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Letters of the Harrison Family

Following are a few letters that have come down through the family -
mostly from Van Houston Harrison to his sister Bettie with one to his mother
and one from his wife, Roxanna to Bettie. 
Note that in most case I've left
spelling and grammar just as it was - there are a few names/omissions that
I couldn't make out, but generally they do not affect meaning. 

NEW!!! -
Take a look at these new letters recently shared with me by
Dr. John Benjamin Bond, III (who also happens to be a descendant of
the Mother of Doctors)!

Fontenelle, Mo

Oct 4 of 58 (1858)

Dear Bettie:

 I arrived at my present place, home, or location about 12 October the 2nd day after I left home.  I found that I could make money here by industry, sobriety, perseverance & economy so I have commenc’d business with every prospect of success – every one of my Old Friends were glad to see me & they all confirm my own impression by telling that I will make very fast.  I am in fine spirits – I have visited some 12 or 15 patients already since I came over and have good success – I think I shall do well.  You see that the name of our town is changed from Weanesville to Fontenelle.  We haven’t any post office here yet so you must direct to Point Pleasant Mo.

 Tell Grand Pa I will write to him again soon – I will also write to Ma & Nancy, all the rest soon.  Tell Grand Pa to send my medicines just as soon as he can possibly do so – tell him to be carefull and see that the trunks & box are properly labeled to Point Pleasant Mo.

 I have purchased a very fine house.  I want you all that have presents to send to me such as socks, _____, pincushion &c &c and thence by boxing them up nicely in a small box & send them on a boat to Point Pleasant.  The cost will be small.

 I want you all to write to me & write often.  I will write to Nancy very soon. 

 Every person thinks I came over here to Marry!  The idea is preposterous!

 I haven’t time to write more –

 Write very soon –

 In hast –

 Your Bro

 V. H. Harrison


Fontenelle Mo

Nov. 20/58

Dear Bettie:

 Yours of the 7th Inst is now before me.  I was glad to hear from you all – glad to hear that you were all well and had been injoying yourselves at the “Troy Fair”.  You speak of the weather as having been disagreeable during the time of the fair which I know to be the case as I was riding every day & night during that time.  As you anticipated I was not at all astonished to hear of Nannie’s Dancing.  You ask what do I think about it?  Why I think she did nothing more than she had been wanting to do for sometime no doubt.  You advised me to be more firm & not yield a willing victim to the pleasures of the Ballroom, not to participate with those who would forget their sorrows & throw off dull care and mingle in the “giddy dance”.  You surely forget Bettie that you failed to resist the temptation yourself and – Besides you know I am a cripple and couldn’t dance if I wanted to – but enough of this.

 Tell Robt to write to me if he wishes to hear from me – I am very sorry to hear that Mattie is so low.

 I have just written to John Dillard only a few days ago.

 I haven’t anything of interest to write to you about only that I am doing well and as regards health “in status quo”.  I hope you will write more fully in your next – I haven’t time to write much.

 Tell all my friends over there that I should like to hear from them.  I send my love to all my relations write soon.

 I have written to you and Mary D. tonight & shall write to Nancy in the morning.

 Ed Crevoiser (the young Merchant of this place) has come over to my Office and we are going to have a fine supper of Georgia Peaches (put up in cans) and Honey & Cream & sugar crackers.  He says for me to be a little brief this time but not forget to mention him.

 Yours Inhast

 Your Bro

V. H. Harrison


Pt. Pleasant, Mo.

Jany 18/62

 Dear Bettie:

 I have just recd almost a hat full of some of which were directed to you, the Balance to myself all of which were of Old dates should have been recd before we left here.  I didn’t find any news in any but one of them which from Robt & family a busness letter.  I have been thinking ever since I came back that I should write to you all about my trip home from Obion but have never had time until the present.  I started from home as you know Wednesday.  Got to Union City in to have gotton off on the evening train but had busness and sta’d until Thursday morning in the mean time was introduced to Dr. M. Davin Jayne from Phila of Patent Medicine Notoriety & submitted quietly to being bored with his gass for 2 or 3 hours but finally got off on the morning train & landing in Columbus (the mudiest place I ever saw) in a very short time where I until late in the evening when I concluded to take a trip up to Cairo & accordingly started on first boat up.  Nothing of occurring on the up or until I beheld the beautifull fast sailing packet “Alonzo Child” coming in sight upon which I determined to start to Pt. Pleasant soon after which a Lady applied to me to see her on board & act in the capacity of escort as far down as I was going which I couldn’t refuse to do & for whom I paid seven dollars without being repaid.  As she most willingly said the only pay being the pleasure of looking at the prettiest face I ever saw & a most splendid ring she presented me when we parted at New Madrid.  I concluded to get off there as the boat was gong to stop some 24 hours – when I bid adieu to my fair acquaintance with empty pockets (I had to borrow ten dollars from my friend J. W. Stewart in Columbus).  It was Sunday evening when I got back to my old home – Mrs. Nicholas was really glad to see me & asked a great many questions about you. 

