Saturday, January 23, 2016

Civil War Letter to David Brainard Griffin

We have previously published a short article regarding the letters written home during the Civil War by David Brainard Griffin. The letter posted here is part of that collection. David, in his letters, makes note to his wife of other letters that he wrote and received from the family still living in Essex, VT. This letter is from his sister, Mariah. She starts the letter, “Dear Brother Brainard”. We have included a few pages of the original along with a transcription of the whole letter. In the letter she mentions a number of family names including a reference to Grandmother Griffin. The letter is also noteworthy in its description of a common farm along with its animals. Of particular interest is her notation that they produced 350 pounds of sugar that particular spring. Family records note that her grandfather, Samuel Griffin Jr. was a noted sugar producer. This is the first indication I have ever seen that provides any evidence of the quantities they were producing.---- Our thanks to Lynette Wescovich and Nick Adams for this material.-------- David Brainard // Orlow // Samuel Jr. // Samuel // Samuel Griffin of Killingworth, Ct. Barnard June 7th 1863 Dear Brother Brainard it is with pleasure that I seate myself to answer your kind and long looked for letter I began to think that I should never hear from any of you for I have writen to you but have not had a line from you before since you left Essex and I was some what supprised to get one now, and was glad to hear that you was well and your family but sorry to hear that you to have gone to the war you can hardley find a family but what have got Father Sones Brothers or Husband in the armey and how maney there is that will never return to their homes again. Oh how I do wish that this war would end and peace be restored again. Well here I be settled down in Barnard on a farm and like it very much there is 112 acres of land it is a hill farm but those are called the best we have got 1 yoke of oxen 2 cows 4 two year olds 1 yearing 2 calvs and a horse 41 sheep and 16 lambs one old hog and 12 little pigs 8 hens and a cat not any baby. we have not got our farm paid for yet but if we have good luck and Arvin does not have to go to the war I think that we shall have a home some time. we have kept house 3 years the first year Arvin worked by the month the next we took a place and then we bought here come here one year ago last March. before we kept house we staid in Lowell the most of the time Arvin worked in the picker shop and we boarded with Uncle Charles. Well Sylvia and I have been to Church this afternoon we live 3 miles from the village there is a store a tarven a post office and 3 meeting houses and a grist mill there. have a methodist meeting all of the time and others once in 2 weeks. then it is about 3 miles from Gaysville that is in Stockbridge there is 2 stores one meeting house and 2 woolen factorys there. it is 8 miles to Bethel depot and 12 to Woodstock and a little over half of a mile to the School house. I think that it is about 80 miles to Uncle Johns they was all well the last that I knew of them Claridus has gone to the war he went as a drummer. Arvin and I went over there 2 years ago last winter and from there to Essex with a horse and sleigh had a good time have been home twice with a team it is about 80 miles just a pleasant ride we stop in Montpelier over knight Arvin has an Uncle that lives there his Father Mother Brothers and Sisters live in Barnard he has 4 Sisters and 3 Brothers one of them has gone to war one of the 9 month's men if nothing happens they will be at home next month if not before. I have not had a letter from Henry since he enlisted and a long time before. Mother fetched your minature over for me to see but I should not known it I wish that I could see your babys minatures and them to. Arvin has got the teeth ache the worst kind he washed 100 sheep yesterday and got coald and he is troubled with the rheumatism ever so much but he does not stop for that. we are having quite a shower now it has been quite rainy for a week past the grass is first rate but it is not hardley warm enough for other things, but hope that they will come on before long. We have a good orchard of grafted fruit got some apples now they keep very good we made 350 pounds of sugar this spring. I will try now and finish this letter we had a letter from home last week they was all well from home I say, but there is no home there we have no place that we can call home there you do not know how it does seem to go there and now I cand father Thompson is gone how lonesome it must be Grandmother Griffin is still alive but very feable You tell “Nerva” to write to me I have wrote to her twice since you left Essex but have not got any letter from her once I sent it with Jason I think that you will remember it but I will excuse you now. when you write again, if you are ever permited to do so and I hope that you will be, please tell me how old your Children are and what there Names are for I want to know all about them where is Allen Griffin is he married yet and 'little' Hen as we used to call him where is he and all of the rest of the family I wish that I could go there and see them all I should like to go there to live but presume that will not be has Mary got any Children what is her Mans name. I have not seen Dan for a long time they called to Mothers last winter. they talk of drafting here now they are around enroleing the malitia now but I wish that they would settle up the trouble and let the men stay at home and send the men that they have got home it is taking all of the young men that are able to work away from us and what good has it done yet not any. well I guess that you will think that I have wrote enough unless I can write better but excuse the poor writing wont you and write again. Arvin sais that he does not know what to write and he does not get much time to write for he does all of his work alone he works early and late I dropped the corn for him and shall help him some in haying if I am well think that I shall pick hops this fall I did last fall like it very much. now please write again as soon as you get this tell Nerva to write this from your sister Maria and Arvin D. Angell I call him Arvin Angell we have been married six years and six months the 22 of this month

