1841: John R. Williams to Samuel Williams

This letter was written by John R. Williams to his father Samuel Williams (1776-1848). Samuel was married (1st) to Sarah H. Sutherland, and (2nd) to Benedicta Triplett. They resided in or near Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky. Samuel was the owner and operator of a hemp factory and was a slaveholder. Several of Samuel’s letters are housed at the University of Kentucky.

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Addressed to Mr. Samuel Williams, Paris, Kentucky

Old Town, [Arkansas]
October 20th 1841

Dear Father,

Image 7Myself and Sandy arrived safely here on the 15th inst. after a seven days voyage on the river which never fails to give me cold of which I am now clear and have been very busy since my arrival and shall be from this time on. You are no doubt informed of the deaths if Mrs. Pool and Lige [Elijah?] by Pool’s letters. Lige, I believe, died of dropsy in the head and Mrs. Pool of fever death is a natural event and unavoidable and therefore it is useless to murmur when it happens. We shall go the same road in a few short years at most and then the dance will be over. The experience of every day goes to show the folly and uncertainty of human affairs and the great importance of attending to matters beyond the portals of the undiscovered country.

Image 8Pool has gotten over his misfortune and appears again satisfied. I found all hearty when I came. We are doing our best at saving our crop and have 16 or 17 bales picked, only such has been the character of weather that half picking has not been done. We have had no frost here yet and the weather for some days has been warm and dry and a continuance of it for two weeks will insure us a fine crop. Our corn crop is good — some of my neighbors will make little or no corn.

I was at Helena two days ago and Preston was absent at Crittenden Court. I could, therefore, learn nothing in relation to the suit against Redman but will be able to inform you in my next.

Image 5I conversed with Gutherie & Tyler in Louisville on the McElvaine business and find that nothing can be effected by suit. Mr. Gutherie told me that Noah Haydon would have to pay about ten thousand dollars security money for McElvaine & H. which would make a complete mash of him, There was not 200 dollars Arkansas money in Louisville when I was there. Brokers were buying at 35 and selling at 25 discount so you see I did not pay too much for what I bought, Bagging was sold the day I left Louisville at 20 cents cash. My gunny bags answer a fine purpose. 56 cents worth covers a bale whereas it takes 6 yards of bagging & 8 __ rope which costs 2 dollars and one dollar in G. rage & hoop iron answers the purpose.

I wrote Frank from Louisville. I attended auction in Louisville and saw good goods sold for very low prices. Good broad clothes at 2.25 & 3.00 best 4/4 Bro cottons at 8 cent best prints at 10 & 11. And other things in proportion.

There has been a camp meeting at our Landing for several days and many of the worst men in the country have joined the church. The morals of the country are rapidly improving and all owing to the untiring labours of the Methodists who appear to be bent on the redemption of this country. Mrs. and Mr. Rankin arrived here a day or two ago. Mrs. Rankin will be the only Kentucky lady on the lake this winter.

The Yellow Fever is still raging with great violence at New Orleans and Vicksburg and many cases are dying on the Boats bound up the river.

Write me whenever you can. Yours, &c. — John R. Williams


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