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Mary Mazilla Davis  1845-1935 (Old Letters)

Passed down to her granddaughter: Mary Breazealle Renna

LETTER_1 of 30

Feb 19th 1860

Miss Mary Davis

My faculties seem to fail me when I take up my pen to address you for the first time in life. I hardly know what to say, what I feel I dare not write, often have I thought when in your company I would talk to you of things concerning my future, to lifelong happiness, but my heart has failed me as often. Miss Molly, I look up to you as to no other woman living. I am a plain man & wish you to deal true and honest with me. Will you favor me with an answer to this? I regretted very much to learn you were going to Perry County to teach school.

Hoping to hear from you soon I will close


Berry Gardner

PS direct your letter to B. M. Gardner. Columbia.

Marion Co. Miss.


Form No = 4 Certificate to be given a Soldier at the time of his discharge

I certify that the within named Richmond Mclnnis a private of Captain J. T.

Fairlys Company I, 7th Mississippi Regiment, born in Covington County Miss, aged twenty years, five feet eleven inches high, fair complexion, blue eyes, black hair, and by profession a farmer, was enlisted by Captain B. F. Johns at Bay St. Louis on the 17th day of September 1861, to serve one year, and now is entitled to an honorable discharge on account of constitutional debility.

The said Richmond Mclnnis was last paid by paymaster S. E. Rumble to include the thirtieth day of April eighteen hundred and sixty two (1862), and has pay due from that time to the present date. Their is due him thirty dollars and thirty one cents ($30.31). Their is due him ________ dollars on account of clothing not drawn in kind tra clothing, &c. Given in duplicate in Camps near Saltillo Mi this the 23rd day of July, 1862

J. T. Fairly Captain

Commanding Company I, 7th Mi Regt


B. Leonard

I hereby authorize D. I. Mclnnis to collect all money due me from the Confederate States including fifty dollars bounty

Richmond Mclnnis

Acknowledge before me this the 27 of November 1862

Frederick Pope, Judge of the Probate Court

Covington County State of Mississippi

Final Statement in the case of R. Mclnnis Co. I, 7th Mi Regt

Soldiers Discharge

To all whom it may concern

Know ye that J. N. Mclnnis a Sergeant in Capt J. T. Fairlys Co. I, 7th Miss Vols, of the Confederate States Army was enlisted by Capt B. F. Johns at Bay St Louis on the 11th day of September 1861, to serve one year is honorably discharged from the Army of the Confederate States.

W. N. Bishop

Col. Cong. 7th "


By order MaS. Dennis Brig Gnl Vol Army for U.S.

This indenture of deed

of conveyance made and entered into on this the 11th day of November AD 1867

by and between John Ford & Mary Ford his wife

of the first part

and Mary Davis of the second part

all of the County of Covington and State of Mississippi Witnesseth that

for and in consideration of the sum of three hundred dollars to us in hand paid

by the said Mary Davis party of the second part the receipt

whereof is hereby acknowledged have this day bargained sold aliened and conveyed

and by these presents doth bargain sell alien and convey unto the said Mary Davis as aforesaid and to her heirs and assigns forever the following described tract or parcel of land lying and being situated in the County and State aforesaid and more particularly described as follows to wit,

The East half of the North west quarter of Section No three

in Township No Six North of Range No Sixteen West

containing seventy nine and seventy seven hundredths of an acre

also the West half of the North West quarter of Section No three in Township No Six North of Range No Sixteen West

containing the aggregate one hundred and fifty nine acres and fifty four hundreths more or less to have and to hold the same unto the said Mary Davis and to her heirs assigns executors & Administrators forever

and we John Ford and Mary Ford wife of the said John Ford do hereby by these presents bind ourselves our heirs executors administrators and assigns to forever warrant and defend the title to the above described tract or parcel of land against the lawful claim or claims of ourselves and against the claim or claims of any and all other person or persons claiming the same.

In testimony whereof we the said John Ford and Mary Ford his wife hereunto set our hands and affix our seals on the day and date above written.


John Ford (seal)

Mary M. Ford (seal)

The State of Mississippi This day personally appeared before me the Covington County undersigned an acting member of the board of Police within and for the County and State aforesaid John Ford who acknowledged that he signed sealed and delivered the within and foregoing deed of Conveyance as his voluntary act and deed for the sole purpose therein specified.

Also at the same time personally appeared before me as foresaid Mary Ford wife of the within named John Ford who being by me examined separate and apart from her said husband acknowledged that she also signed sealed and delivered the within and foresaid deed of Conveyance on the day and date therin written freely and without any fear threat or compulsion on the part of her said husband but as her own voluntary act and deed for the sole purpose therein expressed.

Given under my hand and Seal this the 12th day of November AD 1867

J. D. Norris (seal)

M. B. P. C. County

State of Mississippi Covington County

I Arthur J. Thompson Clerk of the Probate Court within and for the County and State aforesaid do hereby Certify that the within and foregoing Deed of Conveyance was received in the Probate Clerk's office of said County for record on the 6th day of January AD 1868 duly stamped as the law directs and was duly Recorded in Record Book of Deeds ""C"" on page 479 & 480 this day.Given under my hand and the Seal of said Probate Court affixed at my office in Williamsburg on this the 6th day of February AD 1868

Arthur J. Thompson Clerk


"Sharman Columbia Ark.

