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Thursday, Dec. 24, 1835

Wellford having met with some difficulty in his negotiations, on account of the shape his funds are in, determined to go to Vicksburg to try and cash them.  I last night gave him a letter to Riddle, but while he was dressing this morning I determined to return to Vicksburg with him.  We left Clinton at 8 o'clock a.m., and reached Vicksburg before 6 p.m.  Found letters from Hudgins and Parker.  They have gone to New Orleans, and I resolved to follow by next boat.  Hudgins requested me to sell his horse for $65, and says he will return here and then proceed to Helena.

Friday, Dec. 25, 1835

Christmas Day.  A wet and warm day.  A military parade of the Warren troop and two companies of infantry.  Much drinking and rioting.  Heard of many Egg Nogg parties last night, and the landlord treated this morning, but I saw none; of course, drank none.  My thoughts have often reverted to home today; how differently did I spend this day last year, and how differently are those at home spending it now.

Last night, at a drinking house, two men fought with knives.  A third attempted to part them, and got stabbed.  One of them is dead, and another in danger.  So much for drinking.

Saturday, Dec. 26, 1835

This morning I saw a horrid spectacle.  A man had been shot in the street last night, and was still lying exposed at breakfast time.  There was a bullet in the center of his breast, and three buckshot near the heart.  He was shot by his cousin, Tom Thatcher, because he would not give up a dirk that he wore, with which Thatcher wished to attack another man.  The dirk sheath was still in his bosom, but not the dirk.  The coroner's inquest pronounced him murdered by the hands of Tom Thatcher.  The proof was ample and clear.  The murderer was said to have fled to Louisiana.  At 1 o'clock p.m. the steamboat Chancellor, Capt. Shallcross, came down, and I embarked on board of her.

Much excitement in Vicksburg today.  Riddle had presented a Dr. Goderich for cruelty in beating a servant woman unmercifully, and Goderich had threatened to shoot him.  A conflict was feared.

Came to at Warrenton, about twelve miles below Vicksburg.  While there it was discovered that Thatcher, the murderer, was on board, and young Thompson (son of Mrs. Thompson, of F.) went into town to get an officer to arrest him, but no magistrate could be found.  Some of the citizens came down and said they would arrest him and send him back to Vicksburg in the North Alabama, then lying at the wharf.  He went out with them, but instead of putting

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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