Charles C. Leverett 4 August 1873 Letter

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From: DC0339s (Finding Aid)


                                                                                                                                                   D. College N. C.[1]

August 4, 1873 [2]

Dear Parents [3]

We have not rec’d any letter from you yet I hope we will get one by this morning’s train [4] : it is more than two months since we received a letter from you. I have been sick ever since I came here, though I was not sick enough to go to bed all the time. There is a great deal of sickness through this country now there was three deaths in this little village with in two weeks

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the Dr said that it was the water here that made me sick.[5]

I recon you have got the letter by this time that Mr Dold [6] wrote to me a bout that scholarship [7] (I will finish this after the train comes). The train has come and gone; we did not get any letter. Maybe we will get one Monday. Well about that scholarship.I dont want you to buy it if it would cause any embarrassment in regard your other business affairs. They are willing to wait on me for tuition till the later part of the session They are also willing to

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take my bond for tuition: which would only be $210 or I will put it at the highest rates say $300 Three hundred for the three years tuition: you see I could pay my room rent $10.00 deposit fee $5.00 matriculation $30.00 and wood deposit $20. Which would leave only $70.00 tuition: well I will put it $80.00 because when I begin to study chemistry I will have to pay a little extra fee for materials and chemicals that I would have to use.[8] You could hardly buy the scholarship and get it ready for this session. If you are not willing for me to give my bond

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for tuition: you had better let me let them wait till you sell your present cotton crop.[9] The reason I object to you buying the scholarship is because you have to pay cash for it: and that would be too heavy a drain on you at once. You see my bond would be payable in not less than two nor greater than six years from the time I would get through with my courses by that you could keep both of us in college till we could get through I could pay my own tuition

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in two years longer i could teach in the summer school at the University: any of the students teach that want to that pays very well.[10]

I recon you think I am full of notions: to tell you the fact: I hardly know what to say: if I could see you I could tell you better what I what to. I cant [sic] write like I want to, and so you will understand what I am trying to say. Well here is what want. I want to get my education at the U. and I want make it cost you as little I possibly can: and pay for as much of it as I can myself.

I have just received a letter Mrs Mollie Gatewood

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I was very agreeably surprised to find it was from her I was not expecting such a thing I though [sic] she had forgotten us long since. I will tell you a little about your relations. I dont [sic] know but little. I learned through a young man by name Colin Munroe who lives in 8 miles of Uncle Laughlin Bethune.[11] Hee was getting very feeble with age: but aunt was a very sprightly [sic] old lady: both in good health he said they had six, seven or eight children I dont [sic] know which, I think

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he said one or two of the children married relation of his, He said they were all doing well. I have not heard from cousin Annie Patterson since I left Va and good while before I left.[12]

It seem by the way Mrs Mollie G writes that you have not yet received any letter from us I shall certainly take great pleasure in answering her letter. Answer this as soon as you possibly can: answer it by the 28th of Aug if you possibly can by letter. if you cannot by latter answer by telegraph,[13]

[Letter ends without Charlie’s signature] [14]

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[1] Davidson College was located north of Charlotte and south of Statesville in North Carolina. The town was also called Davidson College at the time, though it was later shortened to simply Davidson (Davidson College Catalog 1872-1873,13). In the 1873-1874 academic year, the college had 117 students and 7 faculty members (Davidson College History and Statistics). John R. Blake served as the chair of faculty (DCC, 6). Terms of admission included good moral character, a certificate of honorable dismission and examinations in English, Latin, Greek, and Mathematics (DCC, 14). Students at Davidson College were required to take both classical courses for four years and scientific courses for three years, but eclectic courses were also offered, at the discretion of the Faculty, for those who wanted to get instruction in specific areas (DCC, 15-18). The tuition was between $50 to $70 for that year. Overall expenses (excluding clothing, traveling-expenses and pocket money) were estimated to be between $200 and $250 a year. (DCC, 20)(Davidson College Catalog 1874-1875,19).

