Letter written by Valentine Simmons (1790-1867) of Hardy County, VA to his son, Thomas Adams Simmons (ca 1836-1863) living in Demos, Belmont County, OH. Valentine was currently living with Weston and Sarah Rebecca "Sally" (Simmons) Miles.
Sunday 7th Nov 1858
Dear Son I concluded after a verry bussy week passed in Moorefield among the people to give you some idea how the time passes away. Court commenced on Monday & a man named Bush who has been some time residing in the neighbourhood of Wardensville was brought to the Bar charged with stealing money from Bennet Bean the 2nd (a Constable) he plead not guilty but the evidence against him was considered sufficient to send him on for further tryal untill April next before the Superior Court. It is thought that a man by the name of Early (a Doctor who resided in Wardensville) was also concerned in the theft. He was a man of a good family & a verry good caracter when sober, but was verry fond of liquor & when intoxicated could be led astray & he & Bush was drinking together. The Doctor was not arested when Bush was but there was a warrrent also issued against him. But before it was executed he suddenly died & it was thought he took something which caused his death.
On Tuesday morning, a man by the name of Daniel Murphy was brought to the Bar, charged with murdering George Armantrout, who had been found in a run a few miles east of Petersburg. He plead not guilty of the murder but it was proved he had confessed strikeing Armantrout with a gun but said it was in self defence & that he did not expect it would have killed him. His skull was broken. The trying of Murphy was concluded on Wednesday & he was also sent to jail there to remain untill April next to have a final tryal before the circuit court. Thursday and Friday was also taken up by the court with Commonwealth & other business. I was not in town yesterday. The river was smartly up. The people of Hardy & adjoining counties held a Fair about a mile from Moorefield near the pike leading to Winchester. There was many verry fine Horses, Cattle, Hogs, Sheep, Mules and many other articles exhibited. Benjamin Cunningham got a premium for the greatest quantity of corn raised on an acre (one Hundred and Thirteen Bushel). The fair commenced on Wednesday & closed on Friday evening. There was a great variety of Blanketing, flannels, tweed, Casinet, Counterpane, quilts, linsy, carpeting, fine linen & also Bread Butter etc - all of the verry best which articles was shown in the old Church on Friday, they having adjourned from the fair grounds on acct of Rain. The old Church was never so crowded with smiling faces, and many persons enquired of your whereabouts, I having before said to some that you wrote sometime past you would be here this fall & I thought you would be here by the fair, when you wrote to me about the land Warrant. I had promised you, I had already given it to Adam Fisher who was then & is yet living at Leavenworth Citty in Kansas (to locate it for you) I have never heard from you respecting the warrant since but I presume you got the letter I wrote you concerning the same. I requested Adam to write to me immediately after he should have located it if he got to locate it to his satisfaction. The Adam Fisher I speak of is a son of George Fisher living here who you & Valentine know well. George Fisher another son of Old George Fisher, also lives in Leavenworth Citty & you know they being raised on the Branch must know what good land is. Old Mr. Fisher gets letters from them frequently, but as they have not mentioned anything about it lately I suppose they have not had an oportunity to locate it or if they had perhaps they had informed you, as I had informed them where you were. I have never understood from you that you had ever received a letter from Geo. W. Sulser of Maysville Kentucky or that you had written to him. I received one or two letters from him and when I wrote you, informed you & advised you to write to him - Edward V Miles says he had been looking for a letter from you for sometime past, & says he wrote to you since he received any from you. Westons girls & boys send their love to you & Ed says if you do not come soon you must write immediately. Your white face cow has had one calf only since you left here, her white Heffer Calf which she had when you left home had a calf last April, which calf was dead when I found it. I sold the two cows & the calf for Sixty Dollars & laid it out in something else for you. If you are not engaged at any business particulary, we would all like to see you come to see us. I am living at Westons & James Willson and Jane Ann are both living there. I seen Daniel R. McNiell a short time past and he told me he had been at S.D. Miles in Illinois a few days before I seen him. They all had the ague but was on the mend. He said Sam had a good farm & was well fixed and that he had raised a good crop of corn altho he had wrote before that he was so late getting his corn in he expected not to make a good crop. Mr. McNiell says Joseph Idleman raised a good crop of corn & had sold it well, but I do not recollect for how much. If you are going to school, or have it in contemplation do not be in a hurry to quit it to come home. I would like to see you improve in Learning, but always be sure to not learn what you should not, do not learn Smoking, Chewing Tobacco, or to take drams. Let your yea be yea & your nay be nay. I will tell you what this advice I give reminds me now of. I sent your Brothers Sandford and Mort to school to John L. Smith to Learn Surveying & when William Seymour hearing of my sending them to Smith, took me to task, saying Simmons what do you send your sons to him for. I wish they would both be hung. I told the boys what Seymour said & Sandford made no reply but Laughed. Mort Said John L. Smith could learn them what they wanted to learn, and If he attempted to learn them what he should not, they need not learn that. I wish you to write to me immediately. Give my best to your Aunt, to your Uncle & all your cousins. To Valentine & Eliza & the children, also Mr. Reeder & family & Jane Kemp & family.
Your loveing Father
To: Thomas A. Simmons