on with me to have you a dress Ma wants me to get one for her & Carey & I can get you one at the same time. If there is any thing else you want you must write to me & I will try to get–Would you like a breast pin & bracelet or some other jewelry. I send you enclosed Twenty Dollars which I hope will supply your wants until I see you. If your teeth continue to trouble you I wish you by all means to have them fixed if you can get it well done. It is useless to waste money on such dentists as Dr. Oswald but I believe there is a good one in Macon If you have not money enough to have your teeth fixed I presume Mr. Blount will lend you what you lack till I can see you or send it to you.
If you would like for me to buy you a drefs [sic.] in New York you must write what kind you want. If you would like a silk one–what kind shall it black or fancy–or shall I be governed by the fashions & my own taste. I hope to find our relations very agreeable- I will try to keep you advised of my movements. You must write to me in the care of Earl Porter & Collins New York. I hope Cousins health is better & am sorry she can’t go up the Country this summer–Tell her she must mend up for I want to find her looking as well as possible. I supposed she has received my letter some time since. Give my love to her & remember me to all the rest of the kin folks. I am in too much haste to fill my sheet.
Your aff Brother
No news from Mr. Lewis yet & I must start without him (Monday morning)
Craft Fort Undated; 1861-1878 letters:
ALS. May 31, 1861. Henry Craft to “Dear Jim” [James Fort]. Memphis. 1p.
Memphis. May 31st ’61
I rec’d yours yesterday & bought the meat orders at once, with the promise that it should be sent forward today. I have not paid for it yet. Will send the bill when I do. Let me know when it comes to hand, and whether it is good. Meat still goes up here, and there is a scarcity of the better brands heretofore preferred for family use. I think though that there is a good supply of ordinary meat here. and [sic.] that present prices will not be maintained. Mr. Douglefs [sic.] has been quite unwell again, and Ella too. This has prevented Mrs. D from making her visit, and probably she will not now be able to go at all. I would go out but I am afraid to leave home even for a night, unlefs [sic.] compelled to do so, because of the state of Ella’s health. She evidently grows more & more feeble, but by almost imperceptible gradations. The boy continues well and still talks of Uncle Jim.
I am doing absolutely nothing. I am inclined to believe that there will probably be a decisive engagement in Va soon, which will inaugurate the war, but I do not apprehend the brunt of the fight before next winter. Whipped out of Va I think Lincoln will wait awhile before he [illegible word] Southern invasion. What a sublime position Jeff Davis now occupied–keeping his own counsels–giving no intimation of his plans–yet trusted implicitly by a whole people whose very lives are placed in his hands.
When are you coming down? How are you all–you don’t say. My love to Matt & the children. Has Heber returned?
ALS. March 8, 1862. [Henry Craft] to “Dear Matt” [Martha Craft Fort]. Iuka. 4pp.
Iuka, March 8th 1862
Your letter was forwarded to me from Memphis & I would have written to you sooner but that I really have not had time. I never worked as constantly in my life for as long a time as since I have been here. I am well pleased with my position though if I must be in the Army, and do not see any other place that would begin to suit me as well. It would be better if I understood something of military tactics. I could then have an opportunity for considerable flourish and display before the army; but that part of the duties of my position I can easily turn over to Aids de Camp, on other officers who know how to discharge them, and devote myself entirely to office work. I did not dream that there was such an amount of writing in the Army. There has been nearly ½ a ream of paper consumed in my office already. It is no wonder to me now that paper has been scarce in the Country since I see here it goes.
I very much hope that Jim has entirely abandoned the idea of going into the Army. He write me that he will probably be here next Tuesday. Tell him there is no Hotel here & he must come directly to our Head Quarters. I have a bed large enough for both of us. We know nothing yet of our plans. We may [break?] up here any day, or may be broken up by the enemy. I do not doubt that most important movements are on the eve of taking place. I like the enemy are going to make a tremendous effort to gain possession of the Rail road & that our Generals mean to [illegible word] them [illegible word]. Perhaps the fate of her Confederacy–at any rate for years–hangs upon a strength which will take place in this neighborhood. There is a great deal of sicknefs [sic.] & mortality among the troops here–at least in a Texas Regiment which forms part of the Brigade. The real horror of war is only to be seen and felt in the Hospital, for the sight there presented not only tells of the pain & suffering & death of the poor victims, but also of the horror that [illegible word] bereaved are the hearts that are [counted?] far away. I have been very well since I have been here, and, strange to say, have been in good spirits. Sometimes the sad though will intrude upon me that perhaps my home may soon be in the power of the enemy & I cut off from all communication with my family till the war closes, or that perhaps I have seen them & you for the last time, and am doomed my self to add on to the frightful catalogue of those whose lives have been already offered up in the cause of Liberty: but I try to banish these reflections & only think of the time when these troubles shall all be over, and peace & quiet restored, and our Country firmly established in her independence, and standing high among the nations of the world.
