(Parts of a letter to Margaret Hays from her mother)(1)
& hardly no, what to say for your cumfort in those trobles for if it was in my power to help you I would Devide the last cent in this cause but Dauter i cand do nothing but grieve about you all Dauter i never eate a meal vitules without thinking about you all & fearing you have not anough to eate & Dauter i dont no what you will do if i could get means to you i would & if you could get eny chance to come we would pay eny expence it would cost, dont think about bringing your lettle children on your brothers to susport, that is nothing in these trobles Darter your Brothers is all Studdy men & doing well & aplenty
was still getting worse & thought that imposible but i feare tha will keep on untill tha will Distroy the last of you all, if you try to stay thare i wish you was away, Margaret i do wish you was all heare wea are all peasible heare yet but tha are getting very overbaring, some thinks tha are trying to raise a fuss but tha are afierd. Dauter crops is not so good hear this seson as common but a great deal of fruit, thare is not much grain raised heare no seson but a great in the vallys, tha rais hay & vegistables hear in the mountains on Jacksons(2) farm, he sells from a thousand to fifteen hundred dollars of Hay, he has a good young orchard peaches graps appels plums
a fortune my dear Darter i am so Distressed about you all i dont no what to do about it, we are all well at prsant & hopes when those lines come to hand i hope it will find you enjoying the same blessing, try do the best you can & i hope the lord will provide for you & your little children, give my love to all frends & recieve a large portion to yourself Farewell my loving Dauter untill Death
E. E. Watts
Margaret J. Hays write often as you can my Deare Dauter
Jan the 6 1863
Mr Van or Wade Hays(3)
Afeter my best respects to you send you Margrets last letter, read this & return it if you please for the boys have not all seen it. I expect another letter soon. I understand that your Mother(4) & Brother expects to come next spring & I would like to know how they are coming whether by water or by land. One of the boys has promised to go after Margaret if she prefers to come by land. Write me all the particulars & how it can be arranged.
E. E. Watts
January the 9/63
Once more I am permited to write to you a few lines in answer to a letter I received a few days ago dated Oct. The second I received this faul. We are all well at this time, my Babe has been sick but is now running about. I am now at Uncle Jemmys(5), have not been at home for over a week. Betty has been staying hear for over two months going to school. John goes from home. I still make my home at Linvells(6), I expect to move to my old home in the Spring. My friends says that I shal have a house by spring. I have my dower in the land whitch will be over a hundred achers, enough to make me a good home. Mother you wished to know whether I would go out their. You saied my Brothers would come after me if I would go out in the spring. Mother I would like to be with you all but dont think it will Suit for me to go in the Spring. One thing Mother if I go their without anything to surport my Children and I cannot bear the Idea of going to my brother with four little Children for them to support. I would be to hard on them. I think by Staying heare a while longer it might be posible that I could get back something that we have lost. I do not want my Brothers to come hear for their is two mutch danger in traviling now. I have friends hear that wont alow me to Suffer, it seems that I have the sempathy of everyone. I received a letter from Eliza D.(7) a few days ago, they are all well but in a great deal of troubble. Two of her sons has been in Alton Prison(8)for two months, Worren(9)and John(10). She has two that was in prison all last summer(11). John(12) and Jemmy(13) is out South in Hindermans(14) command. I heard from them a short time ago. Uncle Dick(15) started South about three weeks ago. Tommy and Travis(16) was both killed at Corrinth. The last time I heard from George and Letty(17) they were living near Larrence, Kansas. Uncle Jemmy and Rachel(18) has gone to Caliway, looking for them home every day.
