Martha Massey's Letter

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Jan. 27th 1886                 

Valley Spring, Tex.

Dear Brother

     Your unexpected but none the less welcome letter been received. I had almost despaired of ever hearing from you again. We are all well. I haven't much news to write, it is very dry and times are very hard, we have not had a season since last May hence another failure in cotton. We made very good corn and wheat only three bales of cotton 90 gallons of sorghum.
     This is the hardest country to live in I ever saw. There is no kind of fruits here, only a few small peaches and they are not good, the wild fruit is mustang grape, black haws and a few wild plums with the skin right on the seed.  A great many pecans grow here on the creeks but the crop was a failure last year there is no trees on our place, those that own trees, their pecans pay them more than cotton.  We raised more sweet potatoes this last year than any one else in the neighborhood. We made 6 or 7 bushels, the most we have ever raised since we have been in the county.  It is healthy here but that is about all I can say in its praise.  The weather has been extremely cold since Christmas. Wheat is killed, some are planting fall wheat now. Mr. A. will finish tomorrow. Will plant his hard wheat soon. Farmers are doing but little towards breaking their ground, it is so dry. Mr. A. trying to take in more land, but he is getting along very slow the ground is so dry and hard, he has to set posts and fence with brush mostly.  It makes a very good fence. The boys has been going to school all winter until last week stopped to plow. Modie and Sue is going to school. You wanted to know my children's ages. Lena says tell you she was 17 in Dec. and has a sweetheart who stands 6 feet in his boots and if you will send her your picture with your family she will send you his. William Allen was 15 in Oct. James Anderson was 13 in July. Modina Alcesta was 11 Nov. 5. Susan Martha 9 Sept. Mary Emma was 6 in April John Vance was 4 in Sept. Cora Althea will be 2 in April and the smartest little thing you ever saw, she is a great talker, calls her self my darling baby, says the boys comes to see her, she is badly spoiled. We still haul water he has got his well 35 feet deep but no water has had to blast through rock all the way only about 3 feet. Used some dynamite. Tell Lanie my luck with chickens is about as usual. I had a great many nice fall chickens the hawks with 4 hogs we have had up to fatten I reckon left me a dozen I do not know how many grown ones they caught You did not say any thing about Lums family nor any thing about uncle Mod or Aunt Hetty as they are so old I think you ought to have mentioned them. I would like to hear from all the kin but there is so many I know can not name them all.
     Alfred and Ophelia has my deepest sympathies. I would be glad to receive a letter from them. Tell Will and Clarence I think they might write to me or the children some time. I did not think when I sat down to write that I could write but a short letter.  I have been washing hard all day and was very tired. I am about to scribble up all my paper so I will have to close. I would like so much to see Pa and all the rest of you
     With our love to you all and a wish to hear from you again soon,
     I subscribe my self,
          Your Affectionate sister
               Mattie E. Alexander


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