Nov. 29, 1951 and reprinted Jan. 19, 1978


This Article Appeared In The Times

But Was Not Actually Titled Cal’s Column


Transcribed By Elsie Sampson




          The marriage records of North Carolina  give the date of the marriage of Samuel Bains to Christiana Lassiter, whose home was in Edenton, North Carolina.  Of the family of Christiana Lassiter Bains, I have no information.  Her parents lived near the Sound, and her father and others would often go to the Sound to get a supply of oysters for the family.


          Sam Bains had a brother, Lem Bains; and a sister, Rebecca Bains.  Rebecca married a Mr. McCabe when Sam Bains and wife and child came to Tennessee, they were accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. McCabe and child or children.  In the letter of Samuel Bains to his wife, dated March 7, 1813, he mentioned James Bains.


          Sam Bains’ daughter Mary Bains Ligon, would speak of her uncle Lem Bains, of Aunt and Uncle McCabe; and also of her cousin, Ann Bains and Nett McCabe, who lived in Nashville.  It seems that these cousins were visitors in the Bains home when Mrs. Ligon was a girl or a young lady.


          There was mention made of Charlotte, or “Lottie” McCabe.  Perhaps some descendant of Samuel Bains can tell us the relation of  “Lottie” and James Bains to Samuel Bains.


          The Samuel Bains family and the McCabe family came by wagon from North Carolina to Tennessee.  In crossing the “mountains” the road was so steep that small trees were cut and fastened to the rear of the wagons to help hold them back.


          Mrs. Bains had a fine beaver hat in one of the wagons.  It was lost out of the wagon and caught under one of the trees being used to hold the wagon back, and torn to pieces.  Mrs. Bains was walking down the mountain road and carefully picked up the pieces of her hat.


          When the Bains family reached Middle Tennessee, they lived for some time near the village of Grant in Smith County.  The family at that time consisted of the parents and one son.  While living near Grant, Samuel Bains taught school.  A Mrs. Newby is mentioned as having been a visitor in the home.


          From Grant, their first home in Tennessee, the Bains family must have moved to Dixon Springs, located on Dixon’s Creek.  They were living at Dixon Springs while Sam was in the War of 1812.  From Dixon Springs they moved to the home near the present Rock City, not far from Plunkett’s Creek Baptist Church.  This was their last earthly home.


          Sam Bains in his letter of March 7, 1813, names three sons, George, Alfred and Edwin.  The two sons last named had been born after the family came to Tennessee for there was only one child in the family when Mr. and Mrs. Bains arrived in Tennessee.  Edwin was accidently scalded while he was small and did not recover.  He was only a few years old when this tragedy ended his life.


          The George Bains mentioned above never married, dying as a young man.  Alfred Bains, also mentioned above, married Jane Payne and was the father of George, Alfred and Nathan Bains.


          The children of Sam and Christiana Bains are not given in the order of their births or ages, except the first two.  They were as follows: George and Alfred, both died.  (Editors note.  Evidently this father and mother , after having lost their first two children, gave other children the same names.)  George, Alfred and Edwin, mentioned in their father’s letter of March 7, 1813:  Elizabeth Adelaide, Brice Martin, William Martin, Samuel Allen, Allen Lassiter, youngest child; Lavinia Catherine, Lydia (Liddie) Murphy and Mary Hammock Bains.  The last-named was born March 29, 1826 and died June 27, 1909.  These are all the names ever called of her father’s children by the daughter, Mary Hammock Bains Ligon.  There was several sets of twins that died in infancy.


          Marriage in this family were as follows:  Alfred, married Jane Payne; Elizabeth (Betsy), married Womack Parker and later Jonathan Dillard;  Brice, married Fannie Flippin;  Lavinia married Edward Carter in 1842;  Lydia, married Tom Ligon, Jan. 16, 1861.  It may be added that Edward Carter was the son of John S. Carter, born in Virginia, where Edward was also born.  Edward and Lavinia were the parents of the late Elder William Harrison Carter, for a number of years a minister of the Church of Christ.  William Jesse Carter and Guy Carter, Lafayette citizens and business men, are grandsons of Elder Carter.  Descendants of Brice, Alfred, Lavinia, Mary and perhaps Lydia still live.


          The following letter was written by Mrs. Christiana Bains, of Smith County, to her husband, Sam Bains, while he was engaged in the war of 1812.  Many years afterward, Mrs. Bains gave the letter to her daughter, Mrs Mary Bains Ligon, who gave it to her granddaughter, Lassie Stallings, now Mrs. Joe Pendleton, of Carter’s Creek, Tenn., the writer of this article.  The letter follows, even to the spelling:


          I received your letter which was on the 24th.  I heard of several letters that came on after the engagement, but could hear nothing from you, which cuased me almost to give you up for lost.


