1884 Letter from Hugh A. Priest to Gilbert Gilchrist McPherson of Robeson County, NC
Source: McKay-Edgerton Collection
Contributed by: Steve Edgerton Posted September 18, 2005 by Myrtle Bridges

Hoffman, N.C. June 28, 1884 

Mr. Gilbert McPherson
Dear Cousin, I take the opportunity of writing you a short letter, which leaves me well, and, 
I truly hope these few lines will find you all the same. I have no news of interest to write 
to you. Crops are looking finely in this section. We have been having too much rain for a while.
I fear if drouth sets in in next month it will cut them short. They were all well at my Father's 
last Sunday. I have not seen any of them since. I have not been to see them since April, my place 
got burned out in the time of the big fire the 2nd of April, it has been a busy time with me since.
I have a fine prospect of a good corn crop this year. I would be glad we could spend a few days 
together driving so we could talk and have some fun. I don't know after I get through my crop if, 
I dont go down About the Springs and see you all. I want to ask you your opinion, I suppose the road 
is completed to Red springs, will there be much buiding going on there this fall or not. I would like 
to get in with some good workmen, where there was plenty of work. I have some ideas about carpentering, 
and if I could make fair wages I would put myself in for a hand and stay down all the fall. I want to 
make a little outside of my crop if I can. Probably you may take some buildings, as you are a first 
class workman. I want you to be sure to let me know the prospect in fall, and say nothing about it to 
any one. I suppose it is getting live[l]y around the Springs and bids to be a business place. There is 
some right business places on the Raleigh Road but there is not much building going on about here now.
I am not married yet, but I have had the galls [gals] to see me several times since leap year commenced. 
I think though it is getting towards time I was looking round for a gal. I have not been deer driving 
this year, there is some few deer on the Sand Hills. Give my Respects to Cousin Mary Eliza [Mary Eliza 
McPherson who married Malcolm Brown in Robeson County] and all my Cousins. I dont hardly think you would 
know me now. I have grown a rght smart since I saw you. I am even 6 feet high and last winter I weighed 
175 lbs. but I dont weigh that now by a right smart. So I think if I dont get stunned in my growth I will
be a man some of these times. I want you to be sure to write to me as soon as you get this and give me all 
the news.

Yours Very Respectfully
Hugh A. Priest

P.S. Be sure to send me word if you think it would pay me to go down or not. Yours, H.A. Priest

NOTE: Did Hoffman, NC, catch fire in 1884? Hoffman is a town in eastern Richmond County, NC, that was settled in the 1870s with the construction of the Raleigh and Augusta Airline Railroad. It was incorporated in 1899, and again in 1913. the post office was established there in 1878. During WWII Camp Mackall was adjacent to Hoffman on the east in Richmond and Scotland counties. –S. Edgerton NOTE: The 1870 Census of Richmond County shows H. A. Priest 13, and Mary J. 15, in the household of Isaiah 45, and Nellie Priest 45, in Laurel Hill. In her will of 1898 Nellie Priest speaks of her sister Florah McDonald. Isaiah Priest and Nellie McDonald married 6 July 1854. The 1880 Census of Richmond County, Beaver Dam, shows H. A. Priest 22, nephew, living with elderly sisters, Nancy 67 and Florah McDonald 63, both born in Scotland. -Myrtle Bridges
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