Valley of the Shadow


John Z. H. Rawlings describes a recent trip to Staunton in this letter to Alexander Brown, a fellow student at the University of Virginia. During his visit, Rawlings accidentally jumped out of a window at a party and injured his leg. In addition to staying at the Cochran residence, Rawlings spent time at Variety Springs with a hotel keeper he calls Mr. Burrell but who appears in the Census as Charles Burress. Rawlings closes his letter by commanding his friend to attend the Democratic Convention.


Dear Sandy,

As I am confined to the house all the time, except before breakfast and after sundown, by Drs Davis & Randolph, I'll occupy myself in writing to you.

I went over to Stanton soon after you left here, and stayed with Mr Burrell a while, riding about in Augusta, wes stayed at Mr Jimmy Cochran's where George was 1 night, there was a crowd of Girls there playing on the piano, right up by the door; I was by the window, and wanted to get out doors where the men wasere, without going by the girls, I thought we were on the first floor, so I jumped out of the window, but when I got to the ground I found out I had jumped two stories and hurt my leg so I could hardly walk. I went to another party, at Mr. Christians', where they played Blind-Billy-Buff and blindfolded me most every time. I went to Variety Springs where I saw M a lady looked like Miss Polly Goodman's grandmother.

I stayed about three weeks in and about Staunton, when my health grew so bad that I had to come home and put myself under the Doctors charge.

I have to bathe my feet in some sort of acid every night; it is so strong that I got a little on my finder the other day and it has ate all the skin off

I have to take medicine three times a day. Billy Abell has gone to Dubique, Iowa. Frank Meade has gone to Clarke and there aint but four boys in town Malcolm, Jimmy Davis, Jimmy Rawlings, and Otho Reyne.

Ten of the old boys and the two Slinks are going to Berkley.

I wont go to school next year. I dont know yet what I'll do. Old Clay is well and sends his love to all enquirinig friends. Write soon and let me know whether you are g coming down here to school next session. You had better come down to the Democratic Conventiaon, and stay with,

Your Old Deskmate,

J Z H Rawlings

A. Brown