Letter from Turner Nelson to James Roach – 1825

by | Mar 22, 2015 | 1 comment

The following is a transcription of a letter from Turner Nelson to James Roach dated July 19, 1825. This is of particular interest to me because there is a section at the bottom that mentions my ancestor, Laban Morris.

Turner Nelson is mentioned elsewhere on this site because he served as a school teacher in Swift Creek, Craven County for a time before moving out to Posey County, Indiana where he made a successful life.


Letter from Turner Nelson to James Roach – 1825
Reprinted in Pitt County Genealogical Quarterly, Feb 2013 edition

State of Indiana Posey County July 19th 1825

Friend James for the second time since I left that Country I take my pen in hand to inform you of the blessings that has been handed down to me while I have been in this Western World by him who put me into existence —

The reason of my not writing to you was that a complete reverse of fortune took place with me immediately after I got to this Country and I wanted to prove the good or bad effect it had on me one of the Chief blessings was (and is at this time) It was pleasing to the will of almighty god to Show me in a short while after I came to this Country that I was Living in open rebellion against the divine and holy Law that he had placed in this world for the guide and regulations of his people, also I was trampling on the mercies that he was Showering on me every moment of my Life and returning him not the Least thanks for it at which time my Eyes were placed on the god of this world, running my all to Everlasting destruction when reflection would cause me pain to think that my soul should be Landed in an awful and burning hell just for the gratification of the carnal Lust of the flesh which is enmity against God. The satisfaction that I see in Leading a religious and pious Life devoted to that God who put me here for his own honor and Glory no tongue can express when I have the presence of God with me and feel the witness within my Soul that I have passed from death unto Life Everlasting it appears to me that the happiness I see placed in another world for me is unspeakable and full of Glory

Another Blessing is that I have had the good fortune to obtain to myself one of the female part of the Creation which is altogether Lovely she is Lovely in my estimation Likewise in the estimation of this world She is handsome to behold and my banner over her is Love The rose of Sharon nor the Lillies of the Valley cannot Equal her beauty we Live and Share each other’s mutual Burthens which I count a satisfaction to us. She was a widow when I married her about 17 years old by the name of Jane COX and about the Size of Betsy BRYAN or not quite so Large her father and mother is Living at this time and she the youngest Child of Seven her Maiden Name was WALKER we was married the 26th of this month one year ago and the 9th of this month she was brought to bed With a Child which was unfortunately born dead but She has go so that she can get about again which is reviving to me

Now I will tell you of my Situation and what I have done respecting making provisions for a Living Immediately after I was married I Let the horse go that I brought to this Country for a Quarter Section of Land viz 160 Acres which was unimproved I went to work which went a Little tough with me at first & built me Tolerable comfortable House I moved there in October Last Kept School Three months of the Winter fenced and Cleared 10 Acres of Land and planted about 7 acres of it in corn which is will yield more or as much to the Acre but will be disputed But I appeal to the righteous one above for the manifestation of it.

I have a first rate young horse that my wife had four years old come Spring that would Sell there for 150 or 160 Dollars a small Stock of Cattle also of hogs but Corn is no object here there can be nothing got for it unless you take it down the Mississippi to New Orleans where you get 1 dollar per Barrel Sometimes for it and Sometimes more and Sometimes Less Money cannot be had here for Nothing but money will win Bring any thing almost at any price corn may be had here for 1 cents per Bushel Bacon for 4 & 3 in money every thing proportionably Low The Land That I have is not deeded yet but [FADED] and Joins Ajax CAMPBELLS my house is not more than 200 yards from his house and I have found him Since I have been to this Country as a father and his Sister Mrs HAYES as a mother to me and my wife

People in this Country is altogether upon a level with each other there is none to rich as to Suppress the poor but every ones respectability depends upon his behaviour I am as rich as my Neighbors they have no more servants to do their work than I have to do mine my Task is Easy My Crop is done at this time and I have a School about one mile from home to Continue the winter with 25 Scholars at 2 dollars per S by the Quarter is married also to Girl by the name of Sally ROBERTS and Lives on his fatherinlaws Land he has 12 or 13 acres in corn that he has Tended himself and is Generally thought that he gather 55 Bushels to the Acre he has two first rate B young mares and Stock also of all kinds.

James I live Easier and better Satisfied than I ever did I have reed Two letters from you Since I have been to this State relating your marriage and Sally’s also which I am glad to hear has taken place I have heard that Ephraim has taken a lying in spell this summer. I want you to write to me how you all come or and the times there is in that Country I hear that my father is dead also Uncle George. I want you this fall to send me the old man’s Razor his lancet and Rileys Narrative the memoirs of Lady Hamilton the History of america by Ajax CAMPBELL when he comes in to that Country

Jordan BUTLER talks of coming out to that country this fall Sucky had a Child born dead about the Same time that Jane had her’s I live in about 1/2 miles of Jordan he is doing better than he ever was in that Country he has four Children and makes plenty of Support this is the greatest place to raise corn or grain of any description in tha[TORN] I yet have ever Seen Ajax CAMPBELL has a prospect at this time of making more corn this year himself and two Boys than I ever knew raised on one farm on Swift Creek

I want you to Show this Letter to Laban and let him know that it is my wish for him to come to this Country with them Boys of his and not stay there on that old field of Ald ELISONS Spending of his time in that place and sinking himself to destruction tell his wife that her Sister Sally is well and has two fine Boys that goes to School to me at this time if he will come I know his chance will be better here than there. I conclude by wishing you to remember me to the whole family and remaining

your Loving friend Turner NELSON

1 Comment

  1. Donna

    Is Turner Nelson related in anyway to Edward Nelson?


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