When doing genealogy research on my own family tree I sometimes come across information I feel like others may need to see also. Maybe there is another family out there doing research that hasn’t found these little details that I have stumbled across. This week I found an article in the Jacksonville Republican, a newspaper that was published during the 1800’s in Jacksonville, Alabama.
The following is a transcript from a letter written by H.L. Whiteside to the editors of the Jacksonville Republican Newspaper. He is writing to send news back to Calhoun County Alabama on their situation in arriving in Texas with his family of eleven and only $94. Mr. Whiteside was a tenant farmer and lived in the Holland Texas area for a very long time.
Letter from Harvey Lafayette Whiteside (born Nov. 24, 1848 – Alabama) to the Editors of the Jacksonville Republican Newspaper – Jacksonville Alabama
Letter from H.L. Whiteside.
March 3rd, 1895
EDITORS REPUBLICAN:–I have many times thought of my many friends in Calhoun county, and of the propriety of writing a letter for publication, that they might hear from us. After some delay and meditation on this matter, I write, hoping it will be appreciated in the spirit it is written, provided it meets your approbation to publish it.
We arrived here, 23rd., Nov., 1893, and got off of the train on Texas soil, with our baggage, and $94.38 cents in money, and a family of eleven.
With the money we managed to go to house-keeping, and live until after Christmas, but Santa Claus did not find us. We went to work, and having to buy stock, implements, seed, feed, provisions, and every thing on time, having already contracted a Doctors bill of $50, beside the medicines used in the case of a son who was sick on the way, our entire indebtedness to be paid out of the first crop, amounted to exactly $1,621.50, beside rents for land, (these figures differ a little from some statements in some of my letters but can be explained satisfactorily if any want to know.)
Well, of course, we didn’t know what we would owe at the end of the year, nor did we calculate on getting less than five cents for any of our cotton. We economised and worked hard. Sowed four and a half acres in oats, planted twenty five in corn, and about sixty-six in cotton. We gathered of oats, probably forty dozen, per acre, corn about nine hundred bushels, cotton, forty-five bales, averaging a little over five hundred lbs., each. We did not quite get out of debt, but we raised our pork, and have our outfit to work with this year. We have better than an average tenant home, and a fair dealing land-lord.
We live near the eastern boundary of the Black land belt, where there are no pine nor persimmon trees, and vegetables scarcely grow. It is all prairie here. A long the creeks we have Elm, Ash, Pecau, and Hackberry timber for wood, but a few miles east, there are lots of Post oak and people here go and buy it for fuel. A great many, however, use coal in both cooking stoves and heaters.
There are a great many advantages in farming here, and then, there are many inconveniences, as compared to Calhoun county, Ala. I am well pleased, and my family are satisfied we can do better here than we could there.
Harvey L. Whiteside
P.S.- I forgot to state we had an addition to our family soon after our arrival here, and it is a girl. From the outcroppings of her disposition, I think she will be delighted to ride a Texas pony some day.
Letter from Harvey Lafayette Whiteside to the people of Calhoun County Alabama