Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dr. Traylor Letter #5

Date: 25 Apr 1858

As with many of the letters, today's letter from Dr. John Randolph Traylor, Sr. to John Hill focuses largely on business matters. But, there are a good number of other interesting items to be found.

Dr. Traylor comments on a "Sister Powell" who John Hill and others must have commented on having frequent sicknesses and headaches. I believe this is Sarah Emma Powell, wife of Adam Thomas Gallaway Hill, brother of John Hill. He attributes her problems to a "derangement of the stomach" and recommends some travel with an almost invitation to come visit Louisiana My question: Is Dr. Traylor right? We may write off some of the beliefs and practices of doctors in the 19th century, as well we should. But, I imagine there is wisdom and beneficial knowledge they had that we have lost.

Dr. Traylor also mentions compensation he paid for a slave that was accidentally killed on his property. This was mentioned in his 14 Jan 1858 letter.

On a very personal note, Dr. Traylor expresses that he is grieved and troubled for not writing regularly and promptly to John and his family in Texas. He also indicates that they are having many problems with crops during this time.



Col. John Hill                           Marion La Apr 25 / 58
Waverly Walker Co. Texas

Dear Sir,
     Your favour of the 2nd Feby was duely [sic] Rec'd. We were glad to here [sic] of your continued good health & prosperity. One thing I observe we hardly ever here [sic] from your place without hearing that, Sister Powell is verry [sic] sick or is just getting out of a bad spell of sick headache. Her headache must originate from some derangement of the stomach & nothing I suspect would have so salutory [sic] an effect on her as travel. She has frequently before this, been greatly benefited by it & there is no doubt, but, that, it would put an end to her sick headaches. It appears to me that, she might make it agreeable by traveling to this country.
     I am sorry that, I can not write you something more agreable [sic] in business matters. I once thought this year would be the best that, we have had for many but it has turned out otherwise. I have made but little collection for you.
     Maj. Moor made no further resitance (?) in the Kesu (?) note & you have judgement. Everett promised to pay this year, Mrs. E. Benson paid yesterday, Mr. Willingham for Cole paid the amt. of which you rec'd information from Frillsen Stevenson & Co.
     I have since sent a draft on my own a/c to them for $1000.00 with which I ordered you to have Cr. For $800.00 intending to use such amt. of your money when collected as I was compeled [sic] to have, Willingham (for Cole) paid me $140.00 & three drafts amounting to $1200.00 & his own note $700.00 for the balance which which [sic] he promised to pay soon. One of the drafts for $400.00 was returned for non­payment.
     I informed him of the fact. In reply he said he would be down as soon as he could & pay it.
     Cole wrote to Braziale wishing to know if it had all been paid promptly, & requesting to be informed immediately if, it was not so that, he could make the payment himself he has been informed how the matter stands.

May 31st  I saw Maj. Moor on yesterday. He says that, Kesu (?) promised to send him the money immediately if judgement [sic] went against him. He has written to, but Rec' d no answer from Kesu (?). His land is lived on & advertised for sale on saturday next. It will of corse [sic] go into a twelve months bond should Keesu (?) send the money. I have no doubt the Maj. will find a place to put it. Everett's dependence is on the Maj. to pay what, the Estate ows [sic] you. I fear that, that, will be slow.
     I was advised by Dr. McGuire to compromise With Absent for the killing of his boy by Jim -- which I did at $650.00 the amt, he owed you & the Smith & Plummer note I used in a settlement with him. I wrote to Dean about the rope but Rec'd no reply. Have since heard that, he did not get the letter. I have written again but as yet Rec'd no reply. On yesterday I saw Branch who overseed [sic] for them at the time. He said they got it at the same time they got the spinning machine. The spinning machine Hart says that, he has tryed [sic] to learn a negro to spin on it but could not succeed to any profit. I beleave [sic] they do not use it at all. He proposes, to return or take it at $50.00. The following has been collected S. E. Benson $17.00, A. Repaud (?) $3.00, S. E. Benson $29.55, Jessup & Graves $102.75 of which I beleave [sic] you are in forward, Marshal Day $15.10, E. & B. F. George $56.75, P. R. Hill $71--, Goldsby $25.00, M. Day $34.90, C. Absent $203.56, J. Crow $29.02, Newton & Robinson $38.75, Repaud Smith & Day $7.10, Donaphere & Wasson $20.50, S. B. Thomas $89.83, Sam Smith $27.27, Smith & Lupa $25.41, Smith & Plummer $179.28. I have taken the above from the book as I find there crd (?) Mims Bryant & Ross will not pay this year. They all have heavy crops, some hope for next year.
     Goldsby will pay nothing this year. Mrs. Goldsby was presented with a note on him for 4 or 6 thousand dollars & told to educate her children with it.
     Some persons are so unkind as to think that an effort will be made to cover his property with it. My own opinion is that, when he collects the Andrews money he will pay his debts he has told me as much.
     D. Cooper has promised vacilated [sic] slid round & done nothing as yet, nor do I beleave [sic] he will this year. They say he is very much in debt. One of his suraties [sic] wants him sewed [sic]. I sent Marion to the swamp to see Mayo. He was not at home, so that, Marion did not get to see him. They say he is speculating on land mules & hororses [sic]. If he does not pay I would say sue at the fall court. I beleave [sic] all the rest have promised to pay. I had the pleasure of reading your favours to Dr. White of some two weeks since he Rec'd a letter from Wm this morning. My procrastination in writing renders me incapable of any defence [sic] against the inquisitional aligations [sic] aledged [sic] against me in yours to Dr. W- as I fear I can not make it better must have it, as it is. Tell sisters Sarah & Nancy that, I feel ashamed of the manner in which I have neglected them. And like all the poor sinners who are making there [sic] way to the bad place by sins of omition [sic] think that in future I will do better. This leaves us all well, with fine appetites short, allowance, late & fowl [sic] crops.
     My love & Best Respects to all
          John Traylor

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