Essex, Vt Congregational records 1797

We have information from the Essex town records that indicate one of the first items of business taken up by the new community of Essex, Vermont was the organization of a Congregational Society. The town records note that the first meeting for the project was held in the home of Samuel Griffin. The formal church records however do not start until 1797. Prominent in the list of original church members is the name of Samuel Bradley. Samuel was to serve as a Deacon in the Society until his death. The Bradley family name is well represented in the records as are the Griffins and their allied families in particular the Kelloggs (Orlo) and the Days, Zilpha Griffin having married David Day. On page 2 we see the name of John Griffin’s wife Mary.

David and Minerva Griffin's children

Many men in both the North and the South were quick to volunteer for service for their respective countries. At the onset of the war the general feeling among the soldiers on both side was that after a sharp clash the conflict would not last long. As the war drug on the enthusiasm for the war began to wane. Without enough volunteers to fill its ranks both side instituted a military draft. The longer the war stretched on the less popular the draft became. Cities and states were forces to offer sign up bonuses, and reenlistment bonuses in order to fill out the ranks. On average most men left the Army when their usually two year enlistment was up. Such was not the case for David Brainard Griffin. He joined out of a true sense of patriotism. He was eligible to leave the Army after two years. But as he so vividly expresses in the letters he wrote to his family he was determined to stay in the Army until the Union was restored. That decision was to result in his death at the battle of Chickamauga. Knowing that he was going to be a long time away from home in his letters he requested that his wife Minerva have a “likeness” taken of her and the children so that he had something to remind him of his family back home. The photo’s displayed here are in all likelihood copies that his wife kept that have been handed down through his generations. One is of the two girls, Alice Jane and Ida May, the second is Minerva and her son Edgar Lincoln. They come to us courtesy of his granddaughter Lynette Wescovich via the good offices of Nick Adams.

Monday, January 18, 2016

David Brainard Griffin Civil War Letters

Sometime around 1790 Samuel Griffin and his wife Mercy Bailey along with their three sons, John, Samuel Jr. and Dan left Killingworth, Connecticut and moved to the newest frontier in New England, Vermont. In Essex, Chittenden, Vermont. Samuel and his three sons carved out very successful farms from the virgin territory. The Griffin brothers all raised large families and maintained generational presences in Chittenden County. There are multiple generation of Griffins buried in a family plot in the Essex Common Burial Ground.---------- As was true in much of New England there came a time when there was not enough farmland available for the next generation. What we see in Vermont is a generation moving west. One of those moving west was David Brainard Griffin who was the grandson of Samuel Jr. David had married his cousin Philinda Minerva Griffin, the granddaughter of Dan Griffin. On the Blog we have documented their journey west. The family eventually settled on homestead land in southern Minnesota. -------- With the coming of the Civil War a patriotic David Brainard joined the 2nd Minnesota Volunteers. His unit served in the western theater of the war. Throughout his service David kept up a weekly correspondence with his family and his beloved “Nerva”. His letters have survived handed down through his descendants. Early in this century they were published to wide acclaim. At one point they were a featured item at the Chickamauga battle site park where he lost his life. I became aware of the existence of the letters some time ago and have been searching for them for sometime. Much to my delight I recently discovered that David’s grandchildren had taken on the task of republishing the letters. They are now available to the public at large. A copy can be purchased on the Internet site, www.Civil-War-Letters.com.----------- I have written articles on a number of the Griffin cousins who served in the Civil War. By no small coincidence studying the Civil War is one of my treasured hobbies. I mention this to preface the statement that I find the letters to be one of the most unique insights into the life of the every day soldier that I have ever read. David’s description of his patriotism is truly remarkable. His description of army life is very rich. His soldier’s view of life in the south and his perspectives on the slaves and slavery is very rare in period letters. There were Griffins cousins from every branch in the Griffin family tree that served in the Civil War. Many lost their lives. David’s letters offer us a truly rare insight into the lives they led while serving.---- Brad Griffin

