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has been sick with scarlet fever, and looks badly.  Scott is at Helena.  Passed the day in seeing the place, and making inquiries about lands and the country generally.  Saw Dr. Bower, who lives at Providence, in Louisiana, about fifty miles from here [and] Dr. Barnett, who has formed a partnership with a physician near this place -- Dr. Birchete, who is about to settle at Mt. Albon.  Ro. Crump arrived from Natchez.  He has formed a partnership with a Mr. Garwin, of this place, and will return to Virginia for his family immediately.  This is a busy place.  All appear to be intent on making money, and most of them are doing it truly.  The style of living is coarse; tavern dirty and mean, cooking bad, table poor and in bad taste.

Saturday, Octo. 31, 1835

Day raining and uncomfortable.  A horse race; a military parade, two companies, blues and greys, very much like those in Fredericksburg.  Inferior in appearance and discipline; only about twenty men each.  After drill and marching through the town, drew up in front of the hotel and were harangued by Jesse Bledsoe, drunk and foolish -- disgusting.  This man was once a United States Senator, a Judge, and a rival of H. Clay.  Now a common sot, and none so poor as to do him reverence.  Introduced to William Piscod, to whom delivered letter from H. Hill.  Mr. Piscod is President of the Commercial and Railroad Bank, a new institution; is to have three branches, one at Vernon, one at Clinton, and one at Manchester; capital, $4,000,000.  It is expected that a great addition will be made to the banking capital of this State at the next session of the Legislature.  A real estate bank is spoken of, such as in operation in Louisiana, of ten or twelve millions.  The banking capital of the State is already twelve millions.  If that be done, a large portion of the real estate will be bound to the bank.

Sunday, Nov. 1, 1835

The Sabbath but little observed in Vicksburg.  The streets full of wagons, loading and unloading with cotton, whyskey, etc.  Many of the stores open and doing an active business, particularly near the wharves; steamboat, business knows no Sabbath.  There are here two small houses for worship, one for Presbyterians, in which Rev. McRoberts officiates -- not at home -- said to be an indifferent preacher with a very small congregation; one for Methodists, Judge Taylor generally preaches -- absent now.  A Dr. Baker, from the country, preached -- affected, noisy, uninteresting.  Text, first twelve verses of the Sermon on the Mount.  He called it a discourse on human happiness; not at all edifying to me.  Congregation a fair one; many of them strangers.  All well dressed, decently attentive; singing bad.  Four or five members added to church by letter from other churches.  Judge Taylor is a relation of the Orange Taylors.

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The Diary of William Fairfax Gray, from Virginia to Texas, 1835-1837
Copyright 1997 William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas