Title: Hart, Catherine to Sister Lottie, November 29, [18]52- Key West, Fla. (3 sheets, 12 leaves)
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 Material Information
Title: Hart, Catherine to Sister Lottie, November 29, 1852- Key West, Fla. (3 sheets, 12 leaves)
Physical Description: Transcript
Creator: Hart, Catherine
Publication Date: November 29, 1852
 Subjects
Subject: Civil War
Spatial Coverage: United States of America -- Florida -- Key West
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00096080
Volume ID: VID00002
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: Hart5

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Key West, Nov. 29t [18]52


Dear Lottie

Your last epistle was received amid the hurry and bustle of our departure from the island
for a short tour upon the main land, and as I have been ever since until [sic] the present
time on the move have not had an opportunity of replying to your last. I suppose you
have all wondered at my long silence and perhaps thought me negligent, but I can assure
you I do not deserve the charge. We arrived here last week and the first mail leaves here
on the 30th and though much annoyed with my domestic affairs I hope I shall find time to
start a letter on its way to you. The servant girl I have had living with me for the last
year, has been obliged to stay at home, her mistress requiring her services, and I have not
yet suc[ce]eded in getting one to take her place, at present I have no assistance but a
black boy of 10 or 12 years of age and I find my time in great demand, and in addition to
the cares of kitchen and house I have a cow in the yard which of course requires milking
and feeding daily, the milking I do myself though it requires more strength of hand and
arm than I have. I milk over two quarts every morning, it is more than we can use. I
wish you were here with me to drink some of it. I suppose you would like to know
something about my travels and how I enjoyed myself.

We left K[ey] W[est] in a small schooner of about 20 tons, with of course very poor
accommodations, had head winds all the way, and I was very seasick, were seven days on
the way, a distance of 250 miles, a steamboat can travel it in 26 hours, on the seventh day
we reached Tampa or Fort brook [Fort Brooke] as it is called on the map, if you have an
enlarged map of Florida you can trace my route all the way through, it was our intention
to leave the same day for the country, but Ossian found some difficulty in hiring [sic] a
good horse, we had our own carriage with us, and did not start until next morning about
six o'clock, the first day we rode all day long through the pine woods without any thing
particular occurring, and by night our horse and ourselves were well tired, and glad to
find shelter for the night which we did about eight o'clock, having traveled 38 miles since
morning. To you who are accustomed to traveling by locomotive power, this will appear
a slow way, but I can assure you it is quite fast for Florida for the country people never
make their horses travel out of a walk, and they cannot walk more than 20 or 25 miles per
day. The house we stopt [sic] at for the night was a log pen with two rooms in it, and a
small room put up in the yard separate from the main house for the accommodation of
travelers, after waiting an hour for supper to be cooked and trying very hard to eat
enough to s[a]tisfy our hunger we took possession of the lodge in the yard. There we
found a tolerably comfortable bed, the cleanliness of which will not bear the best
examination, and undressed and laid ourselves down to sleep. Ossian I believe slept
tolerably well at least when I would let him, but I though very tired could not sleep,
because owing to the musty smell the feathers of which the pillows were made compelled
me to lay upon my back the whole night and I cannot sleep upon my back, the instant I
turned, my nose came in contact with the odour [sic] from the pillows, and I could not
stand it. This was our first night. I arose the next morning and prepared to start again,
we found our horse so jaded he was not able to travel any farther and Ossian tryed [sic]
very hard to hire one from the man we stopt with, but could not succeed in hiring, could









