Letters of William F. S. Alexander to and from the Hooe Family

Fleetwood Plantation

1865 to 1882

These letters were sent to me by David Surles, a Hooe Descendant. He states that the original letters are in possession of family who reside in Virginia.

Letter from William Alexander to Howson Hooe V
Posted from Wharton County, Texas
Dated July 10th, 1865
(Note: The Civil War ended in April 1865)

Dear Cousin,
Doug started from hear in March, to get to you and I hear of his arrival
in Jackson Miss. safe and well. Since then I have heard nothing of
any of you, and have for some time past been looking for some or all
of you out hear. But as I know nothing of your movements write these
few lines, to say, all is quiet and order hear, and your plantation
is going on as usual. The Negroes agreeing to remain on the place
until someone of the family comes out. But they are very anxious to
hear from you. The health on your place is good. The Negroes in this
country are behaving very well so far.
Affectionately, Your Cousin, Wm. F.S. Alexander.

Letter from Douglas Hooe to Howson Hooe V (his brother)
Posted from Washington, D.C.
Dated November 26. 1865

Dear Howson,
I received your letter some time ago and would have answered it
before but I did not know where to direct it but I heard through
(can't read the name) yesterday that you had moved to Fauquier so I
suppose Catletts will be your Post Once. Don't you think you can
comedown Christmas. Your board will not cost you anything while you
are here if you will come I will try and go back with you. I am
going to anew boardinghouse the first of month. Now if you will
comedown I think I can give you better fare than I am getting at
present. I am going to board in a private family. The old lady has
a very interesting daughter. My old friend Albert Babb passed
through here a few days ago on a bridal tour. I see all the boys
are getting married; it is time you and myself were looking about.
As you are so anxious to keep the pistol, you can keep it until I
see you. You must excuse my short letter. Give my love to Father
and the Girls. Write soon.

I remain as ever your affectionate Brother.
D.M. Hooe.

Letter from Douglas Hooe to Howson Hooe V
Posted from Wharton County
Dated August 28, 1866

Dear Howson,

Yours of the 28th of last month came to hand a few days ago and
would have been answered before this but I had not paper to write.
I succeeded in geting some last night and commenced to write to you
and something turned up and stoped me from writing and I have put
it off until now. I went to Galveston last week and did not get
back as soon as I expected to do. But I hope you will excuse me
this time with the promise that I will do better in the future. I
am sorry to hear that the wheat crop is so poor but hope you will
make corn enough to do you all. I do not know what the farm will
do. It seems to me that it is almost impossable to raise anything
as there is so many insects to pray upon it. In the last five or
six days the worms has eaten every leaf off my cotton and are now
eating the younger boles and even eating the bark off the lims. I
do not think ... be more than .... of cotton made in this country.
We have had so much rain that what the worms did not eat the ...
within has rotted so that it is worthless. Our corn crops is very
good, but are very muddy and will be very hard to gather. I do not
know what will become of us as it seems to be hard to make a
living at planting and stock is worth so little and it will pay so
little that I do not think it would pay. ... is only worth from
eight to ten dollars a head. Tell Sis that I have received her
letter and will write to her in a few days, that it is not worth
while to write to two of the family at the same time. Tell the Dr.
if he is there that I received his also but as he is coming out I
will see him and that will do. You can tell Father that I have
received his last letter and that will write him in a few days and
let him know what 1 am doing and what our prospects are. That while
I was in Galveston I sent him a draft on New York for $260 in gold
which I hope he will get soon. I wish it was so that I could go and
see you all but as it is we will have to write the oftener. I wish
1 had you out here this fall to help me to build my cribs. I expect
to commence next week and it will keep me very busy for sometime. I
think I will have work enough to keep me busy all the fall if I
build new cabins, which I think will have to be done if I work
freedmen another year. When you write let me know how my old... is
getting along and if you ever worked him or not and if the Yankees have
taken your mare from you or not. Tell Kate Sallie and Ida that I
think that they might write to me at least once in two weeks, that
l will answer their letters. Give my love to all the family and
write soon. Remember me to Dick.
I remain your affectionate Brother.
Douglas M. Hooe.