          O my deare, I never knew how deare you were to me until I heard of the Army suffering for provision, tho I hope it has not been as bad as I heard it was, tho bad enough I expect.


          J. Mewborn left heare some time last month.  He was then on his way to Edenton, and had his servant with him.  He staid about one hour and said he never expected to come to this country again.  He left his bed and the rest of his things here.


          Mr. Squires has quit the cave.


          They have worked out all the dirt which made about five hundred weight in all that was made at the cave.


          I have got the corn taken care of after a great deal of trouble.  The weather was so bad that it was a hard matter to get people to help me.  Mr. Gibson befriended me very much.  He said he would neglect his own corn to save yours.  I have got the hogs up and they look very thiriving.


          King Luton is married to a niece of Co. Walton’s.  Mrs. Hammock, Mrs. Martin and Mrs. Parker are all very kind to me.  I have not had any chance of selling or renting this place.  I expect to stay here until you return.  If that should be in the course of next month.


          I know nothing more to write that would offer you any satisfaction only that we are all in good health.  The children are very often talking abbout their pappy and begging Mr. Parker to go after you.


          I must conclude with subscribing myself,

Your loving wife till death.

Christiana Bains

Dec. 27, 1813.


          I expect Mr. Goodson or Mrs. Martin will hand this letter to you as they both talk of starting tomorrow.





          The following letter was written by Sam Bains to his wife, Christiana Bains, from Camp Jackson, Miss., while he was serving in the war of 1812-1814.  Before his wife died she gave the letter to her daughter, Mrs. Lavinia Carter.  Mrs. Carter delivered it to Julia, wife of W. H. Flippen.  Before Mrs Flippen’s death, she gave it to her daughter, Mrs. John Pope.  This letter was copied and published in the Carthage Courier March 12, 1914.  The following is a copy of the letter as published:




          Camp Jackson, March 7, 1813.


Dear Kitty:


          This is Sunday.  I have the best opportunity to write to you that I have had since I have been here this day, three months ago.  I left home, and I have no hopes of being at home in less than three months more..maybe longer, though some of us calculate on getting home sooner.  If we were to start home tomorrow, it would take two months to make the journey, and I think we will stay here more than a month longer.


          I am extremely sorry to hear that poor, little Edwin has been sick.  I expect that he can prattle by now.


          I am much surprised to hear that Mr. Squire disappointed you in not fetching over his mother to stay with you and in not getting you the book he promised me he would get for you.  I thought if all other men deceive me, he would not.  I wrote to him by the first mail before your letter came to hand.  As for Mr. McCabe, I did not calculate on him much.  I think if Sister Rebecca could, she would come to see you often.


          As for the night caps and blanket, they were very well.  They were sent home, as now I have no use for them, the weather being hot here as it will be with you in June.  The night that you dreamed of seeing me in such a bad condition, you must have suffered much in your mind.  While I was sick at the Entonement, my thoughts of you are my children would almost make me forget myself; and when I would get in a doze of sleep, I would dream of your getting something for me, and when you got it, you could not get to me to give it to me.  I was more fretful than you ever saw me in sickness, and all the boys would try to humor me; but I was never in better health than at present.  My burdens are light to me; I have the good will of both officers and men, and live as well as a soldier can expect to live.


          I have a letter written to send to James Bains by this mail.  My clothes are getting very low.  I shall be tolerably ragged by the time I get home.  My blue coat is worn out, both pairs of my black trousers are on the patch.  My shirts, I think, will stand me.  Both pairs of socks are worn nearly out.  I shall have to buy me a pair of light trousers.  My money is nearly out; but on Tuesday, we will draw two month’s pay, which will enable me to get such things as I cannot do without.


          You have often heard that an army is the wickedest place in the world, but I can assure you that this is the most moralized place that I was in in my life.  I will write you some of our regulations.  If a private soldier swears, he has to pay one shilling for it.  If an officer, he has to pay one dollar.  If a private gets drunk, he is confined; if an officer, he is broken of his commission.  There has been several officers broke for being drunk, but no soldier confined as I have ever heard of.  No women are allowed in the camp.  Those that come to get washing to do must not stay longer than sunset.  If they do, they are put under guard, there to remain until sunrise next morning.  A line of sentinels steady step round the encampment, so that no one can get out without a permit.  I have never been out of the camp since I have been here.


