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Letter 30 Alfred and Mildred Eldridge to Martha William Wright Moody

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 20 Oct 1844 [unknown]
Location: Shelby, Tennesseemap
Surnames/tags: Moody Wright Mason
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Oct 20th 1844 Shelby Tennessee
My Dear Maddam
How shall I express the agreeable satisfaction which was experienced on the reception of a letter from one we so highly esteem as yourself I will assure you no length of time or distance of space can ever efface from my recollection the many social & friendly hours I enjoyed in your hospitable mansion & now to receive another token by letter that the same friendship exist, gives me inexpressible satisfaction & you may rest assured that the same pure & unsophisticated partiality still exist for you and family as when I resided in NCarolina I regret very much to that my friend Mr Moody is so very averse to writing me for I long since expected to have enjoyed a feast of pleasure in the perusal of some two or three letters from him, but to my sad disappointment I have not received even the shaddow of a letter from him since I left NCarolina, but be that as it may I still hold him near & dear to me as a friend & shall after the Presidential Election is over expect a long letter from him. I am confident he is exerting all his powers to elect Mr Clay, tell him he had better go for Polk Dallas & Texas, for I do verily believe that the annexation of Texas to this Country would be one of the most important & desirable acquisitions towards the maintanance & protection of our Southern institutions than any question that has been heretofore brought before the American people, but as my business is not upon Politics I will quit the threadbare subject & speak upon some other topic which is more congenial to my feelings. Tell Jack to abandon Politics & come to this rich & fertile country where we can contend against each other in a more agreeable & profitable profession & which is in cultivating the soil.
This country is rich in all the materials which an industrious man can wish for to make him contented & happy, we have lands as respects richness not inferior to any in the United States & is capable of producing as much as any reasonable person could wish & with a small degree of economy & some industry, he is inevitably destined to become rich. I will assure you it is a pleasure not to be described to behold with what wild Luxuriance vegitation flourishes here. In fact every section of the south & south west is desirable & if I were not exceedingly pleased with this country I should from the Brilliant description given of Mississippi be induced to take a look at that country but I frequently ask myself why should I wish to leave this garden spot of the West, our lands are equally if not superior in richness to that of Mississippi they have one & only one advantage over us & that is in making more cotton in consequence of Climate, but here we can make as much cotton as we can get out by the Spring & what more should we wish, & more over we have greater much greater facilities in getting our produce to market, for we reside within eight miles of Memphis which is situated on the Mother of Rivers & which can take it upon the Wings of Steam & from thence waft it to any part of the habitable globe. whilst those who reside at a distance from this Grand & mighty Stream are dependant upon those little & puny streams which run into the interior of the country for conveying their produce to market, one half of the year they are litterally dried up & consequently you must be on the look out for wet weather & which is only during the winter months that you have any opportunity of getting your produce to market. in that point of view I should look upon those interior countries where navigation is dependant upon rains as a serious objection. I have become acquainted with two gentlemen now residing in my Neighborhood who left Mississippi for the purpose of getting nearer the Mississippi river. They tell me they can make more clear money here than they could there. As respects sickness our country is not more so than any other cotton growing country, & where can we go, to get clear of that scourge to the human family I answer no where, it is the inevitable lot of man to sicken and die, there is no country no matter how Salubrious may be its atmoshere but what has some noxious principle which is inimical to the living. it is the fact of fate, that we all shall die & therefore it becomes our duty to Seek that spot where we can enjoy the greatest quantum of happiness whilst we are permitted to live & were he to select this country as a spot to build his happiness upon I cannot believe he would ever regret it after making such a selection. It is true we are deficient in many comforts which the older countries are blest with (to wit) good Roads & good Society, but I will assure you when all the resources of our country becomes fully developed & which is fast reaching that point where we shall not want for any of those essentials which we are in a small degree at this time somewhat deprived of, but I will assure you what few inhabitants we now have are as high minded & as honorable as any people upon the globe, friendly friendship, intilligence, & industry, marks their every footstep, no kind of dessipation has any advocates here neither has envy malice or detraction. has no advocate here, The virtuous & the wise are here respected & reverenced beyond any country I ever was in.
