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This letter is from James W. Thomas to his wife Mary A. Reddish Thomas. The letter is dated 1866, they've been married 7 years, and for some reason he is in Warsaw and she living in Wyoming. Within the next four years they will have left NY and migrated to NE.
Names mentioned, or explained: Thayer, Keith, Sherwood, Little[?], Saffin,
Warsaw, April 24th, 66
Companion of my youth & fellow laberer for an inheritance here and hereafter as I greet you through the Post
for the first time if affords me pleasure to announce to you that I arived safe at the corners here in the center of the univerz [university?]
in order to get on the coach
I had to run as far as Thayers and leave O S Keith abruptly I leased the Little home to Benney Sherwood and left the key with O.S. she wants to move on Monday next I want B R or R R Saffin to hang the paper. there is ____ at O.B.s at 18th that she likes. please see that it is done and that it is plastered. I did not have time you had better ride down with Father when he goes to work and let them have the other key and if they want a lease[?] give them one and make other arrangements. Margie thinks with her power over the human hart she could get her to buy have her try. I think she will give 75-0 try her for 775. you could do as well with her now as by & by. get her right and you might get 800, as she wants to stay in Wyo. try in some shy way to find out wether Pa is going to use his oak plank in a year or two. I covit it very mutch ____ would not spare his. I lack enough for 3 wheels. tell the good people that I hope to see them again in the flesh if not may we meet above where Emigrantation (sic) is not.
I wont send a kiss the driver might hook it. I remain ever your weded Husband.
This letter to Mary A. Reddish Thomas comes from a friend named Zini, no last name, who preceded Mary & husband James to Ashland, NE. Zini wrote a number of letters to Mary strongly urging them to leave Wyoming and move to Ashland where they would be much more successful, but most of them are incomplete letters with missing pages. I've inserted a comma or period here and there to make it easier for others to read, but the original has very little punctuation.
Names mentioned or explained in this letter: WALKER, MILLER, PECK, ROGERS, PARMINIR?, HOLBROOK, ALEN/ALLEN?
Ashland, May 17th/68 
My Dear Friend
After being in a strange land for a number of weeks I thought perhaps you would be glad to hear from us, and I will endeavor to give you a description of the country, and __ _____
In the first place we are all well as usual,
Ive started from Warsaw as I wrote to you we had a very pleasant journey were from Monday morning until Wednsday at four oclock at night going to Council Bluffs we made very quick time we stayed there over night and then Harlow called on us and we saw a Mr ?yron & ? from Hungary. I forgot to tell you that Jedediah Walker came through with us to see his son Charlie Walker, he lives six or seven miles from us. the next morning we started down the Missouri river by rail 18 miles and then staged it six miles to the ferry across the Missouri we drove right on to the steamer and land across to Plattsmouth the place where Jason Miller lives
Alberts people met us there and P/s folks and we have all been boarding to the hotel until last Wednsday we have had a very pleasant time we visited Mr Millers he lives nearly two miles from town he has a very nice house and everything to make him comfortable about it stands on the Bluffs on the bank of the Missouri river right where the Platte river empties in to the Missouri it is verry romantic place indeed we had a splendid time there and we have also visited Mrs Millers brother Philitus[?] Peck's, he lives in town, he lost his wife last fall and his sister keeps house for him, Mirinda Peck you ? of seeing her to Mr. Roger'es.
we have passed the time verry pleasantly ? Holbrook boarded at the same place that we did he is thought a good deal of here
? you ? go you will find those that you are acquainted with, and now I will procede with my journey,
we left Plattsmouth last Wendsday in a double wagon with spring seats, by the way we have all got nice teams and new double wagons
two of the teams were loaded with our boxes & the other carried Helin & Ann, Mother & I, Addie[?], Mary/Many, Willie, & Albert,& four large Saratoga trunks, one good sized trunk, ? big satchels, one hand trunk, ? ? hand satchels, groceries, a large pail of butter, and shawls, over coats, hat boxes, and I carried a large dinner basket full of eggs in my lap besides numerous other articles. you better believe we had a jolly time. we arrive at Ashland about nine oclock 30 miles from where we started. we stayed there over night at a little western hotel we had two beds for the whole of us and a ? Mother Spencer and I and Willie layed down on one bed with out cloths on and Helen, Albert, Addie, and Many in the other and Ann Parminir[?] on the lounge. dont you think we had a nice time we were glad to stay in that way. our home is four miles beyond Ashland the boys had been out there and selected their place each of them a homestead on the broad rotting prarrie between the salt creek and the wahoo creek, the nearest house is a mile and half and that is built of sod, we can see down on to salt creek and see the trees and houses but they are three or four miles from us and the other ways it is broad prarie it is very pretty for a new place. i will now give you a description of our house and home. you can down in Mr Selden Alens?
