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It’s a Wagner Week because my column deadline is the day before July Fourth. There are no fireworks, smoked ribs and watermelon margaritas to report yet. They are all currently in preparation. Instead we’ll see what a few rich people were doing back in July of 1888.
First, we have Frank from a cigar shop in Tennessee. Frank writes John Henry what I consider an unusually hefty number of letters considering they all just basically have to do with cigars. I can’t imagine how one finds that much to say about cigars. But modern-day teenagers sure seem to revolve a large portion of their time around vapes so I guess this obsession checks out. I do wonder why Cliff and his wife snuck off to Nashville to get married really quick. I have my suspicions.
I include the second letter here because not only is from July but because it’s clearly the longest run-on sentence in recorded history. I also include it because it’s a letter to Andrew Gallatin Wagner, a cousin of the main set of Wagners whose letters we typically read here. Andrew was the brother of the famous Wagner who faced the ax and lost in 1931!
Manufacturer of Cigars and Jobber in Chewing and Smoking Tobacco.
July 12, 1888
Mr. John H. Wagner,
Water Valley, Miss
Dear Mr. Wagner:
Your letter of the 10th with enclosed check for $2.00 to hand and as requested have expressed 50 Belle of Clarksville to you, could not put half mild and the strong, but have selected a nice box for your “medicine.”
Cliff and his wife was up here on a visit. He certainly fooled me. They both went to Nashville. She claimed to her parents to go shopping, Cliff went with her, when they returned they were married. It was done on a sly. Cliff is in the dray business in Yazoo.
I’m glad you are doing well. I am about the same, still making cigars, not making much money, but as they say “I’m getting my feet under the table 3 times a day and as long as a person does that he’s solid.”
Gus Henry is about the only college student that is loafing here. He comes in every day. This place looks dull since most of the boys have gone home.
Hoping you will receive the cigars all in good order,
I am yours truly
J.J. Maxwell, Fruit, Game, Poultry and Candy
New Orleans, LA July 1st, 1888
Mr. A. G. Wagner
Yours of the 3rd rec’d and at hand will ship basket of fruit on evening train and am happy to hear that the first basket reached you in good order as the express must have handled it with care as they very seldom do have shipped a basket to A. E. Jennings of your city but have not heard from it hope it arrived as yours address your letters to Thomas Lenas instead of J.J. Maxwell with many thanks