Nacogdoches Co Texas Dec 19th 1861
Dear husband I received your letter yesterday evening dated the 12 I was glad to here from you but rather see you. Mr. Murph brought your picture to me. Oh how glad I was to see it. It looks so natural that I like to look at it and kiss it too, but oh if I could see your sweet face how happy I would be. Then I could tell you how well I loved you and kiss those sweet lips and lovely face which I hope will be some future day I want to see you so bad, I think of you often honey, then I wish I was with you so we could talk with one another. I and our little sons are well and hearty; Watson is picking up write smart and grows too. Our little babe grows like a little pig; he has blue eyes and a pretty shaped head and face and nose and mouth like yours I think. Pa says he favors you more than Watson does some say he favors Watson. I think he favors you a little and Watson too. He likes his little brother he says, his buddy and Pa and Ma. Baby I want you to write to me and tell me whether you want me to have a small mattress made or not if you do I can do so, I did not see Mr. Murph so I did not send anything. I wanted to send you a mattress and some towels and some bed clothes, if Mr. Murph had taken a wagon back with him. I came out to Pa’s last Saturday, I came home on Thursday before Maryann and John stayed with me while at home. Pastor Bone is getting well Pa, and Mary and Bud are having the chills but are about to miss them to day. Pa has killed some of his meat;
Robert Donnell Bone (1832-1892) was born in Wilson County, Tennessee, and came to Nacogdoches County in 1841 with his mother and stepfather. He and his brothers and sister moved in with his older sister when she married John Winstead Paine in 1846. After a serious illness of pneumonia, R. D. Bone rode horseback to Tennessee and entered the University at Nashville Medical School (which later became Vanderbilt University) in 1854 and returned to Douglass, Texas, to practice medicine after graduating in 1858. That same year he married Griselda Minerva Burk (1841-1912) who was also from Tennessee and had moved to Nacogdoches County, Texas, with her family in 1848. On November 25, 1861, Dr. Bone was appointed to serve as Assistant Surgeon of the 12th Texas Volunteer Infantry, Col. Overton Young's Regiment at Camp Hebert, Hempstead, Austin County, Texas. He felt it was his duty to serve the cause of the Confederacy and eagerly attended his post. As revealed in the following letters exchanged with his wife while on active duty in the Civil War, it soon became clear that he would have to contend with inadequate provisions, boring camp routine and confusing orders. "The Fever", dysentery, measles and exposure were Dr. Bone's patients' main medical problems; his regiment was not involved in any serious fighting. When he resigned his commission on March 7, 1863, in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, he went back to Douglass, Texas, to practice medicine. Dr. Bone also bought cotton and cattle and took them to New Orleans each fall to be sold. Minerva was Post Mistress in Douglass from 1866-1867. Only six of the Bone's 12 children reached adulthood, and two of their sons graduated from the University at Nashville Medical School exactly 50 years after Dr. Bone did. At least eight of his descendants have followed him in serving the medical profession. (Aiken, Roy L. (Pete). "Bone Family." In Nacogdoches County Families, 172. Dallas, Tx.: Curtis Media Corporation, 1985.)
Scope and Content Note
Included in the collection of letters between Dr. Bone and Minerva are letters to the Bones from family and friends, report forms from the post office at Douglass, and two poems (probably written by Dr. Bone). Typescripts for most of the papers in the collection are in a booklet in Box 2. Several 19th century newspapers belonging to Dr. Bone are cataloged and shelved with the newspaper bundles.
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