Feb. 18, 1863. J.M. Cannon to Malinda Cannon

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          this the 18     1863

     South Carolina             Miss mal

Sessionvill     James ilent    inda Cannon

My Dear Wife  i again seet my

Self to Rit you a few lines in

ancer to yours baring dat of the 11 an

the 12 whitch i red with grat plesur

i am glad to hur from you at all

times i was vary sory to hear tat

you was in such a fix that you Cold

not do eny thing hardley those

few lines leaves me in tolerble

goo helth and i hop they may Com

safe to you and find you all in

joyen the same like blesing you wan

ted to no if i was willien for hulda

to go to scool or not i am wilen for

hur to go if shee will bee a goo girl and

larn fast hit is too fur for hur to go

from home you wanted to no what

i don a bout my washing i hav bin

git ing miss mathis to do hit for mee

i giv hur fiv cents a peace hit dont

Cost much but they say the wimmen

has to leav hear a Saturday they say

the yankes is a goien to atack us a Su

nday but i dont see no sine of hit


Page 2


you wated to no hoo i mest with

i have the best set of boyes the air

in the Company ther is non of them

that makes yous of eny bad words a

tall you wanted to no if i pad old

Barett or not i did not pay him i

paid up all the Cost and as soon as

you git money anuf you Can pay

him up you can pay hit to grissom

if i had eny chance i Cold send you

one hundred dollars if you hav got a

nuff you had beter pay hit and bee

don with hit you let the doges kill

too of Clatons pigs did you was they

out sid you must not let them after

nothing out sid that Calf you

must not let hit bit non of them

litle aple trees if i liv i want to

eat som of them i dont see how you

Can do with out hulda but if you

think you Can do with out hur you

can send hur som i want hur to git so

shee can rit mity bad my self

hit wold do mee a heep of good to git

aleter from hur that shee rot hur self

you said you nod that i wanted to see the

baby you dont no how bad i do want

to see hit and all the rest of them



Page 3


     hit wold bee a grat plesure to

     Mee if i cold bee with you all a

gain i sent som of my thinges home

if we hav to moov i cold not tot

them and i dont no bu what we will

hav to moove soon sigens for peace is good

now i think they will make peas by

the first of may and we will all

git home a gain that wold bee a hapy

time with people you will hav to

shuck your corn the Cattle cant do with

out shuckes and if i Com home i

want some milk i do want som now

the worst you ever saw a fellow in

your life the cowes is both dry now i

recken i want you to rit soo and tell

me all the newse tha you hav and how

you air giting along i must Com to

a Close with my leter for this tim so

nothing more at this time onley

i Remaines your loving husband tel

Deth       J.M. Cannon    To

                 Malinda Cannon

    and afection children

              you must bee good children

          and mind what your mother

              ses to you and then i

              will lov you all so fair well




This the 18th February 1863                   Miss Malinda Cannon

James Island

Secessionville, South Carolina


My dear wife,

I again seat myself to write you a few lines in answer to yours bearing date of the 11th and the 12th which I read with great pleasure.  I am glad to hear from you at all times.  I was very sorry to hear that you was in such a fix that you could not do anything hardly.  Those few lines leaves me in tolerable good health, and I hope they may come safe to you and find you all enjoying the same like blessing.  You wanted to know if I was willing for Hulda[1] to go to school or not.  I am willing for her to go if she will be a good girl and learn fast.  It is too far for her to go from home.  You wanted to know what I done about my  washing.  I have been getting Miss Mathis to do it for me.  I give her five cents a piece.  It don’t cost much, but they say the women has to leave here a Saturday.  They say the Yankees is a-going to attack us a Sunday, but I don’t see no sign of it.  You wanted to know who I nest with.  I have the best set of boys there are in the company.  There is none of them that makes use of any bad words at all.  You wanted to know if I paid old Barett[2] or not.  I did not pay him.  I paid up all the cost, and as soon as you get money enough, you can pay him up.  You can pay it to Grissom.[3]  If I had any chance I could send you one hundred dollars.  If you have got enough you had better pay it and be done with it.  You let the dogs kill two of Claton’s[4] pigs.  Did you [know] was they outside?  You must not let them after nothing outside.  That calf, you must not let it bite none of them little apple trees.  If I live, I want to eat some of them.  I don’t see how you can do without Hulda, but if you think you can do without her, you can send her some.  I want her to get so she can write, mighty bad myself.  It would do me a heap of good to get a letter from her that she wrote herself.  You said you knowed that I wanted to see the baby.[5]  You don’t know how bad I do want to see it and all the rest of them.[6]  It would be a great pleasure to me if I could be with you all again.  I sent some of my things home.  If we have to move, I could not tote them, and I don’t know but what we will have to move soon.  Signs for peace is good now.  I think they will make peace by the first of May, and we will all get home again.  That would be a happy time with people.  You will have to shuck your corn.  The cattle can’t do without shucks, and if I come home I want some milk.  I do want some now the worst you ever saw a fellow in your life.  The cows is both dry now.  I reckon I want you to write soon and tell me all the news that you have and how you are getting along.  I must come to a close with my letter for this time, so nothing more at this time, only I remains your loving husband ‘til death.

           J.M. Cannon      To

           Malinda Cannon and affectionate children


You must be good children and mind what your mother says to you, and then I will love you all.  So, farewell!



[1] Huldah Cannon, born September 16, 1848, would have been 14 years old when this letter was written by her father.  In 1867 she married George Washington Crone.   Not long after her wedding, Huldah moved to Texas with her husband, mother, and siblings.  Huldah died in 1948 in Smith County, Texas.


[2] Possibly, the reference is to George Barrett , a blacksmith in Silaquoy, Gordon County, Georgia, in 1860. Silaquoy was not far from Sonora where the John Milton Cannon family lived.  1860 Georgia Census, Gordon County, Silaquoy.


[3] Possibly, the reference is to either John Gresham, the Sheriff of Gordon County in 1860, or to his son William S. Gresham.  Both men lived in Calhoun, Gordon County in 1860.  1860 Gordon Census, Gordon County, Calhoun.


[4] According to the 1860 Georgia Census, Gordon County, Sonora, one of the Cannons’ neighbors was Claiborn Johnson Butler, b. 1823, S.C.  Butler and John Milton Cannon were both farmers.  The 1860 Agricultural Census, Georgia, Gordon County, indicated that John Milton Cannon owned 50 improved acres and 110 unimproved acres.  His farm was valued at $1,500 and his farm implements were valued at $75.  On the farm he had three horses, two milk cows, two working oxen, one other head of cattle, and 36 swine.  The value of his livestock was $400.  His farm produced 75 bushels of wheat, 300 bushels of Indian corn, 10 bushels of oats, 10 bushels of peas and beans, 5 bushels of Irish potatoes, 80 bushels of ?, 50 pounds of butter, value of homemade manufacture was $36, and value of animals slaughtered was $60.


[5] Thomas “Tom” Jefferson Cannon, born September 17, 1862, was the youngest child of John Milton Cannon and his wife.  At the time that his father wrote this letter, he would have been almost five months old.  Tom moved to Texas after the Civil War with his mother and siblings.  He married Luvenia Hall.  Tom died February 11, 1953, in Rule, Haskell County, Texas.


[6] In addition to Huldah and Thomas Jefferson, the children included the following:  Mary Elizabeth Cannon, 1850-1884; William Columbus “Clum” Cannon, 1853-1918; James Franklin “Frank” Cannon, 1854-1948; Deliza “Liza/Eliza” Adeline Cannon, 1856-1956; John Albert Cannon, 1857-1951; and Martha Emeline Cannon, 1860-1899.



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