I came across these letters while researching my own Campbell ancestry at NC Department of Archives and History in Raleigh. They are obviously personal letters which were addressed to Mr. Randol S. McDonald during the period of time when he was Clerk of Richmond County Court in Rockingham, N.C. Most likely these letters were mistakenly sent to the archives along with Mr. McDonaldís Court Records (loose papers). I think it is wonderful that they have been preserved because they are such a valuable "find" for the researcher who longs to know about his family. Wouldnít we all love to find a stash of family letters with such wonderful information!!!
The following information may be helpful:
Letter #1 written January 17, 1839 from Barbour County, Alabama. The envelope is addressed to Mr. Randol S. McDonald Esq. [by politeness of Mr. William Long] Rockingham, N.C. This letter speaks to Brothers D[aniel]. P. & R. S[cot] and signed by J.C. McDonald.
Letter # 2 written June 22, 1839 from Cheraw, S. C. to "Scotch" speaks of "those flashing brown eyes of Randol Scott McDonald." Signed W.C. (no last name) A very funny letter.
Letter #3 written December 1, 1840 from Barbour County, Louisville, Alabama, to Brother D. P. McDonald. "This is the third letter I have written since I arrived in Barbour." Your Brother as usual William McDonald.
Letter #4 written sometime in 1840 to Brother Daniel, I have not any thing of importance to write you but I will tell you such as I have. Cotton is worth from 7 to 8 cents per pound. (page missing, no signature.)
1840 October 19th. DeKalb, Kemper County, Miss. My Old Friend, P.H.C.J. ( I believe this to be Peter H. Cole Jr.) This is only a hunch.
1847 February 2nd. Memphis Tenn. Mr. R. S. McDonald, Esq., Dear Sir, Very Respectfully, Yours H. Dockery
1857 August 17th - Rocky Hill, Conn. Dear Hiram, I have just finished a letter to Ha---, now I want to talk to my brother. Saturday I was out making calls, when I returned I found Hiram in my room waiting to talk to me. I was so glad. Will it not compensate you for your trouble to know you gave your sister so much pleasure? I am glad to know you think of me, to believe you love me. Be assured I love you with all a sisterís affection and earnestly desire and pray for your happiness. Oh, the little household that I have left, how my heart flies back to you, that like circle associated with what is dear to me here is in my thoughts all the time. My interest seems identified with yours. I find myself saying very often (though I am trying to break myself of it) "the way we do," "our things," and such expressions sound almost as though I considered your house mine and was only visiting here, so I try to say Hiramís and Susieís. It almost seems as though I should wake up some morning and find myself back in the old spot. It is as I thought it would be a burden of anxiety rests on me all the time. If you and sister were only well, there would be little less of bitterness in the separation. I am all the time looking for news from you. I canít write to either of you without the tears flowing fast. Do you believe I love you? It is such a comfort to be with my mother. I can talk of you to her as much as I want to and say everything about our darling little baby. I love to talk of the precious little thing. As soon as I had read your letter the other night and eaten my supper I started for your Fatherís. I met him on the street, he turned and went back with me. I told them what you wrote. They were quite surprised to hear of the death of Mr. Covington. I was too, though I thought from his appearance when I saw him that he was not long for this world. I did not think he was to go so soon. His poor wife sees sorrow, but mid it all she must have blessed comfort. What a consolation it must be to friends who are to tarry yet awhile, to know that the departing ones are perfectly resigned to the Divine will, that their souls are buoyed up in the dying hour with hopes certain and sure of everlasting peace and happiness. Hiram isnít one of Mr. John Rís brothers a preacher? I have that impression, your father thinks not. I think one of that family has taken to preaching lately. I believe Pattie told me so. I was heartily glad Mr. Knight got beaten. I could not feel that the rascal deserved success. Louis worked so hard for it. I was glad he had not worked for nothing, and Scott was elected too. Just the oneís I told you I should vote for. August 18th. This is babyís birthday, four months old, dear little thing she donít think she has an auntie way up here in Conn. longing to see her. Maybe she thinks I am up to Mrs. Steeleís and will be back soon. I didnít finish writing yesterday as I had company. Sue and Ell Williams and May Neff. May stayed till most night. I havenít told you yet that we have been about to lose our minister. He has not yet decided whether to go or stay. He has received a call to an agency in connection with the college in Beloit. Sabbath before last he read a letter to the church and congregation (he had written) stating some of the difficulties he labored under, his pecuniary embarrassments and ended up desiring, rather requesting, a council to be called to consider the subject of dissolving his union with this people. The people met and I believe appointed a committee to make efforts to raise his salary. We donít know what the result will be. Hiram, do you recollect what you said once about Horatio Smith? Well, they have got a child several months old. Mrs. Henry Danforth has been spending a week in our town. I called on her Saturday. It seems as though she thought she had got all the husbands there was to have. Hiram dear, please write to me often. Tell me all about the Rockingham people. Do you believe D. Luther will come north this fall? Please tell me when Mr. Long said he was coming. I forget. Your loving Sister (Annie?)
