MULTIPLE TRANSCRIBED LETTERS from Wiseman, Bell and Ware families – a couple deal with William W Goyen

MULTIPLE TRANSCRIBED LETTERS from Wiseman, Bell and Ware families – a couple deal with William W Goyen (Goings)

Family letters often reveal information regarding family history that can help piece together relationships. This page is a link to the letters and/or transcripts of those letters that help piece together our family history.


The following letters were saved by Sarah Martha Bell (1829-1901) who married William W. Goyen (1829-1864).  William W. Goyen was killed in 1864 in the Civil War. Aterwards Sarah moved back into her parents home with her 4 young children. Her parents were: (Hugh Bell (1789-1864) and Martha Watt Bell (1793-1871). Sarah Bell Goyen saved these letters after the death of her mother in 1871.

These letters were passed down to Sarah Bell Goyen’s daughter Martha Elizabeth Goyen (1854-1935). Martha then passed these letters down to her granddaughters Nancy Tipton Hoos and Geneva Ashby Jones who helped research the Goyen/Going line.  Their letters were passed on to author Charles William Goyen (1915-1983) m. actress Doris Roberts (Everybody Loves Raymond mom).  His works were saved at the University of Texas – and one of the boxes there had a folder labeled “genealogy” which contained most of these letters.  I also received copies of the Civil War letters found on William W. Goyen’s body after he died from Nancy Tipton Hoos – who also sent copies of many of the same letters found in the University of Texas archives.

The letters describe events happening at the time, give names and relationships, speak about deaths and marriages, and give other valuable information, as well as giving a taste of what life was like in Oktibbeha County, Mississippi and other areas back in the 1850s-1860s.


1851 July 29 and Sept 4 – two letters from William W Going or Goyen to sisters at McCluney Home in Yalobusha Co MS – William W. Goyen Letters:  William W. Goyen is living as a boarder at Hugh Bell’s place in Starkville, Oktibbeha County, Miss, and writing his sister Elvira D. Goyen (Theodocia Elvira Goyen – also went by Docia) and to his cousin Adeline McCluney who are living at his uncle Thompson McCluney’s home in Yalobusha County, Miss.

Also mentioned in the letter is Revd. Pressley, Miss Burts, Miss Rife, Mr. Bell, Mrs Bell, and Grandma  (Docia Plaxco Goyen Bland) who is living with the McCluneys – Docia Plaxco’s youngest daughter from her 2d marriage, Elvira Plaxco, had married Thompson McCluney, and his children were Docia Plaxco’s grandchildren and were William W. Goyen’s cousins.

First Letter: 

Miss. – Oktibbeha County, July 29, 1851

(William W. Goyen to his sister Elvira D. Goyen) – (W W Goings to E D Goings). 

Dear Sister,

I embrace this opportunity of answering yours of June 10th which gave me great satisfaction to hear that you were all enjoying tolerably good health.  It found me in good health.  My health for the last few days has been rather delicate, but it is improving, owing to the intensity of the heat and long continuance of the drought I concluded to defer comming down until fall. 

My first session closed the 18th inst. and I will resume the second the 4th of August.  I had quite an interesting examination and an excellent dinner given by the patrons and friends of my school.  The Rev. Mr. Presley delivered an address suited to the occasion.  All that was present was well pleased.  Next session I shall have several new schollars.  I am well satisfied and am getting along with great facility.  Since my school closed I have enjoyed myself finally. 

Last week I road about and became acquainted with several young ladies, some of which I am greatly distressed about.  This week we have had a protracted meeting at the 16th Dist. Section.  I saw the Miss Burts and Miss Rife there.  I can say but little about them except they are not married as yet and I suppose there is no probability of it soon.

I am still in the notion of settling myself next fall though; if I could always have such a boarding house as I have now I would be satisfied to board.  I have all the conveniences that I could ask for and nothing to pay. 

I am now boarding at the house of Mr. Bell the father of the beautiful Miss Bell I alluded to some time since.  I intend to make a speach to Miss Bell in good earnest soon.  If you or cousin A. either are going to marry I want you to write and I will come down without delay.  If not I will not come before my school is out which will be the first of Dec. 

The health of the country is good so far as my knowledge extends.  Crops are very short in this vicinity owing to the drought.  So nothing more. 

Give my best love and respect to all and more especially to Granma.  Tell her I want to see her very much. 

I am your most affectionate Brother until death. 

Wm W. Goings. 

Part 2 of letter

(William W. Goyen to his cousin A. E. McCluney) – both letters sent on same paper at same time.

I was greatly moved when I heard of your illness, but glad to hear that you are getting better when Sister wrote.  I am sorry to say to you that owing to the delicacy of my health that I shall have to defer paying you a visit until fall.  Nothing is more painful to me than to defer a visit in which I have anticipated as much pleasure.

At this time I have vacation.  I have enjoyed my self finally for the past week, and am getting along most admirably both in school and out of school.

I spend my evenings in conversation with a very amiable and intelligent young lady who shares the greater part of my affections and is sweet and consoling to me.  I vainly cherish the hope that my love is reciprocated by her.  However, I have pledged myself not to give my hand in matrimony until I see Miss P of whom you spoke of, and I am resolved to stick to my integrity if Miss P does not marry, which I hope she will not do before I come down.

Though the time may seem long the fleeting moments will soon rool round.  If it be the will of God for us to live we may then be blessed.  Think not hard of me dear cousin for not coming sooner, for I want to see you all worse than you can want to me.  Write as soon as this comes to hand.  Give my respect to all and believe me I am your

Affectionate cousin until death.

Wm. W. Going

to Miss A. McCluney

(Source: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin, William Goyen, 1915-1983, Papers, ca. 1923-1984, 54 Boxes, Box 43 – Folder 10 and Box 48 – Folder 4)(Best Copies of letters with one envelope: 1851 two letters from William W Going or Goyen to sisters at McCluney Home in Yalobusha Co MS  See contents that included both envelopes – inverted black and white copies, so harder to read, but includes the 2d envelope: 1851 two letters from William W Going or Goyen to sisters at McCluney Home in Yalobusha Co MS copies of orig & transcribed by Geneva A Jones PDF – Click to see original and transcription)

1851 Sept 4 – The following two-part letter was sent from William W. Going in Starkville, Oktibbeha Co, MS to T. E. Goings in Yalobusha Co, MS (Theodocia Elvira Going – sister of William W. Going), and A. McCluney (Adeline McCluney – cousin of William W. Going).

Also mentioned in the letter are 1) Uncle – who is Thompson McCluney, 2) Hugh Bell – father in law, 3) Sarah Martha Bell – now his wife, 4) cousin John (John McCluney), and 5) cousin Samuel (Samuel Thomas McCluney). T. E. A. McCluney is a combination greeting for T. E. (for T. E. Going) then A. McCluney (for Adeline McCluney). Also mentioned in the letter is Fletcher Beard, apparently not his favorite student.

Second Letter:

Contents of Letter: __________________________________ Starkville, Miss. Sept. 4th, 1851

Starkville, Miss mailed to Oakland, Miss

Miss T. E. Goings

“Most Dear and affectionate Sister, it is with renewed manifestation of love that I assume the pleasant task of answering your joint letter, which I have just received by today’s mail. It found us in good health and gave us great satisfaction to learn that you were enjoing the same blessing, thanks be to our great and beneficient Preserver for his mercies and blessings. You gave me a genuine riding down for not writing. I think the whipping should come on the other hand as I wrote immediately on the reception of your last letter.

I am yet teaching and anticipate teaching the ensuing year . . . if I can get Six Hundred Dollars for my services, if not I presume that I shall settle on a farm somewhere West. I have gotten along with great ease and facility in my school this year, had but one or two graduates last session and none this. Fletcher Beard came to me part of last session and for some incident I thrashed him sorter like oats and he runaway, graduated, and absconded, which I do not regret. My present patrons express their regret as not being able to procure my service for the rival year.