 My busness has increased very much since I got back.  In fact I have scarcely leisure time enough to eat & sleep.  I hardly know what I am going to do yet – I’ll be sure to be in Obion in Feb but shall go at once to Memphis thence to Covington & visit Robt write to him to that effect.  Bettie I have invested everything I got in furs this season & the price is going down & unless the price improves again I am hopelessly ruined & they ______ that my friend Ri__ Menkle of St. Louis has diserted me & if so I am ruined anyhow.  I recd a letter from him today & he says furs are not worth anything.  Present my respect to old friends & relatives.  Mrs. Noah & Husband, Miss Nora & Laura


Your Brother

 V. H. Harrison


 Clarkton, MO

Nov. 9 of ’64 (1864)

 My Dear Ma:

 I have not heard from you in some time and in fact would not have known your adress or rather how to address a letter to your place had I not rec’d a letter from Robt and with it instructions.  I had heard that Robt was in Prison at Johnson’s Island and wrote him some time ago but had almost dispaird of getting anything in reply; at last however I received a letter from Johnsons Island bearing the well known hand writing of my Brother – my joy was almost unbounded but doomed to be cut short; on opening the letter, almost the first words that caught my eye were the following – “I cannot say that it gave me any pleasure to hear under the circumstances by which you seem to have surrounded yourself” and again “I confess I had anticipated more from you however little your antecedants show for your consistency”  Now I consider this quite cooling.  I have troubled myself not a little to find out the probable cause of this and the only solution attained as yet, is that some of my friends, probably in Obion (I know I have them there) have been posting him in regards to the “circumstances by which I have surrounded myself.”  Now I don’t expect to ever attempt to justify my course to Robert, because I think he is predetermined to think me unreliable and inconsistent, but I shall endeavor to give my mother a statement of such facts as I think will be sufficient to convince her that I have never acted otherwise than honorable.  You know what my course was from the commencement of the War up to the time when I paid you my last visit while you were in Obion.  When I returned to Mo. I was assigned to duty in the 1st Regt Mc Cov. As Surgeon where I continued some six months when my health completely failed from severe and protracted attacks of Pulmonary Hemorhage which became so very alarming that I was advised by one Brig Surgeon to quit the service.  This I was unwilling to do, tho I procured leave of absence to report when my health had improved sufficiently; being needy, it was necessary that I should do something for a support while unemployed by Gov. so commenced practicing med again as my health would permit untill so far recovered as to report for duty to the Col. Then commanding a Post near me.  I was immediately placed in charge the Hospital as Post Surgeon where I continued until captured by the Federals on the 26th Oct 1862 when I was taken to Columbus Ky where I took the “Oath of Allegiance” rather than lie in Prison, since which time I have conscientiously tried to observe it and will continue to do so, God helping.  I’ll not say a word more about it now.

 I should like very much to see you all but think it impossible to make you a visit soon.  I had hoped that times would have been more quiet ere this so that I could have brought Roxie & our little Emma on a visit to you.  Roxie is very anxious to see you all she desires Bettie to write & send her Photograph.  Make Bettie & Nannie both write to me.  Where is GrandPa?  Where is Jesse?  Tell Sister Mattie I should like much to see her & the little ones.  Ma I would be glad if you or Bettie would come & live with me – if either of you will come you can write me & I will meet you at New Madrid - - I hope you will write me fully & if I can be of any service to you command me.

 My paper is so damp that I cannot possibly write plain.

 I am living in a neighborhood of your old acquaintances – all Linnepeans.  When you write direct to Care Dow S. Somers New Madrid Mo  I shall expect you to write soon & fully your son V. H. Harrison.

(P.S. – in page margins)

My little Emma can begin to walk & talk & is only 15 months old.

 I learned that Nannie is married tell her to write all about it.

 I shall write to Robt often if I find it agreeable with him.


