Valley of the Shadow


Ten-year-old Nelly Clayton writes her Aunt and relates how she and her family are doing, discusses the upcoming 1840 presidential election (declaring herself to be a Whig), and alludes to a possible religious "Camp meeting in Sept."

Cherry Grove

My Dear Aunt

Cousin Hetty Ann and myself received [unclear: uneller] letter a few days ago and we was very much pleased to hear from you all. Aunt I have nothing of importance to communicate only that we are tolerable well at this time I have a very bad cold and soar throat thay is a great many persons complaining of colds at this time. Uncle Tho's Claytons family are all well except Cousin Hetty Ann she has been very sick all this week with the soar throat her throat is very much swelled indeed she is in bed most of her time. Uncle Wm Claytons family are all well except Aunt Polly and she is not much better but she bares all of her sickness with great patience. Tell cousin Samuel Black that his father Mother Brothers and sisters are all well, and Cousin Ralph Black is doing very well and Uncle Wm Black also is doing well Cousin Ralph Black is living on fathers Plantation that he bought a few years ago he has one child you may tell cousin Samuel and [unclear: que] of the finest little wives he ever saw she is very industrious and thay have planty of evry thing about them for to be keeping house no longer then thay have. Tell Aunt that for James and his wife I say nothing about there industry thay have 2 Children and is living on uncle Wm Claytons land Uncle Wm Black has bought land of his own and his father and Mother lives on his land close to him give my love to cousin Samuel and family if you please.

Aunt I hope I shall have the felicity of seeing you yet I am in great hopes that you and Uncle and my Dear little Cousin will pay us all a visit this fall oh Aunt I would be delighted if I could only see you all I often talk of paying you a visit but I fear my talk is is all in vain I often tell father and Mother that if I ever get Maried I will go to Missouri Aunt tell uncle that all the Gentlemen talk here now is about Harrisson and Van Buran tell him that I am a Whig and I am very anxious to know what he is I hope he is a Whig for I do not like Van Buran the Gentleman laugh very much at the Ladies here thay all say if thay had to vote thay would all vote for Harrisson all the Claytons here is for Harrisson and I almost imagine that uncle Ralph is for Harrisson. . . Tell Uncle that I say he must bring you to see us soon for nothing in the World could afford us more pleasure than to see you all.

We had a very hard winter or at least the bigest part of it we have a fine Spring the small grain looks very well indeed. I fear we will not have much fruit if thay is many more long frosts to come but them that provides all things knows best whats to come so his will be done on earth as is in Heaven for he knows better what we all need then we are all to ask or by any meaner worthy to recieve. We have 2 fine Preachers here Mr. Blam is our Presbyterian Preacher and Mr Styne is our Methodist Preacher and it is to be hoped that thay will do a great deal of good in both churches this year Thay talk of having a Camp meting in Sept. if nothing happens.......

Dear Aunt the family all join with myself in love to you all write to me as soon as your recive this letter my love to Mr Wm [unclear: Mccutee] and family I have nothing more only my prayer is that the Lord may be with you all for ever more.


M D Clayton