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Thursday, January 10, 2019

A soldier's only Civil War letter

There may have been more letters from Lt. William Phillips, but this is the one that has been passed down from the generations.  At one time my grandmother had it, and my sister apparently Xeroxed it, which is the source I have used.  The photo of the copy is at the bottom.

This is the hand written letter on lined paper, by my grandmother’s grandfather to Elizabeth (Lizzie) Granger, (his sister-in-law, and spoke of her sister Lucy Granger who had the care of his 2 daughters in Galveston. He had joined the Confederacy after the death of his wife, Mary Granger Phillips.)

(Editor's note:I have found several Camp Burnett’s, in TN, KY and TX, but none with an Alabama Cavalry Regiment.  The one in KY did have a Col. Burnett in Richmond giving Pres. Jefferson Davis criticism in a public forum on April 19, 1862, (mentioned in the transcribed letter below)  but the same source states:
 Burnett joined the 8th Kentucky at Fort Donelson.[31] On February 16, 1862, Ulysses S. Grant led a combined Federal army-navy attack against the fort.[31] Most of the Confederate garrison was captured, including the 8th Kentucky, but Burnett escaped in General John B. Floyd's retreat following the defeat.[5][9] This battle ended Burnett's military service.[31]

Camp Burnett  Head Quarters
                April 13 1862

Dear Sister Lizzie
        I have been promising myself to write you for some weeks, but without excuse have not.  I have been in camps 2 weeks.  I am better satisfied here than I’ve been for months past.  At home I did nothing but grieve over my misfortunes.  I was no comfort or company to anyone, - it was hard to part with my dear babes.  I have stood the hardest trial man has ever to stand.  Lucy is a dear good sister she does all an aunt can do, she was anxious for me to go to the war, promised to take good care of the dear little ones.  Camps are a great place to see human nature all sorts of men from the grey hairs of 50 years to the stripling youth of 15, the best and the meanest are mess mates.  We are a cavalry Regiment (Alabama Regiment is the name of it).  We expect to march in 15 days.  Col. Burnett has gone to Richmond, expect him back next week.  There is some talk of our being disbanded if so I intend going directly from here to Missouri.  I have the position of

(back of sheet page 2)
Provost Marshall rank of a Lieutenant, a very easy berth – relieves me from all fatigue duty and the responsibility & cares, are right so far –
Pa has come up on a visit and will return tomorrow, all well at home.  Zulieka says Papa has gone to kill old Lincoln because he won’t let her have a crying baby.  Ada points to the plantation with her little fat hand whenever my name is called.  Mother & Lucy will visit you as soon as they can.  I will write you soon again, in day light when I can see the lines.  I might get a letter from you directed to Little Rock, Aks. (sic)
                        Your affectionate Brother
                William Phillips

(Editors Note –Pa would be either be his step-father, Samuel Gainer (judge from Georgia now in Texas,) or his father-in-law, George Granger, (from Mass now in Texas.) Aunt Lizzie (Elizabeth Granger, sister to his deceased wife Mary Granger Phillips) is addressed directly here. Grandma may be MIL Mary Granger, or Mary Gainer his own mother. They are all living in Galvestson, or Sabine Pass, where the children of William & Mary Phillips have been taken upon Mary’s death in 1861 and William going into the Confederate army in 1862. Samuel Gainer moved to the Spurger area, Tyler County Texas at some point.)

I share this with my Sepia Saturday friends also this week.

Some additional information about the 13th Texas Cavalry.

