Reprinted from Southwestern Historical Quarterly, July 1971 

Edited by & Submitted by Twila Miller Smith

The worries of a mother with a son who is a long way from home may not have changed as much as one would expect during the passing of a century. For example, in 1860 a settler in Texas by the name of J. T. Bostick wrote his parents in Georgia and assured his mother that he did not “frollick” now as he had when he was at home. Admittedly, such gentlemanly conduct many not have been of his own choosing, as unattached ladies were scarce on the Texas frontier during that period. Nevertheless, the writer’s concern for and awareness of his mother’s feelings on the subject of his relationship with “the Ladies” was reflected in the closing portion of a letter discovered several years ago at the old Evans homestead located in the Villanow area near Dalton, Whitfield County, Georgia. The original letter is now in possession of Washington Robert Evans of Dalton. He is the great-great-nephew of James Bostick to whom the letter was addressed.

The message was written, at least partially, on Christmas Day, 1860, but no mention was made of any type of Christmas observance, nor was there a mention of greetings or best wishes for the New Year. A handmarked “x” served as the cancellation for the three-cent stamped envelope, and the address read:
Mr. James Bostick
Villanow PO
Whitfield Co., Ga.

The return was:
Comanche Peak Tx
Jan 12/61.

According to Thomas Ewell, a nineteenth-century historian of Hood County, what is now known as Acton was previously known as the Comanche Peak Post Office. Ewell also explained that Hood County was created in 1866 from parts of Johnson and other nearby counties. He commented further that Comanche Peak Post Office served “a considerable scope of country west of the Brazos” and later noted that ” . . . there was no regular mail carrier coming to this [Comanche Peak] office, and the citizens volunteered” each week “to go to Buchanan and bring back the mail pouch.” This could explain the lapse of time between the writing of the letter and the date of posting, as well as the use of one address on the inside and another on the envelope. Buchanan was identified by Ewell as the county seat of Johnson County prior to 1866.

The letter is published here with all young Bostick’s original spelling and grammar. Some punctuation has been added to facilitate the reading.

 Twila Miller Smith is professor of education at Southwest Baptist College, Bolivar, Missouri.

Read and enjoy J. T. Bostick’s letter dated Christmas Day 1860.
Bostick Letter 1860.