July 8, 1880

My Dear Mother:

I has been quite a long time since I wrote to you, as I knew you were hearing from me through the letters I wrote to the rest of the family.

My general health remains good except losing flesh, which is not, I suppose any characteristic of disease in summer.

I am aware that you are as familiar with my surroundings as those to whom I have been writing directly, so I am at a loss to know to lengthen out this letter sufficiently long and interesting, for it to correspond with the feelings which the writer entertains for the "dear one to whom it is addressed.

" If words were consummate in a true betrayal of fondness , Mothers would doubtless receive more loving assurances from distant sons than would ever be found in any other species of correspondence.

There is such a mystic, and conscious instinct to be exactly truthful however, in such a letter that it curtails, denies that style of embellishment which with less care for what we say to others in order to captivate the eye of rhetoric on the ear standing open for fiction.

I am doing very well here. I have never until the past year have had a fair opportunity to bring all my energy and discretion to bear on my business and a lax pursuit of any livelihood is always followed by a feeble reward, but my efforts in this locality have been well nigh up to my entire ability and now I am prepared to push my avocation, either law or teaching, with vigor and more over embraced by assurances of being a decided preference with the popular majority in either calling.

My greatest regret is that I cannot see the propriety of my returning home to practice for the reason that that country is too poverty ridden to give much paying employment to any profession. I am going to make just in here somewhere my permanent home because I am now among a class of people whose whole order of process comes natural to me from its resemblance to the caste among which I was raised.

I wrote Barbara a huge story in regard to an intended marriage. I was only trying to see if she was as fond of me now as before her late departure. There is one thing however about which I am a little unsettled as I grow older and more quiet in my tastes and see the measureless ruin that is "attending humanity from ignoring the Bible. "

"I become more convinced that my influence " should be given to the support of upright tenets and may before long join the church. There are no organized Baptists or Presbyterians convenient. I shall probably unit with the Methodist Protestants.

This people are trying to get me to agree to settle right here for lige (life?), but I do not know that I shall not change to Magnolia this autumn.

Give my love to Father and Lou. Tell her to do your writing even though she cares so little about me herself. She is Tom's child and that secures to her my undying affection.

Write to

Your Devoted Son J. H. Davis"


"Home, of course

Dear Sissy,

I have no news to write you but I will pen you a line to let you know that I am nearly dead to see the baby. I am going out there to the Bethany (?) look sharp, I want you to dead me 2 yds Fine h? Swiss if that will be enough for waist and sleeves, if not send more.

You can judge. Send two spools brown cotton thread. I have cut out my brown Basque, it suits as well as could be expected. I got those patterns from Jane McGrew for baby I will send them. The ""side body"" you will have to cut two for each side. I suppose you will ""understand"".

Martha Harper came last Friday and stayed till Sunday eve. She was talking about your baby, and I told her Bill was so scared it would be red headed, that every time anybody said it was pretty he would say ""you haven't seen its head yet"".

I think she felt bad enough to do with that. I wouldn't say anything to her about it if I were you, ""let it pass"".

I got Lou's picture a few days ago. I will send it, but you must be sure and send it back, I'm not half done with it yet.

Mother got a letter from Aunt Nancy; I will send it too. I believe I have writt all I can think, only I am going to teach two months in Ed Lotts old house to commence Monday week.

I dont want to think of that much. I told them (""the employers"") they would have to let me out to go to Bethany and Johns ex (?) if he has one 16th August, as I wouldn't miss them places for forty dollars, ""the salary"".

For fear 2 yds will not be enough send 3 of the swiss and you may insist on fathers getting a few pounds sugar if you will please I believe your influence will prevail.

We have lost sight of (?). "Be ready to come home with me when I go, and " tell Alice to come. You must go to Mt. Carmel and have the baby's picture taken while times are good, before she gets ugly.

Kiss her for me till you give out, and take her to the shop and put her in the vise to squeeze her for me.

No more at present.

B.S.D. (Barbara Stewart Davis)"


"Mt Carmel Miss.

April 4th 1881

My Dear Sister

Yours of the 2nd March was rec'd a few days ago. I have been thinking ever since you were here that I would write ""tomorrow"" but have delayed until now.

All are well as usual. I think Mother has improved considerable, but she will not have it so. She sits up now during the day, sleeps pretty well at night, is better though some days than others.

Dr Jones would not be positive about a cure but seemed to think she would get all right. Father was here a week ago, said he would come after her in a few days, thought a change perhaps would help her. 12 weeks ago yesterday she came.

I have not been out of sight of the house since, only last Thursday, when I was sent for. Mrs Earline Magee died and requested that I should dress her, and see her ""put away"".

I got Eliza Dean to stay with Mother while I was gone. Mrs Magee was buried in the year as it was her request.

I had a letter from John dated 7th of March - he was very brief_ said he was well. Also had one from Lou dated 11th- she is not housekeeping yet, but said they would be soon.

