Notes and Documents
"I Am Tired Writeing": A Georgia Farmer
Reports on Texas in 1871
Edited by WILLIAM WARREN ROGERS*
T HE LETTER THAT IS PRESENTED HERE WAS WRITTEN BY HUGH
Harmon McElvy, a Georgia farmer who moved to Texas with
his family in about 1870. McElvy was born on December 24, 1830, in
a rural community in Baker County (presently Mitchell County). His
social world included a large, close-knit family, the Mt. Olive Metho-
dist Church, of which he and his wife Rachel were staunch members,
and the community of Whigham in adjacent Decatur County, where
the McElvys had numerous relations and friends. This pleasant, iso-
lated society in southwest Georgia was shattered by the Civil War.' Al-
though the region escaped military devastation, it suffered severe agri-
cultural dislocation. The era of Reconstruction added bitterness and
increased economic harshness to the times. Like other Georgians and
southerners, McElvy heard fabulous stories of wealth to be had in
Texas. There the land was rich and new and not so expensive that a
small farmer was precluded from making purchases. The lure of
*William W. Rogers is professor of history at Florida State University. He would like
to thank Anne Moreland of Havana, Florida, for furnishing biographical information on
McElvy, and Rosalie Moreland, also of Havana, who owns McElvy's letter.
1Lynette Spence and Anna M. Fleming, History of Mitchell County (Camilla, Ga.,
1977), 42, 44. The name was sometimes spelled McElvey. In 1905 Whigham became a
part of newly created Grady County. See Yvonne Miller Brunton et al., Grady County,
Georgia: Some of Its History, Folk, Architecture (Jackson, Miss., 1979), 6-7, 33, 78; Ken-
neth K. Krakow, Georgia Place-Names (Macon, Ga., 1975), 256-257.
McElvy's name does not appear on the Civil War rosters of any Mitchell County
companies. Most likely, he was the Harman McElvy who enlisted in Decatur County and
served as a private in 1863-1864 in Company I, Eleventh Georgia Cavalry, State Guards.
He enlisted for six months and furnished a horse worth $650 and equipment valued at
$75. See Compiled Service Record of Eleventh Georgia Cavalry (Georgia Department of
Archives and History, Atlanta).
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117150/. Accessed May 2, 2016.