THIRTEENTH TEXAS CAVALRY. The Thirteenth Texas Cavalry Regiment was organized in the winter of 1861 at Crockett, Texas, and mustered into service at Camp Burnett in Houston County near Crockett, Texas, on February 22, 1862. The original field officers included: Col. John H. Burnett, Maj. Charles R. Beatty, Lt. Col. Anderson F. Crawford, and Maj. Elias T. Seale. The unit was composed of ten companies that included men who came primarily from Anderson, Angelina, Cherokee, Leon, Henderson, Houston, Hunt, Jasper, Kaufman, Madison, McLennan, Newton, Polk, Trinity, Tyler, and Orange counties. There were originally 1,125 men, however, due to the Confederate Conscription Act of April 16, 1862, the number was reduced to 842. The unit was known by several alternate names including: Burnett's Cavalry, Beatty's Cavalry, Seale's Cavalry, Crawford's Cavalry, Young's Cavalry, Bean's Cavalry, and Smith's Cavalry.
The Thirteenth Texas Cavalry primarily served west of the Mississippi River and was ordered from Camp McCulloch near Tyler, Texas, to Camp Nelson near Little Rock, Arkansas, on July 2, 1862. The regiment was delayed in Lafayette County, Arkansas, due to an epidemic of measles and typhoid fever in which the unit lost thirty men. The Thirteenth Texas Cavalry Regiment camped near Spring Bank but later moved near Walnut Hills. During the winter of 1862 the men suffered from terrible conditions and epidemics of typhoid fever, pneumonia, and tuberculosis at Camp Bayou Metre near Pine Bluff, Arkansas. By the end of February 1863, the unit was reduced to 615 men, and the following harsh winter resulted in twenty-five deaths. They were attached to McCulloch's, Young's, and Waul's Brigade, as well as Gen. John G. Walker's Texas Division and dismounted shortly thereafter for the duration of the war. Thomas J. Rounsaville recalled, "When we dismounted we was sadly disappointed for we was compelled to take it afoot and we walked about two hundred miles and our feet was blistered considerably. Some of our boys gave entirely out."
The Thirteenth Texas Cavalry Regiment helped construct earthworks near Pine Bluff and attempted to relieve Confederate units at the siege of Vicksburg. The unit participated in several engagements in western Louisiana from April 1863 to May 1864, including: Young's Point, Fort Bisland, Bayou Teche, Brashear City, Cox's Plantation, Bayou LaFourche, Teche Country, Bayou Bourbeau, the Camden Expedition, Wilson's Farm, Sabine Cross Roads, Mansfield, Pleasant Hill, Jenkins' Ferry, and Alexandria. In February 1864, the regiment included only 145 men, and it suffered more than fifty losses during the battles of Mansfield and Pleasant Hill that spring. Following the Red River campaign, the unit was stationed in Shreveport for the remainder of the war. Due to chronic health problems Colonel Burnett resigned on April 22, 1864, and returned to Crockett, Texas. In November 1864 the unit moved to winter quarters near Minden, Louisiana, and by January 27, 1865, relocated to Shreveport. On February 18, 1865, the unit was honored by a huge barbeque in Shreveport. The Thirteenth Texas Cavalry Regiment was ordered back to Texas and arrived at Camp Groce near Hempstead on April 15, 1865. They officially surrendered in Galveston, Texas, on June 2, 1865.
Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Texas, National Archives and Records Service, Washington. Joseph H. Crute, Jr., Units of the Confederate States Army (Midlothian, Virginia: Derwent, 1987). Richard G. Lowe, Walker's Texas Division, C.S.A.: Greyhounds of the Trans-Mississippi (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2004). Stewart Sifakis, Compendium of the Confederate Armies: Texas (New York: Facts on File, 1995).Vertical File, Historical Research Center, Texas Heritage Museum, Hill College, Hillsboro, Texas.
Brett J. Derbes
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.
Brett J. Derbes, "THIRTEENTH TEXAS CAVALRY," Handbook of Texas Online(, accessed June 24, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Continuing to work on pre-Civil War Texas correspondence

                                Town Bluff  Sept 28, 1860
My Dear Mother
        My Babe is two weeks old today and I cannot think it will do me any injury to write you a letter at least.  I feel very well, my eyes trouble me some.  I am careful of them however I know you have been anxious about me as all of us have not knowing what to think at the delay   I did not write because I could not say one word encouraging and trusted you would think no news good news.  I had a very noisy time with this Babe as it was so quick.  I tell you we only had time to send for assistance before all was over.  I think each time that the next I think to have some member of my own family

(second page on back of first)
with me to assist.  Mother Gainer it seems denied me.  The Babe is not considered quite as pretty as Zulie but the little thing is so good and gentle I have an idea of calling her Alice perhaps some of you can add a second name.  I have thought Granger would be pretty  write what you think but do not deliver your letters in any ones care for the office unless you are sure they are on the way  I am afraid Betty is thinking too much about Edmund (?) to remember little things  I excuse her on this please tell her.  I was truly thankful to receive your letter Mother it came while I was in bed, it served to amuse my thoughts not a little I cannot give my encouragement that you will see me in Galveston this year.  I am of course much disappointed.  I wish there was some way of getting

