Willis Fawcett Letter 1840-01-29

Willis Fawcett Letter 1840-01-29
by Willis Fawcett

Source: Handwritten original in the private collection of the Chambless family. Transcribed to softcopy by Susan D. Chambless, 1998.


Courtland Feb 7

To Joseph Fawcett Post Master Saint Charles Missouri

Note: Postage was marked "Free"


Gainesville, Ala Jany 29, 1840

My dear Father,

In my last to you I promised to furnish a calculation of the probable increase in Hogs properly managed in Texas – Suppose then we have 100 Breeding sows; that they shall be eighteen months old before breeding; that they have two litter of pigs each year; that the pigs shall be half of each gender; and that each sow shall raise six pigs from each litter. Is there any incorrectness in this foundation for a calculation? read it again – it certainly is not painted – in fact the sows will breed frequently at twelve & fifteen months of age; in Texas they are known to breed often three times a year; and we all know that sows frequently have twelve pigs at a letter, instead of six as above estimated – so there is full allowance for accidents. Say then we have on the

1st Jany 1841,   100 Breeding sows,  
1st July  “ , 100   “   “ & 300 sow pigs   & 300 masculine  
1st Jany 1842, 100   “   “ & 300  “ “ & 300   “
1st July  “ , 100   “   “ & 300  “ “ & 300   “
1st Jany 1843, 400   “   “ & 1,200 “ “ & 1,200  “
1st July  “ , 700   “   “ & 2,100 “ “ & 2,100  “
1st Jany 1844, 1000  “   “ & 3,000 “ “ & 3,000  “

You see through the estimate the Breeding sows started with are simply multiplied by six, three of each gender, until the sow pigs become eighteen months old, when they are added to the hundred Breeding sows and also multiplied by six – the calculation is based upon the compound interest principle, so much admired by worshipers of Gold and which we especially in our condition should have a respect for. The estimate embraces a period of just three years at the end of which time, what have we? we have 7200 of masculine & 7300 of sow hogs, in both 14,500 heads – the masculine could be sold at a fair price either at Houston, Austin or Galveston – at Houston I enquired the price of pork retailing at the market house, the reply was thirty seven & half cents per pound in the currency of Texas, which at Houston is only worth on third its face when compared with silver, making the retail price of pork at Houston twelve & half cents in silver – and this I was informed was the usual price. The breed of hogs that we would take to Texas would afford barrows at twelve month of age weighing at least 200 pounds. Well on the 1st July 1842 we would have 300 of these for sale, for which we will say we could realize 2 ½ cents per pound instead

of the 12 ½ -- the 300 would weigh 6000lbs @ 2 ½ is    $1,500.00
on 1st Jany 1843, 300 more at the same      “   1,500.00
on 1st July 1843, 300   “   “   “   “      “   1,500.00
on 1st Jany 1844, 1200 “ weighing 240,000      “   6,000.00
In the three years making    --     -- $10,500.00

Besides having over 5000 young barrows and the 7,300 sows, which at the lowest would be worth another $10,500 – many of the latter we could sell to emigrants at our own prices, who would want stock hogs, and ours being superior would command attention at a considerable distance. Extend the calculation one year further and we would be independent – You will ask whether these hogs would not require much attention & some corn? They would require no more attention than we among ourselves could conveniently afford and as to the corn, they would require only enough to keep them gentle, as I saw very fine hogs in Texas which had never eaten any corn.

If this can be said for Hogs in favor of our emigration there can almost as much be said separately for sheep, mules & cattle – as I stated before I do not wish to make the move unless we can get the use of say $5,000 capital – three of which would be required for the purchase & transportation of the stock – and the remaining two we would invest in lands – the latter of which would treble its value during the three years embraced in the estimate -- I have sounded two individuals here on the subject, but have not yet received a definite reply – I mentioned that you & Ras would be equally interested with myself and that we would give the capitalest one half the profits.

Would not the attainment of all the above justify the temporary privations and even hardships which we would have to encounter? and is there anything connected with the plan which can be called visionary?

Susan & the boys join me in love to ma & each of all –

Your affectionate son

Willis Fawcett