of the Harrison Family
are a few letters
that have come down through the
from Van Houston Harrison
to his sister Bettie with one to his
one from his wife, Roxanna to
Bettie. Note that in most case I've left
spelling and grammar
it was - there are a few names/omissions that
I couldn't make out,
generally they do not affect meaning.
NEW!!! - Take
a look at these new letters recently shared with me
Dr. John Benjamin Bond,
III (who also happens to be a descendant of
the Mother of Doctors)!
Oct 4 of 58 (1858)
arrived at my present
place, home, or location about 12
October the 2nd day after I left home. I
found that I could make money here by
industry, sobriety, perseverance & economy so I have commenc’d
with every prospect of success – every one of my Old Friends were glad
me & they all confirm my own impression by telling that I will make
fast. I am in fine spirits – I have
visited some 12 or 15 patients already since I came over and have good
– I think I shall do well. You see that
the name of our town is changed from Weanesville to Fontenelle. We haven’t any post office here yet so you
must direct to Point Pleasant
Grand Pa I will write
to him again soon – I will also
write to Ma & Nancy, all the rest soon. Tell
Grand Pa to send my medicines just as soon as he can
possibly do so
– tell him to be carefull and see that the trunks & box are
to Point Pleasant Mo.
have purchased a very fine
house. I want you all that have presents
to send to
me such as socks, _____, pincushion &c &c and thence by boxing
nicely in a small box & send them on a boat to Point Pleasant. The cost will be small.
want you all to write to
me & write often. I will write to Nancy very soon.
person thinks I came
over here to Marry! The idea is
haven’t time to write more
very soon –
of the 7th
Inst is now before me. I was glad to hear
from you all – glad to
hear that you were all well and had been injoying yourselves at the
Fair”. You speak of the weather as
having been disagreeable during the time of the fair which I know to be
case as I was riding every day & night during that time. As you anticipated I was not at all
astonished to hear of Nannie’s Dancing. You
ask what do I think about it? Why I think
she did nothing more than she had been wanting
to do for
sometime no doubt. You advised me to be
more firm & not yield a willing victim to the pleasures of the
not to participate with those who would forget their sorrows &
dull care and mingle in the “giddy dance”. You
surely forget Bettie that you failed to resist the
and – Besides you know I am a cripple and couldn’t dance if I wanted to
enough of this.
Robt to write to me if
he wishes to hear from me – I am
very sorry to hear that Mattie is so low.
have just written to John
Dillard only a few days ago.
haven’t anything of
interest to write to you about only
that I am doing well and as regards health “in status quo”. I hope you will write more fully in your next
– I haven’t time to write much.
all my friends over
there that I should like to hear
from them. I send my love to all my
relations write soon.
have written to you and
Mary D. tonight & shall write
Crevoiser (the young
Merchant of this place) has come
over to my Office and we are going to have a fine supper of Georgia
up in cans) and Honey & Cream & sugar crackers.
He says for me to be a little brief this time
but not forget to mention him.
have just recd almost a
hat full of some of which were
directed to you, the Balance to myself all of which were of Old dates
have been recd before we left here. I
didn’t find any news in any but one of them which from Robt &
busness letter. I have been thinking
ever since I came back that I should write to you all about my trip
Obion but have never had time until the present. I
started from home as you know
Wednesday. Got to Union City in to have
gotton off on the evening train but had busness and sta’d until
morning in the mean time was introduced to Dr. M. Davin Jayne from
Patent Medicine Notoriety & submitted quietly to being bored with
for 2 or 3 hours but finally got off on the morning train & landing
Columbus (the mudiest place I ever saw) in a very short time where I
in the evening when I concluded to take a trip up to Cairo &
started on first boat up. Nothing of
occurring on the up or until I beheld the beautifull fast sailing
“Alonzo Child” coming in sight upon which I determined to start to Pt.
soon after which a Lady applied to me to see her on board & act in
capacity of escort as far down as I was going which I couldn’t refuse
& for whom I paid seven dollars without being repaid.
