Saturday, September 28, 2019

John T. Burton 1875 Letter

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Caswell County N.C. May 12th 1875

Mr. J. M. Merritt

My Dear Nephew, I saw a letter you wrote your Aunt Shanks and she requested me to write you a few lines. Her health is tolerable though she is very much distressed. She intends staying at her home. Mr. Shanks left her all he had real and personal during her life, and at her death it is to go to your mother and myself if we should out live her, if not to our children.

Mr. Shanks had been suffering several years from disease of the bladder, and for some time before he died severely. He was not confined but ten days, he was ready. Two nights before his death he called his wife and some friends that were sitting up with him, and told them he was almost over the river and saw the walls of Jerusalem, told them to meet him in heaven. I was there when he died. I think he was conscious, but he was in a stupor all day and had nothing to say. I go down there every two weeks to attend to the hands that are working the land. They seem to be doing tolerable well so far, but I don't know how they will hold out.

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I got one of William Murray's daughters to come and live with your Aunt Shanks and she appeared very well satisfied. The last time I was there one of Miss Murray's sisters had died and she was gone to her brother Robert's and had not returned when I last heard from there.

We are all well and hope this will find you all the same. We had a cold bad _____ spring. Everything is late. Great scarcity of Tobacco plants. I don't think there can be a crop planted in this section.

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Warren Morgan's family are all well and Rainy is married he was twenty one. He is living with his father.

I should be glad to see you but it is so far. I don't expect I shall ever see you at your house, though I may. You said you thought you would come and see your relatives next summer. I hope you will. If you can't come, write and let us hear from you.

Your Affectionate Uncle

John T. Burton

Transcriber's Note: Paragraph breaks were added to enhance readability.

John T. Burton is a son of Benjamin Burton and Rebecca Pass. A sister of John T. Burton, Nancy P. Burton, married James Shanks, and most likely is the "Aunt Shanks" referenced in the 1875 letter from John T. Burton to his nephew Capt. J. M. Merritt.

Thus, it appears that another sister of John T. Burton had married a Merritt. However, note the following from Anne Burton Washburn:

John T. Burton was Daniel T. Merritt's wife's half brother. Fannie Ellis Gann was half sister to John T. Burton and Nancy Burton, Nancy Burton married James Shanks. Daniel T. Merritt's wife's mother was twice married - Gann 1st and Burton 2nd - 3 children in all.

Thus, J. M. Merritt (addressee in the letter) is Jefferson Monroe Merritt (1820-1896). His mother is Frances Ellis (Fannie) Gann Merritt (1798-1895), half-sister of the letter's author, John T. Burton.

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