Location: Weldon, North Carolina
Surnames/tags: Moody Wright
- My Dearly Beloved Cousin.
- Perhaps you thought when you exacted from me the promise to write to you that it would be one of those pie crust sort of promises which girls sometimes make & I would forget it as soon as you were gone. If you did you were mistaken that's all. I have allowed but little more than a week to elapse and should have written even earlier had not Mrs. Leigh gone out & thus placed you in possession of all the news that I could have given.
- I have been knocking around pretty much as usual since you left and you have no doubt seen from the "Express" (for I presume Joe has ordered his to Columbus) what I have been up to & what has occurred. On Wednesday after you left I went down according to promise & met Bettie & brought her up to Weldon, where I delivered her over to "Pa" since when I have neither seen nor heard from either. John Branch has not been out since, but I rather think he will be out on the 29th when Bishop Pierce will preach in Weldon. It is my own private opinion that he intends courting her but I cannot say when nor even that it is certain he will at all. You know perhaps better than I do whether he stands any chance or not.
- There is great talk about the "Fancy" and "Dress Balls" to come off at Happers[?] on the 24th & 25th & large crowds are expected but I think somehow that it is a doubtful matter. The Balls will no doubt take place, & there will be a Tournament also, but I shall not be surprised if they are all disappointed in the number of persons who will attend & in the Tournament also, for I feel very sure the latter will be a very small affair.
- Bro Grant preached at Garysburg last Sunday & though I was not there I am sure he had a good meeting. I went to Petersburg to hear Carter. He preached in Washington Street Church at night & his sermon was worthy even of Carter. It was one of his best. The next day he went to Conference via Norfolk & I came home & had Bros. Jno. E Edwards, DP Wills, Chas. Hall, & BR Duval to dine with me. Oh! how I wish you could all be here to listen to Bishop Pierce's Sermon. It is a treat I have been wishing for a long time and one that I expect to enjoy much. He has promised too to spend several days with me & Lizzie is all on Tiptoe at the idea of entertaining a "live Bishop" & I shall be thankful indeed if she does not turn the house over in her efforts to present a "respectable appearance" & you may tell your Ma (not read it yourself) that I think if she (Lizzie) can only succeed in making the house look as respectable as she does herself just about now the Bishop will no doubt be very favourably impressed.
- I don't believe I know of a particle of news to write. I have heard of none that would interest you. I am now fully up for moving South & you may tell your Pa & Joe if they can find a good plantation & negroes near them, worth altogether about $30,000 and I can buy it on long enough time to allow me to work out of it & pay for it let me know at once at once & I will go out & see it.
- Give my love to your Pa, Ma, Jn Willie & Laura & to all our relatives & Lizzie sends hers also, & now my dear Cousin as I have written first I will now wait till you reply & then I will write you again.
- Ever Affectionately yours,
- J.F. Simmons
- Ever Affectionately yours,
- VLR (Virginia Leigh Refo)
- J.F. Simmons is a Crump cousin, or rather his wife Lizzie is. She is Elizabeth D. (Crump) Simmons, daughter of Dr. James Robert Crump and his first wife Dolly Parham (see letter # 30.) Dolly was the the daughter of James Parham and Elizabeth (Greenway) Parham. The Parhams have another connection to the Moodys. Mary Parham [relationship to Dolly not yet discovered] married Capt. William Moody, John Mason Moody's father. This was a second marriage for him, and I gather something of a scandal as she was quite young and he was not.
- Mr. Simmons is writing to one of the children of John Mason Moody and Martha William (Wright) Moody who are in Columbus Mississippi. With the reference to "Joe", I believe the letter to be written to Mary Elizabeth (Moody) Lockhart, Mollie, who with her husband, Joseph Gray Lockhart, accompanied her parents on one of their excursions to Mississippi. The Lockharts, Joe and Mollie, lived there for quite some time during the Civil War years and after (see letter #46).
- Mrs. Leigh is Mollie's mother's aunt, Mary Jane (Crump) Leigh, widow of the Rev. H. Gilbert Leigh, and soon to become Martha Alice Moody's mother-in-law, as she will marry in 1859 Dr. H.G. Leigh. Bettie I assume to be Mr. Simmons' sister, but I do not know the Simmons family (Could she be the "Bet" mentioned in letter # 40?). John Branch is unknown to me, as are the preachers (all of whom are Methodists, I'm sure) and the dinner guests. Willie is Mary's brother, William Scott Moody, Jn her brother, John Mason Moody, Jr, Laura, her younger sister, Laura Estelle Moody, who later marries Nathaniel Gregory.
- J.F. Simmons did move to Sardis, Mississippi with his wife and family, where he became a judge.
- Many thanks to cousin Virginia Leigh Refo whose research and transcriptions added to this profile. The originals were donated to the Library of Virginia in 2004 by Liz Edens Vermillion with the help of Virginia Refo Moody Family Papers, 1750-1881. Accession 40535, Personal Papers Collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.