Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Letters from the past...

Although Log Cabin Village is most famous for its impressive hand-hewn structures, we also have an interesting and delightful collection of photographs and letters. These personal effects lend a first-hand glimpse into the hearts and minds of our 19th century Texans.

One of our collections, the Parks family letters, provides particularly amusing insight into Texas settlement. One of these letters is transcribed below:

Jacksonville Texas May 12th, 1850

Dear Brother time & opportunity afford me the good pleasure of addressing you with afew (sic) lines which will inform you that I and my little family are still enjoying good health though I myself have had afew chills this spring but in fine health at this time Milt I have not written to you since I left New Orleans but you must excuse me as I looked for you out here for a long time I did not know where you were nor what you were doing until I received a letter from Brother william some month or six weeks ago I learned from that- that you were still staying with Mother- I have nothing good to write to you nor nothing very bad more than we have had for the last six weeks almost an incessant rain together with a verry (sic) cold and backward spring which makes the farmers quake & tremble our cotton is now running on fine pasture and if the rains do not cease we will see h.ll (sic) – before we get it up of (sic) the range- our corn crop is fine though it was bit down by the frost once and covered four inches deep once in snow after being ploughed the first time a good many people about have taken blues & some not only the blues but the real mad horrors

Page 2
I had the pleasure of J.T. Hesters company last night you may guess that we spent the night very merrily in talking over old matters & ourtravels (sic) etc. etc. – he says he is pleased with the country & expects to move to it & also that you were coming this fall certain well now milt I shall look for you & impatiently await your arrival – now Milt for my sake & for your sake & for god sake & for every other sake wake up & shake the ashes of (sic) your feet & out of your hair and come to Texas where you can make a fortune with out work- or with it, as you please now is the time to come to Texas the country is fast settling up land is rising & trade runs high & every body animated with flattering prospects of future prosperity cotton is up the country is settling up land is rising the navigation of the sabine and trinity Rivers all tend to animate the Texian settlers-
I would not move back to Tennessee under any reasonable consideration whatever because I think Texas is destined to be one of the best farming countrys (sic) now west of blue Ridge- I am very sorry that brother Allen is not coming to this country because it would just suit him and I know that he would be well pleased- but A.L. I have not much faith in his coming shortly from the way he writes tell him if he goes to open a farm in owl hollow to go first & buy a constitution from a Jack--s

Page 3
Tell Brother Jess I was much disappointed to hear that he was not coming to Texas this fall I recvd (sic) his letter a few days ago which informed that M.L Parks was still knocking around with those old claims trying to collect well now I would just say that I am in hopes you will not let him chissle out of one single cent there is honestly not more than $25.00 cts. going to him except Rights note and that you have nothing to do with, and therefore if he does not settle honestly & justly let him alone he can not take the land off and it will be Redeemable in two years if sold any how or if he sells & bids it off himself do you turn round and have it sold as his property for the claims you have against him – nothing more at present –
May success attend you & love purity & fidelity ever be your motto
Yours respectfully F.G. Parks
P.S. for A.P.
Dear cousin through the medium of this epistle I take pleasure in Remitting to you that love & respect that in days gone by existed between you & I though it is not now at this time so fully developed though… (rest of page is missing)

Page 4
Of that privelidge (sic) at times makes me feel quite sad and solitary but so it is & it cant tisser (sic) - about the first of July Joel Dodson & my self expect to start to western Texas to look at the country-
I hope when this comes to hand you will site down & give us aminute (sic) detail of every thing that is werth (sic) telling all about the galls… (rest of page is missing)

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