Times gets no better hear. Stealing, murdering and every thing else going on. They are takin men up ever day or two and Shooting or hanging them without trial. Last week hung and shot some four or five. In my last letter I told you of them hanging cousin Sam Kimberlain(19). Hung him in his Barn. All of the Charges they had against him was outfitting his son to go with my husband. They are waiting for my letter to take to the office. My love to my Brothers and you Mother, take good care of your self, do not troubble yourself two mutch about me, we will be taken care of hear. It may be that some of my friends will be going out their and I will go out but do not think that I can go in the Spring. Aunt Mary(20) is anxious to go. Fare well Dear Mother and Brothers from your Daughter and Sister
April the 9/63
Once more I am permited to write you a few lines, it has been a long time since I received a letter from you. This is the second one that I have writen since your last, should have writen before but been waiting for the times to get better hear but it seems that we are doomed to worce instead of better. It has been proficide all along that we would have peace in the Spring but Oh, Mother we have never knew what hard times was before. Their has been more murdering done in the last two months than has been done since the war began and also Burning and Stealing. They would go to houses and take the men from their families and shoot them down like dogs no age excepted from boys to old grey headed men. About two weeks ago they draged Cousin Dick(21) from his table and Shot his head all to peaces. He has been sick all winter, been confined to his bead four weeks, just beginning to set up. They pretended to say that he was a Bushwacker but he never had been concerned in a fight. All the harm he ever done was to talk. Their has been a great number of our friends been killed hear within the last week. A great many of the Citizens had to leave, their lives been threatened. Uncle Jemmy(22) among the rest. He left several days ago and also Dr Penalton(23) because he had taken his negros South. They say they intend to kill all men that has taken or sent off negros South. I regret now that I had not have decided on going out their but Mother I could not go without some thing to go on. I could not go depending intirely on my Brothers for a suport for myself and Children. I thought by staying hear a while longer I could get something. I had a home hear and could make a suport if I was aloud to. I have a very good little frame house put on my home. Will moove tomorrow, have got a young man(24) to raise a crop (the one that has been living with us for the last seven years), he raises on the shearse. I have but little hopes of Keeping my house. Aunt Mary(25) gave me almost enough to go to housekeeping on, such things as furniture. She could not take it with her and left it to me. They will go to Caliway(26) if they can get their going b
y watter(27). It makes me feel very lonely to see my friends having to leave me. I have been staying with Mirium Mc(28) for the last four or five weeks. I came to spend a few days with her, my Children was taken with the measel, they are well of them now. They are all well at present.
Mother their was a young man went from this neighborhood, a Cumberlain(29) preacher, his name is Gerlispie(30). He is going to Uncle Nealy Y.(31) He came to see me but I was not at home. I would like for you to see him, he could tell you more than I could write. He went with the mail(32). I feel that he will get their by the time you get this. Uncle Jemmy sent a letter to Uncle Nealy by him. He had no left when times is worce than they were when he left. Yester. Their was a company came in, some of the men said they had killed 36 men since they left hear and they had no idea their was a Bushwacker among the number, all peaceable citizens. We are looking for another company in today. Dick(33) is still in the country, he has but little use of his right arm. I have a cousin came home from the South, Uncle Calup son Dick(34). He was with my Husband. He came back to give me the paticulars of his Death. About as we heard it first. Oh mother it is so hard to think about some time I think it imposible to bear with it. Give my love to my Brothers and all enquirin friends. Fare well Dear Mother from your every loving Daughter
May the 30/63
Once more I am permitted to write you a few lines. I am now living at home, moved home about Six weeks ago, have not been troubled any since I moved but live in constant Dread of being robed and burnt out. Their has been another brake made on our neighborhood las Saturday. Turned a large family of little Children out of doors, Burnded their house not leaving a suit of Clothing for the family. The man had been prisinor for two or three months for not enrolling. Their excuse for Burning, they accused the woman of feeding Bushwackers, but she could hardly find enough for her family to eat without deviding with others. This eavening I call to see some very kind friends that was Banished, and Old man and his family. We have lived near neighbors for about eigh years. Oh, I will miss them so much. The old man has two sons in the Bushes, they say he is to be sent to loway(35), has two more days to leave the Co. in. Hard times is jest begening, they say their is a bushwacker to every Bush.
