The following is a transcription of a letter written by Green Berry Talbot (The General) to his daughter, Elisabeth Talbot Barnes. Original letter in possession of Beverly Barnes Edwards.
Calhoun City, Ark., Hampton Post office
March 1st, 1872
To Warren & Elizabeth Barnes. I take this opportunity of writing you a few lines we received your letter dated 10th of January in Due Time which gave us great satisfaction to hear from you and hope that you will write oftener for the future and we will try and do the same[.] This lieves us and friends around us in good health. I was up at Mr. Silmons at Gardner a few days ago. They were well. Silmon is trying to sell out and move to Texas to get near his son. I have no doubt but you were surprize when you heard that I had moved here. I have no doubt but what I should have spent my days where I was if the war had not placed me in this situation that I was in by it. The family has bin [been] writing to you occasionally but I do not know what they have written. It left me with Tims and Sikes familys also Moses Barnes family. I gauge [?] that they have written to you the circumstances of their death so I concluded that if the Lord would spare my life to get here I would move for their benefit[.] My son Green bought for me a quarter Section of Land with fifteen or 20 acres of cleared(?) on it[.] We are trying to add [?] to it. We had an opportunity of renting as much land as we wanted so we made corn enough to do us. Sarah Barnes and Caroline Tims has both taken homsteds (sic) on it. Caroline lies one mile from me. She has bilt (sic) and living on it. Sarah two miles off. She has bilt(sic) on it and had rented land from her brother Green. She intends to move this summer. They are pretty fair quarter sections for this country. Land is ___sale here and the most of it for sale. Taxes is so high that people is not anchous [anxious] to own much land. My family all appears to be well satisfied. I claim all that came with me.
You wanted us to send the names and age of our family, so I will commence with mine. Green Talbot was Born November 25, 1791, Mary Grant Hughes which was my first wife, December 24th, 1795, Mary Tate Anthony February 6, 1795, James Anthony May 8th 1816, Mary Grant Talbot July 30th, 1817, William Bailey Talbot, January 30th, 1819, Anne Tate Talbot January 27th 1821, Green Berry Talbot February 12th 1923, Sarah Anderson and Lucy Swift Talbot February 16, 1825, Martha Phillips Talbot October 26th 1826, Elizabeth Hail Talbot February 8th, 1829, Harriet Crofford (!) Talbot January 8th 1831, Emmily Greer Talbot November 27th, 1832, Caroline America Talbot May 18th, 1835, Matthew Henry Talbot December 13th 1837.
I have not the ages of Sarah Barnes nor Caroline Tims children before me so I will give you their names. Lucy Adella(?) Barnes, William Corneleus (?) Barnes, Green Talbot Barnes, James Moses Barnes. Talbot Bulger Tims was born 12 Sept 1833, Virginia Ann Tims, Camella Tate Tims.
We have a good set of neighbors. They all appear like home folks and peasable [peaceable] and I think would remain so if the Radicles (sic) would let them alone. The President and his (under strikin??) has set a man from Massachusetts to keep good order amongst us and commissioned him a Justice of the Peace to act anywhere in the State. The first we heard of him was in Union County adjoining this Calhoon. He had to leave there for some misdemeanor. Since he has come here he has had a several arrested and brought before him and his Radical associates and put heavy fines on them and puts the money in their own pocket. The radicles and him appears to be great friends to the freedmen. One of them went into a grocery(?) a few days back and misbehaved. The owner of the house ordered him out. The freed man told him he would not go, that he had as much right there as any man, shuck his fist in his face. From that the owner of the house drew a pistol and shot at him but missed him so this Radical Justice had him arrested. He gave bond to the office(r) to appear on trial, but that did not satisfy the Justice of the Peace and his radical clan. They ordered out negro running over the County to warn in the Black militia and by 12 o’clock at night the town was crowed with armed negrow(sic) men. Then this yanky Justice of the Peace and one of the judges[?] of the court march and surrounded his house and hailed(?) him. He had gone to bed he got up and went to the door. They fired on him and shot him to pieces. The negros stayed around the house the ballance(sic) of the night. The Black militia stayed several days in town to protect the Radicles. There was an inquest held over the corps(e). The verdict was Willful murder so the proper authority has had the leaders of the clan arrested and bound over to court so all appeared to be quiet and peace but in a short time after this same Yankee gardian(?) or Justice ;of the Peace steales from a man $1.90 some odds dollars so he is arrested and bound to appear at next Court.
I failed to put down the names of Emmily Sikes children. She left two sons to wit Green Talbot Sikes was born April 17th, 1858 and John Preston Sikes was born August the 9th, 1860. They are both fine boys and living with me. I shall have to close as my sheet of paper is out. Write to us and if I am a living I will try to answer it. I remain you affectionate Father