1813 1931

Barnes Family Letters

Mt Carmel Miss.
April 4th 1881

My Dear Sister

          Yours of the 2nd March was rec'd a few days ago. I have been thinking ever since you were here that I would write "tomorrow" but have delayed until now. All are well as usual. I think Mother has improved considerable, but she will not have it so. She sits up now during the day, sleeps pretty well at night, is better though some days than others. Dr Jones would not be positive about a cure but seemed to think she would get all right. Father was here a week ago, said he would come after her in a few days, though a change perhaps would help her. 12 weeks ago yesterday she came. I have not been out of sight of the house since, only last Thursday, when I was sent for. Mrs Earline Magee died and requested that I should dress her, and see her "put away". I got Eliza Dean to stay with Mother while I was gone. Mrs Magee was buried in the year as it was her request.

          I had a letter from John dated 7th of March - he was very brief - said he was well. Also had one from Lou dated 11th- she is not housekeeping yet, but said they would be soon. John and Lou both clamored for a smart letter from me to show, as if I could. They are not answered yet. Harriet Beecher Stowe couldn't write a literary letter if she were in my circumstances.

          Tell Babe and Lou I have three turkey hens and one gobler -I wish they were here to hunt the eggs for me. I am going to have a drove of them this year - or try, and the next time you come we will "have turkey for dinner". "I says I wonder" For then you will have a sewing machine and I will not have to sew all the time you are here.

          I have had just 80 chickens hatched this spring - have 36 of them now- and 15 of them came off this morning. The hawks; the hawks. I never did see the like. I shot and killed one though - flying - last Monday. What do you think of that? An accident? Perhaps so, but such accidents answer a good purpose. John went to Brookhaven last week - sold two bales cotton at 8 1/2 cents - could hardly sell cotton there at any price - the merchants were so blue. He has planted most of his corn crop - but I expect he will have to plant again. My garden started off at first like the plants were going to do something, but now looks like they have gone backwards. Keeps so cold - I have had two "messes" of greens out of it. Well I reckon you will think that I am giving you all the "locals", but if you are like me, you want to know it all. Tell Bill if he would come up here we could spare him some Bermuda grass to plant all over his mill-dam - it would soon spread, and I'll bet it would not wash away. John planted some on Nancy's four years ago - the water hid the dam for several hours and it did not break - the only mill I know of that didn't when Bill's did. Of course I lay it to the grass - and John.

          Well he is ready to start and I must close. Kiss all the children for me. I am going down there soon as I can after Mother goes home. I know Bill thought if he would come as near us as Mr Carmel and then not come here, that I never would go there anymore, but I'll show him, I am one that beleives "where theres a will theres a way" - and I am going. Kindest regards to anybody that asks about me from

Your Loving Sister
          PS If this letter does not reach its destination, but is intercepted in the way, I am going to write for a Detective - I reckon he can find out what P M [Post Master] it is that is so eager for news.

Dry Creek Miss
May 17 1881

My Dear Sister,

          To let you know that I have not forgotten you, I will write a few lines, this leaves John & me well. Mother went home five weeks ago. I went to see her two weeks ago last Sunday. Father thought she had improved some, but I couldn't see much change in her. She will not have it that she is any better and I very much fear it will be a long time before she gets entirely well if ever. She sits up most of the day - did when I saw her. Talks natural enough about every thing else but of her last condition and if she (?) to die? believe th?? would not believe it for their fruits ye shall know them, (next 3 lines too dim to read) if I had a horse gentle enough to go by myself. I intended to go down there and to your house from there but "Bully" gets wilder instead of being gentler he holds his own this spring is in good (?) now - that is why I cant go, but I am going just as soon as John gets through with his busy spell. If you have a chance to go see Mother, do not delay on my account, for if such should happen that I would go and not find you at home, why, I'd follow your trail. I was not so much surprised to hear that you had a boy, as Jane McGrew had one a month or so before you. I was glad but do not think he is any better than the girls of course. I would name him "John Davis" if it were left with me or "John McInnis" either but know you would rather the "Davis". What ever you name him I will try to love him all the same. I would be glad to have Sally if you can spare her, but she does not seem to (?) after me like Babe and Lou did when they were like her. Tell them to hurry up about writing to me. I am anxious to see their letters. I haven't had a letter from John since I last wrote you - nor Lou either.

           How is your garden now? Mine is burned up. I have forgotten when we had rain last. John says his corn and cotton is not suffering much yet, but my peas will soon be done with their "suffering" and haven't had but two messes yet - have had beets and potatoes.

          Communion (?) meeting was at Dry Creek Church last Sunday. Had a very good congregation and better sermons thought I have heard Mr (?) preach better ones - but only a few. The Applewhites & wife took dinner with us and she and I made up a trip to see Lou and Camp Meeting at China Grove in Sept. I think I will go if nothing happens (next few words not readable) many days. Presbytery is to be at Mt. Carmel in Oct. You must be sure to come. It would do you good - make one powerful effort and start before the time comes. I am going to take to seeing a little more and hearing too of whats in the world. Mother Shiptons prophecy just as well come to pass for all the good the world does us.

          I suppose you have heard that Preston Turnage and Sallie Hall were married last Thursday, so if litt Preston has never got those shoes yet, he never will now. Kate Burkhalter & McKeever (?) - the Williamsburg painter, were married last Sunday. Wmsburg folks are to crown a Queen of May next Friday night - they may know best, but my idea is that ought to be done the first of May. Evans & Effie are mad with Mt. Carmel because Mary (?) got whipped in it, and are going to try to do something for the "High School" but they needn't - Mt Carmel's school is a "storey" higher. Tell Lou and Babe that I have 50 little chickens, 9 turkeys, two turkey hens sitting and I reckon you think I am too sleepy to think of anything and you are right - perhaps I will finish this literary document in the morning.


          Well the nigger that I was to send this to the PO has come, and I will have to close this epistle. I am going just as soon as I can.

          Kiss all the children for me, Love you yourself from

Your Sis

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