Volume 34, Number 1, Summer 1994
These letters from a Confederate family are an uncommon look at the impact of the American Civil War upon their lives. The setting is primarily in Taney County, Missouri, and Marion County, Arkansas. All punctuation, including some capitalization and paragraphs, is added and some clarifications between family members are included in brackets. Undated letters in the original have been inserted where they seem to make chronological sense.
People commonly mentioned have some relationship to David Jackson (b. c. 1800), killed at Forsyth during July 1861, and his widow Penina S. Brown (b. 1807). Their children include:
Joseph Porter, is variously addressed as "Jo,
Porter, and J.P."
Others include John J. (b. 1834) and William T.(both died during the war) Sarah; Martha (alsocalled Mattie, b. 1847); Alice; Rachel; Nancy; andDavid (b. 1851).
Daughter Martha (Mattie) married Benjamin Estes Mason (referred to as B. M., b. 1844)
Daughter Nancy married John Haggard.
The Jackson Letters c. 1864/65
Dear uncle and Ant,
I take mi pen in hand to write you a few lines to let you know that i am on in the land amonge the living.
I have nothing new nor strang to write to you, nothing but hard times here for Rebels. I was at forsyth the twenty fifth of June; I herd a radical [Republican] make the blackest of speech[es] that I ever herd. he mad[e] the Conservitiv men out meener than Cecesh [secessionists] and Cecesh meener than negros. He said that he was glad to think that he had stood sholder to sholder bi a negro and laught. the bigest half of the people at taney [County] Circuit Cort was black Rads [Radicals].
I want you to write to me as soon as you git this few lines. I wold like very mutch to see you all. if i cold [could] make it convient [convenient] i wold come down that and stay with you this winter, tell Cousin James to come up here to see us. it wold please David very mutch to see him.
so i give you mi love and respects. so no more at present, but remaines your afectionate neas [niece] untill death.
S [Sarah] J Jackson to uncle and ant
[brother Joseph] porter, i will say to yo that David started this morning to scool [school] to Mr proctor. he has got so he can git about but is not stout like he use to be but he still curses the feds.
[First portion of letter missing; from mother Penina Jackson to sons William T. Jackson and Joseph Porter Jackson.]
nothing of important to write to you, only we recevid your letter. it give us grate satisfaction to hear from yo and to hear that yo was well, so I will tell yo now how the feds have treated us. tha rob[b]ed our house, took all of your close [clothes], porters, and fathers and all the knew cloth that we had and every thing else tha wanted, and then came back and drove ofifi our cattle and took the last horse we had and said that we should not stay thar--if we dident leave that would burn us up. Mother told them to burn away; tha mought [might] burn her house but could not burn her land nor confisicate it nether, for the South wold whip them yet. tha said that Mother was to strong a reble to stay thar.
We have got part of our things here. J. J. Jackson is well and has started this morning to [illegible] days.
when he comes back we calculate to moove futher to word [toward] yealvill [Yellvile, Ark.]
I wold be glad to see yo both but it wold be no satisfaction for yo to be here for the men dont see eny peace for the black republican. Thar is more natives a goin fed[eral] than ever yo heard of. Jimy Cook, John Waren, J. D. Cook is all gon north and I cant tell yo how meny [missing] ar alive in yelvell. most every one of the Gapes [?] has joind the feds.
I want yo to be good boys. stay with the armey for it is the safest plase that yo can be. i see more satisfaction about yo two that is inn the army than i do about John. I would be glad to se yo both [but] this is no place for awail [a well?] man. the feds has take[n] John Grider and John Branam and runn Nute Royel in the river and he has not bin heard of senc. he is drounded with out adout. it has bin better than three weeks sinc he has bin gon. W. Proctor was with Bousel when the feds got after them but he had fathers gun and he said it saved his life.
David and Martha sends ther best respects to yo so no more at present. I remain your affectionate Mother until death,
Penia Jackson to W.T. Jackson [and] J.p. Jackson
(To James Stackhouse: tell him that tha are all well except William Stackhouse has the Smallpox. Mr. Stackhous is a-hidin from the feds and Mint is a-hiden from the Smallpox.)
Lewisburg [?] Ark. July 9th, 1866
Mr. Jos. Jackson [Joseph Porter Jackson]
I arrived here this evening with the mail from Yelvill to this place. I would like very much to see you but I am bound to return with the mail--we are all well and getting along very well. Your mother wants you to come up and see her as soon as you can.
I will be at Leroy Evans tonight, [illegible] Springfield road, some 3 miles from here and will leave early in the morning. If you can come to Mr. Evans tonight I can give news yours brought from Forsythe, Mo. but cant write it all.
