Letters From Forgotten Ancestors

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

Madison County Mississippi

“. . . we Come Near on the larges T. Rattle Snake
I think I ever Saw. . . ”
~ 1838 ~
Copyright © 2000, Frederick Smoot. All Rights Reserved.

Stampless folded letter sheet:
Manuscript postmark: Bassville M i 9 October 1838
and rate: 25
Mr. Thomas Hunt
Sumner Cty

Letter’s author: Nathl. M. Taylor

Madison Mi Octr 7th 1838

Dear Uncle

I faild to write as soon as I expected for want of Something to write.

I reached home in Safety on the 24th of Septr. and found all well. My Brother had been Sick. he had an attact of Rheumatism and Some Chill and fever, but he had recovered when I reached home. I had very good health All the way down, My Cold disappeared after a few days, the Road was very dry and dusty till I got to Columbus Mi., it was with difficulty that I could get water for my horse in Many places. I had the good luck to fall in with two young men in Nashville, the same day I left you, who were to Start from Nashville the next morning, for Jackson Mi, Twelve miles below where I live, they were traveling in a little Buggy and had the kindness to carry my Specie* for me, which was a great relief to my horses back as it passed the hind part of my Saddle so much, that it would Soon have Created a sore back. My hors traveled fine and never appeared to be tired. the morning After I left Columbus Mi. I met some Huntsmen on the road who informed me they had Started out to trail up a Woolf, that he had been Caught up in a Steel trap the over night, and had carried the Trap off. I told the two young men if they would wait on me I would go in the Woolf hunt, to which they very readily Consented, as their horse was getting pretty much jaded. I then put out with the hunters, about five miles off the road we came to the Carcass of a ded horse, when the dogs all put off as if the woolf had not been gone five minutes, the dogs soon Split and three of them followed a Young Woolf about two hours which was seen by the hunters. Some half a dozen times, which was not Shot in Consequence of their not Carrying guns, the dogs finally quit it. We then went to track up the one in the Trap. After following the mark of the trap about Sixty yards, we found the fellow securely hitched by the fore foot, and tangled in Some Cane and vines, the hunters first let the dogs on him, he soon became sullen, they then tied a leather String Round his mouth and took him home perfectly alive, when I returned I found My friends Ready to travel. I should have been much pleased with the hunt but My horse frothd So much I thought he would worry himself to death, we traveled Nine Miles that day. As long as I am on the hunting subject (Crocket like) I'll tell another tale or two. Soon after getting home Myself and Captn Allen went out hunting wild turkeys, the Captn soon Come Close on a large buck and discharged both Barrels of his gun at him before he got off. As we had no dog, the only Chance was to follow the Blood ourselves, which we found No difficulty in doing till we Come Near on the larges T. Rattle Snake, I think I ever Saw, we Soon made a finish of him by discharging a load of buck Shot at his head, we then endeavored to follow the buck but finally lost him, but while Searching Arround we found a bee Tree which we have not yet Cut. Yesterday Myself and a neighbor went down to give the Buffaloe a trial. I had baited them over evening. we had not been fishing long when My friend drew up one, that we supposed would have weighed about fifteen pounds. After having my hand on him twice we let him get away. We continued fishing, It was ten o clock before we went to the River. I think if we had went down early we should have had fine Sport. I am now satisfied that their are plenty of Buffaloe in the Pearl River, and if we had you here we Could Rope them in Stile [style], I intend to give them a trial early in the morning if it does not rain.

Mississippi Crops are more sorry than I have ever seen, a drought Caused nearly all the young forms Near the Top of the Cotton to fall off, and worms have destroyed a great many bales that had almost matured. Consequently not more than half Crops will be made, Brother and Mr. Bass thought when I got home, that we should make 175 or 200 Bales Cotton, Now we think we shall not go over 175 at best. We shall make plenty of Corn, we have yet a pretty good Supply of old Corn. Cotton is selling at 12/cs to 13 cts at Vicksburg, Mr. Bass has just returned, he Sold 12 Bales of ours at 13 cts. We have only picked Seventy five thousand pounds. every thing is selling high at Vicksburg. Mr. Bass pd $14 per hundred for Bacon and $9.50 for flour on flat Boat. our best River Bank Money which is now equal in Vicksburg to Tennessee Money. the Money of our Interior Banks is still Considerably below par. Our great Union Bank has sold Five Million of her bonds for Specie and Commenced discounting about ten day __ Since it is generally believed by our Citizens that ___ Money is very good, the Union Bank issues nothing post[?] Notes payable 12 months After date, it is thought the money will be punctually redeemed with Specie when it falls due. We are greatly in need of Sound Currency.

We had Some frost a few days Since, but not enough to kill any thing.

The health of the family is good. Brother tenders to yourself and family, his love and Respects, and begs you will accept his thanks for the book, with which you were obliging as to present him he has read it through and says he is pleased with it. Our love to the little Girls. present to your family

My love and accept the best wishes of Your Nephew.
Nathl. M. Taylor.

Note: *Specie, = Coin; copper, silver or gold and used as a circulating medium of commerce. From Noah Webster’s 1828 “American Dictionary of the English Language.”

In the 1830’s the United States government did not issue paper money. The paper currency (notes) was issued by the private banks.

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

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