February 14, 1900
After best regards to yourself and paper, and as it looks like I will never get time to visit Farmerville I will write you a few lines from Marion. If you think it worthy of a space in your paper you can publish a part or all of some.
Well, the first thing I will mention is the sickness and deaths we have had since fall, and still no end to the sickness — mostly pneumonia. We have at this time in this small place at least 30 cases of measles. This is in a bad form but no deaths as yet from measles.
The next thought I will mention is this, which I feel so proud of, is my friend, W. W. Heard, not only my friend but a friend to all. I think we ought to feel so proud of Billy. He certainly will get all the votes in this parish, he is the best man in the state for this office. He certainly is honest. I would vote for Billy for President. Don’t let any one make you think he is not the man for governor. I tell you he is one honest man. Look what he has done for the state while auditor. He has never been a failure but has always been a success. Then look how the boy has climbed up, never has met defeat. I will not dwell on him any longer as he is so well known and so well liked by all, he needs but little praise from me. I will say to make the matter short the same for James M. Smith. We need W. W. Heard for governor and J. M. Smith for state senator. We all feel proud of them.
Well, the next thought I will mention is the prosperous times we are having. What has caused prosperity to come to the south? It struck the North last year and has spread down South this year. This was caused by the farmers buying less and the advance in cotton. They will tell you that over-production has nothing to do with the price of cotton. I tell you it has all to do with it, and I am fearful the present price of cotton will be the cause of the farmers neglecting the grain crop. Don’t forget and let this little prosperity fool you and get you back in the old rut. The worst thing that I can see here is the credit business and bad whiskey, we have both here. I have sympathy for any one that likes whiskey. I would not be a lover of whiskey for all I possess. Thank the good Lord I have no taste for whiskey, though I once was a great lover of it. Young man, stop and think where this will lead to. When you take one drink this will call for two more. Listen to one that gives you advice from his own experience.
Well, as I don’t wish to worry you, I will leave this for some one more competent than myself and hope some person will write on this line through your paper.
J. H. Roark