This letter was written by John Ward Paup (1796-1851), the son of John Paup and Sarah Walker. Major John W. Paup and family came to Hempstead Co. from Brunswick Co., VA in early 1830s. He was married to Charlotte Prichett Maclin (1811-1890) in 1831.
Major Paup wrote the letter to Edward Brodnax Hicks, son of Daniel Hicks and Francis Delony, who was a planter and lawyer in Brunswick County, Virginia. Edward Hicks was married to Elizabeth Stone, the daughter of a former North Carolina governor, in 1822.
Addressed to Mr. Edward B. Hicks, Lawrenceville, Brunswick County, Virginia
Spring Hill [Hempstead County, Arkansas]
6 January 1844
Yours of 6th of last month has come to hand, you speak of buying 15 more hands on your own account & sending them out. Unless I can purchase a few this winter or spring, I shall not be able to put in that number. It would be much better if you could ship them so as to have them here by the 1st of March to assist in making the crop. My hands are now on my plantation this side of the [Red] River and will raise another crop unless I could be certain of your being here early in the spring.
I have shipped no cotton yet owing to the quantity of rain. Our crop, I think, will go a little over 350 bales of $500 each. There is some 75 or 80 bales in the field yet to pick.
Since my last, we have had more sickness than for the same time in several years. Old Dick died some four weeks since of influenza or Tyler Grip. Three of the little children have also died – one of worm’s & two of [w]hooping cough, & a number more of them quite sick. Rainy has returned to the plantation. She has a disease of the womb which I very much fear she will never entirely recover from. Hasty has been here at my house more than two months being visited by two physicians who say they can do but little for her. The disease is an enlargement of the glands in the throat & the least cold or exposure to a damp atmosphere causes them to swell so as nearly to suffocate her. She is now under the care of Doctor I. N. [Isaac Newton] Jones who is said to be the best in the country.
Several of the negroes at the plantation are quite sick & I fear we shall lose more before we get rid of the influenza & [w]hooping cough. I have never seen the like of rain & damp, drizzly weather, which makes those diseases much worse.
Our river has been very high, overflowing nearly all the cane lands & bringing down considerable drift, which has made an addition of a mile of raft. I sent you a paper a few days since which shows we are taking steps to try and improve our navigation. I do not think there will be more than ½ crops above the raft. Some crops are entirely destroyed.
I am much pleased at your putting Blossom in Richmond to school, and your favorable opinion of her talent & disposition to learn. And if you think it best, I may leave her at school another year. But she must be under your particular care & charge. If I can manage in [New] Orleans to raise some 3 or 4 thousand dollars this winter, I will take it on to Virginia with me & buy a few negroes so as to equal your number & still keep up my place on the hills with some of the old family negroes we have. I shall make about 60 bales of cotton nearly all picked & baled but not hauled to the [Red] River – a distance of 10 miles – in consequence of the road being amost impassible. I shall write Brander to forward your money by the 1st March to pay your note. I am paying off our little accounts of last year and when the present crop is sold we will have settlement up to that period. I think it will probably be 1st of May before I shall get to Virginia. I wish to see the crop pitched &c. before I leave. I can bring your negroes out with mine if I purchase any.
White family all well. Your friend, — John W. Paup