Clarkton, Mo

Nov 18/64

 My Dear Bettie;

 I have this evening recd your very welcome letter of the 1st inst and I assure you it gave me more pleasure than any surprise (for it was a real surprise for I have written at least a dozen letters to you without getting a word in return) since I saw you last.  I have written repeatedly to different members of the family, sending my letters to Memphis, Covington, Harrison Store and finally to John with the request that he would mail them to you and this is the first word I have recd from any of you, except one letter from Robt some three weeks ago since I quit the service.  While I was in the army I could occasionally hear from you thru persons passing, so you may see at once where the charge of neglect may justly rest.  I can never neglect or forget my Mother, Sisters, and Brothers, notwithstanding the new duties of husband and Father though it seems I have been most unmercifully censured for my seeming neglect; not by one only, but all the family or nearly so.  Even my little Bettie – my favorite sister to whom I should have looked for a defence under such circumstances seems to really think that I have purposely neglected her; all of which I am disposed to forgive if you will do better in the future – but when I find you have been writing to your friends – to persons “who evinced a regard for you,” I wonder that you did not write to me; what was the cause of the omission?  Have I not shown regard for you?  If I have not convinced of my love in a more effectual manner it was because I was unable to do so.  Yes my Sister I love you dearly.  I should have been well pleased if you had made the visit you spoke of, and I rather think I should have kept you if you had come before forming the matrimonial connexion you speak of.  I should be glad however if you would come and make your home with me until you get ready to commence housekeeping.  Roxie was much disappointed when she heard you was married as she was fully determined to have you come and stay with us.  She still hopes you will make us a visit.  Emma sends you a dozen kisses and says you must come.  She is just beginning to walk and talk and all of your old acquaintances say, favors you very much.  I can’t say how long it will be before I visit you; probably not a great while if some of you will promise to return with me.  I should start at once but I am engaged Building a dwelling and will be forced to complete it as soon as possible as I have sold my Farm and will have to give possession by Christmas.  I suppose you heard the Federal Authorities at this place had my house burned sometime ago.  I was not permitted to save anything – not so much as a second suit of cloths.  Though I am now getting along tolerably well I shall build in the same place.

 I am very anxious to see you all – tell Grand Pa I shall try to see him soon.  I wish you would write me fully about his condition – is he taking medicine?  Tell Sister Mattie I want to see and become acquainted with her; I hope she will think better of me than Bro Robt seems to have thought lately.  Roxie desires to see you all and I think would be willing to start on a visit to your place, at a moments warning.  I guess we’ll come sometime when you are not expecting us.  How far do you live from Memphis?  On or near what road?  By what kind of conveyance could I get from Memphis to where you live? 

I had heard sometime ago that Nannie was married but never learned the name or I should have written.  Who did she marry and let me know in your next all about your husband.  

 Roxie desires to be remembered to all & Emma sends her love to Grand Pa & Grand Ma & all her Aunts & Uncles.  Roxie would like to correspond with you if you would only commence it.  I should think you would write her & send your Photograph.

 Was Roberts property destroyed?  I heard that the Federals had threatened to burn his mills.

 Do you ever hear from our relations in Obion?  Where is Margaret & her children?  How are they getting on?  The weather is very cloudy & damp, so much is my paper effected from dampness that I can scarcely write intelligible.

 I shall expect you to write ofter hereafter & I shall write to some of you every time I have a chance to send letters to the Post Office – my nearest being some 40 miles from where I live.  I will however be in Cape Girardeau for a few days and will mail some of my letters from that place.  I would write more but haven’t time – I’ll write more in my next.

 Give my love to all & tell Jesse to be a good Boy & stay with Ma.  I heard from Robt that he was anxious to go to Ga.

I saw old Mis Nicholas sometime ago & she was asking all about you but you know I could tell her nothing.  She married Mr. A. A. Rittenhouse.

 Write soon & fully,

 With due regard

 Your Brother

 V. H. Harrison

 P. S. Tell Nannie that Baby calls her Picture Auntie


Cape Girardeau

Apr 15 of 65

 Dear Bettie;

 I recd last week two letters from Nannie dates respectively by 29 Feby & 12th March in the latter of which was a note from you.

