Avery Family Papers, Records of the Antebellum Southern Plantations, Series J, Part 5, Reel 11, Frames 714-716
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Petit Anse Island La
November 21st 1865
My dear Papa,
Our baggage from Texas has arrived, and we have found it all in good order, except some broken glass and Crockery, and some clothing in one of Sister Mary's trunks, that has been considerably damaged by water. Upon opening the boxes, I found one hundred pounds of excellent powder, and now write this for your information, as it had not been found when I wrote to Mama. The Engineer sent up by Dr Mallet, is now here quartered upon us, with two assistants, much to my annoyance and inconvenience, as it [is] extremely difficult to furnish them with food.
Mr Hodges contemplates remaining some ten days longer to finish his work. It seems singular to me, that this Company have as yet taken no steps to develop the capacity of the mines. Brother and myself have almost arrived at the conclusion, that they are speculators in Salt and have payed you a bonus of twenty-five thousand dollars to prevent others from brining this salt into market, until their stock on hand should be sold. This is merely a surmise of ours and of course may be wrong, but their delay, in commencing work here, certainly looks, as if there was some motive for it behind the scenes. Usquebaugh informed Frank Richardson, who has just returned from Texas via Nibletts Bluff, that Dr Mallet had purchased an interest in his Petroleum Spring, for the same Company that had leased the salt mines. You can form your own conclusion from this. Mr. Kearney has been preparing the land for leave, and will commence planting today. The weather is clear and beautiful; just cold enough to be pleasant. The carpenters will finish weather boarding the house today and will have it shingled and floored by the latter part of next week. Brother and myself called up the hands last night with reference to securing their labor for the next year. I think we will be able to retain the best of them: Sam, [Army?], Ben and in fact all the hands that left us are anxious to return, which certainly will have great influence in regulating the movements of the hands now with us. The powder you sent to John Hayes has never been received and he has requested me to ask you, to inform him wether [sic] it was sent by express or boat, in order that he may oblige them to return him the same amount. My wife is still afflicted with chills and fever: I take her out to Aunt Eliza today, hwo promises to effect a cure. She will also be near Dr. [Dupercer?], should his services be required. I will leave the Carpets brought out by the cart today. Brother and myself purchased a Brussels carpet from Dr Smith, for fifty dollars, before we heard that you had bought Mr. Nelson's. My wife with the rest of the family send much love to Mama, sisters and yourself, with sincere affection I am your son