Hugh Wood, son of James and Isabella, was born in Scotland in 1834. He is maybe one of the more tragic figures in our family. His letters are filled with a longing for home and he tends to be pretty hard on himself…talking about his failures and trials. I am still working on what happened to him and will let you all know when I have the answer.
12 July 1857
My Dear Mother,
I take this opportunity of writing you a few lines to let you know where and how I am after the failure of our expedition to Nicaragua. I felt ashamed to return to Texas. Perhaps it was a false pride. It has at least learned me self-dependence, a think I scarcely knew. How or when to think for myself to act and decide for oneself correctly is a lesson that ought to be known as the hours is short that allow me the privilege of writing to you. When I left Orleans it was in company with a man I scarcely knew. A stranger or rather an acquaintance of a few days. I left Franklin, Tennessee there on their way to Memphis. I passed there and came higher up the river because I had no relations and did not wish to impose on those of others. I went up to Nashville, Tenn. and got out of employment a few days ago on account of the rivers getting too low for steamboats to run on them. I have got about 30 dollars. I tell you the truth about it. You, of course, want to know my next resolution. I am now on my way to St. Louis. A boat may be along in a few minutes. I may go to Uncle’s in Illinois. It is uncertain where I may go the best chance that offers to make money I have had a good deal of sickness although I am well at present, but have no fears of me my Dear Mother as I deserve all I suffer and much more. There is one thing I have always been incapable of, namely choosing any companions aright, but is curious how one learns to finds out a man’s character after a little experience. The best way is never to be too familiar with a stranger till you find out his is of the right sort. His smallest acts will give you a clue to the deepest traits of his character, if studied aright for every man is a study in himself. I parted with my companion for very good reasons. He did want to work if he could make anything without it. Gambling and drinking I found was his delight and he did not care whose funds he appropriated. I did not wish to make money to be gambled off by him as he was always borrowing from me. The man that has no respect for a friend will rob a stranger. I hope Frank and Tom is doing well in Memphis. I cannot tell you where to write to me. Although it would be the greatest pleasure I could now attain could I receive a letter from Texas. It is possible I may stay long enough in one place to receive a letter if nothing happens to me. If I write to you of such, you must answer me directly as I am traveling a cheap way working when I can get it anytime is up for writing. Give ______ my love and may she have all the happiness that is possible to receive in this world. I wrote two letters to her lately. I hope she received them if not, she will condemn me of forgetfulness, a charge I would rather not bear. Please let her know that she is still the object of my dearest thoughts.
Give sister Isabela and Janet a brother’s love and tell John to make a good son and an affectionate brother and he will make a good man. My love to Mr. and Mrs. Davis and little Nannie. Munro and Jane likewise. My respect to JB and all of my friends. May the love of God be with you is the sincere ______ of your affectionate son,