 I was very glad to hear that our relations were all well & getting along well.  I hope your despondency has given place to your usual cheerfull self:  If I could only prevail on you to make me a visit, I think the change would do you good & if I was only able to go after you I should insist very much but I would have you, Ma or Nannie to return with me, but alas I fear it will be sometime before I can see you all as Col. Clark had everything I have of value taken & I only escaped with my life by promising a large sum of money, but I have learnd in the last few days that the Confederates & Federals have agreed to unite in S. E. Mo & then kill, capture or disperse Clark’s band so it is probable that Clark will be captured by one side or the other & if so I may get something back, if not however, I will have to occupy every moments times industriously to support my family so you see my chances of seeing you are not very good unless some of you make up your minds to come up here.  Although my prospects are gloomy just now, Roxie is anxious to lay aside every other consideration & visit you anyhow & my little Emma is very anxious to see her Grand Ma & Aunts.  If I could enable myself to visit you who would be a proper person for me to call on in Memphis for necessary information?

 I was glad to hear that you were expecting Robt & Nannie’s husband.  I hope you have had the pleasure of seeing them before this – Robt seems to have judged as I thought hardly of my course & in his last letter hinted at points at issue & desired an explanation which he knew very well or should have known that I could not give under the circumstances without forfeiting my liberty; & after mature reflection I concluded that I would not trouble him with further correspondence as it seemed to be disagreeable to him & unpleasant to myself & not likely to become much better through such correspondence.

 Roxie sends her love to Grand Pa, Ma, Sisters Mattie, Nannie & infant & all of you.

 Tell Sister Mattie I should like much to see her & in fact want to see you all & most particularly Grand Pa & Ma.

 Roxie has been anxiously looking for letters from you & Nannie & will send her & Emma’s Photos when she hears from you.

 I have but a few moments spare time & must ask you to excuse brevity, hast &c; I will write more fully in my next.

I shall (like) to hear from you soon & Bettie if you only knew what pleasure it is for me to receive even notes from any of you, you would certainly write often.  Why don’t you answer my letters?  I write two or three times a month to some one of the family.

Much love to all

 Truly Your Bro

 V. H. Harrison

 P.S.  My Sister in law Mrs. Dr. Chambers from Dover in this state has just arrived and will spend a few days with us.


Clarkton, Mo

Sept 16 1877

My Dear Sister:

 I have painfull news to write.  On the 13th inst our Dear little Lutie passed away after an illness of only a few hours.  She had been as we thought slightly indisposed for a few days, not so sick however but she could be up part of the time until the evening of the 13th when she was suddenly attacked with Congestion of the brain and died within three hours.  The loss of our little darling, the light of our household is hard to bare but I am thankfull that I am able to say, God’s will be done.  He gave her to us and He has taken her away.  My dear wife is almost crushed under this great bereavement.  Out little Lutie was not only dear to us, but has endeared herself to all who knew her.  Though she is taken from living friends here she is not among strangers.  One is there who knows her better and loves more than we could.

 We want one of your little girls.  We would love and cherish her as we did our own little darling.

 Could you let her come?  Our little Paskie has been sick, but is now better.

 The health of the county has been very good this season.

 I can’t write any more just now.

 Your Bro



Clarkton, Mo.

Oct 5 1877

 My Dear Sister:

 Your very kind letter reached me a few days ago.  We are all tolerably well now; our little Paskie having fully repaired his health.  The health of the county has improved somewhat.

 I was very sorry to hear that death had again visited Berry Joyner’s family; I can certainly sympathise with him.

 I am sorry to learn that you are unwilling to let one of your little girls come and stay with us for awhile.  I felt assured that you would not be willing to part with one of them, but had hoped that you would be willing to let us keep one for awhile – if not one of the little ones, couldn’t you let Maggie come and attend our school thru the winter & spring?

 Tell Toncray, that if he will move over here, I will furnish him a good farm free of rent and as much stock as he wants to raise on shares.

 Tell him to let me know what he thinks of it.

 Roxie & the children send love to you all.

 I would write more but it is getting late and my eyes are failing.

 Write soon

 Truly your Bro



Undated as to year (written by Roxanna Stokes Harrison)

 Clarkton, Mo.

June 24

 Dear Bettie:

 I have been intending to answer your kind letters received so long ago but have put if off from time, to time, waiting for a more convenient time, till several months have elapsed.  I write a letter so seldom that it is quite a task to collect my thoughts enough to write anything sensible.  The box I sent with those few things in was not worth so many thanks.  Something valuable would have not been worth so much gratitude & thanks.  The things I sent by Jennie was some quilt pieces for Maggie, a remnant of calico I had made Arthur a shirt off of I thought would do to make Vann one & the other ____ an over skirt I thought would make one of the little girls a dress.  It was new & very good calico to wash & wear well.

