Mt. Vernon, Indiana
15th of February 1861

W.L. Speed,Esq.

Dear Brother,

          I seat myself for the purpose of giving you some information concerning myself and family since I left Mississippi. We emigrated to this county in 1853. Your sisters health improved beyond by expectations until February 1854 when she accidentally slipped and hurt herself in the hip as we all thought at the the time but in the summer it proved to be in the womb, it finally bursted and on the 11th of February 1855 she departed this life and the last words she uttered was she was happy. On the first of the same month son John departed this life. Elizabeth married on the 9th of March 1856 and died the 1st of May following, all of which I have informed you of in three letters written shortly after the death of each. Melissa married a man by the name of James B. Weir of this town. Van married Weir's neice. Melissa has a fine son who will be 2 years old in April. Van has a fine daughter one year old the first of this month. Jo and Mary are single. Joe is learning the blacksmith trade and will make a fine workman. They are all in good health and doing very well. My health has been declining eversince. I weight 113 lbs. What is the cause of your not answering my letters has been a mystery to me. I should like well to hear from you and family, and also your brothers, and I hope you will satisfy my desire and tell your brothers to write to me.

          I live in a fine country, it is the most productive country I ever saw, corn, wheat, oats, barley and rye are raised in abundance, wheat is worth $1.00 per bu. corn 35¢, and 40¢ a bushel in sacks, flour extra is worth $6. per barrell, pork was worth this season from $1.75 to $6. per hundred lb.

          We up here are divided in the political topics of the day. We have Douglas men, Breckenridge men, Bell men and Lincoln men. I took the side of Breckenridge as his views regarding slavery in the Territory were exactly mine which was formed and expressed in 1850, not withstanding all this, I think the South has acted rather prematurely, but as she has done what she has I now say for her to go ahead, and if the Southern States form a Southern Confederacy there will be a new state formed out of the southern part of Indiana, and Illinois which will go with the South as our interest on the many streams are so closely identified with the south, cut us off from the navigation of the Mississippi and Ohio River, we are then ruined, the south wants our corn, flour, bacon and other products of the soil and in return we here want their sugar, molasses, rice, and cotton, etc.

          Here I have to stop, give my love and respects to J.H., B.R., and family and also to your family and receive my best wishes for your future prosperity and happiness and ever believe me to be your brother and friend.

James L. Jolly

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