|GARRETT AND DAWKINS FAMILY LETTERS
|These letters were written by various family members of my maternal grandparents, Edgar and Ada
Dawkins Garrett, of Jefferson and Franklin Counties, Mississippi. Flora Garrett Dawkins and Lola Garrett
Gibson, authors of several of the letters, were sisters of Edgar Garrett; and Flora married Ada's brother,
Ernest Dawkins. They are as they were written, with the exception of my own explanatory notes (in
brackets and italicized). There are many familiar Jefferson and Franklin County names scattered
throughout the letters.
Written by Edgar Garrett, age 16, to his sister, Lola (later, Gibson) who was teaching in Oak Vale, MS.
Union Church [Jefferson County], Mississippi
January 11, 1890
I will try and write you a few lines today. We are not very well. Pa is sick in the bed and all of us
have the cold or the grip. Mannie is in bed too.
I had a fine Christmas. I went to Wesson and stayed four days. I came home on Monday and have
been here ever since.
I will tell how our crop turned out. We made a very good crop, 6 barrels of molasses and 70 bails of
cotton. If we get 9 cents, we will do pretty well.
I was at cousin Tom Youngblood's and Hattie told me to tell you to write to her and she would
answer your letters. Henry E. has been very sick but they think he is better now. Charley Garrett has
moved over to cousin Frank Buie's place. Finished moving yesterday. Had a bad day for moving.
Willie Garrett has just left here, he will stay with E. E. Shaw again this year.
Mrs. Cameron died last Sunday night. She died suddenly, she told Miss Anie she wanted to see Mrs.
Blue and Miss Anie got Mrs. Blue there. She breathed once and was dead.
Sister, we hear that Mr. Sam Osborne's wife has quit him and has come to her father's
We will not be bothered anymore with the whiskey. The shop has closed and the whiskey is all
gone. Mother told me to tell you to send Grandma some word, that it would do her good to hear.
Cousin Dave Galbreath wants to know if you want the Piedmont school. So write and say whether
you want it or not.
Until next time,
Your brother, Edgar
Written by Flora Garrett Dawkins to her niece, Leta Mae.
June 18, 1917
My dear Leta Mae,
Aunt Lola says that she has told two stories for me and she was not going to tell anymore, so I must
get busy and write to you before I ask her to tell another. I just wonder how you are this morn and
how did you enjoy the cool weather. We actually had two big fires Saturday night just like winter
time. We had a good rain Wednesday and some hail. I tell you we were so thankful to see that rain.
Everything was so dry. Uncle Will [Gibson] had the blues and all of the ponds were dry except one,
and it was about dry. The cattle would soon have to have been watered. It did not rain everywhere
though. Virgil [Edgar and Ada's son] was here Saturday night and he said they did not get any, so they
are hauling water yet.
Virgil sure did surprise me, he has grown so much, I liked to have not known him. He says
everybody is well at your house. Papa got a new stove Saturday. Now don't you know that your
Mama is proud. I do. But I know that she will be disappointed this morning when Virgil gets home.
He went over to Grandma's to get a cow and do you know they could not get that cow to leave home
at all. Grandpa tried to help him get started, of course, and they simply could not get her off. Virgil
said perhaps his Papa would come back and they together could take her. It's awful to be without
Well, yesterday was preaching day at Nebo. We had a pretty good crowd out, some of those that
have not been coming turned out yesterday. Walter and all of his family and Frank and Jennie were
there. We had two services but no dinner. We all came home and went back at five.
You are about half through with your course, are you not? I hope that you are getting along all right
and will derive lots of benefit from it. Perhaps you will be able to get a school somewhere. I heard
Florence got two. Edwin [Dawkins] went away right off. It made me feel so bad for him to leave. It
seemed like Grandpa needed him so much.
I had to quit and help finish up dinner and now I am so uncomfortable I've forgotten what I wanted to
say. From what I hear, guess you have not felt uncomfortable from eating too much since you got
over there. We have cabbage galore, we are all so tired of them, but Grandpa says there is nothing
else, his beans are not going to do anything. We've had two or three little messes of okra and had
When you come home you must come up and spend a week with us. I know you will have lots to talk
My time is up. I want to write a few lines to Uncle Jodie [Garrett]. They were all right when I heard
Lots of love from us all to you,
Written by Lola Garrett Gibson to her niece, Leta Mae Garrett, Edgar and Ada's oldest daughter, who
was attending Teacher's College in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Leta Mae died from an appendicitis
attack in August of 1918, just as she was preparing to leave for her second year of college. Her
sudden death shocked and saddened the whole family.
The village of Perth was a short distance from the Scottish Settlement of Union Church.