[2] This date would have been in the middle of the summer before Charlie’s brother’s, Walter Leverett’s, first term at Davidson College. The spring semester of 1872-73 academic year ended on June 28th (DCC 1872-1873, 3) and the 1874-75  academic year started on Sept. 25th (DCC 1874-1875, 3). Both brothers were living at a boarding house in the town of Davidson between school sessions. Walter planned on attending Davidson College, and his brother Charles planned on attending Washington and Lee University. At Washington and Lee University, the spring semester of 1872-73 academic year ended on June 26th and the 1873-74 academic year started on Sept. 18th (Catalogue of Washington and Lee University, 60)

[3] Charlie was writing home to his parents Captain Marshall Duncan Leverett and Elizabeth Anne Patterson Leverett in their hometown of Leverett’s Chapel, Rusk County Texas. Leverett’s Chapel was named for the family, particularly Eliza, who settled there in the 1850s. The Leveretts traveled by ox wagon from Savannah, Georgia, and lived in a log house. They brought with them slaves, cattle, and equipment to construct what became an effective plantation. Captain Leverett was born cerca 1815, and died before the year 1900. He and Eliza married the 29th of September, 1851, in Rusk County,  Texas. Eliza was born in May of 1826 and the date of her death is unknown (Captain Marshall Duncan Leverett).

[4] The Atlantic, Tennessee & Ohio Railroad reached from Charlotte to Davidson in 1861 and to Statesville in March of 1863. The train to Charlotte was an hour-long ride when it was first constructed. However, some of its rails were destroyed during the 1860s in the Civil War, but they had been relaied by 1871 (Beaty). Construction of the rail line resulted in 6 passenger trains a day, all carrying mail, with connections in Charlotte, Mooresville, Statesville, and Barber Junction by 1922. Charlie lived in between these points, and the railroads were likely still under construction, and thus mail would have been delayed or used detoured routes (North Carolina Railroads) (Atlantic, Tenessee & Ohio Railroads).

[5] The most prevalent illness at the time was yellow fever, which had a large outbreak in 1873 and heavily impacted most southern states (Humphreys, 27). Cholera was also present during this time,and is mostly transmitted through water (Barua, 12-13).

[6] The Mr. Dold referred to here is William Dold born in 1824 (Stonewall). He resided in Lexington Virginia and attended Washington and Lee University. Dold was the treasurer of Washington and Lee University between 1870-1875 (Dold).

[7] Scholarship is the arrangement of Charlie’s family’s payment for college expenses

[8] University most likely refers to Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, where Charlie attended from 1872 to 1874. Charlie studied Greek, Latin, Mathematics, and French at Washington and Lee University (Catalogue of Washington and Lee University,12). Washington and Lee University was first established in 1749 by Robert Alexander as a Mathematical and Classical School, called Augusta Academy. (Catalogue of the Officers and Alumni of Washington and Lee University, 7) The school was moved to Lexington in 1782, and the name was changed to Washington College in 1813. General Robert E. Lee became the president of the college in 1865, and the trustees voted to change the name to Washington and Lee University after his death in 1870 (A Brief History).

[9] Bond refers to a loan to pay for his college expenses. His family would have to wait until after harvest before they would have the funds to pay tuition. Cotton in 1873 sold for about 15 cents per pound, but the market crashed at the end of that year (Agricultural Problems and Gilded). The Leverett family farm was originally 759 acres, and was located in the “Central Backlands” cotton region of Texas, in Rusk County (Cotton Production in Texas). Harvest averaged 201 pounds per acre in 1873  (Texas All Cotton Historical).

[10] Washington and Lee University offered Summer School for students. It was designed for those who needed to make up special deficiencies or take prerequisite classes in order to enter advanced classes at the beginning of a new semester. It also offered opportunities for for teachers who want to spend their vacation to advance their teaching (Catalogue of Washington and Lee University 1872-1873, 42).

[11] Colin Alexander Munroe was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1844. His parents were J. Peter Munroe and Isabella Jane Cameron (Descendants). He attended Davidson College in 1869 and was part of the Class of 1872. At Davidson, Colin Munroe was in the Philanthropic Society, one of the two Literary Societies at Davidson. (More information is available at: graduating from Davidson, Munroe stayed at Davidson and taught for a year (The Semi-Centennial Catalogue). Afterwards, he led the First Presbyterian Church at Hickory, North Carolina from 1885 to 1891(First Presbyterian Church) and organized Plumtree Presbyterian Church in 1905(History). He died in 1919 and buried in Davidson, North Carolina (Descendants).

[12] Laughlin (or Lauchlin) Bethune was born April 15, 1785, near Fayetteville North Carolina. He attended Lumberton Male Academy, and farmed in Cumberland County, NC. He was a member of the North Carolina State Senate in 1817, 1818, 1822-1825, and 1827, and was later elected as a Jacksonian to the Twenty-second Congress (March 4, 1831-March 3, 1833) (Lauchlin, Bethune). He married Anne Patterson, born in 1805. A record indicates that they may have had eleven children, among them a Sarah Anne Patterson Bethune, who may be the Annie Patterson to whom Charlie is referring. Lauchlin died in 1874 and Anne died in 1878 (Bethune).