As she most willingly said the only pay being
the pleasure of looking at the prettiest face I ever saw & a most
she presented me when we parted at New Madrid. I
concluded to get off there as the boat was gong to stop
some 24 hours
– when I bid adieu to my fair acquaintance with empty pockets (I had to
ten dollars from my friend J. W. Stewart in Columbus). It
was Sunday evening when I got back to my old home –
Mrs. Nicholas was
really glad to see me & asked a great many questions about you.
busness has increased
very much since I got back. In fact I have
scarcely leisure time enough
to eat & sleep. I hardly know what I
am going to do yet – I’ll be sure to be in Obion in Feb but shall go at
once to Memphis thence to Covington &
visit Robt write to him to
that effect. Bettie I have invested
everything I got in furs this season & the price is going down
the price improves again I am hopelessly ruined & they ______ that
friend Ri__ Menkle of St. Louis has diserted me & if so I am ruined
anyhow. I recd a letter from him today
& he says furs are not worth anything. Present
my respect to old friends & relatives. Mrs.
Noah & Husband, Miss Nora &
Nov. 9 of
have not heard from you in
some time and in fact would not
have known your adress or rather how to address a letter to your place
not rec’d a letter from Robt and with it instructions.
I had heard that Robt was in Prison at
Johnson’s Island and wrote him some time ago but had almost dispaird of
anything in reply; at last however I received a letter from Johnsons
bearing the well known hand writing of my Brother – my joy was almost
but doomed to be cut short; on opening the letter, almost the first
caught my eye were the following – “I cannot say that it gave me any
to hear under the circumstances by which you seem to have surrounded
and again “I confess I had anticipated more from you however little
antecedants show for your consistency” Now
I consider this quite cooling. I have
troubled myself not a little to find out the
probable cause of
this and the only solution attained as yet, is that some of my friends,
probably in Obion (I know I have them there) have been posting him in
to the “circumstances by which I have surrounded myself.”
Now I don’t expect to ever attempt to justify
my course to Robert, because I think he is predetermined to think me
and inconsistent, but I shall endeavor to give my mother a statement of
facts as I think will be sufficient to convince her that I have never
otherwise than honorable. You know what
my course was from the commencement of the War up to the time when I
my last visit while you were in Obion. When
I returned to Mo.
I was assigned to duty in the 1st Regt Mc Cov. As Surgeon
continued some six months when my health completely failed from severe
protracted attacks of Pulmonary Hemorhage which became so very alarming
was advised by one Brig Surgeon to quit the service.
This I was unwilling to do, tho I procured
leave of absence to report when my health had improved sufficiently;
needy, it was necessary that I should do something for a support while
unemployed by Gov. so commenced practicing med again as my health would
untill so far recovered as to report for duty to the Col. Then
Post near me. I was immediately placed
in charge the Hospital as Post Surgeon where I continued until captured
Federals on the 26th Oct 1862 when I was taken to Columbus
I took the “Oath of Allegiance” rather than lie in Prison, since which
have conscientiously tried to observe it and will continue to do so,
helping. I’ll not say a word more about
should like very much to
see you all but think it
impossible to make you a visit soon. I
had hoped that times would have been more quiet ere this so that I
brought Roxie & our little Emma on a visit to you.
Roxie is very anxious to see you all she
desires Bettie to write & send her Photograph.
Make Bettie & Nannie both write to
me. Where is GrandPa?
Where is Jesse? Tell
Mattie I should like much to see
her & the little ones. Ma I would be
glad if you or Bettie would come & live with me – if either of you
come you can write me & I will meet you at New Madrid - - I hope
write me fully & if I can be of any service to you command me.
paper is so damp that I
cannot possibly write plain.
am living in a
neighborhood of your old acquaintances –
all Linnepeans. When you write direct to
Care Dow S. Somers New Madrid Mo I shall
expect you to write soon & fully your son V. H. Harrison.