          If you have good luck, you will receive this letter on the 17th of this month.  The mail leaves you again on the 22nd, at which time I hope you will write to me and I will recieve it on the 30th.  I will give you a form to direct your letters by at the bottom of this.  I feel very certain we will remain here until then.


          I delivered the enclosed letter to P., and it pleased him very much.  I would not let him have it until he promised to let me see it.  I told Mr. B (P?) his letter was delivered, and that it was very acceptable,  Mr. P. is writing a letter to send in this to Miss L.  You must make her let you see it.


          Write me how much sugar you have made and how you come on farming.  Tell Jacob that I expected he has got his wheat and oats sowed.  The people here are nearly done planting corn.


          Tell George and Edwin that their papa is well and that he will be home at reaping.


          I must conclude by subscribing myself as

Your loving husband,

Sam Bains


          To Sam Bains, in Capt. Bird Martin’s Company of  T.V.,1st Regt., at Camp Jackson, near Washington, Mississippi Territory.  If the Army is gone from here, it will follow them.


          (Editor’s comment.  This account of the ancestors of some of our people of Lafayette, and of numerous others in Smith County is published in full on account of the information it contains about the family and because of the personal appeal of the two letters and also to give soldiers of today who read the Times some idea of the difference in training camps of 138 years ago and today.  Readers will perhaps recall that Mr. and Mrs. Bains were early teachers in the schools of Smith County.  We gave a sketch of their descendants a few weeks ago and received some favorable comment thereon.  The references to having two children who died and then when two others were later born, they were given the names of those who had died, we may say that this is quite out of the ordinary.  Readers will note also that one son was Brice Martin Bains.  We once knew two brothers that had the name George as part of their given names.  You will note that some words are mispelled, but educational opportunities were not the tenth part as good as they are today.  We wonder who the J. Mewborn, who had his servant with him, and who was apparently disgusted with Smith County 138 years ago.  We also wonder what the cave made out of which 500 pounds of dirt had been taken.  We recall that in the same war salt peter was taken from caves and boiled down and used in the making of gunpowder.  It was in 1814 that Ansil Gregory, a son of our great-great-grandfather, Bry Gregory, was killed by a falling tree that had been cut down for wood with which to cook saltpeter from the cave that may still be seen on upper Peyton’s Creek, near which cave Ansil, then about 16 years of age, lost his life.


          King Luton is one of whom the editor never before heard.  He married Col. Walton’s niece.  We suppose that Col. Walton was the man for whom the Walton Road, which extends from the Cumberland Mountains as far west as Hartsville, was named.  We note that the children talked about their “Pappy.”  This title or designation for father was very common even as late as 55 to 60 years ago.  We called our own father, “Pappy.”


          The ending of both letters was in keeping with the closing of letters 130 years ago or more.  Read both of the conclusions and note that they are virtually alike.


          Evidently Samuel Bains had quite a “letdown” in his opinion of two or three of the men he had counted on as being true friends.


          Soldiers who read this will perhaps get a laugh out of the night caps which he had sent home.  Another laugh will perhaps be produced by the reference to his clothing which the soldier had to furnish himself.  Imagine seeing a soldier of today worrying about whether his pants would do till his term of service was over.  Think of the “black trousers on the patch.”  Soldiers of 138 years ago had but few of the privileges of soldiers of today.  The regulations were certainly strict, but we believe they were for the good of the soldiers or so intended.


          The making of sugar recalls the fact that in the early part of the past century, sugar as we now have it, was unknown.  The sugar making referred to by Samuel Bains was that made from the sap of the sugar maple.  Wheat sowing in Tennessee now is done in the fall, but then in the spring, to judge from the letter.


          We would judge that Samuel Bains was a volunteer from the instructions he gave on addressing his mail Capt. Bird Martin’s T.V., meaning Tennessee Volunteers.  Readers will also note, that Mississippi was still a territory when the letter was written.


          We give it as our opinion that both letters do credit to their writers for the day and time in which they lived.  They are intelligently composed, newsy, and are both in very good grammatical order.  A few misspelled words are found in the woman’s letter.  There is one thing we note and that is the love and affection each bore to the other.  How few wives of today sign their letters to their husbands away from home and in the Army, “Your loving wife till death?”  We like the sentiment expressed by this husband and wife toward each other.


          For the information contained in this article, including the two letters, we are indebted to Mrs. Joe Pendleton, of R.1, Carter’s Creek, Tenn., one of our subscribers, who also commends our paper very highly.  We extend our thanks for the fine letter written and also for the information therein contained.