Francis Poteet wrote another letter home to his wife Martha on 23 November 1863. This is the most difficult of the letters so far to read. It seems that after Martha has sewn the wheat crop, their home is foreclosed or about to be. Francis writes Martha that if he had been there he doesn’t know but that he would have hurt the speculator that put his wife and children out of their home and “I dont now but what I will yet” even though he knows he is to love his enemies. He continues by giving Martha practical directions for taking care of financial matters and closes by telling her seeing her would please him more than “all the gold that has bin dug out of Brachet town.”
Nov 23the 1863
“My Dear Wife and Children I Received your kind & loving letter it giv me great satisfaction and I was mad too I think it tis hard that you hav to giv that place up after sowing your Wheat I want you to tell Bill if he hant sent you that wheat that I want him to send it bushel & tobe you Rote to me to git aferlow if I could I went to Kinston to day to see the Colonel and he wasant at home I dont now whether I will git it are not if I dont I want you to do the best you can till I git home and then I will help you I want you to tell Joseph Landis to pay you for them coffins if he asks you what you charge you can tell him if he will let you have wheat at one Dollar per bushel that he can give you 6 bushel if he dont you can tell him to pay you $16 Dollars you can tell him that you want the wheat what did higgins giv you for them berals I dident hav nothing for My breakfirst only Corn Bred and I went over to Kinston and I seed sum Crackers and I give
“fifty cents for six about as big as a dollar it seems like it will take all that I can make hear
to git sumthing to Eat and to git paper and tobacco and invelips I had to give thirty cents for this paper that I Rote this letter on and then I have to pay from 25 to thirty cents per garment and it takes about all that I git your letter you Rote the 19 I got it the 22 that is the first letter that I have got in two weeks I thought that you had for got me but I dont think you have you Rote to me that you had got my coat and you wanted to now what I had done With my hat I swated with higgins I could not git nary other hat and I had to lay on it and wallow over it so I thought that I mites swell let him have it as any way you Will think hard of me for that but I Dont want you to think hard of me I could not take care of it you Rote to me that Higgins said that he would send the papers By Litel I have got out of hart that
“I ever Will git home any more till this War ends I am hear and you are there so we are many Miles A part we bee but if I live till christmas I think if God will let me live that long that I will git closter home I trust in God for every thing if I had of bin at home when Bill Rented you out of house and home I think that I would of heart him and I Dont now but what I will yet but I ought to pray for him and any other man that does as he does the Bible teaches us to pray for our inmas but it is hard to pray for any Speclator when tha doo so but I pray God to for give him You Rote to me that higgins would Come down hear when he got his Wheat sown I Dont think that he has any Ida of it may God help him to think of my Wife and littel Children and Doo all he can if I can come home I dont want him to bee always about it we had preachen hear twist sunday But I would of been mutch glader to of bin at home to of went to
“with you I want you to Rite every week if it takes all that I make I would rather see you than to have one bushel of gold dust it would give me more satsfaction than all the gold that has bin dug out of Brachet town I dont know what to doo if I was to come home and then tha catch me then I would have to go back but I think that I will try it sumtime if I live tell mother and sister that I am tolerable well at this time hoping that she may be well this is the levlest contry that I ever saw it tis as leval as your garden tha ant a hill that can be seen about hear I had to go in Dres perade Just now and had to finish my letter after wards it tis nearly dark and I must come to A close by saying that I Remain your loving husband until Death May God Bless and save you all is my prayer FM Poteet to his loving Wife and Children kis my litel babes for Me my loving M. A. E. Poteet Wife”
Just three days after Francis sent this letter, thirty-one women of the area sent a truly heartbreaking petition to Governor Vance, relaying their circumstances and asking that he not require the only helpful man left to go into service. I do not have a copy of this letter to share here as this was found by Dan W Olds of South Carolina in the Bulletin of the Genelogical Society of Old Tryon County, Vol XVII, May 1989, p. 2, and transcribed in his work “A John Poteet of Burke and McDowell Counties, NC, and his family.”
“We ar all in bad surcomstanses in this part of hour countrey and thare will have to be somthing don for us as we will all perish to deth; for them that has got provision wont let us have it. And the have takn all the men as that will help the wimen any atall but one; an the have got him on the home guard and is agoing to take him off, and he is a cripple man. He has had the white swelling and thare has come too pieces of bons out of his hipp. And when he is gon, thare wont be no one to help us one bitt; and we all want yoar leaf from you for him to stay. His name is Jessy Arwood.
“And them that has got the corn to sell is asking elevin dolars a bushal for it, and we cant get it at that. And we want you…to have to stuff all put donn sow we can get it. All hour folks is in the army; and with out some body dose help us, we all cant live.
“Heare is hour names: Susan Harrel, Sarah Harrel, Sarah Dodwell, Poly Morgin, July Morgin, Nancy Staks and Moly Morgin, Nancy Staks, Nancy Hall, Elisabeth Lawing, Rosanner Lawing, Jane Lawing, Jane Poteet, Betsy Davis, Betsy Marten, Almedy Nash, Sarah Curry, Elisabeth Dodwell, Jane Huffstatler, Malisid Hogin, Jane Arowood, Poly An Arrowood, Frances Bates, Judy Arrowood, Mary Adair, Jane Adair, Mary Arrowoode, Aney Arroweed, Nancy Arrowood, Malindy Bright, Elisabeth Derryberry.
“Jessy Arrowoode is all the help to cut us one bit of wood or any thing els, and we cant get no shoos…We are all barfooted and cant get money anuff to get apair of shoos, nor one bit of lether, no thread, no cotten, nor nothing els…We cant as mutch as get wool anuff to knit hour husbans and sons socks that is gon out in the field…”
If that doesn’t break your heart, I don’t know what will.
Will things ever get better for Francis and Martha? Join me next Monday to see if things start taking a turn for the better.