Your friend, B. M. Estes
[brother-in-law Benjamin Mason Estes]
July the 22, A.D. 1866 State of Arkansas, Marion County
I take my pen in hand to let you no that we are all well at this time, hoping these few lines may find you well. I have nothing new nor strange to right to you. we hav[e] plnty of everything to eat but bacon. our corn looks tolable well, but we are wanting rain very bad. times inant [isnt] like they was when you left here.
we hay no more chance for to git Justis in Taney County than [a] cat in hell without claws, they havEe] got F. m. Casey, W. G. Casey, Benjamin mcKiney, Preston Haggard, Jamey Ellison and others all taken up for stealing and bound over to Cort and they have a bill against you and Milton Oliver and you hay no sho[w] in Missouri.
My wife has one of they pretist [prettyest] boyes that you ever saw and I call him David C. B. T. Haggard and he is smarter than Susan price is. I would like to see you and Isac very well. I could tell you more than I can write, so write to me if you cant come. So no more at presant, but remainds yours brother-in-law until Death.
[brother-in-law] John Haggard
to Joseph P. Jackson
Isac, I would like to see you and hear you talk about yours and Joseph coton crop. mine is six inches high and a stalk every ten feet and water melons till you cant rest. your widow Mitchell is maried. So write to me.
John Haggard to Isac Oens, Esq.
I yet say, "God dam they Feds!" Joseph P., if you was up here you would get so dam mad that you would burn your shirt to make a light to see how to curse them dam radcals at Foresyth. For adamder [a damneder] get [offspring] never was out of hell, for they hay swore every thing but they truth to keep us a way from home. Tizander [Lysander] Jennings is Sheriff; is as dam a dog as the balance of feds. Mary and Pheby [Phoebe] both has swore a lie against Mother in the trial she had at Foresyth, Mo. in the Circuit Corte. So come up and see and then you will no so mote [might] it bee John Haggard Scaggs.
John Haggard to Joseph P. Jackson
July the 23, A.D. 1866 State of Arkansas, Marion County
I take mi pen in hand to right you a few lines to let you know that we ar all well, hoping these few lines will find you well. I have nothing of importat to write to you, mo than that I have bin to Missouri and had mi trial the twenty-fifth day of June. It cost me sixty-one dollers. Mary, John Wood and Feeby Brown all swor lies. feeby swor that the hefer that we drove to Sugar Loaf M[ountain] was marys and was in her mark. If I co[u]ld see you I cold tell you all about it.
I want you to come home as soon as you can, for I dont no whether I will be able to come down thar or not for mi helth is bad. if you cant come soon write what must be dun about what you ow preston haggard. Ivey has giv his note but he says if he is swed [sued] he will stay it. preston wants his money but ivey never has eny money. Marion Casey has not paid Pres what he promost to pa[y] him for you.
I want you to come and see what you think we had beter do with the plase. It is all a-goin to destruction. Andy Macatna wants to bi [buy] it but I dont know what to do for the best.
I wrote to you last april and sent it bi [by] the Fayett male but have never received a scratch of a pen from you. David has make a little crop but the corn dont look like it ded [did] last sumer. I have not the muel [mule] yett. I am living in a mile of yelvil.
porter, Idontknowhowlwillmake outifyou dont come home and sta with me next year. you must come as soon as you can. give mi respects to your uncle and ant and James and Mr. Genes. Tell them that I wold like very mutch to see than all. tell them to write to me ever chanch tha have, so no more at present, but remaines your Mother untill death,
Penina Jackson to [son] Joseph P. Jackson
Yellville, Marion County, Ark. July the 30th, 1866 Mr. J. P. Jackson [Joseph Porter Jackson]
I take the presant opportunity of droping you afew lines to let you now how wee are a getting a long, the connection is all well and a getting along as well as the times will admit.
Po[r]ter, I have got most out of hart a-righting to you for I cannot get the first line from you. Your mother wants to see you very bad. She is agoing up to the Stifflir Springs on Crooked Creek to look at a farm which belongs to a [illegible] name of Right. Right lives up nere Forecyth, Mo. he wants to swap farms with her. Marion Casey and Miss Sarah Williams is down here now. Marion is on a train for a farm up in the age [edge] of Carroll County and Sarah Williams is a-talking of moving to Marshell [illegible].
