JAMES WILLIS BROWN This is a partial letter written
by James Willis Brown to his son Benjamin Franklin (Benny) Brown. The letter is produced here in his own words and spellings.
I would guess this letter was written between 1901 when Uncle Willis was born and 1904 when great Uncle Benny was married.
Uncle Benny’s daughter Lela brought this letter to the Brown Reunion in 1997 and let my cousin Jim Brown Gaston take
it and make copies. He mailed me a copy and it came yesterday, but it was not complete. I never was able to get
the remainder. The storm that Great grandpa Brown talks about in his letter must have been a very large one as there
was extensive damage in the Fairplay area that extended to Delray and over to our old home place (The Dr. Williams place) --
August 30, 1997 -- John Tom Woods
........blowed down but Mrs Lowrie* & Children ran out before it fell. She went
to the Harises that lived between there and the Judge Allison place & Harises House blowed down & they all taken shelter
under a piece of well shelter. The barn on the Judge Allison place blowed down. I hear that it blowed
down Dr Williams mill house & all of his buildings except his dwelling House. Our corn is really damaged by being
blown down though we didn’t have any storm hear to amount to any thing but we had a terable rain & some wind
Our corn will be cut off considerable but if no more disasters come on it I think that we will make a good deal of corn yet.
If it had bin seasonable & no disaster have come on it I think that I would have made more corn than I have for years
My cotton looks pretty sorry the hale & drougth has damaged it a great deal. Grahams time is out with me he has
worked three months. He got sick the day his time was out. We have bin taking care of his little girl for
some time. I heard yesterday that he was sick at Howeths. He left hear several days ago. I forgot to tell
you that I heard one of the Dukes down about Claton got three children killed by the storm Do not know wether
it is so or not. Well Benny I guess you would like to hear what Flenikens prospects for a crop is on your place but
I can not tell you but little a bout it . I have not seen it since our last meeting. The cotton next to
the road I thought looked as well then as any I had seen but I have not bin in the crop Johnny has bin over there working
his cain lately but I never hear him say how the crop looked. I was at your Uncle Edward Rosses a week a go they was
all well & Archie Soap was going to get married last Sunday night to a Miss Unice Griges She lived at or near Beckville
- in a quarter or half mile of Beckville. Her people are farmers Riley & Family are at our House. Bessie
& Willis are having chills. As I have written a bout all that I think would interest you much I will bring my letter
to a close. Benny do not for get to try to live as near right as you possible can If one lives right in
youth it is a joy to them to look back in old age & feel that they have done the best they could but if on the other hand
one goes astray as many do it brings remorse of concience in old age that cannot be healed. Youth is the time that most
men go astray but I do hope & pray that none of my children will ever be led off to do wrong but hope that they may all
do better than I have ever done. May the Grate & Merciful God help us all as a family to live right that we may
meet in a better World than this for life is very short & full of troubles at best. I thought that maybe your Ma
would drop you a few lines but she hates to try to write. I am writing on an old Copy Book as I can’t think to
get any paper when I go where there is any. Well Benny write when you have opportunity. We are always anxious
to hear from you but I have got so I dread to try to write. I am so absent minded that I never get a letter fixed up
like I want it so it bothers me to spell your ma. So I tell you howdy for her but said she didn’t feel like she
could write this eavening for the present I will close so nothing more only I remain as ever your affecttionate father, J.W. Brown
Ps do you think of coming home soon if you would as soon to work at home through the
fall and Winter I would be very glad to hier you to help to gather my crop I will have to higher the most of it gathered
and if I could I would much rather hier my own folks I would be willing to give 15 dollars per month or hier cotton
picked by the hundred at customary prices.
*Mrs Lowrie mentioned in the letter was Casandre Jael Dove, the wife of Edmund Lowrey.
Edmund had a sister married to Tal Bridges. When Jael’s baby was only 3 months old, Jael died. Edmunds’s
sister and Tal Bridges took the baby and raised it as their own.
Casandre Jael Dove was the sister of my grandmother Catherine Naomi Dove Brown and
was just three years older than Katie.