Crops are very fine through this County. Corn crops are by far better than I have ever saw in this County. I am of opinion the corn may be bought at 25cents per bu. There was also a very spontaneous yield of wheat. Cotton fine except where the bole worm has infected it. The Farmer in new prospect views his spacious barns filled with the yellow antennal grain and supremely takes his ease this year in the farmers’ jubilee. Nothing more on this page turn over. Page 2.

I am highly gratified to hear of your excellent meetings, and regret much that I am not there to participate with you in your religious devotion. We have had several protracted in this vicinity, Several conversions. The health of our County is good but few deaths have occured since I last wrote you. Some marriages have taken place none of whom you were acquainted.

I am boarding at Mr. Bell’s and have been since married. You requested me to give you a description of my better half. She is of medium size, dark hair, black eyes, and indescribably hansome.  She has sweet, mild and amiable disposition, and I think dear Sister when you see her and become acquainted with her that you will say that I have been happy in my choice.  We anticipate paying you a visit as soon as my school is out.  Sarah sends her love and respect to you. Nothing more, but remaining your affectionate brother and sister until death.”

W. W. and S. M. Goings to Miss T. E. Goings.

P. S. “Wright immediately, if not sooner.” ___________________

Sept. 9th, 1852 Miss T. E. A. McCluney   (2nd part of letter)

“Dear Cousin, it is with pleasure that I assume the pleasant task of answering your letter which I received the 4th inst. You will see by references to sister’s part of this letter that it was written a few days ago, the reason of the delay is that I have been sick, quite sick four or five days, but I have gotten considerable better and think by good nursing and prudence that I will soon be as well as usual hear. I will assure you that I have one on whom (Page 3) I can rely to nurse and administer to my wants whilst sick and convalessing, this is none other than my sweet and darling wife.  Sarah is well except a bad cold. I have gotten along finely with my business and have enjoyed fine health until this little spell.

I am much rejoiced to learn of your excellent meetings and regret much that we could not be there to participate with you in your religious devotion. The health of our County is tolleabl good though there is more sickness at this time than has been this season and some fatality attending it.

I shall resume my school next Monday if I do not relapse. Tell Uncle if he can find a good piece of land for sale that he thinks will soot me to some measure what it can be bought at and perhaps I will move there. I received a letter from cousin John a few days ago and he is well and better satisfied. He wrights that he is enjoying himself finely with the young ladies. You and Sister and cousin Samuel must not get married before we come out.

You must excuse me for not writing more as I am quite week this morning. You must wright as soon as this comes to hand. Give our love to all and accept the same for your self. Nothing more, but remain your affectionate cousins until death.”

W. W. and S. M. Goings To Miss T. E. A. McCluney.

(Source: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin, William Goyen, 1915-1983, Papers, ca. 1923-1984, 54 Boxes, Box 43 – Folder 10 and Box 48 – Folder 4)(Best Copies of letters with one envelope: 1851 two letters from William W Going or Goyen to sisters at McCluney Home in Yalobusha Co MS  See contents that included both envelopes – inverted black and white copies, so harder to read, but includes the 2d envelope: 1851 two letters from William W Going or Goyen to sisters at McCluney Home in Yalobusha Co MS copies of orig & transcribed by Geneva A Jones PDF – Click to see original and transcription)

1852 Mar 6 letter fr Nancy B McDowell in Starkville MS to E and W Wiseman in Texas transcribed by Geneva A Jones – Nancy Bell McDowell in Starkville, Oktibbeha County, Mississippi, writes to her sister Isabelle Elizabeth Bell Wiseman (who goes by Elizabeth).  She is married to William R. Wiseman, and living in Texas.

Also mentioned in the letter are Susannah, Elizabeth, Jane and her fine newborn son, Nancy Watt, Peter, Irving, David Montgomery, David Curry, Mother, Mary, little Sarah, Jane, Mr. Ware, and Mr. Wiseman.

Dear Sister,

I received your kind letter a few days ago. We were all glad to hear from you but sorry to know you suffered so much when you were confined. We are all well at present but Susanah. She has had a rising under her arm. It has been there for three months. We are afraid she will lose the use of her arm.

The friends are all well as far as I know.  Elizabeth is not well. We have not heard from her in nearly a week.

Jane was confined on the last day of February.  She has a fine son. It weighed 12 pounds.  She came off as well as she generally does. She is able to be up and about.

Nancy Watt has lost two Negroes, a boy and a woman Charity. Her property was divided. Peter and Irving got their part. The Negroes that died belonged to the three young children. Irving has moved to where his father lives.

Peter lives where he did last year. It is very healthy here. David Montgomery and David Curry has a great deal of sickness.  Every one of the Negroes is sick with Winter fever. D. Montgomery lost two.

We have had a very dry winter. Old settlers say they never saw it as dry as this season.  We have had no big rains at all. Most every person is planting corn. We have had a very cold winter and the wheat are very backward.

You did not say whether your breast was rising again or not. You must write every particular. How you are fixed and how you are satisfied. Mother says you write whether you have got pork or not and what you had to give. You must be sure to write often. Mary has got a fine child. A good many say it favors your little Sarah.

You said we must came and eat turkey. I wish we could but I think it is very uncertain when we will eat together again.  Dear Sister don’t think that we have forgotten you for there is not a day but we talk of you and wonder what you are doing.

Mother is very much distressed about you and says she can’t feel reconciled, but so it is.

You must write. That will be some satisfaction to hear from you. I wrote to you this day three weeks ago. Jane and Mr. Ware wrote. I will write often. Your father and mother brothers-and sisters (send) their love to you and Mr. Wiseman and children. We got the seed and hair you sent. You must kiss the baby for me and write what you will call it.

Nothing more but remain, 

Your affectionate sister, till death so farewell,

Nancy B. McDowell to E. and W. Wiseman

(Source: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin, William Goyen, 1915-1983, Papers, ca. 1923-1984, 54 Boxes, Box 43 – Folder 10 and Box 48 – Folder 4)(See transcription by G A Jones: 1852 Mar 6 letter fr Nancy B McDowell in Starkville MS to E and W Wiseman in Texas transcribed by Geneva A Jones PDF file)

1852 August 3 – Letter between Hugh Bell’s daughters:  Henrietta Susannah Bell writing to her sister, Elizabeth Bell Wiseman and husband William R. Wiseman in Texas.

Also mentioned in the letter are Edward Bell, James Watt, Aunt Jane Bell and her 2 daughters’ deaths, William Walker and his wife’s death in childbirth of a fine child, Aunt Nancy Watt and Billie both died, Lizzy, James, Mr. Ware, Edward, Mary and her baby, Cealy Gladney, Mary Chiles, Mr. Cross, Millers, Mr. Ware, Sarah, Milton Wiseman, Dr. Rogers, Anace, Mary, Ann, Lize, Julia, Nancy, Mr. Wiseman and children, Mother, Pappy, little John.

The contents of the letter are:

Oktibbeha County Miss. August 3rd, 1852

Dear Sister,

I now seat myself to write you a few lines to let you that we are all well at this time hoping that this may find you all enjoying the same great blessing as it is one of the greatest blessings that God affords to man.

The friends are all well as far as I know. Eward Bell got here a few days ago and started back last Wednesday. He said that the friends were all well.

The same fever that uncle James Watt died with the people are all dying with.  Aunt Jane Bell lost both of her daughters.  Cealy Brice died Saturday and Isabella died the next Saturday.  William Walker’ s wife died yesterday three weeks ago. She died very sudden. She was taken a Sunday evening and had a fine child and she died a Friday. It was a girl. I suppose you have heard that Aunt Nancy Watt and Billie are both dead.

Lizzy got home yesterday for the first time since March.  James and Mr. Ware went to Columbus with Edward.  James went to buy a buggy and Mr. Ware bought a fine carriage.

Mary was up last week aweaving a piece of cloth. Her baby can walk. I never look at it but I think of little Sissy. We all talk about her every day. I don’t believe there ever will be a child that I loved better than I did her.

Cealy Gladney expects to be confined every day. Mary Chiles has a fine son.  Mr. Cross starts to Virginia tomorrow week.