Po[r]ter, I want you to come up and see us all as soon as you can. I could tell you a [illegible] deal that I cannot right to you. times is hard here. we have a good prospects for corn, wheat crops was very bad.
wee have some little excitement about the Election. I will give you some of the canadates names: for cenator, Eli Dodson; for Representative, Ett Messeck, Jesey Mooney and two reffages; for sheriff, H. R. Hutchison, Ise Stinnett, Dick Brown, Silvester Taylor and three Reffagees. Mattie sends her love to you. I must come to a close, you must right soon. So nothing more at presant but [I] remain your affectionate Brother-in-law,
B. M. Estes.
P.S. Give mi respects to uncle Thomas Camell and family. tell Ant Poly that Mattie sais she wants to see her very bad.
Yellville, Ark October the 2 1st, 1866
after mi compliments to you I wil sa to you that thes few lines leaves us all well, hoping when tha come to hand tha ma find you enjoing the same blessing.
Jo, I have nothing of importance to right to you. I found Keel boting easiey work than I expected. Mother started to Foresythe this morning. She is very uneasy about you and [your brother] David. She sed you promised to right to her as soon as you got down there; wee have not herd from you since you left here. she has mooved over to mi house. Times is dull here.
money is scerse and girls plenty. Miss Mandy layton was mared [married] a few days ago to one Mr. Oliver, a fed. Job Hurst and Miss Mary Adams is mared. Merse Burch and Miss Winey Mathas is mared. H. R. Hutchison was comishend as Sheriff. Stinett has gone to the Rock to a bontit [?]. Ivy told your
mother in a few days after you start if he could [line missing] he has never named pay narray time and I dont beleave that he ever intends to pay off the note. I can help it, tho. I am a going to see ff1 cant make him pay it before long.
bee glad to see you and David. tell David that Mathases girl comes up evry few days to see him. I dont think tha [k]now he is gone. tell him that I think if he could see them tha would tell him there names.
Mattie and Serah Sends best love and well wishes to you. you must right soon. So no more from your Brother at presant.
B. M. Estes
P.S. Mr Qens, after mi compliments to you, this photo graph as a token ofmi sincereity. you must right to me and let me [k]now how you are a getting a long. so no more from your friend at present
Yellville, Ark October the 28 111866?]
after mi compliments to you I wil sa[y] to you that we are all well, hoping when these few lines comes to hand tha will find you enjoing the same blesing. I have nothing of importance to right to you.
I returned home yesterday from Foresythe, Mo. and Mary Jackson has sude [sued] me for five hundred dollars damage and I herd while I was up there tha had found a bill a ganst Sarah and one a ganst Mattie.
Admison told Bill Buck ifhe would come down here and by our land he would give him twenty dollars and would give $700 seven hunderd dollars for the farm and Any McCatha oferd Six hunderd but he will give Seven hunderd and maby more. it is out of my power to move down ther this fall. I will have to attend cort at fore sythe the third monday in febabry or tha will get Jugrnent a ganst me.
I want you to come home withe David a ganst Cristmas ffyou can and I want you to get me some meat and bring it to me for there is no chance to get meat here. I Suppose Ed Buble has come back to poter.
I want you to right to me evry chance. I have not herd a word from you and David since you left home. So I must come to a close, give mi respects to Thomas Campbell and Famly. Molly Haggard Sends her love to you and David.
p.s. Benjamin [B. M. Estes] Sends his best love to you and david. he right [wrote] you a letter a few days ago. there has bin some more marags [marriages] latly [lately]. old Jack hurst and old Mrs Floodenfele [Hoodenpyle] was marid and Derel Wood and Ting Tutt, Ed Tutts wife, was mared. Mattie and Serah Sends ther best love to you and David.
YelIville, Ark Dec the 20th, 1866
I once moore take the oppertunity to rite you a few lines to inform you that I am still in the land of the living and miself and famly is well, ever hoping when this few lines comes to hand tha ma find you both in good helth.
I have nothing of importance to rite to you. times is hard and every thing is scerse her. we had circuit cort here this week and evry thing went of [???] Wee have a fine daughter her name is Mahulca Aritta She is 10 days old I would be glad to see you both. the old lady wants to se you both very bad. she sas [says] for david to be a good boy and work.
well, I want you to rite to me once as I hay not receved the first line from you and hay riten sverl [several] times to you. your mother recived a leter from each one of you. Mattie and Serah and you mother send ther best love to you. so no more at presant. rite soon.
very respectfuly yours,
B. M. Estes to J.P. [Joseph Porter] and David Jackson
Yellville, Ark December the 22 [1866?] Mr. J. P. Jackson [Joseph Porter]
in regard to that note a ganst Ivy, he has not pade it nor ther is no prospects of him paying it. I am satisfied that he could pay it in property if not money. there is no news since i riten [have written] the other letter. So no more at presant.