 The Dr. received a letter from you a few days ago.  I am sorry Jennie has treated you so but you might not let such things trouble & worry you so, I think it is one thing that keeps you in such poor health, letting such bear upon your mind so heavily.

 I know your lot has always been hard but it is a long lane that has no turns, things may yet change greatly in your favor.  It would be a great pleasure, indeed, to be near you for I have always felt that you felt a deeper interest in the Dr. than any of the rest of his sisters or brothers, and I have always known that you was more to him than any of the others & as a natural consequence I could not help but think the most of the one that was his favorite. 

 If the Dr. does not soon get to some healthier clime, or find some remedy that will relieve his suffering, he will not be spared to any of us much longer.

 O my, you have no idea how dark & gloomy everything seems.  With my dear husband in such a critical state of health, if he is taken from us what will become of me & my children.

 I want you to let us know when it would be most convenient for you to come over – now or in September when it gets cooler.  The Dr. says he is going after you & you need not to say you can’t for he is going to bring you any how unless things are so that it would not be right in him doing so.  If you could spare Maggie to come over at any time Charlie is over there, he would willingly take charge of her & see her safely through to Dexter & take care of her till we could send for her & you need not hesitate more in asking him to do so than you would.

 Dr, there are several reasons why I could not let  Emma go over with Jennie, the principal one was she was gone from me so long & I had to work so hard while she was gone that I did not feel like I could possibly do without her help.  I hope it will be so that she can go when it gets cooler weather. 

 Dear Bettie, you must excuse all mistakes, give my love to all my kin & accept a large portion for yourself & children & believe me your loving sister, Roxie.

 P.S.  I was so glad to hear that you had got a machine after all this time.  Burn this letter as soon as you receive it.  R



 #1702-19th St. 18th Ave
Gulfport, Mississippi

Mr. Z. B. Harrison

Rector, Arkansas

 My dear Nephew:

 Your letter was quite a pleasant surprise to me I assure you and should have been answered sooner but had to be forwarded to me at my home here in Gulfport, Miss.  It seems you had not heard of our removal from Union City to this place which occurred the winter of 1906.  We are living in a new town or city as most of the citizens call it on the coast where we get the salt breeze from the Gulf of Mexico all the time.  The body of water immediately in front of the City is Mississippi Sound which is protected from the high sea by a chain of Islands making it one of the safest harbors in the world.  A great deal of lumber and cotton is shipped from this port – at present there are about thirty ships anchored at the Pier to be loaded with whatever cargo they came for.  It is a beautiful sight to me to see, big ocean steamers and sail ships anchored side by side.  I wish you would come to see us I had rather talk to you than write to you.

 Now in regard to the business part of your letter, I’ll tell you what I can.  I used to ask my mother about our ancestors but have forgotten many things she told me.  She had among her papers the Record of my father’s family which I loaned to my brother John and never got it back – sister Sarah his wife says she never could find it after his death.  Of course you know my Father’s name but I don’t suppose you know his father’s name - it was Robert Henry Harrison and was an English man by birth.  I can’t remember whether he was born in England or not.  He was married twice and had quite a large family before my Grandmother and he were married.  My Father had only one own brother who died while a lad leaving him the youngest of a big family but no own brothers and sisters.  His half brother’s names as well as I remember them were as follows:  Reuben, Spencer, Vincent, Benjamin, Carter, John, George and I think, but am afraid to say for sure, there was a William.  My Father was a half cousin to President William Henry Harrison, but they differed in politics he being a Whig, and my Father a staunch Democrat, made them rather uncongenial.  Nevertheless they were friends.  I have often heard my mother speak of him as a man father esteemed notwithstanding their different views.  (You must know the Harrisons settled in Virginia when they first came to America – on the James River about 60 miles below Richmond and were connected with the Westovers and Byrds and Randolphs of Virginia.  If you should ever visit that state you could easily find the Ancestral Home by enquiry among the descendants.  I had the pleasure of meeting a Mrs. Randolph of Richmond Virginia who knew of our kinsfolk there.  Our Congressman from this county is known as Pat Harrison – his initials are the same that mine used to be.  B. P. Harrison.  He is a very popular young Lawyer of this place – was elected to congress last fall.  Please let me hear from you again I shall be interested to hear of your success. 

