These letters were in the possession of Georgia Lee Brown Fowler, daughter of Mary Emma Baird Brown and granddaughter of George Washington Baird and Mary Elizabeth Traughber. Photocopies were provided to me by Robert E. Fowler of Houston, Texas in 1971. In the transcripts below, punctuation has been added for readability, but spelling is left as in the originals.
#3 19 November 1848 letter from George W. Baird to Mrs. Mary E. Baird postmarked Lawrenceburg, Alabama with a note to the postmaster at Springfield to “hand this over immediately.”
Dear Liz,It is with pleasure that I have the opertunity of addressing these few lines to you to say to you that I have arrived thus far on my journey safe. We have had all sorts of weather since we left . Yesterday it snowed all day. Today has been clear but not warm enough to melt in the shade. I have not been warm but once since I left home and that was today. When we stopped to eat dinner we stopped at a big fire out in the woods and the wind was blowing tolerable some and I got on the side so as the wind would blow the heat through me and the could out and I got a dram and it made me feel somewhat comfortable. Last night I lay down to sleep and I was so cold that I could not go to sleep and I got up and got a blanket and raped it all around me so it made me go to sleep, but I was not warm after all. I am 10 miles from Lawrenceburg and it is Saturday night and it will take me two days more to get to my journey’s end and you must not look for me until next Saturday. If you do not receive this letter you must not be uneasy. I am your loving husband until death,
I think this was actually posted from Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, not Alabama. The next letter makes it clear that George was bound for Tuscumbia, Alabama. He would have traveled from Springfield to Nashville, then down the Ntchez Trace through Lawrenceburg on his way to northwestern Alabama. He writes that he was 10 miles from Lawrenceburg and two days from his destination, which was about 60 miles further along.
#4 23 November 1848. Letter from George W. Baird to Mrs. Mary E. Baird Postmarked Buzzard Roost, Alabama:
This letter was addressed with a note “In haste – Postmaster at Springfield will please fork this over immediately and oblige. GWB”. George was evidently delayed, as the response from his wife (see below) is dated a week later on 31 November.
Dear Wife,I am compelled to write to you again to inform you that it is probable that I can not get home before about the last of this month. Since I rote to you I got the chance of bringing some passengers back to Springfield. Mr. Johnson wants me to take his sister-in-law back and I do not know wheather I shall stay to take them back or not. If I do it will be several days before I start back as she is not ready to go and will not be before next Monday. I am at present at her house 18 miles from where I left Mrs. Beaumont. We all got here safe and sound. I have seen some of Alabama since I got here and it is some. I have seen some of the worst country here that I ever did see and some of the best. Oh Liz you do not know how bad I want to see you, but it is a great pleasure to set down a rite just as though I was a talking to you, but it is not as good when it comes to sleeping. I feel mity lonesome away down here in these wild woods. They call it the suney South but it won’t do me. It may do som & them that likes it may have it for me. I may be possible that I may start home tomorrow. If I do not I will not start before next Monday & I will get home about Saturday as it will take about 6 days to come. I have had tolerable good health since I left but I am a little sorter home sick. It looks like we would have some rain today. If you get this letter in time I want you to write me a letter to me at Nashville. I am your loving husband until death.
In an amazing coincidence, it appears that George Baird was transporting the widow Mrs. Nancy Cheatham Bishop Bradley Beaumont from her home near Springfield to Tuscumbia, Alabama where her father Littleberry Cheatham had settled. Other records confirm that In late 1848 she moved, along with her four Bradley and Beaumont children and her daughter Mary’s new husband, to Tuscumbia, Franklin County, Alabama to be near her father Littleberry Cheatham. (Buzzard Roost was on the Natchez trace a few miles from Tuscombia and on George’s way home.)
Nancy Beaumont’s newlywed daughter Mary and husband Burrell Young Hooper accompanied the Beaumont family on the journey. That couple had a daughter Emma born the following year who was the grandmother of my father’s mother. That is, George Baird’s grandson later married Mrs. Beaumont’s great-granddaughter in Texas. Surely they were unaware that their families had crossed paths so many years before.
See the paper on Nancy Beaumont
#5 31 November 1848. Letter from Mary E. Baird to George W. Baird:
Dearest George,Imagine the pleasure that thrilled throughout my soul when I received your letter. It caused that sensation of love to thrill throughout my soul that was scarsely ever caused before, for I have seen so much trouble about you since you have been gone that I could scarsely contain myself. But since you have the chance of bringing some persons back with you I think I can wait a few more days, but it really does appear to me that you have been a year, but I still hope to see you in a few days. Were fate to decree that we should never see each other again I know that I never could be happy another moment. You say that I do not know how much you want to see me but I think that I can imagine I can, at least judge you by myself. You say that you feel very lonesome and I am sure that I can simpathise with you on that subject, you must not laugh at me when I tell you that I cryed last week because you would not come home but what made me cry was that I had not received a letter from you. You wrote to me but the letter was miscarried to Springhill in Maury County.
You must bring me a pair of shoes sz 5 as Mr. Strickling has not made me any yet, and it appears that he will not. You must bring some snuff when you come home, you have not many groceries but you must not wait to get them. Jo says he is not getting along very well at the stable. The black horse has been hired out every day since you have been gone. Jo has a chance of selling the omnibuse at $125. I think you had better come home and see about it. I think it will be a very good chance, do not delay coming home as soon as you can. I remain your affectionate wife,
Mary E. Baird