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How the matter stands about the mill property.

From the Nicholson family file in the local history room at the Iredell County Public Library in Statesville, this letter:

Nicholson’s Mills N.C.

March 4th 1886

Wesley J. Smith & Mary J. Smith

Dear Children we received Your letter of the 4 of Feb and was much rejoiced to hear that You had another fine son and all was doing well, but alas the last mail brough us another letter that give us the painful news that you had met with the sad misfortune to loss the child well my dear children greav not for the child it is gone to a far better state of existance and altho You can not call it back You can go to it where parting will be no more for ever in the sweet groves of bliss.  You wished to know how the matter stands about the mill property I can only say that Anderson Obtained Judgement against me at the last Court at Statesville and it will not be sold in a Short time but I do not know when as he has not Advertised Yet but it will not be long if I do not raise the money and there does not seem to be any Chance to do that.  James A. Barnard has been trying to sell his property ever since las fall so that he could buy mine but he has not met with the chance to do it Yet and I fear he will not find any one to buy his and if he dose not mine will have to go and it will go for nearly nothing.  but I can not help it unless some one would come to my help.  Watsons & family are all well except bad colds Barnard & family are in tolerble health only the baba it is not well nor has not been since xhrismast Wesley’s folks were well when he heard last but that is a month ago.  Sandford Reeces children have the hoopen cough very bad and they have lost little Mattie she died last Sunday morning was a week and they buried her ar Flatrock on monday following Cynthia May had been sick about four months and she died the first of Feb.  Old Miles was sick about two weeks and died the last day of January Jacks wife died the day before christmast.  I am no better off with my rhumatisam but get more and more helpless all the time.  Mama is very poorly at this time with cold but the most of the time she is tolerbly stout for one of her age we can not tell when we can go to see you we are feeble and the weather & the roads are bad,  You must come and see us when You can.

Your Affectionat father & mother     T.A. Nicholson  R.C. Nicholson

Two months later, Thomas Allison Nicholson was dead. The “mill property” — a cotton factory he had announced so confidently in newspapers —
Statesville Record & Landmark, 25 November 1881.
— had been in foreclosure for years.
Nicholson had tried to sell other property to raise cash:
Statesville Record & Landmark, 15 January 1884.
And his creditors had tried repeatedly to unload the factory:
Statesville Record & Landmark, 17 April 1885.
But nothing worked. Thomas Nicholson died with this burden, and soon after, his son’s father-in-law, William I. Colvert, administrator of the estate, announced the liquidation of the cotton factory’s machinery.
Winston-Salem Western Sentinel, 9 December 1886.
The loss of the mill property by no means impoverished the Nicholsons, despite the plaintive tone of Thomas’ letter. When his widow died in 1903, her estate included three large parcels of land on Hunting Creek.
Statesville Record & Landmark, 17 November 1903.

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