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Letters
The transcription below is of a document found in the Bible of
David Whitfield Cunningham, 1842-1901,  resident of McNair:


A Good offer
 
     The undersigned has ordered a new buggy and will receive the same the 25th inst.  I offer to any young lady who would like to take the first buggy ride with me the following proposition, to wit.
     That she make me a cake.  I will furnish the butter & eggs to make the cake, the cake to be flavored to suit the maker.  So the cake is short and sweet, it will do.  The cake is not to weigh less than one pound and not more than five.  I must get the cake before I will take the ride.  The buggy ride is not to be less than one mile and not more than five.  I prefer daylight but would not object to a nice moonshiny night, but I am willing to leave that with the one who will make the cake.  I do not include old maids over 45 in the above but will accept widows of any age.  Any one accepting the above offer notify me at McNair.
                                                  D.W.C.


Note: The offer must have worked because after his first wife Lydia Herring Gordon Cunningham died in 1890, he married a young widow, Mrs. Emma Gates Moore in 1892! She was 30 and he was 50!  His grown children were not very pleased about it.  David and Emma had 3 children after what must have been a unique courtship, to say the least!  
contributed by Ann Geoghegan, his great-great granddaughter-in-law


Jefferson County, MS

Letter to Judge Jeff Truly

from Dr. William D. McCain

JEFFERSON COUNTY

Compiled by Mississippi Daughter's of the American Revolution

"Jefferson County - first known as Villa Gayoso District, under Spanish Government. Jefferson came into hands of British September 1763, had no white inhabitants at that time. When French vacated - one Frenchman and one German Squaw man. After British occupancy - allowed 100 acres for every member of family or servant. A map of 1770 shows 1/2 dozen people settled in Jefferson Co., either on banks of Mississippi River, or Fairchilds Dowds, or Coles Creek (Taking name from 1st British settlers: names -- Dibdall Holt, John Lum, James Truly). The territory was still sparsely settled when British delivered property by treaty to Spain in 1778 - without exception either British by blood or sympathy -- Tories from Colonies. After the Revolution others came - people from States or Revolution soldiers. Harrison's, Burches (Terr. still belonged to Spain) many refused to yield obedience and secretly fostered to unfurl flag of U.S. In 1798 U.S. took possession. In Jefferson Co. there were 130 settlers by occupancy and acquired title through pre-emption, without recognition of Spanish Government."

Research by Ruth Steele

Delta, Utah

Ltr. to Judge Jeff Truly

The fact might be noted that there were only two small areas in Mississippi inhabited by white men in the period of the American Revolution - the Gulf Coast which was settled by the French in 1699 and Natchez which was originally settled by the French in 1716. The people of the Gulf Coast took little notice of the American Revolution. The Anglo Saxons of Natchez were opposed to the British, Americans, and Spaniards and fought or harassed them when the opportunity presented itself.

Dr. William D. McCain

Chairman

Mississippi American Revolution Bicentennial Commission


A special thank you to Jeanne Truly Davis for sharing this letter to

Judge Jeff Truly with us.

 


Following are excerpts from a letter dated Apr 15, 1973, addressed to C.F. Darden, signed by Edgar N. Coffey, Jr. Mr. Coffey was a native of Fayette and the son of Capt. Edgar N. Coffey and Carrie W. Campbell.

W. 58 28th Avenue

Spokane, Wash. 99203

Dear Mr. Darden:

With reference to your most interesting, and also appreciated letter, of April 11th. Call it NOSTALGIA, or whatever you wish, but I certainly enjoyed reading it. As you probably know, I am an old "SQUARE", and I have been away from Fayette, for a long, long time, but when I recall my childhood there, I also get a little HOME-SICK, for the times when the world was young.

As I wrote you, I lived at Jackson for several years while my father, and his family, were living in Army Post, mostly, above the Mason and Dixon Line, and when I came to Spokane from Birmingham, Alabama, with my father's body, November, 1922, I was sort of a "Johnnie Reb" mixed up with Yankee relatives. We didn't see eye to eye on things DOWN SOUTH. Some of the ideas they, and their friends had, about Mississippi, and the folks down there, sounded to me like things that happened before the Civil War, so, I tried to bring them up to date. And made myself just about as popular, with my mother and sister, as a wet dog would be at a Millinery Opening, or style show.