February 7, 1917
Dear Leta Mae,
I have been thinking of you. I will just write this time to tell you that Aunt Arie [Arie Garrett King,
Edgar's sister] has a might sick little girl. Little Nannie has pneumonia. The doctor went to see her
Saturday and has been back every day since, but did not pronounce it pneumonia til Monday. Her
fever has been from 102-104, was not quite 104 this eve. They have no thermometer and do not take
her temperature only when the doctor is there. The doctor says there will not be any change in her
condition before Friday. We hope she will be better then, but pneumonia is a very treacherous
disease. Arie is awfully distressed. They have to sit up with her, Arie and Ira. And Aunt Arie has an
awful sore throat and pain in the side of her neck and all of the children have been sick with cold
and fever. You know they have moved down into Mama King's house and I guess it had a bad effect
for them. I haven't been able to be with them much as Uncle Will [Gibson] went to Silver Creek
Monday to see his sister. You know she is not well.
[The second page is missing. Nannie King was about 10 years old at the time of her illness; she survived
the pneumonia and lived into her 80's.]
Written by Lola Garrett Gibson, this note accompanied a package sent to her nephew, little Daniel
Garrett, Edgar and Ada Garrett's son, shortly before he died. Daniel had been born crippled and was
in fragile health all of his life, he succumbed to influenza at the age of 12. Despite his handicaps, he
was a happy and loving child and was much loved by his brothers and sisters, who grieved his
Dear Little Nephew,
I send you this little box and hope you can eat some of the meat. Some of us may come to see you
the last of the week. Tell Papa I want a gallon of sorgham. Aunt Rose [Rose Delaney Garrett, married
to Edgar's brother, Jodie Garrett] has just left. She couldn't go by to see you because it was too much
on the little baby. I hope you are better by now, my dear little boy. You must believe and ask Jesus
to be with you.
Your loving Aunt Lola
Written by Lola Garrett Gibson to her niece, Leta Mae Garrett.
June 1, 1917
My Dear Niece,
Your card just received. I think they might write to you every day. Flora can write such a good
letter. Aunt Mamie [Mamie Dawkins Smith, Ada's sister] came up Friday and went back yesterday. Mr.
Clem and Mr. Charlie Lee and Miss Florine all went off Friday. I suppose Miss Mary and Mr. Ira
[King?] are quite lonely. Yes, I am very glad to have Aunt Flora with me once more. She will write to
you soon. She spent Saturday night and yesterday with Aunt Mamie [Mamie Dawkins Smith was Ada's
sister] at Grandpa Dawkins'. Edwin is working at Fayette, boarding with Aunt Hattie. Grandma
Dawkins [Ada's mother, Ella Osborne Dawkins] gave them chicken pie for dinner yesterday. Now, don't
that make you hungry?
It's so dry Grandpa's [her father, Josiah Garrett] garden is about to burn up, but we will have cabbage
and Irish potatoes.
If you have time, write and tell me what you are doing and how you like it there. I will let Aunt Flora
tell you the news as I am busy canning berries today. We were at Aunt Arie's Saturday. Flora Marie
[King] is going to write to you. The little boys are here spending the week.
Give my love to Nita and a lot for yourself from us all.
Written by Florelle Garrett Jackson, age 10 (Edgar and Ada's daughter) to her sister, Leta Mae.
Meadville (Franklin County), Mississippi
Thursday Eve, June 14, 1917
My dear Sister,
We have been very busy today. Mama washed and we tried to cook dinner. But we got through by 3
o'clock and E. J. and Benton [Edgar and Ada's sons] and I went and picked a big bucket of berries. I
wish you were here to help pick some to put up. It rained a little this morning the first drizzle we
have had since you left. We are still watering the geese. It looks like everything will starve to death
for water. They have to water the cows and horses and things at the spring now. We haven't got
anything in the garden to eat now, but cabbage and corn.
Ernestine [their little sister, later Godbold] is learning to crawl now. She can lay down and get up
herself. I guess she will be crawling good by the time you get back. Aunt Mamie went to Jefferson
[County] and brought Aunt Hattie's [Hattie Erwin Dawkins, m. Ada's brother, Stephen Fairly Dawkins]
baby buggy to her the other day. Virgil is going to Jefferson to get a cow pretty soon. We are buying
condensed milk for the baby now.
Did you get your skirt Mama sent you? Mama says she is about to try to cook E. J. a birthday cake
today. She said she would let me write this time.
Be sure and write to us and let us know how you are.
Written by Mamie Dawkins Smith to her sister, Ada Dawkins Garrett.
