William H. Burnett's Grave at Rock Island Prison Camp
My publisher has been on my case to blog more than last year. She says I have not accomplished what I was supposed to according to the contract I signed. She is correct of course. Every woman I have ever had any dealing with, including two ex-wives have always been right. Right?
The president of my fan club that doesn't exist is Shirley Cartwright McKenzie of Memphis, Tennessee. I have yet to meet Shirley but that is also on my bucket list. I had a chance to meet her at a book signing, but was too sick to attend and messed that up. I have to meet her soon. She was recently talking to me about family Civil War history. I realized that I was sitting on a gold mine. My publisher wants me to blog and Shirley loves her family history. This made me decide to publish what I have in family letters.
Joseph Lawrence Kent
My Uncle Lawrence Kent got me interested in the Civil War when I was about six years old. He died of a heart attack in 1998. We spent those years searching our family history and you must realize that this was pre-internet days. We didn't have a clue if we had an ancestor or not in the war. You don't know how much I wish I could share with him all that I have found. We actually went to Huntsville Public Library in Huntsville, Alabama. I found Private Jeremiah Burnett, a private in Company A, 13th Alabama Partisan Rangers. (A partisan ranger was the same thing as a guerrilla.) They carried sawed-off shotguns and were basically cavalry.
Back to the subject at hand, Shirley made me realize that I can kill two birds with one stone. I can publish some old family letters and appease my publisher by blogging even more. The following is a copy of the many letters that got passed down to me. They are currently owned by Northwest Shoals Community College and I'm very lucky that they are preserved today.
"Letter Number 1. July 26, 1856.
State of Alabama, Walker County.
Dear sister I seat myself this morning to let you know that we are all well at the present time, hoping these few lines may come safe to your hand and find you and the children well and doing well. I haven't nothing strange to write to you at the present time. I can tell you it is tight times here this summer (Indistinguishable word) but I live in hopes that they will be (indistinguishable word) for another year, thought the prospect is very gloomy. At this time our crop only looks tolerable. Well our cotton the most it looks nice. Our potato patch looks very well and we had the nicest garden of cabbage before the dry weather set I that they was in the country. They don't look so well now, thought they were right nice. Yet Catherine I am glad to hear that you have got to where you can get provisions. Now I have got your things here, yet I reckon they are a doing as well as the things that was left with Johnson. I have got your chairs a sticking up in the house. I will try to take care of them till you let me know what to do with them. I was at Johnson's this spring and I saw they was making use of their things that was left with them. They was using the chairs and mothers chair and Susannah (my great-great-great grandmother) and Mary (word indistinguishable) both fell to staves and I believe mothers (indistinguishable word) and sis was on mothers saddle and gone to the singing. Write to me every chance you have. I will have to close. I am a looking for Blackwell every minute. Catherine I want to know what color that pig is that you said I might have. I have never saw it and whether it was a sow or not. This from Sarah Whisenhurst to Catherine Burnett. A few lines to Susannah (my great-great-great grandmother). I am glad to hear that you and the children was all well and doing as well as what you are. Susan I can tell you that your sow had pigs and lost them every one before we ever found them. She has been coming up pretty regular with ours now for some time till the last two were. There haven't been none of them up now as to your (word indistinguishable) it ain't much Catherine is no count at all it won't the grains ain't more than half grown. Write to me what to do with it. I shall have to quit. Blackwell has come. This from Sarah Whisenhurst to Susannah.