1857 August 18th - Sister dear, I have finished writing to Hiram, there is still a few moments to spare, so I will say a few words to you. I do hope to hear from you today. If you have received all my letters I donít think youíll find fault because I donít write often enough. I hope the baby will receive her little box tomorrow night. Sister, if I could only know how you feel now I should know better what to say to you. Perhaps I could comfort you, perhaps not. I wonder if mother could. She wants to see you bad enough, should go to North Carolina for it. Would you feel good to her coming? I wish you had her care awhile. She is a good mother. Louisa Griswold has been home on a visit. I saw her only once except on the street. She was in Wethersfield several days. She sends love to you, wants to see you all very much. Mrs. Griswold (CH) has been to Vernon for a visit. Got home yesterday, brought Mrs. Abell & Roger with her. Roger came right over to see us. it was the first time I had seen him. He talked like a man. I asked him if he remembered Hiram, "yes, maíam" he says, I remember them all." He told his mother some time ago that Miss Amelia was gone so long, they should hardly be acquainted when she got back. Sister, for fear you may have another sty I will tell you of a remedy for them. Mary says it will nip them in the bud. (1/4 oz. sugar of lead, 1/4 oz. sulphur of zinc dissolved in rain water) Rub it on when you first feel them coming. Harriet, Richard Robbinsís wife is sick, got a very sore mouth. I donít know what she is going to be like. Miss Eunice says she will cry if you look at her much. Give my love to all the folks. Mrs. Steele and Hallie when you see them. I dreamed last night that somebody stole all the feathers out of your bed and filled it up with cotton, and that you had a good many other things stolen. I hope that that dream will go contrary. Be a good girl, Susie and Hiram be a good boy. We love you dearly and want to see you. Maybe you know how much. Write everything to your sister. Annie.
1858 November 9th. Rocky Hill Conn. My Dear Brother, I should have written to you a day or two sooner, but was in hopes to get a letter from Uncle Henry and be able to tell you of my determinations. I have not however, heard from him except through Sis. Ma got a letter from her day before yesterday in which she stated that they would leave Nashville on the 5th November, she for Pontotse (?) and Uncle and family for New Orleans. He sent me word that he would try and do something for me in Memphis and would write me from there. So I have concluded to hold on a little longer to see what luck. If he procures me a situation I shall leave immediately and if he does not I shall leave for some unknown land. I have got a very comfortable place for my family to spend the winter and have made all necessary arrangements and preparations without running Pa to one cent of cost. Pa took in another boarder this morning. A man who is to teach the middle district school. Mr. Paine of course a student from Middleton as none other are employed. It has rained every day almost for a week, but it now clear and quite cool, though the weather is very mild in deed for this country and season of the year. William will not go south as he expected this winter. He has procured, by some means I know not how, the con ... to carry the mail from Hartford to Middletown, and is now running a stage through. It suits him first rate, and as it will keep him pretty busy I am in hopes it will be of benefit to his morals, and also purse. I think he is sorry for his unguarded conduct with Mrs. Joe and I am in hopes he will bear in mind the necessity of better conduct. You know nothing of the feelings of a parent and the relation which a man occupies to his family, therefore cannot see why I should feel so about leaving my family. The feeling is indescribable, but when I think of leaving behind me even for a few months my family my heart almost breaks within me. We have no promise of tomorrow. We know not what a day may bring forth and God only knows whether I shall ever see them again on earth, but I must not write in this strain. I will leave them with God and trust him who has kept us thus far safely amid the vicissitudes of life. I suppose you are very busy now at Sunny Side. I hope you may realize your brightest anticipation and when you get under way, find some good girl to embark with you on the perilous sea of matrimony. Hear the advice or the experience of your old brother who has tried it. It is a good, a glorious institution, but many go into it with too bright hopes, thinking all is sunshine, but like everything else, it has its gloomy and dark hours, its joys and sorrows. If I was a Luther (?) I could paint in such glowing colors that you would get out of your old bachelor notions. Enough however of this foolishness. I was sorry to hear of Duncanís ...Now that he is married I consider him gone, lost. My word for it, He will make a perfect sot. I pity his wife, but I suppose she married him knowing his habits. There is yet one hope for him, and the only one, that of becoming pious. It will do the work when everything else fails. you mentioned in your last (letter) that Madam rumor said Bek was to be married soon. I would not be surprised to hear of it at any time. Be certain if it does happen to send me a piece of cake as you will of course (at her request) act in the capacity if waiter. I mean carriage boy or skirt holder, something of that kind. I can imagine the old man pacing his piazza exulting and soliloquizing over some act by which he has injured or troubled, in some way, someone of his many enemies. We are all well. Amie (Annie?) et al send their love to you ... I have heard nothing at all from my travelers trunk. Ainít it too mean. Your old Bro Scott.