This letter was written by Robert James Hendrick (1829-1918) of Saline County, Missouri, to his older brother, Josiah Hendrick (1821-1859) of Buchanan County, Missouri. Robert married his cousin Virginia Ann Gauldin (1834-1921), the daughter of Josiah Gauldin (1793-1884) and Sarah Brown (1809-1857) in March 1855. Josiah was married to Jemima C. Linville (1830-1876), the daughter of Abraham Linville (1805-1875) and Nancy Trapp (1806-1859). Mention is made of Josiah and Jemima’s 5 year-old daughter, Laura V. Hendrick (1847-1925). Laura grew up to marry Andrew Jackson Bigham (1841-1909) in 1863 and moved to Texas.
Robert and Josiah were the sons of Matthew and Frances (Gauldin) Hendrick of Cumberland County, Virginia. The sons came to Missouri in the mid 1840s after the death of their parents and both went into farming. Josiah died prior to the Civil War; Robert enlisted in the Confederate service, Capt. Stallard’s company under General Marmaduke. He was engaged in the battles of Tabo, Little Blue, Independence, Westport, Big Blue and Newtonia.
Addressed to Josiah Hendrick, Dekalb P.O., Buchanan County, Missouri
[Cow Creek], Saline County, Missouri
August 19, 1852
I have just received another very kind and brotherly letter from you which informs me that you were all well. Your letter found me in good health which is a great blessing. I can’t tell you the pleasure [it] gives me to hear from you and to hear that you are all well for I can tell you that good health is worth all the balance.
We have fine weather for cutting hemp. My hemp is pretty good. It will average from six to seven feet. I have no news worth writing. It is with regret that I write you the death of Uncle William Gauldin but he has paid the debt we all have to pay. You must write to me soon. Tell Sis she must not forget to write to me. Tell Laura her uncle would be glad to see her. I want to see you all very much. I wish I could write you a long letter of interest but as times are dull and I have no news, you must excuse me and my bad writing.
Tell sister I expect I shall have to come up there to get a wife and be neighbor to you all. Tell her to kiss Laura for me. Give my best respects to sis. I must close before I worry your patience so I will come to a close by remaining your friend and only brother and well wisher.
— Robert Jas. Hendrick