(third page)
the girls or you here.  I can advise no way myself.  I look at the Piano and wish Lizzy or Lucy would play a little for my amusement.
        Zulie is very jealous of the Baby I tell you  we have a time with her  I really would not trust her alone with it and yet she seems to love it   calls it Mama’s Baby  you would laught to see her stand and rock the cradle siniging as loud as she can scream go to sleepy Baby and then end the strain in Ductacts (?) that no one can understand  she is an uncommon smart child but also an uncommon bad one   can you imagine William wipping  (sic) her he said she took the “high striked” so severely while I was in bed he must come to it and wip. (sic)
        Tell Father to be ready I shall need his services again in the capacity of

(fourth page on back of second sheet)
‘Godfather.’  I think the Baby has a look like George  tell him not to blush for it is a fine child  has my pretty dark hair and blue eyes not quite as much hair as Zulie had but darker.  I am afraid I am writing too much so must come to a close.  I hope to hear from you all and wish me joy love to all.  Mother & William desire love  write oftener
                        Your affectionately

(Across top of first sheet at head of letter)
        I thought I would write this letter very nice & correct when I began it. But you see it did not hold out.  Babies must be my excuse.  (in Mary’s handwriting)

(note:.  This may have been addressed to Mother Granger, rather than mother Gainer, because of the various Granger relations who are mentioned. When her first child had been born 2 years previously, she had returned to the Gainer home in Georgia, but they have probably moved to Texas at this time, and she complains that Mother gainer was denied her.)


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Following the Civil War, a cousin's letter

52 Ancestors, 52 Weeks, - Week 2 (Jan. 8-14): Challenge

The big challenge I've faced here is the penmanship of my ancestors, and  trying to figure out the geography as places were named in mid nineteenth century.

Nowhere else is this woman, nor her mother mentioned in my genealogical research.  I don't know if anyone answered this letter, but it did survive until the 1970s, so someone must have thought it of enough value to hold onto it. (scanned photos of it are at the end of my transcription)

My great grandmother was Ada Philips, and her older sister was Zulieka Phillips.  Their mother died around 1860, and their father died while fighting the Civil War, sometime around 1862. Their father's older brother, Uncle Marion was helpful in getting the orphaned girls care in the homes of their aunts in Galveston.

Plaha tehi(s) Mifps (?) (Slip?)  June 19, 1891

Misfps Zulieka & Ada Phillips
                        Dear Cousins
                                    I have thought of writing to you for some time but have postponed it from time to time.  I have finally decided to make an attempt this evening. If I fail, I hope you will be so generous as to overlook my awkwardness as I am not much accustomed to letter writing.  Tis quite a task, tho in bygone days it was a pleasure.  I once kept up a correspondence with Uncle Marion, but _?__ from negligence have ceased entirely.

Where (?) is that I by some accident have not the last letters & do not know where his office is, he wrote me you were back in Galveston going to school, you must not think me impertinent  for I am going to ask you some questions relative to yourselves.

(next sheet, was folded and written first on left side, then right)
I feel that I would like so much to know my dear little unknown cousins. Uncle Marion was kind enough to send me your photographs, & really I fear that he thinks that I am but too com…s? & negligent.  I am much afraid I haven’t thanked him for them, sist assumd if I have not. Twas not because they were not appreciated, I prize them much., (now to the questions) Where and who are you living with, are you boarding or do you live with relatives, and are you going to school? Why I ask you is that I am anticipating a trip to Galveston this fall or winter.  I feel so broken up and think a trip would reinstate me to former feelings.  I have been married but now am a widow have been for a long time.  I have no children of my own, have one little adopted girl, she will soon be three years old  she is quite a comfort to me.  I fear I am too poor to do this justice.  But as the old adage says Hope on Hope ever.  I hope to be able to give her a thorough

(right side of sheet)
education, she is a beautiful child and very precocious, very smart indeed.  I am just lying on my “arse” here at Pa’s home; not accumulating anything whatever.  I feel very much disrupted sometimes.  I know I should be making something for this dear little charger. Pa is old and infirm, has a large family, four girls yet to educate, the youngest 10 years old, & we all have been so broken up by the war.  I feel that I could support myself if I did sewing if I had a good situation in some town where I could git (sic) sewing.  I think I should try this in bygone days I would have considered that I was downing myself somewhat in such a situation, to b---?--- we all have to work or do something. I don’t feel ashamed to do anything that is --?--  I would go to work in good faith with my needle if I could get work. I am very well versed in the system of --?ing and quilting(?) and think I could succeed very well. I am living in the country and

