The following letter was found in the papers of Mary Kerr Motz (1917-2005):
Clinton Hinds Co.
April 17th 1860
Miss E. A. Robertson
Yanceyville N. C.
Notwithstanding I have been in possession of your kind & very interesting letter for several days past, I have been unable from sickness & impartation duties to reply to it, until I fear you think I am one of those whose delight is not in the law of the heart but whose evil intentions severeth good to the heart, that forgets its only earthly idol, so soon as the king of day sinks to his rest.
(near bottom of page)
I visited the “crescent city- New Orleans”, I did enjoy myself finely while there. Save when I was in the hospital, gazing upon the afflicted & dying. I saw sights there that will haunt me to my grave. Still I am theoretically familiar with such scenes.
I met with one of my childhood friends there, who who had visited South America, Mexico & all the Teritories. Many an interesting story could he tell of fairy Zinzinas, who inhaled at every breath the sick perfumes of the sigareta, that adorned their lips.”like chimneys of paradise”. I spent every night while in the city in his room.
I must say a few things in regard to Miss House. I am grieved to dispute her word and will do so with that courtesy due a lady from a gentleman.
Such, too, is the opinion exemplified by my amable cousin, (Eliza) (Sam refers to his cousin Eliza Baldwin Skidmore future wife of Veston Carraway)
Having sent you my ambrotype, I can but hope you have rec’d it and fear your expectations have been sadly disappointed. It will be depending upon circumstances whether I visit Salem or not. Should my health not impose I shall visit Carolina; and will certainly make Yanceyville my first destination in the State.
My Cousin Eliza is again at home, imparting something of her happiness to all around.
I will close with a little poem I wrote for you one starry night in March. Receive it and treat it as a gift of the heart.
Your friend, Sam West (poem not with letter)