Letter from Douglas Hooe to his father Howson Hooe IV
Posted from Wharton
Dated August 11, 1867
Dear Father,
I have let so long a time elaps since I wrote to you that 1 am almost
ashame to write and our prospects are so gloomy here that I hate to
write. I have never seen a complete a failure in a cotton crop as
there is this year. I do not think that I will make more than one
bale if that. We had rain for nearly six weeks every day and most
of the crops were run away with weeds and then the worms came and
has eating it up. Our corn crop is very good and I think if l can
getup all of my hogs I will be able to kill between 75 and a
hundred head. I do not think there will be cotton enough raised to get
seed to plant next year and there is very little old seed in this
country. It looks as if it is useless to plant cotton as it does
not pay for the feeding of the hands. I would rather be back on the
hills of Va working myself than here trying to work freedmen for I
do not think they will do any thing next year but attend political
meetings for they have commenced already. I don not think white
labor will do here or at least my experience so far has been that
they will not do. I have had seven this year and now have but one
and he is not worth his bread and the freedmen but little better.
They have done but little since they commenced registring in the
county. I went and tryed to register but they would not let me
because I had been overseer of the road in 1860. They are having a great
deal of yellow fever in Galveston this season but I hope it will
not getup this far. Mack is still with me has not been able to get
a situation yet but I hope he will this fall. I have not seen
Cousin William for sometime but believe he is well. Mr. Harrison and
family has gone up to the springs. Remember me to the girls and
Howson and tell them to write to me. Mack joins me in love to you
all. Write soon to your,
Affectionate son,
Doug. M Hooe.

Letter from William Alexander to Howson Hooe V
Posted from Wharton County, Texas
Dated May 17th, 1868
Dear Cousin,

Your letter of the 8th was received by last mail. You did not say
whether you had received your
deed which I enclosed with a second letter. I note what you say as
to the interest in the deed of trust from Wm. Foote: That is all
right. I once was a juror in a case from Louisiana in the Federal
Court of this state, where it was ruled that the laws of the state
where the contract is made regulate the interest. I now write to
get you to employ a lawyer to take the matter in hand and collect
the money for me as soon as he can. If you were not in the spot I
would have written to Gen. Effa Hunter (?), but as you are the best
judge give the business to who ever you chose. And they can write
me whether it is nessisary that I should send them a power of
attorney or any other paper. I would not press this matter, but Wm.
Foote is hopelessly broke and I do not know that anyone would be
benefited by delay. And I will need the money before I can get it. But
if the interest does not sell for enough to liquidate my claim I
wish it bought in for me, as you say it is considered worth fully
that amount. I would then try to make other arrangements and hold
it until times improve. Dug and Mack are both well. The latter has
turned stock driver and is talking of going to Calafornia with a
party who speak of taking a large heard to that state. Great
numbers of cattle are now being driven from this state to all different
points. A large trade is now being carried on by driving to the
mouth of Red River thence by steamer to Cairo thence by rail to
Chicago. Great numbers of cadle and horses are taken to the Union
Pack R.R. in Nebraska and to Calafornia. The Freedmen are doing a
fine business in killing cattle for their hides, which they sell
for 75c to $1.25 each. We have had a great deal of rain this
spring. I suppose of course you have heard of fearful accident and death
of Uncle Lawrence. His health had been excellent and he was
looking remarkably well when he left us. Dug sais the reason he
does not write more frequently is becaus no one answers his letter.
As ever Wm. F.S. Alexander.

