This letter was probably written by John B. Milroy (1819-18xx), an overseer on the plantation of Edward Clemmons James of Washington County, Mississippi, in 1850. He may have been the same “J. B. Milroy” enumerated in the 1860 census as a merchant residing in Bolivar, Mississippi.
Nothing more could be found concerning him or his family except that his “home” was probably in Kentucky, which is likely where his brother Samuel and/or his father — still living in 1854 — were residing. [Note: See comments below for updated information]
December 3d 1854
I received your letter dated the 13th of November and Father’s dated the 2d two days since and was truly glad to hear from you as it was more than two months since I had heard from before and was getting very uneasy about you as Father has always been very regular in writing to me. Since I wrote to you, my health has improved very much. I was able to resume my business more than a month ago and my general health is very good though my knee is still a little stiff and crooked — but I can walk on it though not very far at a time as it gives out. But I can attend to the most of my business on horseback.
I have no news worth your attention. If the Ohio River is in a condition that boats can run up it, I think that I shall go up the first of January and see you but if it is not, I will go to Texas and go home on my return from there.
The fall and winter so far has been dry and pleasant. Cotton crops are nearly all gathered in this neighborhood which is generally light.
Give my respects to Father and the family and all my friends that may enquire after me. I do not know whether you will get this letter in time to write to me that I may get it by the first of January or not as the mails are very slow judging from the time it has taken Father’s letter of the 2d of last month to reach me. I shall write to Father in about to weeks and, if I should go to Texas, I will write to you from some point on my route.
When I wrote to you about my sickness, I was very much discouraged as the physician that attended me said that he did not think that I would be able to walk for several months and that it might be years before I would recover the entire use of my leg. But he was very much mistaken. I have beset mustang liniment freely and have derived more benefit from it than all the medicine the doctor gave me.
Very respectfully yours, &c. — J. B. Milroy