 Truly Your Aunt, B. H. Bond

 P. S.  If there is anything else in regard to the family history that I have omitted write and let me know I am glad to tell you anything I can about my dear Father’s people.

 Lovingly Your Aunt



Letters from the Collection of Dr. John Benjamin Bond, III

(This letter is from Amelia R. Love, about whom I have not been able to find much information -
other than it appears that she may have never married, and I think that this letter is addressed
to Dr. Jesse J. Harrison as she mentions Margaret, but cannot be sure.  Would love any input! 
I was able to determine from the 1860 census of Clarksville, TN that A. R. Love - a single female -
was living with the family of Samuel Simpson.)

Clarksville, Tenn

April 29th 1851

One whose memory I still cherish.

In writing to you my mind necessarily reverts to some sweet memories of the past - memories
too over which I shall not cast a shade by tracing them to the present.  The motive that I have in
writing to you at present is to induce you to pay us a visit the first opportunity that may be afforded
you.  I think that present circumstances would _______ greatly to the pleasure of a visit to your
old friends.  I know you are anticipating a visit from the Dr., which in all probability you may not
realize very soon, as the health of the people here is very precarious at present, and if he should
visit you his stay would have to be so short that you would scarcely realize it as a visit.  I do not
want you to think me at all dictatorial, but I do hope upon taking all things into conclusion, that
you will come.

I presume you are satisfied with the Dr's location, at least I hope you are.  I shall not say anything
about the solicitude of his friends, lest it might bear the resemblance of trying to enforce a feeling
of obligation on his part, while it is themselves that are under the obligation, and I do think that a
little will be insufficient to prove that his friends were not altogether selfish in there great desire for
his locating here.

How many, many things I would have to say to you if I could but see you which in writing would
require so much detail in order to be understood in writing.

It has always been impossible for me to fully impress my esteem for a friend yet, yet which I
think of you, it is much in the same way a traveler would view an oasis in the desert, it is a
subject on which I have to dwell and as my beloved friends are getting so few in number I feel
as if I was drawn closer to those that are left.  I feel almost as if I was going to live to see all
those I love pass before me to realms unknown.

Let us hear from you very soon.  Tell Margaret that I think I am entitled to a hearing from her
once in a while.  Give my respects to John and his lady.

The Dr. was here yesterday, he was called to visit my brother-in-law who was quite sick but
is better today.  The Dr. was well and seemed to be in a fine flow of spirits, he spoke of the cir-
cumstances being unpropicious to his visit to you at present.  I cannot say what his final con-
clusion may be.

You will probably hear from me again as I have a great inclination to tell you of a trick that has
been played upon one or two of the Drs, Dr. R.H.H. is one of them, all the results have not yet
transpired so I will say no more at present.  Give my love to the Dr.

Amelia R. Love

(on side of page it says:  A part of this was written the 29th and a part the 28th)

Harrison's Store

Dear Sister Bettie:

I think it high time for me to fulfil my promise to you and ask you to forgive my past derelection
and I will promise to be more punctual hereafter.  We looked for you daily all through Christmas
and were much disappointed because you did not come.  Papa gave a party the week after
Christmas and we were anxious you should favour us with your company.  Dr. Harrison wrote
for you and Brother Van to come but I have never learned whether you received the invitation.
I met Miss Sarah Turner at several parties while in town.  I think she is enjoying herself better
than she used to.  She was dressed in good taste and danced all the time.  She desired me to
tell Nannie that she had a couple of nice beaux and would probably be up there this summer
and bring one with her.

Sister Margaret came home a week since and is staying with me now.  Dr. Harrison is in
Mississippi - has been gone a week.  I am looking for him daily.  Seay Williams has had a
severe attack of Pneumonia since he has been with us - he is well now.  Cousin Isaac returned
from the lake last week.  I think he was well pleased with the excursion.  He talks so much
about it that Papa says if he were transferred to Paradise now he would want  (?) there and
go to B______foot in the Fall.  We tease him very much about his enthusiasm.

The health of our neighborhood is good.  My health is very good.  Ginny is fat and rosy - and
tells stories all day long.  She often talks about you all.  She is now standing by me with a
pencil and piece of paper - says she is so busy writing to Aunt Bettie.  I wish you could see
her.  Margaret has nearly hurt herself laughing at my little lady.  Ginny sends her love to you
and Aunt Nannie.

Tell Sister Margaret I sympathize with her in the great trouble she had to withstand and hope
she may soon learn to be resigned believing that her child is better off now than it would have
been could she have retained it. 