only borrow one to go five miles farther, with the expectation of getting one from the
next neighbor. We started with this poor prospect before us, and in addition to our other
discomforts there was every prospect of a severe rain storm coming on, our carriage had a
top which would protect us from the rain, but it made every thing appear gloomy in such
a barren unsettled country, about 10 o'clock we reached the next house, and there we
hired a gentle mule which was soon harnessed in and on we went. 2 o'clock we passed
through a village called [Fort] de Soto, the county cite [seat] for Hernando county, stopt
at the principal boarding house and called for dinner, we sat down to the table which had
upon it salt beef, fried in tallow & the tallow as hard as candles ready for burning, a dash
of homminy [sic], corn bread made without salt, and coffee without milk, you can guess
how much I eat. They charged 25 ct [?] per meal. We paid our fare and proceeded on
and traveled on till eight o'clock which is 2 hours after dark, and that evening it was dark
truly. The we[a]ther had continued stormy and of course the night was dark we could not
see the road and we were much afraid of losing [sic] our way and it was a part of the
country Ossian had never traveled before and did not know what state the roads might be
in, the last two miles we traveled [sic] that night. Ossian was obliged to get out and walk
ahead of the mule, to keep the road, but at last, when I was almost despairing of reaching
a house we discovered a light faintly glim[m]erring through the trees, it was a welcome
sight to weary travelers, for we knew it to be the residence of some settler, and we knew
we could find food and shelter for the night, though perhaps very plain, under the
circumstances we were glad of anything. We found them very poor people, a man and
his wife and five children, the oldest a girl of 9 years of age, the husband and father sick
in bed with the chill and fever, their residence consisted of a log house all in one room
with a fireplace and three beds in it, she prepared us some supper, and by this time I stood
much in need of something to eat for I had eaten nothing that day. I had been wishing all
day for a tumbler of milk but had not succe[e]ded in getting it, after entering this
temporary home, Ossian took a survey of the premises and discovered upon the table two
large pans of milk and came to me with the joyful news and whispered it in my ear to
comfort me, in case there was nothing I could eat I could drink a [sic] plenty of milk, and
it did comfort me. I was delighted at the prospect of having as much milk as I could
drink. Supper was at length announced and soon dispatched and then preparations made
for bed, here also the beds would not bear inspection and what was worse than all she
made her sick husband get up out of his bed and take another [sic] and put us in the one
he had left, and when I laid down in it, [it] was hot from the fever the man had, and the
flies were so thick we could not rest a minuit [minute], so we did not get any sleep that
night. [We] had travel[e]d 31 miles that day. We arose very early and the woman
prepared us some breakfast and we started on, they informed is [us] it was 12 miles to the
Withlachoochee river [Withlacoochee River] which we wanted to cross, as the first tirm
[term] of court was held in Levy County some distance beyond this river, we reached the
ferry about 12 o'clock, crossed and enquired the distance to the next house, was told it
was 2 12 miles, and there we could get a good board and clean lodgings. We proceeded
on of course, and in a short time was there, we found a nice tidy old widow lady with one
little boy and a negrow [sic] man, the owner of the farm. I was well worn out by this we
had come 84 miles to this place in three days time I can assure you and begged Ossian to
let me stop and rest and as the horse was tired down to hire a horse and proceed on with
out me, he reluctantly consented to do it and as soon as we got our dinner, had his horse









saddled and started. I enjoyed myself as well as I could under the circumstances. I had a
clean comfortable bed and a plenty of what was good to eat, plenty of milk and fresh
butter, buttermilk and clabour [?] all of which I am very fond. Ossian was absent one
week, had traveled 70 or 80 miles farther held court and returned got me and started right
back again, the same route we had come, as far as the place where we hired the mule,
there we stopt [sic]. I was to stay there by express invitation during the session of court
in that county, they were very kind, hospitiable [sic] and of a more intelligent gentle
class, than others I have described [sic] to you. The courthouse was five miles from here,
and Ossian rode back and forth every night and morning, there were two females in the
family and and [sic] I enjoyed myself very much until I was taken with chill and fever, a
disease which is very prevalent at this season of the year. My chill came on every other
day, after I had my second chill as court was over Ossian determined to proceed on as
quick as possible to Tampa where the air was more healthy. We started on my well day
and hoped as I had taken large doses of blue pill and quinine that I would miss it, we took
a different[t] route home and found better lodgings, the first night found very genteel
people and good accommodations. Started the next day and about nine o'clock I felt my
chill coming and the nearest house 25 or 30 miles of[f]. The chill was a pretty hard one
lasted about 2 hours, and then came the fever and that lasted until night, it was very hard
to bear, sitting up in the carriage, about 2 o'clock we came to a house and I went in and
threw myself down on the first bed I could see, and played [sic] there until about 4
o'clock when I wrap[p]ed myself up well and proceeded on to the next house, 7 miles
farther. We reached it at dusk and stopt before the door and gave the usual salutation,
"can I get accommodated for the night." ["]Don't [k]no[w], mighty bad chance, we are
not prepared for taking travelers.["] Mr. Hart replys [sic] ["]my wife is sick and she can't
travel any farther tonight, we will put up with anything.["] ["]Well, I'll do the best I can
for you. I can make you a pallet on the floor,["] and this is a sample of the questions and
replys of almost every house we stopt at, we stopt there and she made a pallet on the floor
and there the fleas were so bad I could not rest, that night I got no sleep and we got up
and started two hours before day light, and reached the town of Tampa between ten &
eleven the same day, there we found comfortable quarters and kind friends to welcome
us. I soon recruited and got rid of my chill and fever, and during my stay there enjoyed
myself very much, made some very pleasant acquaintances, rode on horse back every
afternoon and I did enjoy it very much. At this town court lasted nearly two weeks. I
was almost sorry that the time had come for me to return, though I had often thought of
my snug quiet home, and perhaps wished myself there sometimes, yet at Tampa I enjoyed
so much being a stranger and receiving the hospitality and kindness and at[t]tentions
shown to strangers. But an opportunity offered and duty compelled us to take advantage
of it, for the opportunities are not very frequent, and these little sail vessels are the only
means of getting to and from at present. We are hoping to have a line of steamers some
day. We left Tampa on Sunday afternoon and arrived at Key West the following
Saturday at noon. I was quiet seasick coming back as there was a heavy swell and a
pretty hard wind blowing. We found our house and yard just as we had left it, and right
glad we were to reach it once more, it seemed only the more dear, for a two months
absence, the trees and flowers and garden had grown some. You will think perhaps
strange that I could leave home for such a trip as I have just described to you, but there
are more pleasures in it than you think, if I should attempt to tell you every thing all the