John and Lou both clamored for a smart letter from me to show, as if I could. They are not answered yet. Harriet Beecher Stowe couldn't write a literary letter if she were in my circumstances.

Tell Babe and Lou I have three turkey hens and one gobbler -I wish they were here to hunt the eggs for me. I am going to have a drove of them this year - or try, and the next time you come we will ""have turkey for dinner"". ""I says I wonder"" For then you will have a sewing machine and I will not have to sew all the time you are here. I have had just 80 chickens hatched this spring -have 36 of them now- and 15 of them came off this morning. The hawks; the hawks.

I never did see the like. I shot and killed one though - flying - last Monday. What do you think of that? An accident? Perhaps so, but such accidents answer a good purpose.

John went to Brookhaven last week - sold two bales cotton at 8 1/2 cents - could hardly sell cotton there at any price - the merchants were so blue. He has planted most of his corn crop - but I expect he will "have to plant again. "

My garden started off at first like the plants were going to do something, but now looks like they have gone backwards. Keeps so cold - I have had two ""messes"" of greens out of it. Well I reckon you will think that I am giving you all the ""locals"", but if you are like me, you want to know it all. Tell Bill if he would come up here we could spare him some Bermudagrass to plant all over his mill-dam - it would soon spread, and I'll bet it would not wash away. John planted some on Nancy's four years ago - the water hid the dam for several hours and it did not break - the only mill I know of that didn't when Bill's did. Of course I lay it to the grass - and John.

Well he is ready to start and I must close. Kiss all the children for me. I am going down there soon as I can after Mother goes home. I know Bill thought if he would come as near us as Mr Carmel and then not come here, that I never would go there anymore, but I'll show him, I am one that believes ""where there’s a will there’s a way"" - and I am going.

Kindest regards to anybody that asks about me from

Your Loving Sister


PS If this letter does not reach its destination, but is intercepted in the way, I am going to write for a Detective - I reckon he can find out what P M it is that is so eager for news."


"Dry Creek Miss

" May 17 1881

My Dear Sister,

To let you know that I have not forgotten you, I will write a few lines, this leaves John & me well. Mother went home five weeks ago. I went to see her two weeks ago last Sunday. Father thought she had improved "some, but I couldn't see much change in her. "

She will not have it that she is any better and I very much fear it will be a long time before she gets entirely well if ever. She sits up most of the day - did when I saw her. Talks natural enough about everything else but of her last condition and if she (?) to die? believe th?? would not believe it for their fruits ye shall know them, (next 3 lines too dim to read) if I had a horse gentle enough to go by myself.

I intended to go down there mand to your house from there but ""Bully"" gets wilder instead of being gentler he holds his own this spring is in good (?) now - that is why I can’t go, but I am going just as soon as John gets through with his busy spell. If you have a chance to go see Mother, do not delay on my account, for if such should happen that I would go and not find you at home, why, I'd follow your trail. I was not so much surprised to hear that you had a boy, as Jane McGrew "had one a month or so before you.

" I was glad but do not think he is any better than the girls of course. I would name him ""John Davis"" if it were left with me or ""John Mclnnis"" either but know you would rather the ""Davis"". What ever you name him I will try to love him all the same. I would be glad to have Sally if you can spare her, but she does not seem to (?) after me like Babe and Lou did when they were like her.

Tell them to hurry up about writing to me. I am anxious to see their letters. I haven't had a letter from John since I last wrote you - nor Lou either.

How is your garden now? Mine is burned up. I have forgotten when we had rain last. John says his corn and cotton is not suffering much yet, but my peas will soon be done with their ""suffering"" and haven't had but two messes yet - have had beets and potatoes.

Communion (?) meeting was at Dry Creek Church last Sunday. Had a very good congregation and better sermons thought I have heard Mr (?) preach better ones- but only a few.

The Applewhites & wife took dinner with us and she and I made up a trip to see Lou and Camp Meeting at China Grove in Sept. I think I will go if nothing happens (next few words not readable) many days. Presbytery is to be at Mt. Carmel in Oct.

You must be sure to come. It would do you good - make one powerful effort and start before the time comes. I am going to take to seeing a little more and hearing too of what's in the world.

Mother Shiptons prophecy just as well come to pass for all the good the world does us. I suppose you have heard that Preston Turnage and Sallie Hall were married last Thursday, so if litt Preston has never got those shoes yet, he never will now.

Kate Burkhalter & McKeever (?) - the Williamsburg painter, were married last Sunday. Wmsburg folks are to crown a Queen of May next Friday night - they may know best, but my idea is that ought to be done the first of May.

Evans & Effie are mad with Mt. Carmel because Mary (?) got whipped in it, and are going to try to do something for the ""High School"" but they needn't - Mt Carmel's school is a ""storey"" higher.

Tell Lou and Babe that I have 50 little chickens, 9 turkeys, two turkey hens sitting and I reckon you think I am too sleepy to think of anything and you are right - perhaps I will finish this literary document in the "morning.

" Morning Well the (word removed out of respect) that I was to send this to the PO has come, and I will have to close this epistle. I am going just as soon as I can.