I hope to hear from you soon.

Write me all about the relations and all the news in the neighborhood.  My love to all.  Tell
Nannie to write to me.  I can't see the lines and must quit. 

Good night

Your Sister

M. Harrison

Feb. 4th 1860

B Direct your letters to Harrison's Store Shelby Cty

(There are here a series of three letters on two sheets of paper - the first two
are obviously from Martha Towell/Towle Harrison and her husband Robert
Henry to his sister Bettie - Martha was known as Mattie.  The third portion
was addressed to Mrs. M. V. Harrison but is not complete - I think perhaps it was
written by Bettie in response, but then for some reason - perhaps the promised
visit of her brother caused her to cut it short.)

Harrison's Store

Miss Bettie Harrison

My Dear Bettie:

I received your letter during Christmas.  We were very glad to hear from you and should have
replied sooner but Dr. H. expected to go up to Obion soon after the reception of your letter (he
received one from Nannie) and I thought you would not receive my letter if I had written.  Business
detained Dr. Harrison and I suppose he will not go for a couple of weeks yet.  You and Nannie
may hold yourselves in readiness to come home with him - that is if it be agreeable to you both.

Grand Ma's health is only tolerably good - she has been having head aches for sometime but
keeps up.  Jessee is in fine health and spirits -  he will start to school soon - to Mrs. Griffin.

Hellen is teaching in Little Texas again - she opened school last Monday with a very good
prospect.  Margaret has some hope of getting a school in Madison Cty.  Papa's family is still
living with us.  There are a number of little items of news which I shall defer communicating
until you come down or until I hear from you.

Mrs. Faulk's brother Freling (the soldier) is at her house now - so is Miss Sallie - Miss S.
expects to commence teaching soon at Mr. Faulk's school-house.  Mrs. F. is in bad health.

Mrs. Cooper's family is well excepting herself she is complaining some.  Tell Nannie Joe is in
the field as soldier and indeed so is every young man. 

Grand Ma is especially anxious to hear from Sister Sarah and Sister Polly.  She wants to know
if there is any chance for raising soldiers there in case of emergency.  We want to hear from
Grand Pa.  Is he well?  Give my love to him and tell him I should be very glad to see him at
our house.  There was a bunch of Pea-fowl feathers left at the old place - your Ma says she
would be glad to have you look after them.  Take them to John's where they will be taken care
of.  Give my love to Sister Sarah and the children and Mrs. Joyner and accept my best wishes
for yourself. 

Your Sister

December 10, 1862

Dear Bettie

I received a letter from Nannie during Christmas and intended to have gone up there immediately
but the necessity of settling up with my hands for the last year and hiring others for the next year
made it almost impossible for me to get off - I have not yet got my business so arranged that I
can leave it but hope to do so in a few days and I will then be up to see you.  I cannot fix the time
on account of the uncertainty of the Rail Road upon which I am sending off flour, but as soon as I
can get flour enough into market to pay some important debts I will start to Obion.

Tell Nannie this much and say also to her that I will try to give her a home in future that she will be
tolerably comfortable at.  I shall expect Grand Pa and you also to come home with me.  Write soon
as you receive this.

Your Bro. Robt.


Mrs. M. V. Harrison

My Dear Sister

Your kind favor was received by me a day or two since and I should have written immediately but
had no paper - it is almost impossible to get now.  Judging from the date of your letter, it certainly
been very tardy in reaching me; in fact I had began to think had never rec'd it or else was unable
to reply.

Great indeed was my gratification on finding myself the recipient of so kind a letter from you -
bearing the agreeable intelligence of your good health and fine spirit.  I had been expecting one
from you but had a foreboding of disappointment and I can ill brook one you well know.  But as
my apprehensions were not realized and my expectations rewarded I will say no more.

Thursday evening brought the messenger and this is Sunday - do you think me dilatory?  If  so
listen my excuse I have had no opportunity (neither have I had paper).  I grant I have been more
so than I wished yet it was unavoidable.

(This letter was written by Dr. Robert Henry Harrison to his sister whilst he was imprisoned
in the Union Civil War Prison at Johnson's Island.)

Johnson's Island Ohio Jany 19th 1865

Mrs. Bettie Bond

My Dear Sister: 

I was agreeably surprised this morning by the receipt of your letter of the 1st inst - I had concluded
that you were so absorbed with your new duties and that you had for the time being forgotten me
or had something much more pleasant to think about than my tiresome letters.  I received Mattie's
letter of same date day before yesterday and answered it yesterday.  Lt. Donagan received
Nannie's and answered it today.  I suppose Hellen and Maggie have determined to drop me
entirely - but for what, I cannot conceive. 

