Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Dear Johny

Millie Tucker Pigg and
John Madison Pigg abt 1920
In the months before she died, my mother started documenting old stories on any scrap of paper available. Going through her things, I found notes scrawled on the back of electric bills, notes on tablets and detailed notes on the back of cards and photographs. Boxes of photographs. Those that had belonged to my grandmother were separated in a yellow manila envelope along with embroidered handkerchiefs, dried flowers and a love letter written to my second great grandfather John Madison Pigg by Miss Lucy Davis of Missouri City, Clay County, Missouri. The year was 1864 and John had opted to join the Pony Express in Idaho rather than fighting his friends and relatives in the war between the states. He was eighteen.

September the 15th 1864
Clay County, Missouri
Mr. John Pigg

Dear Johny,

I received your kind epistle this day three weeks ago and would have responded before this but have had so much trouble that I could not have written to no one.  We have lost our dear Mother, she died on Monday three weeks ago. She was confined to her bed five months and she did not recover. It was one of the hardest trials that I ever had or ever can have to part with dear mother. Oh it was so hard to say farewell to that sweet form and to put her beneath the sod where I couldn't look at her fond face any more. I have one consolation to know that she has gone to that bright clime where there is no more sickness and know it was God’s will to take her from us. And I try to think He Do’th all things well.

Louis Vandiver is in St. Louis in prison; they removed him from St. Joe before his ma could get there to see him. Sallie is at Mrs. Vandiver’s now. She bears her troubles better than anybody could think. I don’t think Louis will ever get released. They have made the charges he writes that they are very hard and very false. Sallie gets a letter from him every week. He wears a ball and chain all of the time and never gets no exercise only when they scour the prison floor. He has the worst fare and don’t get that but once or twice a day. Sallie was going down to see him but he wrote to her not to come. They would not allow her to see him.

Your relatives are all well as far as I know except Mr. Beabout he has been quite sick he is some better now. Cousin Mary received a letter from Cousin Jim Adams last week he has been wounded three times he is in the hospital now he is not able to be on duty. Dick Vandiver is well he is still with Shelby. The bushwhackers are about to take this country. They robbed the mail yesterday between Missouri City and Liberty. They have a little skirmish every once in a while. They had a fight out by Fredericksburg there were several Feds killed and some brushboys wounded. Oh how I wish that the war was over and people could come home but I reckon that can never be.

George is still in Kentucky. He is doing very well. I wish that time was so that he could come home we miss him more now than ever. Well I recon you would like to hear from your sweethearts, Mattie George is well and falls in love with every boy she sees she received a letter from you about the time I did. I don’t think she likes it much about you writing to other girls. Miss Molly Drake comes up to see Ben Wright often. I saw Miss Alice Griffith about two months ago. I think she is one of the sweetest girls I ever saw. She told me she had a sweetheart in Idaho. I suppose it was you. If you ever have the good luck to meet Ben Lingenfelter give him my best respects and tell him I would like to see him in old Clay once more. You said that you did not think that you would come home for two years. I hope you will change your notion. I think that will be a long time to stay away from home and your friends. I hope to see you back long before that time has elapsed as it is getting late I will close.

Wishing all the pleasure that can befall a human lot. May the Angels of Heaven watch over you roam.

Lucy Davis

Note: Don’t fall in love with some of those girls and forget the girls you left in Clay. Answer this immediately. Write often and I will do the same…Lucy.

John Madison Pigg and family abt 1912

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