Richardson to Clifton Letter

Researcher's Note:
The following handwritten letter has come down to me from my maternal grandfather Benjamin Franklin Clifton, which he received from a cousin Mollie C. Richardson of Hico, Texas. The envelope was addressed to Mr. Frank Clifton Lawrence Co. Seven, Tenn. and post marked Feb. 11, 1889, with a two cent stamp. (Seven was a post office located on Weakley Creek in Lawrence county near the Giles county line.) Frank Clifton was the son of John Martin Clifton (CSA) and Louisa Jane Richardson, daughter of Thomas A. Richardson and Lucinda "Lucy" Caroline Burkitt of Giles and Lawrence County Tennessee. Mollie C. Richardson was the daughter of James F. Richardson and Susan Tucker who migrated to Texas soon after their marriage in Giles county Tenn. James F. was a younger brother of Louisa Richardson Clifton. Frank and Mollie were first cousins.

Hico, Texas is located in Hamilton county Texas, which is about 40 miles below a line half way between Fort Worth and Abilene. One correspondent described it as being a wild and lawless country in 1889. Few killers were ever brought to justice.

Another researcher sent the following from the 1880 census for Bosque county Texas , District 9 (which county borders Hamilton): J.F. Richardson age 34 born TN parents born TN SC with wife S.L. Richardson age 27 (29?) born TN parents born TN TN, Daughter M.C. Richardson age 9 born TX, Son S.B. Richardson age 3 born TX, Son W.T.. Richardson age 6 months born TX.

My wife found on the computer the burial place for James F and his wife in the Hico Cemetery east of Hico on Hwy. 6. Both are listed on one tombstone with the heading Richardson followed by James F. Richardson Sept. 20, 1847 - Feb. 4, 1889 and Susan L. Richardson Oct. 24, 1851 - Dec. 23, 1925.

The letter follows, typed just as written 117 years ago.

"Hico Texas Feb 7, 1889

Dear Cousin Frank,

I received your most welcome letter today. I have very sad news in answer to tell you my Dear Father was shot Feb 4 on Monday night at 6 Oclock, he was shot in the left temple and never spoke a word he lived about four hours. It occurred in a Saloon but he was not drinking he was trying to collect a debt for a firm Votaw and Solomon, he and the man had never had any hard feeling that any one knows of. He went down town to see a man that was talking of buying his ranch and he said he wanted a drink of beer for pa to go in with him and when the man went in the front room to wait on him left no one but pa and the man that shot him in the backroom he left before any one could catch him he has never been seen there has been men hunting him but think they are bout to give him up his name is John Reed they have sent telegrams all up and down the Mail Road. I wish you would come and live with us four children and mama we have no one to care for us now the oldest boy is just nine yrs old we don't know what is to become of us all, I don't believe you would ever regret coming and staying a while anyway. I will tell you about his burial in my next letter if you favor me with and answer which I want you to do. Just as soon as you get this. We are all nearly sick the baby was very sick last night but is some better tonight. You tell all the connection think it the duty of his brother's to see after catching the man if they cared for him, well I will bring my letter to a close by asking you to write soon as you get this excuse the bad writing and spelling & pencil for I am in great trouble.

Your dear orphan cousin
Mollie C Richardson to Frank B Clifton

(In Margin)
I send one of my photos and want you to send me one of yours. Mollie"

See a photo of Frank Clifton.

See a photo of Benjamin Franklin Clifton and his wife Anna Williamson Clifton..

Submitted by: Jim and Ruby Thomas.