Page 7 Benjamin Lafayette Smith’s letters, etc.
                                                          March the 16th 1857
         My Dear Cousin(Bettie Seay)
                    It has been a long time since I received your last letter. We are
         all in tolerablö good health now and hope you are enjoying the same.
         We had some very cold weather last winter commencing on the first of December
         and ending on the first of February, and, we have had some very pretty weather
         ever since until last week it has been very cold.
         The peach trees are blooming very fast now. We will have a great many peaches
         this year if the frost does not kill them.
         We are going to school to Mr. Turnipseed now. We have been going to him three
         weeks this session. Cousin Sarah is staying with us now. She has been staying
         with us two weeks,
         Ma has another little boy two months old, he has not any name yet. I named him
         Buster for a nick name.
         There has been agreat many wild geese and pigeons here this winter. I killed
         a wild goose at one shoot and three pigeons at another.
         A good many men in this neighborhood are done planting corn. Pa is planting
         and has got about ten acres planted. He made 97 bales of cotton last year and
         got eleven cts for it. I made $22 picking cotton.
         When you write again you must tell me your studies, whether you are going to
         school or not, and who is your teacher.
         The next day after it snowed, Sherman & Penn caught snow birds enough to make
         a good bird pie. I, Sherman, Pa, Penn and three or four negroes killed 197 rats
         one morning.
         Tell aunt Ann that Ma says that she received her letter about the middle of Jan-
         uary. It laid in the office about a month beforó she got it. She says that she
         has got so many little children that she cannot write to her now. She has to
         wait untill the weather gets warmer so they can go out to play. While they go
         out to play she can write,
         You must tell Cousin Mary that she must write to me. You must write soon to me
         this time.
                  Your loving cousin, Lafayette.
                                                       March the 17th 1857
         My Dear Cousin (Mack)
                      I believe I will write a few lines in Sherman’s letter.
         We have to speak next Friday and write compositions tomorrow a week. I do hate
         to write them. Mr. Turnipseed allows us to show him our letters instead of com-
         positions. I think I will show him mine hereafter.
         Cousin Mack I forgot to tell you who Sherman’s sweet heart was • You recollect
         when we used to hoe cotton, We were hoeing along one day about ten steps apart.
         Sherman called me and said Fayette if Miss Virginia Pebles wants to marry very
         bad I will marry her. We plagued him a great deal about it. One of the school
         boys came to see us a few days afterwards and it Was all over the neighborhood -
         in a few days.
         Cousin Mack I would write you a longer letter, but I have to copy another letter
         in my blank book, and it is dinner time now. Yours in friendship, truth and