Mount Hope, September 4th 1864
My own precious Husband,
This is a gloomy rainy day and I do not feel like doing anything in the world, but conversing with you but as I am denied the delightful privilege of doing so verbally, I must even content myself with an epistolary conversation. My last letter to you was very unsatisfactory to me, as it did not express one half I wished to say, being written in such a hurry – and I fully intended writing another and sending it off this week, but could not well do it as my time has been almost entirely occupied with first with one thing and then another. In the first place Ann was here all the week until Friday evening, and it is not an easy matter to write a letter when Ann is around. Monday evening Ann and I, with Sephy and Tom went fishing. Ann caught four fish, I three and Tom one. Poor old Sephy got discouraged and put up his pole long before we came ashore. The Louisiana was lying just below here, and Rhoden and Tom were both afraid to go out fishing but I made Tom go at last though he was considerably frightened. Thursday Ann and I went to see Mollie Archbell and I spent the day very pleasantly indeed. Mollie is a nice girl and I like her very much. The old folks are very kind indeed – enquired very particularly after you, and insisted on my going agin. Willie I think that you are entirely mistaken about Mrs. Archbell being a deceitful woman. There seems to be nothing but real plain straight-forward dealing about her, no honeyed words, no flattery, and you know that deceitful persons are apt to be flatterers. Now I agree with you that old Mrs. Bonner is deceitful, and she is not only deceitful but absolutely disgusting. Mrs. Archbell is an entirely different woman. I cannot say that I like her very much, for I have been prejudiced against her, and prejudice is not easily overcome, but I do think you are mistaken about her. Mary Snell and William Henry spent the day there, that day, and we had a very pleasant time. I do feel really sorry for them. Mr Archbell is old and inform and to be left destitute in his old age seems very hard. That looks like a very old place. The house looks old and the floor of the piazza is rotting badly, but it is a very and exceedingly pleasant place. Poor Mollie must have a lonely time of it, but I believe she gets along very well. She is a good girl and very industrious. Mary Snell is certainly in a delicate situation and looks quite interesting, or rather she is just beginning to look interesting. I made some watermelon molasses Friday. I had three tubs full of juice and made a gallon and a half of molasses. It is good to eat but not to sweeten with, as it got scorched. It would have been nice if I had boiled it down in the preserving kettle. It has a taste of iron. Rhoden made a gallon for himself. We have had some splendid watermelons but I have not enjoyed them very much, as they did not agree with me. Tommy has a chill on him now poor little fellow, and is lying in the cradle. He was restless all night, but I did not think he was going to be sick. I am feeling much better this morning. I do not suffer so much with sick stomache now, but am generally very dull and lanquid, and the least exertion almost prostrates me. I cannot imagine what makes me so weak, it seems to me that I get weaker all the time, and yet I am not so sick in my stomache as I wash. I do hope that helath will come with cool weather. I shall be so much disappointed if you do not come home Sept. Court, for I am very very anxious to see you. I understand that the Yankees had destroyed several miles of the Weldon rail road but that we had whipped and captured 5000 of them. Mr. Crawford will distill our cider next week, and I am glad of it, for it has been leaking badly I understand. Our arbor is full of grapes and they are beginning to ripen. I want to make some nice wine this year if I live. I have a bushel and a half of dried apples. I want you to have the most of them, for I do not care much for them and have no sugar and but very little honey to put in them. Sary and Angeline send their love to you and Mars and Sary says tell Mars that he hasn’t sent her that Saleratus yet that he promised her. Simon sends his love to Mas William. Rhoden is going about but isn’t well yet. Joe is mending, but is still swollen in his bowel. I hope he will be well sometime. He goes all about and hasn’t had [torn] him for a long time. It looks as if it will clear off and I hope it will, for I do not like to be confined to the house. Cold weather will soon be here and I really do not know where I shall get shoes for the children and negroes. Rhoden Homer and little Rhoden has to have shoes all the summer, and we have only one hide for next winter and that is sole leather. It will cost almost a fortune to buy leather for our family and then hire the shoes made, if we can be lucky enough to get them made. One of our hides spoilt Rhoden said. I should have thought he would have attended to that, knowing how high leather was. Aunt Rose came in just now to tell me to send her love to you, and to tell you how do and that she is very ansious to see you and that she is still alive. Little Rhoden sends his love to you Mars and Louis. Angeline says ask Mars what has become of that jacket he was going to send her? I am getting quite tired so I will stop for the present. So good bye my own darling until the evening, or whenever I shall fell like writing again. I feel much more like talking to you and nestling in your dear arms that I do like writing, for that would never tire me. O how I do want you darling. I should feel so happy and so at rest if you were with me and could stay. Now if feel tired all the time, even thinking wearies me. I do so need you to lean on. Good bye.
Source: William Henry Tripp and Araminta Guilford Tripp Papers, Southern Historical Collection, UNC Chapel Hill.