THE JOURNEY OF PAUL ANDERSON HARALSON
STONE MOUNTAIN GEORGIA
MARCH - APRIL 1848
Transcribed by Thomas F. Booker Jr.
Paul Anderson Haralson (1798-1852) was my great-great Grandfather. His wife was Leannah Graves, and one of their children was Leannah (pronounced Lena).
Lena was married to William Thomas Willie at Independence, where they lived the rest of their lives. Their children were:
Caroline was married to William Lee Booker at Independence, and here they lived virtually all their lives.Their oldest child who lived beyond infancy was Thomas Frederick Booker (1881-1972), who was my father.
"Paul's Diary" is one of the few remaining records that reveal to us who our people were, what they were like, and the life-styles and events of their time. He had a facility with the language, and and interest in people, that made him perhaps our outstanding practitioner of the art of communication, long before that term took on its modern meaning.
He must have been active in establishing or carrying on the family custom (which was enjoyed by my generation if not later), of handing down the family history by word of mouth.
Here, I must digress to acknowledge a debt I feel, to Aunt Sadie Willie, Aunt Mary Pope Booker, and to my own Father, for their devotion to the task of recounting the family history and their patience in passing it on orally to me. I regret that I was not a more attentive listener.
The Diary is a simple account of the highlights of each day on a trip Paul made from home in Georgia to Independence, Texas and return, in the Spring of 1848. It does not pretend to be more than that. That simplicity permits it to reflect a certain grace and dignity (and at the same time earthiness) that must have characterized the man.
The little book is still clear and complete, for all its age and handling, lovingly preserved by Grandmother Willie, Aunt Sadie and Aunt Mary Pope. However, just a few more times of handling could crumble the paper to dust. It is for this reason that I have transcribed it, and hope to get copies into the hands of all the family. The size, format, spelling and punctuation are reproduced as closley as possible, in order to convey something of the feel of the original. The original will remain in Uncle Bob's collection.
If Grandpa Paul could have his "druthers", I imagine he would like to see us, his descendants revive the custom of keeping journals or diaries, for our own pleasure and to serve as aids to reflection and "getting perspective" on what is happening to us and our world.
PAUL HARALSON OF THE STONE MOUNTAIN
DEKALB COUNTY GEORGIA - TO TEXAS - 1848
* * *
Started from the Stone Mountain Depot on Monday morning the 20th day of March 1848 in company with William Garrett of the Social Circle. Garrett had come up on the car that morning on his way to Shreve Port La. came to Atlanta and took the Macon (?) cars to Griffin at Atlanta. Saw Judge King & talked with him about my new building, & also about the hire of Mrs Pick's Carpenter. At 8 o'clock left Atlanta for Griffin pay $3:50
Arrived in Griffin at 11 o'clock & put up at the B... & K... Hotel. Here found Charley Miller the Stage Agent, and being both on the Square, he provided me with a Seat in the Mail Coach in company with Wm. Garret & Andrew .. Lamar. Left Griffin at one o'clock in the mail coach, wiht a jolly crowd & being well pleased. talking first on politicks, then on Religion & winding up on the consequences of the recent French Revolution- The first news of which we heard this morning on board the Georgia Rail Road Car. which last conversation had a narcotic effect. from silent mediatation fell into ennui & from ennui to drowsiness & from drowsiness to gentle slumber- When I & my slumbers being disturbed by the jostling and ricking of the Stage, produced strange dreams, and amongst the many other strange visions which I had under the protection of Morpheous I dreamed that my friend Garret was a Deacon in the Church, and a Justice of the peace, & kept a Stud Horse.
Tuesday The 21st, March
Last night from the rocking of the Stage & my disturbed imagination, I became sick and ate no supper but this morning my appetite was of a wolfish nature, and the 50 cents which I paid for my breakfast was hardly a Valuable consideration.
Arrived at Opelika, the terminus of the Montgomery Rail Road at eleven o'clock & took the cars to Montgomery paid $3:15 for my fare to Montgomery- I forgot to mention that I paid an extravagant Stage fare from Griffin to Opelika, it being less than a hundred miles over a rough foad, giving a fellow no time to rest & very little to eat. And making him "sea-sick" or Stage-Sick, and draging along at the slow pace of about 4 1/2 miles to the hour, really it is intolerable.
It is a wonder to me that some disciple of the Lord Coke has never looked into the actionability of this case- Garrett left us at the Greenville to wait for his negroes Who were coming on behind by private conveyance as he said, but the price of the fare & the trials & sufferings he had in the Stage were enough to scare him off before he got to Greenville. We paid $10-50 for one night's suffering- on board the cars to Montgomery we had a fine company of passengers. Dr. Wilcox of Halifax N. C. & A. I. Lamar were two gentleman with whom I had a pleasant conversation-
Arrived in Montgomery about four o'clock & took the Exchange Omnibus to the Steam Boat "Montgomery" which was then nearly ready to sail- I had hardly got on board the boat before I was met by Alonzo Haralson, who greeted me with that warm-hearted cordiality so characteristic of the Haralson blood- Son is a noble fellow. He is reading law in Montgomery but promised to take a recess sometime during the Summer & make me a visit- He told me of the cause of the fight between G. W. Jones of Tennessee & his Uncle Hugh in the House of Representatives-
At 5 o'clock we sailed for Mobile, in the beautiful and splendid Steam Montgomery- The Montgomery is a new boat & put upon the River this season in place of the old boat of the same name. She is 235 feet long with an upper & lower deck. Can carry 3000 bags of cotton & can comfortably entertain more than 250 cabin passengers, besides Deck & Stearage. On board this boat we had a splendid array of beauty, fashion, Wealth Glory and ambition with now & then an occational touch of the oposite extreme from the wise to the otherwise from the palace to the hovel & from the Mexican War-Dogs to the willing worshiper of the God of Peace.
