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Hill Country Living

By Coulter Fussell

It’s a Wagner Week and this first letter is from John’s son, Dudley, to his Aunt Jessie. I love Dudley because he is a terrible speller. As a terrible speller myself I can appreciate his attempts. Letters to Jessie always make mention of her either approving or disapproving of trivial things. Gotta love Aunt Jessie, she’s so petty.

The second letter is from a friend in Hot Springs and I like the photography talk at the end. Can you imagine going 10 years without your picture being taken? How long had pictures even been around in 1885?

My Dearest Aunt;

I received your nice letter this morning and was very glad to hear from you. What sort of a time are you having? I bet you are having a fine time climbing mountains and walking six miles to get the mail every time a train comes.

Miss Huston our mishanary is here. She ate supper with us last night and after supper we went down to the church to a reception held for her.

Speaking of white vests, don’t worry about sending them if you don’t approve of boys my age wearing them. It will be alright.

I have written to Spink and Auntie but I don’t know Miss Stearn’s address. Please write it in your next letter.  Corrine says she don’t know her address and Miss Stearn don’t know that I didn’t know so she didn’t put it on the postol.

Dap and Cousin Mary are coming down tonight and spend Sunday and Monday with us.

I am saving all the postols I get. I have now got twenty three. How is that?  When you come home please bring me a book to put them in.

I am working in the mornings and am behaving and giving Corinne no trouble at all. I am doing my best to show her what I nice boy I am.

Well I must close. Goodbye. All send love especially your loving,


Miss Jessie Wagner

Dec 2 1885

My dear Jessie,

I was truly delighted to read of your improvement in health and congratulate you and your parents upon the happy results. I have no doubt that you will go on to a perfect recovery.

My brother Dr. Dick was also highly pleased when he read your sweet letter and wished me to send his highest regard and congratulations.

Hot Springs has improved very much, not withstanding the many fires among the wooden shanties, for when they burn now they must be replaced with handsome brick structures and we are now having several going up at the time.

The government has just also completed her fine “Army and Navy Hospital” which is an ornament to our city. In fast, you would not know the place. We are said to have 10,000 inhabitants.

I have not had a photograph taken for 10 years but have promised many of my friends to have it done this spring and have put your name on the list to send one to.

I had a lithograph taken 3 or 4 years since which everybody says is the best picture ever taken of me. I send it here until I send another.

Please give my very kindest regards to your father and mother and for yourself my love and a kiss.

Truly your friend,

A. Taylor

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