but I suppose you have heard that I have become very dissipated as I have been informed that reports are in circulation in Northampton that I have become very much so since I left there. If Northampton was as rich in the production of her soil as it is in propagating falsehoods against the inocent I think it would be one of the most desirable countries in all creation & had I been guilty of half the accusations which that Smutty County has brought against me for the last fifteen or twenty years my name would long since have sunk into Ignominious repute. I had for some time been well convinced that an honest up right man could not have a fair chance to prosper where so much corruption existed & consequently I was determined to leave a country where honesty & uprightness of intention was no recommendation to a man. It appeared to me it rather sunk than elevated him and therefore I was determined to leave a country where so little moral worth existed & had I some few of my friends from there whom I esteem & hold in the highest estimation I should put myself to but very little trouble to remember whether such a place ever existed or not, for I do verily believe if judging from the unmerited testament which I have received from that source, it should not create a sigh from me whether it existed or not. Please tell my friend Jack Moody to leave there as soon as possible for I am convinced that no man of his liberality can ever live there without sinking money & therefore the sooner he leaves the better, for one of his liberal disposition has everything to loose & nothing to gain. The man who makes money in that country must become a swindler & extortioner and use all the Chicanery which roguery is Master of to prosper & no gentleman will stoop to such low means to acquire wealth, therefore I entreat him to leave & come here where we can enjoy life like honest & rational men should do; we have a great variety of inocent & even profitable amusements such as hunting fishing & attending to our farms which is a feast indeed to see corn and cotton grow.
Your Aunt Milly sends her most cordial love to you & I will assure you she loves you to perfection, your name is often mentioned & is held in the most reverential recollection & nothing would be a greater addition to her happiness than to have you settled near her, she says you should not think anything of her not writing to you, as I am her representative & you should consider my letters as hers also, she is anxious very anxious to see you, because she looks upon you as one of her best & dearest of friends, you may rest assured your name stands highest on the catalogue of all her friends. She is surprised & astonished to think that Miss Betty has treated her with so much neglect as not even write her a few lines to evince to her that there still remained some sparks of affection for one of who had extended to her from her very infancy all the kindness & affection of a Mother. She says Miss Betty never neglected her thus before, but she supposes distance of space has severed the chane of friendship & all the recollections of past favors & motherly kindness must be forgotten & consigned to eternal Oblivion, if that be the fact she regrets it very much, but she has one consolation to sustain her--that is her motherly care & treatment for Miss Betty from her infancy up to their sepperation has not merited such treatment.
She request me to inform you that she likes this country exceedingly well & has not the least disposition to return to NCarolina & could you & Mr. Moody reconcile it to yourselves to come and reside in this part of the country as her neighbour She should enjoy more contentment than the most of we mortals have any right to expect. Richards health in some respects have improved considerably, his arm has not got entirely well but much improved for the last four or five months, he is hearty & goes about any & every where he wishes fishes hunts etc. but his arm is still comparatively useless to him he can use it but little owing perhaps to the muscles being so very long in a state of inactivety, it is more than probable in the process of time they may regain their in part their action. he, Turner & Jimmy has had the ague & fever for some two months but not constantly. I think they are all at this time improving & require only one or two large frost to carry them away entirely. The ague & fever here is not attended with half the danger as it is in Northampton, in fact all the diseases here are of a much milder grade than they are in Northampton & much more easily managed. Pussy has also been sick & at one time came very near dying, she now occasionally has agues but hope in a short time they will leave her, she & the boys goes about & does not make them sick but little & that only for a very short space of time. I have a very rich tract of land & am becoming daily better & better pleased with the country. Tell Mr Moody I can go any day & ketch or at least start a wolf deer or bear & as to fishing we have live near a lake which cannot be surpassed by any in the united world for fish of the most delicious kind. Therefore those who are under the impression that I am not pleased with the country are entirely mistaken, with all its disadvantages, I would not give five miles Square of lands in my immediate neighbourhood for all the land in Northampton.
I am sorry to inform you that Mrs. Lunday is no more She departed this life on the seventh of the present month. She died after a long and painful ilness of many years duration, I hope & believe she is now enjoying that eternal bliss which is allotted to the good, for a better Lady I believe never lived, her death was lamented by all who knew her. She has left four handsome & amiable Daughters to lament her death, I am much pleased with her husband Mr Lundy he was one among the kindest & most affectionate of husbands, every means was used by the most scientiffic Physicians to avert the sad calamity & prolong her existance, but her disease was beond the reach of art, She had an abcess of the Liver, it was opened & which produced the only far fetched hope that she would yet recover, for her symptoms of pain & excessive suffering were for a short period ameliorated but all hopes in a few days after opening the abcess [torn] destroyed & she has paid that debt which all we sublunary mortals have to pay, & I hope & sincerely believe she is now enjoying a glorious immortality, for she was rich in all those golden & amiable qualities which preeminently entitled her to be numbered among those who should be crowned with immortal Glory. As my paper is nearly exhausted I must conclude, by requesting you to give my best respects to my friend Mr Wilson[?] & family & tell him to write to me, as I have never received an answer to the letter I sent him. My wife sends her best love to you Mr Moody Mrs Anderson & Miss Synthia & the children, her children likewise send their love to you Mr Moody & children. Please accept the Same from myself--with sentiments of highest respects I remain yours truly & sincerely
Alfred Eldridge
My Dear Martha, as I consider the above letter in fact Mine you must write me as soon as you receive it
Your Aunt Mildred

Addressed to : Mrs Martha Moody
North Carolina
Northampton County
Garysburg Post office
Postmarked: MEMPHIS TE OCT 30
Postage: 50
VLR (Virginia Leigh Refo)
A long and flowery letter to Martha William (Wright) Moody from her aunt Mildred Turner (Williamson) Crump Eldridge's second husband, Dr. Arthur Eldridge, with a postscript from Mildred. This guy should be in advertising for the Shelby Chamber of Commerce. The whole world would move to Memphis!