In another letter Zini mentions names back in Wyoming - Henry Hovey was there in Ashland and got a letter from Charlie Watkins, who was going west and coming to Ashland. Zini also mentions getting a letter from Wze? Very hard to make out that name, but that person mentioned that Pete Davis was married and gone to Mary Goulds on her wedding tour; and Mrs. Henery Terry was dead and Aunt Bently? was just alive. Mr & Mrs Dexter and their little daughter also in Ashland.
In other letters Zini urges Mary and family to bring as much as they can because furniture is scarce and expensive to buy . "we want people to come here with their religion and they can do a gread deal of good." She did not think much of the natives, but said there were some nice people and one could house boarders and it's hard to find a decent place to board and one could charge $4 or $5 a week, plus Ashland was starting a subscription paper, but she wasn't convinced how good it could be until the cars and telegraph came in, but Lincoln had quite a spicy little paper.
As of the end of the month (May 2010) my old email address on the Wyoming County, NY web site will not longer be working. I have tried to contact Betty to have it changed but have not been able to reach her. I have received numerous requests the past two weeks at the juno address and just wanted to let all of you know the new email address is: anitahayes47(a)yahoo.com
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I debated on this letter because it is a bit long and depressing, but there are names and I was fascinated with the moment-by-moment recount of Hiron Reddish's last hours. The letter goes out to his daughter, Mary A. Thomas who is living in Ashland, NE, and the "boys" mentioned are her brothers Allen and Adelbert Reddish living in the Lincoln, NE area. I guess because they couldn't be there that family members felt it necessary for them to truly experience all that went on. My comments are in brackets.
Family names mentioned, or explained: REDDISH, GATH, MILLER, WATKINS, BARROWS, HOWES, WEBSTER, HENDERSON, ACKERMAN, FISH, ROBERTS, CARLTON, EWEL, VELZEY(?), PECK, STANARD, MCBAIN, SMITH
I can provide more information on most of the names relating to the Reddish family.
Wyoming May 5th 1886
Dear Sister Mary
I have written a long letter to Uncle Jason (don't know who he is) to day, and just took up a book to read a few minutes & thoughts like this came to me. I am just as selfish as I can be. I ought to write to Mary for I presume none of the rest will right away so I laid down my book & got my writing material. I should not have been reading only I don't feel able to do anything. I wrote you a letter in great haste Wednesday morn after we had watched over fathers bed all night. I told you of his awakening as if from sleep & mothers talking with him & his replys. so I will not repeat that for doubtless the others will write it to you. Well all the forenoon Wednesday he would get his eyes on Charlie [his son] & try to talk with him, but they could not understand him. I don't think he opened his eyes or realized any thing after that.
Thursday morning he was laid off on the sofa & the bed changed & when they laid him back on the bed he opened his eyes but Ed ]Edgar Reddish, his son?] said there was no expression. We were all there but Rose [Rose M. Gath Reddish, md. to Hiron's son Frank O.] Tuesday night, she had to be with Claud [s/o Frank & Rose] & her sister came Wednesday & stayed till yesterday, and we were all there Wednesday night, and all but me on Thursday night, so I was not there to see him breathe his last, but he did not rouse up only breathed shorter & shorter & stopped. while I was there Thursday evening, I went at five and came away at 10.30, he stopped breathing so many times, and we thought he had gone, but he would catch his breath & groan or more of a cry than a groad, and come back, those spells came so often between seven & ten we children hardly left the bedside. I layed on the sofa, right in the room (the parlor) Flo [his daughter Florence Miller] sat either on the bed or in a chair at the side of the bed & held her fathers hand & once when he stopped breathing she threw up her hands and screamed & once she fell right over and Ely [Eli DeForrest Miller, her husband] caughter her & he finally had to lead her out in the other room & lay her down on the ____ & then he had to talk & talk to her to keep her there.