(next sheet, half of the page)

4th pg
It would be perfect folly to make an attempt here.  My dear little Cousin you will begin to think I am poverty struck in situation.  I must say my circumstances are not as they have been, tho I get plenty to eat drink and even go & come whenever I please, yet I would be better satisfied to have something accumulating for the future. What would be the probability of my securing a place there?  I prefer living with some nice private family to do sewing.  I don’t like teaching school, could not well now, on account of this little girl, she is too small.
How much is board per month there
Write me all about your “city” generally
(unclear) I should like Galveston very much.  I have heard it so highly spoken of
Please answer all my inquirings dear Cousins
One more question, (what was Aunt Mollie’s name before Uncle Willie married her?_
Ma sends much love to you and Uncle Marion
I would share a (potion?) of your relative regards by remembering me kindly to them.
With much love, I hope to be honored with a reply to this poor scroll very soon
Please write to me dear Cousins for I assure you nothing would be more gratifying or afford me more real pleasure than receiving letters from those to whom I am bound by the sacred ties of relationship
Excuse all errors I have written this very hurridly.
Affectionately yours with love,
Mrs. Laura Spann
I hope Uncle Marion has spoken of me to you at least I have written thinking he had.  I am the daughter of Ghidora Phillips, sister of your Father (the only one living) now.  Mrs. Spann, I too married a distant relative by the same name.  Lovingly your Cozn Laura
(Pelahatetic ?) is my office

Monday, January 7, 2019

Texas letters continued

I have shared the original photo copies on Ancestry, but I think these transcriptions might be more enjoyable.  Unfortunately, they kind of are not chronological.
(Letter to Mary Gainer, mother in law, see photo Mary Phillips Mary Gainer 27 June 1860.01, 02, 03, and 04 )

Town Bluff, June 27th, 1860
My Dear Mother
        It is a week today since I wrote Lizzie’s letter and I have had no chance during the week to send it to the office.  I will have two now to send, as I note in my letter to Lizzie I would write you if I did not get down too soon.
        The weather is very warm up here I miss those beautiful sea breezes I used to enjoy last year at this time.  I feel as if it would be quite a long time before I enjoy them again.  I do so long to be over my confinement   I am dreading it more than before and I fear Zulie will be so much trouble I can in a measure control her and she fears me a little and so jealous of me I must not caress

(page 2 of letter)
anybody or anything but her – William to my surprise has the utmost patience with her has not even yet spoken sharp to her. She is smart I can tell you and it is impossible to cheat her, no indeed, she will catch you in a minute.
        I was glad to hear your health was so good this summer  I trust it will continue your cares must be diminished enough now since you are by yourselves to give you quite a quiet time.  I know you must all be happy to hear no slams and insults I think I could never borne it as well as you did.
        I suppose Father & George get along well in the business line as no one spoke to the contrary in letters.  I often think thought how much it took only for W. & myself while living in Galveston that everlasting rent due it seemed to me always was our greatest chain.  I like Galveston

(page 3 of letter)
above all places to live in but it does cost a heap to live any way at all respectable there.
        Do you ever hear from Uncle Joseph  I have written him and so has William two or three times but no replies.  I wish I could hear what he is about.  I think he must almost a Hermit by this time that is if he is by himself.  I hear from the Pass once in a while.  I suppose you heard of the dreadful murder of Bill Shaw by Pike (?) Smith.  I never was so horrified at anything how much trouble they must be in and dear Mrs. Gill has at least got Ella Edwards married to Charley (?) Colmell(?) too I suppose Laura is her next victim for business.
        We think what does Mr. Bradbury do with his house. I never heard whether he rents it or not or if he considers he has left Galveston.

(page 4 of letter)
I hardly can find anything to write which is worthy of interest so if I write a fussy letter you must excuse it.  I wish you would urge up the girls to write me oftener they surely are not very busy now. I know they have had to be in the kitchen lately but if they have been adopting Mrs. Bingit (?) hul (?) two meals a day they have some little time.  I often look for a letter from you two but often am disappointed about you think so.  I excuse you though of course. 
        Love to all I think of each one when I am writing home Father George. Lizzie & Lucy.  Zulie pulls me to the Piano and says Mama play.  I must close of course. William sends (?) love also Mother Gainer (?).  I hope next letter will be written by William with news of another member born in the family.
                Yours with much love,

(Photos titled MPhillipsMGainer30July1860.01,02,03, and 04)

Town Bluff, July 30th/60
My Dearest Mother
        Your dated July 12th I received this morning & most thankfully you may be sure for it is a long time since I heard from any of you.  I had begun to be considerable anxious for fear some member of the family were sick.  Now did you ever hear of anyone making such a mistake on their scheming as I have and still what else or how else would I judge the time for me to look for my confinement than when I last was sick and most surely it was the third week in September but I am now completely lost cannot tell only I am constantly expecting I suffer extremely from the heat.

