This letter was written by Ezekiel Morrison (1792-1823), the son of Robert Morrison (1746-1826) and Elizabeth Holmes (1754-1808) of Peterborough, New Hampshire. The cause of Ezekiel’s death is not known but family records indicate he died at age 30 years and 10 months in Greenville, Mississippi, on 11 September 1823. Perhaps he was a victim of the Yellow Fever epidemic that prevailed in the Mississippi River valley in that year.
Ezekiel had an older brother named Nathaniel Morrison (1779-1819) who died in Natchez, Mississippi in 1819. Nathaniel was married on 13 September 1804 to Mary Ann Hopkins, daughter of John Hopkins and Isabella Reid. She was born in 1781 in Londonderry, New Hampshire, and died 27 August 1848 in Medina, Michigan. It is believed that Ezekiel wrote this letter to his brother’s widow, who returned to New Hampshire after her husband’s death with her seven children. Her two boys being considered for apprenticeships were probably John Hopkins Morrison (1808-1898) — who became a clergyman; and Horace Morrison (1810-1870).
Addressed to Mrs. Mary Ann Morrison, Peterborough, New Hampshire
February 7th 1821
I received a letter from you this morning which gave me great satisfaction to hear from you, it being the first that I have had from you since last spring. I have no news to write at present but I suppose I shall have to fill up my paper with something.
You wrote that there had been a great many deaths since I left Peterborough. That is a thing which we are all liable to [torn paper] us be when we will. I, for my own part, don’t think it makes so much difference where we live for we all have to die some time or other, and I find that people die in New England as well as in Mississippi.
You wrote that you had all your family at home with you which I should like to see very much, but when I shall see them, I don’t know. I think your plan of putting your boys to a trade is very good, but take care and have them put to a good master and give them as good chance of schooling as possible for that is the best pro_____ you can give them for I see my folly of not going to school more than I did. But I, like all other boys, thought it would be of no advantage to me. But I now see the effects of it but since I left home was the best school that I ever went to find out the routine of mankind. I thought I knew a great deal about the world but it was a mistake for I knew nothing. I have learnt more since I came here than I ever knew.
You want to know how far it is from Greenville to Natchez [paper torn] is twenty five miles. And you wanted to know what my circumstances is, which is not the best. I hope that I can make a living, if I have my health — which is running good at present. I have now gone into partnership with Mr. Crommelin — the man that I have been living with all summer. He finds the goods and I attend to the business and have one half the profits. We have now on hand three thousand dollars worth of goods.
Clothing is very high in this place and I am in want of some and you will make me some Shirts and send to New Orleans. Have them shipped to Wilkins & Clinton. I can get them from them one dozen of shirts and have them made of cotton or linen. If linen, have them middling fine, and if cotton, I want number 25 or finer. And have them ruffled and make the sleeves long. And if you will make them, you will oblige me very much. And tell me if he gets any money for that note to pay you for the shirts, if you make them, and pantaloons. I want 6 pair if you can make them — and have them made of cotton goods and very fine and made long. And if you will write us quick and let me know whether you will send them or not for I will gave to buy some soon and want to see what to depend on. And let me know what the price will be.
Give my respects to my Father and all inquiring friends. So no more at present, but I remain your most humble servant and brother until death. — Ezekiel Morrison
NB. I would thank you to write oftener than you have done. E. Morrison