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Hill Country Living

Possum Hunt In 1894: The Women Were More Alluring Than The Prey

It’s a Wagner Week and I am not sure what typically happens on a possum hunt but I thought I had a general idea. My general idea was that people hunted possums. According to this letter, I was wrong. It is much more involved than that and maybe no one gets an actual possum? 

I’m not sure if there is just an implied playful euphemism in this letter or if this entire possum hunt was a sham. And is it typical for 70 people to attend a possum hunt and pitch tents and make fine suppers and have lovers’ quarrels? What are the dogs doing during all this? I’m so confused. 

The second letter was just the next letter in the box and is totally unrelated to possums (as far as I know) but I’m including it because it’s a cool name drop.

Water Valley Miss

Oct 16/1894

Misses Jessie & Corinne,

Dear Friends: 

Doubtless you both think that I have forgotten you in this time but I try to inform you that such is not the case. I would have written before this but for the fact that I didn’t know about the rules of your school, but was informed today by Mr. Salmon that you could receive a letter all O.K.

I am a little afraid of a coorespondance with school “children” and have been since I had a twenty two page letter read by the Prof. in chapel one morning at Oxford ( wasn’t that Prof a good reader though?)

We had a gay time last Thursday in that we went out opossum hunting, only seventy there in the crowd. We went four miles, went and pitched a hut and had a fine supper.  I was with Miss Kate Thomas. And we had several quarrels and came near fighting once. 

Wilson has gotten a matrimonial lie in his hat and it has driven every legal principal out of his head. He went out opossum hunting with us Thursday and is still talking about it. Not about the opossums but about how beautiful Miss Nellie Jennings looked that night.

Mr. Evan is wishing daily for Miss Jessie to come home. We are going to have an entertainment at the Christian halls Friday. I wish you could both be here.

Well it is getting late and I have no news of interest to write you so I will close. I would be very much pleased to get a letter from either or both of you. Give Calista my best regards.

I am your friend, 

Earl L. Brewer

The Binghmam School

Asheville N.C.

Jan 22, 1901

Mr. D. E. Wagner,

Dear Sir,

Yours r’cd. Please accept thanks for your kind interest. I send the catalogue to Mr. Satterwhite, as you suggest, and another to you.

It may interest you to know that a brother of Mrs. Woodrow Wilson was with us about 1890-91. I knew her as one of the most attractive young girls I ever saw.

We are working along fairly well.

Mrs. Bingham and Maj. and Mrs. Grinnan beg to be remembered to you and send greetings for the new year and the new century.

Yours truly,

R. Bingham

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