The first letter, dated 10 July 1854, from JOSEPH CYRUS ARLEDGE (1812-1855) to his brother JOHN FISHER ARLEDGE, was found and transcribed by Claire Younkin in the papers of Hattie Belle Arledge Milburn at the Crockett Public Library in Crockett, TX.

Joseph Cyrus Arledge and John Fisher Arledge were two of the sons of Cyrus Arledge and Lucy Featherston, originally of Fairfield Co, SC, then Limestone Co, AL. After the death of their father, Cyrus, in 1852, these brothers headed to Texas, where John Fisher (with sister Anne Arledge Bell, wife of Matthew Bell) settled in Crockett, Houston County, and Joseph Cyrus (as did brother William Arledge) settled in Fannin County. He farmed land land near the Bois d'Arc Creek about 3 miles south of Bonham, TX, in an area that has come to be known as Arledge Ridge. Joe seems to have liked that fertile North Texas country, since he says he's become "fat and saucy"! Unfortunately, however, Joe died less than a year later, on 17 January 1855.

Note from Claire Younkin: Copied from original handwritten letter. Some of the paper has disintegrated at the folds. I did not correct spelling, punctuation, etc. Did put in a few spaces for clarity.

The "envelope" consists of a folded piece of paper with address: Mr. J. F. Arledge, Crockit,Tex

With a stamped [!] postmark : Bonham Texas Jul 14

Fanen Tex July the 10, 1854

Dere brother, I reseved your leter this morning since I came to town and now I take this

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this leaves us all well and in fine with this part of the country. John, I have a fine crop of corn and coten and everything I had planted came well tho we are sufering for rain very much now, and if we do not get rain sune our crops will be cut short. John, you grumbled at the narrow corn blades when you was here if you was to see them you would thinke quite diferent . we have mesured some 7 inches browd you can't beat that bad John I reseaved fine leters for our frends last Munday morning one from Brice one from Milt one from Cole legg, George and Leve Gray. They are all well but Salley Cole her brest has risen since the Birth of ther little Boy and she has bin under the Docter for three munth they all speake of coming if they can sell the Brice Townsen acres there land has all washt away and they have none to sell Wimberlys and Bills espesuly, Miss Weatherford's Mother, her Br Tyson [?} is all that could get here this yeaare Ithinke. Jjjohn you sed you looked over our settlement after you got home and found a mistake of one hundred dollars in ading up tho you never said in hoose faver tho I suppose it isn't mine as I did not make it as much

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John if you would rather have your muney in trust than to have it in the River land let me no it if not let me no also John this is a good county ssure beter than I thout it was if I can get another rain I shal make the best corn I ever saw in my life after so bad a prospect in the Spring I am in beter health than I ever enjoied in my life and all is fat and saucy. Mrs Gray is injoying perfect health and has bin for 4 or 5 munths the water has maid her sound and well She can eat everything and it a grease with her So no more at present only give my love to your famly and all of Sister Ann famly.

Joseph Arledge.


Mrs. Gray was Sarah Wade Slaughter Gray, the mother of Joseph's wife Lydia Ann Slaughter, since she remarried Levin Gray after the death of James Slaughter. Her other daughter Mary W. Slaughter married Joseph's brother William Arledge, and they also lived in Fannin County, TX. Mrs. Gray was living next to Joseph and Sarah in the 1850 census, along with her son Levin Covey Gray. Another of her sons mentioned in the letter was George Wade Gray.

Joseph and Lydia Ann (Slaughter)'s daughter Mary Jane Arledge married Andrew Milton Weatherford in 1850. They had two children, Lydia and Samuel, before Mary Jane died in the late 1850s and Andrew returned to Alabama, where he remarried.

Joseph and Lydia Ann (Slaughter)'s daughter Sarah "Sally" Arledge married James M. Cole in 1853. I do not know if she survived the illness following childbirth mentioned in this letter, nor if any of her children survived. We do not have their name(s).

