This letter was written by Catharine Jeanette (Smiley) Robinson (1820-1874), the daughter of Nathaniel Smiley (1784-1839) and Margaret Smith (1785-1825). She was married to Moses Robinson (1810-1857) in October 1837 in Liberty, Amite County, Mississippi. In the 1850 Census, the Robinson’s are enumerated in Rush Island, Caddo County, Louisiana.
Catharine wrote the letter to her brother, Robert Patterson Smiley (1815-1877). She also mentions another brother — James Malcolm Smiley (1812-1879) — with whom she is obviously vexed for having failed to visit her when he passed by her home earlier in the year.
Addressed to Robert P. Smiley, Esqr., Centreville, Amite County, Mississippi
Red River [Louisiana]
August 24, 1852
It has been a long time since I got a letter from you. I thought I would wait until you would write but it appears as if it will never be. I got a letter a few weeks ago from old Aunt Betsy Jenkins. She says you write every month to me but I do not get more than one a year. It is very strange that I can get the letters that others write and cannot get years. There are a great many Robinsons in this Parish and maybe there is another C. J. besides myself. There is a Moses Robinson living somewhere in this country. Mr. Robinson has had five letters sent to him from Shreveport and had to send them back.
We have all been sick but are all well now but Margaret. She is always grunting. She has had sore fingers for a year and they are not well yet and looks like never will be. I have been sick off and on ever since the first of June. Margaret’s youngest child died in July of cholera infantum. It was sick six weeks and I could have cured it but she would tuff it on everything it wanted.
We have had a freat deal of wet weather this summer. It is still very wet. It has injured the crops very much. The worms have not come yet but are expected every day.
Mr. Robinson is going to sell his place. He can get two thousand dollars more for it than he gave. He talks of going above the raft ¹ to get a place. He wants me to write to James and know where he is going to move to. I tell him he will have to write himself. James would not write to me if I were to write to him. I wrote to him last winter and asked him to come after me and he never answered my letter and then passed my door twice and would not as much as wave his hand at me. I thought he was afraid I would want to go home with him if he called. If he knew how he hurt my feelings by slighting me so he would be sorry he done so. I cannot think of it yet without shedding tears. If he had left a few lines in the [post] office or thrown me a letter making any excuse whatever I would have looked over it. Bill Crawford did not do his sister that a way. He left his company and called to see how she was getting along. I will quit this subject for I could talk about it all day.
The children are at home. They did not like to stay at their Uncle Dick’s at all. All send howday. Give my love to all. Farewell. Your sister, — Catharine
¹ The “raft” refers to the immense logjam that blocked the Red River upstream of the rapids near Alexandria, Louisiana. Starting around Boyce, it stretched for nearly 150 miles upstream. It is not certain when the raft formed, but it may have been around 1100-1200 A.D. It probably was the result of floods causing the bank to collapse and dumping trees into the river, which then became snagged on sandbars. Or it might have been created by a massive Mississippi River flood that caused the Red River to reverse course and become blocked by debris.