This story was related to me by my sister Monnie Bess as it was told to her by our
mother, Bessie Edna Brown Woods. John Tom Woods
This letter was written by the mother of Bessie Edna Brown when Bessie was 7 years
Mr. John Dove,
I rec'd your letter this afternoon, was so sorry to hear that George (13-years old)
was down sick. Hope he is better ere this.
The doctors here have their patients that have the slow fever to eat lemons freely. I think they are good for a sick
person. There isn't very much sickness here now, some few cases of chills.
Our family is well. Some of Edmond's
(Lowery) children has chills and fever. Jay (Katie's sister) is about well. I sent her word to come Sunday. They
haven't named the baby yet. Riley is going to carry two bales of cotton to market
tomorrow. Pa I think I will lay by enough money out of my bale of cotton to buy
us a ticket to Boyce (15 miles north of Hineston) this winter, as I want to see all of you so bad. Riley still owes a right smart of borrowed money, but can pay up if nothing happens. We would have come this summer if he had been out of debt. He
thinks he will make 5 bales, but is hiring the most of it picked. Our baby (Catherine
Naomi, age about 18 mos.) is on the mend, has been poorly this summer. Uncle
Jim (Katie's father-in-law James Willis Brown who married Miriam Narcissa Dixon, a sister to Katie's step-mother Ann Eliza
Dixon) is in bad health. I will try to get them off with us if we go this winter. I must close as it is bedtime. Write soon and let us know how George is. I do hope he wont have a long spell of the fever. Give our
love to all.
Your Loving Daughter
John Edward Dove was
the maternal grandfather of Bessie Edna Brown.
A LETTER FROM JOHN
EDWARD DOVE TO HIS DAUGHTER CATHERINE NAOMI DOVE BROWN. (My great-grandfather
to my grandmother when he was 71 and she was 26). According to my great-uncle
Luther Bede Dove my great-great-grandmother, Emily Dorothy Mills was an Indian or had Indian blood. My great-uncle Luther was grandmother Catherine Naomi Dove's half-brother (their father was John Dove)
and he was my grandfather William Riley Brown's first cousin on his mother's (Ann Eliza Wallworth Dixon) side, so I was double
kin to him. (John Tom Woods)
Monday September 20,
Katie my Dear daughter this leaves all well but my Selfe and I am not Suffering Very
much. You requested me to give you some information about your mothers Relations. Your Grand father was Raised in South Carolina his name was Benjamin Goodson. He first married there and lost his first wife after she was the mother of 10 children. He then moved to Georgia when he married your
grandmother. Her name was Doritha Mils who brought him ten children. Her
children were Wesley, Joshua, Calib and Joseph. Her daughters were Rebeca, Rachel,
Matilda which is the mother of Julia Sanders and Casse Dugless, then your mother which was the youngest of the family. Your Mother and myself was married at Homer Louisiana.
I have not gave you the name of all your Uncles and Ants as there was 10 of them, so you see your Mother was your GrandFather's
20th child. He lived 104 years old, was a Methodist Preacher for 60 years. My
father was raised in Ohio. Came to Mississippi and married Cyrene Thompson. I had 4 brothers and 1 sister.
Some news, W.L. is
at home to day. Jasper (his son) has
another son. George was there yesterday. I am not able to go and see them. Your
Ma and I spent one day with Charley and Matie, we got a good diner. Doc Manley
is opening a Store at Hineston to day. The boys are gathering corn to day. We have got some fat Hogs in the Pen. Sold
one Bale Cotton. Guy (nephew) is
Still here had the fever Last night but is up now. We have plenty of Peas and Potatoes to eat and have Peaches on the trees. Zoe has quilted 2 quilts in the last two weeks.
She is now abel to Rop Sombody nice. Cooks Children are in a bad fix. Hour
School will open the first of October. Miss Lauria McAlpin will teach it. She wants to board with us. Howell and
Newtons families were all well a few days ago. Give my love to Mr. Browns family
and say to them we wood bee glad to see them at hour humbel home.
Beg God Bless you,
the Sweet Child.
John Dove (I did my best to keep the original spelling. John Tom Woods)
James Willis Brown, the grandfather of Bessie Edna Brown, shown here alongside
his wife's brothers.