(P.S. – in
Emma can begin to walk & talk
& is only 15
learned that Nannie is
married tell her to write all about
shall write to Robt often
if I find it agreeable with him.
have this evening recd
your very welcome letter of the 1st
inst and I assure you it gave me more pleasure than any surprise (for
it was a
real surprise for I have written at least a dozen letters to you
getting a word in return) since I saw you last. I
have written repeatedly to different members of the
family, sending my
letters to Memphis, Covington, Harrison Store and finally to John with
request that he would mail them to you and this is the first word I
from any of you, except one letter from Robt some three weeks ago since
the service. While I was in the army I
could occasionally hear from you thru persons passing, so you may see
where the charge of neglect may justly rest. I
can never neglect or forget my Mother, Sisters, and
notwithstanding the new duties of husband and Father though it seems I
been most unmercifully censured for my seeming neglect; not by one
all the family or nearly so. Even my
little Bettie – my favorite sister to whom I should have looked for a
under such circumstances seems to really think that I have purposely
her; all of which I am disposed to forgive if you will do better in the
– but when I find you have been writing to your friends – to persons
evinced a regard for you,” I wonder that you did not write to me; what
cause of the omission? Have I not shown
regard for you? If I have not convinced
of my love in a more effectual manner it was because I was unable to do
so. Yes my Sister I love you
dearly. I should have been well pleased
if you had made the visit you spoke of, and I rather think I should
you if you had come before forming the matrimonial connexion you speak
of. I should be glad however if you would
and make your home with me until you get ready to commence housekeeping. Roxie was much disappointed when she heard
you was married as she was fully determined to have you come and stay
us. She still hopes you will make us a
visit. Emma sends you a dozen kisses and
says you must come. She is just
beginning to walk and talk and all of your old acquaintances say,
favors you very
much. I can’t say how long it will be
before I visit you; probably not a great while if some of you will
return with me. I should start at once
but I am engaged Building a dwelling and will be forced to complete it
as possible as I have sold my Farm and will have to give possession by
Christmas. I suppose you heard the
Federal Authorities at this place had my house burned sometime ago. I was not permitted to save anything – not so
much as a second suit of cloths. Though
I am now getting along tolerably well I shall build in the same place.
am very anxious to see you
all – tell Grand Pa I shall try
to see him soon. I wish you would write
me fully about his condition – is he taking medicine?
Tell Sister Mattie I want to see and become
acquainted with her; I hope she will think better of me than Bro Robt
have thought lately. Roxie desires to
see you all and I think would be willing to start on a visit to your
a moments warning. I guess we’ll come
sometime when you are not expecting us. How
far do you live from Memphis? On
or near what road? By what kind of
conveyance could I get from Memphis
to where you
I had heard
sometime ago that Nannie was
married but never
learned the name or I should have written. Who
did she marry and let me know in your next all about
desires to be
remembered to all & Emma sends her
love to Grand Pa & Grand Ma & all her Aunts & Uncles. Roxie would like to correspond with you if
you would only commence it. I should
think you would write her & send your Photograph.
destroyed? I heard that the Federals had
burn his mills.
you ever hear from our
relations in Obion? Where is Margaret
& her children? How are they getting
on? The weather is very cloudy & damp,
much is my paper effected from dampness that I can scarcely write
shall expect you to write
ofter hereafter & I shall
write to some of you every time I have a chance to send letters to the
Office – my nearest being some 40 miles from where I live.
I will however be in Cape Girardeau for a few days and
some of my letters from that place. I
would write more but haven’t time – I’ll write more in my next.
my love to all &
tell Jesse to be a good Boy &
stay with Ma. I heard from Robt that he
was anxious to go to Ga.
I saw old
Mis Nicholas sometime ago & she
was asking all
about you but you know I could tell her nothing. She
married Mr. A. A. Rittenhouse.
soon & fully,
S. Tell Nannie that Baby
calls her Picture Auntie
Apr 15 of 65
recd last week two letters
from Nannie dates respectively
by 29 Feby & 12th March in the latter of which was a
was very glad to hear that
our relations were all well
& getting along well. I hope your
despondency has given place to your usual cheerfull self:
If I could only prevail on you to make me a
visit, I think the change would do you good & if I was only able to
after you I should insist very much but I would have you, Ma or Nannie
return with me, but alas I fear it will be sometime before I can see
you all as
Col. Clark had everything I have of value taken & I only escaped
life by promising a large sum of money, but I have learnd in the last
that the Confederates & Federals have agreed to unite in S. E. Mo
then kill, capture or disperse Clark’s band so it is probable that
be captured by one side or the other & if so I may get something
not however, I will have to occupy every moments times industriously to
my family so you see my chances of seeing you are not very good unless
you make up your minds to come up here. Although
my prospects are gloomy just now, Roxie is
anxious to lay aside
every other consideration & visit you anyhow & my little Emma
anxious to see her Grand Ma & Aunts. If
I could enable myself to visit you who would be a
proper person for
me to call on in Memphis
for necessary information?
