Letters From Forgotten Ancestors

The Hunt, King, Taylor,
Fawks, Lancaster, Mitchell
and Harris Connection.

Washington County, Republic of Texas

“The Indians are Trouble ”
~ 1837 ~
Copyright © 2000, Frederick Smoot. All Rights Reserved.

Stampless folded letter sheet:
Red circular postmark: NEW ORLEANS La MAR 7
and manuscript rate: 25
Mr William King
Sumner County

Note: This letter is incomplete. The original is written on a single folded sheet of paper. It has separated at the folds into a number of parts. The last part which would have contained the signature is missing. Since the letter’s author is a son of William King of Sumner County, we could assume he carries the surname King, and from the letter itself, we could assume his wife’s name is Mary and they have two small children, Will and Elizabeth Ann. The letter states that the author received 350 acres of free Texas land from Mr. Bowen. A quick check of Sumner County Tennessee marriage records show this: John King married Mary R. Bowen 29 October 1833. This would be a good starting place for King family researchers.


Washington County Republick of Texas Februrary 23rd 1837

Dear Father      As I have the oppertunity of senind a letter by hand to Neworleans I imbrace the privaledge of writing you a few lines, I had the plesure this evening for the first time since I left Sumner of hearing from there -- Foster Brigance has just arrived here -- his father and family are at houston and intend mooving out into our section of country -- foster tells me you have sent our spining Machine for which I am mutch oblige to you besides making any other remuneration -- Foster says his father has some letters for us which I am anxious to see.

Mr. Bowen has made me a present of three hundred and fifty Acres of land off one corner of his land. I have been very busy making preperations for a crop I expect to have in about 20 Acres the place wher I calculate to build is about one mile from Mr. Bowens -- I want to put up some cabbins so sone as I fence and plant the first moove is to brake the prairie when that is don the worst Job is don towards getting a farm. I have plenty of cede timber to build and fence with -- I think I can doo wel in this country and for this world, our part of the country has every appearance of being healty -- I hear of but little or no sickness my self and family enjoy excelent health I dont think I have lost any hand -- Mary is fleshier than I ever saw her -- the children are very harty, litte Will frequently talks about his Grand pap in Tennessee -- he says when he gets to be a man he will go back to Tennessee again, Elizabeth Ann has grawn very mutch she is a great gaberer but talks but little

I have not seen mutch of the country since I have been here -- I have been to Houston once -- I do not like the place nor the adjoining county -- I went down to lay in Shugur and Coffe and other articles such as we were oblidged to have -- Shugur I get at 20 cents -- Coffe at 34. Salt at 10 dolars a sack -- flower was then worth 30 dollars pr barrel -- Bacon 50cts per lb -- Cows and Calves are worth 25 and 30 dollars a peace. Negros hier from 20 to 30 dollars pr month -- corn is from 1 to 2 dollars pr bushel -- the price of land is rising very fast -- we have no very cold weather here -- the first week of this month we had a sever sleet and a little Snow but the weather is generly mild -- the peach trees and plums are in full blume -- the grass is puting up in the prairies and where they have been C[ut] off they look as green as a wheet field in the spring in T[enn]

The Indians are trouble -- same on the frontier. The ____ preparations making to station a force out on the frontier in ordr to keep them at peace or drive them to the rockey mountains. We have a young man sent here by the Tenn Conference as a mitionary -- his name is Strickland is a good precher. I think highly of him he has pland a Sircut and preaches in our Neighbourhood -- We have a class formed of ten members I hope the gospell will have a Salutary influence on the minds of the people here -- remember us in your devotional hours at a throne of grace -- I live in prospect of a better world than this -- I think of of those Christians with whom I have so frequently worshiped _____

Note: There are fourteen more lines (at least) in this letter, which have been affected by loss of the side and bottom pieces. Content is generally about religion and friends back home.


“. . . and if I never see them ________ again I hope to see them in heaven . . .”

“Te[ll] _______ Bennet I have not forgotten him he must _______ and when he can stay no longer in Tenn ______ come to Texas __ Mary says She wishes he was ____”

From the Collection of Frederick Smoot
Provenance: eBay Online Auction, 1999

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