I received a letter from you two weeks ago but did not see it. I was down at Millers and Mr. Ware got it out of the office and put it out of the way some way or other. He said that he was afraid that Sarah would see it. He did not tell me what was the secret but I guess you hear Sarah is married and is living here and likely to remain here. He said that you said that I had better hurry and marry but God knows where he would come from. But if I don’t marry till I do like some of the rest I’m afraid I will go manless. Milton Wiseman is down but has never been to see us yet. Some clod hopper will come along someday and I expect that I will do like the rest.

You must tell Mr. Wiseman that be must make a heap of corn and raise a heap of cows and you must save me some hens for I tell you that if I live and keep my health that I will come there or some place else.

I went to the Barbecue last Friday and I caught a beau and a fine one it was. Dr. Rogers and I am going to set my cap for him and you know I will come then. Tell Anace that her children are well. Tell her howdy and Mary howdy tor me. Ann, Lize, Julia, and Nancy say they will write in a week.

Give my love to Mr. Wiseman and the childrenMother says she thinks the time long to see you. Pappy says that he will write to Mr. Wiseman soon but his hand is nervous. Kiss little John for me. John says that he will send him a coat the first chance. I must come to a close for want of room. Remember me when this you see.  Farewell

Signed: H. S. Bell ~~~ (Henrietta Suzannah Bell)

To: William and Elizabeth Wiseman

(Source: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin, William Goyen, 1915-1983, Papers, ca. 1923-1984, 54 Boxes, Box 43 – Folder 10 and Box 48 – Folder 4)(See G A Jones transcription: 1852 Aug 3 letter fr H S Bell in Starkville MS to Wm & Elizabeth Wiseman in Tx transcr by Geneva A Jones PDF file).

People Mentioned in letter: Hugh Bell, Martha Watt, William Wiseman, Isabelle Elizabeth Bell, Henrietta Susannah Bell, Edward Bell, uncle James Watt, aunt Jane Bell, Cealy Brice, Isabella, William Walker’s wife, aunt Nancy Watt and Billie, Lizzy, James and Mr. Ware, Mary, Cealy Gladney, Mary Chiles, Mr. Cross, Miller’s, Sarah is married, Milton Wiseman, Dr. Rogers, Anace in Tx, Mary in Tx, Ann, Lize, Julia, Nancy, Mother and Pappy, little John in Tx, John in Starkville.

This letter confirms that Hugh Bell’s wife’s maiden name was Martha Watt – not Montgomery.  In the letter, Hugh Bell’s daughter, Susannah Bell, writes to her sister, Elizabeth Bell Wiseman in Texas.  She describes what is happening in the Starkville, Mississippi area.  She states that her “uncle James Watt” died of a fever, and then states that “aunt Nancy Watt and Billie” area also both dead.   Martha Watt’s siblings who died were her brother William W. Watt’s wife – Nancy Watt, who died in Oktibbeha County, Mississippi June 22, 1852 from illness, and then tragically her 7 year old son “Billie” died a couple weeks later, on July 5, 1852.   Those mentioned in the letter are:

1) uncle James Watt – who died May 9, 1851 in Fairfield County of an illness.  He was her uncle two ways – he was the brother of Martha Watt Bell, and his wife was Margaret Bell – sister of Hugh Bell:  Find a Grave:

2) William Watt and aunt Nancy Martin Watt, and son Billie:

William W. Watt (1804-1850) – Find a Grave:

Nancy Watt (1807- June 22, 1852) – Find a Grave:

William B. Watt (1844- July 5, 1852) – Find a Grave:

Temperance Walker (1832 – July 17, 1852).  The Walkers were close neighbors of Hugh Bell – each of the US Census 1850, 1860 list them directly next to the Bells.  The 1870 US Census has them listed one page earlier  – Find a Grave:

1853 Nov 28 – Letter to William Wiseman (husband of Elizabeth Bell Wiseman – Hugh Bell’s daughter) – from Hugh Bell’s oldest son – William Bell and his wife M. M. Bell in Fairfield County, South Carolina. William Bell born 1814 stayed in Fairfield County, South Carolina – and considered moving to Mississippi and even dreamed of going as far as Texas, but appears to have stayed put in Fairfield County, South Carolina (as stated in the letter).

Also mentioned in the letter are Margaret, Elizabeth, Elizabeth Sarah, Hugh, Thomas Edward, Mr. Rob, William Martin, Bell’s aunt E, and Bell’s son.

South Carolina Fairfield District
November the 28th 1853

To Mr. William Wiseman

Dear Brother,

I once more take up my pen to drop a few lines to you. In the first place I would say to you that I received your very kind letter dated the 12th of October. It gave us a great pleasure to hear that you were all well and well pleased with Texas.

This leaves us all well except colds amongst the children. They were all hoarse this morning and Margaret is very uneasy as we have had such bad luck with our children as Elizabeth knows. We have had six born and only three living. That is the three youngest. Our youngest is a daughter. Her name is Elbabeth Sarah.

The two youngest — sons. The oldest we call Hugh. The youngest we call Thomas Edward. They are fine hearty children.

Enough about children. In my last letter I stated that crops would be short.  The corn has turned out some better than we expected. The cotton not so good.  I may make corn enough to do me by stinting. My cotton crop will not be as good as I thought at one time it would be. I have sold 12 bales – 6 at 9 cents per lb.- 6 at 8 and 1/2 per lb. and I have 6 stored at Columbia and 5 or 6 more will be my crop and I work six hands and there is no man that has out-cropped me. Some will not make one bale to the hand. I now offer my land for sale and my notion is to go to Texas but the distance is so great it almost scares me.

I have thought if I do sell I would move to Mississippi and stay until next fall and then move to Texas as I would like to know how long it took you to go from Miss. to where you live and what the expense was.

Mr. Rob and Wm. Martin my nearest neighbors have left before I got your letter.  He spoke ot going to your section of the country and I hope he may as Bell’s aunt E.

Bell’s son has an idea of Texas and several others. When you write let me know how far you are from market, what conveyance you have, cost of transportation etc. Also the distance by land from Starkville. Everything is up in this country.

Negroes from $1000.00 to $1400.00 hundred. The oldest kind of a negro that is able to go to field will be $700 to $800 Dollars. Mules from $125 to $175 Dollars. In fact a man can get his own price for a mule. Corn from 75 cts to $1.00 per bushel. Flour from $6 to $6.50 per barrel. Pork will bring 5 or 6 cents Gross cotton is rising. I learned today that is worth 11 cts Columbia. You must excuse a hasty written letter as I neglected to write until the mail is about to start. Margaret will write to Elizabeth in a short time and give her the information she desires.  She joins me in sending our best love to yourselves and family.

Wm. and M. M. Bell

(Source: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin, William Goyen, 1915-1983, Papers, ca. 1923-1984, 54 Boxes, Box 43 – Folder 10 and Box 48 – Folder 4)(See G A Jones transcription:  1853 Nov 28 letter fr Wm & MM Bell of Fairfield SC to William Wiseman in Tx transcribed by Geneva A Jones PDF file)

1854 March 18th – Letters to William R. Wiseman and his wife, Elizabeth Bell Wiseman (Hugh Bell’s daughter), from J. G. Bell (Hugh Bell’s son), and Susanna Bell (another of Hugh Bell’s daughters).  The initials of “J. G.” Bell in this letter have been transcribed as “I. G.” Bell – he refers to himself as the “brother” of William Wiseman – meaning he is the brother of his wife – Elizabeth Bell Wiseman – and thus son of Hugh Bell.  He is sharing the same piece of paper to write the letter with his sister, Susanna Bell.   I have not found an “I. G.” or “J. G.” Bell – but he speaks of planting the fields, and the tone of his letter is masculine, so his part definitely sounds male.  The “I.G.” or “J.G.” may have been mistranscribed.  It is possibly “J.W.” or “J.T.” – J.W. Bell would be James Watt Bell b. 1820, or if it is J.T. Bell, that would be John Thomas Bell born 1827 – both are sons of Hugh Bell.  There are two J. G. Bells listed on the 1850 and 1860 US Census in Oktibbeha County – one born in 1830, the other in 1833.   One is J. Glenn Bell – who is not Hugh’s son, the other is unaccounted for.  I’ve created a J.G. Bell b. 1830 as a son to Hugh Bell in my tree – because obviously the author of this letter is his son.  But again, it is possible that this letter was written by James Watt Bell, or John Thomas Bell (sons already known).

