State of Texas Nacogdoches Co
April the 13 1862
Dear Dr Bone
I received your letter last Friday, dated the 8th, today is Sunday. I am so lonesome [when] you are gone. Pa is gone to Shreveport, everybody’s gone. Most times [it] is so lonesome and desolate here now, and is growing worse all the time, I am afraid. I hope you will get to come home shortly and see us. I don’t want you to join for the war if there is anyway to prevent it. I think twelve months is a long time and, for the war, it might be our lifetime with us, and I rather we would die at home than anywhere else, if it can be so, but I know we have to die when we are called for, let us be where we may. Honey, your ma came to see me last Tuesday evening and stayed till the next evening. She brought me the needles you sent by Harrison Worsham, they were [with] welcome received. Ma brought the letters you wrote her and Mr. Hill for me to read. I give her the ones you wrote to me for her to read. When she was reading your dear and kind letters she bust in to tears, I won’t say for myself. I love your Ma; she was talking about George, and Fos, and you. She loves her children, I know. Pa, Watson is sick. [He] was sick all last week, [he] had fever all the time, and is very sick yet. I don’t know what is the matter with him, unless it is worms. He has fell away and looks bad. He throws up everything he eats or drinks. I hope he will get better shortly.
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.
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.
This item may be protected under Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. It is available for non-commercial research and education. For permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the East Texas Research Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.