Sunday, September 19, 2010

Paul A. Haralson Letter (15 December 1842)

Letter written by Paul Anderson Haralson (1798-1852) 15 December 1842 to his wife Leannah Herndon Graves Haralson (1803-1848). When the letter was written Paul Anderson Haralson was in Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina, and his wife was in Georgia. Her father, referred to in the letter, is Thomas Slade Graves (1775-1847). Her brother is Dr. George Washington Graves, M.D. (1811-1877).

Yanceyville N.C. 15th Dec 1842

My Dear Leannah

I have just received a letter from your brother George W. Graves in which he urges the importance of some immediate action in relation to your father's business and situation. I do not know what to say in the matter-if I could do anything in the world in that matter, I would be the first to do it. But my dear you do not know how miserable I am. In my present situation I have sold my _____________ for $900 and taken the money to pay every debt that I owe that I know of, except for one for about $100 - I have sold a good many of the things which I have left here & have raised a little money & with it I expect to pay off all my own debts in a day or two.

But I have trouble on another hand - old James Mebane has reported it here that I intend to run away and has taken out a writ against me on John Graves guardian bond as security for John; I went up to him this evening on the subject & he told me that he did not intend to press the claim unless I left. But if I went he intended to sue me & me alone & ___ the whole of the money out of me, with a view to keep me in this country & he ____ __ an excuse for it, that he wants me to stay here to attend to this guardian business; now you can well imagine my situation. Here I am without a house and home, I have to give __________ at Christmas which is in a few days. My family in Georgia, I am thus tied up as security for another man _ If it was on my own account I could stand it _ but I don't know that I owe $60 on my own account & have to be banded and cuffed about for another man's debt _ I told the old man I did not intend to runaway _ that I never intended to leave here without every person know it, & moreover I did not intend to leave my native country until I had paid every dollar that I owed - what he will do I cannot say - I had expected to have been in Georgia by the first of January - but I do not know when I shall be there ____ _____ __ ___ & apprise you ____ ___ every thing - If you can be content to stay there I want your to do so, until I come. I know you would not have me to come away unless I could do it honorably & in no other way will I ever do it. - If you have to come here, your situation would be worse here than it can possibly be in Georgia, for here you would have no friends, no money - no house, & no comfort - I can stand it - you cannot -

I want you, my dear Leannah, to do all you can for your old father -. Collect all the money that our negroes hired for & pay it over to him, give him up all the money you have got & St____ yourself & the children, ____ yourself every thing _ & if it becomes necessary sell any thing you can for a fair price - I have $300 - now with me which I wish he had -

He is your father & I have always thought an affectionate father to you - and I pray you to help him now, when he is in trouble - do just whatever you please in relation in this business & I will sanction it - It is your duty to do it - don't be afraid that I will not be willing . I tell you I will be willing to anything, you do for your father-, if it is even to sell every negro, we have got - Don't buy any thing if you can help it.

Swepson & Virginia Yancey are married - & Alexis Howard __ your cousin Mary Graves (Rebecca's sister) were married last week, Wednesday. Robt Lawson has established a new store in town. Elizabeth Graves & Price are off - She had got her wedding clothes, ____ ____ sometimes turned up which broke it off ____ ___ ____ ___ ___ are to be married in a few weeks _
& Mr. Lindsay the schoolmaster has taken Price's place at old Jeremy's. Dr. Walker has settled in Leaksville - It is thought that Dr. Yancey & Polly Miles will be married shortly. - Vance has quit Price and gone to Swepson - Dr. Graves has sold out, house & all to a Dr. Joiner of Pitt County (no ____ of Evelina's) who will take possession _______ - Elijah Graves Sr. bought Jerry & Susan, & ____ got little Jerry - Sally Johnson is in a very interesting condition -

I am not in a situation to give you any advice about our family - I know Camillus ought to be at school but I have no money - Oh, my dear son, don't don't, oh don't neglect your studies - Read every day - & you my beloved daughter, remember your poor little sisters - remember how much money I have paid for you & then remember Ann & Leannah - I would to God that you know my feelings on this subject - You both know that I love my children. No father ever loved his children better than I do, & how can you stand by and see those little sisters raised up without an education - If you neglect them now, you will be sorry for it one day or other -

I do not car how much suffering comes upon me. I could stand it all if my wife can be happy & my children can be, what I want them to be - farewell P.A. Haralson

Tell Geo. W. Graves every thing about my situation & say to him, that it is best, if no other arrangement can be made for him & John to take ____ of the negroes that can best be spared of your father, (if he is willing) & go into south Carolina & sell them for cash. Present me most affectionately to your father & mother. ____ & ___Wilkes, Julia Ann & Sarah & kiss my children for me - tell John his family are all well & tell him to be a good boy, & I will never separate him from his wife.

I know you are mightily crowded there, but I know you have a good father & mother, who will take care of you until I come. Don't let my cross on trouble or misfortune disturb you but be patient, be contented & be humble & resigned to the will of God & he will assuredly bless you - - P A H

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