Here I met with Leornard H. Sewell Son of the old Judge of N.C.; with a brother of Hardy Croom, with James Gilmer, who owns the Rich Cotton Plantation on the Red River below Dr. Vance with all his family etc. etc. etc. This night after the boat got under way & feeling the need of some rest, I took State Room No. 16 and in a few minutes travel passed through the land of Nod and was soon in the pleasant and happy Country of Dreamland, where without anything to distract my peace and Comfort I enjoyed myself until breakfast the next morning.
Wednesday 22nd, March
I this morning arose at the ringing of the breakfast bell. had a pleasant wash & a fine Breakfast & came out on deck & found that in a few minutes we were to be at Cahawbe, near where I supposed Em Browning lives: as the boat took in wood & freight at this place, I went on Shore & enquired for my friend- Met with Warren Holcomb who is here with negroes for "sale": found that Em lives six miles from Burton & learned that Monroe Blann was fiddling & dancing in Mobile.
Returned to the boat again & spent the day pleasantly.
Rose and found the morning beautiful, with the promise of a pretty day. We traveled very slow, having to take in landing & freight at almost every point on the River- Today had a pleasant conversation with my friend Sewall & Gilmer on the physical resources of Georgia, as compared with those of North Carolina and Lousiana- as we passed down the river today saw an Aligator sunning himself on a log, and landed in Mobile about 5 o'clock just too late to witness the great Ball play between the Choctaw Indians who live in the neighborhood of Mobile on the one side and a band of the remnant of Cherokees who live in Sumpter about 200 miles from this place. The contest had been advertized for some time in the Mobile papers & the play came off today at three o'clock for a wager of $20 a side in the presence of a great crowd of Spectators. Ten on a side, from what I understand it is something of the character of Bandy-playing, in which they use sticks about two feet long with a cup at one end to catch the ball & throw it, instead of using the old-fashion Bandy stick to strike & roll the ball: the were the victors- Soon after arriving at Mobile I transferred my baggage from the Montgomery to the Montezuma, which sails tomorrow at eleven o'clock.
I registered my name on board the Montezuma & took lodgings there-Visited the Town, but found no acquaintances-
Friday 24th March
After early breakfast this morning, I went on Shore visited the cotton packing screws. Bought me a summer coat for a Sovereign & called upon M A Van Hooke and spent some time with him. At 11 o'clock the Boat bell rang & I went on board paid my passage $4- and just at 12 o'clock we left port, & on board this boat I found the Capt a very clever fellow by the name of Kelly, and he told me that he had a Sister lliving in Cass Coty at Kingston with a Judge Ever-
I also on board the Montezuma found a Clever Young Gentleman by the name of Duval. Who was very attentive and polite to me, and who was perfectly familiar with all the Coast from Mobile to New Orleans. Who pointed out to me all the important points as far as Paschagola, where he left us. (This man had once been a commander of one of the Mail packets from Orleans to Mobile) The Clerk of The boat (Mr Randle) is also a clever fellow- At Pass Christiann where we stopped to wood, a fine looking Gentleman came on board & told us that he had just found the body of his friend who had been drowned a few days before & he wanted that boat to carry it to Neworleans.
It seems that the Telegraphic wires between Mobile & Orleans had gotten out of fix, and the two operators of the Telegraph (Mr Lyons of Utica N Y, and Maj Willard of Orleans) had gone down on the line to find out what was the matter, and in attempting to cross the lower end of Lake Ponchartrain near the Reguletts in a Peroque (or Cannoe) a squall upset the cannoe & they were both drowned & to day the body of Lyons was found which we took on board. The body of Willard has not been found & it is supposed that it has been eaten up by the Aligators and fish-
Saturday 25th March
This morning at light I was awakened by the Capt & told that we were in Sight of Orleans. I got up & dressed & walked out & had a beautiful morning. Passed the Shipping at the lower landing and came up to the Canal Landing & there we took the canal boat and came up to the city seven miles and landed in Orleans about 8 o'clock. Came to Planters & put up and went on the Strand to look for a boat which was going to Galveston. found Palmetto was to sail tomorrow at 9 o'clock & returned. hunted up Frank Haralson who has been appointed a Notary Public of the City, and had a pleasant interview with him, for an hour or more- He told me that Judge Hughes, my brother in Law was in the city, with his son (John) & Daughter Mary.- Frank went with me over the city & to Dr Duncan's where I found Judge Hughes & Daughter Mary. He told me that he had sold out in Jackson & was on his way to Galveston, where he intended to settle. That Archy was already there having previously gone over with his effects. That James his oldest Son was in the Quarter Master Department in the City of Mexico. And that my brother John H. was still in Jackson practicing Law. - I went to the Strand or Warf to engage passage to Galveston & at the warf, I met with Henry Willie & Joab Robertson with negroes for sale & had but a few minutes conversation with them.
