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Hill Country Living

It’s a Wagner Week and here are two letters to Georgia Wagner, who is up at school in New York. The first letter is nice because it’s from John. Since most of my collection is actually addressed to John, it’s nice to hear his voice in a letter. This letter also contains two of my favorite Wagner subjects: references to any sort of medical problems and Frank, the horse that I thought was a human for a long time. 

They talk about him like he’s just another dude. But, oh no, Frank is a horse. Also, Mabry is a child. I know it reads like he’s an adult because he went to Mardi Gras and came back with liver problems and a cool-cat way to talking but no, he’s a kid. 

The second letter is business talk. Seventy-five suit sales in one day is pretty good! Since D.R. doesn’t punctuate his numbers at all I can’t tell if his Memphis stores make $10 a day or $1000 a day. I’ll go with $1000.

Wagner & Co.

General Merchants and Cotton Buyers

Water Valley, Miss

Mar. 4th, 1903

My Dear George: 

I have been feeling quite uneasy about you since all the trouble of fever has been at your college and I hope you will take the very best of care of yourself and not expose yourself in an unnecessary way. Had I my way about it I would have had you leave there with the others but Papa does not think the danger now quite as much as it has been, and it will be only a short time until you are with us again. We all had a night nice time in N/O at Mardi Gras but Mabry has been sick ever since he came back. Something is the matter with his liver and he is full of cold. He certainly did enjoy it all and when asked who he had rather have down there with him than any body else, said “I wish George was here, don’t you Daddy?”

The weather here is simply abominable, rain and clouds all the time. Everybody has the grip or bad cold. I am wearing my flannel chest rag and my back and sides and lungs ache as though I was in for a spell, but I guess I will be alright soon. Will is away at market and Frank is sick. Edward is back from Savannah on account of sickness. Don’t know whether he will retire  or not, but judge he has about enough of being thrown on the tender mercies of the world. We will all be awful glad when you come home, especially me. Write me when you have time. All send love to you,

Affectionately Your Brother,


Water Valley Miss Jan. 20th ‘03

My Dear Son, 

Your letter to hand, why do you not date them!! Enclosed find a chk for $140, try and do on as little as you can. We are all well & glad to know that you are doing well in your studies. We have been very busy for a few days, we had pay day. And yesterday we had one clothing sale. We sold about 75 suits and about 500 worth of other things. Jenning’s had a sale at 6.00, Feldman at 5.00 & Jerminy’s & Co at 5.50 & one at 6.75 & we sold more than any of them. We have Barry in the store, also Hugh Baddley learning. The bank paid 10/0 dividend. The amount is to your credit I suppose. We are making some very low prices in the store & we are doing a very good business in dry goods & groceries. Business in Memphis is quiet since the holidays. We average about 1000 a day. We are all well & send you much love, 

Your father

D.R. Wagner

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