The following letter was found in the papers of Mary Kerr Motz (1917-2005):
Clinton Hinds County, Miss.
January 12th 1861
Miss E. A. Robertson
I am again in possession of another one of your kind favors. Though it made my heart glad to hear from you, still, It pained me to think that you, my own & only female Correspondent, believed me “buried” in love with Miss McLeuse. I have seen her once, never shall see her again. This is cirtain for I am almost bound to spend the residue of my days in the army. This is the shortest way to spend an unhappy and unprofitable life. I have the honor to command a company, whose destination is South Carolina, the -----? civil war is proclaimed. I hope such news will reach us soon. And yet I am a–co-opperationist. One who loves the Union of his fathers. But I am no submissionist; And, I thank God, that I have more stability than to love best the girl I see last. I cannot make love a matter of such frivolous speculation. I would have you think better of your old friend & correspondent. I shall accept your advice; and, on the event I do “try again”, I will send Cupid, armed with many a arrow to fall harmless at your feet, or find a home within your heart. If you intend to hold out long you had better strengthen the walls that surround your heart.
I love you. I do esteem you highly & may long love you with constancy that amounts
to idolatry. I believe you fear this too much, to trust me your ambrotype. If you don’t send it, I shall see you soon in some sweet dream, or on my way to “West Point”.
If you don’t send it I will have you up in church for non-compliance of duty. You know the Methodist are baston for struting. My dad is Methodist So are you, or am I much mistaken in your notions of faith. I am Methodist in all but Baptism I think persons who are baptized ought to be drowned Such is Ovids translation of “emergo.”
I am a Mason, this must do me; till I get married. I will then go the way she tells me, except up the chimney. In regard to Cousin writing to you, I have to say, She is too happily gazing upon Vesses face to look at ------? Or think of writing.
I don’t like to be whipped for doing the best I can do, I‘ll go and get the whipping if you say so, but you shall get the scolding, if we are out of the old glorious Union. Missippssi is out Louisiana is out. Hurah! for the new Union! Money matters are still hard up. No credit. These are indeed hard times. Well I see no use In crying over the present or prophesying what will be. Still I can not help being sad if I am out of love.
I recon this is the cause of it, if it is I shant grieve much longer, if you will send me your type. Please send. ”Why tease me so”? If you are ugly, why you may know its just like me & most of the world. Beauty & intelligence don’t travel the same road far. That’s why I’m such a “sallet”. Cousin said you was ugly as herself. Vess thinks she’s the woman. I may think the same of you. I know you think I’m ugly & a sallet too, or would not tease me so about falling in love.
Your Friend, Sam West
Vess is Veston A. Carraway of Madison County, Mississippi.
Cousin is Eliza Baldwin Skidmore Carraway wife of Veston A. Carraway.
They were married September of 1860.