Slave boy killed, consumed by fire, hogs, & buzzards. Overseer's house burned
March 16, 1855
The following was written 165 years, 10 months, ago.
It was a Friday.
Wood Lawn, March 16th, 1855
Mr. Allan Cameran
After a long and inexcusable delay I at last seat myself to write to you. I hope you will forgive me for being so negligent. I have gotten so entirely out of the habit of writing, that it is quite a task for me to undertake a letter. This leaves all the connections in very good health and there is no sickness in the neighborhood that I know of, except Mr. Townsend's little daughter, Mary. She has been confined all winter, and is indeed an object of pity; she is ten years old and I do not think would weigh 25 lbs. We had quite a snow storm about two weeks ago, but it has now cleared off, and the weather is very fine. We have had an unusually mild winter and scarcely any rain, all who are dependent on cisterns for water, have been hauling nearly all winter, the roads have been as hard and dusty as in summer. Mr. Douglass had planted all of his corn before the snow, the folks all laughed at him a great deal, some said he must be Congarued (is that the way to spell it) for contempt of old established rules, and others spoke of getting out a search warrant and sending officers down to search for his corn, and some said he ought to be taken to the Asylum, as they thought any one who would put corn in the ground the first of Feby, when it is worth $1 1/2 pr. Bushel, must be insane. But now it is his turn to laugh; he has a beautiful stand about three inches high while they are all busy planting. I believe they are a goodeal mortified that it did come up. It will enable him to make his crop with a great deal more ease, as it will be off hand by the time the cotton comes on. Corn is very scarce and commands almost any price. They are going ahead rapidly with the railroad and think it will be in operation by the middle of 1856. They have good schools in Richland, both male and female. The place is improving some. Milton has sold out his place and has gone to Emery. His health is not stout, his wife's is better than it has been.
Bro. James received a letter from Bro. John last week. His family were all well, but he has just lost a valuable Negro boy, 16 years old, in a most horrible way. He wandered off from the house on Sunday evening the 6 of Jany, as he did not return that night, they became uneasy about him, and Monday morning commenced a search but did not find him until Tuesday. He went about a quarter of a mile from the house into the woods, where there was an old tree on fire. They suppose that he sat down by it to warm himself, and fell asleep, and while he was asleep, the tree burnt in two and fell on him, and it was too heavy for him to extricate himself; he just had to lie there and burn up. His head was consumed entirely, his arms & legs burnt off, and the ribs on his right side burnt in two, and when found, the buzzards & hogs were feeding on his remains.
Bro. John has sent his oldest son to Tennessee to college–he, Bro. J, is teaching school at 600 a year. We heard through Mr. A. Taylor that Bro. Benjamin had moved to San Antonio. I was sorry to hear it, as the prospect of ever seeing him was gloomy enough when he was in Rusk, now I have given up all hope of ever beholding him again. Dear, dear Bro. Benjamin would that I might once more see and be with him. I hope it will be better for him in a pecuniary point of view, but I feel so sorry for him to be separated from all of his relations. When you write, tell me what business he expects to follow as we have heard nothing, only that he had moved. I saw Cati Mays the other day. She is as pretty & interesting as ever. Her father's family were all well. Herman goes to school in Richland. There has been quite a number of parties in and around town this winter. The last was at Bro. Ja's week before last. The house was crowded, and it was given up to be the party for enjoyment. Ac is Miss Ac still and I do not know that there is any prospect of her changing her name. I heard through some means, that Mollie was about to assume the yoke of matrimony, is it so, and if so, who is the fortunate swain. Tell her when it is over she must be fashionable and make a marriage tour, but that she must be sure to steer her course this way and let us see her liege lord.
There was an attempt made last week by Mrs. Morrow's cook to poison the whole family. She put, it is thought, pounded Jamestown (jimson) seed in the biscuits, fortunately, the Dr. arrived in time to save all of their lives. On the same night, Dr. Harvy's Negroes set fire to the house in which the overseer was sleeping intending to burn him, but that was also discovered in time for him to make his escape, but the house was entirely destroyed. It was the house that Mr. Sinally moved from, when he went to Texas.
Poor Mrs. Craig had a spell of Typhoid fever last summer, ever since her mind has been in an imbecile condition, until about ten days ago, when she suddenly became a raving maniac off the most dangerous type. Mr. Craig left with her a few days ago for the asylum in Jackson. She was an excellent lady and the circumstances seems to have thrown a gloom over the entire community. Vic and Jim will go to housekeeping in a few weeks. Their house is nearly completed. It is a neat little building, four rooms, two below and two below, piazza in front. She will be a near neighbor to your sister, from whose society she anticipates much pleasure. Herbert, their little boy, is a fine interesting little fellow and is idolized by the whole family.
How is darling little Allan getting along? Bless his little heart, Auntie is afraid she must wait for him to get large enough to come by himself before she gets to see him, as it appears impossible for her to go to see him and none of you will bring him to see her. I have looked for sister Rebecca until it looks like hoping against all hope to expect her. Tell her I have been looking for a letter from her for months in vain, give her my warmest love and tell her that the very next time I can muster up courage to undertake a letter, it shall be to her. Tell Bro. Asbury that I am like the snail, slow but try to be sure, and his letter shall meet with a response soon, give my love to Bro. Anderson, and if you think he has any affection left for me, do try to fan it into a spark enough to cause him to write to me. Best love to Hubbard & Bettie, Mat & Mollie, and Abill if he is there. Willie says you must kiss little cousin for him, and tell him to kiss aunty for him a hundred times, he is learning very fast, my precious little Susan Ellen is a perfect fairy, is considered very much like Martha. Rebecca answer as soon as you get this & give me all the news. And now dear Bro. Allen, accept the best regards of your sister.
Give my love to Erecy and uncle Sam. Tell uncle Sam I dreamed the other night that he came all the way out here in a little jersey wagon to see us. The black folk are well and Sidney and Sinthia send their love to their children. Again accept my best wishes. Augusta
do excuse this writing, the pen is wretched and I have no knife to mend it.