(next page)
I have most wretchedly restless nights no little sea breeze but so oppressive it seems to take all my strength  the perspiration seems to pour from every pore.  I am in very good health otherwise.  William will write you as soon as I am through.  It is Zulie’s birthday and we had an extra dinner for her and sat the Lady up to the table for the first time.  She behaved very well.  I know you would be much amused could you see her ways and her back and forward!  She wiggles and swings like a girl sixteen.  Mother gave her a very pretty pink chamber tucked the shirt and she strutts (sic) well in it.  If a stranger comes in she directly comes to me and says Mama play she is never quiet but busy all the time scouring the house or sweeping, has a rag baby I made

(next page)
her which she named herself Lula and she shows up bread and feeds her with a perfect slight of hand and then gives her most awful whipping and gets her to sleep.  I think she is going to love a book for she will stand and listen just as long as you describe a picture and express her anger and sympathy on each subject.  Lucy would be in shakes of laughter all the time were she here  she is a perfect mimic must try to do all I do even in the sewing line  Mama I want to too, me, Mama and no peace till she has it.
        I have written this letter by spells you may find trouble to read it.  I have done my best, it tires me very much to write  I am much more clumsey than I was with Zulie.  Mother says I will go she is positive until the first week in September.

(next page)
        The weather is very dry and extremely hot.  The crops are all burnt up and if we make our bread it is all we expect now such a disappointment to Mother & myself as it will prevent our coming to see you.  I fear for there are so many to provide for and it will take ready cash to do it another year.  There are twenty six blacks and six whites still if we could get rain even now we should make enough as we planted late.  There is above us in other countys much poverty familieis soley dependent on their crops and cannot get anything to eat but milk.  I believe they are going to make some provision for such from. (sic) I see I must close write me soon again.  I am anxiously looking for Lizzies’ letter love to all,
                Yours affectionately,

(more written in margin of this last page)
Mother – William desires much Love to you all  I still find my piano good as ever  it __(?) so well.  Mother do not over exert yourself because you are in better health  try to get strong  I wish I could see you  I should be so glad quite old times

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Texas letters of ancestors

I just found transcriptions of more letters written before the Civil War, from relatives in Texas.

So I'm posting them, where they are available!

(Note on layout, one page folded, with writing starting on right front fold, going inside for 2nd and 3rd pages, then back to front left for 4th page, then along margins, MaryPhillipsEliz24Sept1856.001 and 002)

                                        Beaumont Sept 24, 1856
Dear Lizzie
        You must excuse a short note this week as I cannot write more.  Willie wished me to write you a few lines for him as he thinks  he can better explain why you may not teach, he says the gist of the matter is this you are going to marry and you wish to teach but Mr. Reed does not, so you are waiting for him if he says marry good bye to school.

(next page of letter)
Now he says you need not deny it – for you know it is true.  I saw Helen all the Coulda (?) family called upon me yesterday Mrs. Catilda (?) is getting Helen ready to come.  Mrs. Louck (?) is about to go to housekeeping.  Mr. H. is building down below Mrs. Lewis’s (?) thing and are delighted at the idea.
        I wonder if it is  cold at the Pass as here.  I am sitting by the stove this morning.  Mornings have been so cold I sit in the house now I think the room looks so pretty since changing the furniture I have taken out the (scratched out 2 letters) Bowl & Pitcher

(next page of letter)
and put the table under the glass with several little things upon it.  The beaureau (sic) is where the table stood and the bed in the farther corner of the room my little table I have recovered with the same having a plenty.  Mr. P  is making a much larger one.   I see no prospect for us to come down until Christmas so have become quite reconciled to wait.
        I am much obliged for the dish.  I do find it very convenient nearly every meal I use it.  I have potatoes and they keep nice and warm in it.  Noah and his wife I have not