Also mentioned in these letters are James Bardwell, Montgomer, Marioner, Miller, Hastings, Hugh Wiseman, Jane, Goings, Joe Valentine, Dr. Watt, brother William, Suzannah, Lizy, Ma, brothers and sisters, Peggy, Lizy, Miller, Bob Lampkins, Cealy Gladney, Caroline, Nance, sister Jane, Mary, Sarah, Mr Wiseman, Jane Ware, Mother, Nancy and Anis.

Starkville, Miss.  Mar. 18th 1854

Mr. William R. Wiseman,

Dear Brother,

I take my seat this evening to write you a few lines to inform you that I am well at this time and hope that these few lines may find you and family all well.

I have no news worth writing. We have a very backward Spring and the people generally are very backward. There are a great many people that have not stretched a furrow yet. I have heard of but a few people that have commenced planting. I think I will commence planting tomorrow if it does not rain. We have had nothing but rain since the first of January. I do not think that our land has been in order to plow this year. We made a very sorry crop of cotton last year only thirty-nine bales of cotton. We made a very good crop of corn. We have not got through feeding our old corn yet.

We have not heard a word from any of you this year. We have some very pretty weather now. I have planted about sixty acres of corn and have about thirty acres more to plant. I have about forty or fifty acres of cotton land bedded ready to plant.

James Bardwell is lying very low at this time. He is not expected to live. Montgomery and Marioner is waiting on him. They think he cannot live long.

I was up in Tepper last fall. I went after a buggy Miller bought from Hastings and got me to go for it.

I was at Hugh Wiseman’s one or two days. He was inquiring about you a great deal.  Jane was married the Thursday before Christmas. I had an invitation to the wedding but did not go.

Goings has bought Joe Valentine’s place. He gave six hundred dollars and Joe bought Dr Watt’s place. He gave a thousand dollars for it.

We received a letter from brother William a few days ago. He said he was fixing to go to Texas this fall. I think I will come out on a visit next fall if nothing happens. I must close as Susana wants to write a few lines to Lizy.

Yours respect.  J. G. Bell (or I. G. Bell)

Dear Sister,

We have been looking for a letter from you all for the last four months and have never received one yet.

Ma has very good garden. We have fifty chickens and seven or eight hens setting. It you will send over you may have a basket of good eggs. The rest of the brothers and sisters are all well and doing well. Peggy has been sick but has got well again. I recken you think and wonder about them all but Lizy, Peggy is stingy yet.

Miller wrote for his sister to come out last fall but she did not come but she got here in January and is now teaching school at Bob Lampkins. He lives on the road below Stark’s.  She is staying here. I think she is a very fine girl.

Cealy Gladney has a fine daughter, that is two she has got.  Caroline will be confined in a month and Nance also. That is the (slave) woman that came from Carolina. Jane is in the family way also, that is sister Jane.

It you will send me some work I will try and do some for you. Send a dress or a shirt or  some clothes for the children as I have nothing to do but make quilts. I have made two or three since you left.

Mary has two very fine children. The oldest is very smart.  Sarah’s child can nearly walk. She is the crankiest child I ever saw.

We all want to see your children very much we often till about you all and wonder if we will ever see you.

Tell Mr. Wiseman that he must pick me out a beau and send him out as beaux is scarce. Jane Ware is not married yet and as likelyhood she is as proud as we are.

I have not been in that house for two years. Mother says that you must write often as you might not have her long to write to. She says write all about the children. How they look and who they are like.

Nancy says that she will write soon. You must write often and I will do the snme. Mother sends her love to you all and we all send our love to you and the children. Kiss the children for me.

Tell Anis howdy for me and tell her that she must send me a laugh when you write.  Give us all the news about all of you. I must come to a close as I can think of nothing more so nothing more but remain your affectionate sister until death.


Susanna W. Bell to her sister Elizabeth I. Wiseman

(Source: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin, William Goyen, 1915-1983, Papers, ca. 1923-1984, 54 Boxes, Box 43 – Folder 10 and Box 48 – Folder 4)(See G A Jones transcription:   1854 Mar 18 letter fr Susanna W Bell in Starkville MS to Elizabeth I Wiseman in Tx transc by Geneva A Jones  PDF file).

1855 Dec 22 – Letter from Hugh Bell to his daughter Elizabeth Bell Wiseman in Texas – informing her of the death of her sister – Susanna Bell in Starkville, Oktibbeha County, Mississippi on Dec 22, 1855.

Also mentioned in this letter are Mr. Presley (the Reverend), Billy, Nancy, Margaret, and Mother.

Starkville Miss. Dec. 22, 1855

Dear Daughter,

With grief and sorrow do I enclose to you these few Melancholy lines. Perhaps you are prepared to receive the sad intelligence of poor Susanna’s death. You have been made acquainted with her afflictions. She suffered immensely for many months, but seemed to bear her afflictions with Christian fortitude and seemed resigned to her Savior’s will.

Mr Presly was with her and conversed with her about her spiritual welfare. She expressed no fear and seemed only to be awaiting the will of God. She spoke often to her brothers and sisters about death. She also often spoke of you and Billy. It was her request that her friends should not grieve over and after her. Blessed be God our loss is his gain.

We no more will hear her sweet and cheerful voice on earth, but we thank thee Oh our God we soon shall meet again in heaven. Let us then try to be more perfect with our God.

She was tapped three times. The last time she was tapped was the 19th inst. from which time she gradually grew worse until God released her from pain. She died this evening at 4 o’clock Dec. 22.

Nancy’s health has improved some and she is now able to be up most of the time. Margaret’s health is very delicate and we fear that she is not long for this world.

My health and your mother’s is about the same as it has been for some time.  The rest of the friends are all in tolerably good health.

Yours as ever. 

Hugh Bell

To Elizabeth Wiseman  (Mrs. W. R. Wiseman)

(Source: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin, William Goyen, 1915-1983, Papers, ca. 1923-1984, 54 Boxes, Box 43 – Folder 10 and Box 48 – Folder 4)( See G A Jones transcription:  1855 Dec 22 letter fr Hugh Bell in Starkville MS to Elizabeth Wiseman in Tx transcr by Geneva A Jones PDF file)

1857 May 3 – Letter from Starkville, Oktibbeaha County, Mississippi, from Isabella J. Ware (daughter of F.A. Ware and E. J. Ware in part 2 of letter) to Elizabeth Bell Wiseman, and part 2 of same letter from F. A Ware and his wife Elizabeth J. Bell Ware (Hugh Bell’s daughter and Isabella J. Ware’s mother) to her sister Elizabeth Bell Wiseman in Texas.

Also mentioned in this letter are Ma and Pa, Sally, Adeline, Bell, Granny, Jane, Liza, James, and Dr. Watt’s widow.

Oktibbeha Miss. May 3, 1857

Dear Aunt,

I seat myself down to write you a few lines to inform you that we are all well at present and I hope that you are enjoying the same blessing. I have no news worth writing to you.

Grandpa is getting well. Ma and Pa has been to Mobile and come back. Ma got me a new bonnet and Sally and Adeline a new hat. We had a May party the first of May in my school. All the girls had to march and speak. None of our folks could go but Bell because it was araining and too muddy. We had a fine supper. I enjoyed myself very well.

We are going to have an examination the last of the session. I wish you were here to come to it. Granny is not any better. She has got the dropsy. It is raining so hard that none of our folks can go to preaching today. Our school is doing very well in Starkville. We have got forty-three scholars. We have got about two hundred little chickens. We have not got but five little goslins. The rain Friday drowned them all. You must answer this letter as soon as it comes to hand. Excuse my short letter and bad writing from your affectionate niece,

I. J. Ware.

As Isabella has some room I will try to fill up. Mr. Bell has been at the door of the grave but is recovering. He was 15 days that no one thought he would recover. But it has pleased the Almighty to spare his life a little longer. He is able to sit on a chair a short time. His bowels is not right yet. He has no action on his bowels without the use of the Glister pipe.