B. M. Estes
(on outside of paper "Mr. J. P. Jackson, Esq Lensburg [?], Ark.")
Yellville, Ark Jan the 13, 1867
Der Brother [Joseph Porter Jackson],
I once moore take the oppertunty of droping you a few lines which leves us all in good heith hoping tha ma find you enjoing the same like blessing.
I have nothing of importance to rite you, only Andy chaffee left here yesterday. he come down to by our land. he was very sorry that Serah was not here. he told me to rite to her to bee at home by the 4th of february. your mother is a going to start to forecythe the 5 or the 6the of feb. he said he would come down with her and bring the mony for us. Serah must bee here be fore she starts.
you trial comes off the first saturday in february which is the second day. Ivy has sumomond [summoned] Pud Procter as a witness. Jo, I want you to bee here. I doo not no what has past btwen you and Ivy. he wants to prove som thing and I doo not now what. If you was here you would no wh[a]t to doo. I dont no who to have sumond as a witness. I want you to bee shure and bee here bee fore them with out fal you must bee here by the first of february.
ther has bin some wedings up in mo [Missouri]. Ben Jonson and Miss Bette Haworth and Ples Gooall and Miss Harret Williams was marred. being as I rote you a letter a few day ago I will come to a close fore the presant.
Ben M. estes
N. B., yor Mother and Sister sends this best love to you and connection. I give mi respects to all.
Yellville, Ark Marian County this the 28 AD 186[illegible]
I take mi pen in hand to write yo a few lines to let you know that we are all well at present, hoping when these few lines come to hand tha [they] ma[y] find you all well.
I have nothing importent to rite to you. mother has bin up to mo [Missouri] but she never got a sent. tha [they] intend to keep ever thing thar lithere] amung them. Sinnler had colected about Six hundred dollar and tha just devided it out amung them selvs and she never got a sent.
we ar still living her[e] at Jacks yet. we want you to write to us as soon as you git this few lines and let us no what you can do, for it looks like we cant git eny place here to go to nor eny thing to liv on. we have the promis of fifty bushel of corn; as for pork i dont expect we can git eny here. that is so meny new cumers came in here that it makes ever thing hi.
I want you to write to us as soon as you git this few lines and let us know what you think you will do. David wants to come down thar with sum of the boys but I dont know whether he will or not. Jane sends her best respects to you and says that she wold like to see you and to tell you what a pleasure it is for to go to chuch. I wold like to see you very much. Nancy sends her best respects to you [illegible] no more at present but remains your sister until death. you must excuse mi bad writen, my pen is bad and paper, to.
Sarah J Jackson
to [brother] Joseph p[orter] Jackson
Yellville, Ark May the 17th, 1867
Der Mother and Brothers,
I now take the pleasure of droping you a few lines which leves my self and family in good helth, ever hoping when tha come to hand tha may find you all enjoing the same blesing.
I have nothing of importance to rite. crops is late here, tho tha look well. what crops is promising. we have had a very backward spring. I have got in as large a crop as I can tend, tho I have had a hard time getting it in. Bery and Elenburg is bil ding a large store howse. James Wickersham and John Alen took the job of bilding the house at twelve hunderd dollars and Bery has all the plastering done.
there is moore goods in Yelville now than has bin in the last 8 years. Bery and Elensburg brought a bout 25 wagon load. Jobe has bilt a howse and brougt on a good stock of drugs. foot wood and Miss Mattie weast is mared [married] at last. I went to see serah yesterday. shes well. Nancys family is all well and a geting a long very well. I want to see you and the boys very bad. I want you all to come up as soon as crops is laid by or as soon as you can.
Dr Layton started with his boat and stove up; tho did not loose any of his load he busted a hole in his boat large as a doore shelter. Mahulda grows faster than any thing in this country. She calm] set a lone, she
favers David more than any one else. David must not mary. tell him that there is some seting there caps for him here. I here that he was a getting so fat that it took too looks to see his eyes.
Mattie send her best love to you all and ses [says] she wants to see you very bad. Ben ses tell David good morning for him. Give our love and respects [to] uncle Tom and ant Polly an family. So no more at presant. rite soon and often.
B. M. Estes to [mother-in-law Pennina Jackson, brothers-in-law] J. P. Jackson
and David Jackson
Yelville, Ark October the 1, 1867
I take my pen in hand to write you a few lines to let you know that we are all well and doing tolerable well. I hope when these few badly writen lines comes to [you] they may find [you] enjoying the same blesing.
