is the story of a letter written by 17 year
old Allen Cook in 1885.
young man writes of a tragic event that happened as
he was on a trip with his father down the Ouachita River.
Banks of the Ouachita near Jonesville
and his father were in the business of cutting timber near Monroe,
Louisiana and boating the cut logs to a mill near Jonesville Louisiana.
This tragoc event took place near Jonesville.
stationary the young man used in writing the letter was from R.B.
Walters General Merchandise at Troyville, Louisiana. At that time
Troyville was a small community on the Ouachita river. The name
Troyville was changed to Jonesville in the early 1900s.
grave of this boy's father is probably in that community graveyard,
but the living relatives today have never been able to locate
family of Mr. H.A. Cook, who lives in West Monroe, still have
the original letter.
is the wording in the letter,
a copy of the original letter is shown below.
I will write you few lines to inform you of the sad, sad, accident.
Father was taken sick just about this place last Sunday about
12 o'clock and died that evening about 7:00. I do not know what
was the matter with him, as I could not get any doctor with him.
first I noticed of him being sick was when I called him to wake
up to tell me where we were, and I noticed that he was not rational.
He could not tell me anything so I could understand it, and in
a little while after that, he commenced having fits, and I think
he had about 20. I had him buried as nice as I could in this place.
Mother, I am well myself and will go on through with the timber
and come back home as soon as I can. Mother, I tried to get his
coffin ready, so I could send him home on the Jim Howard, but
failed to get it ready in time for the boat.
will close for this time. Don't be uneasy about me. I will come
home as soon as I can.
affectionate son, Allen Cook