Letter from William Alexander to Howson Hooe
Posted from Wharton County
Dated January 3, 1869
Dear Cousin Howson,
I was very much pleased last night to hear from you again, through your
letter of the 16th. 1 received letters from H. Smith and M. C.
Blackwell asking me to join them in the suit against Wm. Foote which I
declined, not having forgotten my seven years suit with Dr.
Fitzhugh and the fifteen years suit with Bayless Grigsby. Unless justice
is more expeditious in Virginia now than then it is probable that
either myself or Wm. Foote would be dead before the matter is
decided Besides this, I know that Henry Smith has been trying to get Wm.
G. Foote's widow to claim a dower in the interest that is mortgaged
to me when he knows the whole interest is not sufficient to satisfy
my claim; and this too, when he is asking me to take charge the
estate of R. H. Foote in this state. I have for the present
determined to let the matter rest, and when I can conveniently spare the
money for the expense, will have suit brought and W. G. Foote's
interest sold and probably buy it in. I suppose it would bring but
little at present, but may be worth something to me at a future
time. I once read a story in which a French lawyer forced the devil
to a compromise by threatening to take the case in to chancery; and
I have as poor opinion of chancery as the devil had. The corn crops
hear were good, and corn can he bought for 15c per bushel. A great
deal is still in the fields. Cousin Albert made about 30, 000
bushels 8, 000 of which is still in the field and the ground so wet
it cannot be hauled, the last December having been the wetest I
have ever known. The creeks being continually swimming and we have
no roads. Two and three days rain at intervals of a week or ten
days have prevailed since the middle of November. 1 have quit
planting and am living in the prairie. Have received nothing from my
plantation for four years. Last year I put Geo. Snoddy on it and
give him half the net proceeds. He made 19 bales of cotton of which
the Negroes get half so after paying some expenses we will have 8
bales to divide between us and 40 or 50 pork chops. Cousin Albert
went back to his plantation last winter and has displaid his usual
energy and looked after his business closer and more successfully
than anyone in the county and made about 90 bales of cotton. I fear
he will kill himself by his exertions. His health is bad, and rain
or shine he is allways out from early dawn until after dark
frequently missing his meals. He will kill about 20, 000 pounds of pork.
He lost a good deal of money in Galveston and his friend Labuzan
left him $8, 000 in gold to pay security which has worried him a
great deal. But he is now in better spirits and will be pretty easy
when he can get his cotton to market. You want to know what your
boys are doing! Mack is doing nothing, Dug but little. The latter
is trying to get married, and I think will succeed He has drank no
whisky for two days and says he will drink no more, and intends to
mend his ways. Since his sweetheart has had this influence over
him, I think it is well enough for him to try the experiment of
matrimony. Though he is rather young to many considering he is a
Hooe. He has made three or four bales of cotton. It is a tight
pinch for him to pay expenses and buy his clothes. If he should get a
wife who has energy and management, I trust he will do better.
Gerard is well. He is planting and makes about the usual crop of the
county. Cousin A. has a daughter of 3 years and son of one year.
Cousin Albert makes free negras trot around him just as he did when
they were slaves and his 1200 acres were cultivated like a garden.
His wagons in the road start an hour before day, mules trot like
stage horses and get home anytime they can at night. P.S. I have
sent a Galveston News paper with price current to J. B. Huntin
where he will get all the information l possess about Texas wool. They
can obtain more information by writing to F. Wand in Galveston.
Wm. F.S. Alexander.

Letter from Douglas Hooe to Howson Hooe (his father)
Posted from Wharton
Dated October 29, 1869
Dear Father,

I have let a much longer time pass than I intended without writing
to you. But now 1 have commenced I hardly know what to say. Our
crop have turned out so much behind what I thought they would when
I last wrote that I am disgusted with Texas and espessily with this
part of the state. The freedmen are doing so badly, advised by a
few radicals that is in the neighbourhood. To show you what they
will do: They caught one of my neighbours in the woods a few days
ago and killed him and horse and burnt him. We have been in a fuss
with them nearly all the fall. Some of them have sworn vengance
agains some few of us for what I do not know. 1 guess it will not
be any better untill after the election is over which will come off
the last of next month. A good many of the planters say they do not
know what to do for another year. They have tried them for four or
five years and have not made expenses and the freedmen do not seem
to want to contract for another year. What to do with our place I
do not know what is the best but guess we will have to try and work
it. This year we did not make more than three bales of cotton and I
am afraid that will not have corn enough to do us. It is almost
impossible to get them to make a fence and the stock destroyed a
good deal of our corn and the overflow nearly one half of our
cotton. At first I though it had hurt us much but it made the cotton
shead off the boles and noted a good deal. Mack has gone off with
one of our neighbours to carry some hors to the eastern part of the
state and may go onto the Mississippi river. He give Mack $25.00
per month in specie and furnishes him everything and if he wants to
come back will bear his expenses back which is much better than
doing nothing. They are all well at cousin William's & Mr.
Harrison. Mary joins me in love to you all. Write soon. P.S. Tell Kate
that Mary says she must answer her letter as soon as possible.
Douglas M Hooe.

