“Dr. Irwin died at my house...”
~ 1855 ~
Bedford County Tennessee
© 2005, TNGenNet, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Wartrace Depot letter.

Stamped folded letter sheet.
Manuscript postmark:
       Wartrace Depot March
       U.S. Three Cents
       William Wilson Esq
       Choctaw Agency
       West of Arkansas
       Care of }
       Col J Heald }

Wartrace March 14th 1855
Mr. William Wilson
My Dear Friend
  I have intended for sometime to answer your very acceptable and kind favor, but I have postponed it thinking that the Cumberland river would never rise and the price of millet fall, but I have been disappointed in both.
  No millet can be procured any where for less than four dollars a bushel and unparallel price. I got some last year for the plantation for fifty cents a bushel. I conclude that I would not give four dollars a bushel I was told by the firm of Nichol & Peacock a large house in Nashville that they had shipped several hundred bushels to Little Rock last year and that a good deal of it was still left on the land unsold. You could probably get some there.
  The bottom land about the agency is very superior land for the production of millet. It requires a rich soil, grows and matures very rapidly, but is an exhausting crop on land.
  I think I would plant about a bushel and peck to an acre. I think any time in this month of May would do to sow it.
  I should be very glad to hear from you frequently. Your advise on any subject I should always be glad to have. When I was younger I was impatient under advice, because I was headstrong and thought myself as wise as any body, but I have grown older, discovered my error but - not until I have I have paid pretty dearly for my experience.
  I think it possible that we will sell the plantation [to] Land & his father-in-law in which event the plantation will be soon paid out of debt.
  It would take the place a long time to get out of debt under the present arrangement. I have really never had any control over the estate. My business has been always to raise money.
  Mr Cockerell is a wealthy man and I have no doubt will give the plantation to Land after the debts are paid.
  Frank is with me - The air of Bedford has entirely restored his health. Sister Nannie is in good health and living with me. Dr. Irwin died at my house after a lingering illness of about four months (consumption) on the 14th of January last.
  Myself and family would be delighted beyond measure if you could pay us a visit this summer. I think you would like 5th country and might be induced to get a farm near me.
  Herds grass and timothy are the grasses that are preferred to any other in this Country.
Very truly your friend
J. Trooper Armstrong

Millet = Any of various small-grained annual cereal and forage grasses extensively cultivated in Europe and Asia for its grain and in United States sometimes for forage.
Herds grass and timothy = Grass with long cylindrical spikes grown in northern United States and Europe for hay.
Wartrace Depot = Established in 1851, the town became known as Wartrace Depot the following year when the Nashville and Chattanooga Rail Road built through eastern Bedford County.
Choctaw Agency = Just inside the Choctaw Nation in the old Arkansas Territory, later Indian Terrtory, now Oklahoma, west of Fort Smith Arkansas. Name changed to Skullyville.

Read about James Trooper Armstrong at this University of North Carolina webpage.

From the Collection of Frederick Smoot
Richard Agee, Seattle WA, 2005

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This page last updated on Thursday, August 13, 2015