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Title: Letter from Peter W. Hairston to Ruth S. Hairston, February 3, 1835: Electronic Edition.
Author: Hairston, Peter Wilson, 1819-1886
Editor: Erika Lindemann
Funding from the State Library of North Carolina supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text transcribed by Erika Lindemann
Images scanned by Mara E. Dabrishus
Text encoded by Sarah Ficke
First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 13K
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
The electronic edition is a part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2005-03-15, Sarah Ficke finished TEI/XML encoding.
Part of a series:
This transcribed document is part of a digital collection, titled True and Candid Compositions: The Lives and Writings of Antebellum Students in North Carolina
written by Lindemann, Erika
Title of collection: Wilson and Hairston Family Papers (#4134), Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Letter from Peter W. Hairston to Ruth S. Hairston, February 3, 1835
Author: Peter W. Hairston
Description: 2 pages, 3 page images
Note: Call number 4134 (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Topics covered:
Education/UNC Buildings and Grounds
Health and Disease/General
Health and Disease/Deaths of Students and Faculty
Examples of Student Writing/Letters and Letter Writing
Editorial practices
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 5 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Transcript of the personal correspondence. Originals are in the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been preserved.
DocSouth staff created a 600 dpi uncompressed TIFF file for each image. The TIFF images were then saved as JPEG images at 100 dpi for web access.
Page images can be viewed and compared in parallel with the text.
Any hyphens occurring in line breaks have been removed, and the trailing part of a word has been joined to the preceding line.
Letters, words and passages marked as deleted or added in originals have been encoded accordingly.
All quotation marks, em dashes and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
All double right and left quotation marks are encoded as ".
All single right and left quotation marks are encoded as '.
All em dashes are encoded as —.
Indentation in lines has not been preserved.

For more information about transcription and other editorial decisions, see Dr. Erika Lindemann's explanation under the section Editorial Practices.

Document Summary

Hairston informs his grandmother of the death of Pres. Joseph Caldwell.
Letter from Peter W. Hairston to Ruth S. Hairston, February 3, 18351
Hairston, Peter Wilson, 1819-1886

Page 1

Chapel Hill February 3d 1835

My dear Grand Mother

Although the time since I saw you has been very short, yet the anxiety of hearing from you and Grand Pa2 has prompted me to write you a few lines. I suppose you will hear before this reaches you of the melancholy circumstance of the death of our venerable President Joseph Caldwell 3 who expired on tuesday last the 27th of January with the disease of which he has been afflicted for many years past.4 In my opion there is no man who can fill this office in the manner in which he has. He bought a bell that can be heard three or four miles at his own expense for the use of the College and had various other improvements made upon the buildings for which he never was refunded.
I apply myself to my studies as well as my

Page 2
health will permit as I have been plauged continually with the head ache ever since I have been in this place.
I set in my window one night in last week and heard a fox chase, they caught the Fox.5 But he lives eight or ten miles from this place. Write to me soon.
Give my Love to Grand Pa and Aunt Charity and receive the same from your

Most affectionate Grandson

P W Hairston

P. S. They took Dr Calwell up three days after they had had buried him to take his mask.6

P W Hairston

Envelope page


1. Wilson and Hairston Family Papers, SHC. The letter is addressed to "Mrs Ruth S Hairston/ Dick,s store/ Henry County/ Virginia." Though it has been stamped with a circular postmark in the upper left corner, the date is too faint to read. The amount of postage, "12 1/2" cents, has been superimposed in ink on the same amount written in pencil in the upper right corner. Someone also has written in pencil in the lower left corner "Mail" and at the top center of the envelope face "Single."

2. Probably Robert Hairston (1783-1852).

3. Hairston wrote "Joseph Caldwell" on top of Caldwell.

4. Sources claim that in about 1829 Caldwell contracted a "chronic disease," apparently kidney stones. In 1833 he visited doctors in Philadelphia, who pronounced the disease incurable and "advised against lithotomy" (Battle 1:353), surgery to remove the stones from the bladder. Professor Walker Anderson , euologizing Caldwell during the 1835 Commencement describes the last three days of Caldwell's life: "By the exercise of prayers and other acts of the holy religion he professed, he strengthened himself for the last conflict, and spoke words of consolation and hope to his sorrowing friends. But death was yet to be indulged with a brief triumph, and for three days his sufferings were protracted with such intensity that his vigorous and well-balanced mind sank beneath the contest" (Battle 1:416).

5. Hairston capitalized Fox after writing fox.

6. According to Battle , Caldwell's body was first buried in the village cemetery, then was exhumed in November 1835 so that Alfred S. Waugh, an artist, could cast Caldwell's features in plaster to make a bust. On October 31, 1846, Caldwell was reinterred beside his wife near Person Hall and a monument was erected in honor of both Joseph and Helen Hooper Caldwell . On June 2, 1858, a new monument was dedicated, and on August 19, 1876, William Hooper , Helen Hooper Caldwell's son, was interred next to his mother (Battle 1:414, 503, 692).