When I left home Ella was very cheerful. She did not realize what a parting it might prove to be. Since then she has thought more of it & comprehends more fully what is involved in going into this step which it may last, and, consequently, has been more gloomy. She seems fully determined though to take her chances in Memphis & I reckon it is but that she should, for if the Yankees get Memphis, there will be communication with Nashville. Ella Talks more of coming up to see me soon, but I do not want her to come until we can see a little more into what is to happen. She write to me every other day. They are all well. She is getting stronger all the while & may yet turn out to be a stout woman. Van is still at home. He has no overseer & I suppose will not think of joining into the army unlefs [sic.] he is drafted. How is [Carrington] getting on. I have heard nothing of him lately. [Rob] told me Heber would be here tomorrow. I got a letter from Fanny, enclosing one from Add, last night. Tell Fanny I will write to her when I can. I was sorry not be see Add on his way. I reckon though that he will soon be back in this region. Tell Ma to write to me if she has a chance. I expect you & she are both as blue as possible these days. Try not to be. Make up your minds to take things as they are and make the most of them–hoping for the best. There may be a bright side to the cloud that now hangs over us. Even if we do not live to see this bright side [turned?], our children may; and what we suffer more may [illegible word] happinefs [sic.] & prosperity to them. I have come here under an imperative sense of duty. I shall try to do faithfully what is assigned me, and trouble myself as little as possible with foreboding as to the end. We are only working at conclusions that are already settled and determined upon in the mind of the Great Disposer, and the conclusions will only be developed according to His will. Let us not worry and distrefs [sic.] ourselves in vain attempts to anticipate the future, but bear patiently & as hopefully as may be, the burdens arranged us & so trod the [illegible word] path to the predestined end–Write to me when you can. Give my love to the children. I have not been able to write to [Henry?] yet. Tell him & [Bob] to write to me.
Your aff Brother
ALS. November 23, 1862. Henry C. [Craft] to “Dear Jim” [James Fort]. Memphis. 3pp.
Memphis, Nov. 23 ’62–Sunday night
I have had no opportunity to write to you before. When I got home Douglafs [sic.] was very sick & grew steadily worse for four or five days. At one time I thought it most probable that he would not survive. He is well now, and improving rapidly. As soon as he began to mend first Mrs. D. and then Ella got sick & before they were fully recovered my own time came. I found the negroes [sic.] too some of them very poorly & things generally out of joint. Now though we are all up again. I intended to go to H.S. as soon as Douglafs [sic.] got well enough & should have gone 10 days since but for my own sicknefs [sic.]. I had my arrangements all made. In the attitude which affairs have arrived since, I have now concluded not to go at all. I can do no good for any body out there & here I can after a fashion take care of my family. I am going to let Lewis go out with Bob Lynch. He says he does not like to stay here, and would prefer being in H.S. I have told him that he might stay there if he could make any arrangement with you to stay at your house and have you look after him. I have no [illegible word] for him here at all, and there is not much chance to find profitable employment for him–the contraband market being greatly overstocked. If you open for him to stay at your house, it must be with the understanding that you are to control him & make him behave himself. He thinks he can put employment in a [two illegible words] or in jobbing about. He must either earn his board by work done for you, or pay it out of his earnings. You must consult your own [illegible word] and interest entering in arranging with him. It is to gratify him that I content to his remaining, and because I think, if kept busy then, he will be better off every way than here. But you must not have anything to do with him except upon the basis of [illegible word] benefit, and especially, he is not to be then as a free man. If you are not willing to take charge of him, or if you think it best that he should not be there, send him back. I don’t think he has any idea of setting up for himself at all. Rufus has, done so though & I don’t know what effect example and evil [communications] might have upon him. I have determined, as to him & the rest, not to resort to any humoring or petting whatever. If I am not able to restrain them as slaves, they cannot make me keep them as free & I let them understand this. The others here get on just as though things were in the old fix & we have no trouble at all with them.