Yesterday Jem Vaughn(36) was hung in Kansas City, Tom(27) was shot about a year ago, D--(38) is in the Bush(39), Marthy Jane(40) and Mag(41) is prisinors in Leavenworth. The old man is South, Mrs Vaughn(42) and the children was Banished to the territory, their house burned, everything they had taken. Cousin Lis(43) is living on the widow Graham farm. Frank(44) has been in the bushes every since his father dide (or was killed). Uncle Jemmys(45) family was all well last week, was living with Uncle Bob(46). Our friends is all well down their. Uncle Calup(47) has two sons in the Bushes up hear, Dick(48) is still about hear, it seems that where ever he is in most Danger, better Satisfied. Their is a great many of our friends banished and still going every few days.
Crops is this neighborhood looks very well but out a few miles their is nothing put in, do not try to rais anything. I have about 25 or thirty achors in corn and oats. The young man(49) that is staying with me is tending the crop for half that it is raised. He has been living with us some eight years. Mary Cunningham is still living with me, near ten years since she came to live with me. I think if they let me alone I can make a living. Lin is on the plains, I miss him very much. Larrenda(50) sends her love to you. I have a great many friends hear that will never low me to suffer for the want of anything. My children is not going to school now,
their is no school in this neighborhood and I hate to send them from home. Jen Uppy(51) can say anything, Fleda(52) she is the prettiest child I have resemble [illegible word] the rest a great pet with every person, the smartest children I ever saw to her age. I have not heard from Letty(53) for some time. Mother write often and tell my Brothers to write, I think they might write sometimes. Tell them that I would like to see them but not hear. I fear it will be a long while before we will meet. If we could only have peace their would be some hope in meeting again but God only knows when we will have peace. Their is but little prospect for peace soon. My kindest regards to all enquiring friends. So fare well Dear Mother from your ever loving Daughter
ps Mother their was a preacher went out to Uncle Nealys(54), his name was Galispy, he could tell you all the news from this country. Se him if you can, he will go to see you. So good night, Mag.
July the 25/63
It has been about two weeks since I received your kind letter, we are all well at this time. I have had a very bad cough for about two months but are better now. We have had a very wet Season this summer, some of the coldest weather i every knew for this time of year. Crops of all kinds look well, very fine wheet crop. As for our country troubbles not any better and no prospect of it being any better soon. Their has been a great many of my friends Banished and a great many killed. Some two or three weeks ago we had a fight within a mile of our house(55). The Bushwackers(56) (as termed) passed by Linvels(57) house, they had started to go to Westport but got sight of some Feds(58) going to town. When they saw them they gave a yell and went in as fast a speed as their houses could go to head them, they headed them about a mile from Westport and drove them back to Wornels lane, Strewing the road with dead men. When they got to the lane they were fighting hand to hand, the Feds so excited being attacted so near town that they could not fight. They killed one man then drove them on the perraria near a Barn, they then fired on the Bushwachers, killed two of their men but the Bushwackers made it two warm for them to Stand it long so they retreated as fast as they could get away. They had thirty three buried in Westport out of Seventy. Bushwackers has sixty men, lost three men, one of them was killed accidentally by one of their own men.(59)
Since I have been wrighting I have received a letter from you and Aunt Mary and Cousin Pap(60), Ams(61) wife has come up hear on Buissnes. Our friends was all well down their. All of our connexion white folks(62) excepting Uncle Johns family, they are very black. Mother you wished to know whether I will to to California. If I had my buisness Settled hear I think I would go, it will be some time before I can leave hear. Mother in the next to the last letter I received a present from you, two and a half dollars. Mother I do thank you very mutch for your kindness. Our friends is all well as far as I can learn. I must bring my letter to a close by Sending my love to my Brothers and enquiring Friends so Fare well from your Daughter
ps Mother Uncle Dick(63) is down at Uncle Eds(64). John Ed(65) is prisinor in ilinois. I do not know where Jemmy(66) is. Mag
WilliamsBurg, Caliway Co, Mo September the 26/63
being my Birthday I thought I would spend a part of it in writing to you. I have writen one letter since I came to this place, three weeks this eavening. Since I got down to this place I have met with a great many friends hear. Three of my children has been going to School every day Since I came down, friends sends them. I have been up to Fulton since I wrote to you. I was at Uncle Sams(67) family, all well. Uncle Dicks Aunt Becky(68) has got down. Uncle Eads(69) family well, their son John(70) was Drowned a short time ago. They all ensisted on me stay with them. I am living at Ams(71), he lives in the Burg. Times is quiet hear as could be expected. We have a company of Soldiers Stations hear. I heard from Jackson today, they have everthing else but peace up their. People all left the country some was alowed to move to the posts, others Banished. I was not alowed to stay up their, left their on Fridy, my house burned on Mundy after I left home. I had left part of my furniture in the house. Mother they they have done all they can do. Burned me out three times and at last drove me from my country. They have nothing against me, they say. My Husband did his Duty, now he is gone. They will take their spite out on myself and little Children.
