This is a transcript of a series of old letters of the Wood family.
Letters to Olive Wood, sister of Lillian Wood, daughters of David and Naoma Wood:
Spring Valley Sept Fri 18th/63
I have been expecting a letter all of the week, and rather expected one from you last week, but none arrives, yet I do not in the least presume that I am forgotten so I just write again, hoping I will get one tomorrow, when I go to the Valley to drill, yet if I had one from you now, I could write perhaps more interestingly to you, under the circumstances I will do the best I can, and you will excuse all errors will you not? I do not know, whether or not it will interest you when I tell you, that my soldier-brother has come home and I think he is one of the best men I have ever seen, he got home on last Tues. night, is in not very good health, but I tell you home has been a perfect paradise ever since he came, he has a 60 days furlough and I anticipate an excellent time.
Dear Olive it is now 8 O clock and 30 min. P.M. and today we had our "pic-nic" had two good addreses, good singing, and the best free dinner I ever saw, harmony prevailed, withal we had an excellent pic-nic. You are all that was wanting, (yet to me, permit me to say that was considerable, especially in my estimation, I think more of our school than ever before, and I previously thought it was the best country-school I ever saw.
Louisa went over to her dist, the next Thurs. after I last saw you and dismised her school for all time, got $15 and an order for the rest of her pay, and then came back and has been at home ever since.
Dear Olive I often think of you and the sweet enjoyments I have had in your company, the rainy day I have not forgotten, yet little did I think before I saw you in the morning we would go to Waukokee(?) but it was a happy day to me, and I have never in the least regretted that we went.
It was a rainy day,
A day of sunless hue;
Yet it was a holy day,
When I gave my love to you.
Perhaps I have written enough without I knew how interesting my letters are to you.
[Spring Valley, Minnesota is a township and village in Fillmore County, so it is not far from Carimona, where the Woods were living in 1863 when Lillian was born in January. Waukopee is a hamlet in Carimona Twp. Chatfield, referenced in the next letter, is a town and township at the northern edge of Fillmore County.]
Spring Valley Nov. 24th/63
I did not recieve any letter last week but I suppose it is my fault entirely, I did not deserve any, and did not much expect one. I wrote one for you though, and went to Spring Valley (4 miles) for no other purpose than to mail it.
Feeling somewhat lonely when I received no word from you I thought the best I then could do was to read all the letters I had of yours, so I got them and found I had a treasure that I before knew nothing of. I read a little of it, and knew I had something new to me, I paused, and studied, read a little further, and recognized it, as the one you gave me to pacify me, when I was there, and would not allow me to read but little of it, I suppose as you did not intend for me to read it, etiquette strictly followed would have required me not to read it, but return it to you.
Dear Olive I could see it was your writing and the temptation was too great, when it seemed so easy to read it, I read it and have it yet, and wish to keep it, but if you do not wish me to have it—I will return it, When you write again tell me whether I may keep it or not, and please say yes, When I see you, I can tell you I suppose I got possession of it, and I hope you will not dislike me for reading. I truly am much pleased with it and shall feel very badly if you do not let me keep it.
Dear Olive I attended Quarterly Meeting, heard Bro. Quigley preach and derived some benefit from it, but I did think there were the most homely and inhuman looking women there I had ever seen in Minn. I would have been glad to have you there, but we are so far separated I cannot see you half as often as I wish to, but I hope it will not always be so, I sent for my watch or I should have seen you last week, I should have told you I intended to be there some time during the week, but thought I might possibly set my watch some other way then I would disappoint you, And now I must tell you I wish you not to depend too much on our going to Waukokee(?) on Christmas, for it is not certain that I can go and leave my school, yet I wish to go if I can make the necessary arrangements for going.