Kiss all the children for me, Love you yourself from

Your Sis B


"Sharman Columbia Co Ark

My Dear Sister;

Barbara tells me that you have not rec'd a letter from me in two years that you are hurt about it. I wrote to you and Will jointly about six months ago and as I received no answer I supposed that writing had become a task with you and that you heard from me through Barbara, sufficiently often to feel satisfied as to my health and employment.

It was, I can assure you, no want of affection, that prompted my apparent neglect, but candidly for the causes enumerated herein.

Though it has been so long since I wrote to you I have no news of interest. I am getting along very well and am probably settled for awhile, but should my health ever become as bad as it was for five years I shall probably come home to die as I feel sure that I can never stand such another siege. Money is not plenty here (where is it plenty) but people are "doing very well.

" I am practicing law but am teaching also. I get more law business than I can well attend to and keep up my school duties, but not enough to abandon the school - it being more of a certainty.

After getting thoroughly acquainted here I shall discontinue teaching.

Mary, I was out of something to write Barbara not long since and wrote to her that I had some notion of marrying.

Now I said the girl's name is Miss Nellie LaRue of Louisville, Ky. I am corresponding with her but not on that business.

The fact is I only wanted to see if Barbara had lost by marrying any of her interest in me. To my astonishment all hands are willing - Mother, Father and Barbara.

I have at present no notion whatever of such a step, and though I am thirty year old, I have never thought I was in love but once since I left home. That was in North Carolina, and I was mistaken in myself. I was not in love.

If I go five more years single, you may know you have a bachelor brother, which I shall be very likely to do from my present feelings. Train your children, dear Sister, with great care to be truthful to use no deception and to be industrious, don't overtask them in any duties you impose but when you give them a duty to discharge, never, Never, NEVER let them shirk it. Teach them self respect, and that honor is worth more than most people's religion.

Well I have written more than I supposed I would -

Write soon.

I shall write once a month in the future.

Your Devoted Brother John"


"Magnolia Ark.,

August 10,1882

My Very Dear Sister:

I received your letter (date not remembered) in which you spoke of Fathers feebleness, and requesting me to come home immediately to see him.

I was intending, should his feebleness continue, to come soon, but received from Sister B a letter containing information of his death. He had lived his threescore and ten, which is a time exceeding the allotted time of the great majority of people in this life.

At his extreme age you and Sister B should have been, and evidently were, very kind to him. His second childhood merely recognized as a fact accounts for any strange and seeming injustice evidenced by the disposition of his property.

We must not remember it as an act of a partial parent, rather as a very natural mistake of a very old man brought on by insidious influences as P designedly brought to bear.

I can however, as I think, undo it and dispossess P.

Do you and Sister B wish me to enter suit or must we let him remain undisturbed in his evilly procured possessions? I shall leave it all to you. I wish none to my part, and should we gain confer all my right and title to you and Sister B.

I want you and Will to be sure to educate your children and for that purpose wish you to prosper financially. I am making a living for a bachelor and some little over were I not extravagant (an evil hard to cure).

Please write soon to your devoted brother.


J. H. Davis

Waldo, June 22,1886

Dear Sister:

Did you get my letter with Van's photo at Wilksburg? - also one since to Williamsburg, Van and Anna are well.

Van had flux - He sometimes is ""croupy"".

School out in a few days. I am going to buy or build a neat house - think I'll buy, but don't want to give the fellows price.

Keep your sewing machine. Keep beds plenty.

"Your devoted Bro.

" John


Waldo, Oct 7, 1886

My Dear Sister;

I was to have started yesterday. My wife is in a condition that I became afraid to go.

Moreover the expense to which I have been subjected swallowed up all my ready cash. If however, I conclude it safe to leave Anna, I can soon collect the requisite shekels.

I may start at any time, the truth is we failed to ""count moons"" closely.

Don't doubt but what I'll come.

Glad, Glad, Glad am I to come however long I may be delayed.

Love to all -

(A drunken doctor is our troubled.)

Yours devotedly



Paint Rock, Texas

Sept 16, 1890

My Very Dear Sister:

If you knew the difficulty I encounter in an effort to write you a long letter you would never feel that I am indifferent. You can easily write me a long letter as I know nearly everybody back there and am glad to read any happenings that may take place, but as you are acquainted with no one here you could not read with active interest the marriages, death, removals, etc that occur here. This letter leaves us all well. Anna will be confined early in October. My two boys are spelling. Van can pronounce common words.

I never craved riches as I do now, because I am not willing to send my children to school. A long experience with children in the school room has convinced me that the permanent colorings of moral character are absorbed in early childhood, and as so few parents teach their children that rigid morality that could be made a safeguard for life. I regret having to subject my boys to the uncared for offspring of the rabble as associates during the and most impressionable period of their young lives. If I were I'd have a governess and Van and LDan should never keep bad company. I shall not send them to school as long as home teaching can be prosecuted with any reasonable success. Whilst I am a democrat in politics, a democracy as a social theory is nothing short of dynamite to moral nature.