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Lowell Bradley and Sarah Ann Button

Lowell S. Bradley married Sarah Ann Button June 29, 1856 in Essex, Vermont. There is a death record for their daughter Edna dated January 20, 1859. It lists her as the daughter of Lowell and Sarah Bradley age 3. Edna is buried in the Essex Common Burial Ground. In the Essex town records we find a 2nd marriage for Sarah dated Feb. 14, 1863 to (Curtis) Samuel Putnam. Sarah Ann Button is identified as the daughter of Jonathan and Elizabeth Button. There is a death record for Sarah Ann Putnam dated Feb 14, 1911 in Elmore, Vermont. She is again identified as the daughter of Jonathan and Elizabeth Button. In her 1st marriage record she is listed as being from Underhill. Her death record lists her place of birth as Westford. ----Reference the Blog April 2014 for the history of Lowell's father Theron.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Norman Samuel Bradley of Essex, Vermont

Norman Samuel Bradley was born in Essex, Vermont in August of 1833 the son of Theron Bradley and Amanda Ring. We find most of his personal data in his death record dated December 30, 1903, which is found in the Williston town records; Bradley Norman S., age 70 yrs, 4 mo and 23 days, Born in Essex, Parents Theron Bradley and Amanda Ring. Found in Volume-1 of the Essex town records is his marriage to Sarah McDonald on “on the 20th day of August A.D. 1854”. Reverend J. D. Lang of the Congregational Society performed the marriage. Norman’s grandfather Samuel Bradley had served as the Deacon in the Society for over thirty years. We find the name of his first two children in the Society records, Lois Carrie and Sylvia Elizabeth. According to family records Sarah C. McDonald was born in Canada her parents English immigrants. The 1900 census notes that she arrived in America in 1845. The same census lists her date of birth as May 1831. I am guessing that the “C” stood for “Carrie” a name she gave to her daughter. The last record we have of her is the 1910 census.------ In the 1860 census the family is living in Essex. The family consisted of Norman and Sarah and their two daughters Carrie age 4 and Silva age 1. In the 1870 census the family is living in Warren, Vermont the family now included five girls, Carrie L., Sylvia, Abby, Maria and Hattie.------- Starting in 1859 Essex began keeping detailed birth and death records. In those records we find the birth and death record for William N. Bradley. William’s birth is recorded on October 6th, 1862. His parents are identified at Norman and Sarah Bradley. His death record is dated August 26, 1863, “William N. Bradley, 10 mo 26 days, Dropsy on the Brain, Norman and Sarah Bradley.”--------- There is no birth record in Essex for Lois Carrie. Evidence suggests that she was born in January of 1856. The only mention of her full name is found in the Congregational records. Her marriage to Alonzo Bellus is found in the Essex town records dated May 5, 1880. His name is spelled Alonzo Bellus. the Bellus family later on used the spelling of Bellows. The marriage record lists the marriage as the first for both and both are listed at the age of 24. Carrie’s parents and listed as Norman S. & Sarah Bradley. The marriage was performed by her father’s first cousin, A. B. Halbert, the Justice of the Peace. In the 1880 census taken in Essex the Bellus family is living next door to the Norman Bradley family. The death record for Carrie is also found in the Essex records in 1889, “November 23, Carrie Bradley Bellus, age 33-10, female, married, Consumption, Born Essex, Norman S. & Sarah Bradley.” Found three lines above is the record of the death of her daughter; May 10, “Not named Bellus, 1-4 Female, Cholera Infantum, Born Westford, Alonzo and Carrie Bellus.”