I returned to my room & after a late supper retired to bed being a little unwell. but was saluted and serenaded with sweet notes of the Pianno until near midnight. It made me think of home.- Ah if there be a nearer, dearer, Sweeter place that all else in this world besides, that place is home-
Sunday 26th March 1848
After Breakfast and paying a Bill of $1.50 I went to the Steam Ship Palmetto & took State Room No. 1. Soon afterwards Judge & family arrived. And at 9 o'clock we sailed. The Scene and beauties of this beautiful River out to the Gulf I have once before in my life attempted to describe and I now feel that any effort of mine in that way would be ludicrous if not perfect mockery. The Grand & Majestic River. The Rich farms, the Stately palaces, the Orange Groves. The ships in full sail, laden with the rich productions of the earth, from every country and clime.
The battle ground where Lord Takenham fell to gratify British ambition with his thousands around him under the unerring aim of the American Rifles, all these & and many more, are more than I shall attempt to describe, but all those we here see & witness as we pass down this Great Father of Waters. We arrived at the Bar which opens into the Gulf just as the sun was setting, and as a soon as we got into the Gulf the ship commenced heaving and rocking under a severe Gale, which carried me to my State Room as usual. I suffered the sufferings of the sickest of the sick- With me night passed away with one unremitting heave & Monday - came and went I know not how, for really I felt (prepared or unprepared) that I was willing to die.
Tuesday The 28th. March
This morning about daybreak, I felt the ship stop and only now and then rise & fall again as a heavy billow would roll under her. I opened my State room door & asked what was the matter & the Capt said that he had to anchor until day light as the sea was running so high he was afraid to cross the Bar before light. I begged him to risque it for I had rather be stove than to suffer as I had done another day. he told me to be patient for in four hours he would be in Galveston - And never did the words of Salvation come to the Heathen with more joy than did those words from the Captain.
In an hour we weighed anchor again & was soon over the Bar & into smooth water. When I got up and striped naked & paid the Steward to pur six pails of fresh water over my head and body.-
Which cured me-. we arrived in Galveston at 9 o'clock and put up with Mrs. Reese, Step-Mother of Kellar Reese, who is keeping a private boarding house in this place.
After breakfast, walked to the Tremont House. To the Strand, to see the shipping- and down the beach in company with John Hughes who was as much delighted with the sea shore as young men commonly are. Here too we met with Archy Hughes, who having been at the battle of Buena Vista entertained me very pleasantly with the stirring events of that important event.- After supper this evening, We were treated to some rich music on the pianno by a Miss Carnelia Robinson, the second Daughter of our kind hostess- this evening Hugh MQueen who is practicing Law in the city came over to see me and spent an hour or two- I was furnished a bed in the same room with Judge Hughes, and we talked until a late hour in the night-
I also had a very interesting interview with Archy on his future prospects in life and was pleased with his views on the subject of Economy, both in regard to time and money - I do hope he may make a useful man.
Wednesday 29th March
I rose early this morning and in company withe John Hughes, went down to the warf to engage a passsage to Houston. had a long and pleasant walk. Visited the Market & heard a Dutch quarrel, and after breakfast paid my bill and went ($1:00) with Judge Hughes to his office, and from there to the Steam Boat Reliance which sailed at 9 o'clock.
Genl. MQueen came on board as one of the passengers- we had a pleasant trip-
As we passed up the Bayou Buffaloe to day we saw a good many water fowl of a peculiar species called here the Water Turkey. A different bird from any thing I ever saw before.
we were also pointed out the famous battle Ground of San Jacinto where Santa Anna was made a prisoner in the Texas Revolution, and where the Hon. Sam Houston acquired an undying fame- Arrived at Houston at 7 o'clock and put up with John O'Bracken who married Durrit Richard's Daughter of Milton-
Thursday 30 March 1848,
This morning, I found upon enquiry that the Stage did not leave until tomorrow morning, and had to remain here all day. Hunted up & found James Walker who tells me that he is doing a good business in the practice of law. Spent a pleasant time with him and talked of old times. He told me that Fred A. Hill had gone to & settled in Milam in East Texas on Red River.
Made the acquaintance of a clever young Gentleman by the name of Geo. C. Red, of Washington County, who is a practicing physician in that county and is acquainted with my Sister Jane Ann.
Met here also with a Gentleman by the name of Sheppard, son of Sevier Sheppard formally of Caswell.
Walked over & viewed the Town and as near as I can guess it is about the size of Madison.
Was pleased with the society & general appearance of this place.
Friday 31 March
After breakfast this morning, paid my Bill and took the stage to Washington in company with Col Gross, Mr Perryman Dr. Red & four other Gentleman, had a pleasant company of the stage companions- during the day became sick from in the stage and eat no Dinner-
At the Dinner house was shown two Mustang Colts which had just been caught in the prairie.
Came this day to Mrs. Stephens where we slept all night-
This night we were crowded & although I got a bed to myself, yet I was disturbed by a fat Dutchman-looking fellow, who took a bed by the side of the one I occupied, & from some cause or other jammed his bed against mine. greatly to my annoyance. And in requesting him as civily as I knew how not to be too familiar he pettishly replied that he was not lousy. I had a bad nights rest-
The next morning we eat breakfast before we started-
At this house we parted with several of our stage companions & amongst them Col Gross whom I found to be a clever man & one who I understand is of the aristocracy of Texas. Here too we changed stages & got into an open four horse waggon not much over the speed of a Dutchmans cart. Which I found to be the character of the Texas stages generally. We came a few miles to the Brazos Botoms & here we dropped Mr. Perryman formally of Twiggs County Georgia & a wealthy planter of the Brazos. - Came on to Washington without anything particularly to attract notice if I may except the Richness of the Brazos bottoms which is inferior to nothing I have seen in Texas except Old Caney.
