4 March 1863: “Every day of my experience in teaching adds to my firm conviction that, if faithfully done, ‘t’is the most laborious of all employments…”

Item description: Letter, 4 March 1863, from Thomas L. Norwood to uncle Walter Waightstill Lenoir about how uncomfortable Thomas was with the idea of being a teacher like others in his family.

Item citation: From the Lenoir Family Papers, #426, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

[To Walter Lenoir]

{Oaks, N.C.
March 4 1863

Dear Uncle,

Every day of my experience in teaching adds to my firm conviction that, if faithfully done, ‘t’is the most laborious of all employments, which are in any degree understood by me.

I believe the teacher must have a rarer combination of talents than is necessary to qualify a man for any other pursuit whatsoever. And, tho I think I am succeeding tolerably well at this early stage of the game, yet I don’t believe I was cut out for the business. The faculty of communication I don’t believe I possess in a sufficient degree to excell at the profession which of all, requires it most. However at present I am getting along very well, at any rate, very pleasantly. I have work enough to keep me very busy five hours in a day. The spare hours are spent mostly in the parlour, which I confess is not altogether the best place to spend so much time. But there are so many of the clan here now that it is almost impossible for me to keep out of so much pleasant company. However there is a general breaking up in a day or two. Cousin Eliza Tillinghast & two or three of uncle WIlliam’s girls are going away, after which I propose to do a vast deal of studying. Mr. Penick & cousin Eliza have just left. [Marne?] is here & is well. Cousin Dell & the young captain also are going away soon. The captain also is quite a fine boy and very much like his father. As for me & my heel, we are getting along quite comfortably, but the heel still runs a little & I can’t wear my shoe. I had the misfortune to catch that old cold I used to always have; but thought I had gotten well of it. I took cold the first night I got here by sleeping in one of those beds spoken of between the “beds,” which are “shorter than a man can stretch himself in, & the covering narrower than he can wrap himself in.” Cousin Will is progressing rather slowly with his text books on account of trouble about printing some way or other. While Mr. Penick was here, he & I sung quite extensively in the psalmodist. Turn to page 290 & sing Calvary &, I think you will like it. Perhaps you are familiar with it. Give a great deal of love to every body. Kiss the boys Gwynn, Tommie & baby diverse times. Tell grandma the heel caps are very convenient indeed.

Uncle Bingham is a great deal better.

Please write soon.

Your affectionate nephew,
Thomas L. Norwood

P.S. I forgot to mention that Lieut. Thos. H. Norwood of the 44th N.C. is also here on a short furlough.

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