America needs a caste as it prevails under monarchies. Social democracy has long been a polluting snare to American character. It is an outrage for refined and moral families to be compelled to permit their children to be herded in the same schools with children whose hearthstone is but a nursery of purely animal instincts. This is a (fatally, I fear) crippling theory and practice poisoning social, moral, intellectual, and industrial life.

The gradation of the human race cannot be wisely ignored. I have vast prospects here, but you know how capricious prospects are. If I succeed in an undertaking I am quietly but vigorously pushing, I will be able before long to aid you in your struggles to make a living. This is the healthiest locality I ever saw. The people too are generous and easily got along with, but to tell the truth, I don't like it here and yet I can't tell my reasons. I was too many years a denizen of the forest to like the nakedness of this section. Tell Lou to push her studies - an education is a solace, it gives comfort in profounder directions than merely assisting us to feed and clothe ourselves.

The reason I write to you instead of Barbara is because I don't know whether she is at your house or Williamsburg.

Give my love to all the children and write soon to your devoted brother -



Paint Rock Texas

Aug 15, 1892

The bearer Prof. J. H. Davis is a profound scholar, an "excellent teacher withall a Christian gentleman.

" He leaves our school at his own option. We commend him most cordially to any board desiring the service! of a first class teacher.

Joe B. Currie )

Alex Edminston ) Trustees

U. C. Owen

J. E. House Co Clerk

Ed Dozier Sheriff

John Steen Supt Schools

Felex Knox Pstor, MES "


1894: A Letter To Mary from her niece Alice Wilson

By: Mary Breazeale Renna

"To: …….Mary Mazilla Davis Barnes,

" "From: ....Mary’s niece, Alice Wilson

" Rocky Springs, Miss., July () 1894

(Mary Mazilla Davis Barnes would be abt. 49 years old.)

Mrs. Mary Barnes,

Dear Aunt, I will drop you a few lines to let you know that I have not forgot you, though we have been parted for a long while.

I have six children 5 boys and 1 girl.

I would like to hear from you.

How you are getting along?

Are any of your girls married?

Where is Uncle Pickens?

Are all his children married, and how many children have they?

Where is Lou, and how many children has she; and where is Aunt Jane?

Where is Aunt Barbara; how is she getting along?

What are you following for a living?

Pa is still looking very old; his two daughters are both married.

Lee has one child, Zell; lives near me.

Lee lives up near Vicksburg.

Loughton is still single.

Pa has two boys with him; he lives in Hinds County near Utica.

Aunt Mary, I reckon you think I am very inquisitive, but I had rather see you than anyone I know of.

You write soon and tell me all you know about our relatives.

I will close hoping to hear from you soon.

Your niece,

Alice Wilson

"Eatonville, Miss " "


McHenry, Miss.

"Ag28 - 99

" Dear Aunt B

I will try and answer your letter and to start on I'm well. I'm here keeping up machines in the day time. I'm only getting 1.75 a day but will get a raise the first, or have the promise of one.

This is a Thin town but I can save some money here at the wages I'm getting so I guess I will stay here for a while. I had my trunk packed to start for Shreveport, La. when I got a telegram from this Company to come back. Well I don't think Sallie will marry Brown and I'm quite sure she wont if I can prevent it.

Well it strikes me that we are scattered to a certain extent. Sallie and Loula in Summit, Charley in somewhere, Mama and Allan in Lbrton, You in Texas, and me in McHenry. Let's all join Allan and Mama Xmas and have a reunion. Mama writes me she is going to move in our new home. Rob is here at work. I got him a job as oiler he gets 1.25 a day and don't do anything but keep the machines oiled, etc. Cousin Nan says tell you the Sapolio is most run down and today she got some hellp - ""A niger girl"" Give Uncle, Auntie, and the children my love - Keep some for Aunt B and then write to your loving Neph.

W.P. Barnes

P. S. When will you be home



Mt Olive Miss

Jany 3rd 1922

My dear Barbara S. Mclnnis,

I certainly was surprised at the reception of your letter a person that I had the highest regard for but had lost sight of for quite a number of years, it brought to mind many pleasant thoughts both of you and your beloved husband a man that I always recognized as one of my truest friends. I must say again that I was certainly delighted to hear from you.

In regard to your application for Pension knowing you were too late for 1921 and persons that could give correct information of John's was record are now very scarce Dunk Milloy living about 10 miles away comes to our town occasionally and I have been waiting for him so last Saturday he came in and we fixed up your application as best we could. I failed to have my glasses and my man made some mistakes and we could find only one dilapidated application. You will observe some questions we failed to answer which you can supply. John was a member of my mess during the whole war and there never lived a more honorable high toned perfect gentleman than he. I can out number in years considerably the 25th day of next August I will have rounded off my 90 years and on my way to 100.

I don't Know John Fairlys P. O. he is somewhere in Texas.

John and his wife have both been dead for several years. Their girls have all married and are living in and around Fort Worth Texas.

The U. D. C. of our town have a Camp known as John T. Fairly.

They would very much appreciate a list of that Company should you feel disposed to send it to them. Any way I can serve you Command me.

