Item description: Letter, dated 15 December 1863, from Eliza Ann DeRosset to her sister (believed to be her sister Mary Jane DeRosset Curtis of Hillsborough, N.C.). The letter discusses supplies needed by various members of the family, particularly clothing. DeRosset also mentions several slaves that have been hired out by the family and their need for clothing.
Hillsborough, Dec. 15th 1863
I would have written yesterday my dear sister but was so busy with my preparations for leaving C.H. that I had not a moment to spare. I could scarcely get ready for the last moment, but Beck & Cattie kindly helped me & I made out to finish. the weather cleared off in time for us tho’ it was very variable & rained a little while, after we left. it cleared again, tho; & turned quite cold before we arrived & this morning was very cold, & beautifully clear. We took Mr. Watson’s hack. Charlie & [Minna?] having staid to come with us, we had quite a party. I hired a cart, & Loss let John drive it down with my baggage & Adeline as there was no room for her in the hack. Cattie had all her baggage put on the back fortunately. (as she was so anxious to get on) for we arrived just in time for the cars had not even time to drive here, so she could not get even a [night?] Aunt Mary, who was very much disappointed as well as Cattie & Adeline did not arrive in time & Cattie had to leave her to go on this morning – got a ticket for her before leaving. Mrs. Hamilton did not go with her, leaves this evening & they will meet in Charlotte. I trust Cattie got there safe & comfortable this evening.
I found all well here & waiting to welcome me. I was right glad to hear of your safe arrival & that you met Milton at last. I was so much afraid you would miss him after all your trouble. The detention in Goldsboro must have been right trying but I am glad you met with some acquaintances, & had a gentleman with you in your search through the cars. it would have been exceedingly unpleasant otherwise.
I left Loss supremely happy with Mrs. Myers & the little ones, & glad I reckon, to be rid of us, that she may have them all to herself. I never saw little children so devoted to their father & Eliza is so good & sweet, she is like a different child when he is with her. Fanny is to go as soon as she can get ready, perhaps with Lossie, perhaps not till the next day, she will have so much baggage I reckon that she may not be able to get it all to the depot with Lossie’s & she does not think she will be able to leave before her. she has room to clean, & sheets &c to wash besides some of my clothes that are left to be washed & many things to put away. I was so hurried I would have much preferred waiting a day or two longer but Cattie was bent on leaving Monday & I wanted to lessen the expense to her of the hack, & besides thought Lossie wd. rather be without any one but her husband & children. I will be much obliged if you will attend to Kitty’s wants for me, there will be some homespun left of the piece after sending some (about 12 or 18 yds) to Mrs. L. as I asked you to do. I had no time to look over & find any thing for Kitty, but reckon you had better give her some of the homespun or rather give it to Fanny to do for her. 4 or 5 squares of it I reckon will do, besides some for petticoats. as to flannel she must either have money to buy it or some more of the homespun to exchange for it & maybe she could exchange some for an old calico dress that will do to cut up for frocks or she must have money to buy some. please ascertain what is needed & use your own discretion. I merely suggest. if money is needed please supply it & keep an account of all you spend for me. please act as for yourself, just as you think best. only ascertain if you can, whether they will be needed. I am giving you a great deal of trouble dear sister but would do as much for you.
Mary has sent some old clothes to Fanny for Osmyn, begs you to see him & tell him it is the best she can do for him at present. she does not want him hired at the same place next year. he writes her poor fellow that they have given him no clothes & he is much in need & begs to have his place exchanged. she hates to say anything about it to Armand for fear of worrying him & may be he will be displeased with O for making any complaint but begs you to see what can be done. perhaps you could speak to A about it. she would be right glad too if she could have one of her boys apprenticed to a shoemaker instead of being hired out. she thinks Fred would do. I advised her to have him brought up & apprenticed here if she concludes on it. she will write about that when she decides, I suppose. she begs you to get her if you can some seeds of pot marjoram. she wants too some spices, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, particularly. I reckon mace, allspice & nutmegs too. but she has gone out & does not say how much. I think she has none of any any sort. please buy some for her. she can part with it, I guess, if more than she wants. she has said nothing about price. I have filled up & must stop with much love to all from us both especially to yourself dear sister.
If you find it necessary to get the things for K. Fanny had better make them (as she knows nothing about work & she need not begin to pay her wages till Jan. 1st. it is only a fortnight & holidays intervene