At home Feb. 3rd, 1862
It is with pleasure I try to write to you. We are all well at present. I have so little to write I hardly know how to begin. We have had a good rain for the first in a little while. Robert has broke up some ground. B has begun to plow. He has ploud [sic] one half day and done very well. I want to keep them both at it all I can. My wheat looks very well. I have meate [sic] killed and hung up enough to do me. My sheep has the rots very bad. One died – one young lamb. We gave them tar twice. The cows looks tolerable well. We have had the longest cool spell now that we have had this winter.
Well, Bob, I have not seen Minerva and the children in a month. I want to see them very bad but I have not had time to visit much. You do not know how unexpected, how much surprised I was when I heard little Winsted Paine’s name. It makes me think you have not forgot bygone days. I feel greatfull [sic] to you to think you have honored the name so much as to call your sweet little babe for one that felt so near and dear to me. The name makes the baby feel nearer than ever to me. Watson is fat as a pig. I here from them by Mary, Ike, Sis and Army has just gone home from here. They are both well. Louisa is still complaining the children chills yet.
Mother sends her love to you and James and says for both of you to rite [sic] to her. She is well as common. I here the North has wiped the South in one battle. I do not recollect names nor places Some think the war will soon close. Some think they will fite [sic] till the nation will be destroyed. Some think it a scrouge [sic] sent upon the people for wickedness. Our circuit preacher gave us a good prayer last Friday. Prayed for the scrouge [sic] to be removed and that we might yet live in peace. The Lord knows what will be done. We will only have to wait and take what comes, good or bad. the Lord knows best if we will look to him.
Bob, I hear it whispered that C. G. asked me for sertin [sic] papers. I rold [sic] him I did not have them. He said you had them and he intended to sue me for them. I don’t want to get into a dificulty [sic] He says he has paid for his land and wants to get it fi—[sic]. Write to me about it. What to do and so on. He borried [sic] H ams [sic] best mule, went to Angalina [sic] cty. a courting, lost the mule. He has offered 50 dollars for it but it don’t come in. Write to me as soon as you get this. Take good care of your self and Jim. Is there any cotton cards in Huston [sic] or any where out there. If so, what’s the price.
R. D. Bone Asenath [sic] M. Paine
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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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