Jane and myself have just returned from a trip to Mobile. We had a pleasant trip except I was sick 2 days. Had I remained well I think you might look for us to pay you a visit this summer but my being sick scares Jane and she says what would do if I should be sick on the road.

Our railroad is running in 33 miles of us and they will commence laying down iron soon and we have the assurance that it will be completed above us by Fall. We found goods cheap in Mobile compared with Starkville prices.  Jane was well pleased with the traveling on the cars. We have very poor prospects for a crop. Corn is not a good stand and looks poorly owing to so much cold and cotton is not up yet and some has been in the ground near 2 months. It has been dry or every seed would have rotted. We had a good rain on the first inst. and have today a great deal of rain. It is cool today. Wheat looks well and we expect a good crop on 30 acres.

If Liza will come with her bag I think I can load her. James is just home from Carolina and Dr. Watt’s widow came with him and three children. All well in Carolina I believe. No other news worth relating. This is 3 since I heard a word from you.

F. A. and E. J. Ware

(Source: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin, William Goyen, 1915-1983, Papers, ca. 1923-1984, 54 Boxes, Box 43 – Folder 10 and Box 48 – Folder 4)(See transcription by G A Jones: 1857 May 3 letter fr F A & E J Ware to aunt in Oktibbeha Co MS transcr by Geneva A Jones PDF file)

1860 Nov 26 – Letter to Elizabeth Wiseman in Texas from Hugh and Martha Bell in Starkville, Oktibbeha County, Mississippi.

Also mentioned in this letter are – your father, Margaret Valentine and new daughter, Martha I. Miller, Frank, James W. Bell, Mr. Wiseman, mother and father.

Starkville, Miss. Nov. 26, 1860

Mrs. E. Wiseman,

My Dear daughter,

It has been some time since I heard from you and as a parent I will address you again by the way of latter and perhaps for the last God only knows for I feel some times as though my probation was at an end and my case was finally consumated and I shall soon go forward to receive my reward from the judge both of quick dead. This leaves us all well as usual. Your father is enjoying good health considering his superanuated frame.  He like myself has almost numbered his three score and ten years. Pray that we may be prepared for the coming of the Son and that we may have our robes washed white in the blood of the Lamb and be able to enter into the marriage feast. And prepare thyself to meet us there. It is our constant prayer that you may have your house in readiness and waiting for the coming of the bridegroom for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man cometh.

We have no news of importance. Crops are a general average cotton in particular.

Margaret Valentine has another daughter. Her health is not good but she is better than she has been for a few weeks past.

Martha I. Miller has a fine son almost able to plow considering he is yet an infant. Frank’s people has got well again after a protracted spell of sickness. I believe I have given you all of the general news of the day. James W. Bell’s people are well as far as I know and the friends generally speaking.

Write often is the request of your father and mother. Mr. Wiseman shares this letter equally with you. Nothing more but remain.  Your affectionate Father and Mother

Hugh and Martha Bell  (Written by Martha Bell).

(Source: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin, William Goyen, 1915-1983, Papers, ca. 1923-1984, 54 Boxes, Box 43 – Folder 10 and Box 48 – Folder 4)(See transcription by G A Jones:  1860 Nov 26 letter fr Hugh & Martha Bell in Starkville to Mrs E Wiseman in Tx transcribed by Geneva A Jones PDF file)

1861 Nov 11 – Letter to Elizabeth Bell Wiseman (Hugh Bell’s daughter) in Texas from Isabella Jane Ware (neice of Elizabeth Bell – and daughter of E. Jane Bell Ware and Frank A. Ware).  Second part of letter is to William R. Wiseman from Frank A. Ware.

Also mentioned are Paul, Martha, Themis, Betty, Grandpa’s family , Bell, cousin Elizabeth McBell, Sally Bell, Pa’s family, aunt Margy and 1 week old baby girl, grandpa’s Cely has new baby, Mr. Pressly preaching, Ma and Pa, Miller, uncle Miller, Martha Jane and Mr. Miller, Mr. Muse, Martha Jane new baby, aunt Sally, Capt. William Montgomery, Mr. Tom Gladny, Charles Adams married Elisa Ann Reese, cousin Thomas Adams, cousin Robert Bell married Miss McCall, Martha, William, Sammy, Erskine, and uncle John.

Starkville Miss. Nov 11, 1861

Mrs. I. E. Wiseman,

My dear Aunt,

I seat myself this morning to write you a few lines to let you know that I have not forgotten you yet but I think you have entirely forgotten me. I have written to you two or three times but have not received an answer but I thought that I would write to you whether you write to me or not. We are all well. We had a great deal of sickness last summer. Nearly everyone on the place was sick black and white. All the white ones were sick but Paul and Martha and myself. We had three doctors and they were here twice nearly every day. We had two negroes to die. Themis’ oldest child. He was about fifteen years old and Betty’s oldest. He was seven. There was only two weeks between their deaths. They died with inflamation of the bowels. We had to sit up every night for four weeks. Grandpa’s family is all well. Bell has been home and he has gone back to Due West. He has been gone five weeks. We have heard from him twice since he left. He is well. Cousin Elizabeth McBell’s oldest son went back with him. I received a letter from Sally Bell about two months ago. She said her Pa’s family was all well. She was in Winsborough going to school but she has gone hom to stay. She asked me to tell her where you Post Office was that she was going to write to you. I don’t know whether she wrote or not. Aunt Margy is not well. She has a young baby not a week old. It will be a week old tomorrow. It is a girl. I believe the rest of her family is well. We have a negro woman got a baby just four weeks old and Grandpa’s Cely has got a baby three months old. Grand Pa bought a little negro girl from a trader. He gave one thousand dollars for her. She is about ten years old. There isn’t any preaching at the A. R. Church today. Mr. Pressly will preach over at Pine Cone. Ma and Pa have gone over there to preaching. They will stay at uncle Miller’s tonight and come home in the morning. Uncle Miller’s family is all well.

Martha Jane and Mr. Miller are living over there about a half a mile from uncle Miller. Mr. Miller is building Mr. Muse a fine house. Martha Jane has got a baby three weeks old. It is a boy. When we heard from Aunt Sallie she was well. They are going to live over at Trim Cane next year. Pa made a good crop of cotton. He made 75 or 80 bales. He won’t get it picked until March. He did not make much corn. We did not raise but about ten hogs to kill. We will have to buy meat next year and it is so dear. Pork is worth nine cents a pound. We have got a garden full of cabbage and a good turnip patch. Pa saved a large wheat patch and there is a good stand up. Captain William Montgomery had a little negro girl burnt to death last Monday morning and Mr. Tom Gladny had one burnt to death last night. Charles Adams is married. He married Elisa Ann Reese. I have not seen his wife yet. Cousin Thomas Adams is up here. He lives in Dixon County and is up here on a visit. Cousin Robert Bell is married. He married Miss McCall. Presbytery will meet here next April. Martha wrote to you the last time I wrote you and you have never answered our letters yet. I sent you a piece of my hair. When you write you must tell me whether you got it or not Auntie. If you don’t answer this letter I don’t think I will write you any more. I think you might answer my letters as I am your namesake and the only one of your nieces that writes to you. If you don’t answer this letter I will think you don’t care anyhing about me. I have written two or three letters and have received no answer yet. Pa wrote to uncle William but he did not answer his letter. We have got a box of apples put up for winter. I wish you were here to help eat them. If you will come out here next spring I will save you some. We had a great deal of fruit this year. Tell Sammy and Erskine to come out here to live and they will have plenty of apples and peaches to eat. Well as I have nothing more of importance to write I will close. Give my respects to uncle William and all of the children. Uncle John is not married yet. Now you must be sure and answer this so good bye.

