Don't worry, you're not going blind. This is a very faint copy of a copy of a letter that was faint to begin with. I don't know where the original is now, but I just copied the 1980 Xerox onto the computer. Unfortunately Blogger won't let me upload more than a smidgen of the size of the scanned photo. But don't worry, I've transcribed it already.
I have yet to determine where Grigsby's Bluff might be. But my grandmother's grandfather owned a farm just before the Civil War there. His wife Mary Granger Phillips died suddenly, and this letter is to her sister from her father, as he went to the house. At that time the husband had been seen by someone in Houston, and there weren't any clear explanations given of her death (at least in the letter).
So this is a sad letter. But it also tells a lot of the life that was being lived just before the Civil War in Texas, written in Dec. 1861. Her husband, William Phillips, died as a soldier during the war just a few years later, leaving 2 young children to be raised by grandparents, aunts and uncles.
And I have many more letters that were written by my grandmother's grandmother (she who had died so young). I'm slowly transcribing them. And I've already scanned them into a drop box where they are no longer kept in memory on my own computer.
And I've started sending the photo files to Ancestry.com for my ancestors to have their words attached to their vital statistics. I'll add the transcriptions as soon as I finish typing them.
Why? Well, somehow these words from these people have survived over 150 years. They were just regular people living their lives. Now here I am and finally have a break in my own life with enough time to do this. So it's a project a 70 year old woman can do for the rest of the descendants of these hard working, brave, sometimes anxious, sometimes sick people, many of whom died young.
I recently watched the PBS story about Margaret Mitchell. She was a few generations removed from the war, but depicted it in her romantic novel. I can see the words of my ancestor sounding so like Scarlet in her naivete. She goes on and on about a beautiful piano which has been shipped from the East to a Texas town which has no other piano in it. Then a few years later she admits the 16 blacks and 6 whites on their farm have little to eat and is not sure what may happen next. She is also sorry to not have shoes for her daughter.
I'll make the transcritions available. I don't think the person who has the originals has published them, so they are probably not under copyright.