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It’s Wagner Week and we haven’t heard from the main man, D.R. Wagner, in a while. Here he is writing to son George, who is off at a prestigious college in New York. It seems that D.R. is having a hard time keeping “help” around. And not only around the mill but around his own home. He can blame whoever poor Charley is all he wants, but one must wonder that if no one wants to be employed by you at your factory or at your home then maybe the problem isn’t just Charley.
One of my greatest wishes with these letters is that we had more access to the perspectives of Water Valley life and the Wagner’s from those who worked for them, both at home and at the mill. And these were two different demographics of people, both with their own struggles, heroes and lively worlds. One can imagine the things they experienced at the mill and around the home and the stories they told.
Bank of Water valley
Water Valley, Miss
March 3rd, 1904
Yours of the 28th received. Glad you did well in your exams, it won’t be long now until you are through with your second year at Cornell. It may be the bright light that affects your eyes, get a pair of glasses, that will help you or it may be that your nerves are affected.
Enclosed find check for $50.00. I went to Memphis Tuesday, and found everything getting on very well. We have recently lost 2 of our best help up there, but have replaced them. We have also lost a lot of help at the mill which is hard to replace. It’s mostly Charley’s fault, we are short of hands now.
Business in the store is pretty good, all hands are busy.
Will and John have gone to Chicago. Will be back Saturday. We sold about 26 mules, have 5 yet. It has been warm. Peach trees are in bloom but it is cold today.
The bank is doing well, we have more deposits than ever. We do all of our N.Y. through the Oriental Bank of New York. Jones is President.
Jessie is well, so is Dudley and Evelyn and Baby. The Baby is fine, he was up at the house yesterday. We have a new cook and a new man to work up home. It’s hard to keep help. I am going to see Kalista in a month and stay out in that country for about 2 or 3 weeks. I hope you keep well and are doing well.
We all look toward having a good year, cotton is up again to worth 15.75 today in N.Y. and 14.50 here. We have enough to run the mill until 1st of August. That is about as much as we want.
Gene McLarty has been given the position of colonel on Vardaman’s staff. Smith Murph of the Delta has been appointed a Leu. Con. by Vardaman. I think you know him.
We are all as well as usual and all of us send love to you.
Affectionately your father,