--------- Sylvia Elizabeth Bradley was born according to the 1900 census in June 1854. Other evidence suggests that the date was in 1859. Her official death record places her date of birth in August 1857. The marriage of “Sylvia E. Bradley” to William H. Curtis is dated August 9th 1893. The bride is listed as thirty-four years old, William was twenty years her senior. L. B. Tenney, the Congregational pastor, performed the marriage. Sylvia E. Bradley is buried in the Essex Common Burial Ground. Her headstone reads, “Feb 21, 1901, Wife of Wm. H. Curtis, Age 42.” Her death record, found in the Essex town records, is dated February 21, 1901; Sylvia E. Curtis age 43 yrs 6 mo, married, nephritis, Place of birth Essex, Vt, Parents Norman and Sarah Bradley”.-------- The birth record for Abby Luella Bradley is found in the Essex town records dated July 19, 1864. Her parents are listed as Norman and Sarah Bradley. For most of her life she is identified as “Abbie F.”. Her marriage to Albert S. Bellows age “fifty-one” is found in the Essex records dated May 13, 1885. The marriage is listed as the “third” for Albert. She is listed as ‘Abbie F. Bradley” born in Essex, age “twenty-one”, daughter of Norman and Sarah Bradley. There is another marriage record for Abbie dated November 30th, 1893. She is identified as Abbie F. Bellows age “twenty-nine” the daughter of Norman S. and Sarah Bradley. The groom is Albert M. Thomas age “sixty-one”. The marriage is listed as a second marriage for both. Abbie’s first marriage was performed by a justice of the peace her second by the Congregational pastor. Apparently Abbie and Albert Bellows divorced. Albert Bellow’s death is recorded in Colchester, Vermont, August 12, 1912. A daughter Susan Thomas was born according to Essex records April 10th 1896. The 1900 census finds the Thomas family living in the next County in Cambridge, Vermont. In his marriage record to Abbie, Albert Thomas’s place of birth is listed as Townsend, Vermont. His parents are listed as Amos and Cynthia Thomas. In the town records in Sterling, Massachusetts we find his death record, it is dated March 20, 1904; Albert Major Thomas, place of birth Townsend, Vt, Parents Amos Thomas of Townsend and Cynthia Walden of Townsend. In the 1810 census taken in the 12th Ward in Boston we find Abbie and Susan Thomas age 14.-------- Sarah Maria Bradley was born in Essex September 22, 1866 the daughter of Norman S. and Sarah Bradley. Maria Bradley was living in her sister Abbie’s household in Cambridge in 1900. On September 25, 1901 she became the 3rd wife of her sister Sylvia’s husband William H. Curtis. The marriage is recorded in Cambridge. The record lists her name as Maria S. Bradley, the marriage as her first, her age as 35 years, and her parents Norman and Sarah Bradley. William’s death is recorded in Cambridge August 27, 1905. The last record we have for Maria is the 1920 census taken in Cambridge. She is listed as a widow and a servant. She is living in the household of an older man I think the correct term should have been housekeeper.-------- Harriet Bradley was born in Essex November 27, 1868. According to the census records her family called her Hattie. Her detailed marriage record is found in Boston. Dated September 13, 1896 it records; “Harriet E. Bradley, living Boston, age 24, School teacher, born Essex, Vt, parents Norman and Sarah.” Her husband is listed as; John W. Hunter, residence Hopewell, NB (New Brunswick, Canada), age 36, master mariner, born Hopewell, NB, parents Capt James and Nancy”.-------- In the 1900 census taken in Essex, Norman Bradley is the only name listed in his household. The census records had usually listed him as a farm laborer. The 1900 census notes that he was living in his own home, which he had owned for seven years. Living about twenty-five miles away in Cambridge, Vermont in the household of Albert Thomas we find; Abbie Thomas, Sarah Bradley, mother in law, age 69, Maria Bradley age 33 and Hattie Hunter age 31. In the 1910 census also taken in Cambridge we find living in the household of Harriet Hunter; Sarah Bradley, widow, the mother of six, three still living, and Mariah Curtis, widow.------- Reference the Blog: April 2014 for Theron Bradley, April 2014 for Samuel and Abigail Bradley

