The original of the following transcribed letter was found among some personal papers of Nelson Jarnagin, which were donated to the Grainger County Archives in Rutledge, Tennessee:
San Joaquin Co. California
Oct 13th 1872
Dear Unkle Nelson, Aunt Rachel & Cousins,
I Received your Letter a week ago & was glad to hear from you all once more in this world, for I had hardly Expected to ever get a letter from my Dear Old Ukle againe; it was ten days coming. I was Sorry to hear of your Sad afflictions, in the loss of your children it is a hard trial to give them up. I had a Lovely little Boy Named Alfred Bennett, 15 Months old. He Died one year ago, & left us in grief, But Resined to the will of God, however hard it may be.
I am Sorry to hear of the many Deaths among my Kindred Since I left. Aunt Nancy is gone too, & we are all approaching fate Sooner or Later. What has become of Howard Clark & how has he done. tell him to write to me. I had herd long ago that poor Cordelia was Dead but Had not Herd of Furgerson Since. I was Sorry to hear of your Worldly losses, & Distresses in your old age. But Hope that the good Lord will listen to your Prayrs, & compashionately bless you & your family, both Temporally & Spiritualy & Soften the Hard places in life, & Sanctify your Worldly Sorrows to the Benefit of your Souls That in a Ripe old age when you are Caled to go the way of our Kindred that you may be prepared to Rest with them in peace for ever.
O! how glad Unkl, I would be to See you, & talk with you a month, yes to live with you the rest of your life, for you are all the Unkle left me that I know much about, & of cours feal Nearer to me than all the Rest. I am growing old myself but when I think of you there is a fresh green Spot in my heart for you that will last as long as Mind or Memory. Unkle don’t Distress yourself about that Money, it is only trash in my estimation when it would be pinching you, Keep it. Keep it, as long as it will do you any good, or help you in old age. it is but little & if that little will help you I am happy to contribut to your comfort. I gave it to Bennet & Sent him & order for it & a Receipt Also, but at that time I thought you had plenty & had not herd of your misfortunes. – Chesley got his Money so he told me & I can get a Receipt for you by writing to him for it. He lives in Oregon & was lately Married to John Longs Daughter Mary. Milton lives in about 300 Miles of me He was well when he wrote last. Are all the old settlers skattered as bad as the Jarnagin families? What has become of Wm. & T. Harrisy? Are there many Yankies among you since the War? What is Land worth on Richland Creak? Here 160 Acres of good land is worth from 2 to $3000 & it Makes about 2 to 3000 Bu Wheat anully & is worth about 75 cents pr bushel without Sacks, & Rents for 3. to $350 pr year in cash—
How would you like to live in California where it hant Rained Since last Aprile? I was glad to hear from Brother Jerry & wish you to give him my compliments, & tell him I would like to see him & hope he will write to me.
I got well acquainted with John Jarnagins Sone John of Clinton He Died here in Stockton 2 years ago. Unkle Franks Boy Calvin was to See me here. he went back to Arkansas. there are a great Many Virginians Moving to this country since the war. Huray for Grant! please write Soon give my compliments to all friends Black & white