Arrived in Washington at half past eleven o'clock and went directly to Mrs. Moore's (widow of the late Dr. Moore) where I understood my sister was boarding.
She had understood that I was in Houston & was expected up in the stage, & she had gone to the Hotel expecting me to stop there & whilst I was at her boarding house to see her, she was at the Hotel to see me- As soon as I found she was at the Tavern, I left & went up there, but she understanding that I was at Mrs. Moore's left the Tavern & went home & in passing we took different streets & did not meet.
My mortification was as great as hers- She soon sent for me, and as the stage had about 30 minutes to stop I had hardly time to tell her howday- But she determined not to be outdone, got in the stage with me and went up to Independence-, I should in justice to my feelings pay a passing notice to this meeting.
Here in this strange land I had met my widowed Sister whom I had not seen in Twenty Seven years. and upon this occasion I had feelings which I shall not attempt to describe, even if I had time to do so-. arrived at Independence about two o'clock & put up at Hoods Tavern. My sister having no acquaintance with Mr Graves & wife stopped at Tavern & afterwards went to see an old acquaintance of hers by the name of Mrs Taylor-. As soon as I could arrange my baggage, I went over to parson Graves I was met before I got to the house by his wife who recognized me. Found Henry L very sick with nervous headache & all the rest of the family well.
Was told that Runnels had moved up the Brazos to Judge Longstreet's land, had built him some shanties & rented land, & was making a crop with all the negroes except Susan who was hired out in Town to Mrs Butler, as part payment of the board of Runnels children who were going to school at the place- Spent the evening very pleasantly, found the Rev Mr Huckins there. etc. In the evening walked over & brought my sister to Parson Graves' & introduced her. took tea at the Parsons & returned with my sister to the Hotel, & she to Mrs Taylors. - This Hotel, I should here simply remark, is not as fine a one, as the St Charles in New Orleans- or the Astor House in New York-
Sunday April 2d 1848
Slepy late this morning and after breakfast went over to Parson Graves'. who told me that Runnells, he had just heard, was expecting to die at his place up on the Brazos about 20 miles- Anxious to see him before he did die I borrowed a horse of H L Graves and rode up to where he lives- found him very sick with Bilious Pneumonia & two Drs with him. Dr Eldridge & Dr Munson. Stayed all night & finding him too sick to do any business, never mentioned to him the object of my visit- But must here be permitted to give some little idea of his situation- He is three miles in the Bottoms, & about half way between the River and the Prarie or High lands. Having one small shantie about 14 foot square, made of Split Hackberry, puncheon floor, one door, badly built. Stick and dirt chimney.
At the end a shelter for the negroes & one log smoke house, about 10 or 12 acres cut & the brush piles ready for clearing up. He rented 40 acres of bottom land from Mr Hill, 30 of which is in cotton & he also rented land 25 or 30 acres of Mr Echols, mostly in cotton- In the sickliest place I have seen in Texas- where the land is as level as the Mason instrument & where the Brazos River overflowed seven inches in the Great freshet of 1842-
Monday 3d April 1848
This morning we had a heavy dew, felt unwell myself and examined the premises & came to the conclusion to take my negroes from this place.
Was surprised to see the vegetables so large & the cotton so
high-. Corn is over knee high & in some places the weeds of this year are waist high- Had a conversation with Reynolds & told him of my determination. & he seemed to be greatly disappointed & said that I or Henry L Graves must furnish hands to work his crop. I told him, I had nothing to do with his crop that I expected my negroes were hired out as I directed.
Really it seemed to me from Runnell's manner that he felt I had no business with my own negroes, & I am now convinced that if he had kept them 2 years longer he would have claimed them & plead the Statute of limitations on me. The Lord only knows what he is to do with the Dr.- He gave me very little satisfaction about the hire of my negroes last year & said that there was no money for me- I told my negroes to fix some shafts to my old carry-all & be ready to start tomorrow- This night I spent with a Mr Jones a Batchelor who lives nearby.
Tuesday 4th April 1848
After Breakfast came over to Runnells & found my mule gone, whether by design or not, I am unable to say & Tillman sent off to load a waggon. I waited until near night when the mules were brought home & I sent for Tillman, & just before night I started. first demanding and getting my gunn & stirup iron which is all that is left of my horse & saddle.
Came to Capt Hill out of the bottom & stayed all night
Wednesday 5 April 1848
Started soon this morning and came to the Yeawaw Creek & found it very full & had to swim over & build a raft & float over my carry-all. Arrived at Henry L Graves just before night & stayed all night.
I had learned from my negroes where they were hired last year & I resolved to ascertain something of the conduct of Runnells. I found that R. MWmson had hired Sevier & owed $72 for it except what he had paid Runnells.
I saw him & he paid me $15-
I learned that a Mr Isbell had hired Tillman & the amot was $92-, I saw him & he told me that he had paid some forty odd dollars to Runnells & the balance he still owed.
I had to take his statement & I took his a/c & bond for the balance of $50-. I understood that a Mr Dix had hired Susan. I saw him, & he told me that he had given his bond to Runnells for the amot which Runnells held- I asked him to pay the money to H L Graves- I also understood that a man by the name of Pennington had hired Jim, but him I could not see. These settlements I made from the statement of the negroes and from what I learned from the men themselves- And what I saw and heard, I have come to the conclusion that this man Runnells is not an honest man, notwithstanding that he is a Deacon in the church, and notwithstanding his solemn promises to Dr. Graves & myself to keep a just & correct account of all his acts, and use strictest economy.