(next page of letter)
seen as yet.  I called upon them and they upon me but always miss each other.  Her family are bitter as ever she went to church and her brother never spoke to her but she said she did not care a darn.
        I have hardly been out since you left.  I am sewing. Just made a shirt entire yesterday for (General?)
        Mrs. W. Harring (?) has fiterd (?) some business and has been in two or three times she is making her a black silk dress off the piece your apron was bought – how does it wear?  I am looking this week to hear from Mother.
        Your, Mary

(then to margins of letter)
Love to Lucy  I suppose she is too busy with Mr. (Bendley?) to write unless I write her.
I don’t expect to be able to play one tune.  When I come home the piano will be so bad  Cannot you get it tuned I tell you this winter will ruin it if you do not.

(note: Lucy Granger married A. Wakley)
(Note on layout, one page folded, with writing starting on right front fold, going inside for 2nd and 3rd pages, then back to front left for 4th page, photo name:Mary&WillPhillipsEliz27July1858.01 and 02)

Fort Gaines, July 27, 1858
Dear Lizzie:
        Truly glad was I to receive your letter.  I do not go out at all now so get sometimes rather tired of the house and a letter from home takes my mind from other thoughts and serves to amuse me for some time.

        Mother Gainer is perfectly devoted to me  will not leave me one moment says she feels that we have come a long way to see her and so she must not lose one moment from us.  I am now getting so anxious to be through my confinement. Oh! what exquisite happiness is mine and how thoughtful to my Maker shall I be when all is over.

(next page of letter)
but dear Lizzie as you wrote – “God doeth all things well.”  I feel my life in his hands and trust to him with a Christian spirit.

        You asked if I had heard from the Port (? could be North) since I left you.  I have not but lay it to my not writing as I agreed to.  I thought I would wait until I was able to with the news of the strangers arrival.  I think though there are some letters in the Beaumont office.  I declare I’m surprised at the time it takes for the Constitution to repair (Gings, maybe things?) I am afraid will not see you much before we return.  How fortunate it was Father was able to get business it must seem like old times to see him busy in the lumber line again.

        Give my love to Mrs. Brown tell her I hope to show her a young

(next page of letter)
man on my return.  I am glad they did not move again to the Pass by the way why did you not write who had become so excited in religion at the Pass?  I want very much to know.  Willie says he supposes is they are in want of a Fiddler so must keep up some excitement and substitute Prayer Meetings.
        Mr. Bunsley (?) really has gone to see his Mother too I am very glad to hear it.  I hope he will enjoy the trip and thus become pleased with his Step-Father.  You can have no idea how fond Mr. Gainer is of William he could not love his own child better.

        Ben, Milliefred (could be Willie fred?) brother – came to see us and he is the counterpart of Ben.  He had just taken out of the office Ben’s. & (Cinny’s?) Daguerotypes he was delighted

(next page of letter)
to receive them.

(same page, different handwriting)
                July 30th
Dear Mother
        As “Mollie” closed her letter rather abruptly, I’ll fill in my way of variety to you. 
            She” comes in this morning – at 4.o.clock – after thirty-six hours pains (the last twelve very severe)  Blessing us with the sweetes (sic) prettiest & fairest – blacked eyed “girl” ever was come along. What a disappointment the girls will exclaim both in one breath.  slap their faces for me and tell them the next will be a boy if it is not a girl – “Molly” made the trip without much fuss – The baby weighs 8 lbs at its birth and now is making so much nois (sic) nursing her mothers breast – I must stop right here & kiss it

(outside of a folded document, photos MaryGainer26Nov1858.01 and 02)

Clay County
Clerks officer
Superior Court
Recorded in
Book A
Page 689
Novemeber 26 – 1858
Spencer Caldwill Clk

(inside document)
Clay County

Be it known to all whom it may concern that I, Mary C. Gainer of the state & country aforesaid for the natural love & affection which I have for my grand daughter Zuleika (sic) Gainer Phillips daughter of my son William Phillips & his wife Mary H. Phillips of Jefferson County Texas (but now on a visit with me in Fort Gaines in the state & country first above named) do for the consideration aforesaid give my Negro (sic) girl Francis about fifteen years old, to my said granddaughter for her own purposes & benefit’ No right & title to said Negro girl, I hereby bind myself, my heirs, executors, & administrators to so warrant & defend to my said grand daughter in full right thereof forever.
In witness whereof I have hereto set my hand & offered my seal this twehtysixth day of November A.D. 1858. 
                Mary C. Gainer
Signed, sealed & delivered in the presence of
        Thomas H. (--?--)
        Geo B. Hardlan (---?---)