Your true friend

Archy Fairly


Friday 8 AM

(Oct. 12, 1923)

My Dear Sister

I have not much news, but will write to let you hear from us. All are as well as usual. John was up and down in bed for two or three days after Hugh left - thought he was sick and he was - ""heart sick"". He seems all right now. Haven't heard from Hugh since he left. Letters from Van and Dan say they are ""OK"".

The morning Hugh left he gave me a $10 bill and told me and John not to worry about how we are to get along - was disappointed not getting to see Charley. It is a pity the house could not be under going repairs, such ideal weather for it but bad on turnip patches. The meeting closed Sunday night no accessions. Mr Berryhill is a good preacher but not as good as Mr. Mclntosh. The Baptist are to begin next Sunday, the Methodist had theirs before ours, and I think the good women here are about worn (Missing page.)

Mrs. McKenzie has brought the house from Me Hammet that she is living in - $700. Hammets are to move to the Geo. Dennis place, and Dennia is going to Jackson, so they say. Bernice is still renting, but he bought a ""Ford"" this week. Irene says she will see that I ride sometimes, got a ""touring car"" - said she wanted one big enough to take somebody else besides ""son John and his wife"".



Friday, Nov. 2, 1923 (8 AM)

My dear Sister -

I have no news but will write anyway. We are as well as usual. John goes to Hattiesburg nearly every evening with Mr L???

Wright (?) who has a boy in the Infirmary there. Operated on. His wife is up there and he comes by after John to go with him, and he likes to go. They had some big to do at Citizens Bank last night - saw Mr Pigford, Lavelle and many others he knows nearly 11 o'clock when he got home, and is sleeping now.

Ladies Aid meeting at Mrs Lutz Wednesday Mrs Joe Kennedy and Miss Munn came by after me. Miss Margaret (?) feeling well enough to go I wasn't going either but Mrs Kennedy made me. I went dressed like I had been all week, said ""come on you look good enough. People pay too attention to dress anyway"", so I went and really enjoyed it. She bought turnips enough to do me and John a week. We don't care much about them unless cooked with pork. I also went to see Johnnie Mills Monday.

Called on Irene, Mrs McKenzie & Mrs White and was gone from the house just two hours. Johnnie looks well enough but she said the doctors told her it would be a year before she would be normal - so many operations. She has girl staying with her goes to school and does most of the house work - 17 years old. Johnnie thinks she is a treasure and she is.

We get 2 or 3 eggs a day. Lou ought to see the rooster she gave me he has never been (hungry) and growing fast. I had a letter from Marg. A (?) a few days ago - she seems to be getting along all right but I can't write to her every week. It is raining now, and I dread the cold weather. I hope you are feeling better and wish you could come up and stay with us a while. How is Mrs McNeil and her folks. Tell her I think of her often and wish she was neighbor to me

Love to all of you -

Good bye and God bless you all

Loving Sis



Friday Nov 16th

8 AM (1923)

My Dear Sister -

I have not much news but will write John has been up and down in bed since Sunday. Didn't feel like going to SS and didn't.

He has no fever -stomach trouble, says his stomach feels sore. Was sick at it first few days but it has left him. Doesn't seem to have any cold - am going to put the feather bed for him t his morn when Ed comes. Had Dr Robinson Tuesday.

John is like really all the rest of the men - thinks nobody else ever did suffer like he does. He was a good deal better yesterday and last night and I think he will be alright in a few days. Has no appetite - just drinks sweet milk. Don't be uneasy for if he was to get very sick I would lose no time in letting you know.

No late news from any of the boys. I haven't cooked anything this week only oatmeal. Didn't go to Mrs Loveland's Wednesday - wouldn't leave John, but they report having a good dinner and quilted two quilts.

Audry and Mr Morris are to marry Thanksgiving Day.

I reckon there will be considerable moving around soon. Bander Hinton going to Wingate, Bernice into the house vacated by Vander, George Dennis into the Bernice house, Hammet into Dennis house, and Comodore into Hammet's. John and I got a letter from Miss Pearl Francis last week in N. O., said she is to marry a Mr Milam at Tupelo next Sunday the 18th. I hope she will do well. Said they were sweethearts when she boarded him - has known him a long time. Hadn't heard from her in over a year.

Mrs Griffin entertained the A. L. O. E. club - young married women yesterday at luncheon. " Had 15 quail and I don't know what else. Announced Audry's marriage and I reckon that calls for a 'shower"".

I believe I have written all I know -

Goodbye and God bless you all

Loving Sis

Barbara Hugh Garaway is in the Bank in "Audry's place.



Friday 8AM (Nov 23, 1923)

My Dear Sister

I will write my weekly letter though I have no news. John went to Richton Tuesday eve to be there at J. P. Court Wednesday. The way the trains run couldn't get there in time the day of Court. He didn't feel much like going - so weak, but stoody the trip all right. About to develope sciatica in his left hip. I was nearly freezing all the time of the cold weather, but had to wait till it turned warm to take a cold - laid off my sweater. My cold not so bad yet and I hope I will soon be over it.