Your assurances of the good health of all of my friends affords me the most pleasure from the fact
that they are so few now that I cannot afford to lose any of them.  I heartily wish I could hear from
them more regularly and shall look with deep interest for the promised letter from RTB (Robert
Toncray Bond).  I hope he is well and would like to know what his designes, for the future, are.

I understand Jess is going into business soon and am gratified to hear it - on his own account.  I
wish I was situated so that I could advise and assist him, but my wish is nearly hopeless for I can
see no earthly prospect of a release from this place for many months - perhaps for years to come. 
But "accidents happen in the best regulated families" and something may turn up by which I may
be set free, very contrary to my expectations.  At present the news papers are talking very largely
about peace, about exchange &c&c but I attach no importance to anything of that kind that I have
seen - though I am full of confidence that everything will come up right in the end however far off it
may be.

Remember me kindly to all of my friends - especially Esq. B and Mrs. B - the little ones &c.  I
intend when the weather gets warm enough to try to get up some Johnson's Island jewelry for
Mrs. Bond and Mrs. Hooks.

Write me whenever you can.

Truly &c

R. H. Harrison

Mrs. Margaret Harrison

Dear Grand Ma

I know you think I have been dilatory about writing to you but I have had much to excuse me and
hope you will be kind enough to pardon.  Jessee has written to you several times since I came and
I suppose he has kept you posted as to our health.  We are all well at present.  My health has
been improving gradually ever since I left Shelby.  I had an attack of Cholera Morbus last week
which made me very sick for one night and day but I am well now.

Bobbie still has the chills occasionally but they do not seem to hurt him much.  Ginnie has first
rate health and Nellie is a fine fat baby and grows prettier every day.

We have been at home one month to-day.  I like our place very well - think it a much better place
than any arount it.  Dr. Harrison's crop is very late tho' it will compare favourably with that of
others.  The planters in this country had great trouble in getting good stands of cotton having
used old seed - some of them planted their fields three times.  Jessee, Hellen and Lizzie Miller
spent the first two weeks with me and I believe enjoyed themselves very well.  I have made a few
acquaintances.  Some of my neighbors have called on me.  I have not returned their visits yet
but intend to soon.  They are plain country people and poorly educated.

We're all getting anxious to hear from you up there.  I have not had line from there since I left. 
Dr. Harrison has gone to Walnut Grove and I hope he may bring me a letter tonight from Maggie.

I learned through Maggie's letter to Papa that the suit pending between Dr. Harrison and Eaton
had been decided in favor of the latter.  Dr. H. was surprised to hear this for Maj. Rogers told
him he would have it put off and he fully relied on it.  He wrote to Rogers immediately and I
suppose will write to Mr. Faulk and Esq. Bond soon.  I seriously hope they may not be discom-
moded before he can make arrangements to settle it.  It grieves me very much to think there is
a probability or rather a possibility of it.

The children are very anxious to see you all and send their love.  Ginnie sends a kiss to Maggie.
Try to prevail on one of the girls to write for you.  I desire very much to know how all getting along,
have they quit having the head-ache yet and does Mr. Donagan work as hard as ever?  Tell him
I say if he was here the blacksmiths in this country would quit work for very shame.  How does
Toncray's crop look?  I hope he may succeed in making a good one.  And how is Maggie and
Ben getting on.  I desire to know all about how the old neighbors are doing - for that still seems
like home to me.  Don't forget to (give regards) Mrs. Cooper and family and Mr. Faulk.

Are you going to Obion?  When will you be ready to come down here?  Tell Mag that Jennie
Handley was married on the 14th of June to Hardy Swazy of Yazoo.  Hellen and Lizzie will start
to Yazoo tomorrow I expect.  I belive I have told you all the news except that I attended the
Caststeel's examination and the boys acquitted themselves very creditably.  They are in
ernest now.  Jessee writes to you every two weeks and was complaining because he got no
answers.  Dr. H. has received one letter from Brother Van lately.  They have one "little boy" and
want a name for him.  It is bedtime and I will close.  I hope to hear from you soon. 

Good Night,


July 15th 1866

P. S. Direct your letters to Lake Station Southern Rail Road, Miss

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