This letter was written by Methodist minister Oscar Murray Addison (1820-1898), the son of Isaac Simmonds Addison (1789-1858) and Sarah Murray (1795-1863).
The Addison family “moved to Texas in 1835 and settled in Burleson County. Oscar was converted to Methodism in 1844 and licensed to preach in 1846. He was admitted to the East Texas Conference of Methodists that year but immediately transferred to the Texas Conference. Bishop James O. Andrew ordained him a deacon in 1849 and an elder in 1850. His first charge was the New Washington Mission, at which his chief activity was going from one cotton plantation on the Brazos to another and preaching to the slaves. As a circuit rider he covered an area from Huntsville to Brownsville and also served the Victoria and Springfield districts. Another transfer in 1866 made him a charter member of the Northwest Texas Conference. Addison married Mary F. Hines (1825-1872) in 1866. She died six years later, and in 1879 he married T. H. Smith of Johnson County. He retired in 1889 and settled on a farm near Eulogy in Somervell County, where he assembled a large collection of historical material concerning Texas Methodists. Sometime before the Civil Warqv Addison wrote and published Yankee Slave Trader, intended as an answer to offset Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), but the book did not receive wide distribution. During the Civil War he served as chaplain in Colonel Bates’s regiment at Velasco and kept a journal of his war experiences. In retirement he wrote works on sanctification and the liquor question. Addison died at his farm on October 11, 1898, and was buried at Eulogy. His papers are at the Barker Texas History Center at the University of Texas at Austin.”
Addressed to Mrs. Sarah Addison, Caldwell, Texas
Green’s Bayou [Texas]
March 23rd 1848
My dear mother,
I cannot remember with certainty whether I answered your kind favor by the hand of bro. James, or not. However, as I feel it my duty to let you hear from me regularly, I will take this occasion to drop you a few lines. And I feel much like prefacing with the stereotyped form — “I hardly know what to write about.”
In my hurried note to sister M. A., I stated having been to Richmond and also gave an account of my Quarterly Meeting. This was held on the Brazos at the place where I held a two-day meeting last fall. The house — a noble brick mansion finished in the latest style. Bros. Richardson and Allen were with me. On Saturday night I preached to the Blacks and as it was remarkably warm, I perspired profusely. In walking back to the house, I caught a slight cold and suffered from the tooth ache the greater part of the night and until noon on Sabbath. Bro. Allen was with me and exhorted and we had a house full of mourners. One professed religion to God be the praise. A black soul is as valuable in the sight of God as a white one.
On Sabbath morning [March 19th 1848] while the whites were collecting, Bro. Allen and myself held meeting for the blacks: great seriousness seems to be felt by them. At 11 o’clock, Bro. [Chauncey] Richardson preached the funeral sermon of the late mistress of the establishment, Mrs. [Sarah E.] Waters, who came to her death by a fall from her horse on the 8th of January last.¹ She was a lady of most amiable qualities, and one of my especial friends. She had but just taken possession of her new house. How necessary the injunction, “Be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the son of man cometh.”
The services for the whites concluded in the afternoon, two persons joining the church. At night, I again preached to the blacks, and received 15 on probation, some professed conversion, but I did not ascertain the number.
On Monday, Bro. [Chauncey] Richardson and I rode to Houston. Tuesday night I slept with father at his boarding house. His health is pretty good.
While in Houston I received a letter from Mr. Rowland, the young man with whom I traveled to Clarkesville. He is at home in Arkansas. I have been thinking much latterly on the subject of sanctification; that it is not only my privilege to enjoy the blessing but my duty also. I am fully aware without this, I am convinced it will be impossible to be as extensively useful as I might otherwise be. Yet while pleading for it, and trying to grasp it, I feel something like shrinking — a weakness of faith, a feeling of doubt which wholly overcomes me. That I shall enjoy this blessing, I am fully persuaded; pray for me dear mother that my faith may be increased and I made to enjoy the blessing of perfect love.
When looking at my responsibility, I am almost ready to give up. Here are careless sinners, unmindful of their danger, blindly rushing on to destruction. To me the Lord has committed the task of warning them. Again, and again has my voice been raised to exhort them to flee the wrath to come and some who disregarded the call have gone to eternity. How can I meet them at the judgement seat? Will my skirts be clear of the blood? These are questions of deep interest. Yet I feel as if I had faithfully warned them. I have done my duty, though had I been more importunate, they might have turned. Lord, help me to be more diligent for the time to come.
Write to me frequently and tell John to do the same. Remember me to the family and friends generally, and that God may have you all in his holy keeping is the prayer of your son. Affectionately, — O. M. Addison
P. S. If Alwyn King has not started to Houston and he brings my trunk, tell him to leave it with Mr. Shepherd and request him (Mr. Shepherd) to send it to Col. J. D. Waters on the Brazos, the first time his wagon comes to town. Please fail not in this and request Alwyn to be particular in his instructions to Mr. Shepherd. — O. M. A.
My reason for wanting it left with Shepherd is that Water’s wagon stops at his store. But should anyone besides Alwyn bring it, let them leave it at our house. O. M. A.
N. B. Say to Mary Ann as I forgot to mention it in my note to her, I left instructions with Malcolm to buy Fred a pair of shoes. I also told Bro. Nick to supply him with any stocking he might need. — O. M. A.
¹ The Funeral Sermon for Mrs. Sarah E. Waters, wife of Col. J. D. Waters, was held on March 19, 1848, at Arcola, Fort Bend County, Texas. It was delivered by Rev. Chauncey Richardson, A. M. (1802-1852).