Mother [Eliza Watkins Reddish] sat in a large rocker at the head of the bed. Charlie [his son] was on one-knee at the foot, he was right there so much of the time, the rest either stood or sat as close to the bed as they could get. only think find men crying as hard as they could cry. I only pray that God will sanctify it to their good, as I said I came home at 10.30 & about that time the rest went up stairs & layed down. Ort Howes & Nick Webter [don't know who they were] sat up. They went home and Marnie & Ort [Ortaville was Hiron's son, Marnie Barrows his wife] took their places by the bed at five, in a very few minutes they saw a change & called the rest. they all came at once but Flo & Ely. they had partly undressed I think, & they sent again for Flo to hurry & he only breathed a few times after she got there. of course they did not send for me for there was not time but as soon as he was gone Gene [Eugene, s/o Hiron and huband of the author of this letter] came up for me.
Father looked so easy for three days and nights he had hiccoughs nearly every breath, & it shook him so you could hear the springs, & now he was at rest. he commenced to hiccough some time between 5 & 6 Thursday morning and died at 3:30 friday morning. You may wonder why I came away Thursday night - I was sick, & from that time till Monday Ma [either her mother or Eliza Reddish] said I never looked as pale & bad even when I was sick in bed. I feared I could not go to the funeral, but God gave me strength. Gene went to the City Saturday and got an anchor of everlasting flowers and a sheave of wheat & sickle of flowers those were the childrens gift. We were all home Sunday but Eds folks [perhaps Edgars wife and child?], they came on Monday morning & stayed till yesterday afternoon. the funeral was Monday at 1 oclock at the church Bro Henderson & Bro Ackerman were invited to come & take part in the services but neither of them came. We have not learned why yet. so our good little Bro Fish was left alone but he did splendidly, he & his wife both think everything of father & mother. fathers casket was fifty five dollars it was covered with black broadcloth & velvet. it opened like double doors each with two sets of hinges so when you open one half of each cover layed down on the side of the casket. the covers were lined with white satin. Bro Fish made a prayer at the house it was full of relatives. & we took our leave of father there, then the bearers Willard Howes, Thomas Miller, Mr. Velzey[?] Mr. Roberts Frank Carlton and Cornelius Ewel carried him to the church folled by Mother & Charlie, & then the other children, & grandchildren, sisters & husbands & cousins. I rode up as far as here & then stepped out from here & walked up with Gene.
The services commenced with the singing of fathers favorite piece. Saviour more than life to me. found in Gospel Hymns. Prayer & the reading of the 14 chap of John. Singing of the hymn found in the Hymnal How blest the righteous when he dies, and the sermon from the text found in the 3 chap Roman & 12 verse it is a peculiar text but the sermon was good at the close Hattie McBain Cushing sung a solo One by One in No 4 of the Gospel Hymns. the McBain family all came & sung the solo was very effecting Hattie almost broke down.
Fifteen carriages followed the remains to Warsaw. O how we hated to carry him so far from us but Mother felt that it was fathers wishes & she could not do otherwise. 32 took supper at mothers that night & I dont know how many took dinner. Marnie spoke about each one of us having a piece of the ribbon that was used in draping fathers seat. Ely did that I I thought how nice it would be to send some a few flowers from the sickle that layed on the coffin to press so pasted[?] leave of the other children to take it to nieces & they were all milling & made me a boguet like yours only it lacked the rosebud & I have it pressing, & I hope the leaves will not fall from you. You will wonder what Mother is going to do, I am not able totell you. Charlie says he shall not go out until Mother has some one to stay with her. L??? Peck is with her now. she is going to stay a while. the friends all came to the funeral. Charlie & Mother Elys folks & Gene in one double carriage, Eds & Franks in another, Orts family in another. the Pecks & Mar?? Reddish in another. Berts family & Aunt Nancy in another [ Nancy Reddish Stanard, aunt to Hiron & her son Egbert]. they were nearly all double carriages. Uncle Eldrige is failing [Eldridge Stanard, w/o Nancy], Auntie said she thought we would all soon be sent for to come there. Auntie looked bad too. Florence Stanard [don't know who she is] is
going to write a poem for mother & have written a fuller account of the last few days of fathers sickness to you than I did to the boys. if no one else writes a full account to them perhaps you had better send this to them.
I was feeling so badly yesterday I could not write. Ed was not here all the time only just long enough to drive over home & right back Thursday. I probably shall not write as often as you can. Love to all your sister Jennie [Jennie E. Smith Reddish, w/o Eugene Reddish].
