Page 16 Benjamin Lafayette Smith’s letters, etc.
                                                       Lovndes Co., Miss. Jan. 27th 1858
                 My dear Aunt (Fannie Smith)
                           I have been long thinking that I would write to you, but I have never
                 started until now. And after I do start I hardly know what to write, the times
                 are so dull down this way.
                           Sherman, Penn & I are going to start to school to a young man by the
                 name of Thompson next Monday, who I think will make us a very good teacher - at
                 least I hope so. We went to school very near all of last year, but did not get
                 along well. We had three teachers: one taught about half of the year & the other
                 two taught the other half. We have not bad much cold weather down this way this
                 winter, at least we have not bad any freezing weather: but we have had more rain
                 than we have had before in six or eight years I believe. The Tombigbee has been
                 out of its banks very near all of the winter.
                           Pa made enough corn last year to do him almost two years if the weavles
                 would not destroy it. And he made about a half a crop of cotton on account of the
                 spring being so bad and the summer being so wet. He started out to make a hundred
                 bales, but did not make but seventy.
                           Last summer was very good on stock. Pa has 50 head of horses and a
                 hundred of cattle. Pa has been buying a great deal of land for the last three
                 years. The summer before last he bought 320 acres, last summer be bought 260,
                 and about two weeks ago he bought 180 acres, all for about $25.00 an acre, and
                 he has not payed for much over half of it yet. I reckon you think that that is
                 a good deal for land. I reckon you can get most any sort of land up your way for
                 about $12.00 an acre. Can you not? You cannot buy a good place here, for less
                 than $35.00 or $40.00 an acre. Pa says that he would not take less than that for
                           The Mobile & Ohio railroad is in about 3 miles of us now, and the
                 cars are whistling almost loud enough every day to shake the acorns off of the
                 trees. Pa has sent very near all of his cotton to Mobile on them and has sold
                 26 bales for 9 cts. He could have sold very near all of it in the bale for 12
                 or .14 cts, but he thought that he would hold on and he would get 16 cts for it.
                           You must excuse me this time for writing such a short and bad letter
                 as I have not written one in a good while. We are all well at this time and
                 hope that you are enjoying the same health. I believe I have told you all of
                 the news that I can think of now.
                                                         Benj. L. Smith
                                                  Lowndes Co., Miss. Feb. 24, 1858.
                 My dear cousin (Mc Warren)
                           As Sherman & Pa both wrote to you about the time that I ought to have
                 written to you, I concluded not to write until they got an answer from you. Ma
                 got your letters to Sherman & Pa this morning after we started to school. Pa is
                 not at home now. He went to Mobile last Saturday morning and is not coming back
                 until next Friday night.
                           We are going to school at the section to a young man by the name of
                Thompson.  I think he is going to make us a very good teacher. So far I like him
                very well, and I think all the rest of the schollars do. He has 28 schollars
                and he will have about 35 I guess when the weather gets a little better.
                We play a game at school that we call shinny. It is a very dangerous
                one, for about 20 boys to have a big stick a piece to knock the ball with. I
                 liked to have got my nose broken last fall playing. One of the boys let his
                 stick fly out of his band as he went to knock the ball.
                           I wrote to aunt Fannie the day after I got your letter as you advised
                 me to do. It is getting time for me to get an answer from her as it has been
                 nearly a month since I wrote to her.