Our sheets nearly worn out so Wednesday I went to Cliffs and bought 101/2 yds Pepperall - made four sheets - 65 cts yd.

Mrs McNeil sent me a shoebox of pecans, got them Monday eve. I surely do appreciate the kindness, though I have no teeth to eat them much.

No late news from any of the boys. I haven't a speck of news and John is ready to go up town so will stop writing and send this to P.O. I think of you all so much. Wish it didn't cost so much to go there - if it didn't cost you would see me every week or two. I hardly ever go anywhere here - don't care to.

Goodbye and God bless you all-

Loving Sis



Friday, 30th Nov.

8 AM (1923)

Dear Sister

I have not much news but will write anyway, so glad to see the sun shine all are well as usual. We were invited to eat Thanksgiving dinner at Mr Whites, we went and had a good dinner - no turkey - but boiled pork ham and fat hen with good dressing and was throughly enjoyed by us, the Hammets and Mrs Griffin and Dan.

Audry was married at 9 o'clock yester morn and invited John and me to go and see her marry, but it was so early and such bad weather we didn't go.

Lucile Hammet came after us with car to go to dinner and brought me home at 4 o'clock. These folks are good to me, and I am not able to reciprocate much.

I had Thanksgiving card from Mrs Cox, John got a picnic ham at Beaumont few days ago. I have it boiling now for he can't eat fried victuals much, neither can I.

Got a rutabaga too, 10 cts, and it was hardly touched. I have gotten to where I don't care for it and don't crave turnips like I used to. Mr Rose has been hunting several times lately but has never given us a quail - killed 22 Friday and took them to his lady love and went there for dinner yesterday, supper too, I guess for it was midnight when he came in. Mrs. Harry's baby keeps sick so much that she can't come to see about my dress so I think I will try to get Mrs Ikerd, so few here that does sewing - they miss Mrs May now. It is bad that the carpenters can't go ahead and finish the house. I know you all can hardly wait and bad to be torn up - Don't know anything else so will stop and pretend to clean up the house.

Good bye and God bless you all -

Loving Sis


(Note) This is likely the last letter that Barbara Stewart Mclnnis wrote, as she died the next day, Dec. 1,1923.)


Watson, Ark. Jan 5 - 24

Dear Aunt Mary

I have started to write to you several times since I heard of Aunt B's death but just couldn't. I was not much surprised but a death of our dear ones always shocks us even if we are expecting it. I knew that her health was bad. She told me once that they would find her dead some time.

Am so sorry none of my children were not at funeral. Stella said she would have gone if she had known it, and I am sure Fred would. I was too far away, had I been informed of her death. Am glad Ma went. She wrote to me about it at once. Uncle John will miss her. I feel sorry for him.

He wrote to me and sent something for me to sign, said his mind was at sea. Did not know what to do. I wrote him immediately and asked him to write to me occasionally and let me know where he is and how he is getting along.

He won’t though -I know_ He never did seem to care one thing for me.

I love him - because - if nothing else - he is my Father's brother.Aunt B is better off and she did what we all are going to have to do.

We are having some terrible cold weather - milk frozen hard in kitchen. It hurts me - this cold-I can hardly stand it. We have had lots and lots of rain lately. Seems like it rained all of December. Xmas dull with me.

I was truly glad when it was over. If I feel like going, I intend to go tosee Ma sometime this month. I am not well - never feel right well but will go if I can. I won’t go to Tylertown or Foxworth. If my children want to see me they will have to take to doing some of the going.

I feel my age and cant go so much. I intend to go see Ma as long as she lives and I am able to travel.

God gave us only one Mother, Aunt Mary, do write and tell me about yourself and all.

Love to Loula, Charlie, and yourself.

God bless you is my prayer.



To:...............Mary Mazilla Davis

From:.........A cousin,

Prentiss, Miss

Feb. 20th / 24

Mrs. Mary Barnes

Dear Cousin,

"We received yours and Cousin John's Letter Monday."

Trust you are still improving and will soon be yourself again.

I feel sorry for your brother in having to give up his loved ones and home but there is many such sad experiences in life.

I ought to have written you when your letter telling us about your Sister's death, but kept thinking we would get off to see you.

Her sudden death was an unexpected shock was we had planed to see you all together again.

When I think of her placid looks and ways I feel there is nothing to grieve over, that all is well with her Soul.

Mr Brady says tell you we are coming just as soon as he can get things arranged so he can leave home and the weather will permit, and to tell Cousin John not to rush off too soon.

Will tell you the news when we come.

Love from both,

Martha Brady


BY: Mary Breazealle Renna

Mama, Loula Breazeale, would remember her mother talking about a cousin, Andrew Pickens Brady but she did not know how they were related.

-Mary Breazeale Reanna" "


"Watson, Ark.

Nov. 12 - 25

Dear Aunt Mary,

Your long looked for letter has been received.

Yes - I recognized the writing (the address) instantly and can’t begin to describe my feelings when I saw who's writing it was.

I thought of the piece that says - ""Oh, for a touch of a vanished hand, a voice forever stilled"".

Am sorry to hear of Uncle John's sickness. Do hope he is better by now.