[13] The first transcontinental telegraph system was completed in 1861 (1860-1870).

[14] Charles Clinton Leverett was born on Mar. 14th, 1853 in Leverett’s Chapel, Rusk County Texas. His parents were Marshall Duncan Leverett and Elizabeth Anne Patterson Leverett. Charles was the oldest son. His younger brother Walter Burns Leverett attended Davidson College. Charles attended Washington and Lee University from 1872 to 1874. He was in the Class of 1876, but he did not earn a degree (McCormick-Goodhart). He studied Latin, Greek, French and Mathematics at Washington and Lee University (Catalogue of Washington and Lee University,12). Charles died on Apr. 22nd, 1897 in Rusk County Texas (Captain Marshall Duncan Leverett).

Works cited
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A Brief History – Washington and Lee University. N.p. n.d. Web. Accessed 6 May. 2014.  <>

Agricultural Problems and Gilded Age Politics – Austin CC. N.p., n.d. Web. Accessed 29 Apr. 2014. <>.

Atlantic, Tennessee & Ohio Railroad- Atlantic, Tennessee & Ohio Railroad. N.p., n.d. Web. Accessed 28 Apr. 2014. <>.

Beaty, Mary. Davidson: A History of the Town from 1835 until 1937. Davidson, NC: Briarpatch Press. 1988

Bethune, Lauchlin. Colin Bethune to NC from Scotland ca 1772 – N.p., 25 Aug. 1999. Web. Accessed 29 Apr. 2014.

Barua, Dhiman. Cholera. Plenum Publishing Company, 1992. Digital file.

Captain Marshall Duncan Leverett and Eliza Ann Patterson – Gone to Texas. N.p.,
26 Mar. 2011. Web. Accessed 27 Apr. 2014. <>.

Catalogue of the Officers and Alumni of Washington and Lee University. 1749-1888. Baltimore: John Murphy & Co. [1888] Digital file.

Catalogue of Washington and Lee University, 1872-1873.Virginia.[1873]. Digital file.

Cotton Production in Texas – Web. Accessed 29 Apr. 2014. <>.

Davidson College Catalog, 1872-1873. Davidson: Davidson College Office of Communications.[1873]. Accessed 6 May. 2014.  <>

Davidson College Catalog, 1874-1875. Davidson. Davidson College Office of Communications. [1875]. Accessed 6 May. 2014. <>

Davidson College History and Statistics, 1873-1874. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC. Accessed 6 May. 2014. <>

Descendants of Dugald Munroe and Jane Cameron – Monroe Genealogy. N.p. n.d. Accessed 6 May. 2014. <>

Dold, William – Find A GraveN.p., n.d. Web. Accessed 30 Apr. 2014. <>.

First Presbyterian Church-Hickory, North Carolina. N.p. n.d. Accessed 6 May. 2014. <>

History – Plumtree Presbyterian Church. N.p. n.d. Accessed 6 May. 2014. <>

Humphreys, Margaret. Yellow Fever and the South. John Hopkins University Press, 1992. Digital file.

Lauchlin, Bethune – Biographical Directory of the Congress of the United States. N.p., n.d. Web. Accessed 29 Apr. 2014. <>.

North Carolina Railroads – Atlantic, Tennessee & Ohio Railroad-North Carolina Railroads – Atlantic, Tennessee & Ohio Railroad. N.p., n.d. Web. Accessed 28 Apr. 2014. <>.

Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery- N.p., n.d. Web. Accessed 30 Apr. 2014. <>.

Texas All Cotton Historical Estimates. N.p.: n.p., 2014. United States Department of Agriculture. Web. Accessed 30 Apr. 2014. <>.

The Semi-Centennial Catalogue of Davidson College, 1837-1887. Davidson: Davidson College Alumni Association. [1887].

1860-1870 – National Park Service. N.p., n.d. Web. Accessed 29 Apr. 2014. <>.

Transcription and annotation author: Shuk Hang (Grace) Li, David Nnadi, Beth Wright.
Date: May 2014.
Cite as: Li, Shuk (Grace), David Nnadi, Elizabeth Wright, annotators. 4 August 1873 Charles C. Leverett Letter to Parents. DC0339s.

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