From your affectionate niece,
Isabella J. Ware

Mr. W. R. Wiseman,

As there is still room I will try to write you a few lines to inform you that I am still in the land of the living and not altogether forgotten you although it seems that we are forgotten by you. I suppose you have got so old and so rich you scarcely remember that there is such beings as we are on the earth. But I can assure you that we are sitll knocking about doing as well as we can. Trying to get out the cotton now and it is raining and cold. I am compelled to loose $1000 worth of cotton. I have sixty-five out and one hundred acres I might say never touched. We have hired all that I can and now the weather is so bad that it wil not pay to give a high price for hands to pick and you may guess I am in the suds or blues which please to call it. I can’t contrive what is best to do. We are making a fair crop of cotton in this neighborhood. It is not so around us. Cotton is flat in Mobile. Worth ten to eleven cents. Corn crop is short though plentiful in this neighborhood. We hear of great scarcity almost in every direction and pork is worth 9 cents and scarce at that. There will not be more than half a supply. Ben Seales is married to Wm. Vick’s oldest daughter, Mary Francis. Been married three or four weeks. I want you and Liza to come over soon. You won’t write and tell us what you are doing and I know I would be glad to see you once more and hear from some of your hunts and many other things would interest me if it should be about — If you don’t write tell the boys to write. We want to hear from you.

F. A. Ware

People mentioned: F. A. Ware, Elizabeth Bell Wiseman, William Wiseman,

(Source: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin, William Goyen, 1915-1983, Papers, ca. 1923-1984, 54 Boxes, Box 43 – Folder 10 and Box 48 – Folder 4)(See transcription by G A Jones: 1861 Nov 11 letter fr Isabella J Ware & F A Ware in Starkville MS to W R & E Wiseman in Tx transcribed by Geneva A Jones PDF file)

May 9th, 1864 — Letter from William W. Goyen to his daughters and wife Sarah Martha Bell (daughter of Hugh Bell and Martha Watt Bell) – from the field during the Civil War.  This letter and the following letter were found on his body after he had been killed on June 10, 1864 at the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads:

Also mentioned in this letter are cousin Martha, cousin Doff, dear little girls, Ma, John Bell, Eugene, grandpa and ma, aunt Nannie Provine and her little boy Joseph Findley Provine, uncle Frank, aunt Liz, cousin Martha, Betty, and Anna Mae.


“Dear Little Girls” — Your dear Papa has for the first time in his life seated himself for the purpose of writing you. This leaves me in good health and doing well and I hope it may find you in the same enjoyment.

Papa often thinks of his dear little girls and asks the Great God to keep them from harm, and I hope that he will do so. Be good and kind to all, but especially to each other. Love is only to be obtained by giving love in return, and this I enjoin upon you. Love each other and you will have the blessings of your good and kind parents and at the same time secure the blessings of our appreciating God.

Study your books diligently and learn to write soon.  Papa would like to have a letter written by you very much indeed, and I know if you mind Cousin Martha that you will soon be able to write yourself, but now you will have to get them or Cousin Doff to write for you as you are just beginning to learn. My Dear Little Girls you must have them write me how you are getting along at school and how fast you are learning and whether you are well satisfied at school or not, also what you are studying.

Let me know when you heard from Ma and how she and John Bell and Eugene were.

My dear Little Girls you must be good to your kind GrandPa and Ma and must not vex them and they will love you and bless you.

I saw your Aunt Nannie (Provine) and her little boy (Joseph Findley Provine) and Kin a few days ago at Coles Creek. They were very well and would like to see you very much. They speak of visiting you this summer.

Love to you and your Grand Pa and Ma, also Cousin Doff; Uncle Frank and Aunt Liz and cousin Martha and others that you wish to, and remember to do good. Goodbye my dear little “Bettie” (Martha Elizabeth) and Anna Mae. Love to all there and remember to do good. This is from your dear Papa —W. W. GOYEN. — P. E. – Write to me soon, Direct your letter to Duff’s Regiment, Verona, Mississippi.”

Letter No 2:  dated June 7, 1864 – From William W. Goyen to his wife Sarah Martha Bell Goyen (daughter of Hugh Bell and Martha Watt Bell) from a camp near New Albany – this was the 2nd letter that was found on his body after he was killed at Brice’s Crossroads.  Both letters were returned home to his wife, Sarah Martha Bell:

Also mentioned in this letter are Billy, and the children.

“My Dear Wife: . — In haste I drop you a few lines. This leaves me in good health, and I hope it may find you in the same enjoyment.

We have been on the March two days to meet the enemy. They are at Ripley, and we expect to fight them today or tomorrow if they come on. I do not know how many there is. We have about 1500 in our Brigade. We have had a great deal of rain here. I found all the boys willing and in good spirits. I hope that we will come out all right.

Tell Billy to push ahead. I will write again as soon as we get through the scrap that we are in.

Write to me – Direct it to OXFORD, Duff’s Regiment, Company “K”.  Kiss the children for me.

God Bless all of you.  — W. W. GOYEN” 

(Source: Copies of letters from Nan Hoos, granddaughter of Martha Elizabeth Goyen, oldest child of William W. Goyen. Martha Elizabeth Goyen saved these letters and passed them down to her granddaughter Nan Hoos – photocopies and transcription provided: 1864 May and June William W. Going letters written to his daughters in May 9, 1864 and June 7, 1864 during Civil War days bf killed in battle transcr by Nan Hoos PDF file – click to see Nan Hoos transcription and photocopies of original letters).

1864 October – Letter from Frank A. Ware and Hugh Bell Ware in Starkville, Oktibbeha County, Mississippi to Elizabeth Bell Wiseman and William R. Wiseman in Texas.  The letter is to inform of the death of Hugh Bell and of Hugh Bell’s daughter, Mary Bell Miller – who was married to Archibald Miller. Sarah Bell Goyen has lost her husband in June 1864 in a battle during the Civil War, and then loses her father 3 months later in Sept 1864 – both mentioned in these letters.

Hugh Bell (Apr 2, 1789 to Sept 13, 1864) – Find a Grave:

Mary Bell Miller (Oct 3, 1831 to Oct 4, 1864) – Find a Grave:

Also mentioned in this letter are Grandpa decd, aunt Mary Miller decd w 5 children youngest 2, Arch Miller, Mr. Going killed June 10th in battle, aunt Sallie, brother Thomas, Jimmie Wiseman, Mr. Miller, Pa, Mr. Gibson, Bell, old father’s will, Miller, John, James, Sarah, Billy and Mr. Gibson.

(Letter to Mrs. I. E. Wiseman from her nephew Hugh Bell Ware).

Starkville, Miss. October 1864

My Dear Aunt,

As an opportunity presents itself of sending a letter by hand across the river, I will write you a few lines informing you that we are all well. I have been very sick but I am going about improving rapidly. Sad new to write you I dislike writing, nevertheless it is my duty and must be performed. Grandpa and Aunt Mary Miller have departed from this earth to take their final resting place elsewhere. Grandpa died the 14th September very suddenly. He was taken about dark with an appoplectic fit. He lived about four hours with the fit on him speechless the whole time. Aunt Mary died from the effect of measles on the 4th of this month. She was sensible to the last and died willingly. She left five children the youngest nearly two years old. Arch Miller is at home and has been ever since the fall of Vicksburg. He was paroled and has never been exchanged. His children are staying with him at home. He (Mr. Miller) has one of his sisters keeping house for him. You heard I guess befoe this that Mr. Goings was killed the 10th of June in an engagement in the northern part of the state. Aunt Sallie has four children the youngest nearly three years old. She is keeping house and getting on finely. Brother Thomas is in the army in Georgia. We have not heard from him in a month the last we heard he was well and getting on finely. I had a letter from Jimmie Wiseman a few day ago. He was well and getting along pretty well. Mr. Miller is here and sends his respects to you all. Have not heard from South Carolina in some time. As Pa wishes to write a few lines I must quit for him. Write to me soon. Nothing more. Kiss your children for me. I will write again. I would write more bu Mr. Gibson who will take this is in a hurry to leave.

Your most sincerly
H. B. Ware

(Letter to Mr. W. R. Wiseman from F. A. Ware – brother in law).

