Letters From Forgotten Ancestors

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

Madison County Mississippi

“I am now at our new place in a little
log Cabbin by a Comfortable fire.”
~ 1839 ~
Copyright © 2000, Frederick Smoot. All Rights Reserved.

Stampless folded letter sheet:
Manuscript postmark: Bassville mi 29 Feby 1839
and rate: 25
Mr. Thomas Hunt
Sumner Cty
Letter’s author:
N. M. Taylor
Madison Mi Feby 23rd 1839
Dear Uncle
Contrary to my expectations, I have neglected writing you much longer than I expected. I had the pleasure of receiving your second letter a few days since about two weeks previous to receiving your last. I had written you, and thought my letter had been mailed. I thought it was too old to send you.
The best apology I have for not writing is that I have been too busy, which I guess you will look upon as a poor excuse. About Christmas Myself and Mr. Bass Come to the conclusion to make a division in our tract of Land, which we soon Succeeded in doing without any difficulty the tract on which we were living Consisted of 1080 acres. in making the division 560 acres fell to my self and Brother, and 520 Acres Mr. Bass. Our improvement went so situated that our equal division Could not be made. Consequently One of us had to take the woods. We gave Mr. Bass Choice he took the most improved part. We then had to commence and build from the stumps. We have succeeded in Building all our Negro Cabins, and little Dwelling for ourselves so nearly Completed that we flatter ourselves that we shall be able to get into it in about three weeks. We have Covered and Weather boarded it, and have Nearly all the flooring Plank dressed. So much building has kept me quite busy. Not having enough Cleared land, we have been much engaged in opening more.
This weather for Some 8 or 10 days has been remarkably fine, four day Since We Commenced digging a Cistern. Since our Commencement Considerable rain has fallen and is still falling, which I fear will cause our Cistern to fall in, and thereby destroy the effects of our labour. We are digging it 14 feet in Diameter. It is now 13 feet deep, and Caving all round. We intended digging it 18 or 20 feet deep. I am fearful I have made an unsuccessfull attempt to burn lime. My Kiln has been on fire three days, the rocks appear to be still hard.
We were truly glad to hear from you and our little Nancy, I have not written cousin Elijah since I left Tennessee. I was sorry to hear that his family had been unhealthy. I shall be glad indeed if Mariah does not grow Bad, as fast as her Clothes grow too small for her. All her acquaintances in this Section of the Country are well. I have not seen Mrs Hanna Since I Recd your letter. I hope the little Girls will be quite attentive to their Books, And learn fast. it would be a great satisfaction to me indeed, to see them smart and conduct themselves well, which I feel perfectly Confident is the wish of their relations in Ten. I have not seen their father for some time last time I saw him I thought he was in bad health, he informed that he was labouring under a Bowel disease, which I think has probably been the case for Some Months.
Our Legislature has just adjourned, and all hands gone home without doing much that the people Consider very beneficial. They have Elected a United States Senator (Mr Henderson) and passed some few acts worthy of Notice. they passed an act similar to one passed by your Legislature, to support tipling,* or selling Spirtous liquors, and another Act to secure to Married Women al the property inherited by them and so along. Times been pretty hard in the money way Our legislature Authorized the Union Bank to strike Six Million of Post notes, which was vetod by the governer. -- It was again brought before the Legislature and last Two thirds not voting for it, but a large majority were in favor of it. The stockholders and Bank Officers Claim the privilege by their Charter, of issueing Post Notes and will soon Commence the business. All our Banks with few exceptions have resumed specie payments, but the probability is as the Legislature did not force them into it at so early a period, they may Some of them Suspend Again till the time Set apart for Resumption, which will bring August next.
Property is selling low. Negros 600$ to$1000 horses and Mules Common $50 to $100. Land $10 to $20. Pork $10 pr hundred Flour $8 to $10 pr B. Corn $1 pr Bsh. Since the redemption of Specie payment by the Banks, they have Ceased to discount notes. If they should not discount Again shortly, the probability is that many persons will be Broken.
Since Christmas I hardly had time to take my Gun in hand. Consequently have nothing to Brag about. We had two Deer hunts before Christmas, during which I killed 8. I have indeavored to get you some deer skins, but have failed to get such as you wished. So soon as Red Season Roles Round, I think I Can procure plenty and will send them. You see one sheet is to small for me, I recd by yours, the burdock seed I wrote for, for which I am extremely obliged to you. I am now at our new place in a little log Cabbin by a Comfortable fire. My Brother is still at Mr Basss but will move down as soon as I can get a house ready. he stays here most of his time during the day. he is well so are all of us. Alonzo and Sam are going to school. I dont know that I shall see Brother before I mail my letter, but I know he often thinks of you and wishes you all well.
Please present my love to Relations, and Accept the best wishes of
Your Nephew
N. M. Taylor
P.S. write often, I am always glad to hear from you, tell the little Girls to write us, Present my love to them.
N. M. T.

Mr. Bass: “Mr. Isaac Bass son of Jessie Bass of N.Carolina.” Per, N. M. Taylor’s letter of 14 June 1834.

Burdock: A carrot-like root from the plant Arctium lappa, a biennial herb grown in China, Europe and the United States. Employed as a popular folk medicine around the world, its seeds are crushed to produce oils and is used to treat gout, ulcers, arthritis, rheumatism. It is used externally to treat skin diseases such as acne and psoriasis. Benefits are speculative at best, the herb may be dangerous.

Lime: A building material produced by heating calcium carbonate (limestone, etc.) in a kiln to a temperature of approximately 1650º F. At this temperature carbon dioxide gas is given off and the calcium carbonate is chemically converted to form calcium oxide (a.k.a. quick lime or lump lime). The lime then can be used as a building material, such as mortar or plaster. This lime could have been used for the chimney of Nathl Taylor’s new home.

*“tipling”: The word was probably “tippling” meaning drinking.

From the Collection of Frederick Smoot
Provenance: eBay Online Auction, 1998

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