I have been going to school. We have had a big meeting. they was 78 joined the church; 45 was Babtised. my Self and Mother [and] Sarah Jam Haggard was Baptised the 25th September. I went you for to try to do better. I am trying to do Better my Self and I hope to remain so. They are all well at the presant. Mother has had a few chills since she came home.
flour is worth to $5 to $6 per bush[el] and Mother has been buying corn at 25 ct. per Bush. in the field. so nothing more at presant and write soon and often I will do the same.
From D. [David] Jackson to his Brother J. P. [Joseph Porter] Jackson
Tell Uncle Tom, Aunt Polly and James that I would like to see them very well. Please tell them howdy for me. No more at present. Tell all Hoopers Folks howdy for me. Tell Dick I never Seen eny prety girls down thire to what they is up heare. they will take a man by the hand and lead him oflifi. Main is not pretty a taul [at all], nor tenny neither, nor mary. so no more a present. Dick, write soon and often.
David Jackson to his Brother
I remain your Friend until death
Yellville, Ark October the 7th, 1867
I once more take the opertunity of droping you a few lines which leves myself and famly wel, ever hoping tha ma [find] you enjoing the same like blessing.
Jo, I have nothing of interst to right, only we have the gratest revivals here that was ever nown. ther was a meting at Yellville a short time a go and there was 68 joined the church and I am proud to sa[y] that your mother and Serah and David and Jane has joined the church and I wil give you a few more names; ther was Nat and Bill, Tom Estes and Hy Hutchison.
Corn crops is very good. I think pork will not be worth moore than 5 cts per lb You mother[s] famly is all well. Mattie send here love and respects to you and Pud wood. now as member of the church Yor mother send her love and well wishes to you and she sais you must come home as soon as you get your crop getherd and she sais she wants you to tri to meete her in heven where [illegible] bee no more.
So I must come to a close, you must right soon. you must excuse my bad spelling and righting, so no more from your brother at presant.
B. M. Estes
Yellville, Ark February the 7th, 1868
Dear Brother [Joseph Porter Jackson],
I once more take the oppertunity of droping you a few lines which leves us all well, hoping when thes few lines comes to hand tha [they] ma find you enjing [enjoying] the same blessing.
Jo, I have nothing ofinterst to right to you. we have plenty of winter up here; times is hard. I wil give you some of the prices of produce here. Corn is worth [illegible] per bushel, wheat is worth $1.50, pork is worth from 7 to 8 cts per lb and I will give you the prise of merchandise. salt is worth 250 per bushel, coffee is worth 3 lbs to the dollar, calico from 10 to 20 cts per yd. So thats a nough of that.
Jo, your mother [illegible] has chills and fever [illegible]. She now lives three miles below Yellville on Bob Jeferies farm. ther is double houses [a dog trot house] on the farm. she lives in one [illegible] and Jeferies in the other. if you wanted to make a crop up here you could get plenty of land oflif] Jeferies and as
good as any on Crooked Creeck.
Your mother would bee glad [ifi you would come up here and live, we all want you to come if you can. Jo, I think you could make more money here rasing corn and hogs and catle than you can there rasing coten. Jo, come to a pretty county. if you are not mared [married], come, for girls [are] pretty here. if you are mared come, dont let your wife shake here selfe to deth down ther. Jo, I want you to right as soon as you get this, we have not received the first line from you since you left us. so I must come to a close, so no more at presant.
[brother-in-law] B. M. Estes
P.S. Mattie sends love to you and ant poly.
April 9th, A.D. 1868 State of Arkansas, Marion County
I seat my self to drop you a few lines to let yo[u] no that we are all well at this time, hopin these few lines may find you well.
I have nothing strange to rite to you, only times is hard and money is scarse and hard to get. thare is no stock trade in this county as yet. if thare is no stock traders comes in to bring money in this county the case is arged for that isant money here to pay they people tax.
I want you to see ant Polley Cambell and see if she is a-going to send me the balance of they money that was coming to me for my work last Spring. there is thirteen dollars and fifty cents yet behind. I rote to her last fall [that] if you was comeing up here to send they money by you to me. I want you to see her and if she dont [al]low to pay it I will come down there. I want you to rite to me if any wone has administered on they Estate ofUncle Tom. if so,I will have to com down there to court and lay my dame in at court. So rite to me as soon as you get this.
Mother has moved fore miles below town. Mother and David still has they chill and fever every wonse and a while. Sary is well and hearty. we have rote to you sevral letters and havant had a scratch from you yet. So rite to us soon.
[brother-in-law] John Haggard
to Joseph P. Jackson
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly
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