was glad to hear that you
were expecting Robt &
Nannie’s husband. I hope you have had
the pleasure of seeing them before this – Robt seems to have judged as
thought hardly of my course & in his last letter hinted at points
& desired an explanation which he knew very well or should have
I could not give under the circumstances without forfeiting my liberty;
after mature reflection I concluded that I would not trouble him with
correspondence as it seemed to be disagreeable to him & unpleasant
& not likely to become much better through such correspondence.
sends her love to
Grand Pa, Ma, Sisters Mattie, Nannie
& infant & all of you.
Sister Mattie I should
like much to see her & in
fact want to see you all & most particularly Grand Pa & Ma.
has been anxiously
looking for letters from you &
Nannie & will send her & Emma’s Photos when she hears from you.
have but a few moments
spare time & must ask you to
excuse brevity, hast &c; I will write more fully in my next.
(like) to hear from you soon &
Bettie if you
only knew what pleasure it is for me to receive even notes from any of
would certainly write often. Why don’t
you answer my letters? I write two or
three times a month to some one of the family.
Much love to
Sister in law
Mrs. Dr. Chambers from Dover in this state has just arrived and will
few days with us.
Sept 16 1877
My Dear Sister:
have painfull news to
write. On the 13th inst our
Lutie passed away after an illness of only a few hours.
She had been as we thought slightly
indisposed for a few days, not so sick however but she could be up part
time until the evening of the 13th when she was suddenly
with Congestion of the brain and died within three hours.
The loss of our little darling, the light of
our household is hard to bare but I am thankfull that I am able to say,
will be done. He gave her to us and He
has taken her away. My dear wife is almost
crushed under this great bereavement. Out
little Lutie was not only dear to us, but has endeared
all who knew her. Though she is taken
from living friends here she is not among strangers.
One is there who knows her better and loves
more than we could.
want one of your little
girls. We would love and cherish her as we
own little darling.
you let her come? Our little Paskie has
been sick, but is now
health of the county has
been very good this season.
can’t write any more just
Oct 5 1877
very kind letter
reached me a few days ago. We are all
tolerably well now; our little
Paskie having fully repaired his health. The
health of the county has improved somewhat.
was very sorry to hear
that death had again visited Berry
Joyner’s family; I can certainly sympathise with him.
am sorry to learn that you
are unwilling to let one of
your little girls come and stay with us for awhile.
I felt assured that you would not be willing
to part with one of them, but had hoped that you would be willing to
keep one for awhile – if not one of the little ones, couldn’t you let
come and attend our school thru the winter & spring?
Toncray, that if he
will move over here, I will furnish
him a good farm free of rent and as much stock as he wants to raise on
him to let me know what
he thinks of it.
& the children
send love to you all.
would write more but it is
getting late and my eyes are
as to year (written by
Roxanna Stokes Harrison)
have been intending to
answer your kind letters received
so long ago but have put if off from time, to time, waiting for a more
convenient time, till several months have elapsed.
I write a letter so seldom that it is quite a
task to collect my thoughts enough to write anything sensible. The box I sent with those few things in was
not worth so many thanks. Something
valuable would have not been worth so much gratitude & thanks. The things I sent by Jennie was some quilt
pieces for Maggie, a remnant of calico I had made Arthur a shirt off of
thought would do to make Vann one & the other ____ an over skirt I
would make one of the little girls a dress. It
was new & very good calico to wash & wear well.