"(Note: He was no better and died " two days after this letter was written.)

I have seen Grandpa suffer terrible with bladder trouble.

He would just walk the floor sometimes before he got relief. Let me know all along how he is getting along.

I had a letter from Ma a few days ago.

She is at Newton now.

She gets tired staying at one place long.

Well, it rains and rains, and is so muddy here.

Business is dull; Rufus sold his Drug Store.

I am glad he got rid of it, so much Sunday work attached to it.

Ma asked about you in her letter to me so I just enclosed your letter in mine when I wrote to her yesterday.

Eggs is.50 cents a doz here. Butter (country) 50 cts. My hens never would lay when eggs "were high!

" Wish I lived near enough to go see you oftener.

I know you feel lonesome now.

If I lived near you I could go stay some with you - come when you needed me.

Well, will close as I have no news.

Love to you all from-

Your Niece

Lou A.

PS Rufe bought a radio. It's a good one. I sure do enjoy it.

(Mary Breazealle Renna says about the identity of Uncle John:

“John Hugh Davis, son of Loughton and Mary Stewart.

Born 1850 died 1925. There are tons of letters from him to Mary Davis Barnes, about how he hated moving to California to live with his son. He moved back to Mississippi because California was to unreal to him.)


2211 30th Ave. North

Birmingham, Ala.

January 19, 1926


Lumberton, Miss.

Dear Sir,

Can you tell me if Barbara Mclnnis still lives in Lumberton or the surrounding country? She was there several years ago but I did not know if she be living or dead. She is a relative of mine and am anxious to learn of her whereabouts. Shall greatly appreciate any information you may give me concerning her.

Yours truly,

Mrs. M. J. Dennison

Birmingham, Ala.

2211 30 Ave. North


March 22, 1926

Mrs. Lula Barnes Spears

"Lumberton, Miss.

" Dear Mrs Barnes,

Perhaps you think me very ungrateful and right you do, but immediately after your letter came I was sick and have not been well since. I certainly appreciate your information in regard to Aunt Barbara.

My Mother was a niece of Aunt Barbara's husband - Lula Mclnnis - She died when I was a mere baby - but since I have been married I've found several little notes and mentions of how dear Aunt Barbara was to her.

It seems they were neighbors before Aunt B returned to Lumberton. I never found these until lately and so I wanted to know of Aunt B. I do not remember my mother and have seen but few of her people - So anyone dear to her would naturally be dearer to me. Because I have only a few of her old letters and books.

Especially now do I think of her and sometimes wish for her. I know I should not, but in a few weeks we are expecting our first baby and naturally I think you would want your mother at such a time.

My Father lives at Prentiss, Miss., so sometimes perhaps we may meet and talk of Aunt Barbara. If around or in B'ham we should very much appreciate a visit from you. I am returning the clippings for I know you were keeping them.

I certainly thank you for your information.

Sincerely yours,

Mrs. Lucille Magee Dennison


Tylertown, Miss.

July 24, - 28

Dear Aunt Mary,

The last letter I wrote to you and sent to McCornb was sent back to me - wrote on the envelope "unclaimed". I can’t understand why they didn't forward it to you.

I have been sick, but am better now. Hope you keep well.

We have had some mighty hot weather but it's real cool today.

Hope Charley will do well with his store. When are you coming? Be sure to let me know so I will be at home. I am going to try to get Stella to go with me to see you someday.

Rufus came on the 4th and spent two nights with me. Stella comes occasionally - not often - she has gotten well at last, that is of that trouble with those glands, but she is not well other ways, has too much to do.

Hope you will be satisfied to stay with Loula. I think it is the very place for you - no children to interfere. I know Sally would do all she could for you in every way, but really I had rather stay with Loula if I were you. Will close with lots of "love to all,

" God bless you.


(Return address on envelope was Mrs L. J. Applewhite.)


Tylertown, Miss.

Jan 29 - 29

Dear Aunt Mary

Your letter dated Jan. 22nd received.

Was glad to hear from you all. I kept thinking "I would write but just didn't do it. I have not had flu but have been sick a good deal.

I am not very well now. Can't (eat) anything without it disagrees with me. I

haven't been very well since I came from Arkansas. I only stayed two weeks. The flu has been real bad here and all through this country. So many have died with it. I do hope I won’t have it and sure do hope you miss it entirely.

I have been trying to work in my yard - have planted some trees and shrubbery. It is an up-hill business for me to try to do things now.

What part of town do you live in?

Talking about hard times -I hear that from all parts of this Country.

We will all lives somehow until we die, and so it's not much use to worry over it.

Guess you heard of Willie McNair’s death.

That leaves just one boy - Tom, and he is in wretched health.

Felder and Mary are going to Lumberton before long to buy some pecan and fruit trees from Bass. I will go with them for I want to get some trees for myself. I will have to come back and see to having them set out as you can’t depend on others to do things like that. I said when I got back from Ark. I wasn’t going away from home to stay all night until warm weather, so when Spring opens I'll go spend a few days with you all. Have you all a phone/ Would like to know your number.

Well, I'll close. Lots of love to you all from your


" "Lou "