This letter was written by Lewis Conner Tutt, Sr. (1817-18xx), the son of Richard Johnson Tutt (1772-1840) and Mildred Conner (1776-1837) of Culpeper, Virginia. Lewis was married in February 1844 to Matilda Josephine Jones (b. 1826) and together they raised half a dozen children or more—of whom was Lewis (Jr.) who served as a sergeant in Roddy’s Escort, Alabama Cavalry.
From his post war “Amnesty & Pardon” papers we learn that Lewis was “by profession a merchant and since immigrating to [Alabama, was always] engaged in merchandizing and farming.” He claimed to have “never sought or held political office nor in any manner a public man but devoted all his time and energies to his business.” He went on to describe the hardship he now faced having had “the larger portion of his estate swept away by the emancipation of slaves (he had owned 14) and other losses sustained in consequence of the war.” He made it clear that he had supported the Constitutional Union Party and therefore voted for Bell & Everett in 1860 hoping to avoid the “calamities which have befallen our country.” He pointed out that he never was in the Confederate army or service, and only offered aid to ease the helpless and suffering families in his county. Furthermore, he had already begun to hire freedmen “at liberal compensation—those he formerly held as slaves.”
Lewis wrote this letter to his brother-in-law, Dr. John F. Smith who married his sister, Mary “Ellen” Tutt (b. 1813) on 12 October 1841 in Rappahannock, Virginia.
Marion, [Perry county, Alabama]
July 26, 1850
Dr. John F. Smith,
You will no doubt think it strange that I have not written to you before this, but after your expressing so much doubt in regard to the time you should leave Pontotoc in Mississippi and your promise to write to me from Memphis, I concluded to wait until I heard from you before I wrote. I received your first letter after leaving Pontotoc about a week since from St. Louis and your last from Boonville day before yesterday. I did not know until I heard from you at St. Louis whether or not you had left Pontotoc, or if you had, what route you had taken—whether by land all the way, or by Memphis. I am sorry now that I did not write for I expect you have been anxious to hear from this place. For the same reason that I did not write, I thought it best not to ship your trunk until I heard from you which I did as soon as I received your letter from St. Louis.
I was very much pleased to learn that notwithstanding your hard and fatiguing trip that you had all arrived safely with the exception of your sickness. I felt very uneasy all the time until I heard from you all and from your symptoms in St. Louis, was not much surprised to learn that you were sick after getting to Boonville. I am very glad to learn that you are improving and hope your health will be entirely restored.
The horse you left in Greensboro died the day after you left. The tavern keeper wrote me he could do nothing with him and could find no one who could. I am satisfied from all I can learn that his disease was not the glanders. Brazelton appeared to be very much astonished—declared he knew that he knew of nothing that was the matter with him and said that he was willing to do anything that it was right and proper that he should do to give you satisfaction. I thought I would not press the matter on him as the note was not due until I heard from you. I think you done well to sell your horse in Memphis, taking everything into consideration.
Your affairs stand pretty much as they did when you left—everything being entirely easy. I shall collect a little money from the Judson [Female Instutute], I think, during the examination which takes place next week. The Howard [College] and the [Marion Female] Seminary examinations are both over. We have had very dull times here since you left and some of the hottest weather I think I ever felt. A part of the time we have had a great deal of rain but for the last week it has been dry.
We have at this time a considerable amount of sickness—typhus and billious fever. My girl Elvira has had a very hard spell and is just recovering. Warren Mullikin’s wife 1 was buried today. She died after about three or four days illness. A Miss Johnson, granddaughter of Mrs. Rutledge, died a few days since. Miss Neal is not expected to live and there have been several deaths amongst the negroes. Dr. [Samuel] Johns, James [Anderson] Howze, and Mr. [Hector] McLane are all sick at this time, but I suppose not dangerous. Since the rains ceased, we have had a spell of very hot, dry weather with cool nights and mornings which has produced the sickness.
If the present dry weather should continue for a week or two, with an occasional shower, our crops will be good. I have never seen such an improvement in crops in my life as has taken place since you left.
Matilda has been sick since you left and came very near dying. She was taken suddenly with faintness, swimming in her head and palpitations. It was several hours before she was relieved and her nervous system was so much prostrated that she could not get about the room for more than a week, and can scarcely go from the house to the garden at the present time. Lewis I found quite sick after returning from Greensboro. We have had quite a crowd of persons here during the last ten days attending the examinations and the meeting of the Grand Division of the Sons of Temperance.
Remember me affectionately to Ellen and Edward. Also to Mr. Turner and family and relatives generally. Matilda desires to be kindly remembered to Ellen & yourself, and requests particularly that sister Ellen should write to her. You need not feel any uneasiness about any of your matters here for there is not the least occasion for it. I will write you again in three or four days. Write me as often as you can.
Yours, — L. C. Tutt
Say to sister Ellen that I will write to her in a few days and that she must not wait for my letter to write. Tell her to write and give me all the news in Missouri.
1 Warren Mullkin (1821-1860), a collector in Perry county, was married to Elizabeth A. Patterson (1828-1850). She died on 26 July 1850. “She lived the life of a christian and died in the triumphs of faith” according to her gravestone, which lies broken on the ground in the Marion Cemetery. The couple had been married less than four years.