Selena James Reid to Rachel Fulton Caldwell

Selena was living with her son, William Washington James, at the time of this letter …
Rachel is a widow living in Arkansas with her son, James Leander Caldwell


Georgia Picking Co
August 20 1896

Dear Neice I will rite you a few lines I feel tolerable well this mournngning I have bein sick afew days better now William1 has bein sick some better now William has plank in the graves at Sternsgrave yard Levy Cagle3 lives at Johns4 old place now hiram5 buried Josa there and I buired him at Talking rock church so they are both buried at Talking rock Church I don’t know where I will be put Rachel I would rite more Easter morison [?] her Son has tow girls most grown the was baptised 2 Sunday in this mounth was 17 baptised that all of bill6 children belongs to the Church but one some is sorry members think more of frolick and whiske and runing about the are all maried but two frank7 and Julia8 Rachel I would rite more rite more there is some of them would be so glad that I was out of way the want full posesion and the cant get it wile I live one of his boys has not spoke to me in five year one day while I was gone to town the moved in on me and then more he thought he was over seen these of all them I took sick and lik to died I got better I ask him to make ma a little fire he stomp of as if som[?] pull the last hare of my head I will God blessing rest in you.

Selena Reid

Interpretation:
Dear Niece, I will write you a few lines. I feel tolerable well this morning. I have been sick a few days. Better now. William has been sick, some better now. William has plank in the graves at Sterns grave yard. Levi Cable lives at John’s old place now. Hiram buried Josa there and I buried him at Talking Rock Church, so they are both buried at Talking Rock Church. I don’t know where I will be put, Rachel. I would write more. Ester Morrison — her son has two girls most grown. They was baptised the 2nd Sunday this month. [There] was 17 baptised. (?) All of Bill’s children belongs to the church but one. Some is sorry members. Think more of frolic and whiskey and running about. They are all married but two, Frank and Julia. Rachel, I would write more. There is some of them would be so glad that I was out of the way. They want full possession* and they can’t get it while I live. One of his boys has not spoke to me in five years. One day while I was gone to town, they moved in on me and then, [the] more he thought he was over seen these of all them. (?) I took sick and like to died. I got better. I ask him to make me a little fire. He stomped off as if someone pulled the last hair of my head. I will that God’s blessings rest in  you.

*Selina lives in the household of her son on the 1900 census. It’s in the Truckwheel District where the family has lived since at least 1850. Not clear whether this is Selina and Hiram’s home or a place belonging to WW James.


    1. William Washington James, Selena’s son
    2. She may be referring to Talking Rock Church cemetery as Stern’s graveyard. Gardner Sterns was buried there (and may have been a preacher there, also). There is an unaccounted for James grave at this cemetery — Willie James  June 10, 1887.
    3. Levy Cagle bought the house across from the James Cemetery on Old Talking Rock Rd, which was supposedly the original site of Sherod and Dicy James’s home
    4. John Shelton James probably lived here in this home after 1852
    5. Hiram Reid, Selena’s second husband, was buried at Talking Rock Church in 1888, as was their daughter Josephine in 1884 (Josa); Selena is buried next to them
    6. From Louise Brown, descendant of Selena: “Sylvia, there is a possibility that Selena was talking about her son W. W. when she referred to Bill. She called him that sometimes. Frank & Julia were his youngest kids.”
    7. Hiram Franklin James
    8. Julie Mickie James