Clintonville, April 21, 1870

Dear Son,

As I have not written to you as you seem to want more correspondence I will write some this evening.  I can say through the mercies of a kind Providence we are all in common health.  No sickness in the neighborhood except measles.

For the last few days the farmers have good weather - last Monday morning there was considerable frost on the low lands, corn killed down but I think it will come out.   Cotton was not hurt from the fact that most of it was not planted yet - the most of the cotton crop in this country will be planted this week.  We have had cold weather through March and April though corn came up pretty well.  We are planting cotton now commenced yesterday.  Tommy and I have about six acres in cotton and seven in corn.   I have the sugar cane patch for myself, three acres.  Tommy has the south side of the ditch in the field below the road, one acre and your Ma claims the orchard - the balance of the field below the road in corn and pinders.  Jesse McKenzie has your cotton patch in corn and the field by the lot in cotton, potatoes and etc.  Dr. Turner will plant the fields out west in cotton.  We have some oats, sugar cane, potatoes and etc.  Our peach crop is very thin, a few on most all the trees.   Nace is having almost all his farm in cotton, the hill field and new grounds in corn.  People are generally planting as much cotton as last year.  Corn is now worth $1.75 in this neighborhood, we have plenty of corn, and bacon to sell, plenty syrup and sugar and honey, and if we had plenty flour we would be independent for this year.   I have sold all my land and will have to hunt a home, but I do not much like to go west, for I would much rather go in middle Alabama or Georgia near some railroad or river where I can buy fertilizers than go to a new country to get rich land.

Sam's health is much better but I think it is doubtful whether he will be able to travel soon, and if he does not go Nace will not unless he gets company.  I think Nace plans to go into mercantile business again and in looking for a place he will have an eye to that instead of rich land.  For my part I am too old to think of making money and if I can get a place convenient to market, church and school and have health, I can bear the poor land.

I want you and Bud to suit yourselves in a home and do the best you can for yourselves.   I would like for all to be near each other but this may never be again.  I am glad to hear you are among civilized people and hope you will always have that thing in view when looking for a home.  We are all creatures of circumstances subject to be governed by outside pressures, and my advice to my children is to form no associations that will tend to lower you in the scale of morality at least.  I hope you are fixed firmly in your principles of honor and integrity - not carried away easily but remember caution is the parent of safety, and I will just say that nothing would bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave sooner than one of my children to act so as to disgrace themselves in any way.  I hope you will do well at least I want you to do well, at whatever you undertake, but I think you would do better farming than teaching.  And I make the assertion that no class of men are less appreciated than teachers, few persons think any more of a good teacher than they would of a good plough hand, and I take it to be impossible for a man to give general satisfaction long to any one neighborhood. 

As Sally is going to write some, I will close by saying farewell and may the blessings of a kind Providence rest upon you.  May you find friends wherever you go and when done with the ills of life be prepared for that better world where parting is no more.

Affectionately,

J. A. Fleming

Let me know how you like Texas, something of the soil production, location of different places, and etc.