Dear Brother,

As Bell has left room for me to write to tell you some about the things left as the will of our old father which I send you a copy in this. I am going to test the validity of the will and think you might authorize me to act for you or someone. I wish to know from you if you want the will contested or not and it will be necessary for you to have some agent here to sign for you. Do not think I wish to be your agent. I mean that it is necessary you should have an authorized agent to act for you here. I have been today trying to compromise and do not know but I will succeed and if so you will need an agent to take charge of your property. Miller and John are in favor of setting the will aside. James is all I have to contend with. Sarah is willing to anything but she has an advisor as you may know. I am determined to put the thing through and I think I will succeed. I maynot. Billy is in the army in Virginia and I can’t hear from him yet will soon. If you conclude to take an interest let me hear as soon as you can from you. I can’t say anymore as I have to meet John in town. I have but few minutes. If the bearer of this, Mr. Gibson does not leave today I will write tonight and give you more of the particulars. As ever your true friend and brother,

F. A. Ware

(Source: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin, William Goyen, 1915-1983, Papers, ca. 1923-1984, 54 Boxes, Box 43 – Folder 10 and Box 48 – Folder 4)(Transcription by G A Jones: 1864 Oct letter from H B Ware & F A Ware in Starkville MS to Mrs I E Wiseman in Tx transcribed by Geneva A Jones PDF file).

1864 Nov 7 – Letter from James Oliver Wiseman to his mother, Elizabeth Bell Wiseman (daughter of Hugh Bell and wife of William R. Wiseman – living in Texas).

Also mentioned in this letter are Pa, your father and sister Mary Miller both dead, aunt Mary died, grandfather died, uncle James, Billie’s family, aunt Mary, cousin Sally, Mr Erk, Press, Lincoln, Gen. Lee, and Yankees.

(Letter from James Oliver Wiseman to Mrs. I. E. Wiseman)

Camp 4th Texas, Nov 7, 1864

Dear Mother,

Yours of the 25th Sept. was received this morning and my joy can better be imagined than described on paper. I could hardly contain myself. I was sorry to hear of Pa’s affliction and I hope by this time he is better. I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news to you. Your Father and sister Mary Miller are both dead. Aunt Mary died on the 4th of Oct. from the effects of the measles. Grandfather was sick only 3 hours. I have not heard his disease or date of his death. His last words were, “I am slipping”. I am truly sorry to be the bearer or rather the writer of such bad news to you, but I fear that you have not heard it through other sources. Uncle James wrote uncle Billie’s family about it, and they wrote to me. Aunt Mary left five little children.

Uncle Billie’s family are all well. Cousin Sally has been going to school for eight months and she now is enjoying vacation for two months. From all accounts she with two others received the first honors. I received a letter this morning from my little South Carolina sweetheart. I received yours at the same time, but my anxiety to hear from home could not be compared to anything and so I devoured the contents of your letter first and came near forgetting the other.

Tell Mr. Erk and Press they had better be at school, for they are losing the golden moments fast. They should by all means be sent to school, for it is all nonsense to think of waiting until the war is over, for I would not be at all surprised if the war did last long enough yet for them to be old enough to be soldiers. I think our people of the South are acting very unwisely in not shcooling the rising generation. I think that it will take four more years of war to bring the northern people to their senses. I think that there is no doubt but that Lincoln will be elected. We will know be the last of the week who will be the next Northern President. This week will be recollected and noted, as our Congress meets and the Yankees choose freedom or despotism and perhapse some large battle will be fought. We are making our fortifications stronger every day, and you may be sure that Richmond can never be taken by assault and I might say it can never be taken while Gen. Lee and his army lives, for I consider Richmond now the strongest place in the South, and if we can not hold it we can’t hold any place. I sometimes think we are treated badly by our authorities. They will not give a man in the Brigade a furlough to go beyond Selma, Alabama. I am willing to stay here until next November and do good soldiering, that is if I live, and after that time I am going to come home, and I do not think the people of Texas can blame me or any one else.

(Source: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin, William Goyen, 1915-1983, Papers, ca. 1923-1984, 54 Boxes, Box 43 – Folder 10 and Box 48 – Folder 4)(G A Jones transcription of letter from F A Ware transcribed by G A Jones: 1864 Nov 7 letter fr James Oliver Wiseman to Mrs I E Wiseman in Tx transcribed by Geneva A Jones PDF file)

1865 March 4 – Letter from James W. Bell to his sister Elizabeth Bell Wiseman (both children of Hugh Bell).

Also mentioned are Jimmy, James, father’s will, John, Mary, Sarah, mother, Ware family, Peggy, John and Elizabeth.

Starkville, Mississippi – March 4, 1865

Mrs. Elizabeth Wiseman

Dear Sister,

Jimmy is going home. I will endeavor to drop you a few short lines. As there are so many going to write I will not endeavor to give you any news and as James is here he can tell you all. I was glad to see him and somewhat surprised too.

I have no doubt you have heard how father made his will. He left everything to John, Mary, Sarah, and myself. I don’t suppose any of his children or anyone else knew he had such a will. We have all agreed to make an equal division at mother’s death but some of them are not willing for that.

I think som of them have acted queer in the eyes of the world. They are all mad at poor old mother who had nothing to do with it and must grieve because it was so.

I will tell you how the Ware family has acted. They have sworn they would never eat a mouthful in the house and Peggy not much better. You know it grieves mother. They scarecely ever put a foot in the house but we are getting along very well without them. I don’t think I could treat my own dear mother the way they have treated her. She went to Wares a few times after father’s death and they would hardly countenance her.

I know they will give you an account of it all. I will leave for you to say if that is Christian like and to treat one so that was innocent an has done so much for them but eaten bread is soon forgotten. As for my part I am willing to divide if they don’t take it to law but if they take it there I will hold it if I can but I don’t want any more than my share. I don’t reckon some of them would have anything that was on the place and I don’t think they deserve anything after the way they have acted. They wanted a division this spring but they couldn’t get that.

As some of them have been praying for father’s death I reckon they will pray for mother’s now. They would turn her out of doors if they could. I have been attending to the place ever since the war. I don’t expect after the war is over there will be much to fuss over. If they free the negroes there will not be much left as the land is John’s. Enough of that subject. This leaves us all well and plenty to eat but don’t know how long it will be the case for we have nothing to call our own and never will again.

Elizabeth’s health is much better than it has been for many years. I have been four trips to the war but ninety days is the longest time I have ever been out bu I don’t it will have to be before I will have to go. E. joins in love to all the family. I hope we may meet in this world and if not I hope we will meet in heaven is my prayer.

I remain your affectionate brother.

James W. Bell

(Source: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin, William Goyen, 1915-1983, Papers, ca. 1923-1984, 54 Boxes, Box 43 – Folder 10 and Box 48 – Folder 4)(Copy of transcription by G A Jones: 1865 Mar 4 letter fr James W Bell of Starkville to Elizabeth Wiseman of Texas transcribed by Geneva A Jones PDF file)

1873 Oct 5 – letter to William R. Wiseman, from his son S. P. Wiseman while away at college in Oxford, MS.

1873 Oct 5 S P Wiseman to W R Wiseman transcript only

(Source: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin, William Goyen, 1915-1983, Papers, ca. 1923-1984, 54 Boxes, Box 43 – Folder 10 and Box 48 – Folder 4)


Drury B. Goyen’s father was Elijah Goyen/Going. He died suddenly, without a will, in 1807 at the fairly young age of 37. Elijah Goyen/Going’s siblings were Martha Going Tindal, Job Going, Isaac Going, James Goyne, Mary Going Hughes, Sarah Going Cook, Rebecca Going Annett, and Thomas Baxter Going.  Isaac Going wrote a letter in 1857 regarding his health and family.  Isaac Going’s son Thomas Baxter Going wrote a letter in 1879 giving a family history to his younger brother W.G.W Going. Transcriptions of these letters are listed below:

1855 Aug 31 – Isaac Going letter to Alfred Elijah Going.  In his later years Isaac Going had very poor eyesight. Rebecca Palmer Going died August 31, 1855. Isaac Going wrote a letter to his nephew Alfred Elijah Going February 3, 1857:

“Union District, South Carolina
February 3, 1857

To Alfred E. Going

Dear Nephew,

It is with the kindest feeling of respect that I undertake to answer your kind letter which came safe to hand. I was truly glad that you were prompted to write me so interesting a letter respecting my relatives. I believe yours is the first letter that I have received from the family; sometime I have heard of your verbally. I feel sorrow to hear of your blindness and can sympathize with you, for I know the lack of eyesight. I have not been totally blind as you, to be led about; the roads that I have been accustomed to travel I can of a light day make my way along with a staff.

