Introduction by Phil Norfleet
The original of the following letter is in my possession and was obtained from the papers of my great-grandfather, John W. Norfleet (1833-1922) of Moniteau County, Missouri. The letter was written to John by his aunt, Virlinder Shumate Norfleet (1814-1881), of Collin County, Texas. Virlinder was the wife of John (Uncle Jack) Norfleet (1794-1869), the eldest brother of John W. Norfleet's father, Abraham Norfleet. The letter is genealogically interesting due to its references to several other relatives. It is undated but, based on content, the letter was probably written about the year 1858. A digitized copy of the original two page letter is accessible at these hyperlinks:
A transcript of the letter is shown below. Where appropriate, my explanatory comments are provided by the use of end notes. For the sake of clarity, I have edited the letter to correct Virlinder's spelling and some of her punctuation and grammar.
Transcription of Letter
To: Mr. John Norfleet
Undated (probably ca. 1858)
My Dear Nephew,
It is with real pleasure that I sit down to address a few lines by way of remembrance to one I love. I have thought so often, when lonely and sad, that if I only could see you all surely the Earth would wear a more cheerful aspect, the heart would lose its sadness and that again I would be happy - but such is life this leaves us all well.
Your Uncle Jack  has had very good health this winter; he has improved very much. He started yesterday morning to Wayne to see brother Jesse . He says when he gets to Texas that he will get fat on the game.
We read a letter from Mrs. Cooper. She says that brother David  had married her sister, [Louisa] Thomas.  She has five children and was a nurse to his first wife.  I am well acquainted with her that went from Wayne. She is a clever lady though she was very weakly when I saw her last. We wrote him [brother David] a letter two months ago and have not received a line from him. His place of address is Burnet County Hamilton [Texas].
I have nothing of interest to write. We had a snow last Sabbath, five or six inches deep; though yesterday and today the sun has melted it so that it looks like the Winter is over.
John, you have no idea how much good your letter did your Uncle Jack. He has been so anxious to hear from you all; he thinks that your Father and Mother are the salt of the earth. He never speaks of them without tears in his eyes. He says that he never will regret his trip to Missouri. The pleasure he had at your Father's has amply paid him for all his trouble. We never would have known anything of the family. If we can't have the pleasure of them visiting us, it does us good to think what a pleasant family he has. Your Uncle thinks more about you all perhaps than you have any idea of. I am glad to get a letter from any of you as it seems to cheer him up. When we don't get any word, sometimes he thinks that he has been forgotten and it seems to hurt his feelings.
You must be sure to write often. Tell the girls to write and Adam and David. What is the matter with him [David]? He said that he was going to write every week. We have never had a line from him.
Give our love to your Father and Mother and all the children. And you have our best wishes that you may live long on the Earth and be useful and happy.
Your friends and well wishers,
John and Virlinder Norfleet
1. John Norfleet (1794-1869), eldest brother of John W. Norfleet's father.
2. Jesse Norfleet (1804-1889), another brother of John W. Norfleet's father.
3. David Norfleet (1797-1868), another brother of John W. Norfleet's father.
4. Louisa Thomas, David Norfleet's third wife. Louisa was the widow of John Thomas (d. ca. 1855). David and Louisa were married in Burnet County TX on 03 November 1857.
5. Elizabeth Shackleford (d. 1852), David Norfleet's first wife.