Now you ask me, where my house was, when I lived at Fayette, and if I am familiar with the Davenport Block? Yes, I am, as you may know, I spent most of my childhood in my Grandfather's home (Robert. W. Campbell, Sr.) across from the Presbyterian Church. My mother and father were married on Dec. 5th, 1888. I was born Sept. 14, 1889. The first few years they lived on the old Coffey place, up on the hill, on the Harriston Road, but I don't remember anything about it. When my father became Postmaster at Fayette, he rented a house in back of the old Davenport Block. There were two houses back there, and a lot of pasture land back of the houses. A high board fence separated the houses, also an apple tree. Mr. Arnold, the barber, lived in the other house. He had to go around the alley between Hobbs Freeman's store, and the Gus Fleming house, to get to his home. But, there was a passage-way through the old Davenport Block to our house. There were a lot of rooms rented on the 2nd floor of the old Davenport Block. Mr. Ellis, Druggist for L. W. Carradine's Drug Store, lived up there. My Uncle Chest. S. Coffey, Jr., lawyer, member of the Mississippi Legislature, and ALCOHOLIC, died up there. And the Armory for the Fayette National Guard Co., was up there. We lived in that old house, while my father was the Postmaster, and until he left for the Spanish-American War. Then we moved back to Grandpa's home, across from the Presbyterian Church-Masonic Hall. Grandpa took care of the Post Office after my father left, and until, I THINK, Mr. Ben Truly was appointed Postmaster.

When I visited the Farrar's, I also come into Fayette over the old Natchez Road from the South. WAY BACK THERE, I remember, on the right side, the old Fayette Cemetery, Methodist Church, moved later, way up on the Port Gibson Road; Steve McNair's house, Chancery Clerk, and then Matt Harper, (McClure & Harper); Office & home of Dr. Clem McNair, and then the Cameron's home... during the Mexican Border trouble, in 1916, I was a 1st Lieut. 1st Miss. Inf., stationed at Camp Wilson, San Antonio, Texas. Willie Cameron was a 1st Lieut. 4th Tex. Inf., also stationed there. I played ball with Henry Cameron, as a kid, and I think his older sister married Fritz Schober. On the left side of the street; the home L. W. Carradine, then Dub Whitney's home, a vacant lot, and the home of Ben Truly; the Rodney Road. On right side, the Liddell's Store and yard, and house; Cooper's Store; Fayette Chinaman's Store; Aunt Etta McClure' cook; Sallie Bundley was that Chinaman's girl friend.

Next, on same side of street: The F. Krauss & Sons, Store and lot; then the Guilminot Hotel, their Saloon, Mr. Weible, Manager. (Miss Nona Guilminot married Mr. Reber, Insurance. Allein Coffey was his secretary for years.) A "Hack" out in front to take "Drummers" to Rodney, et cetera. And I think the driver was Charley Sherling; then the Public Square, Confederate Monument; and way over, Mrs. Stephens Store and home, next to Grandpa Campbell's. On the left; Mrs. Helen Whitney's home, and Fayette Chronicle, until it moved up on the Port Gibson Road; and then a colored friend, Mike Howard's home; the Gus Fleming home; and then the Davenport Block; Hobbs Freeman's Store; L. W. Carradine's Drug Store; the Entrance and steps to the second floor of the Davenport Block; the Post Office; Passage-way to our house; Arnolds' Barber Shop, and your Uncle Tom Mc'Ginty's Saloon. Back in those days, Mr. McGinty had a `rep' around Fayette, something like "Wild Bill" Hickok and Billie the Kid, had out West. Nobody wanted any trouble with Tom McGinty. Gossip said, he was always armed. He and my father were good friends... organizing the Fayette Company, for the Spanish-American War. My Dad had a fight in the Saloon, with Clyde Culley, Mr. McGinty stopped the fight, and took my Dad's side. He was a CHARACTER. He had several coops of game roosters, for cock fighting, and a pet coon on the side of his saloon. I used to look at them every day. His bar tender was Mr. Christian... then there was a wide spot in the road, and way back was Felix Noble's Livery Stable; the Court House and Jail.... Across the Road....

The Union Church Road, way over the Presbyterian Church; Dr. A. K. McNair's home behind it; those cottages I wrote you about; the lot, store, home and garden of S. Hirsch; Mr. Ledden's Store; a big yard and house, where I think, Mr. Ben Knapp once lived; the store of Scott McDonald; the store of Uncle John S. Campbell, and the lot, and store of McClure & Harper; and the store of Mr. J. J. Gordon. ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE STREET: Mr. Dub Whitney's Drug Store; the Ben Straas Store, and house; my friend, Patience Young; a wide spot, with the baker in the back ground; Drug Store of Lowenthal; with the Opera House up above; Vacant lot and the big yard and house of Dr. W. H. H. Lewis; the road up to the Academy.