Dear Olive I am not teaching this week on account of some of my school petrons(?) not being ready to send, but will commence next week. I believe the winter term commences at Chatfield next week, and I suppose you will begin your school career in Chatfield then, Truly your lover,
[Notation on this letter indicates it is from George Organ to Olive Wood:]
Columbus (R____) March the 1, 1863
Dear Beloved Olive, this Date finds Me well and with a glad hart and a hand trembling with plesure to know that I have some one in this Worle so dear to Me. You Cannot tell with what plesure I now take this opprotunity this Evening in dropping You a line I recieved your kind and well directed letter this Eve just before we went on Dressperade and you Cannot tell Olive what plesure It Me to write to you. I had almost given up looking for a letter when I got one or two ____ to night, and to think what good advise you give me a but(?) Olive as for Any Man living a true Christain's life in the service(?) where there is all kinds of people(?) it is a very hard Matter to do so but Olive god knows my hart is tender and I will try and do the best I Can, and Olive one thing is sure I will let Entoxicating liquers alone I have cept this promis good here and Olive I can prove to you that I never would take the poison stuff untill that day I was at home Enjoying My furlogh but to a rather bad purpus that day you Cant tell what pain Olive it grevs Me to think of it I hope you have forgiven me. Already(?) I know you have Olive or you would not say so it is know dark we have lit a kandel and got it on a board and Our Copporal is writing to he is Cheaf of our tent(?) thare is six of us in the tent we lay quite snug nights for we are Crowed so bad. Olive you must Excuse My plain way of speaking for some times we forget our sefs the Eaving gun has bin fiard and if Eny one is not used to its thunder like report it will Deafen them I would like to have you see us in Dressprade
[There are two Columbus, Kentuckys, this one is probably in western Hickman County, since there is a Fort Halleck State Park also in western Hickman]
[Another letter to Olive:]
Dear Olive mother told me to wright to you while they eat breakfast I thank you for that apple you sent me I am going to wash to day mother went up to Miss lices(?) yesturday and father went to preston use luce(?) and hores(?) and amelia and libba and hores(?) got amelia and libba a new delain(?) dress Miss stran has herd about Calvin desering and miss stran(?) says when libba gets up in horeses house(?) miss _____ _____ will not runover her. mother is going to quartley meeting she is going to have tilla m_____ to stay with us they will stay away three nights well I have not time to write much more now mother will write some to y from Nettie
[Nettie was Jennette, Olive's younger, by 6 years, sister]
(another hand) to Olive
I send you the lining but the pattern I cannot find I am glad you have got you a dress I hope you will be conted now and go to school steady now I would like to know who gave you money I was much pleased with your paper and think it quite an institution and will sind you the money when father comes out to Johns(?) meeting beshure and be steady. my love to Emma(?) and tell Burty to come and see _____ mother and get some milk
Rosa sends you a peace of the babys dress
[Rosa was another younger sister of Olive and Emma was an older sister. The baby was probably Lillian ]
[Letter from Dewitt Wood to his parents]
Columbus Kentucky June the 8 1863
Der father and mother I set down to let you know that I am wel and hope that this wil find you al the Same at home. I am at Columbus yet but the rigement has left and trat(?) ___ point 10 miles from vixBurg. I guss that the ___ ____ ___ too(?) think(?) that(?) ___ ___ to(?) file(?). By this time I am in the hospital and shal stay til the hospital is moved down the river to the rigement and then I exspect that I shal Bee detaled for the hospital if iam it wil Bee A permant detale for ishal not stay with it al the time. the doctors al want me in the hospital for ihave ben in it lots and had the hull controle of one of the hospitals at madison and thay was wel pleased with mee. Abnerate(?) the hed doctor Gave mee tenn dolars and .50 cents for what idon idont car about going in the hospital for in listed to carry the musket and i feel as tho that was my plase altho I can doo as much good in the hospital as ican in the feld. Thar has Been one of our men died sence the regement left and one more that is very loo his wife is here and takes good car of him but She cant have life atal. There is lot of the men sick But lot of them make themselves sick and thay ar sure to bee sick ever time thay git their pay I must tel you that the third menesota and our regement is in one Brigade and the third was here last nite on their way for our rigement and al of the Boys are glad too think that the 25 and them are together and so am I. The 3 got pade her last nite and iseen al of ther Boys that I ____ But Edwin Pleast(?) and he has sneek out ihope that the rebels wil git him and keep him til this war is over and send him home so you can see how a diserter looks. ____ ____ is well and fit itel you my der father and mother this war has ben the making of him he is a god solger and his captin likes him the Best ____ and he knose more than al of the rest of his folks and he is so glad to think that he is in our brigade he almost cride when he seen me and so did the megowns(?) thay ar al rite and in god health(?) and so is the other first(?) Boy and he feels bad to think of Ed(?) but he cant help it. I shook hands with them al last nite and the last words was from them God Bles you dewitt I hope that we shal fite side By side In(?) this glores caus and ihope so too ican say and tel the truth that the 3 is Bulle(?) if afite(?) thay Brot a rebel cornal in with them last nite that they ____ them Selves and one major and sum privets and left them her in gale. I seen al of them but the privates and them I did not see. thare is one Iowa rigement in our Brigade but icant tel the number of the rigement But I think it is the 40. we have got the Best Brigade that can be cart(?) up(?) thare is no nuse from Vix Burg at present But our men ____ taken it by regler(?) sizes(?) and ar gitting along rite wel I think that when our men git vixburg that wil tel the story with the South the day is ded with them then no more at present rite soon and tel al of the nuse direct al of your leters as you have don and al is rite this from der [could be "dewitt"] to father and mother excuse the poor riting for I have rote this leter in 12(?) minets By the watch ____
