Nacogdoches Co Texas near Douglass
June the 16th, 1862
Dear Dr Bone
I haven’t received a letter from you yet. I am anxious to hear from you and how you are getting along with the sick, and if you can come by home, and if you can come. I am well, except the sore eyes. Our little sweet Winsted is well; he has one little tooth through, and sits alone all the time and plays. He is a good little boy. All the balance of the folks are well as common. Louisa and Eleanor come by Pa’s the other day from Linflat. They got letters Monday from Foster and George; they had gone out on five days’ scout and then Fos. will come home, if nothing else prevents him from it.
Ca. White and John H. Whitaker have returned home, and perhaps John Brewer and several more are coming, so we here. We all went to preaching yesterday. Sam was out here yesterday morning. Tom Garrett and Raguet would not take those notes. We have got most of our things out here at Pa’s; they all came safely, [and we] didn’t get anything broken. Ma come up to town with me and helped me to fix up the dishes, then came out to Sam’s and stayed all night. Pa went to Douglass [the] next day and we brought all but your jars and stove, and what was in the meat house. I want you to come by home if you can. I want to see you as bad as ever.
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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