I spent the day in arranging my business- Saw Mrs. Butler who hired Susan, and she seemed unwilling to give her up. The bargain she had made with Runnells to board his children & to deduct it from the hire of Susan, suited her very well, & I expect it suited Runnells better.-
Slept at the Tavern to night as H L Graves had company-
Thursday 6th April.
This morning having nothing to do,- I shaved & went over to the Parsons, found Mr Hutchins there & had a long conversation with him.- Found H L Graves much better & nearly able to go about. Talked about old times and resolved to be off in the morning, intending to carry my negroes down to Washington- leave them with my sister, and get a horse and go down to Brazoria.
This evening after Dinner Mr Huckins and myself got some horses and rode round Town to look at the site & location of the Colledge which is shortly to be built; and in our route we fell in with the largerst and finest heard or flock of sheep I ever saw. 1400 in one flock besides goats, owned by a man by the name of Dix, whom lives within one mile of Independence.
We also fell in with the finest heards of cattle perhaps, now in the world.
In one herd there were said to be 3000- These fine stock prevented me from paying attention to the coledge location, which I ought.
But I found out one thing & that is, There is a Strong probability that there is to be some difficulty about the location.
Some want it in Town.
Some a half mile from town & some away from the influence of Town.
Friday 7th April 1848
After breakfast this morning I fixed to start & was off- intending to go to Washington leave my carryall & negroes with my sister; buy a horse & go down to Brazoria to learn if possible what sort of fix Runnells had gotten into there-
Started about 9 o'clock came three miles & was ovetaken by Dr. Slaton who proposed to sell me his horse, saddle & bridle. He asked me $45- which I paid him and sent his back with H L Graves' mare. Came on to Washington where I expected to make a stand for several days. But finding things there different from my expectations.
And that I could not do there as I expected so as to enable me to go down to Brazoria. & feeling home sick any how & knowing that I could effect nothing by going- I concluded to go on home and try to come back again in the fall. with that view I crossed the River, Cane to Ringolds (The Butchers) bought 11 lbs bacon & 4 dozen eggs and came to a Batchelors by the name of Gilbert. Where I stayed all night.
Saturday 8th April 1848
This morning after we had gotten breakfast and was starting, my Slaton horse which is a real Spanish Mustang refused to go eastward, and run backwards & fell with me on him. I mounted him the second time and his conduct was worse, first pitching & then running back & finally rearing up & falling backwards, catching my leg under him-. Upon examination by Tillmon it was found out that the Girth was not right, & that his back was sore which was the cause of all his Mexican misbehavior- If I had been actuated by the same feelings towards this horse that President Polk was towards the country from which this horse came I should have this conduct as being in bad faith, & a just cause for War, & should have given him a whipping- But forbearing, as a good Whig should always do, And believing that believing that the fellow could not have done much better under the circumstances, I fixed him & tried him again. When he done finely-. Came on without much to attract attention & came to Capt. Plasters. Where we got corn & where the good lady sent us a half a bushel of butter milk.
Sunday 9th April 1848.
This morning we got a good start and came five miles to Rivers', a Mexican Tavern-Keeper where we found a great many hunters just ready for a Buffaloe Hunt,- It seems that on yesterday two Stragling Buffaloe that had wandered off and got down into this neighborhood, and the neighbors with Rivers & his son-in-law had gotten after them and had three shots without effect- had ran them down into the Swamp below Rivers' & had lost them- And this morning, all the neighbours had assembled to hunt them up.- I felt a great inclination to be in the chase, but my situation as a traveler, and the thought that it was the Sabbath restrained me.
I however got sight of a Buffaloe yearling, which had been caught last Spring & was gentled and domesticated with the calves-
Came on to Robins' ferry on the Trinity and there waited until the carry-all & negroes came up.- At this ferry, was overtaken by a young man on foot by the name of Taylor who had been to San Antonio & who requested to travel with me to Croket.
Paid an extravagant ferriage at the Trinity and came to Parkers old place where we bought corn & stayed all night.
Monday 10th April 1848
Started from Parker's old place, (where I camped three years ago) Very soon intending to make a few bigs days travel. came through Mustang Prarie, which was celebrated a few years ago for its great number of Wild Horses but where there are, now , none to be seen. This is the prettiest prairie I have seen in East Texas, and came fourteen miles to Croket the County Site of Houston County- This place, I once thought was a pretty place, but the idle, gaping, enquiring crowd, which gathers around every Stranger that comes into this town, leaves a bad impression of the people & the place on the minds of Visitors and travelers-
Here we droped Taylor - the San Antonio traveler who requested me to inform the ferry-man at the Neches, that he was here without money or friends, & unable to get any farther, & say to the ferryman to communicate this information to his (Taylors) father who lives about a mile from the ferry- Poor fellow he is to be pitted, driven from his parental roof, by the tyriny & cruelty of a merciless Step mother he had sought refuge & peace in the Mexican War. He there soon became sick & lay many months in the Hospital until he was discharged, & by the kindness of some Texian Traders, he had gotten to San Antonio with his health gone & friendless helpless & moneyless he here lay sick for some months on the charity of a Dutchman until he was able to work when he drove an ox team for his bread and some clothes, & feeling able, he had started & gotten as far as Croket. where he became so weak from sickness that he had to Stop, & as he said, where he expected to die. came on to Mrs McLanes where we bought corn and Camped for the night
This Lady gave me a fine quantity of good Butermilk. Perhaps she took me to be a widower.