Monday, August 24, 2015

Horace Lawrence and Rachel Taylor

Horace Lawrence was born in Salt Creek, Wayne Count, Ohio, on August 10, 1829. He was one of six children born to Martin Lawrence and Submit Griffin. (Blog January 2014). By 1850 Horace’s mother had passed away and his father, Martin, and his two brothers, Martin Jr. and Chauncey were now living in Springfield, Clark County, Ohio. In the 1850 census Horace is living in Pleasant Valley, Madison County, Iowa with his cousin Chauncey Barlow. In the Union County marriage records we find a marriage recorded February 11, 1852 between Horace Lawrence and Rachael C. Taylor. Rachael was the daughter of William Taylor and Betsy Burdick. She was born August 20, 1833 in Jerome, Union County, Ohio. By the time of the 1860 census Martin Lawrence and his three sons, Martin Jr., Chauncey and Horace are all living in Sabula, Jackson County, Ohio. Sabula was a lumber town sitting on the Mississippi. Timber cut down in Minnesota and Wisconsin was floated down the Mississippi to towns like Sabula where it was processed into finished lumber or made into furniture. The Lawrence brothers were all listed as carpenters or cabinetmakers in the census records. All three Lawrence brothers served in the Civil War. Their brother Chauncey was killed at Vicksburg.------- Horace and Rachel were living in Sabula at the time of her death in 1874. Her headstone reads; Rachel C, wife of H Lawrence, died Mar. 26, 1874, 40y 07 m 06d.” Rachel/Rachael is buried in the Lawrence family plot in the Evergreen Cemetery in Sabula/Union next to her father in law, Martin, and her daughter, Mary Submit. Horace remarried taking Amanda as his second wife. Horace and Amanda Heckert were married in Clinton, Iowa May 31, 1876. The couple lived in Sabula until the turn of the century. Horace is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Red Oak, Montgomery County, Iowa. His headstone contains the dates; Aug 10, 1829—July 25, 1912.------- Four children were born to Horace and Rachael in Sabula. The first was Mary Submit named after her grandmother Submit Griffin Lawrence. The only record of her is her headstone, which is found in the Evergreen Cemetery in Sabula/Union, Iowa. She died on October 7, 1858 at the age of 5 years, 9 months and 9 days. --------- The 1860 census, taken in Sabula, shows Horace and Rachael and two children, Emma E., age 5, born in Iowa and Edward, age 5/12, born in Iowa. Emma married Alonzo Charles Wells in Jackson County, Iowa November 5, 1872. Wells family history lists her date of death as August 26, 1841 in Mason City Iowa. According to Wells family tradition her full name was Emma Elizabeth. In the early years of the marriage the couple lived in Sabula. The 1900 census finds them in Eagle Grove, Iowa. The 1900 census lists her date of birth as Aug 1856 and Alonzo’s as Feb. 1847 born in New Hampshire. The 1925 Iowa census finds the widowed Emma living in Cedar Rapids. The census record lists her parents as Horace Lawrence and Rachael Taylor. Living in the same household is her widowed sister Nellie McCone. In the 1930 census she is living with her son Harry Wells in Cedar Rapids. Her last known address was found in the 1940 city directory for Mason City. She is listed as Emma E. Wells widow of Alonzo C. Emma and Alonzo had a large family. She named her oldest son, Horace.------- Edward Lawrence is recorded in the 1860 census at the age of five months and the 1870 census at the age of ten. In the 1880 census there is an Edward Lawrence age 19, born Iowa, Carpenter, living in Muscatine, Iowa another lumber town setting on the Mississippi. The 1880 census is the last record of an Edward Lawrence.------- Nellie Lawrence is listed as age 8 in the 1870 census. In the 1880 census the 18-year-old Nellie is listed as a servant in Iowa Township, in Jackson County. Found in the 1885 Iowa census in the household of A. Charles and Emma Wells is Nellie Lawrence age 23. According to a very well documented McCone family history Nellie married Lewis McCone in Mason City, Iowa. Lewis was the son of William McCone he was born in Linn County, Iowa in 1871. Nellie was nine years older than Lewis. The family history includes the following, “Lewis was tall he said if he found a really short woman, he would marry her Nellie was 4’6”.” The couple spent most of their married years in Colorado where Lewis died July 13, 1922. Lewis is buried in the Fairmont Cemetery in Denver Colorado. The couple did not have any children. In the probate records, recorded in 1922, Nellie declared, “my age is 60”. In 1925 Nellie is living with her sister Emma in Iowa. McCone family history gives us a date of death January 18, 1930 in Mason City, Iowa. Again the two sisters, Nellie and Emma, are found living close to each other in the Mason City directory.------- Horace Lawrence / Submit Griffin / Edward / James / Samuel Griffin Of Killingworth Connecticut.------ Reference the Blog; January 2014, June and July 2013, March 2012.