(No notation of date or place; photos MaryPhillips.001 and 002)

There is plenty of Game in the woods but William has had little time for hunting now.  Does are rather scarse. (sic) The Black tong(?? Two letters added above word, unclear) killed a great many off last year they say.
        I have not got my Piano yet – waiting for a draft on P.O. as I think I can be better suited by sending there for it.
        I must remind you will wirte me as I am anxious to hear how you are this cold Winter.  I almost feel as if I had got back to the North.  Do you remember of ever experiencing such cold weather any Winter before?
        Lizzie writes me Mother has suffered a great deal with the Asthma, It is impossible for her to endure the cold.

(on back page)
I receive the Harpers and regret I did not take the Ladys also (perhaps publications?)  I find many people even away up here (Monde?) who know you and ask with no little interst after you.
        The river is rising very fast today and we are listening for a Seamboat every moment.  There are some seven or eight flat-boats on their way down with Cotton.  Hoping to hear from you soon, I close,
                Yours affectionately,
                        Mary H. Phillips

(note by author: The piano arrived, according to a letter posted on_ June 10th, 1860)
(no heading, written to her Mother-in-law, Mary Gainer, see photo MaryPhillips.002) (must be after Sept 1860 birth of 2nd child)

The children are quite well.  Zulie often talks of you all.  She is growing very fast and talks us nearly crazy.  Is very curious must know and understand every thing she hears and sees.  She is pretty, bad and smart and I am I regret to say entirely unable to control her never having seen ever  such a temper.  I often wonder how Lizzie would manage her, although Zulie has been much spoiled (--?--) everyone, she is very affectionate, child loves me dearly  but does not want to mind.  Ada is different more mild the sweetest and caring little thing will let you kiss her all day and not get mad.  Pa Gainer says Zulie is the worst child he ever saw and Ada the best now if they do not spoil her.  She began to walk a little past nine months it is so cunning to see her walking her hair curls and she goes round

(on back page)
jabbering to herself you all would eat her up.  I have not had a pair of shoes to fit her since those you sent and they are all worn out.  I have let her go barefooted this Summer on account of not being able to get any for her.  I do hope some goods will come to Town Bluff.  Zulie too ears anything for shoes.  I am very much troubled about getting everything.  There are no goods any near us.  I expect we shall see sights to get things to wear this Winter.  I think you will find a letter of winds if nothing else.  I will try to write often as I can.  I have on hand a monstrous pile of sewing though, but will answer all who write.  All desire Love keep a cheerful heart dear Mother. I think of you much and often.
        Your affectionate Daughter,

(Author’s notes: Pa Gainer is in Texas, or has been to have seen both granddaughters.  His words are being relayed to his wife, Mother Gainer, by Mary.  The time may be after Confederate blockade has made goods hard to obtain.  Ada had been born Sept 15, 1860, so would be 9 mos old by June of 1861)  But the blockade wasn’t really holding manufactured goods back entirely. Perhaps goods just weren’t being shipped at this time, except for war needs.)

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Texas letters of my ancestors

Grigsby Bluff letter Dec. 9, 1861

Way back in 2013, I mentioned the George Grangers. And then somehow this stayed in draft form until now.  So I'm publishing the letter, and still of the opinion this is the father George.

Even my grandmother, Ada S. Rogers asked if this was George W. Granger's father (who was George Tyler Granger.  The answer was that this picture was "his great Uncle"...but I'm letting all the Georges share it until I have confirmation as to which one it is.)
George Tyler Granger was father to Mary Hull Granger Phillips (1829-1861) my grandmother's grandmother.  His other children (according to were: George W. Granger ( 1830 – ?)  Elizabeth Pulsifer Granger Sweet (March 27, 1835 – 1911,) Joseph Granger (May 3, 1835 – 1850,) and Lucy Ellen Granger Wakelee (1837 – 1876.)

I am not going to go into the problem of both Elizabeth and Joseph having different birth dates in the same year.  I never heard anything about Joseph, but Elizabeth was the recipient of the sad letter from her father below.