Dr. received a letter
from you a few days ago. I am sorry Jennie
has treated you so but you
might not let such things trouble & worry you so, I think it is one
that keeps you in such poor health, letting such bear upon your mind so
know your lot has always
been hard but it is a long lane
that has no turns, things may yet change greatly in your favor. It would be a great pleasure, indeed, to be
near you for I have always felt that you felt a deeper interest in the
any of the rest of his sisters or brothers, and I have always known
was more to him than any of the others & as a natural consequence I
not help but think the most of the one that was his favorite.
the Dr. does not soon get
to some healthier clime, or
find some remedy that will relieve his suffering, he will not be spared
of us much longer.
my, you have no idea how
dark & gloomy everything seems. With
my dear husband in such a critical state
of health, if he is taken from us what will become of me & my
want you to let us know
when it would be most convenient
for you to come over – now or in September when it gets cooler. The Dr. says he is going after you & you
need not to say you can’t for he is going to bring you any how unless
are so that it would not be right in him doing so.
If you could spare Maggie to come over at any
time Charlie is over there, he would willingly take charge of her &
safely through to Dexter & take care of her till we could send for
& you need not hesitate more in asking him to do so than you would.
there are several
reasons why I could not let Emma go over
with Jennie, the principal one
was she was gone from me so long & I had to work so hard while she
that I did not feel like I could possibly do without her help. I hope it will be so that she can go when it
gets cooler weather.
Bettie, you must excuse
all mistakes, give my love to
all my kin & accept a large portion for yourself & children
believe me your loving sister, Roxie.
was so glad to
hear that you had got a machine after all this time.
Burn this letter as soon as you receive
Mr. Z. B. Harrison
letter was quite a
pleasant surprise to me I assure you
and should have been answered sooner but had to be forwarded to me at
here in Gulfport,
Miss. It seems you had not heard of our
removal from Union City
to this place which occurred the winter of 1906. We
are living in a new town or city as most
of the citizens call it on the coast where we get the salt breeze from
the Gulf of Mexico all the time. The body of water immediately in front of the
City is Mississippi Sound which is protected from the high sea by a
chain of Islands making it one of the
safest harbors in the
world. A great deal of lumber and cotton
is shipped from this port – at present there are about thirty ships
the Pier to be loaded with whatever cargo they came for.
It is a beautiful sight to me to see, big
ocean steamers and sail ships anchored side by side.
I wish you would come to see us I had rather
talk to you than write to you.
in regard to the
business part of your letter, I’ll tell
you what I can. I used to ask my mother
about our ancestors but have forgotten many things she told me. She had among her papers the Record of my
father’s family which I loaned to my brother John and never got it back
sister Sarah his wife says she never could find it after his death. Of course you know my Father’s name but I
don’t suppose you know his father’s name - it was Robert Henry Harrison
an English man by birth. I can’t
remember whether he was born in England
or not. He was married twice and had
quite a large family before my Grandmother and he were married. My Father had only one own brother who died
while a lad leaving him the youngest of a big family but no own
sisters. His half brother’s names as
well as I remember them were as follows: Reuben,
Spencer, Vincent, Benjamin, Carter, John, George
and I think,
but am afraid to say for sure, there was a William.
My Father was a half cousin to President
William Henry Harrison, but they differed in politics he being a Whig,
Father a staunch Democrat, made them rather uncongenial.
Nevertheless they were friends.
have often heard my mother speak of him as
a man father esteemed notwithstanding their different views. (You must know the Harrisons settled in
Virginia when they first came to America – on the James River about 60
below Richmond and were connected with the Westovers and Byrds and
Virginia. If you should ever visit that
state you could easily find the Ancestral Home by enquiry among the
descendants. I had the pleasure of
meeting a Mrs. Randolph of Richmond
there. Our Congressman from this county
is known as Pat Harrison – his initials are the same that mine used to
be. B. P. Harrison. He
is a very popular young Lawyer of this
place – was elected to congress last fall. Please
let me hear from you again I shall be interested to
hear of your
Your Aunt, B. H. Bond
anything else in regard to the family history that I have omitted write
me know I am glad to tell you anything I can about my dear Father’s
Letters from the Collection of
Dr. John Benjamin Bond, III
(This letter is
from Amelia R. Love, about whom I have not been able to find much
other than it appears that
she may have never married, and I think that this letter is addressed
to Dr. Jesse J. Harrison
as she mentions Margaret, but cannot be sure. Would love any
I was able to determine
from the 1860 census of Clarksville, TN that A. R. Love - a single
was living with the family
of Samuel Simpson.)
