This letter was written by Edward Johnson (1810-Aft1860) from Greensboro, the county seat of Choctaw County at the time. It was inhabited by settlers primarily from Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. It consisted of several types of stores and shops, saloons, a livery stable, a brick yard, and a newspaper. It also had the reputation of a rough and lawless town which seems to be confirmed by a description of a fatal shooting in the streets on the very day he penned this letter.
Edmond wrote the letter to Col. Robert Cochran Hamer (1801-1878). Robert Hamer married Mary Ann Bethea (1811-1840) in 1829. She died in 1840 and Robert never remarried. His sister Charlotte, the wife of James Willis, helped him raise his children. Robert was a very successful planter. He later moved to Harllesville (now Little Rock), South Carolina. Edward Johnson seems to have been well acquainted with James Cochran Hamer (1805-1873), Robert’s brother, who also resided in Choctaw County, Mississippi, and owned between 20-25 slaves.
Addressed to Col. R. C. Hamer, Harleyville, South Carolina
Greensboro, [Choctaw County] Mississippi
4th January 1853
Col. R. C. Homer
My Dear Sir,
I this day received your kind letter and will now reply. My health is much better than it was when I wrote you last but I am not yet quite recovered. I am and have been closely engaged in my store since my return and I am somewhat fatigued. My family also is well.
I thought I had written you in my last letter that I had seen your brother James and had all things arranged. He (James) informed me that he had sent the power of attorney to [your brother] Lewis [Hamer] but the only reason he assigned for it was that [he] had come to the conclusion that the arrangement had all failed. He, however, signed your receipt or the receipts you gave me and I made him give an order to you upon him for the power of attorney as well as any money he might have collected or anything he might have done in the matter all of which I forthwith enclosed to my brother. I am advised by my brother that he had received them and had so notified P. P. Johnson, Esq., of the fact and that he was ready to take up the Bond as all things were then complied with. I hope all is right side up. I find your brother a clever, good man and an honest man but does not know much about transacting business. He really is a farmer and a good one.
I am badly prepared to write you as my nerves are much affected from seeing a difficulty between three men of my neighborhood which occurred a few hours ago. One of them — a Mr. Clark — is no doubt mortally wounded. I saw this man Clark about seven years ago shoot out a young lawyer’s brains within fifty yards of the spot where he received his wound today. Clark is shot through the neck and throat — also has one arm broken — and I have no doubt before another sun runs his round that his soul will be before the Judge of Quick and Dead. But I hope with a pardon from sin.
I am much fatigued and must ask you to excuse my letter and write me in answer to this so that I may be able to write you with more satisfaction.
Our crops are fine and the health is good now. We have suffered much from sickness this fall. Your brother had a small Negro killed by accident a few days afore.
Your friend, sincerely, – Edward Johnson