Tuesday 11th April 1848
Had a good start this morning and came on the Hennis' ferry on the Neches River. Stoped at Hennis' House & called out the good Lady & told her of young Taylor & his situation and requested that she would send word to his Father who lives about a mile from this place- at the Ferry met with a Queer genius by the name of Jos B F Garrett who boasted that he was a Texian of the right order & from his manner & conversation, I really thought that he spoke the words of truth & soberness,
Came on to Mrs Bradshaws who had just died & the whole Household was in mourning.
At this place I was shown an artificial mound made by the the Indians - perhaps the Grave of some illustrious chief of older time. It is about three hundred feet in circumference & 20 or 30 feet high & in the shape of a cone- came on to Angelina River and crossed the Toll Bridge and thence to Douglass a small Town in Nacogdochez County-
Could get no meal at this place and came two miles to a Mr. Thomas Garretts where we paid a half a dollar for corn enough to feed two horses and an extravagant price for meal and meat- These old settlers of western Texas are yet, in a great degree, actuated by the feelings and motives which first brought them to Texas- Here we stayed all night-
Wednesday 12th April 1848
Started very early this morning with a view of crossing the Sabine River which is 28 miles from this place. Came by a small village called Sand Hill, and bought some coffee, and in my travels to day saw a fine parcel of Hogs and amongst every gang which I saw I found several of the largest with bills on.
These are the first hogs I ever before saw Billed. To day we traveled 33 miles and came to a mans house by the name of Bell. Who was a Tennesseean, and who treated me very kindly. Where we stayed all night
Thursday 13th April 1848
This morning the weather had a cloudy appearance & a threatening prospect of Rain.
And after an early breakfast started and came 12 miles to a Blacksmith Shop where we had some repairs done to the carry-all. This Blcksmith is georgian from Daloniga.
Here we met with a man who had come to the shop to have some repairs done to his Gun. He told us of having, on the day before found a wolfs den of seven young ones, which he had destroyed and spoke in a marvelous strain of his Superior tact in Wolf hunting- Soon after leaving this shop I met with Washington Trammel formally of Walton County Geo & brother to Jael & Thomas Trammel.-
He has moved to this place & settled on a new farm where he expects to live- He speaks extravagantly in praise of this Country, & was very anxious for me to go with him home- Came on to Grand Bluff on the Sabine River. Here I met with Dr. Ware, formally of Hancock Coty Georgia, with whom I had a pleasant conversation for an hour or two until the carry-all came down. Crossed the Sabine about 4 o'clock and came six miles to a Mr. Watsons where we stayed all night-
Friday 14th April 1848
Started early this morning with a view if possible of getting to Shreve port which is 39 miles from this place-
Came to a Capt Anderson's where three years ago we had met with Pack Dacres, and West Campbell. Talked with the Capt about these men. He had never seen them since we were there & had understood they were both dead- Told me that Blant Means had property, but before he engaged in the fight which resulted in his death, he had conveyed it all over to Campbell, as he expected to be killed when he went down the Sabine- He spoke well of Means, but rather disparagingly, I thought, of Campbell & Dacres-
Came a few miles & was overtaken by a young man with four horses, all tied together carrying them to Shreveport- These horses had been borrowed by some young men to ride to Henderson, at the price of $2 p.day each & were sent back by this young man- I let Jim & Lewis ride his horses to within four miles of Shreveport, where we stopped at a Mr. Guize's, who had some pretty daughters, & where we stayed all night.
Saturday 15th April 1848
This morning started after breakfast, having only four & a half miles to go and came to Shreveport. Tied my horse and went to the Hotel and asked the Land Lord if there was any sale in town foir a horse, & mule & Carry-all.
Told him also that I had some negroes to sell & asked him the price- Learned that the price of Cotton in Orleans had scared off all negro buyers.- was told to sit down in Town for a few days & he thought I could sell. Fixed a tent or camp near the ferry, & myself put up at the Hotel- Where I stayed all night.
Sunday 16th April
Came early this morning to the camp & eat breakfast & finding no respect paid to the Sabbath day, as the stores generally & most of the other shops were open, I walked about town & more than once was bantered for a trade.-
In the evening on the arrival of the Steam boat Caddo, a young gentleman came to camp & told me that he wished to buy my horse Bravo- That he was himself a Methodist, but was there without a horse & must have one.- That man was not made for the Sabbath but that the Sabbath was made for man, and as he was from necessity compeled to leave town and had no mode of getting away except by buying on that day, He hoped I would regard it as no sin to sell, as a precedent had been set by the Saviour in taking the sheep from the mire on that Holy Day. And all that thing and that sort of thing etc. until he pretty well convinced me from the force of his reasoning of the propriety of the measure-
And amongst other sensible things which he said, he told me that he would give me $50- for the horse & a trade was the imediate consequence, least some sin might be committed by chaffering, Dallying & long delay.
Monday 17th April 1848
On yesterday I forgot to mention that the Billiard Tables & public gaming houses were generally open all day & I could see very little difference between that day and any other.
This morning I tried to sell my mule & carry-all & also tried my luck at selling the negroes- but failed- was offered $800 for Tillman in cash- & $700 for Lewis in cotton at 7 cts p/lb., but refused to take it- had several applications for my mule & carry all- But could not get half price bid- Laboured hard all day in trying to sell but effected nothing- I however slept sound at night-
Tuesday 18th. April 1848
This morning eat breakfast at the Hotel. sent out Tillman, Lewis & Jim to look for their masters & told them that if they would sell themselves well, I would give them $5- each & a new suit of Clothes apiece. They told me they looked through Town but could find no bidders. To day I made the acquaintance of a good many persons.-who seemed to express a desire for my doing well-
Tried hard all day to buy me a pr. of pantaloons as those which I have on are all that I have got. But found none that would fit.
