Monday, April 28, 2014

Amanuensis Monday: The Camp Family Letters* - Josiah Camp, Living the Bachelor's Life

"Hare and Hound" from

After traveling over a thousand miles, Josiah Camp settled in Pittsburg, Texas, living near his older brother, Raleigh Sparks Camp.  From this letter to his brother and sister-in-law, Thomas and Mary Camp, Josiah seemed to be enjoying his life there.

Pittsburg, Texas   Nov. 9, 1860

My Dear Sister,

I have just rec’d yours of the 28th Oct. and O! the joy it gave to me.  I was truly glad to get it [as] I had been looking for it some time.  Just to hear that you are all well gives me satisfaction, but then when I get a letter from you, I always get a full history of interesting news. ...  

I am sorry for Jim C but not at all surprised & as you remarked when one falls down, everyone gives him a kick (I have had some experience and long ago felt the result).  But as every dog has his day, I am now satisfied that it was all for the better ... but as to Miss Susan, I’d like to see her and hear some of her dry fun. ... Tell her if I go back, I will call on them and tell her something of the ways of us Texans & perhaps ask her to come out ... Mary, we have some girls out here that would hurt your teeth to look at them, & ... I have some strong friends here & not an enemy in this place that I know of.

Monday [Nov] 12 - I, after spending a very pleasant Sabbath, go forth to finish my letter.  I will write you how I spent yesterday.  I went to a Singing in the morning and after Chimes, I and a friend (a South Carolinian) rode out two miles to an old farmer’s and spent an hour and ate watermelon then back home and went to a wedding (4 o’clock).  I stayed a few minutes … after which I carried the prettiest girl in Pittsburg to church & then carried her home & spent about two hours with her & went home (there were four more in [the] company).  After I returned (12 o’clock) there were … two splendid fiddlers.  All went out and gave the new married couple a good Shivaree, [ defines a shiravee as a "mock serenade with .... noisemakers given for a newly married couple"and after this we returned to our rooms and went to sleep.  Now don’t you think I ought to enjoy myself?

I rose early this morning, made me a fire, and sat listening to the wild geese as they were passing, and soon as it was light I took a stand at the door and amused myself for about an hour shooting wild pigeons as there were a great many passing over. ...

Mary, I have just given you a few outlines that you may know I am getting on ...  I can’t say that I will die in Texas, but then I am satisfied it is a good country .

I have wrote enough. ... Write often & believe me [the] same old Joe.

When Josiah indicated that he didn't know whether or not he would die in Texas, he probably had no idea how prophetic that statement was.  A year later, his path would had taken a different turn.

* This letter is a part of the "Camp Family Papers, 1858-1877" which are housed in the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL) of Emory University in Decatur, Georgia.  The letters was transcribed using Transcript freeware.  Some of the spelling, punctuation, and syntax were corrected in this post for ease in reading.  ... is used to indicate portions of the letter that were omitted in the post.  [ ] indicates a word or information I have inserted for clarity.

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