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THIS IS A LETTER FROM JOHN MAGERS DORSEY TO HIS BROTHER, HILLIARD, WHO WAS IN MEXICO IN THE WAR.
 
  Submitted by Diane Ethridge

 

                                                                                                          December 20, 1847
 
 
Brother - having come down to Father's house & seen your letter just received & have much to regret that I have written time & again & every time I hear from you you complain of me not writing.  Why Sir, I am vexed & perplexed beyond measure at the miscarriage or misdemeanor of mails.  I sent you your gold breast pin & directed you to write on the receipt of the letter & directed the post office to send me the letter back if you was not there & no hearing?   NO WAY.
 
I see from the way you write that you did not know that Eliza was married - ran away & married to Dan Pitchford, the particulars would only be a great preamble of vexations to you & to me.  We regret fully as you may suppose for you to get to Mexico but let it be so we can't better it.  We are a great while in suspense in regards to your whereabouts.  We wrote to the ? to you & got no answer.  You could for once suppose that it was for the want of ----- in us - for I shall never forget the hour that I parted with you in Gainesville.  You turned your back to me - that look & cocked hat I see them now - they haven't left my nightly visions & while I am at my bench - where I have so often seen you - all alone - time again I see you approach the door & sit & whittle on a piece of leather, but Oh! it's a delusion & if I am gone when you return to Habersham Oh! think that Gainesville voices played around my couch when life's last lingering hope has fled, its last rays lingered long on the vast concern of life's uncertain things.  That vision was painted on my mind & Death could never fright it away. 
 
I suppose it has been a source of comfort to you to know of the family connection but there is nothing now in common among us.  Sister Sarah is better than common - Wm is doing good business in Athens, GA as you have often heard.  Brother never communicates with me & I don't know why.  Well!  Myself, I have me a very hard time this year so that I can scarcely sleep of night.  I got all the benches sawed for my log yard & am going to sink it.  Shortly - I have made somethings better & I can live on that. 
 
Now Hilliard, you know what I told you by way of advice to you & you have observed it so far.  Hold on to the same thing.  Although you may be under the towering batterments of Vera Cruz, amid the noise & din of war, remember you have friends & connections afar off that does truely sympathize with you.  Think of me at my bench in the day & the desk of night & on Sunday in the church.  This seems strange to you but it's ever the case (this in confidence) awful how we are all four now writing - me, Father, Arnold & Salena - young Hilliard is a promising boy - the name sounds so familiar to my mind. 
 
Mossy Creek is at the present time I tell you a most disgusting place for a man of intelligence.  You can work your indignation to the highest pitch & perhaps you can have some fair notion of the deplorable state of morals in the once fair farm land of Mossy Creek.  They hate books & love guns, hate business & love vagabondizing,  hate working for a dollar & love a good time, hate peace & love disturbance,  hate a straightforward honest man & love little, low, mean, dirty tricks such as would disgrace an honest heathen.  God willing, things will soon go back to the old days.
 
I always keep a pencil & paper about my person & if a thought flits across my mind, I stop & take item of it, then make sense of it at night.  This manner I can always have something to write.  You may know I think you are schollarly by the way I write but its my manner of writing as I generally write for men of talent to read.
 
Hilliard do be entreated to keep up a daily journal of your travels while you are gone & if you do or do not return, let me have it.  Just let me stay here & fight ignorance & be sure to fight the Mexican Army & if you & your men subdue the Mexicans, you will be more successful than me here in Mossy Creek.  All my children wants me to write something to their uncle for them.   Well!  they are all going to school now to be finished schollars-- Oh!  I must close. 
 
 
                                                                                            Farewell,
 
                                                                                            J. M. Dorsey
 
Now in the sequence, let me say to you don't neglect to write us for our anxiety is steadily on the tip-toe & if there is any point that you will remain long enough for us to send a letter, be aprised that  we will do it & if you see Old Zack the Bruiser - blend my complements with yours to him - but don't pursuade yourself that ever I am going so far as to fight him.  Always when I think that my mind strikes a new streak.
 

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