To delve into some of the details contained within this letter, I must start out by stating that this letter was written by Frederick “Henry” Quitman, John Quitman’s only son that lived to adulthood. At the time of the writing of this letter, February of 1845, Henry would only have been 14 years old. You may read more about Henry on the page we have about the room we named after him if you click on Quitman Retreat Cottage and scroll down to Room 47.
It is interesting to note that while this letter was written in February of 1845, and mentions General Quitman being ill, General Quitman did not die for 13 more years, on July 17, 1858.
In letters General Quitman wrote to his wife, Eliza, on February 7, and February 11, 1845, we find out that General Quitman left Monmouth and traveled to Vicksburg at the beginning of February. In Vicksburg he was able to secure a reduction in the interest rate on the debt for the family’s Palmyra Plantation estate. After that, General Quitman caught a train to Jackson, Mississippi, where he planned to attend the high court and chancery court sessions. However, the trip was quite difficult, and he came down with a severe case of chills, which kept him confined to his Jackson room for several days, and he was left with headaches a week later.
Henry mentions that his mother is concerned about his father’s health, and wants to join her husband. However, Henry’s Grandmother reminds his mother of the numerous steamboat accidents that have happened over the past six years. One of these was the terrific explosion of the Steamboat "Greenfield" on May 18, 1840. A more detailed listing of steamboat accidents during this time can be found at: Web Archive
The “Grand Callion” Henry mentions in his letter is Grand Callion Bayou, and is located in Dulac, Louisiana.
The reference in the letter to “Sister Louisa” is a reference to Quitman’s eldest daughter, Louisa. You may read more about her if you click on Pond Cottage and read about Room 48, which we named after her.
Eliza Quitman is “Mother” and you may read more about her if you click on Antebellum Home and read information contained at the top of this page, and then scroll down to read the information about Room 25, Miss Eliza’s Room (bedroom pictured above).
Until next week, enjoy this gorgeous weather and Happy Mother’s Day to mothers everywhere!