1835 Vicksburg, Mississippi Stampless Terrific Cotton Plantation Letter For SalePostal History
Terrific 1835 stampless folded letter written in Vicksburg, Mississsippi.
Cotton plantation content from the Red River!
FULL TRANSCRIPT and some research notes below.
Postmark is a black Vicksburgh, Mi circular date stamp with a 25 cent manuscript rate mark.
Letter fully intact and good shape.
This letter was written by Hector McNeill (1809-18xx). Hector entered Yale College from Natchez, Mississippi, in February of the Sophomore year. He graduated in 1831. On September 30, sixteen days after graduation, he was married to Ann Caroline Frere (1813-1880), of New Haven and New Orleans. He became a cotton planter in the vicinity of Natchez, and later in Coahoma County, Mississippi, where he was enumerated in the 1850 census. I feel certain this is the same Hector McNeill who resided and owned property in Dallas County, Arkansas, in 1860.
Hector wrote the letter to his uncle Malcom McNeill (1796-1875) who was born in Person County, North Carolina but moved to Christian County, Kentucky, one mile south of the Sinking Fork bridge on the road from Hopkinsville to Princeton, in 1817. He took the oath of citizenship there on 28 Feb 1817. He began accumulating property at an early age, first near his home in Kentucky, but later he bought thousands of acres in Mississippi and within the city of Natchez, which greatly increased in value. He made his first investments in Chicago in 1842, at a time when travel there required carriages or horseback. He became a man of great wealth, described in an 1884 history of Christian and Trigg counties as "perhaps the richest man in the county, with a large estate and many negroes both there and in Mississippi."
Malcom and Catherine Boddie (his fifth wife) appeared on the 1850 Federal Census of Christian Co., Kentucky, enumerated 7 Aug 1850, reporting real estate valued at $60,500 and 57 slaves. Their son Malcolm was listed as living with them, as was Malcolm Carothers. He reported an additional 72 slaves on his plantation in Coahoma Co. Alabama.
Malcom and Catherine appeared on the 1860 Federal Census of Hopkinsville, Christian Co., Kentucky, enumerated 9 Apr 1860, reporting real estate valued at $240,000, and personal estate of $36,000, including 46 slaves houses in 10 slave houses. Malcom Caruthers, age 12, whose relationship is not known, is listed as living with them.
Malcom and Catherine appeared on the 1870 Federal Census of Hopkinsville, Christian Co., Kentucky, enumerated 30 Aug 1870, reporting real estate valued at $29,700 and personal estate of $5,000. His widowed daughter Martha, by his third wife, and her children Elizabeth, Lucy, George, Malcolm, John, Willie and Nicholas were listed as living with them. Also listed were Benjamin, Rivers and William, three of the younger sons of his late son Thomas, and Lula Musgrove, age 20, a school teacher.
Addressed to Malcom McNeill, Esqr., Flat Lick P. O., Christian County, Kentucky
October 13th 1835
I came to this place two weeks since and paid off the half of the Perkins' debt -- the draft. I was then on my way to Lake Charles but it seems that I left home too soon after my illness. I was taken sick in this place and had to return home. As we have had several frosts in Madison -- our cotton killed -- I am now getting better, but far from being well.
Your letter of 26th ult. came to hand three or four days since. To find that you had done nothing for the plantation alarmed me. I am now on my way there altho I am advised by my physician not to go until my health is better. The arrangement with Alexander, I think, a good one. But I am very sorry he was not sent down sooner.
Before leaving home, I employed a workman to build the running gear of the [cotton] gin at Lake Charkes. He will not be ready to go up before six weeks. It will then take him six weeks more to complete it. This is the best I could do. The timbers will be ready for him. I will take up clothing, blankets, shoes, &c.
I saw a gentleman this evening who says the crop of cotton at Lake Charles was very fine in September. But I am afraid he did not examine the bolls but simply the stalks. We can get bagging and rope cheaper here than in your country. It is on the decline and by the time we wish to buy it will be tolerably low. I will get an overseer between this & January; sooner if If think it necessary. I have not heard from the place for a long time and can give you no news from there.
I should think that oxen ought be got in the neighborhood of the plantation. I left Bro. Henry and Angus' wife at my house. Bro. henry will, no doubt, realize a very large fortune from his lands on Red River. He was offered $30,000 for half of his lands there. Angus is determined to move and settle there soon.
Our love to your family.
Your nephew, -- H. McNeill
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