This collection (8 items) contains 6 letters that Horace M. and Ophelia Polk of Bastrop, Louisiana wrote to Ophelia's father, Major John Houston Bills of Bolivar, Tennessee. The collection also contains 2 letters that Bills received from other correspondents.
Horace M. Polk's 4 letters to Bills pertain to state and national political issues such as a Louisiana legislature elections committee and related threats from "thugs" in New Orleans (January 31, 1856); the possible presidential nomination of Stephen Douglas and Polk's preference for Douglas over a "black Republican" (March 7, 1859); and the rise of African Americans in Reconstruction-era Louisiana politics and of Radical Republicans in the U.S. Congress (February 20, 1868). Polk also provided news of the health of his wife and children, commented on plantation crops such as cotton and corn, and mentioned the effects of delayed telegraph news on war excitement in Bastrop (October 11, 1861).
Ophelia Polk wrote 2 letters to her father about her children's health, her husband's political career, and the state of the family's plantation. In her letter of January 27, 1862, she commented on developments in the war, the unreliability of news sent by telegraph, the family's attempts to live frugally, and her fear of running the plantation if her husband were to go to war.
Thomas M. Peters wrote one letter to Bills, in which he reported on the recovery of "Captain Polk" and anticipated a battle between Union forces and Confederate troops in Corinth, Mississippi (April 26, 1862). Another correspondent, M. Polk, wrote to Bills about local election results, black voters, and a stabbing (August 6, 1870).