Allen Martin, a brother to Jared C. Martin, to his cousin Major Wm. H. Martin in Athens, Tx. It is dated 18 Aug 1867 near Clarksville, Tx
My Dear Cousin,
Please excuse my long neglect, a multiplicity of engagements come in my way all this time and hindered me when I could write. Sixty-one years ago my father left his home, four miles east of Sandersville, Washington county, Ga. and moved to Missouri, leaving Uncle James Martin ( your grandfather), Aunts Jane Warnock and Sallie Carswell, his brothers and sisters, where they had have been raised together; all growing old and the parents of large families of children; they have all long since passed away. Their children but few in number remaining. I am the only one of my family living (note: was 2nd youngest in his family & now 66 yrs old)
In 1859 Wm. Carswell was here, who was then the only one of his family living. He told me of an old lady who lived near him was the daughter of Aunt Jane Warnock and of her Aunt Jane's family. Beyond this I do not know anything.
Of your grandfather's family, your Uncle James Hiram is only remaining son, if he is alive. He was living in Natchitoches County, Louisana a few months since. Your father and your cousin John N. are no more. Cousin Mary Ann was living in Savannah, Ga April last. I know not whether Cousin Catherine be living or not. She was in 1859. Your Uncle John N. died in October 1865, which I did not learn until recently, and in April last his sister Mary Ann had not heard of it.
My Grandfather John Martin and his wife, who was Jane Hutchison, with their family of children (Note: see end letter) came from Ireland to Georgia 100 yrs ago. (Note: came in 1754 - 113 years ) They were your great-grandparents, and the great, great-grandparents of Martha E., your wife.
You mentioned something in your letter that there had been some objection to the union of yourself and wife, because you were cousins. I think cousins very far removed in your case. It is hardly worth counting. It is true we have come or descended from the same parent stock. Removed three generations from yourself and four from her and two from myself.
I learned from Mr. Bryant who is proposing to teach school in your place that the family of Cousin Martha E. live in Kaufman county, and I must confess Cousin William that in your last letter that you anglocised so punctually that I did nt make out the name. I have heard of a Matthew Carswell living in Upshur and was from Twiggs county, Ga. Is he our relation? (Note: Matthew Carswell was husband to Sallie Martin, Allen's aunt in Ga. m- 20 yrs before he was born ) You informed me before the war that Cousin Margaret, your Aunt who first married Warren and then Orr had died in Texas some ten or twelve years ago. I heard of an Orr in Hill county, on the Brazos before I left Arkansas who claims to be related to me. If he was her son you have a brother living, James, in or near about Alexandria, La. which I learned from Thomas, Cousin John N., Martin's youngest son. If our parents had remained near each other, their families would have known more of each other. As it is, I suppose you have not seen a single descendant of my father, and there are multitudes of those of your grandfather Martin, who neither you nor I know anything about.
Myself and family would be more than pleased to see you and Cousin Martha E. at our home. We have seven children. The eldest Mahala, grown. The next in age fourteen years and so on down to the youngest less than two of my eldest sons. Compared with which all other losses were nothing. If I can make a living and educate my family, it would be all that I should desire temporarily. That the literary and moral training of my children may be such as to make them useful members of society is the greatest earthly ambition I have. These qualities in man which make him of most use to his fellow man and the promotion of best good and society are most to be appreciated, and such are the qualities that I desire my children to possess; and not only they, but all with whom they or I am connected.
When Cousin William Carswell was here he spoke in the most glowing terms of his daugter, her superior qualities and education with which I was well pleased. Now that you are married I will mention that I have a daughter who is a dutiful and loving child, pious and whose education we have labored to mould to usefulness.
As to myself, my father brought me west of the Mississippi over sixty years ago when I was five years old, and in the wilds of Missouri, Arkansas and Texas I have been reared and lived since I was 17 years old. I have spent a great deal of my time in the woods on surveying trips with no other associationss than the few assistants I had with me. So that I claim the qualities of a back woodsman. It is true that during the thirty-five years I resided near Little Rock,, the seat of Arkansas, I had the privillege of associating with Arkansas most prominent men. The Conway's, Sevier's, Ashley's, Fulton's, Cross's, Yell's, Walkins, (Note: Watkins?) Riggs, Johnson's and other noted men, but still I am a backwoodsman.
Once you and I were free American citizens. My prayer is that as your grandfather and my father fought the battles of 90 years ago, that won the liberties that their children have enjoyed, that our children may enjoy the same privilegs. So far as I am concerned I am drawing near the end, by age and a broken constitution that I have but little to gain or lose. But my children and my Beloved Southland I do care for, and the idea that my country may be again right side is a matter for which I will ever hope and pray.
Do you know anything of W.E. Carswell? 17 young men of our name and family were in the war. Four of Brother John's sons (one killed), one of Brother Andrew;s sons and one grandson died in prison.. Two of Brother Jared's sons, two of my sons, one of them killed and one died, three of your father's sons, two of them died, two of John N. Martin's (one dead) and one of Cousin Mary Ann Martin's sons. Seven of the seventeen lost their lives for their Country, further I do not know.
I hope that this may be more successful in reaching you than my former letters have been. The love of myself and family to you and yours. Let us hear from you often.
Adieu my dear relative, your cousin, Allen Martin
Addressed to: Major Wm.E. Martin, Athens, Texas
Note from the submitter: Allen was the grandfather of Juanita Stiles-Bowling Cornwell, who kindly sent this copy of the original letter in her possession, to me. Allen's brother, Jared Carswell, my 2nd grtgrdfather.
I believe Mrs. Cornwell gave many artifacts to the library at E.T.S.T.C. in Commerce, Tx., this letter among them. John Martin & wife Jane had two sons James and John Jr. & two daughters: Jane (Martin) Warnock & Sallie (Sarah Martin) Carswell and one son, Samuel, died young. John Jr. was 1 yr old when thry came to America and all others born in Georgia. Meredith Gibson (1924-2002)
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