My wife died last day of August 1855 after a few hours of sickness, we lived a long life together, we had eleven children. I will give you all their names. The first is Thomas Baxter, Sarah, John Madison, Elijah, Drury, Rhoda, Isaac Mack, William, Amasa Vernon, Elisha and the youngest is Martha Keron Happuch. Elijah, John and Isaac Mack are dead. I have six grandchildren married. I am eighty-two years old the 28th day of next April–if I should live to see it.

I joined the Baptist Church and was baptized June 1803, of which I have been a member ever since. I served the church as deacon forty-five years. During the time since I became acquainted with myself and blessed Redeemer, I have met with many a sore conflict, but by the grace of God enabling me I have continued to this day. I have served as an active magistrate twenty-four years. Three of my children joined the Baptist church, Thomas Baxter, John and Rhoda. Thomas Baxter is now acting deacon and clerk of the same church to which I am a member. I have three children living with me, two boys and one girl; the rest of them are married. As to this world’s goods, their progress has not been so great as others, yet they are enabled to live.

Negro men rate from one thousand to twelve hundred dollars, likely young girls rate at nine hundred dollars. the price of land is from ten to twelve dollars an acre. We have had several bad crop years; corn brings 75c per bushel readily, flour eight dollars per barrel. Pork sells at 7c gross. Our country is nearly all cleared and worn out, but reclaimed land with proper cultivation produces tolerably well.

The settlement your father moved from does not look like the same country; the generation of people that then lived are near all dead and moved away, the country nearly cleared and covered with swarms of negroes.

Tell Joseph Cook that his old Uncle Josiah Cook is yet living and very rich without heirs, that he should do well to visit us next summer as he speaks of coming or any of the rest of the connections.

If these few lines should be so fortunate as to reach you, please write me on receipt of the same about all of the relations, who is dead and who is alive, who is rich and who is poor, and the current news of the country. I have one grandson who follows overseeing, spoke of visiting you this winter, wishes to know what he could get per year for overseeing in your country. I think he is declined going away till next winter.

I would be very glad if I could enjoy myself in your company, but I will never expect it as my days will soon be numbered according to the course of nature. I have lived a long time, can witness the assertion of the Scriptures where it says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, yet the Lord delivers them out of them all.”

Please to write to whether Andrew McGuire received his pension of Merry McGuire, his grandfather.

I believe I have written most of the general news. I must come to a close shortly. I am bouyed up to think that I have not much longer to stay here in a state of blindness, but I expect a day soon when I shall be received up into heaven, when I shall not need these poor blind eyes to give sight, for the Lord God in his dazzling glory is the light of that place. I must come to a close by wishing you prosperity through life, and at last be received at the right hand of God.

Give my best wishes to all of my inquiring friends, so farewell.
Isaac Going”

1879 March 16 Letter from Thomas Baxter Going providing birth year of Drury Going as 1749:
(The contents found at: )

Thomas Baxter Going’s letter to his brother William Going in March 1879.   (Link: )

This letter discusses relationship to Drury Going b. 1749, his birth year, death date, and other family relations of Thomas Baxter Going – son of Isaac Going, and grandson of Drury Going b. 1749.

“Walnut Grove, Etowah County, Ala.  March 16, 1879 Dear Brother, By the Divine Providence of God, I am again permitted to write to you in answer of yours and also to send your request. We are today enjoying common health and also Dabbs and Inman are well as far as I know. We have had a very cold, wet winter with heavy freezes, but little snow. Gentle spring has come in with mild and pleasant weather.

The farmers are busy engaged in preparing for another crop. There will be more guano used this year than has been any year previous. According to your request, I with pleasure send you a true list of ages as recorded in Father’s Bible.

I will begin with father and mother’s. Isaac Going was born 28th day of April, 1775. Mother, Rebecca Palmer was born 1st day of February 1789 and was married the 21st day of August 1804. Father was baptized in the May meeting of the Pacolet Church in 1803, and also the same year joined the Masonic fraternity. The death of Father and Mother stands recorded thus—- Rebecca Going departed this life the first day of August 1855,  aged 66 years and 6 months. Isaac Going departed this life the 27th day of January 1861, aged 85 years and 9 months and one day.

Our Grandfather, Drury Going departed this life the 22nd day of February 1796 in the 47th year of his age. He died on the road coming home from Charleston with his wagon and team. He lacked 3 days drive of reaching home when he died. He was hauled home and buried at home. Grandmother Sarah Going departed this life 22nd day of April 1820 in the 69th year of her age.

In looking over I find the date of Elisha P. Going’s death as 16th day of July 1864 by a cannon ball near Fussels Mill in the New Market fight, Henry County, Va. Now, dear brother, you can record the dates I have given you in your large family Bible so that your children and grandchildren may hand down their fore father’s posterity. The Going is of Irish, [and Palmer] on Mother’s side English and Dutch.

I was pleased to hear of the well doing of your children. I have not heard a word about Eva. Is she dead? Eunice sent her likeness to her. Eunice says she would like to enjoy Eva’s company again. I am getting old and feeble near 73 years old. I have not had good health since last July. When I feel able, I go out and work a little. I feel better with exercise. I gain, but the least cold throws me back.

I am what is called a Licentiate Preacher. I don’t go about much, but if it is the Lord’s will, when the weather becomes warm I wish to visit the churches around. Religion is at a very low ebb at this time owing to so many divisions of profession–three kinds of Baptists, Missionary, Primitive or commonly called Hard Shells. Two years ago they divided and called it The Church of Christ being wonderfully opposed to all benevolent institutions of the day, especially the Masonic fraternity and Sabbath Schools. Their chief doctrine is that of Election and reprobation and non-fellowship with all who do not coincide with their Views. There are two kinds of Methodists–North and South. They divided during the war– they have no fellowship with each other. Then there are the Seventh Day Adventists and Soul Sleeping Baptists. I could not give a full history of their doctrines in the space I have to write. They make proselytes owing to the unlearned and unread of many of the people.

I hope you and all the boys that have grown up have made to rejoice in Jesus Christ the Savior. Let us pray for each other as all are dead of father’s family that if we never meet again, we will try to meet together with our friends in Heaven. Farewell, Thomas B. Going To W.G.W. Going and children”

LETTER from James W. Bell to Elizabeth Wiseman – from Starkville, Miss, Dated March 5, 1865.
– talks about how “father made his will”.
– “He left everything to John, Mary, Sarah and myself.”
– goes on to describe dischord with the Ware family over the will.

Frank A Ware and E J Ware letter to Elizabeth Wiseman May 1857 transcript only

Frank Ware and I J Ware letter to I E Wiseman Nov 1861

Henrieta Suzannah Bell letter to W Wiseman in Aug 1852 transcript only

Hugh and Martha Bell letter to Elizabeth Wiseman in Nov 1860 transcript only

Hugh Bell and Frank Asbury Ware letter to I E Wiseman in October 1864 transcript only

Hugh Bell letter to Elizabeth Wiseman and William Wiseman in Dec 1855 transcript only

I G Bell and Suzannah Bell letter to William Wiseman in March 1854 transcript only p1

I G Bell and Suzannah Bell letter to William Wiseman in March 1854 transcript only p2

James O Wiseman to I E Wiseman in Nov 1864

James W Bell to Elizabeth Wiseman in March 4 1865 transcript only

Letters in 1865 re Hugh Bell will and contesting it if necessary

McDowell letter to Eliz and W Wiseman in March 1852 transcript only

Nan Hoos packet_Page_02

Nan Hoos packet_Page_03

Nan Hoos packet_Page_04

S P Wiseman to W R Wiseman Oct 5 1873 transcript only

Wm and MM Bell letter to William Wiseman in Nov 1853 transcript only