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                                         Benjamin Lafayette Smith’s Letters, etc.
         
         
             She has just commenced one for the passage. Father has just commenced bedding
             up his cotten land. Cousin Martha said that she was going to see you this win—
             tar. Give my love to Aunt Fannie and ask her if this letter wont do for you
             and her both. Cousin Mc I believe you was joking about the girls sending their
             love to me. I did not think that I could catch the love of two or three hundred
             girls if they din say so,give my best love to all of them. You must teU me
             whether Miss Johnson is pretty or not and how old is she.
                Cousin Mc you asked me one- question that I did not understand. You asked me
             how I did spend the Christmas, and then you asked me did "santaclause" visit me,
             the marked words I do not understand.
                Your affectionate Cousin
                                     Lafayette
                                     # # # # ##
                                                          March the 2nd 1856
         
             My Dear Cousin Bettie (Seay was added later)
                           It has been A long time since I received your last letter.
             We are all well at this time and hope that you all are enjoying the same health.
             It has snowed four times since I received your last letter.
             Father made 91 bales of cotton last year. I made $13 picking cotton, Sherman
             $3, Penn $5.
             Cousin Bettie you would not answer one of my questions. I heard that ‘Cousin
             Sarah was married and I asked you if it was so. And I heard yesterday that Dr.
             Calhoun had gone to get Cousin Mary, it will be your time next, will it not?
             We are going to school to a man by the name of Turnipseed. He has not been.
             teaching but one week. Felix and one of Grand Ma’s negros ran away not long
             ago and Francis hunted for them two week before he found them. He said that
             he was going home but the negro would not let him go. It has not been long
             since Mother finished a carpet for her room twnety feet - square. It is made of
             rags, she has commenced one for the passage. Father is nearly done bedding up
             his cotton land.
             Write soon to your affectinnate Cousin.
                                               Benjamin L. Smith.
                                #   #   #   #   #   #
                                                         March the 23rd 1856
             My dear Cousin Mc (Warren
                           I received your letter last week.
                           Cousin Mc, Cousin Martha asked me before she went away to
             write to her. I have written to her once and Father has written to her twice
             I and we have not heard a word from her yet. What do you reckon is the reason?
             Cousin Mc, you told father in your letter that you wrote all of your letters.
             in a blank book.’ I have jUst commenced.        -
             I was very much pleased with the little pencil that you sent me in your letter.
             It was mashed flat when Father got it, but he carried it to the silver smith
             and he fixed it. You sent it as a reward for my punctuality in writing to you.
             The reward should go the other way: for you and Cousin Martha by your kindness,
             punctuality, and neatness in writing, stimulated ma to all that I know about
             epistolary composition. And now when the advantage is greatly on my side, you
             add a most beautiful present. How can I repay you for yOUr kindness? I must
             make new effort and use Great Labor to arrive at such Excellence as may encite
             a just pride in you to own me as your Cousin. I feel unable to repay you only
             by way of continued Gratitude.
             Cousin Mc when you come from Salem will you not come to see us? If you come,
             you must stay longer than Cousin Martha did. Cousin you do not know how much
             I wish to see you.