Page 4 Benjamin Lafayette Smith’s letters, .etc.
                                                          May the 4th 1856.
         My Dear Cousin Mc (Warren)
         Your very interesting letter was received by me a few days since. Cousin
         Martha has answered my letter since I wrote you last.
         You asked me how old I was. I will be fourteen next October. I have written
         to Carrie, but she has not answered my letter yet. It rained all of last week
         and it looks very much like it now, and it made the river rise. The corn and
         cotton has come up and the grass will soon be up. We all picked cotton last
         fall. I made $13.55, Sherman $2.81 and Penn $4.80. Father has a peach orchard
         and it is as full of little peaches as it can be, and we have so many plums
         and apples. All of the school boys have to write compositions and speak every
         My studies are Sallust, Latin Grammar, first book in latin; and Arithmetic.
         Penn and Sherman say that they will write to you soon. Penn put some dove eggs
         under a tame pigeon, and they have batched out, and the old pigeon feeds them
         very well, and they are nearly grown.
         Mother has 100 little chicks and 10 turkeys and 3 gosilns. Cousin I believe
         I have told you all of the news that I can think of, but, I can—not hardly ever
         think about any thing. It is so hot that I can hardly write. When you write
         again you must tell me all of the news and you must tell me all of your studies.
         Give my love to Aunt Fannie. Look in the looking glass and kiss your-self for
         me. Accept the love and best wishes of your affectionate Cousin.
                                                           July the 26th 1856
         My Dear Cousin Mc
                        I received your letter the first of July. I have been going
         to school ever since the first of March untill the last of June. Mr. Turnip—
         seed had an examination and gave us three weeks holiday.
         We commenced again last monday and went to a fish fry tuesday. it was called
         a fish fry, but they did not have a single fish but had a very good dinner.
         Mr. Turnipseed made us promise that we would come to (school?) saturday if he
         gave us tuesday.
         I am going to commence Algebra before long. We have not bad any rain since
         today five weeks ago. Some have been too dry and some too wet.
         Father would have made a very good crop of corn & cotton both, if he had had
         any rain and will make a very good one yet, if he can get rain. The cars [railroad]
         from Mobile Ala to Macon, Miss on the 4th of July, 20 miles below us and the
         people gave a big dinner. It is going to Columbus Ohio as quick as they can
         get iron. A big rain came and spoiled every bit of their dinner.
         The small—pox is in Macon now and the people all around us are having their
         children va(cc) inated.
         There has been a great deal of sickenness in the country for the last month
         or two. Two or three negroes are sick and Charlie, and more people died with
         drunkenness than any other disease. I have not received but one letter from
         Cousin Martha yet. I would write a long letter but I have another to write.
         Accept the love and best wishes of your affectionate Cousin.