George Dixon, author of the letter below
A LETTER FROM GEORGE
M.DIXON IN THE ARMY AT COFFEEVILLE MISSISSIPPI TO HIS SISTER MRS A.E. WALLWORTH, DOWNESVILLE, LOUISIANA, DATED JANUARY 26TH
(George M. and Ann Eliza Dixon were brother and sister to my great-grandmother Miriam
Narcissa Dixon Brown. Ann Eliza Dixon later became the Step-mother of my grandmother
Catherine Naomi Dove Brown, so the author of this letter was my great-uncle and he wrote it to my great-aunt who later became
my step-great-grandmother. The John and Ben mentioned in the letter were probably
his brothers John A and Benjamin F., and the Jim was my great-Grandfather James Willis Brown who was husband to Miriam Narcissa
Dixon and hence the brother-in-law of the Dixon boys. (John Tom Woods)
I seat myself this evening to drop you a few lines in answer to yours of 8th xxx
which came safe to hand a few days ago and was gladly recv by me for i begin to think that it was a long time between Letters. I have no news of importance to communicate to you at present, more than I am enjoying
fine health, John, Ben, and Jim are all well. Ben has been under the weather
for some time but is about strait now. We left Grenada on 20th xxx and landed
at Coffeeville the same day, how long we will remain here I do not know, but not long I dont suppose. I think we will go up as the RailRoad is repaired. We had
made great preparations at Grenada for wintering of it, a great many of the Boys had put them up houses and had them covered
and some had built chimneys to their tents. My mess put up a Cabbin and was going
out to get boards when the news came to cook two days rations. It looked a little
hard after working so hard not to get to enjoy our selves at all in our houses but such are the misfortunes of a soldier. We have had an abundance of rainy weather of late and our camps are very muddy but
not so much here as they were at Grenada.
Well Ann it looks like just to take a glancing look at it that I mite set down any
time and rite you a long letter but it appears to me that of late I am the poorest letter writer now in the war, for I cant
think of one thing hardly long enough to write it, but I suppose its all news to you whether it be of any importance or not. On Christmas eve we had general review at Grenada and Jeff Davis, Joseph E. Johnston,
Old Tap (General Leonidas Polk) and several other big Generals were present. I
saw more people there at one view than I ever saw before. I saw our cousin David
Dixon while we were at Grenada. He is Capt of a company in the 19th ARK Regt. I do not know where he is now though I think that Regt went on to Vicksburg. David is a nice looking young man. I
saw Daniel Devane yesterday, he had just recd a letter from Julia, she wrote that all the connexion were well. Cornelius Devane is in Florida in a a Cavalry Com. I have
not heard from Mary in a long time.
I have been washing to day. I washed
three garments and rubed the hide off of my fingers and almost wish there was no war and I could get to come home where I
could get to go a squirrel hunting without any pass, but here if I go out side the guard line I have to take a pass like any
other darkey. We have tolerable plenty to eat since we have been here we have
drawn some pork which is something seldom done. We still draw beef yet I have
eat so much beef that I never see an old cow without thinking to myself, old lady if you dont mind I will get some of you
yet. John Teagle went off to the hospittle a few days after I wrote to you and
has not got back yet so I dont know as it will be worth while to send his Comfort. One
of our mess by name of Reeves taken a fit one night about 3 weeks ago and got up and went out of the tent, set down and put
his feet in the fire and burned himself very bad. The Drs cut both his legs off
above the knees, he has since died, he was a poor man but a good soldier and left a wife and several little children.
John has made arrangements with Mr Aminett to bring us anything you should want to
send, he has sent to Martha for something I dont know what. Myself and Ben have
plenty of clothing for the present so you need not send us any more. I dont know
as I could refuse a little butter, Sauceingess (sausages?) and etc and etc but still I dont want to put you to any trouble
about such, but still if you have any you could dispose of without disfurnishing yourself just box it up in a little box and
direct it to me in care of Capt Dixon Co C 12th La Regt and carry it to Downesville where Mr Aminett can get it. Mr Calk I suppose will lend an assisting hand. Precious Ann I must close as I want to write a letter to
Cal so fare you well for the present.
G. M. Dixon