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friendly sport; anger arose, and harsh words followed; Richardson procured a pistol and shot him, unarmed, and upon that slight provocation.  It is doubtless bad enough, but there are always two sides to such stories, and I have heard but one.  I understood he went to Vicksburg to employ counsel.  His trial was to come on the following week.  He has been married only a few months.

Sunday, June 5, 1836

Read over and arranged my wife's letters, and commenced one to her.  Passed today the mouth of Arkansaw River and of White River.  The day was without incident.  I mixed but little with the passengers.  My thoughts and feelings were on things afar off.

Monday, June 6, 1836

The boat and passengers both begin to improve.  The officers of the boat are very attentive.  The steward, an old black man, is the best steward I have seen on the western waters.  He had been a waiter in a tavern in Alexandria, D. C.  There is on-board a Mr. Mills, a Virginian that I cannot find out.  He is a man of good conversation and good address.  He says he is a cosmopolite, but calls Virginia his home.  There is also a Mr. Stone, who is quite civil, a Mr. Rundell and a Mr. Reynolds, and their wives, Mississippians, going to spend their summer at the North; also Mr. Slaughter of Kentucky, nephew of Phil and Sam Slaughter of Virginia, a respectable, gentlemanly man, and a Mr. January, who has the model of a press for pressing cotton, tobacco, etc.

At 2 o'clock we arrived at Memphis, went ashore to see the town, and was introduced by Mr. Stone to Niel McCoul, the son of old John McCoul, of Spotsylvania.  He says he is doing well.  We had a storm this afternoon, and a hard rain.  Owing to the darkness and storm we laid by at night until daylight in the morning.  Musquitoes have been very bad.

Tuesday, June 7, 1836

Today we passed the town of Randolph.  At night a poor mulatto, who came on board the boat at Natchez, and has exhibited symptoms of insanity, jumped overboard from the stern while the boat was under full way.  Two Negro women saw him go overboard and cried out.  The boat was stopt, but he was neither seen nor heard after he jumped.

In the night also the boat was struck by a snag, which roused some of the passengers.  I must have slept soundly, for I did not hear it.

Wednesday, June 8, 1836

Found ourselves this morning above new Madrid.  Passed Mills' Point, in


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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