1861: Joseph Lane Hunter to Lizzie (Hunter) Atkinson

This letter was written by Joseph Lane Hunter, Jr. (1835-1912), the son of Joseph Lane Hunter (1801-1876) and Susan Stuart (1809-1865) of District 3, Noxubee county, Mississippi. Joseph was married on 26 March 1861 to Lucy Jane Hudson (1840-1887).

Joseph wrote the letter to his sister, Lizzie (Hunter) Atkinson (1838-1907), the wife of Thomas Atkinson (1831-1904) of Jackson, Hinds county, Mississippi. Joseph mention’s Lizzie’s daughter, Clara Atkinson (1859-1885), in the letter.

Joseph also mentions his three brothers in the letter: Henry M. Hunter (1825-1901), Charley M. Hunter (1832-1910), and Willis Hunter (1842-1864).

Joseph Lane Hunter 1861 Letter with image of him circa 1855

Addressed to Miss Lizzie Atkinson, Jackson, Mississippi

[Noxubee county, Mississippi]
February 15, 1861

Dear Lizzie,

As we have not heard from you since Tom left, I will write you a few lines to let you know that we have not forgotten you and are not so hard run that we have not time to write. I suppose the reason why you have not written is that you are so well pleased with Clara that you take all your time in taking care of her and laughing at her that you do not think of anyone else, though I ought not to complain for I am not too punctual in writing myself.

As for news, the political excitement and scarcity of money seems to be the topic of the day that has never been known in Noxubee [county]. There has been several military companies has been formed in the county lately—three cavalry companies, one [of them] at Macon of about sixty men [and] your brothers H[enry] and W[illis] are members of it. They armed themselves with Colt’s Navy pistol and the broad sword for the purpose of home defense. H. W. Foote [is their] Captain. ¹

There is another company of old men of about fifty in Noxubee armed with double-barrel shot guns called the Silver Grays, Dr. McClerland Captain. I helped to make up the cavalry company and drilled them until there was a captain elected, though I hope we shall have no need of our military. Yet if we have to meet an emergency, we want to be prepared for them. The Governor ordered three hundred military men to Pensacola from this part of Mississippi. They were gone three weeks and returned last Thursday—was a week. Your brother Charley went with them. It was a very uncalled for trip as they not effect anything.

We had a letter from Grey dated some time in January. They were all very well. They have not had a day’s sickness—not even a cold—since they have been there. We get letters from Susan and Hennie occasionally. They both seem very well satisfied. Hennie’s report was as good as common. Susan’s two last showed high standing. The remarks of Mr. Davis was she had the best report not only in her class but in the school they were 99 ¼ and 99 5/8ths and that affords me a great deal of pleasure. Willis is going to school to Mr. Hubbard in Macon and is doing well. Alley was going to school to Madam Richard. She had a very fine school but they have quit teaching and gone to Mobile. I was very sorry of it for Alley was learning very fast.

I must tell you something about your Uncle John. He is living at Grey’s old place. He has several grandchildren born lately. Francis has a son about three months old. Joe Jack a daughter two months old, and Susie Goodwin two daughters [  ] weeks old. I saw Young Goodwin today. He said the children were doing well but Susie was a little unwell. Young’s father died on the first of this month with pneumonia. Pitts has been confined to his bed with the rheumatism four weeks. The rest of us are all well. Write soon and give us all the news.

We have had a very wet season and have not done much plowing yet. How do you like John and Patience. Yours truly, — J. L. Hunter

Miss Lizzie Haynes died about the last of January with the consumption. William B. Lockett and M. Augusta Ballard was married not long since, and is living in town and Dr. [Wilson D.] Dobbin and the Widow Uglybugga ² is married and is living in the house that Harrison and his wife parted in.

¹ Judge Hezekiah “Henry” William Foote (1813-1899) of Macon, Noxubee county, Mississippi, was elected Captain of Co. G (the Noxubee Squadron) of the First Mississippi Cavalry in 1861. He attained the rank of Colonel during the Civil War.

² According to state marriage records, Dr. Wilson D. Dobbin (1826-1925) married on 13 January 1861 to Elizabeth Hunter Caldwell (1830-1883). Elizabeth’s first husband was Henry Melvin Eichelberger (1821-1856). “Eichelberer” must have sounded like “Uglybugga” when said with a southern accent.


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