From Bob Arledge:

Here is another old letter in the Cyrus line written about six years later. William Arledge of Fannin County, Texas, was a son of Cyrus Arledge, as were Joseph Cyrus and John F. Arledge. William was born 8 Nov 1814 in Chester County, SC and died 16 Nov 1894 in Bonham, Fannin County, TX. [PW: I believe the writer of this letter, A. C. Legg, was the Cole Legg mentioned in the above letter. See Bob's notes below for more explanation of relationships].

Elk River [Alabama]

Sept the 9th 1860

Bro William Arledge (illegible)

I avail myself of the present opportunity of writing you a few lines to inform you of our health condition (illegible). This leaves us all as well as could be expected all things considered. Martha is just recovering from confinement. We have another addition to our family another girl which was borned last Wednesday large & healthy. Martha has enjoyed better health during the last 12 months than she had since we were married. Georg Gray has another son born in his family making 3 sons & one daughter. George's family were well when I saw him last about two weeks ago. Georg has sold out owing to two bad crops. Georg was rather forced to sell. George has some intention to go to Texas but from all this bad news which we have received from Texas he has declined and has said he will buy land in this Country again. The health of our Country is remarkable good at this time but few deaths during this year in this County. Cousin Bettie Hamdrick has almost unparalle misfortune.

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Mr Richard Easter who you will recollect married her about two years ago died of Typhoid fever about the 20th July and day before yesterday her only son was buried the effect of teathing.

Now to the condition of our Country (illegible) we have just passed throug one of the hardest years I have ever experienced during a life of forty years. Produce of all kinds have been very high. Bacon is now worth from 16 to 20 cents per #. Corn has been worth upon an average of $ and everything else on an average & no prospect of the price being any better for the next 12 months though we have made a better corn crop than we made last year. We will require more as we made a failure in our wheat crop. Pork will be very high in Conciquences of the scarcity of corn and the hog colerra which has been rageing here for the last two years. Our cotton crop is the shortest one we have ever made in this County. I can not think we will average more than one bale to 4 or 5 acres.

Dear Br. Our Country is badly split politically We have three distinct parties in this state. Bell Douglas & Breckenridge all with electors for the Presidency. I cannot imagine the conciquence.

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As to Christianity is grown very cold as to the white race in this Country. We seem to have got two proud to except the meeke and humble caracteristics of the Christian and God it seems has withdrawn his spirit from our race and as on a former occasion has stretched out his hand to the Ethiopian. We had at our last meeting 25 accessians to our church. All blacks, 18 by experience and 7 by letter which fairly sustains my conclusion their experiences were very good the most of them need their (illegible) in the field while at work all ages and sex; from old men and women down to Boys not more than 12 years old. When we herd them relate the Lords dealings with them. There was not one member that could forbid worship.

As it is getting dark I must close. Write soon and give me all the news boath politically and religiously. Tell Sis Marah Martha calls her little girl Larra and she thinks she has three very pretty little girls. Martha and the children join me in sending our love to you all.

A.C. Legg

Note from Bob Arledge: I received a manuscript copy of this letter from Mildred Colleen Patterson, great-great granddaughter of William Arledge, to whom this letter is probably written. It was written by A.C. Legg who I believe to be Andrew Legg, married Martha Gray 8 Sept 1853 in Limestone County, AL. Martha's parents, I believe, would be Levin Gray and Sarah H. Wade Slaughter. Sarah had been married to James Slaughter and he died. Sarah then married Levin Gray and he died. William Arledge was made Martha's guardian. William's wife was Mary W. Slaughter, sister of Lydia Ann Slaughter. Lydia married William's brother, Joseph Cyrus Arledge. Martha had a brother named George who might be the George that was referred to in this letter. This letter was obviously written in Alabama along the Elk River, probably in Limestone County and was sent to William Arledge who in 1860 lived in Fannin County, TX. I could not make out all the words in the letter as designated by "(illegible)". --Robert Thornton "Bob" Arledge

If you have further information on these families, please contact Pam Wilson. Thanks!

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