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Letter from A. Russel in Memphis, Tennessee, to John Hooe of Prince William County, Virginia, via Major Fitzhugh, dated December 22, 1827. Russel, possibly a doctor, writes glowingly of the prospects of Memphis. The letter reads: [page 1] Memphis Dec 22 1827. Dear Sir, It has occurred to me that I might address to you a few lines by Maj Fitzhugh that would not be unacceptable. On my return home I studied medicine and two years since commenced my career & now have prospects rather flattering than otherwise. I have located myself here on the banks of the Mississippi entirely with view of anticipation believing this point to be one which none on the river can rival within several hundred miles. It is to call your attention to this section of country that I now write to you. We have here a very extensive region of rich land as well adapted to the growth of cotton as any perhaps in the same latitude. It is at this time attracting much notice abroad and is populating rapidly and the consequence is that land has advanced in price. But at this time that of as good quality as any in the world can be procured at from three to six dollars the differences resulting more from situation than quality. These bargains are to be had within twenty miles of the river in almost any direction. And there can be no question but places can be selected where there would be but little risque [sic] of health. You will be scarcely able to appreciate the advantages we possess over any other section of the West. We have through the Mississippi intercourse with the whole world and there [page 2] is no comodity [sic] of the world scarcely that we are not familiar with. There is at this time lying at this place about forty flat boats filled with every article that the country north of this produces comprising the states on the Ohio Masourie [sic] & Mississippi. And wherever our produce is ready for market it goes and a return made in from ten days to two weeks. This enables us to avail ourselves of the best prices as a depression generally ensues on the rush of the immense quantity when the smaller streams rise so to permit it to find its way out. However I will particularize no farther but refer you to Maj Fitzhugh for a more ample account. You certainly I think would be fully compensated by one visit and it would afford me great pleasure to see you here particularly when you could exchange to so much effect your barren fields for the finest land of the continent. You may assure my good cousin your lady that she will recognize as white if not as genteel some of us and that nothing is to be apprehended from the Tommyhawk or scalping knife. Our Town contains 300 inhabitants and is rapidly advancing about 500 tons were landed in the last ten days. You find me as slovenly at this business of writing as in other respects but a letter is a letter and if you will obey my request it may profit you something. By the way I should be glad to hear from you after you decipher this scroll. Receve [sic] for yourself & family my higest [sic] regard. A. Russel




1827 December 22


Memphis (Tenn.)

A. Russel letter, Memphis, 1827