This letter gives me great substantiating information about George Washington Granger, George Tyler Granger's son who apparently has just left the area where his (GTG's) daughter, Mary had recently died. Grigsby's Bluff is not yet identified to my satisfaction.  It could have been in Tyler,Texas or maybe another area overlooking a river, which has since become oil fields or flooded for a reservoir. It's not in Sabine Pass nor Beaumont, which are mentioned in the letter. It did have steam ship access to Sabine Pass and then to Galveston.
(Notes throughout the letter in italics and parentheses are by the author. This letter is on 3 pages, as photographed GeoTGRangerEliz.001, 002 and 003)
                                        Grigsby’s Bluff             Dec. 9, 1861
Dear Elizabeth
        A few days after George left here for Galveston, (NOTE: George is assumed to be his son) I was shocked with a report of Mary’s (his daughter) being dead.  I could not believe it, until I was inform (sic) by Abel Coffin who obtain his information from Mr. (Ward?) who saw Mr. Phillips in Houston. (This was Mary's husband, William Phillips.)  I was then obliged to believe it.  I then afterwards saw Mr. Ward (?) Capt. Clements Clerk who saw Mr. Phillips, but could give me no particulars – The ways of God are always right, yet it is hard to us to think and feel so.  When the most useful are taken from us and those spared or permitted to live until they are useless and a burden to themselves and others.  We must however submit to the desires of Him “who doeth all things well” without a murmur only we can mourn.  He has given us that privilege with a blessing attended to it –
        I have been very well since George left.  I went down to the House and stayed there a week (this is probably where William and Mary Granger Phillips had lived) and found some one had broke in and broke open the Desk and Chest.  Yet I did not miss anything from them.  The rats have made more damage than the Burglars.  I stopped up their holes and put things to rights and left for this place on the 8th and I got George’s letter of the 17th on the 5th from Beaumont.
        I was about writing George when Capt. Clements came up from the Pass (Sabine Pass, Texas was a major port at that time) with another story of an addition to (end page one)
(Page 2 letter from Grigsby Bluff, Dec. 9, 1861)
the Blockade and everybody was moving from the City (probably Galveston, which had a large population at the time) and Gen. Hebert had removed the cannon to Virginia Point saying the city was untenable.  I told Capt. C. I did not believe any story Pass (?) could get up  they were all the time getting something to frighten the Citizens.
        If George is still with you tell him Mr. Mosley will move out of his house this week & move to Beaumont. (Note: George W. married a woman named Elizabeth Mosley in 1864)  And says you can on the can (?) have his house which belongs to Parvell (?) who ask 12$ per month  Mr. Pemley and Mr. Mosley both say it is not worth much more than half that sum 5$ or 6$ is all its worth unless considerable is done to it.  It’s terribly infested with rats and leeks (sic) a good deal and is not so good as it looks but still with some small repairs it will do for us very well.  George knows the place well it is almost a new House, Painted outside but inside only half finished.
        My love to all.    I have not time to write more in (sic) I shall lose my chance to send the letter to Beaumont
                                        `      Your affectionate Father,
                                                        Geo T. Granger
(end of page 2)

(Page 3 letter from Grigsby Bluff, Dec. 9, 1861)
A. B.  Tell George Mr. Hughes has answered his letter & says he will pay the balance due on the $808 Debt deducting the amt paid by sale of Beaumont lots.   Allowing interest from Dec. 14, 1854 on the amount, i.e. provided the Boys wont (sic) pay it.  He will pay it himself.  This will give us something more perhaps $250 instead of $704               G.T.G
(end of page 3)
Here are the photographs of the Xerox copied letter. (more comments below)


GeoTGRangerEliz 002

GeoTGRangerEliz. 003

I think the patience of George T. Granger was being tried when considering his son-in-law who apparently disappeared. No one knows why William took off for Houston when his wife died, but GTG saw it as pretty irresponsible.  We also don't know how the two young daughters (about 3 and 1 year old) got to Galveston, but other letters do refer to them later.  Their father, William Phillips soon joined the Alabama Cavalry and went off to die for the South.

Elizabeth Granger, to whom the letter is addressed, is 26 years old, and her brother George W. is 31 at the time of this letter.  It sounds a lot as if George is working for his father's interests, probably seeing to the welfare of the orphaned granddaughters, Ada and Zulieka Phillips.  As the war swung into action, many more children would be cared for by relatives.

Of interest to historians is the reaction by General Hebert to Galveston and Sabine Pass to soon be blockaded by the Union.