Hamburg [Franklin County], Mississippi
July 8, 1929
My Dear Sis,
Will write you little this morn. as I know you want to hear from boys. They made it in here about 6
o'clock Sat. eve. They said they had to wait along right smart to catch rides but they got off at Bush's
about 2:30, came on up to Ernest Shaw's. Went in there to get drink of water so he treated them to
Cola and watermelon, said they were some hungry. So they set out again, feeling better, turned off
at Mrs. Dennis', came down hill this side of old Arch Barns' [sp.?] house and instead of coming on
across branch, they took up that bottom toward Bob Johnson's and came out over at Russ
Pritchard's. They turned back there and hit Lee Pritchard's telephone line over toward Daniels
pasture and landed in here hot and hungry. Of course, we were looking down road all time for them,
Ralph [her husband, Ralph Smith] and me were sitting on porch and Mama [Ella Dawkins, who was a
widow and living with them] was in room reading. I had just gotten up to go and start fire in stove
when we heard somebody knocking at back doorsteps, so I stopped and listened and they knocked
again. I was so shocked I was scared to look, you know no one ever comes up back there. When I
saw who it was I told them I had a good mind to beat them up. They took it for a joke, of course. They
were hot and tired. I flew around and got them some coffee and supper in a few minutes. Had butter
beans, okra, potatoes and such like cooked, for I was expecting them in. They looked like then they
felt about as well as ever. We made them big shuck mattress. I gave E. J. a small pillow, told him he
could put his clothes under it, gave them an old quilt and some four sacks for wash rags and towels
but they left them this morn. I was up between 3 and 4 to get them off. Ralph was going to take them
so he thought about trucks would be going down there, so he took them up to Leon Varnado's real
early, said they would have lots of ways. Came right on and met Johnie and William with their truck
going down there. He and Mike are sawing today at Zion Hill, Mike came to see him Sat. about it.
Herman is logging it out and taking it to Sid Smith's. Ralph was about to get out of heart, didn't have
a dime, no job and no clothes, said if something didn't turn up he was gone this week to hunt
something. Guss wants him some but that won't be regular, just helping some and that isn't a living.
We had company yesterday. Willie King came after dinner. Archie brought carload, all his children
and Daniel. Had plenty of watermelon. Boys all went off knocking wasp nests they sure did have
them a time. While they were gone, Hattie, Nannie May's Fannie, Ernest and Erwin came. They
stayed pretty late. Said then they wanted to go by and see Flora.
Bessie and Ernestine [Edgar and Ada's daughters] went to Ira's Thurs., but I told Bess if I were them
I'd come back Sun., so after boys came, I sent them word yesterday to be sure and come. Ralph is
going after them this eve to Miss Lola's. We want them to stay some more with us. I sure do hate for
them to go home. We miss them when they leave. Teen [Ernesine] got off to Aunt Lola's and just
stayed. Bessie and I went over there last Monday, but we walked and was so hot I didn't insist on
Ernestine coming, but they are nearly sick if they are not together. She was just getting along fine,
drinking more milk than ever, I think and resting lots. Martha wants to come over here and spend a
day with them, I told her yesterday I would send her word just as soon as I got them over here and if
weather stays good and no company this week, I want them to go over there one day. They wanted
so bad to go seemed like. If Ralph saws a day _____ Guess he will be going that way in car and I'll
let them go early with him. I told boys to hurry in Sat. eve. so I could see about their clothes. I had
them all washed up and ironed for them when they got back.
They will get along all right and I don't think you need worry about them. Of course, eating may be
short but we told them to come out if rained or every chance they get and get them good _____ of
butter beans and milk and such like. They _____ stand that few days and I think their bed will be
Sure do wish rest of you were close enough to help us enjoy watermelons. We have had some
pretty good ones. Hope when you get moved you can come.
Hattie said Denon talked to them yesterday, said they would be over last of week, I don't know when
but we imagine they will come about next Sun. I am mailing him letter today to see if he can tell us
exactly when, for it works me so hard for a big crowd to come in unexpected.
Guess you and Florelle have missed children, but you ought to be enjoying the quiet. Reckon you
miss them tho, waiting on you. I told Bessie several times I knew Mama needed her to wait on her
especially when you wrote about your leg, but we sure have enjoyed having them with us. Miss Lola
says, "I have to have one, they are such good help." I say, well I have to have to, too! They clean up
house for me when they are here and it does real well. I think they are smart and Aunt Lola sure did
brag on them. Of course, thing about it, out here, there is nothing to bother them when they start to
do anything. Sure do hope Dr. will find Ernestine improved, but one thing that bothers me about her
is a dry kind of cough she has. I have noticed it ever since she has been here, mostly when she lies
down, but outside of that, she seems to be real well. There is so much TB these days, it pays to be
on guard. Wish you all would decide to let them stay on, but I am anxious too for Teen to go to Dr.
again. Maybe they can come some more from Meadville.
