Letter Concerning Death of James S. Murphree

Contributed: August 2006

Submitted by John Hendricks

Letter from William to Elizabeth re: their fathers passing:

C. A. Ford & T. R. Ford to Thomas and Elizabeth Foust." ..... The Foust Family of Alabama by LaDora Foust Jernigan, pp, 171-172.

[Death of James S Murphree]

The letter and envelope are in the possessions of the author.

State of Miss. Itawamba County

September 6th AD 1874

Dear Brother and Sister we now take this method of informing you of our welfare. We have to inform you that our dear old father is no more of this world. He died the 29th of last month. He left a Bright testimony of his future happiness. His prayer was when he saw that death was approaching that God would stand by him in all afflictions that He, that is God knowing his weaknesses, would stand by him to bear all afflictions with patience unto the End. A few hours before His death I noticed him raise his hand and pointed upwards, said "just up yonder" awhile afterward I raised him up it was early in the morning I washed his face and hands.

He then said farewell, to the world forever and forever for he was going home never more to return again then turning to me He called me by my name "Berry I want you to have my horse and divide the rest of the things among the balance of the children. He then said who is this that sets behind me. I replied that it was Marion Martin. He then said to Marion, "Marion you can hear them talk this was the last conversation that he had. We laid him down and soon his eyes were closed in death.

It was Janes and Rahabs request that I buy a fine suit of readymade clothing to bury him in which I did, fine cloth coat and pants, a fine vest, fine gloves, socks and fine cloth shoes and a very nice coffin lined with bleaching and covered with Jackonet. Also had 4 ornamental Handles like the metal coffins have the whole of which cost $29.72 cents. He told Rahab where his money was buried which was in four Twenty-dollar pieces $80, which is the amount she found.

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His horse had been the object of his care for many years He will be 15 years old in the spring. His reason for me having or keeping him was probably that he wanted him well taken care of.

The rest of the plunder consists of two beds and stead, one table bureau, one sideboard, one wagon and wearing cloths and some chairs and one grindstone. Which remains to be said how they shall be disposed of probably the best way will be to have a sale and sell them or as you all think best, as it is nothing to me.

Also according to the tenor of that Deed that they made there must be a disposal of said Lands. Three Heirs must say what that shall be which will be in accordance with the tenor of said Deed to sell or divide it. I suppose all will say to sell, though I have never heard none express themselves on the subject. Please write to them to know what their wishes are on it.

We have had no rain since we wrote last of any consequence until yesterday the result is short crops cotton is nearly worthless, corn will be scarce, what we will do next year God only knows money is scarce and Taxes will be high as well as other things. I have engaged to teach School for four months or one Hundred days at $35.00 per month, it is free school and the money will not be paid until next fall.

That is a year hence my crop is said to be better than common in the country, I have no cotton myself but get half of eight acres and the fourth of ten acres get perhaps two bales.

So I can't say when I will have an opportunity or can pay you that money - think though that I can when it is due if not before then if there is anyway to convey it to you so no more at present only we remain as ever your Brother and Sister.