This letter was written by 25 year-old William Felix Davis (1827-1892), the son of Elisha Davis (1781-1836) and Mary Sarah Frey (1806-1873) of Williamson County, Tennessee. William married Eudora C. Hardeman (1836-1889), daughter of D. Hardeman (1806-1864) and Sarah Ann Nicholson (1808-1901) of Tennessee in October 1855. William was a planter who moved to Matagorda, Texas sometime around 1850. He may have been the same Lt. William F. Davis who served in Co. D, 35th Texas (Confederate) Cavalry, during the Civil War.
William wrote the letter to his friend (and possible relative), Edward Dickson Hicks, Jr. (1831-1894), the son of Edward Dickson Hicks (1802-18xx) and Nancy Watkins Davis (1806-18xx) of Nashville, Tennessee. Hicks served briefly under his uncle General Felix K. Zollicoffer before resigning his commission as second Lieutenant. He was the Adjutant Major of the First Battalion Tennessee Cavalry (Confederate) during the Civil War. After the war, Edward imported Devon cattle from England and devoted the rest of his life to promoting the breed.
Addressed to Mr. E. D. Hicks, Care of Horton & Macy,¹ Nashville, Tennessee
April 30th 1852
I heard only a few days since through Frank of your safe return from California. I was glad to learn that you had returned safe in body and soul and should have been much better pleased to learn that you had brought with you enough of human dollars to let you go ungroaning to the Locker of Davy. But as fortune freaks we must not pine, for if either of us had found what we were all looking for, some Yankee would have been short.
But write soon and tell me of doings at Gold Bluff. “Ah” Hicks, I thought you were too sharp to bite at such bait. But I opine that by now you have learned how to savvy all kinds of rats. Did you see anything of Jack? or do you know anything of his whereabouts? I have never heard from him except very vaguely since I left him, and I have been very anxious about [him].
I heard from Franklin not long since through a friend that the news of his death had reached Nashville. Frank says he thinks it is untrue.
John Donnelson ² and Dave Allen left here a short time since for Nashville and I should have written by them but they started a little sooner than they expected. I saw Saturn a few days since at D. Hardeman’s. He was well and will start to Tennessee very shortly. I will be up in the fall or probably sooner.
My respects to Joe [Horton] & Macy. Write soon and give me all the items. Direct your letter to Matagorda.
Yours till death, — Wm. F. Davis
¹ Joseph (“Joe”) W. Horton, a Nashville Hardware Merchant. He resided next door to Edward D. Hicks, a “book keeper,” in the 1860 census.
² I believe this was John Donelson of the famous Tennessee family and a relative of Daniel Smith Donelson for whom Fort Donelson was named.