Wednesday 19th April 1848
I had some little prospect of selling Tillman- I had been offered $800 for him & thought that if I could do no better I would take that offer- sent Tillman out & promised him a fee if he would sell himself for a higher price, but resolved to take that sum if I could do no better, & in an hour he returned and reported that the man had bought two other negroes and did not want him- I felt mortified & got me a hook & line & went fishing- Caught one fine cat which weighed 23 lbs. & saw another caught which weighed 34 lbs. Went to camp & had a fine fry-
Thursday 20th April 1848
Came to camp this morning intending to put Susan on board the Steam Boat Satona & send her home. Saw the Capt. (Smoker) & made a bargain with him to carry her to New Orleans & give her into the hands of Capt Kelly of the Montezuma. Who was requested to send her to Mobile & place her in the hands of Alonzo Haralson, who would pay her rail road & stage fare to Atlanta & then old Brother Kelsey was to send her home-
Wrote all the letters necessary & put her on board & gave the money into the hands of the Capt who was to send it along with Susan. And then intended to lay in some provision & leave Shreveport, and try my luck through the country- by Bellvell, Minden etc. as occasion & prospects would offer- - After buying my provisions & getting getting ready to start, I concluded that I would wait until morning to see the boat (which was to carry off Susan-) start.- So in company with a Mr. Guild who lives on the Brazos & a young Gentleman by the name of Ramsey, we visited the french settlement & Garden etc. & afterward took a fishing spree but caught nothing. I left my hook standing out, well baited for a big Cat-
Friday 21st April 1848
This morning at 8 o'clock the boat Satona sailed, & I went to camp with a view of starting, but met with a gentleman who told me that his name was Owen of Titus County Texas. That he was a merchant & on his way to New Orleans- & was waiting for the Steam Boat Victoress. Which had been ecpected down for several days, that on that boat there were two gentlemen who owed $2000- & that if I would wait until the arrival of that boat & if when they came he could get his money- He would give me the $2000 for my three boys.
I told him that he had too many "ifs" & conditions in his proposition & that I could not consent to wait- - Just at this time Tillmon came for me & told me there was a gentleman in town who wanted to buy Jim. I hunted him up found his name to be John R Taylor of Upshur County Texas. Offered him Jim at $600. & he told me that he had but $500. which he would give & no more.
I could no better, & I took his offer & sold him Jim, which is the first & only negro I ever sold. But I have the consolation to known that I sold him to a good man & one who will treat Jim well-My hook which I set out last night, caught a cat that weighed 42 pounds.
Saturday 22nd April 1848
Paid my bill at the Tavern this morning ($2+) And after early breakfast started.
Crossed the ferry at Shreveport & paid the extravagant ferriage of $1.25.- Came to a Mr. Burnams & offered to sell him the negroes. But he had disposed of his money. Crossed the ferry at the Benwais Bayou ferriage 20c.
Crossed another ferry over a dry slough, Willow Shute, & paid 50c. & came to Nother ferry at Lake Bodceau. Where I paid 50c ferriage-Great Earth! thought I hom many ferries & money traps have I stumbled upon? Before we got to Bodceau Lake the right fore wheel of my carry-all gave out, & Tillman fixed it up until we got to Bellow. Arrived at Bellow about sun down and got an out house near the Jail to go into. tried to buy butter, meal, corn & eggs, but failed- There seems to be very little of these things in this Town to sell.
One gentleman sent me a plate of Butter & came down & talked with me until Bedtime. his name is Long. He seemed to be a very clever man.
Saturday 23d April 1848
Arose this morning & had an excellent breakfast of Scrambled eggs which I had bought on the road yesterday & walked out to look at the town, found it a new place. The County Site of Bozier Parish.
Some half a dozen or more families, Two Hotels, & one grocery or deadfall, a very common jail & a very uncommon Court House.
I called on Mr. Long the Tavern Keeper to ascertain if ther were any purchasers of negroes in this place & in a conversation with him I learned that Mr. Key and Lady resided here who were once great favourites with Dr. T A Graves. I resolved to call on them and make their acquaintance. And according about Ten O'clock I walked down.
When I got to the gate I felt that I was approaching the house of a Lady. The front yard so tastefully arranged. The choice collection of flowers in such rich profusion and every thing about the premises so indicative of neatness, elegance refinement, and good sense.
I walked in, and introduced myself and was met by that warm genereous Spirit (both by the gentleman & Lady) not always to be met with in the common circles of life, and which made me feel my situation a pleasant one from the first interview.
I spent some two hours with them and should have dined there, but the situation of things at camp required my presence there at Meal Times, & I returned to camp before dinner.
I had hardly got home & directed my dinner operations before a Servant Girl of Mrs. Key's came to the camp with a large Tea Tray and told me that here mistress had sent me "Some dinner".- I raised the beautiful white linen towel which covered it. And !Great Earth!! What delicacies and what luxuries I had before me.- It must be remembered that I had traveled all the way from the Brazos Bottoms to this place with negroes, and upon camp fare, and that camp fare of the texas character. Which is at least one hundred p/cent below common waggoners fare.