Letter from William Alexander to Howson Hooe
Posted from Wharton County, Texas
Dated February 4, 1870
Dear Cousin Howson,

Your letter of the 31st Dec. was received a short time since and I
was pleased to hear the Foote matter was so near a settlement. In
relation to remiting the funds, you can buy a bank check on either
Galveston or New York which ever can be had on the best terms as
exchange in N.Y. is generally at par or bears a small premium in
Galveston. Have the check payable to Wm. Hendley & Co if drawn on
Galveston and to their order if drawn on N. Y. and enclose it to
them (Hendley & Co) at Galveston, with instructions to place it to
my account. this is done because our postal matters hear are very
uncertain, for the test oath has about broken up all the offices in
this county, though we still get our letters and papers from
Bernard Station, but as there is no responsible postmaster thear it
would not be safe to send anything valuable to that place. Pleas
note me when you send the check to Wm. Hendley & Co. Dug and his
wife are well and have moved to their place, and Dug has turned
over a new leaf and gone to work, having five hands to work with
him. Mack is living on the plantation in the bottom, apart of which
is rented to negroes. Political matters are quiet hear at present.
The radicals carried the election, owing to large numbers of the
whites not going to the poles. A great many negroes have left this
county and gone up the country, so that there will be much less
land cultivated than last year. Cousin Albert has suffered a good
deal with rumatism this winter. His wife is in Galveston at
present. They have had five children three of which are living. His
pork brought him about three thousand dollars this winter, so that
he has gotten nearly out of his dificulties caused by Labuzan's
failure. Gerard is well and is makeing a pretty good start at
farming this year, though a part of his plantation will not be
cultivated. John Thompson has lost his wife and he has the consumption.
You can say to W. W. Gains, I think there is poor
prospect of his getting anything out of the Foote estate in this state
at present. He had better address M Wells Thomson at
Columbus, Colorado Co. We have so far had a mild winter on stock and my
horses look better than they did in the fall. Wishing to be
remembered to my relations I am affectionately yours,
Wm. F.S. Alexander.

Letter from Daniel McLean Hooe to Howson Hooe
Posted from Wharton, Wharton Co., Texas
Dated July 22, 1870
Dear Howson,
I expect you think that I never intend to write to you or answer your
letters. I can assure you it is not because I do not think of you
all. I have not written for so long it is labour for me to write.
There has been a great deal of sickness in this country this summer
more than any year since I have been here. I have had a little
fever myself also Doug but now we are both well. Cal Sassel died last
week, he is son of the old Gentleman that lived at Greenwich. This
is the dryest year I have ever seen in Texas (and more sickness but
no yellow fever as yet) but it has been raining off & on for the
last three days and 1 um very much afraid if it continues, we will
have the cotton worms. I have turned the place over to Doug as
Father did not want me to take charge of it. There is not a very large
crop planted on the place. I could not get hands. I am not doing
much of anything. Sometimes I am working at the carpenters trade,
sometimes boring wells. Next week I expect to cut hay for Cousin
William and Mr. Myers. Myers is to pay me $2.50 per day. After that
I am to help to build a gin house for Mr. Duncan, a friend of
Cousins Wm & Dr. Alexander. Tell the girls I think they might write tome
sometime. If we make any crop this fall I intend to go to Va. this
winter. What has become of Willie Lampkin. Let me know where he is.
Give my love to Father & the Girls & Aunt Sallie when you see her.
Write soon. Your affectionate Brother,
D. McLean Hooe.