Mother their is a great emergration going out in the Spring to California. If I do not go between now and then I will go then. Mother John Ed(72) is in Alton prison, has been their some time. I received one letter from him, he wished me to write to you and let you know where he is at and says tell you where he belongs to. He dont want you to think that he holds to the side Bunion(73) belongs to. Jemmy(74) was a prisinor at Vicsburg. Uncle Jemmy wishes me to asqe you to write a few lines to Uncle Nealy for him concerning his going their. If he thinks he can do anything their to make a living he will go in the Spring. He is almost blind, this war has left him with but little to go on. Uncle Calup B.(75) will go out their in the Spring if he is able in the Spring. He is very feble now. Mother take good care of yourself, it is so mutch pleasure to know that I have a Mother. If fate has ordered it so that I cant be with you do not troubble yourself about my troubles. I am able to bear them all. My love to my brothers tell them I thank god that they are not hear. So fare well Dear Mother from your Daughter
ps mother let me know Uncle Neales post office. Uncle Jemmy wants to write to him. Tell Cousin Van(76) his mother is well, she is living hear in the Burg. I stayed with her last night,
Williamburg Caliway Co. Mo.
Nov the 7/63
Once more I have the pleasure of answering a kind letter received a few days ago. The letter was directed to Westport, my friends forewarded on to me. This is the fourth letter I have writen since i have been in this place. We have peaceble times hear. Have never had but little trouble hear with the exception of negros running off. They are leaving every few days, my last one has gone, Andy. I had run him down hear for two years thinking I could save him, but they are but little profit to anyone now.
Mother I had quite an agreable surprise last Saturday. Eliza Dickerson(77) heard that I was down hear, she came to hunt me up, one of her sons was with her. I did not think that she could get this far from home, she is one of the fleshest women I ever saw. She seldom ever leaves home but when she heard that I was down hear she could not rest without coming to see me. Our friends is all well in Ky is good union people. Aunt Nancy(78) is still [erased] Cousin Beverly Dickerson(79) was killed in Indeania, he was killed by some unknown person, he was a rebel. Cousin Eliza Kimberlain(80) is in howard(81). Cousin Jourden L.(82) is living near Fayette, sent perticular word for me to come and stay with him. Eliza wanted me to go an live with her. I am living with Am and Cousin Pap(83) . They are very kind to me and the children, they are all going to school.
I heard from home a few days ago or the place that was once my home. Times was more quiet than they had been for some time. That country above Blue is all burned, that is all the fencing and a great many houses. My last house was burned a few days after I left their. My crop is all distroyed, if the land would sink I would be satisfied. Cousin Lis Berry(84) is living in Kansas.