April 29th 1851
One whose memory I still cherish.
In writing to you my mind necessarily reverts to some sweet memories of
the past - memories
too over which I shall not cast a shade by tracing them to the
present. The motive that I have in
writing to you at present is to induce you to pay us a visit the first
opportunity that may be afforded
you. I think that present circumstances would _______ greatly to
the pleasure of a visit to your
old friends. I know you are anticipating a visit from the Dr.,
which in all probability you may not
realize very soon, as the health of the people here is very precarious
at present, and if he should
visit you his stay would have to be so short that you would scarcely
realize it as a visit. I do not
want you to think me at all dictatorial, but I do hope upon taking all
things into conclusion, that
you will come.
I presume you are satisfied with the Dr's location, at least I hope you
are. I shall not say anything
about the solicitude of his friends, lest it might bear the resemblance
of trying to enforce a feeling
of obligation on his part, while it is themselves that are under the
obligation, and I do think that a
little will be insufficient to prove that his friends were not
altogether selfish in there great desire for
his locating here.
How many, many things I would have to say to you if I could but see you
which in writing would
require so much detail in order to be understood in writing.
It has always been impossible for me to fully impress my esteem for a
friend yet, yet which I
think of you, it is much in the same way a traveler would view an oasis
in the desert, it is a
subject on which I have to dwell and as my beloved friends are getting
so few in number I feel
as if I was drawn closer to those that are left. I feel almost as
if I was going to live to see all
those I love pass before me to realms unknown.
Let us hear from you very soon. Tell Margaret that I think I am
entitled to a hearing from her
once in a while. Give my respects to John and his lady.
The Dr. was here yesterday, he was called to visit my brother-in-law
who was quite sick but
is better today. The Dr. was well and seemed to be in a fine flow
of spirits, he spoke of the cir-
cumstances being unpropicious to his visit to you at present. I
cannot say what his final con-
clusion may be.
You will probably hear from me again as I have a great inclination to
tell you of a trick that has
been played upon one or two of the Drs, Dr. R.H.H. is one of them, all
the results have not yet
transpired so I will say no more at present. Give my love to the
Amelia R. Love
(on side of page it says: A part of this was written the 29th and
a part the 28th)
Dear Sister Bettie:
I think it high time for me to fulfil my promise to you and ask you to
forgive my past derelection
and I will promise to be more punctual hereafter. We looked for
you daily all through Christmas
and were much disappointed because you did not come. Papa gave a
party the week after
Christmas and we were anxious you should favour us with your
company. Dr. Harrison wrote
for you and Brother Van to come but I have never learned whether you
received the invitation.
I met Miss Sarah Turner at several parties while in town. I think
she is enjoying herself better
than she used to. She was dressed in good taste and danced all
the time. She desired me to
tell Nannie that she had a couple of nice beaux and would probably be
up there this summer
and bring one with her.
Sister Margaret came home a week since and is staying with me
now. Dr. Harrison is in
Mississippi - has been gone a week. I am looking for him
daily. Seay Williams has had a
severe attack of Pneumonia since he has been with us - he is well
now. Cousin Isaac returned
from the lake last week. I think he was well pleased with the
excursion. He talks so much
about it that Papa says if he were transferred to Paradise now he would
want (?) there and
go to B______foot in the Fall. We tease him very much about his
The health of our neighborhood is good. My health is very
good. Ginny is fat and rosy - and
tells stories all day long. She often talks about you all.
She is now standing by me with a
pencil and piece of paper - says she is so busy writing to Aunt
Bettie. I wish you could see
her. Margaret has nearly hurt herself laughing at my little
lady. Ginny sends her love to you
and Aunt Nannie.
Tell Sister Margaret I sympathize with her in the great trouble she had
to withstand and hope
she may soon learn to be resigned believing that her child is better
off now than it would have
been could she have retained it.
I hope to hear from you soon.
Write me all about the relations and all the news in the
neighborhood. My love to all. Tell
Nannie to write to me. I can't see the lines and must quit.