Mildred's first husband was Dr. James Robert Crump, the brother of Martha's mother, Martha Robinison (Crump) Wright Charlton, and the uncle of the addressee. Mr. Moody is Martha's husband, John Mason Moody, sometimes referred to as "Jack". The reference to "Politics" is explained as John Mason Moody served as Senator from Northampton Co. in the North Carolina General Assembly from 1844-1847. Mr. Clay, Henry Clay, originally from Virginia, was a 3-time unsuccessful moderate Whig candidate for President from Kentucky.
"Miss Betty" is Mildred's step daughter, Elizabeth D. Crump. Miss Betty's mother, Dorothy "Dolly" (Parham) Crump, died at or shortly after her birth, and James "Robert" Crump quickly remarried Mildred Turner (Williamson) Crump who essentially raised this child. Elizabeth Crump later married J. F. Simmons (see letter # 44) who refers to her as "Lizzie" (see also letter #19). After the death of Dr. James Robert Crump in 1838, Mildred married in 1844 Dr. Alfred Eldridge, the author of this letter, son of Aristotle Eldridge of Brunswick Co. VA. Dr. Alfred Eldridge married first (1822) Eliza P. Haley and settled in Northampton Co. NC. until his move to Western Tennessee, probably not long before this letter was written.
The following are children of James Robert Crump, Sr. and his second wife Mildred Turner (Williamson) Crump: Richard is Richard William Dancy Crump who married 1) Caroline Pierce and 2) Lenora (Gillion) Clanton. Turner is Turner Williamson Crump who married Mary Elizabeth Hare. He was killed in Civil War. Jimmy is James Robert Crump, Jr. who married Emma J. Hare. He was also killed in Civil War. "Pussy" is Sally Betsy Alice Crump. It should be noted that Richard's arm apparently healed completely allowing him to become a surveyor, among other things. He did an incredibly detailed sketch of the surrounding area for the first battle of Bull Run and sent it home to his wife. He survived the war and eventually became a judge in Lake Co. CA.
Mildred Turner (Williamson) Crump Eldridge, daughter of Turner Williamson and Elizabeth (Parham) Williamson had a sister, Sally Betsy Williamson who married Joshua C. Lundy, Jr. and lived in the Memphis area. This most probably is the Mr. and Mrs. Lundy referred to here. Mr. Wilson is referred to in letter # 41 and was the Methodist minister for the circuit that included Garysburg, NC. Mrs. Anderson, and "Miss Synthia" are Cynthia Anderson, who married in 1849 Harrison B. Moody and her mother Mrs. Anderson. They all lived with Mrs. Newsom in the Moody household in the 1850 census. I believe Harrison B. Moody was an overseer/assistant for John Mason Moody, helping to run the large holdings in Northampton and taking care of things for him while he was in Raleigh or in Mississippi. Harrison's brother Gilliam Moody did, I believe, the same thing for JMM in Mississippi. Harrison B. and Gilliam were the sons of William A. Moody who was the youngest son of Rebecca and Hinchea Gilliam Moody. There was a close connection between this family and Capt.William Moody, JMM's father, but I haven't found it yet. After the Civil War, just before he declared bankruptcy, JMM sold to Harrison B. Moody the home + 100 acres owned by William Moody, JMM's father.
Note that Richard W. D. Crump married Caroline Pierce from Halifax County. I presume her to be a relation of, perhaps daughter of Lawrence Pierce, of Halifax County, and Mary (Parham) Moody Pierce whose first husband was Capt. William Moody, father of John Mason Moody. (See letter #23). I believe Mary (Parham) Moody Pierce to be the related to Dolly (Parham) Crump, first wife of Dr. James Robert Crump. The Parham family in Southside Virginia is extensive, and I have not researched it.
Mildred Turner (Williamson) Crump Eldridge is the first cousin once removed to Dr. William B. Williamson, author of letters # 23 and # 24 in this collection..
Mildred and Alfred had only been married six months when this letter was written. They later had a daughter, Mary Clementina Eldridge, born 24 August 1845.


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