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Old May 10, 2011, 12:43 AM   #1
cloud8a
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1896 letter to newspaper about early 1800's

This letter was written by my 4th great grandfather. Take note of the game he claimed to kill. He gives dates and I am curious to know what kind of weaponry he might have had access to in those years, as well as methods of maintenance available to him, specifically while on foot for 70 days heading to Texas in 1843. Everything below comes from the document.


Letter written in 1896 reprinted for Historical Interest

(The following letter was first printed in Bonham, Tex. newspaper in 1896) The writer was the great-grandfather of Mrs. Lucy Hogue of Tupelo. The letter contains much historical interest) Elwood, Fannin County, Tex., April 2, 1896
Editor Journal;
It is said multiply and replenish the earth. I was born on the 15th day of May 1810. I was at one dance at about 17 years of age, my first and my last. I have never gambled in my life. I commenced farming in the year 1830 and quit when I was three score and ten. I am now living a retired life, except working my garden.
I was married on the 22nd day of February, 1832. I have raised four sons and five daughters, all living to the age of maturity, and all learning to read and write. No free schools then. I have 44 grandchildren, 75 great grand children and one great-great-grandchild. In the time of raising my family I made three long moves, first from Georgia to Southern Missouri, I made one crop and after gathering it I started to Texas on the 18th day of Novemeber, 1843. I cam on foot and was gone 70 days with my gun and knapsack. I was in Dallas during my first trip to Texas. There was but one house between Bonham and Dallas.
When I got back to Missouri, I rested two weeks, and found that I weighted 212 pounds. While I stayed in Newton, County, MO., I found 25 bee trees, killed 60 deer and 69 turkeys, made rails and fenced 40 acres of land and made two crops. On Nov 12, 1844, I started back to Georgia, arriving at my old home on the 8th of January, 1845, having been gone three years and one month.
It is strange to say, the number of years I have been a farmer, and the long moves that I have made, I have never put gears and harness on a pair of horses or mules and hitched them to a wagon and drove them this fashion.
ON the 4th of October, 1849, I started to Texas from Georgia in company with 97 persons, but on account of sickness was compelled to stop in Pike County, Arkansas. In 1851 I bought a farm on the main road leading from Little Rock, Ark., to Texas. After remaining until 1856 I resumed my trip to Texas,and stopped in Fannin County, Tex., where I have made my home until the present.
In my travel since coming to Texas, I have visited Ft. Smith., Ark., Ft Towsend near Red River in Choctaw Nation. Ft Graham on the Brazos River, within a few miles of Ft. Arbuckle in the Chickasaw Nation. Ft.Riley in the north part of Kansas, Ft McCullough, Ft Wa****a, Ft. McDonald in Kansas. I have crossed the northwest plains in two places, one at the mouth of the A. and R. Ry tummel at the timber line on the Rocky Mountains in a snow storm. I was in St. Louis on the 18th of December and found snow about six inches deep. After returning home I traveled but little. I will be glad to hear from anyone who can beat my record.
M.A. McRae
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Old May 10, 2011, 10:22 AM   #2
Hardcase
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Well, right off the top of my head, I can't say much about the weaponry available, but I will say that, like many, many others of his time, he must have been made of rawhide!

What your or I would call privations and travails seem to have been accepted as normal by the common folk of the day. Can you imagine? Here I sit in my air conditioned office, in my comfortable chair, typing on a computer that brings me all the news of the world in an instant, along with all of the other luxuries of life that, 150 years ago or more, were not even imagined.

And I still complain about what a hard day I had.

Walked for 70 days...
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Old May 10, 2011, 10:57 AM   #3
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I think there's still only one or two houses between Bonham and Dallas.
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Old May 10, 2011, 11:07 AM   #4
aaronerman
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I'd want to see the original in print! Sounds like some pretty fantastical stories. I suppose that someone hunting for their constant food supply could shoot that many deer/turkey. He talks about having a gun, not two. It could be assumed that it was a shotgun then, having shot deer and birds. I know that if I had one quality gun to keep me alive it would be a 12ga pump or side-by-side, or over-under. Or it could be that he was hunting for a butcher?
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Old May 10, 2011, 11:25 AM   #5
Tanker6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardcase
What your or I would call privations and travails seem to have been accepted as normal by the common folk of the day.
Yeah, and when we take a trip these days, we "pop in" at the convenience store, get some snacks, load up on some gas and drive off. This fella stopped, planted a crop, harvested it, and moved on!

Quote:
Originally Posted by noelf2
I think there's still only one or two houses between Bonham and Dallas.
I used to drive from Denison, through Bonham, to Paris pretty regularly about 15 years ago. I think there's 6.
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Old May 10, 2011, 01:15 PM   #6
cloud8a
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I have an image of the original ill get it here in bit.

Last edited by cloud8a; May 10, 2011 at 01:32 PM.
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Old May 10, 2011, 01:36 PM   #7
cloud8a
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Here is the link to my genealogy page about him it includes image of original article, transcript and photo of him.

http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~txfannin/mcrae.html
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Old May 10, 2011, 02:01 PM   #8
Hardcase
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He sure does look like the real deal! Thanks for sharing your history!
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Old May 10, 2011, 02:14 PM   #9
Jim Watson
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In 1844 he surely had a muzzleloader.
Might have been a rifle, more likely a fowling piece, shotgun or a surplus musket.
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Old May 10, 2011, 05:54 PM   #10
Scooch
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...And he lived to be 86. No gym, health food or junk food, prescriptions for EVERYTHING or even (what we would consider) decent health care.

Amazing in ways we can't even comprehend!
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Old May 11, 2011, 12:03 AM   #11
cloud8a
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There is another account in the county folks book that says he walked into the Store in Bonham with A gun and a sack of gold and purchased ,I think, 20,000 acres. I know he gave alot of his land away to his decendants and the Elwood graveyard and church he donated his land to. the man was prosperous.

What is a fowling piece?
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Old May 11, 2011, 06:12 AM   #12
mykeal
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'Fowling piece' is another name for a smoothbore long gun we now call a shotgun.
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