1839: John C. M’Donald to Daniel P. M’Donald

John C. McDonald (1812-18xx) wrote this letter to his brother, Daniel P. McDonald (1810-18xx). They were the sons of Alexander McDonald (1776-1861) and Christian Martin (1782-1857) — both natives of Argylshire, Scotland — who owned property on the west side of Big Mountain Creek in Richmond County, North Carolina.  Another brother, Archibald McDonald (1816-1840) is mentioned in this letter.

John McDonald appears to have been living with Lauchlin Currie in Louisville, Alabama, when he wrote this letter in 1839. Lauchlin married John’s sister, Sarah “Sally” McDonald.

Stampless Cover


Addressed to Mr. D. P. M’Donald, Rockingham, Richmond County, North Carolina

Louisville, Alabama
January 29, 1839

Brother Daniel,

Page 1

I have set down to write you a short letter in answer to yours dated December the 11 which came to hand in due time. I was very much pleased to get a letter from Carolina although Cousin Martin and John had arrived a few days before I received your letter. They gave me a great deal of satisfaction but not all that I could wish. Your letter supplied in some places what [I] was looking [for] but I want another. Cousin M’Donald and J. C. and Dugald M’Fayden and family arrived out here safe. They were 22 days on the road. Martin has bought Dickson’s place near Angus Curries for $600. Dugald M’Fayden has rented land from Lauchlin — the place where Stricklin was living when you were out here. M’Fayden is tolerably well pleased. Cousin John is living in Louisville. Cousin Judge S. Williams and Lauchlin has commenced merchandizing and John is to attend to selling the goods. They have an equal part of the profits. John is to board himself and render his services. Judge S. Williams has been to Apichicola and have bought a stock. They have received them. They bought William Shaw’s stove.

Page 2

Brother Daniel, I have some news. Cousin Robert M’Call is married. He married [on 8 January 1839] up in Greene. I saw him and his lady Sunday last at Louisville Church for the first time since he was married. His wife is small and young. Her name, I cannot recall.¹ She is of a very respectable family from what I can learn. [They] work some six or eight negroes that will do. We have sold our crop of cotton last week on a credit of thirty days for thirteen dollars per hundred. I expect you have see Hugh M’Leod before this time. He can tell you a great deal that I cannot put on this small letter. If I had sold my cotton before Hugh started to Carolina, I would have sent you some money by him but we had not sold and I could not send by him. All the chance that I could see was to send by him, so I expect you will have to wait till I come myself. If I can conveniently send, I will. It is probable that I shall live with Lauchlin [Currie] another season. He wants me to do so, He says that if I will stay till next July, that I may go home — in three months, that is — and come back in the fall. I do not know what to do for the best but I think if I stay to make a crop, I shall stay to gather it, if life [allows].

Page 3

Well Daniel, I have not written anything respecting the health of your friends in Alabama. Cousin Daniel M’Call is very low at this time. His complaint is supposed to be rheumatism. The pain is in his back and hip. He has not been up in three weeks. I saw cousin John M’Donald from there yesterday. Uncle Judge M’Call has had an attack of the same in his leg. Aunt Nancy have lost a black woman by death. Cousin Sally ____ is unwell at this time. Old Mr. Currie’s health not good. He has some severe attacks of asthma. My health is as good as common and I hope this letter may find you and all my friends and relations enjoying the same great blessing.

Give my respects to my friends. Write soon, and give me all the news. Tell Archibald to write me a letter for I like to hear from home. I shall write a letter hime by the next mail if nothing happens more than I expect. I have a great deal to write but cannot get it in this paper. You may tell the friends of Michael Kearsey, son of Jane Kearsey, that he is married. He put _____ his days by shooting himself. He was promised to be married to his stepmother’s daughter and was to be married last Sunday and shot himself Sunday morning. His intended wife was of a degraded family and rumors of concern led him to the act.

No more. Your brother, — J. C. M’Donald


¹ Robert G. B. McCall married Jane Elizabeth Britton (of South Carolina) on 8 January 1839 in Greene, Alabama.


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