This letter was written by Elizabeth S. (Gee) Ferguson (1821-1866), the wife of Willoughby Pugh Ferguson (1818-1848). Elizabeth wrote the letter to her older sister, Nancy E. (Gee) Davis (1818-18xx), the wife of Thomas Davis. The Gee sisters were the daughters of John S. Gee (1791-1859) and Elizabeth Pugh (1790-18xx). Another sister is mentioned in the letter; Emeline (Gee) Loyd (b. 1826), the wife of William Loyd. Brothers mentioned include Willoughby P. Gee (b. 1827) and Silas G. W. Gee (b. 1820). The “fine little wife” that Silas married in July 1846 was Elizabeth L. Edwards.
Though the letter isn’t dated, Elizabeth mentions that she has four children when writing this letter, the last of which was born in 1848. Elizabeth’s husband, Willoughby P. Ferguson (whom she calls “Father” in this letter) died in Saline County, Arkansas, in 1848, according to family history records, so I’m going to conjecture this letter was written in September 1838.
[corrected significantly for very poor English and Spelling]
Addressed to Mrs. Nancy E. Davis, Cote Sans Dessein, Callaway County, State of Missouri
State of Arkansas
Absent brother and sister,
I avail myself of this opportunity of writing you a few lines to inform you that we are all well at this time but myself. I have been in bad health for about four months. I know not what is the matter with me. Father says that it is the histerix but I don’t think that is it for I have been in Washataw [Ouachita] County among my kin folks. Aunt Margaret got a doctor to give me some medicine. He said that it was the liver complaint. I found the connections all well and doing well. They live in a mighty good neighborhood for meeting and singing and school. I staid there eight weeks. I was at meeting and singing eve Saturday and Sunday but two while I was there. Willoughby and Silas says that they have wrote and got no answer from you and Emaline till they have got tired of writing. I have wrote Emaline two letters and have not got no answer as yet. Willoughby will be there in October or November. I would come with him if I could but I can’t come this time but I will come some of these days for I feel like I never will be satisfied until I have them fixed to my notion.
Sister, one request I make to you, I want you to get Mr. Boler to preach. Cousin Willoughby and Silas ____ for me, if you please. I wrote to Mr. Wills two years ago to preach it for me but I recon he did not get my letter for I wrote to him to write to me as soon as it was [received]. The reason why I chose one of them men, it was his choice. I would give any thing in this world to be there but it is out of my power to come yet. But if I live, I will come. Tell Mr. Boler to ket his friends and relation know it and be there if I can’t. Tell Mr. Boler I make one request to him if it is not too much trouble. I wish him to draw of the hymns and sermon and send them to me if he pleases.
I must say something about the crops. The crops look well at this time. Cotton is worth from ten to eleven cents. Corn is worth from six bits to a dollar per bushel. Pork is worth from twenty dollars per barrel. Father is in tolerable good health. He has looked for you and Emeline all the summer. We have been sending our children to school but the school is out now. Father is going to start to Washkataw with John J. Gee and Moses F. next week to send them to school. Jane Civen is married. She married a poor boy but is industrious as a bee. They live at Silas’ [house].
I want you to write to Silas to come and bring Elizabeth with him for he talk strong about going when I first came to the country. But I believe that he has heard something that was not so. But I don’t want you to hint it for it would make hard thought with me. But I can tell you the truth. Silas has got a fine little wife as ever was. They live as happy as ever two people did in this world. If I could see you I could tell you a heap, but I am afraid to tell you by letter. Father says say nothing. I have received twelve pamphlets from you which gave me great satisfaction to read them but I can’t tell you my feeling my tongue nor ____ can’t express my feeling. I know that my father is a friend to me but I feel I haven’t got a friend in this world. I feel like a have sin until I have become unweary of my life. The trouble and sin I see makes me sometimes feel like I am hard living in this world, but I still live in hopes that there is a better day a coming for us all if we shall never more meet in this world. I hope we will meet again where we shall no more hurt.
I wish you and Emeline would come and see us. It would be the most satisfaction to us in the world to see you and hear one more time in this world. When I wrote to you, father was in tolerable good health but he has been very bad off since then. He has been very bad off with the pains in his bones. He has been sick four weeks and looks very bad but he is on the mend. I think he will get well with care and I will do all I can for him for when he is gone, my all is gone. I have got four as hearty a children as you ever seen. Tell Emeline I don’t want her to fail to write to me and write all about all of Mister Loyd’s folks. Tell Aunt Emeline I want her to write to me. Scott told me to tell Sarah that he is well and single yet. I want you to write to me just as soon as you get this letter and not fail. You must excuse my bad spelling and writing. So no more at present, but I remain, your affectionate sister until death. So no more. — Elizabeth S. Ferguson