Fascinating stamp less wax sealed letter dated January 13th 1859 from Carolina P.O. Haywood County West Tennessee. The writer of this letter is one Charles L. Reed or Read?... to his daughter Lucy F.Shemell or Shamell.
The letter begins as an afterthought of sorts when Mr. Reed states he has enclosed three gold dollars for Lucy for the “washing” or Washington act and to give the money to the washer woman in Sumerville. This Sumerville is located in the historic section of Augusta,Ga. The father is writing to Lucy while she is traveling by steamboat. He discusses one George Bullook went insane and was admitted to an asylum in Raleigh N.C. and died a few days later in their care. The father goes into details about various family matters. The letter mentions the following names for genealogical research: Lucy Schemell, Charles L.Reed, George Bullook, Margie Darwell, Nathan or Nathanial Watkins, Betty Barbie, John L.Ready or perhaps Reedy, Hattie Moose, and John Jones to name most but not all. The writer goes into detail about one John Jones who on his wedding day shot himself in the head with a pistol. He states that John Jones then dresses in his wedding suit calls in the servant for breakfast,and when the servant (slave) leaves him, Mr. Jones undress down to his “drawers” sits on the floor and shoots himself in the head.
I have provided photos of each page so that you may read the letter in full.
Haywood County is situated on the southeastern edge of the New Madrid Seismic Zone, an area with a high earthquake risk. Farming, especially of cotton, was the basis for the local economy for much of its history. Until the Civil War, this meant a plantation system dependent upon slave labor; after the war, tenant farmers and sharecroppers took the place of actual slavery. (Condition Report): Paper separation and natural folds with an unusual amount of wax seals. Staining from waxy residue and foxing throughout.