1854: Catherine (Boddie) McNeill to Maj. Malcom McNeill

This letter was written by Catherine (Boddie) McNeill to her husband, Maj. Malcom McNeill (1796-1875) of Christian County, Kentucky. Malcom and Catherine (his fifth wife) appeared on the 1850 Federal Census reporting real estate valued at $60,500 and 57 slaves. Their son Malcolm was listed as living with them, as was Malcolm Carothers.

1854 Letter
1854 Letter

Maj. Malcom McNeill, Island No. 66, Mississippi

Hemp Hill [Christian County, Kentucky]
Monday evening, April 3rd [1854]

My Dear Husband,

I write you this evening to let you know that H. Frazer come over Saturday afternoon and fetch me eighteen hundred dollars sent you by R. H. Frazer, New Orleans. I immediately began to examine your book but found no instructions on that score. Malcom then told me he had seen Capt. Fannen a few hours before at Lafayette, that he had collected the West debt and would go to Hopkinsville Monday morning. I yesterday sent the 18 hundred dollars that I had received to Capt. Fannen to take to Mr. Knight. Also Capt. Fannen told Malcom that he supposed it would be right as you had directed him if he sold your tobacco to hand the money over to Knight. I ___ted to say that H. Frazer gave us a check on New York for six hundred dollars. I of course new nothing about checks. Malcom said it was the very thing you wanted. He said it should be all right. We gave a receipt for the money and I set it down in your book. I set down the No. of the check &c. Now I suppose you expected to have received this at Lake Charles. Our groceries have not arrived.

Maj. Malcom McNeill (1864)
Maj. Malcom McNeill (1864)

We are all well except Elijah. I think he has improved in the last few days. He has nearly taken all of his medicine. I shall send him to Dr. [John C.] Metcalf after more must I not?

We have the coldest weather I certainly ever saw at this season of the year. We have ice every morning almost. Our garden makes a poor show. Jane is improving.

The wheat is looking quite green yet tho’ I look every day to see it cut down by the frost. The peaches are all, or nearly all killed. I have tried to protect the strawberries. You must if spared be at home if they should have any.

I hope you will find your overseer a good manager that you may leave immediately for I am very anxious to see you. So write often. Your letter was so long getting here I thought you had been gone a great deal longer than I found you had when I looked at the almanac. We have had one of the darkest days I ever saw the 20th of March, I believe.

April 4

Capt. Farner has been over this morning and fetched T. B. Knight’s receipts to him for three thousand, four hundred and twenty-six dollars and 25 cts. He fetch the receip, with me. He collected two hundred and 51 of James Green and has credit his note and returned it so I think your business is pretty straight up here. __ F. says tobacco has declined a little but he believes it will react and go above any previous point this season. We have sent two hogsheads since you left and we sent for three bushels more of clover seed. The overseer insisted that it was necessary and so important that I told Malcom to write to Mr. Whitfield and get them.

We receive two letters by Saturday’s mail — one from Lucy Moon and the other from May Colwell. All well. Virgil Burk wrote his father that his daughter Mildred was dead. I have not seen cousin Betsey or any of them. Mrs. Moss and Capt. F. have been our visitors. I am having another piece of cloth fixed to be wove. Mrs. Kees says she can’t weave anymore so Gen. says, but I intend to try her with this anyhow and give her all the time she may ask to weave it. I don’t think we have began to plant corn yet tho’ they sent after paper and strings yesterday morning.

I must come to a close as it is nearly time for Gen. to start to the office. May the Lord bless you is the prayer of your devoted wife, — C. McNeill

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