the may 15 dear bother i try to let you now that we air in the land of the living i am well at this time but Bill has ben sik ever sent crisimas and hadnt bin abel to work non mother has not bin verry well and all the balans of the other peopel air all well i wont you to tell me all about that country and tell me what land can be had at in that country for i wont to now all a bout it i wont to now wher you air a com in back to this country corn one dolar per bushil wheat 100 25 c bacon 15 cents pd wheat is all frost bit wont make a half a [?] t i me air veary dry in this country i wount you to rit to me as qick as you git to pen a line i have taken bill crop to ten i plau mi ndr and bill [?] and i haird henry monney to help me this summer so i have not hear from you in a long time so must com too a close

Sharod Caldwell           Alason Caldwell


[See image of the original letter]

Translation:

Thursday [?] May 15…Dear brother, I try to let you know that we are in the land of the living. I am well at this time, but Bill has been sick ever since Christmas and hasn’t been able to work none. Mother has not been very well and all the balance of the other people are all well. I want you to tell me all about that country and tell me what land can be had at in that country, for I want to know all about it. I want to know when you are a coming back to this country. Corn one dollar per bushel. Wheat $1.00 25 cents. Bacon 15 cents pound. Wheat is all frost bit. Wont make a half a [unreadable] are very dry in this country. I want you to write to me as quick as you get to pen a line. I have taken Bill’s crop to town. I plowed mine under and Bill [unreadable] and I hired Henry Mooney to help me this summer. So I have not heard from you in a long time, so must come to a close.

Analysis:

Written from Allison Caldwell in Talking Rock, Georgia, to his brother, Sharod Caldwell in Arkansas. Written before the Civil War? Bill is most certainly William Caldwell, Allison and Sharod’s brother. He is living with Allison in 1860 and again in 1867 they are documented in the same household. In 1860, young Henry Mooney (age 14) is living in the next household. Since we know that Sharod’s family is in Arkansas by January 1859 (and may have left Georgia an year prior to that), this letter might have been written sometime between May 1859 and May 1861, or between May 1863 and May 1868. Allison left in August 1861 to fight for the Confederacy, and was not home again until after February 1863.