New Orleans, October 29th 1855 to Ouachita Colony, Louisiana
Martha Dull Morrison to her sister Malinda Dull Van Emburgh
My Dear Sister,
It was with great joy that I received your kind letter the other day for it had been a long time since I had heard and them had heard sad news, but now you are getting well and how much that news from your own heart has relived me. I thank you my sister that your sufferings are relieved and hope you will soon be restored to perfect health. We are well with the exception of a cold which we all have and which makes me feel quite bad this morning my head aches and my chest feels very much filled up, but I hope that will not last long.
We have had some very cold weather lately, unusually cold for the season. The city is now quite healthy as far as I can learn and we are all very glad that the dreadful season is over, but the early spring brings the cholera epidemic which is very bad but does not last so long as the yellow fever.
I was the other night honored with a serenade. It was very pretty indeed. The performance was on the violin, that sweetest of instruments. The serenade was a young gentleman unknown. I have never seen but he lives sufficiently near for me to have him playing and I one day told one of my friends, Mrs. Harriet Knight that I always listened to him with so much pleasure. She happened to be acquainted with an acquaintance of his so what I have said was told him and he rewarded my praise with a serenade. He does play charmingly.
And Resiah has named her daughter Martha. Did she name her for me? Tell her to let me know whether she did or not and in the meantime I will flatter myself thatI have a namesake. Give Risy my love. Tell her to give the children a dozen kisses for cousin Martha. Don’t let Pheba [Malinda Pheobe Howard] forget us and make little Jimmy know me right well. He has pretty little his [?].
There are plenty of diseases that are catching that I might, but I don’t think there is much danger up here. I don’t go out much or see many people.
Next Thursday is is all souls day. On that day the people all go to the graveyards and decorate the tombs of their friends with flowers and ribbons and artifacts. Caroline is going to take me to all the cemeteries it must be a beautiful sight to see all people paying those marks of affectionate remembrance to their departed friends and relatives.
George is perched up on my lap asking me what I am writing and telling me to write about Jenny but I can hardly anything while he is here for he will not sit still. He says that I must put toys in my letter to send to Jenny and a pretty purse which he thinks are the prettiest things in existence. He is finding fault with my letter, he says Jenny will say that it is not written right and will throw it away. He says that is not the way he writes to his gramma. Was delighted to see it. He asked how you sent it to me it is that that makes him think that I can send toys in my letter. He thinks of one thing can come in a letter another can.
Tell Ma that I hope something very like my coming home will happen before this time next year. It is in that hope that I derive all my comfort. Yes indeed I do want to see the colony [Ouachita] that greatest of places and I hope too see it again, please God.
Give my love to [your husband] Jacob [Demarest Van Emburgh], [our brother-in-law] Mr. Howard [John M. Howard] and all my friends and most especially to our dear mother to our brother [James Dull Jr.] and sisters. May God bless and protect you is the prayer of your affectionate sister,
Tell [our sister] Kate [Catherine Dull] that I am getting impatient for that letter
Editor’s Notes: When this letter was written, Martha was married to her first husband with the last name Morrison.