The Bushwackers has all gone South. Shelby(85) made a Raid in Mo. He had some 25 or twenty eight hundred, he came to Boonvill. When he went back he had upwards of five thousand and three fine canan. He came in after recruits, he got all he came for and went back. You know what accounts their is in the papers about the raid. Uncle Jemmy(86) is living hear, he is almost intirely Blind, has been for a long time, has to be led about the house. Write to him Mother, he is so low spirited, it would please him so mutch. Send him word how to direct letters to Uncle Nealy(87). Our friends hear is all well. I have been to see all my Uncles, Uncle Dick and Aunt Becky(88) is living down hear. Old man Hamilton(89) and Mary and her husband is down hear at Uncle Dicks. They have not heard from Hue(90) for a long time. The old man wishes me to asque you to write to Hugh and let him know where they are and tell him the old man has lost all he has in the world, the old man says he has not enough of money to buy himself a plug of tobaco. He thought if Hugh was able to help him he would do it and Dick is very Needy. Fulton is their posoffice.
mother I send you a thousand thanks for the present you sent me in my last letter, a ten dollar bill. That kind of money is worth more than any other kind hear, exceping gold. Greenback is all the kind we have hear. You said the Boys was going to send their minatures to me and yours. I am looking anxiously for them. My love to them, if you see Cousin Wade(91) tell him his mother is well, living hear alone with her three negros. One left her a few weeks ago. I go to see her every few days. Mother, Am and Cousin Pap sends their love to you also Uncle Jemmy and family, my love to Brother John(92). I seldom ever hear from him but think a great deal about him. So fare well from your Daughter
December the 28/63
Once more I am permited to write a few lines to you, we are all well at this time. I have been very sick with cold but feel quite well now. Since I wrote to you last I have been off on a visit, went to spend a week or so with an old Jackson Neighbor, Now a refugee, I stayed over two weeks their and at Uncle Sams(93). We are very lonely hear altho it is Chrismas but that is the Sadest time with me. The Children has gone to spend Chrismas with their Aunt Mary Hughs(94) and Aunt Elenor Chick(95). Three of my children attends school regular every day. Elfleda learns very fast, says she is going to learn fast so she can write to you. I have a great many friends hear. I often get embarest when out among strangers. When they find out who I am they try to show me so mutch attention. My Husbands deeds is not forgoten hear, all seems to feell so mutch for me for the manner in which I have been treated. Times is quiet hear at this time. Some excitement about the Draft, but I think it will wear off. I think they will get negros enough without taking any of the white men. They give the State credit with the negros that is sent. I do hope that they will take them all. Andy went some time ago, the last time I heard of him he was dressed in his uniform and had his gun to fight for his freedom.
I heard from Jackson a short time ago, times was quiet up their. Some two or three of my neighbors had mooved on their homes. My house was burned a few days after I left their. I had about thirty achors of corn, as fine corn as ever I saw raised, besides my hay and oats and vegetables, all taken and distroyed. I have received my beads(96) and clothing at last some two weeks ago. They cost me more than I could for them to put them up at the highest Bider. I had but few things, they cost me near 60 Dollars, then when I came down it cost me between thirty five and forty dollars. I do not know what want is yet, I always have plenty to eat and wear for myself and Children. I am still living at Amberzons(97), he had to leave his home yet he can make enough to live on and divide with me. John Ed(98) is still in prison. Uncle Dick(99) and family is going to move to California this winter. They have received a letter from Hugh(100), he is going to send money for them to go out with Uncle Jemmie. He has got so he can see to walk about the house. Aunt Mary is very sick, Rachel(101) is Married, married some three weeks ago to a yong man by the name of Henry Harper(102). He is very nice yong men, one of my old Jackson Co. Neighbors. He is very well off, a study industrous young man. Mother Old Mrs Graham dide a few weeks ago, she left Cousin Lis Berry one Hundred Barrels of corn, McSpaden, Do and made over six hundred dollars to a woman in Westport. Mother you wished to know whether I would come this winter or Spring. I do not know what to do, if I go know my children will never get anything hear, if I stay a while longer I think that their will be some arrangement made for them to have something. Take care of yourself, I still have hope that we will meet again, my love to my Brothers, farewell from your Daughter
please send all your likenesses, I will try to make arrangements to come as soon as posible, write often.
"Black Jack" issued 1863
1861 - 1865 Section: The Civil War
Letters 45 - 53: 1863
read this section's footnotes,