RIGHT SIDE OF THE STREET: A big vacant lot; a Building later occupied by the Fayette Chronicle; the Butcher Shop of Loren Spencer; the big yard, lovely oak trees, et cetera, and home of Judge Jeff Truly. Everette fell out of one of those trees, knocked his teeth out, and like to have killed him; Mr. Key's home; My uncle Charlie Coffey's big yard, oak trees, pasture, etc. Heavy board fence, Christian Church, and road to Harriston; McClure's Blacksmith Shop, run by Mr. Harrold; Mc Clure home and a cotton field. ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE STREET: A hitching rack, where a mule threw me plumb out in the street, I was very close to him, and his legs picked me up, otherwise I wouldn't be writing this lengthy.. "what-you-call-it"? A storeroom where Scott McBride kept Coffins, etc. They said it was haunted. Then the Ledden home, yard, etc., with Miss Corrie Ledden, and a parrot.....

There were four lovely ladies at Fayette, according to the Gossips. These pretty women, kept up with the modern styles, fads, etc. Out dressed all the other Fayette Gals. They were: Mrs. Eppie McGinty, Miss Corrie Ledden, Miss Addie Cook, Milliner for McClure & Harper, who married my Uncle Lem. B. Campbell, and Mrs. Flossie Whitney. Next to the Ledden home, Bowles Johnson home; and home of a brother of George Schober's. Then a big pasture; then your Uncle Tom McGinty's home, and grounds; Mr. McCalebs home. He was book keeper for McClure & Harper; and my Uncle John Campbell's home. Then the road on to Port Gibson. That was Fayette as I remember it years ago.

Mr. McGinty and my Dad, were good friends, and in some ways, they were very much alike. I think Mr. McGinty was more "cool and collected' than my Dad was. My Dad had a High Temper, and "blew his top" too quick. But both of them liked Scotch & Soda, Old Fashions, et cetera. Both liked Cock-Fighting, Horse Racing, and MAYBE a Poker Game. My Uncle Charlie Coffey, and Uncle Mott, were good Church members. My Dad seldom went to church. My Dad and Uncle Charlie, never got along very well. Example, when women first started riding horses astride, my Dad bought Anna Coffey a divided skirt, Derby hat, hat pin, etc., rented two horses from the livery stable, and he and Anna rode down Fayette's Main Street, passed the Court House. I thought Uncle Charlie, and my Dad, were going to kill each other, and OVER AUNT OLIVE'S PROTEST, we all had to move back down to Grandpa Campbell's house. At that time, Uncle Charlie was a CUSSING DEACON of the Methodist Church.

As you know the Christian Church was just over the fence from Uncle Charlie's house. When Sam Jones came to Fayette, he talked about you Christians, He called you folks Campbell-Lights; and my Dad made Uncle Charlie MAD, by telling him the reason Sam Jones did that, was because you didn't have the money to help pay Sam Jones' expenses. But the funny thing he did - and he never came back to Fayette after that. THE DARWIN THEORY: When my Dad came home from the Philippine Islands, he had a poem - The Monkeys have no tails in Zamberange - and the Fayette Methodist Preacher, Brother Honeycutt, had sideburns; he was down at the Court House visiting Uncle Charlie. My Dad was out front reading his poem to that gang, Ken Dennis, etc., who sat on the Court House steps, and spit tobacco juice, and whittled on red cedar. When Brother Honeycutt came by, he lectured my Dad, and took the poem out of his hand and tore it up. My Dad lost his temper, grabbed Brother Honeycutt by the whiskers and threw him down the steps. Brother Honeycutt's face was all blue Sunday morning. My Dad left Fayette that night, and I think, that was the last time he was ever in Fayette.

Right after he went into the Regular Army, he visited Fayette. He 'dolled-up' in a white duck uniform, with gold ornaments. Your Uncle Tom McGinty had a beautiful horse, rubber tired buggy. He and my Dad, and ME, sitting on the floor behind the dashboard, went to a picnic out from Harriston -- had a good time, eating, swinging on a grape vine, wading. But my Dad had a fight with "Dunc" Chamberlain. Dunc sure messed up that uniform. My Dad cut Dunc with his pocket knife, so he had blood and mud all over him. I can remember YET how scared I was behind that dashboard, with Mr. McGinty and my Dad, on the buggy seat, with two pistols between them all the way from Harriston to Fayette. But, nothing happened. I SURE WAS SCARED.

Signed:

Edgar N. Coffey, Jr.


A special thank you to Jeanne Truly Davis for sharing this letter with us.

 

 

Letter from Albert Shaw to his father William Shaw

both residents of Union Church, Jefferson County

click on thumbnail to read letter


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