Letters From Forgotten Ancestors

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

Madison County Mississppi

“We Have a Stand of Cotton but
the Lice Have Commenced Eating It.”
~ 1842 ~
Copyright © 2003, Frederick Smoot. All Rights Reserved.

Folded letter sheet, stampless.
Manuscript postmark:
Bassville Mi May 18th -- 1842

Mr Thomas Hunt
Sumner Cty


Madison Mi May 15th 1842

Dear Uncle,
       Your letter addressed to My Brother was recd some time since. I have made two or three attempts to write you, but in consequence of having nothing to write have neglected to mail My letters after they were written.
       About a month ago I was taken a little Sick at the stomach with bad feelings, but was not Confined. After a while Brother and I concluded a trip south would probably be of advantage to me.
       On the 29th of last month I started to New Orleans. I left Vicksburg on Saturday on the Packet Boat Swallow, reached New Orleans on Monday morning, left the City on Wednesday following and reached Vicksburg again on Saturday following in worse health than when I left home. Since My return I have had the Flux, but am better now. Brother had the Flux while I was below, since recovering from that he has an attack of Rheumatism. One of our Negro women with the Flux has been under the treatment -- of a Doctor for three Weeks. She is mending slowly -- you will discover we are rather a sickly set -- I hope however we shall all be well soon.
       While below I was more discouraged in Cotton raising than I ever have been before. The prices were so very low, that it seemed to me that person without cotton to sell would be nearly as well off as one with it -- for it looked as if the cotton would bring more than enough Money to pay the expences upon it == Their would be nearly as much expense in getting Cotton to market and having it sold for three cents pr# as would be to have it sold at 20 cents,
       The difference would be that the Commission Mcht would charge 2½ pr ct. on a larger amount of Money when Cotton sold high, than when it sold very low but in low prices we have to pay the same per Bale for Shipping -- for freight down the river -- for water and fire insurance -- (for it is now insured at $40. pr Bale) for drayage, storage, weighing and Stealing -- of the later (in my opinion) a heavy business is done in New Orleans. We had some cotton unsold which was offered while I was in the City at 6½ Cents and did not bring it. That would have been clear about 5 cents pr #. Other Cotton was offered and some sold at a still lower rate.
       The Pork business is worse than Cotton -- I could heve purchased the best article of Miss[issippi] Pork at 7 pr Bl -- and hog round, Bulk Meat at 2 cents pr #, and probably at 1½ Cents.
       Tobacco business is just about equal to Pork that was offered at reduced rates. Sugar and Molasseswas not nuch better, good brown sugar at 4 to 5½ Cents. Coffee good 9 Cents.
       The Whiskey sellers are behind all, that I think can be bought plenty at 12½ Cents pr Gallon.
       In New Orleans -- Money is remarkably scarce and people think they are doing well when they Can keep what they have, even if they Cannot make one dollar in the Course of the year == Steam Boat owners confess to me that they are not Making one dollar, in truth I expect many of them are sinking [in?] Money. You begin to think by this time that it is a horrid state of affirs. Really I think so, but I think probably we shall all get along if we use economy and industry -- from what I can see, everything seems to be going right down to a specie sta___ [standard?]
       Our crop of Corn is tolerable. On two thirds of our Cotton Land we have a Stand of Cotton, but the lice (I see this this morning) have commenced eating it -- On about 70 acres we have quite a bad Stand -- I hear Much Complaint about Cotton not coming up well.
       Give my love to Mariah and tell her her Brothers are all well -- be pleased to remember me to Aunt Stroud & Cousin Thomas -- give my love to your family, to Cousin Femll and family
I am affectionally
N. M. Taylor
       I should be much pleased to hear from you soon }

A large fishing party is made up just below Me to take place on Thursday next -- a considerable No. of thw finest young ladies in the country will be their -- you may be sure I am good for being in that crowd.
Brothers love to all --

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

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