Feb. 4th 1860
B Direct your letters to Harrison's Store Shelby Cty
(There are here a series
of three letters on two sheets of paper - the first two
are obviously from Martha Towell/Towle Harrison and her husband Robert
Henry to his sister Bettie - Martha was known as Mattie. The
was addressed to Mrs. M. V. Harrison but is not complete - I think
perhaps it was
written by Bettie in response, but then for some reason - perhaps the
visit of her brother caused her to cut it short.)
Miss Bettie Harrison
My Dear Bettie:
I received your letter during Christmas. We were very glad to
hear from you and should have
replied sooner but Dr. H. expected to go up to Obion soon after the
reception of your letter (he
received one from Nannie) and I thought you would not receive my letter
if I had written. Business
detained Dr. Harrison and I suppose he will not go for a couple of
weeks yet. You and Nannie
may hold yourselves in readiness to come home with him - that is if it
be agreeable to you both.
Grand Ma's health is only tolerably good - she has been having head
aches for sometime but
keeps up. Jessee is in fine health and spirits - he will
start to school soon - to Mrs. Griffin.
Hellen is teaching in Little Texas again - she opened school last
Monday with a very good
prospect. Margaret has some hope of getting a school in Madison
Cty. Papa's family is still
living with us. There are a number of little items of news which
I shall defer communicating
until you come down or until I hear from you.
Mrs. Faulk's brother Freling (the soldier) is at her house now - so is
Miss Sallie - Miss S.
expects to commence teaching soon at Mr. Faulk's school-house.
Mrs. F. is in bad health.
Mrs. Cooper's family is well excepting herself she is complaining
some. Tell Nannie Joe is in
the field as soldier and indeed so is every young man.
Grand Ma is especially anxious to hear from Sister Sarah and Sister
Polly. She wants to know
if there is any chance for raising soldiers there in case of
emergency. We want to hear from
Grand Pa. Is he well? Give my love to him and tell him I
should be very glad to see him at
our house. There was a bunch of Pea-fowl feathers left at the old
place - your Ma says she
would be glad to have you look after them. Take them to John's
where they will be taken care
of. Give my love to Sister Sarah and the children and Mrs. Joyner
and accept my best wishes
December 10, 1862
I received a letter from Nannie during Christmas and intended to have
gone up there immediately
but the necessity of settling up with my hands for the last year and
hiring others for the next year
made it almost impossible for me to get off - I have not yet got my
business so arranged that I
can leave it but hope to do so in a few days and I will then be up to
see you. I cannot fix the time
on account of the uncertainty of the Rail Road upon which I am sending
off flour, but as soon as I
can get flour enough into market to pay some important debts I will
start to Obion.
Tell Nannie this much and say also to her that I will try to give her a
home in future that she will be
tolerably comfortable at. I shall expect Grand Pa and you also to
come home with me. Write soon
as you receive this.
Your Bro. Robt.
Mrs. M. V. Harrison
My Dear Sister
Your kind favor was received by me a day or two since and I should have
written immediately but
had no paper - it is almost impossible to get now. Judging from
the date of your letter, it certainly
been very tardy in reaching me; in fact I had began to think had never
rec'd it or else was unable
Great indeed was my gratification on finding myself the recipient of so
kind a letter from you -
bearing the agreeable intelligence of your good health and fine
spirit. I had been expecting one
from you but had a foreboding of disappointment and I can ill brook one
you well know. But as
my apprehensions were not realized and my expectations rewarded I will
say no more.
Thursday evening brought the messenger and this is Sunday - do you
think me dilatory? If so
listen my excuse I have had no opportunity (neither have I had
paper). I grant I have been more
so than I wished yet it was unavoidable.
(This letter was
written by Dr. Robert Henry Harrison to his sister whilst he was
in the Union Civil War
Prison at Johnson's Island.)
Johnson's Island Ohio Jany 19th 1865
Mrs. Bettie Bond
My Dear Sister:
I was agreeably surprised this morning by the receipt of your letter of
the 1st inst - I had concluded
that you were so absorbed with your new duties and that you had for the
time being forgotten me
or had something much more pleasant to think about than my tiresome
letters. I received Mattie's
letter of same date day before yesterday and answered it
yesterday. Lt. Donagan received
Nannie's and answered it today. I suppose Hellen and Maggie have
determined to drop me
entirely - but for what, I cannot conceive.
