Author Topic: Contemporary letter  (Read 2298 times)

Offline hhughh

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Contemporary letter
« on: September 27, 2011, 06:06:22 PM »
This is a letter I have in association with genealogical research I've done for years.  While it was written in and about Baton Rouge, Louisiana, it does make some references to California, etc. and is also a narrative of average people/lives at that time.  This is my transcription, but I can provide scanned/jpg style images of the original letters.

Hope you enjoy.

Baton Rouge, La  May 18, 1850

My Dear Sister,

   It being Sunday I sit down to write you a few lines to let you know we are all well and hope this may find you the same.  The cholera is still here.  On Friday, Mr. Sloan was taken very suddenly and died in a few hours.  Mr. John Read has lost his whole family in one week.  A great many of our friends have died this year of cholera.  We have had the cholera all around us but have not had a single case on our place but I do not know how soon we may have it.  It is a strange disease although it is not contagious it has been known to affect families and carries them all away, some three or four families have been killed with it.
     Mr. Thompson Bird a few weeks ago lost his wife and sixteen of his negroes.
     Everybody is talking of going to California. That appears to be the country for making money.
Mr. Aldrich wrote home that he has been at work one week and made eight hundred dollars clear of expense.  All that are out there speak very favorably of the country.  When Dr. Davis left Baton Rouge to go to the gold regions, his friends told him it was folly to go for he would die before he got there, but now he enjoys good health.  He writes to his wife that he will be home next winter with a large fortune.
   We have had a very wet spring but now it is so very dry that it is almost impossible to do anything, although the crops look remarkably well, the cane crops in particular.  The plantations on the river are a great many of them overflowed.  Bayou Sara is all nder water and the Red River country has overflown so much as to run the people all away.  A great many have come to Baton Rouge with the intention of buying land and settling down.
    The Sunday Schools of the Presbyterian and Methodist Churches intend uniting on the Fourth of July and giving a grand celebration.  Mr. Woodbridge preaches at our house on the  third Sunday in every month.  He gets very large congregations.  Mr.  Woodbridge lost his wife last spring.  She had been sick a long time with consumption.  Mr. William McCaughy who has been sick so long with consumption is dead.  He leaves a wife and child to mourn his loss.
    As there is nothing new to write I will have to close.  Give my love to Mr. Baily, and accept a portion for yourself.  Kiss the children for me and tell Mary that as soon as she can write, I would like to receive a letter from her.

                                                                                                           Good bye,
                                                                                                           A. Gilmore

Offline Caleb Hobbs

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Re: Contemporary letter
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2011, 06:36:39 PM »
What a fantastic piece of everyday Americana. Thanks for sharing!

Offline hhughh

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Re: Contemporary letter
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2011, 06:58:41 PM »
Thank you, Caleb.  I hope others will like those as much as I do.  I love getting my hands on the old letters.  I have several from a good bit earlier--ca. 1830s--than our time period, and two from my ggfather's brother from the 1880s.  They all deal with Louisiana, not so much cowboy, but when you consider that the doctor he was seeing in the letters is recorded as having been a regional "specialist" in gunshot wounds, it was still a lively time and place.

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Re: Contemporary letter
« Reply #3 on: Today at 06:15:16 AM »

Offline Caleb Hobbs

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Re: Contemporary letter
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2011, 10:48:35 PM »
History is history as far as I'm concerned. What folks wore, used, or thought in Louisiana had an influence anywhere Louisianians traveled. I love first-person narratives as much as I do scholarly works.

 

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