Gen’l Smith & his staff treat us politely every way & give us no trouble or annoyance whatever. It is fortunate for us that we have them, I reckon. of [sic.] course it is anything but agreeable to live here, feeling all the time the sense of subjugation, but as long as I stay in the home which I do pretty constantly, I manage to get on. The town does not seem like the same place. The whole businefs [sic.] population has changed & few familiar faces are about the streets. The refugees, and others who have been in the Confederate service, are dropping in though [illegible word]. I do not get see [sic.] daylight. I hope some solution of the troubles may be reached before long though to my eye, the prospect is as dark as ever. I suppose I shall now sit down here and patiently await the end. If you have any desire whatever to come here, come at once. I think you will be allowed to take out anything you may need for yourself or the Jones place. I would be mighty glad to have you come. I understand that all Southern Bank money current at home, now passes here. If this be true, it will no doubt greatly affect the fabulous value which Tenn money has borne. I bought some money from Mr. Nelson–including $20 La–which I sent down by Heber. The La bill proves to be counterfeit. I [illegible word] it. Make Mr. Nelson give you the other money (Tenn is possible) for it. I am not willing to take back the Confed. money I gave him for it & I think he ought to be willing to give me either Tenn or La for it. Heber will tell him I suppose that he gave Ella the money I sent & I certainly sent the very bill I got from him & this is the very bill Heber gave Ella. When I was coming down, Major McGiven (Van Dorn’s Chief Quarter Master who occupies your office) and Lieut Martin gave me commissions to buy uniforms for them. I have applied for permission to buy & sent out what they want, but could not pay for it. Of course I could not undertake to try to smuggle the goods through. Had I not expected to go out myself I should have let them hear from me before. Major McGiven gave me $55 Tenn to pay for his goods. I was to advance the money for Lieut. Martin. I would send back McGiven’s money with this letter if I was sure that it would reach you safely. I want you, if possible to communicate with McGiven at once & let him know that I am unable to fill his order; and I also want you to pay him the $55 Tenn money for me. If Mr. Nelson will take up the counterfeit bill, there will be $25 towards it. Then I want you to sell the new boots which Heber took out to me for $10–Tenn. which they cost which will be $10 more, & then the other $25 you must raise for me, with the money I left in your safe, on the best terms you can. I am very anxious to have it arranged as soon as possible. I fear McGiven will think hard of my long silence. Explain to him the circumstances, D’s sicknefs [sic.], my own & c. You must come down if you possible can. I would go out if I could, but for the moment I can’t do it.
If Lewis stays in H.S. he must pack up my things & you must send them to me whenever you can, unlefs [sic.] you conclude to come yourself. If I do not think to bill Lewis you must tell him to give Bob the box of percussion caps which are in my trunk. I will send him some shot if I can get permission to do so. Your watch has been repaired & I have it; but I will not risk sending it as I know you prize it, & I fear something might happen to it. Out of the money I left in your safe (I don’t exactly how much there was) you must pay yourself the $50 you handed me on leaving. Also five Jane & [Henry?] $3 each for me. And the balance, after settling with McGivern, keep for me. Use the Rail road change bills if you want them. The $10 gold piece which you told me was loose, belongs to Matt, give it to her. Tell Matt to keep the medicines that are in my trunk. I will have no use for them. There is a [illegible word] of quinine which she may find useful. I want the boxes of pills, which Lewis can put in the trunk.
Monday morning. I sent Matts things & hope she will get them safe. Can’t you bring in some cotton? I am told it is allowed now. The [illegible word] [bit] & [pipe] are for Heber.
10 yds flannel $7 In Ellas hands $16
10–[illegible word] 8.50 You handed me 6.20
4 for cards 8.00 Matt–in silver 1.50
Matts shoes 2.50 I send Confederate [illegible words]
Fanny’s 2.25 for Mr. Collier & send you some
Handed Mr. Arthur for you 10 newspapers
Buckwheat Lucy’s shoes cost $2 silver. She sent the money.
Shot for Bob percent
knife for Henry
Be sure to come down. I enclose some postage stamps bought for a gentleman in Major McGivens office who handed me 25 cts. Also note for Mr. Camp & letter to [Carryton?] Mason from Van Ella says bring Matt down to see her
In great haste yrs Henry C.