little amusing incidents and variety [sic] of people and circumstances I passed through, it
would fill a dozen of these sheets. I have early [sic] glanced at a few of the most
prominent though there were some disagreeables [sic] it is true, yet I enjoyed very much,
the change of scenes, change of heat and climate were both pleasant and beneficial. I get
very tired of the monotonous life we live here upon this island, it is the same thing year
after year. Ossian is compelled to go every spring and fall and I would always prefer
going with him if I could. I cannot bear to separate from him, for I feel uneasy all the
time he is gone. He has been in excellent health all the trip and is so still, our court
comes on a week from tomorrow being the first Monday in December, and then he is up
to his eyes in law. I expect first thing we know he will be Judge, he is rising [sic] fast in
his profession and daily gaining the respect and esteem of the people. Dear Lottie I think
I am writing you a very lengthy letter, or as Col. Hart calls them, a book, but I hope you
will feel interested and read it through patiently and answer speedily. You can form no
idea of the pleasure it gives me to receive long letters from you or Em, and of the
disappointment when they are short and when they do not come. I hope you will write
me lengthy and particular about yourself and every member of the family and everything
at home, and in return I will endeavour [sic] to make my letters as interesting as possible
to induce you to write to me often and long. Tell Emma I received hers some time ago,
and she did not wish me to consider it as an answer to my last to her. I have not, and am
waiting very impatiently for the answer, and hope it will come soon. I was informed by a
gentleman from Jacksonville that Aunty's house and lot there sold for [$2,500 / $250 -
$500 ?]. I should like to know the tenor of her will. I want you to tell Ma to send me out
anything she pleases. I suppose Mr. Gordon will have left before this reaches you or I
won't wish the silver sent my him, if you have not sent it, make up a bundle of the quilts
and anything else you choose and put it on board of some one of the twenty vessels that
are constantly running between here and New York, and it will reached [sic] me in due
time. I have been on the point of sending home for a bonnet this fall but have not done it
yet, and I fear it is to[o] late in the season. I am still wearing the same one sent out 2
years ago, and I think it time I had another though this is good and very clean yet. We
look for Mr. Gordon next boat which will be here on the 10 of next month and he will
board with us again, he seems quite like one of the family. I shall expect some letters
from home if nothing else. Since I wrote you last I have received a present of a very
handsome guitar, a fine instrument with a sweet tone suited for the voice, and some
choice peices [sic] of music. I am just as much in love with it and more since I have got
so fine a guitar of any own, if you send out a bundle, I wish you would select some few
peices and send me. Tell Ma Au[n]ty told the truth when she said I peiced [sic] the
quilts. I do not think she had a single quilt, but I peiced more or less of, but one or two is
enough for me. Now Lottie I hope you will be content with the length of this letter, and
write very soon and as long. I hope Pa & Ma and all the rest are well, give my love to all
and for your self except [sic] the warmest love that can flow from a sister's heart, and
beleive [sic] me ever

Your own affectionate
Kate









Transcribed by Nicole J. Milano, University of Florida, 2009




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