Your assurances of the good health of all of my friends affords me the
most pleasure from the fact
that they are so few now that I cannot afford to lose any of
them. I heartily wish I could hear from
them more regularly and shall look with deep interest for the promised
letter from RTB (Robert
Toncray Bond). I hope he is well and would like to know what his
designes, for the future, are.
I understand Jess is going into business soon and am gratified to hear
it - on his own account. I
wish I was situated so that I could advise and assist him, but my wish
is nearly hopeless for I can
see no earthly prospect of a release from this place for many months -
perhaps for years to come.
But "accidents happen in the best regulated families" and something may
turn up by which I may
be set free, very contrary to my expectations. At present the
news papers are talking very largely
about peace, about exchange &c&c but I attach no importance to
anything of that kind that I have
seen - though I am full of confidence that everything will come up
right in the end however far off it
Remember me kindly to all of my friends - especially Esq. B and Mrs. B
- the little ones &c. I
intend when the weather gets warm enough to try to get up some
Johnson's Island jewelry for
Mrs. Bond and Mrs. Hooks.
Write me whenever you can.
R. H. Harrison
Mrs. Margaret Harrison
Dear Grand Ma
I know you think I have been dilatory about writing to you but I have
had much to excuse me and
hope you will be kind enough to pardon. Jessee has written to you
several times since I came and
I suppose he has kept you posted as to our health. We are all
well at present. My health has
been improving gradually ever since I left Shelby. I had an
attack of Cholera Morbus last week
which made me very sick for one night and day but I am well now.
Bobbie still has the chills occasionally but they do not seem to hurt
him much. Ginnie has first
rate health and Nellie is a fine fat baby and grows prettier every day.
We have been at home one month to-day. I like our place very well
- think it a much better place
than any arount it. Dr. Harrison's crop is very late tho' it will
compare favourably with that of
others. The planters in this country had great trouble in getting
good stands of cotton having
used old seed - some of them planted their fields three times.
Jessee, Hellen and Lizzie Miller
spent the first two weeks with me and I believe enjoyed themselves very
well. I have made a few
acquaintances. Some of my neighbors have called on me. I
have not returned their visits yet
but intend to soon. They are plain country people and poorly
We're all getting anxious to hear from you up there. I have not
had line from there since I left.
Dr. Harrison has gone to Walnut Grove and I hope he may bring me a
letter tonight from Maggie.
I learned through Maggie's letter to Papa that the suit pending between
Dr. Harrison and Eaton
had been decided in favor of the latter. Dr. H. was surprised to
hear this for Maj. Rogers told
him he would have it put off and he fully relied on it. He wrote
to Rogers immediately and I
suppose will write to Mr. Faulk and Esq. Bond soon. I seriously
hope they may not be discom-
moded before he can make arrangements to settle it. It grieves me
very much to think there is
a probability or rather a possibility of it.
The children are very anxious to see you all and send their love.
Ginnie sends a kiss to Maggie.
Try to prevail on one of the girls to write for you. I desire
very much to know how all getting along,
have they quit having the head-ache yet and does Mr. Donagan work as
hard as ever? Tell him
I say if he was here the blacksmiths in this country would quit work
for very shame. How does
Toncray's crop look? I hope he may succeed in making a good
one. And how is Maggie and
Ben getting on. I desire to know all about how the old neighbors
are doing - for that still seems
like home to me. Don't forget to (give regards) Mrs. Cooper and
family and Mr. Faulk.
Are you going to Obion? When will you be ready to come down
here? Tell Mag that Jennie
Handley was married on the 14th of June to Hardy Swazy of Yazoo.
Hellen and Lizzie will start
to Yazoo tomorrow I expect. I belive I have told you all the news
except that I attended the
Caststeel's examination and the boys acquitted themselves very
creditably. They are in
ernest now. Jessee writes to you every two weeks and was
complaining because he got no
answers. Dr. H. has received one letter from Brother Van
lately. They have one "little boy" and
want a name for him. It is bedtime and I will close. I hope
to hear from you soon.
July 15th 1866
P. S. Direct your letters to Lake Station Southern Rail Road, Miss