Newmansville E.s.F
January 25th 1843

Dear Sister,.
I have delayed until the present
time answering your letter sent by Thomas. You are
correct in denominating this the "land of flowers" and
also in the meaning and origin of its name.
During the whole year some flowers are to be seen in
the woods; but during the largest part of the year
they are in greater abundance than in any other county
within my knowledge. In the spring of the year
especially, nature here, appears arranged and bedecked
with every variety of shade & tint and even upon
the barren sandy land a carpet is spread out
of every hue and colouir. In this country you do not
see nature in so grand and sublime form as in
New England. We have no huge rocks and
towering mountains, no abrupt precipices and
roaring waterfalls, no hills of eternal snow and
lakes of ice, but nature here assumes a milder form -
the land sometimes level and plain as far as the
eye can look, covered with the straight
and tall pine and dotted with hammocks impervious to the sight -
or gently undulating or rolling with here and there
a lake or pond smooth & glassy and sometimes
the open prairie its high grass waving with every
[---?] and not infrequent the murmuring brook

[Editors Note: Continued from the back.]

We are always apt to imagine other folks happier than ourselves and
that we should be happier if in such and such places & situations.
I have found out my mistake in this matter and I now believe myself
to be as happy as anyone if not more so. Infact the elements of happi-
ness exist in ourselves and if our own minds and feelings are
kept in the right tone and in healthy condition we can be
contented in a prison. We should be like the bee, gather the
sweets of life from every flower that blooms in our path and not
wander in our imaginations to elysian fields which have no other
or better foundation than fancy. The farmer, for instance, finds
his delight in a well ordered farm with good fences and buildings - in
fine crops and fat hogs and cattle. His wife in good con., plenty
of provisions and good dairy and house kept neat and in order

The sailor finds pleasure in a fine ship, of beautiful model well rigged
and in good order with a good cargo and good wages, fair winds and
quick voyages, and finds pleasure in doing every thing, which can bring
these about. The merchant finds pleasure in well ordered stocks of goods
good customers, no bad debts - books and account in good order.

What gives delight to some man another perhaps cares nothing
about. We should therefore try to derive pleasure and happiness
from our own resources and circumstances – as such things are
within our reach. The purest happiness is derived from an approving
consciousness of doing that which is right, and of contributing to the
happiness of those around us. Besides in whatever we may do we may

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- and the deep river stealing noiselessly along in its winding
way to the Gulf or Ocean. At first sight to a Northerner
this country looks like a sandy barren. He does not
see the thick carpet of grass of the north here unless in
the prairies. The woods are open with the exception of
the hammocks. The pines are not low and branchy, but
straight & tall without a limb for 60 ft perhaps.
The cultivated fields here are covered with dead trees,
which give the farms a somber appearance – add to this
that the land is sandy and one does not see a rock
large enough to throw at a bird in fifty miles of travel
and you must think that it appears strangely to a
stranger. Besides a person may travel 20 miles without
seeing a house and most of the roads are made on
the open pine barren. On these accounts travelers
receive a very unfavorable impression of the country
and of the people because the most of them are indolent
or poor being principally from the poorer classes in
the neighboring states and made poor by the war.
But many rich planters are now moving into the
country and society will improve.
I cannot say that I would wish you to be
in such a rough country as this at present, unless
I had a house and home of my own for you to come
to. You asked if I was associated with the ladies? I must
say that that I do not, or in your words that I live in solitary
grandeur? - not much grandeur either in a log hut!!

[Editors Note: Continued from Page 1]
find some satisfaction in doing it in a neat and proper manner.
A person may and indeed ought to have some ambition and not sit
down in listlessness and care not what comes tomorrow.
We should cherish hopes and have prospects but these should not
prevent us from enjoying the present. I am led into these remarks
by the consciousness that you have a very lonely time at this time of
life which it is the greatest hardship. But I have been
acquainted with young ladies who were accustomed to the wounds
of gaiety that would express their ardent desire to retire to some
sequestered spot where they might enjoy all the pleasures of rural
life where they would be far from the restraints of society and
mix with the simple manners of the country. We may be assured
that the condition of other people however high or grand does
not confer more happiness than we are able to extract from our own.
Whatever may be some of the enjoyment of your absent brothers
how much [---?] they may see of strange people and strange customs
yet they often think of home and all of its real pleasures with
a degree of regret at being obliged to sacrifice it and all its
accompaniments for strangers and strange lands.
Yet I do not think you are discontented - you have
such a patient and mild disposition that you can be content
with any lot. But I hope you will always cherish a lively
disposition, and always be the center of a joyous and happy circle

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Thos is going to the Cedar Keys and he must build
a house, plant an orange grove, fig trees &c &c and one
of these days I expect to live there occasionally if not
wholly. His contemplated home can be made one of the
most delightful and romantic places in Florida. but
he must look more to the profits and to mercantile prospects
than to the beauties of his island home. If he can secure
a situation there, and if only small pay, I shall esteem
it the foundation of future success. I am not without
anxiety however that he may want perseverance and that
his five years separation from home & old friends will seem
long and tedious. He is not prevented however from going
home as often as he can afford it, by his permit of [---?]
ment. In law my residence was in Florida all last summer
although I was afar off. As for mince pies I must say
that they are few and far between in Florida, some few I
have eaten, but they were made by ladies from Yankee land.
I do not think I shall be able to go north again for
a year or two. Thos must go in my stead - but not next
summer about the summer after if nothing prevents.
You must tell Albion & Daniel to keep your flower garden
in order and Charles must sometimes weed it for you.
Thos looks back often to the cold comforts of your land
of steady habits - your evening chats by the warm fire - to the
sleigh riding - skating &c &c - He says he cannot think of
any reason why he was not perfectly contented and happy
there. But so it is not with us; if he was there now he could
not be contented for more than a week that is from my experience.

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[Editors Note: Continued from Page 2]

of acquaintances. Some of these days when Thomas and I settle down
at the Cedar Keys and get some of the comforts of life about us,
you will want to come and visit us - that is if you don't dispose of your
self in the meantime. Your health seemed to be rather delicate
when I was there, if so, you must make father keep a hired
girl to do the work. Thomas is very hardy -he weights ten or
twenty pounds more than when he left home.
I often think about Grandmother Garland doing so much
work; it is not right. Remember me too her, and give my
respects to all my friends. I get no letters from Warren, and I
do not know where to write him. Tell Emily to make Jon Charles
write to me all about his farm &c -
I don't know whether you can read this long letter, but
I think that you have not much else to do of long evenings
and if you cannot do it in one than perhaps in half a dozen
Give my love to the ladies !!!
Your Affectionate Brother
John Parsons