In the margins: It is lovely weather the fruit trees are all in bloom it did not rain from the time father was taken worse till after the funeral only a very little Thursday night. father was buried in his cloths, mother is very much reconciled. controls herself better than Flo does, there is a great deal more I might say, but I am tired.
I only found two letters from the Civil War, and this one doesn't mention many names but does give you a feel for their down time.
Camp of the 17 Regt
I acknowledge that I am indebt to you a letter, and now I take the opportunity to write you a few lines for I have nothing else to do to day and the rain is pouring down in torrents & I am well and enjoying good health and I hope these few lines will find you the same. This is the third time I have started to write a letter to you and when I would get about half through we would have the orders to pack up for a march and then I would have to stop writeing But - I think I will finish this one without haveing to stop. It was just one year ago last tuesday since I left home But it seemed a great deal longer. only one year longer to be a Soldier and then I shall be free once more to enjoy the sweet pleasures of life at home again. We have not got to Richmond yet we are going slow but sure. we are just 12 miles from Richmond now. I have seen Adelbert a number of times but not since I left west point he looked healthy the last that. I herd from his Regiment they were going to be discharged and sent home but I don't know how true it is. But I hope it is so. if he has got home please let me know & we are stationed in fine country. the fruit and grain is growing nicely peaches and apples are as large as a Robins egg. wheat oats and rye are headed out and corn is large enough to have. I went through a garden the other day and examined it through there was three Rows of peas all podded out and I see the largest head of lettuce I ever saw. and cucumbers all blosemed out and the same with berry bushes and currents and a few of very nice potatoes. this was the nicest garden I have been in lately. Charles Watkins is well and he wishes me to send his best Respects to you and the rest of the folks & we expect to go on another march on monday again towards Richmond. I shall have to close for this time give my best respects to James and the rest of your folks. Direct your letter to Washington, D.C. I should like to here from you as soon as you receive this please excuse poor writeing
good by for this time
this from your Cousin
Wilbur H. Snyder
PS our company is getting small we have only 27 men with us now ___ _____ ____ luck for Company K.
His handwriting did take a turn for the worse at the end of the letter and I could not make out the words represented by blanks.
Again, Adelbert is his cousin Adelbert Reddish, brother of Mary A. Thomas Reddish to whom this letter is addressed. I don't know who Charles Watkins is, but would like to as Adlebert and Mary's mother was Eliza Watkins and I have nothing on her family.
Next letter will be different, what it's like to die at home in 1886.
How interesting! I do not know of any of the people mentioned, but I
will be in Wyoming county in late May, if I have not seen any responses
on the list by then I will ask around at the historical society.
> I felt like I'd struck gold when I found at the NE State Historical Society a file holding 42 original letters to Mary A. (REDDISH) THOMAS, w/o James W. THOMAS, residing in Ashland, Saunders, NE from various friends and mostly family living in Wyoming, Wyoming, NY. They give a great insight into life, and death, in Wyoming and how terribly missed were the family members who'd moved away.
> I'd like to share some of these letters with the list, and as I've transcribed the letters and am hoping to learn who some of the people mentioned were. Betty will have to let me know if she wants these letters sent through the list or put on the website?
> Two moving letters came from Wilbur H. SNYDER, s/o David D. SNYDER and Eleanor REDDISH, cousin to Mary THOMAS, while serving in the Civil War. They were moving as I already knew his fate was not to return to NY rather die of disease in VA, sadly what looks to be shortly after his company had been mustered out.
> In the letter he mentions Adelbert REDDISH, his cousin and brother to Mary A. THOMAS. I did the best I could with the handwriting, some of the names were difficult to read so let me know if you think I have them right. The spellings and punctuation are as they appear in the letter. At least he used some punctuation, many have none.
> I'd like to know where Wilbur is buried, I only have that he died in a hospital in Alexandria. My husband and I researched this company and regiment and feel the battle he speaks of that was so costly was most likely Bull Run. Any thoughts on that?
> Susan Curelop
> Headquarters of the 17 Regt NYSV
> Sept 10th 1862
> Cousin Mary,
> I acknowledge that I am indebted to you a letter. And today I take the opportunity to write to you. It has been a good while since I herd from you and A good while since you have herd from me. For three or four weeks I have not had time to write to any one. I was on the march 23 days and on the 24th day went on to the Battle field to have a fight, and I tell you we had a tough time of it - but - the Boys fought Bravely. the Boys fell at my feet and all around me, we came off of the without an Officer our Captain an Leutenant were killed the three Sergts were wounded. Post. MORY(?) & Regiment Corporel BORCE/BOVEE(?) was killed. we went into the field with 17 Privells and came out with only 8.
