Sunday, June 10, 2012

Letter from a Reeves' Grandson

It's a shame so few family personal letters have survived over time. When the occasional letter does appear, it is such a delight to read that person's thoughts rather than just what a census enumerator or county clerk wrote about them. William B. Roberts was the grandson of Frederick Geer and Sarah Reeves, daughter of William Reeves of Wake County, North Carolina.

The following letter by William was preserved in the probate records of Orange County, North Carolina in regard to the administration of the estate of his father Willis Roberts. The affectionate letter was addressed to his brother-in-law, John Barbee, the other executor named in Willis Roberts' will. On first reading the letter, I was immediately struck by the kindness and concern for his unmarried younger siblings who were still living in his father's home at his death in 1857.

I think I would have liked my cousin William Roberts.

Georgia Newton Cty July the 27th 1857

Dear Brother,
It is with a sad heart I take my pen to inform you that I Recd your letter informing me of the death of my last Earthly parent, the mournful inteligence fell heavily on one Who has Ever cherished the most tender Regard for a kind and affectionate Father but we all must Die and the best of friends have to part and if we can be prepared it will be a happy Exchange for the affliction and cares of this world. It is a great consolation to believe that our Father is Done with the suferings and is now happy in the presence of his Redeemer and all those happy Spirits that have gone before we should all make it our chief consern to be prepared to meet our Friends in that blessed World. I feel a deep concern for Jane and Winefred, they are in a helpless condition. Willis cant make a suport for them all and I think it would be best for them to break up. You Did not say anything about Debts of corse I k(n)ow nothing about the condition of the Estate or what the children Intend Doing if they Determine on staying thare and thare is any Debt you must sell such property as they can do best without and pay the Debts. If they think it best to brake up I want them to come to georgia they can get a home with me and Richard as long as we have a home. I want some of you to write soon and let me know what they intend Doing and let me know all the perticulars of their Situation and then I will be better prepared to give them advice. The ("that" crossed out in original) Will that was not signed of course cannot be Executed. It is out of my power to go thare at present and it is also unnessessary for me to act, it will be your Duty to carry out the Will. As for whats left me if they Determine to Remain thare, they can keep it until I call for it and Richards the same. If they Don’t want Richards mare sell her and keep the money or use it if they need it. If they wish to come to georgia Richard or myself or both will go thare and accompany them out here. So you need not wait for me in the management of the Estate but Just carry out the Will acording to law. We have a gloomy prospect out here for living, our corn crops are Ruined thare is a great many that wont make corn enough to bread them much less feed stock I shant make a third of a crop I am confident
John you must write to me as soon as you get this and give me all the perticulars. My family are all Well at present and hoping these liens (sic lines) may find yourself and family and all the family conexion well with my love to all I Remain your affictionate brother

W. B. Roberts

to John Barbee

[Postmark] Covington Ga. 29 JUL

Mr John Barbee
Orange County
N Carolina

(Note - Some punctuation added to make the letter more easily readable.)

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