October 11, 1905
As I have a few idle moments I will write you again from Marion. Although we have but little news to impart. There is some sickness hereabout but we have been lucky so far in our little town, as we have few deaths to report. However, we had one death here last week under peculiar circumstances. A man by the name of William Smith coming to hail from Atlanta, Ga., was picked up near our depot in a dying condition.. We got him to town and nursed him two or three days when he died, but stated before his death that he had a wife and five children back in Atlanta. The darkies all got the impression that he died of yellow fever and it was difficult to get them to dig his grave on the account.
We still have no regular trains, except on Sundays, which is of no advantage to us, as it only comes down from Felsenthal, but we still think we ought to get service at least two of three times a week from Monroe via the Junction. This would be a great help to Marion and Farmerville if they would give us round trips and it appears to us that it would pay the railroad to do this. We have just had fine rains here, but cotton has begun to come in and I think it is selling for 9 1/2 and 10 cents, although we have no way to send it to market. The farmers all tell the same thing about the shortness of the crop, and it seems from what they say that we will have about a half crop and it is evident that the state has made the shortest crop of any in the cotton belt, notwithstanding we have more bottom land in cultivation than any of the Southern states. The crop will be very short in the South and I guess about 10,000,000 bales, even with a fair price this will give us a net back for several years to come.
In speaking of the yellow fever, I note that the mosquito alone is held responsible for its spread, and while we are forced to admit that they may help to carry it from one person to another, I think there are other ways by which this disease may be carried about, but we need not fear it in the hills, as the epidemic of 1876 and other epidemics indicated that it favored the swamp county and not the hills, and in the present case, as in other years, we need not look for it to give way until frost falls. It is evident that Arkansas will escape the present epidemic through Jeff Davis’ rigid quarantine, but while he may have made friends at home by his extreme measure, he has lost them abroad, and many will remember him unfavorably in this state for years to come.
As I said before, my health is bad and my time here will soon wind up. My task has been a hard one, but I do hope I will find rest beyond the limits of this life. We used not tell the world about our honesty, as it will find it out, but I do wish that some one would write on this line that could do it the justice it deserves. I will close, hoping that better times are ahead and that all our troubles are in the past.
J. H. Roark.