Tell Florelle to go right to Mrs. M_____ when she gets down there and she may be able to get her a
school. I was going to try to get Higginbothem school for her when I went down there, bless
goodness, they have given it to that crazy Houston Chapman.
Mama is lying down, we are by ourselves today, I want to go to the mailbox, haven't been in over a
Let us hear from you all soon and if you insist on children coming, tell us just when to bring them
Lots of love to all,
Written by my G-grandmother, Ella Osborne Dawkins to my mother, Florelle.
March 11 [year is illegible]
My dear girl,
I received your letter a few days ago and was certainly glad to get it. How do you like teaching and
are you going to apply for the school again? I hope, if you do, you will get it for it's rather
discouraging to be disappointed in getting a school. Perhaps this has given you a start and won't be
so hard to get a school next time.
I have met the new preacher but have not heard him preach yet. I was sick the first time and last
time he preached was such a bad day we didn't go.
Well, we are having some nice spring weather after so much cold. Sure will be bad if we have a cold
snap about Easter and all the fruit and gardens get killed. I sure hope not, but won't be a bit
surprised. Are you going to have any kind of a _____ at the close of your school? Ought to have an
Easter hunt. Guess, tho, eggs are worth too much for that.
Think Edwin is waiting until you come home before he makes his trip to Franklin. He's promised to
take Aunt Flora down there some time but that may be two or three weeks now as they are right busy
with their work. Aunt Flora came home yesterday, only stayed a week in Fayette, didn't intend to stay
long when she went. Aunt Hattie wanted to go see her mother and got Aunt Flora to keep house for
her while she was gone. Aunt Hattie's mother has been right sick but think she is better.
Grandpa [Dawkins] and Edwin are planting corn today. We have some corn up also Irish potatoes.
Will be late getting any little chicks off as I have just set my first hens. Hope everybody else will
have the hawks fat by the time mine comes off so it won't take so many to _____. If Edwin is not too
tired tonight will tell him to write some to you. Write to me often. Will close for this time.
Your loving Grandmother
Written by E. J. Garrett, Edgar and Ada's son.
January 12, 1932
I guess you will be looking to hear from me so will try to write you a few lines today.
How is everything making it by now?
We sure are having some bad weather this morning. I guess it will turn cold after this.
Mr. Smith's son-in-law from Jackson and two or three more have come down this morning to go bird
hunting. Guess they will have a pretty bad time of it.
Everyone has moved out except Mr. Smith, _____ and myself. We have a pretty good cook though.
It sure does get lonesome around here sometimes. Jim Middleton came by here yesterday eve. He
lives down on the river somewhere. I think he is trying to get in with Mr. Smith. Has Papa gotten the
ceiling up yet?
I sure would like to come home again pretty soon, but don't know when I will get to come.
I sure am going to try to save my money this year if I can hold my job. They haven't said anything
about reducing my salary yet, but I am looking for it most any time.
Well, how is school these days? Have you all had exams yet?
I haven't heard from Virgil and them lately. I guess I had better write them a few lines.
Will close for this time.
E. J. G.
Written by Flora Garrett Dawkins to her brother, Edgar Garrett. This letter was written in 1963, a little
late for this page, but it contains names that might be of interest to family members, so I'm going to
Thursday, April 18th, 1963
Our Dear Brother Edgar,
We got the pretty Easter card which we admired very much.
We are up and around this morning. The sun is shining. We do not get out much early in the
morning as there is always a heavy dew. The grass and weeds are growing so fast and I do wonder
how I am going to get my yard mowed.
Our boys are grown and have big jobs. I cut a few licks yesterday but my hoe was so dull it wouldn't
cut. We have had but a little rain just enough to make the grass and leaves grow. We had such a
good meeting at Nebo last week. We spent three nights at the Coleman's and had a good time.
It is Corban's house and Archie and his wife live with him.
Billy King, Robert's boy, has married a very nice pretty little girl and we know we are going to like
her. From what I can hear they are beginning to start a family and may build them a house over on
Robert's place. We will be looking for you and by all means stay awhile with us. We do not have a
thing to do but take care of ourselves.
PAGE TWO IS MISSING.
.......meeting at Nebo. Billy King's wife joined the church there. She had been baptized into the
Catholic Church but our preacher said the Methodist Church would accept that baptism.
I must stop and we will talk when you come.
Lots of love,