Date: 27 Jun 1857
Today's letter from Dr. John Randolph Traylor, Sr. to John Hill deals primarily with business matters and Dr. Traylor's handling of John's affairs in Louisiana. It is interesting to read about the relative difficulty of moving money around in those times as compared to now. Transactions in general sound more difficult to execute, track, and confirm just due to slow communication mechanisms and long distances. What a different world we live in today.
The letter also indicates a possible sale of John Hill's Marion residence by Isaac Cole, a man from Tuscaloosa. It struck me that Dr. Traylor told John he could write Mr. Cole, "Tuscaloosa is his address." Could you imagine sending a letter today to someone you know and just putting the town name on it with no address? Life was sure different in the rural South in 1857.
Col. John Hill Marion Union Pa. La. June 27 / 57
Waverly, Walker Co. Texas
Your favour of the 9th is before me. I have just rec'd a reply to my inquiries concerning the cotton shiped [sic] by M.W. Goldsby (?) for your use to Frillsen Stevenson & Co. They say "They rec'd such a lot, but without any bill of Loding [sic] or advises at all. About the same time they rec'd over 100 bales in exactly the same mark C in sundry shipments from Mr. H.L.Green in Sicily (?) Island & they had therefore no doubt whatever but that these 10 bales belonged to him. They therefore returned those 10 bales to him on the 22nd March & that he seemed not to have observed the mistake, that they have now corrected the mistake, given you credit for the net proceeds of $584.31 & advised Mr. Green of the error." With regard to the Tatum business, I beleaved [sic] that, I informed you in a former communication that, nothing was paid until after the death of the Old Man. It hapened [sic] in this wise. Before he knew that, a draft would be sent you as well, He had sent for his money By Dr. Simmons & Col. Tatum (Who had made the purchais [sic] of the Dr. Ballard Property) They used the Old man's money, greatly to his annoyance & displeasure so that, he was unable to pay during the time that, he lived. Now sir for the worst part of the story.
I had written to Frillsen Stevenson & Co. to know if I could get 6 or 700 dollars, they answered me that, I could, I immediately instructed them to give you credit for $700. & charge to me. Having no doubts upon the subject, I took your money in setling [sic] the I. Waterman claim against the Estate of S. Traylor.
In a fiew [sic] days after this transaction, I receive instruction from F. S. & Co. that, for the present they could not advance me any money. That, the preasure [sic] in money matters was greater than it had been for a great while, & that they were so prsed [sic] that they could make no advances for the present.
I immediately sent two draft [sic] to them one for $214.95 the other for $268.00 in all $482.95. They inform me that, this had been collected & plased [sic] to your Cr.
I regrett [sic] very much having made the Waterman transaction as, in doing so, I used your money & for the present am unable to replace it. I hope however it will not illconvenience you much whatever interest it may cost you to repar [sic] the damage I will repay. While on this subject I will state progress in the Waterman affair.
Judge Richardson wrote to me that, they had agreed to take the principal 1/2 cash the balance in a draft for next spring. I complyed [sic] to the letter with what, he said was the agreement. It appears that, he again consulted them that, they were disatisfyed [sic] & proposed that, I should add $350 to my draft, which he (the Judge) strongly advised.
In reply I informed him what, he had said in his 1st note expresed [sic] a hope that, they would not persist in their last demand & if they did instructed him to return my money & Draft. I have heared [sic] it hinted that, the Judge was trickey [sic] & did not know but that, there might be a fly in the look (?). I wrote also to Waterman but have heared [sic] from neither of them since. Should the money be refunded, I will straten [sic] up the difficulty above stated immediately.
The man for whoom [sic] I made the inquiry concerning the price of your land has, purchaised [sic] Dr. Simmons place. Tom Tatum I beleave [sic] has declined purchaising [sic].
I showed your plase [sic] to a Mr.Isaac Cole who lives near Tuscaloosa Alabama. He appeared to be pretty well pleased with it. I told him that, you had offered that, portion of it for $6000. but that, I beleaved you expected interest at that price. After some reflection he said he would take the place at $6000. in three payments 1/3 cash the other two payments to be without interest. He further said that, if you concluded to take his offer write to him & he would take the place & pay for it whether he ever moved to it or not. It is his intention (if you trade) to send his son & negroes out in November but does not expect to come with his family until he can do so by water, at which time he will make the 1st payment. The other payments he says shall be made promptly as they fall due without any trouble to you & he looks like a man that, will do what, he says. It is the south division of 1960 Acres that, he wants, I told him that, I expected you would take his offer, you may either give me your instructions or write directly to him. Tuscaloosa is his address.
I have also been requested to inquire at what price you would sell the 800 acres lying west of E. George's place. That, is a good piece of land & if I was in your place I would not put it too low. They are buying up the Old Jourdin (?) place at $2.50 per acre. I think land is going to be a better price in this country before long. One of the men who made the inquiry is by the name of Gibs. I have forgotten who the other was.
You wish to know how I came on setting [sic] the S. (?) Traylor estate. I have paid the Fullerton note and do not recollect any other claims except a small account held by D. G. Stewart I beleave [sic] I have already spoken of the Waterman case.
When I sent up to Everett, he requested not to be sewed [sic] but said that, he could pay nothing this year.
The health of our country is very good. I never saw it better. Though I have to report the death of W. L. George of typhoid fever. He died on yesterday & was buried the same day. At some other time I will give you the particulars. He is very much regretted.
Our crops are promising though backward corn bids fair to make a good yeald [sic] it is just beginning to silk & tassle [sic]. My cottonseed is tilling finely. I have the best cotton crop in the country except Mrs. White I do not know which is best mine or hers. A good deal of it is knee high & over it is finely branched out & promises well though it was set back by the lice I hope the yeald [sic] may be equal to its promise.
As soon as a proper time has expired I will dun (?) Mr. George for what he owes, but, I know it will effect nothing for the present. He has no money nor can he get it for the present. He had $4000 sent to his merchants from Ala instructing them to give him Cr. for 1/2 & to send him the balance. But so great was the preasure [sic] in money matters with them that, they kept the whole of it. He was verry [sic] much insensed [sic] & it is said is going to quit them & go to F. S. & C. so that, the chance for money from him can not be very good for the present.
Miss Virginia Bryant & Mr. Simon Terrel were married on the same night of the demise of W. L. George. The ceremony was performed by Mr. George. This truly must have been a sad mixture of joy & grief.
I will write to Ragenburg by the next mail & try to learn what he has done in the Mays case.
I have just returned from C. Absents (?) The two bales of cotton was [sic] that, you left to be Gined [sic]. Your part of the La (?) cotton was left in the hands of Andrews & Lerow (?) with instructions that, it was to be paid to F. S. & C. to your Credit. Ferguson was informed of the fact so he says (Charley) the amt. was $207, & some cents.
I am sorry to here [sic] of your losses.
This lives [sic] us all well
Love to all