That my appetite suffered and longed for something beyond bread baked of corse corn meal, ground in a coffee mill or mashed with an axe, & a piece of fat bacon broiled before the fire on a stick. I say my appetite longed for something beyond this. and I had hoped soon, to get out of these Troubles, but I little expected that An Angel was emptying her rich comforts upon me, like Manna from Heaven upon the Camps of Israel.- Here were all that my heart desired. Meats, vegetables, and desarts of the best kind and served up in the neatest & richest manner.
And with an appetite as keen as a Hungry Wolf- Oh Ghost of Apicius!!- what a meal I made-. I shall never forget this Lady.-I never expect to see her again, but I shall never forget her- I had thought she was sister to one whom I had expected to have the pleasure at some period of my life of calling "Sister", but I find she is a Cousin.
I don't wonder that Dr. Tho A Graves should love a family like this- I do pray that she may live long in this world, Die Happily-& in Heaven, reap the rewards of her noble and generous deeds here upon earth.
Monday 24th April 1848
I forgot to mention that last evening, after I had eat my supper, I again called upon Mr. Key and his good Lady & spent the evening with them. There I met with Dr. Hamilton & another young gentleman whose name upon introduction I did not learn.
Whilst on my visit to Mr. Key & Lady, the Land Lady at the Long Hotel, Mrs. Long, sent a servant over to my camp with the rich delicacies of her table for my supper, which I learned after my return to camp, and I regret that I missed enjoying it.- This Lady, Mrs. Long, I had noticed before. She had entertained me very pleasantly an hour in the forenoon of the day & I was much pleased with her. I understood that she is a Georgian. & I loved her some on that account. But her easy and pleasant manner, her interesting conversation, and the interest she manifested for me ( a perfect Stranger) gave me a very high opinion of this Lady- But the further manifestation of her disinterested generosity and magnanimity last evening in sending me that Supper has fixed the rememberance of her hereafter forever in my mind- Bless the good Lady- I do hope she may have her share of the good things of this world.
This morning after an early breakfast I walked over to Mr. Lawson's, who I understood wished to buy some negroes, but he was from home and his Lady told me that he had declined purchasing for the present,- I then made arrangements to start and called over at Long's Hotel. Thanked my friend Mrs. Long for her kindness and bade her farewell.
Came on through a Beautiful plain country, but badly watered, to Minden & arrived there about 3 o'clock, and by the kindness of my friend J M Morrow got a good out House to go into- - - At the Minden Ferry today I had a Jolly conversation with the ferryman who would know me in spite of all I could do & say. He also told me of a man (Russel Long) who he thought would buy one of my boys, & promises to help me find a purchaser.
Tuesday 25th April 1848
After an early breakfast this morning, I walked over town, and was struck with the improvement made here since I was here last.- I once thought that Minden would at some future day be a place of great importance in North West Louisiana, and I find that the public and enterprising spirit of its citizens, together with the increasing agricultural interest of the Surrounding country about it, etc more strongly convince me of the truth of my first impression.- Besides a large Mercantile interest already established here, the mechanical business is being directed and concentrated at this point where can be found shops of all kinds from the iron foundary, to the Black-smiths forge, including cotton gins shops- Silversmiths & waggon makers, Tinner gunsmithy etc.
But above all the attention of this community seems to be turned toward the Education & Moral Culture of the Youth of the country. There are at this time three fine schools in Minden.- To day I dined with J M Morrow- purchased a pr of pantaloons of Mrs Chaffe & got Mrs. Gilcourt to make them.
Was introduced to many Georgians here, now, looking at the country, and tried to sell Sevier to a Mr. Washington Early Edens, who lives about 25 miles from this place, But he spoke of the hardness of the times and scarcity of money & walked away & left me.
Wednesday 26th April 1848
This morning I arose early and by previous promise of yesterday took breakfast with my friend James McMurrow. Again walked over the town, Was introduced to a ery clever man by the name of Scott. With whom I had a sharpe dispute about the future price of cotton. Was introduced to day to a Gentleman by the name of Austin & his brother, one of whom lives in Columbus & saw me at the Stone Mountain in February- The other lives in Campbell-
Tilman went to Mrs. Gilcourts for my pantaloons & she made him pay a dollar for the making, after having agreed with me on yesterday to make them for 75 cts.- Put them on & they fitted finely- They are the only pair which I have except the one I had worn from Independence to this place and which were worn out. Ah me! Had my own beloved wife known my situation on yesterday in regard to Breaches how unhappy she would have been- Tis well for the happiness of mankind that some things in this world are hidden from our knowledge.
To day, whilst I was at camp at my dinner, Mr. Edens came up & offered me my price for Lewis, $712.50, and in five minutes we made a trade. Lewis was well pleased, as this man is said to be one of the cleverest and most humane men in all this Country. He has but one other negro & that is a likely Girl of 13 or 14 years & he wanted Lewis to make a family-
Thursday 27th April 1848
I had never been to see Mrs. Murrell
* * *
Note: the writing simply stopped at the above point. All of the 6 or 7 sheets remaining in the book are blank, except for a few notes in pencil that were made when he was in Independence, and seem to be 1- or 2-word reminders of what he wanted to include in his diary.
At the front of the book, on flyleaf facing the first page of his Journal are these words, written in ink: I am to be at C. H. on Thursday the 2d. of June. 1825. to Settle with Richardson Burton & Hubbird- P. . Haralson.
And one other entry: Call on Francis N Haralson of New Orleans & get Dr. Thomas A. Graves' trunk etc etc- & Bring it with me to the Stone Mountain Georgia or to Social Circle where the Dr. lives - Paul A Haralson
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