> If we have not been ordered off of field we would have fought untill every man of us eather got killed or wounded. I had my gun knocked out of my hand by a shell and hadd my cap box shot from me but I never got a scratch by a Ball. I never want to get into another Such a hot fight again. I have not seen Adelbert (Mary's brother) in a long time But I saw a part of his Regiment a week ago last saturday. I dont know as I can tell you anything more about this subject - for you will probably see the papers before you receive this and then you will See the whole story & we are going to be musterd for pay this afternoon. I received a letter from my father last night saying that Mother was very sick.
> Well Mary I must wind up for this time give my best respects to James and your folks. Direct as below
> yours truely from your Cousin
> Wilbur H. Snyder
> Co. K 17 Regiment NYSV
> Washington, D.C.
> Please write on recept of this
> PS Charles Watkins is sick in the hospital.
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I felt like I'd struck gold when I found at the NE State Historical Society a file holding 42 original letters to Mary A. (REDDISH) THOMAS, w/o James W. THOMAS, residing in Ashland, Saunders, NE from various friends and mostly family living in Wyoming, Wyoming, NY. They give a great insight into life, and death, in Wyoming and how terribly missed were the family members who'd moved away.
I'd like to share some of these letters with the list, and as I've transcribed the letters and am hoping to learn who some of the people mentioned were. Betty will have to let me know if she wants these letters sent through the list or put on the website?
Two moving letters came from Wilbur H. SNYDER, s/o David D. SNYDER and Eleanor REDDISH, cousin to Mary THOMAS, while serving in the Civil War. They were moving as I already knew his fate was not to return to NY rather die of disease in VA, sadly what looks to be shortly after his company had been mustered out.
In the letter he mentions Adelbert REDDISH, his cousin and brother to Mary A. THOMAS. I did the best I could with the handwriting, some of the names were difficult to read so let me know if you think I have them right. The spellings and punctuation are as they appear in the letter. At least he used some punctuation, many have none.
I'd like to know where Wilbur is buried, I only have that he died in a hospital in Alexandria. My husband and I researched this company and regiment and feel the battle he speaks of that was so costly was most likely Bull Run. Any thoughts on that?
Headquarters of the 17 Regt NYSV
Sept 10th 1862
I acknowledge that I am indebted to you a letter. And today I take the opportunity to write to you. It has been a good while since I herd from you and A good while since you have herd from me. For three or four weeks I have not had time to write to any one. I was on the march 23 days and on the 24th day went on to the Battle field to have a fight, and I tell you we had a tough time of it - but - the Boys fought Bravely. the Boys fell at my feet and all around me, we came off of the without an Officer our Captain an Leutenant were killed the three Sergts were wounded. Post. MORY(?) & Regiment Corporel BORCE/BOVEE(?) was killed. we went into the field with 17 Privells and came out with only 8.
If we have not been ordered off of field we would have fought untill every man of us eather got killed or wounded. I had my gun knocked out of my hand by a shell and hadd my cap box shot from me but I never got a scratch by a Ball. I never want to get into another Such a hot fight again. I have not seen Adelbert (Mary's brother) in a long time But I saw a part of his Regiment a week ago last saturday. I dont know as I can tell you anything more about this subject - for you will probably see the papers before you receive this and then you will See the whole story & we are going to be musterd for pay this afternoon. I received a letter from my father last night saying that Mother was very sick.
Well Mary I must wind up for this time give my best respects to James and your folks. Direct as below
yours truely from your Cousin
Wilbur H. Snyder
Co. K 17 Regiment NYSV
Please write on recept of this
PS Charles Watkins is sick in the hospital.
I am attempting to determine if there was or is a Presbyterian Church in Pike.
I have some information that a minister I am researching from my local church served as a Presbyterian minister in Pike in 1870.
His name was Reverend Thomas Schofield Dewing and he was living in the Village of Pike on August 15, 1870, when the 1870 Federal Census was enumerated.
He was listed as a "Presbyterian minister".
I would be very much interested in any information on a Presbyterian Church in Pike during the 1870s and any other information on Reverend Thomas Schofield Dewing.
I would like to thank you in advance for your assistance.
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