“I Almost Hate the Name Man”
Sumner County Tennessee
~ 1847 ~

© 2000, Frederick Smoot. All Rights Reserved.

Red Circular Postmark:
Manuscript date:
Manuscript rate:
       Miss Mary Shields
       McMinnville Tennessee
       Cousin Mary

Gallatin May 29th 1847
Dear Cousin
       I am once more in the exceedingly fashionable town of Gallatin. It is three weeks since I left Mal who has the blue devils* as bad as folks ever have them. Mr. Hogg is in the south with his negros and I tell you what, sister does not like his trading in human Souls nor do I blame her. Papa is staying with her. Priss is in better health than usual. I hope she will get well now. She speaks of visiting you this summer, her doctor advises her to travel for her health which she will do if she can persuade John to do with out her for a few weeks. Well Molly, you would like to know what prospect I have for spending a pleasant summer here. Why none at all. There is no sociability here either with the ladies or gentlemen. Of the latter, there is but one or two that is worthy of notice of a lady. To tell the truth there is nobody here but mechaic’s such as Bill Kider so you can form some idea of society here. The sons of temperance have a lodge here and there numbers are increasing very fast -- they met last Saturday last at church to receive a bible presented to them by the ladies of Gallatin. Miss Tomkins addressed the sons of temperance and presented the bible which she did very well -- her speech will be printed so will Mr. Reily's who spoke on the same day. I was an imposing sight to see them marching in their uniforms -- there was some twenty or thirty from the lodge at Nashville. I think the society will do a great deal of good -- it would be well if there was one in McMinnville but I hope that your town will improve now since the two ring leaders of all devilment are gone from there -- Jo and George -- I understood they had left -- tis wise in them both -- I would like to know where George has settled. I will come out to see you this summer if I do not fall in love with some of the widowers about here. I think if you would come here you could catch old Banks for a beau for he almost quit belching and I know he will be looking out before six months so you can reconcile it to yourself to marry two hundred weight of dispepsy [dispepsia**] one hundred of the fool you can get it in old banks -- his lovely daughter Sue is married to Dr. Balridge and he got a bundle of deception. I pity him for he is a clever feller. Ann is still single. There is no talk of her marrying and if she is like me she will not for I almost hate the name man and the longer I live, the more I dislike them. I had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Gile a few days before I left sisters -- he was looking very dignified trying to give his face the right set against he gets the judgeship which he intends offering for next fall so there is hope to have the pleasure of seeing him herein June at court you know. I learned while in Smith that Sam Stone and Joel were going to Glasgow to commence business and I will go too if asked, you hear my horn. I have learned since I came to this place that it is a fine thing to be rich and move in style - it makes no difference about sense so you dress that is all that is thought of -- I could stick my finger through heads of almost any of the fashionable without encountering brains at all -- if there was always a fuss in McMinnville it is a better place today than this and George Stubb is smarter than than any young man here. Jo would suit the place to a ___ but I do not want him to come here while I stay here. Priss says that she would write you a postscript but for the headache which makes her look like old billy North. Says that she will come to see you all this summer if she can and you must come home with her and you must write to her ____ if any body wants to see her if there is she wont come -- she says that she understands you have another marrying if you have she says if you could see what a man has done for her you would not try one but I say if you can get Winster g_ it for hid dady is rich -- write to me when you get this -- how are you flourishing for I an anxious to hear all the news about everybody -- how uncle Savages family took John departure and pray tell me if Mins wife has brought forth yet -- tell Aunt Mat that I believe I am just like old Aunt Peggy Kenner and uncle -- get a Jo Nelton after while -- give my love to her and uncle to bob and Aleck and if there is any body that cares three straws about me for you may tell them how __ you se_ for me -- tell the fellers not to be alarmed at the idea of my coming for they will not fall in love with me for I am 24 years of age and not good looking at that -- tell Aleck that Mary Hobbs says that she will come to see him with me if she does not marry Oliver Young which I think she will do -- Dr P....... is a nice man ma by [maybe?] I might set my cap for him after while -- write to me Soon as you get this letter about every thing and every body -- tell Britton [?] that if Martin is there this summer that it will not be good for her when I come -- I have just heard from eve -- She is well --

       May God bless you my dear Cousin

       Mary your ___ing are at Sisters -- I left them there to keep from wearing them. I am sorry you can not get them until Some one goes out there but if Papa should meet with an opportunity sooner he will send them.

* Blue devils = melancholy, low spirits, depression.
** Dispepsia = deranged or impaired digestion - indigestion.

The Shields family:
The 1850 Warren County Census shows: Household 1121
Alexander Shields Age 64
Matilda Age 50
Mary Age 23
Robert Age 17

       The location of this household would be on the north side Old Shelbyville Road west of Crisp, but on the south side of the Barren Fork River. Just east of Smoot Bluff, there was a river crossing know as Shields’ Ford.

Collection of Fred Smoot
Provenance: David Agnew, 1999

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