Letter from Douglas Hooe to Howson Hooe IV
Posted from Wharton
Dated October 20, 1870
Dear Father,
I feel ashame that so long a time has elaps since I wrote but I hate to
write as I have so bad luck planting for fear that you may think
that it is my fault. It seems that it is almost impossible for me
to make another crop. In the spring it was very wet and in the
summer it was very dry, and the freedmen did not do as well as they
might have done. On our place I think we will make about 8 or 9 bales of
cotton of which we get one forth as the hands furnished themselves
and a very sorry crop of corn. On my place it was so dry that we
made next to nothing not corn enough to do us next year. 1 am
almost disgusted with Texas at lest this part of Texas as it seems that
we cannot make anything. We have had a failure for five years and
if I was able to do anything else I would not try to plant again
until the times changed but I guess I will have to try it again. I
will try and rent the place to the best advantage if I can at ... I
will do the best that I can with it. Mack is still with me. I have
been after him to go back to Va. I tole him that I would sell a
mule and that and he sell his horse would take him back. Sometimes
he says he will go and sometimes not. I think it would be the best
for him. In the spring nothing would do him but that I must give
the place up to him but he soon found that he could not get along
with the freedmen and he quit it and moved out with me. Since he
has not been doing anything, I think the best place for him will be
with you. You may be able to get him a situation. We have not had
any mail for about a month on account of the yellow fever in
Galveston and New Orleans. Mack & Mary join me in love to you all. Tell
some to write soon to some of us. I remain your affectionate son.
Douglas M Hooe.

Letter from Daniel Hooe to Howson Hooe V
Posted from Wharton, Wharton Co., Texas
Dated January 16, 1876
Dear Howson,
I expect you think I never intend to write to you again. I have been so
worried about my crop that I have not had time to do anything. I
had a fine crop of cotton all open before the storm in September.
After the storm I did not have a lock of cotton. My corn was all
blown down and rotted. The field was so muddy I could not gather
it. I did not get even twenty bushels of corn for my part. Nearly
all my timber is down. I do not know what we will do all the county
without corn cotton or anything else. I hope you have done better
than I have. My only show is for Uncle Sam to get up a war with
Mexico. If we do have a war with Mexico, I hope I will be able to
make something. I have no news to write you but bad news no crop
last year and no prospect for this. It has been so worm this winter
that nearly every one has lost their pork. Doug lost half of his
hams & shoulders. We have not had but three ... this winter. What
is the reason that... does not write to me. I wrote to her last
spring but have never received any line from him since. Tell him I
am under many obligations to him for his .... Tell Kate Sallie and
Ida I think they might write to a poor fellow in distress
sometimes. I would be glad to hear from any of them at any time & will
answer their letter but tell Mary I do not think a letter from her
(as she has put off writing so long) deserves an answer. When you
see Aunt Sallie give my love to her and tell her I think it is time
she was answering my letter. Tell Wm. Tompkins I think he might
condesend to answer my two letters. But I suppose there is no one
in Va that cares to write to me as I am in a Godforsaken country.
Well I do not blame anyone but myself for being here. I might have
been happier elsewhere & then I might not have been. Tell Miss
Butler I have been waiting for the letter she promised for along time.
Tell her I will answer it immediately. Oh, I forgot to tell
you that Doug has another daughter born in September. If every one
in the house was not asleep I would send some of her hair. She is
as fat as a whale. Give my love to all the girls. Write soon. Do
not put it off as long as I. lam affectionately Brother.
D. McL. Hooe.
You must excuse all mistakes and writing as I am sleepy & it is 1 am.
During the storm, I had two houses blown down out of four. You can
imagine the fix I am in but I will work out in time or give up
everything and leave the U.S.

Letter from Douglas Hooe to Howson Hooe
Posted from Quinan (the original name for Hungerford)
Dated February 14, 1882
Dear Howson,
I am sorry to say that Mack died this morning 8:10 o'clock. I was not at
home left yesterday he was a little sick did not think him in any
danger. I guess you know what was the matter. D. M. Hooe.

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