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This is the story of a letter written by 17 year old Allen Cook in 1885.

The 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

Allen 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.

The 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.

The grave of this boy's father is probably in that community graveyard, but the living relatives today have never been able to locate the gravesite.

The family of Mr. H.A. Cook, who lives in West Monroe, still have the original letter.

This is the wording in the letter,
a copy of the original letter is shown below.

April 1, 1885

Dear Mother,

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.

The 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.

Dear 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.

I will close for this time. Don't be uneasy about me. I will come home as soon as I can.

Your affectionate son, Allen Cook



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