your der solger Boy
[Along the side of the letter: "Pray for me der frends"]
[Letter from Rebecca Werden apparently to one or more of her children]
february the 18 1862[or 3] this afternoon my well remembered children I imbrace the long neglected opportunity forgive the urange(?) if their is any my health is midling with the exception of ahard cold the friends are well as usel only laura thinkes of Beeing Better some day never mind I will now tell you why I have not rote Before I have had no ink nor paper and not mutch time I never got my Chest till Recently and I have had so mutch meetings to tend to since I have not had time I am enjoying life about these Dayes I live in the Center Between two meeting places with a good span of horses and slay and plenty of snow and a minister(?) that Delites in meetings it is a fine winter hier the snow is all most knee deep on the level on the level may truly be said for it lyes as it fell it has been steddy cold ever sence January came in wee have had no wind to keepe it up I got my goodes at last all safte thair was nothing hurt But one looking glass and that stitchy(?) I am prepairing to Build in the spring and I anticipat of again having a home that I can take in a weery traveler in if I pleas and not take a scolding for it I have no more to wright answer this if you pleas I have Rote too letters to Rufus(?) and have recieved no answer yet I think out of site out of mind so no more Rebekah Werden
[on the reverse]:
february the 19 laura is mad Because I rote she would bee better some Day and wouldn't(?) wright any so I must finish it my self wee continua well wee Recieved a letter from David woodes people to Day they were well as usal neoma healthe is middling now they were both to Williames on avisit last October But she is laboring under the trieles(?) of all mothers that of her(?) children lucenia and emmy is married and left home emmy has gone a mishionary among the indianes and whare lucnia is I know not Dewit lives heer David is a priching and Dewit wantes to I hope these may find you and yours well Right as soon as you get this Direct your letter to Sextonville Richland Co wis
[Apparently at the time (February 1862) Rebecca had just moved to Sextonville, WI, she was in Wayne County, MI in 1860. Her husband, Ripha, had died in 1849. Laura is her daughter who was 19 or 20 at the time; Rufus, her son, age 21. Lucene, Emma, and Dewitt were children of David Wood and Naomi, Rebecca's daughter. At the time of the letter, David Wood and his family were still in Minnesota, although this letter suggests that Dewitt was in Wisconsin. Wisconsin Civil War records indicate that Dewitt enlisted in the army in August 1862, which suggests that the date on this letter is 1862.]
Letter from Naomi Wood to her daughter Lillian Wood Schuerman, with addenda apparently from David Wood, in envelope which is torn, but address is apparently Mrs. William Schuerman, Rosette, Lincoln County, Kansas, postmark Kampeska, S. Dak. Aug 28, 1891
Kampeska August 26th 91
My Dear Children We received your kind letter and the Birthday presant and you have our thanks and love and prayers al to geather. We had a very nice Diner in wm Fishers grove we should have ben glad to had you and Willie and the Little ones with us.
We mare glad that you sent us sutch a long letter we read it with comfort we are as well as can be expeted for Old folks we still keep to work trying to earn our bread by the swet of our fabe (?) and we thank the Lord that he gives us strength to work.
Dear Children we were glad enough for the news you gave us of Richland. we haven't heard so much since we lift there. I would liked to have been there so much well the next visit you make will be to see us remember we are very old cant live many years longer we want to see you once more at least before we die it seems as though I could not give up but what I shall see you again we would like to winter with you this winter but we cant I am glad you enjoyed your visit do you think the change of climat made you sick Nettie said they could not leave home on such short notice had she known of your being in Wisconsin a little sooner she should certainly have seen you. we are as well as usual but I do suffer so much with my head still I do considerable work fret (?) on a quilt to quilt to day all alone [?] to quilt it alone had the headache all day had the preacher and wife and two ugly children for dinner. Rose and family are well she is running her little store yet, is Madge an advert [or advent?] yet is Dr. MacCollem and wife living, it is to bad that Katie has had to lead such a life where are Finger first children, kiss those little children for me. Mother
[on the inside, in what appears to be another hand:]
As for the times hear the people has a good crop of wheat but a poor crop of corn we hard frost hear the 22 of this month it makes things look sory hear but we cant help it we want you to write to us often as you can and us posted in the times wheas you live. Well i will close for this time