Cairo Illinois

Civil War Letter

 

Cairo Nov 15 1862

Dear Mother

We have got to Cairo at last, but we don’t know how long we will stay her. We got here on Friday. Thare is about 800 prisners here. They look prity harde. They say they will fite till they dy. Thare hase been 9 or 10 Regements past thru here within the last day or too. They are going to Corinth. I expect we will stay here untill we get our filout [?] and then we will start for Corinth. It is a hard looking plase here, we don’t want to stay here if we can help it. You have to pay too [press?] for every thing you by. Thare was some of our Compney left at praredushen [Prairie du Chien]. Bengemen Wilkey and C. Wilkens. They took the next trane and folwed. They did not catch us untill we got here. We herd that S. Miller was not expect to live. I want you to tell how Jim [James W. Nelings, William’s brother who had typhoid fever] and all the rest of the Boys is getting along. We mis them very mutch but don’t let Jim come untill he gets perfickly well fore it is a hard plase fore a sick man. I am all rite yet except a bad cold. I have cot more cold since I came down here. I have not got mutch to write this time fore I expect Jim will tell you all the things that happened before he went home and thare hase nothing hapend since as I know of. These 5 or 6 gun boats here and some big guns. They fire of[f] a gun at sun rise and one at sun set, it makes the hills sing. I wont write to George [could be George L. Nelings] to day. I have not had time to write to him yet. I expect he thinks I never will write to him. You will have to direct your letter to Cairo and if we leve here it will be sent on after us. Mind and tell how all the boys is and all the rest of you. Give my love to all hands and don’t forget Florence. So no more at present. WH Nelings

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Civil War Letter

 

Fort Snelling Novem 3 1862[1]

 

Dear Sister

 

I receved your letter yesterday and was very glad to here from you all. It has been some time since we herd from you. We got all of them letters at the same time. Well I can give you a ida of Solgering. We left here for Milllack on the 14 of Oct. and got back on the 2 of Novem. It was 135 miles. We seen prity hard times while we ware gon. We marcht from 15 to 20 mil a day, lade down at night on the wet grown. We had tents to lie in but the grown was wet. We had Meat and potatos part of the time. We got flower and had to bake oyrselves  All the way we had to bake was to mix it up with water and stick it on a stone and lay it up to the fire. We had nothing else to put in it. You cold brake a stone with it. It was all the quartermasters falt fore he col[d] of got plenty fore us to eat if he had wonted to. Capton Drips says that he never herd tell of Solgers baking thare bred on a march before. It has made about 60 of them sick. The officers had a hard time to keep there boys from killing him. Jim has been sick but he is getting better now. We campt handy to Towns coming back and I got him into the taverns whare I cold tend to him and he rode on the wagons. He got something better to eat then he wold have goten in camp. Thare was about 400 Enduns thare, they looked hard as thunder. I joind the artilery to go up there. Bengeman was Capt. He took sick and came back before we got thare. He has got well now. We ware 10 days in the timber and never saw a white woman while we was in the timber. We have got orders to go to Cairo, I expect we will start on Saterday the 8. I do not know wheather we will pass McGregor in daylight or not. I wold like to see some of the National folks down thare. I want some of you to see about our bounty. Tell mother to use it fore what ever she wants. I wold of sent some home but I have lent 15 dollars and it cost a good bit to get things for Jim. Well I will have to stop and help to get supper. It is getting late. I will write a nother letter and leve it at McGregor as we go down. The boyss is all wonting to get down South. They say that they did not inlist to fite the red skins. Part of our Regement hase gon, they went before we got back. Thare was only 6 compneys went up thare, the other fore hase gon down. I think we will fare a little better than we have done up here. Well I will try and finish this letter. Henry Benders and I have been out to get some Chickens fore the boys. He is helping to take care of them. He is as good a fellow as ever lived. We are going to have things fore they boys as long as we have eney money to get it with. I gess Jim has nothing but a bad cold. He has been sick for a week. John Brookes, L King, Webster Jones, R Tews Sike Miller and Sam Tansant [?] is sick. We have our hands fool. T Shales has been helping us but he has quit. I gess that I am to tuf for them. I have had that same cold that I had before I left. My eyes has been sore but I think I can stand it. I have not ansers Georges letter yet but I will try and anser it before we leve here. Tell dan that I will write to him as soon as I can. I think you will have a nuf of babys thare after bit if you all keep on. I wont you to tell mother that I have oaid that bill of Philip Shaless so if Cortas says eney thing about it tell him that it is paid. I will will put the bill in the letter and you can keep it. Well I will have to stop fore this time. I will write a letter when we go down the river a[ns] tell you how Jim is.

Here is a kiss for Florence, tell her to write a longer letter the next time. Give my love to all hands.

Your affectionate brother WH Nelings

[1] On October 11, 1862 the regiments was ordered to St Paul and Ft Snelling to superintend the payment of annuities to Indians. “Historical Sketch of 27th Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry”

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Civil War Letter Oct 24 1862

This letter was sent from the James and William Nelings’ parents and siblings to the boys somewhere in Minnesota. Both James and William, and their cousin Daniel A. Neelings served in the 27th Iowa Infantry, Company E. The 27th was sent to Minnesota to help during the Sioux Uprising and to help with the disbursement of food to the tribes at Mille Lacs.

National Oct 24 [1862]

Dear Boys

Jimmys welcome letter was received yesterday. We were anxious to here from you. Sorry to hear you were not quartered in the fort.

I hope you are comfortable. As for your going South, perhaps it is best we cannot tell. All the family except myself are in bed. I must get a pen, we are all well, no news to-night.

Well I went up stairs and got pen and ink and am writing again. You didn’t say whether you were going to a fort or not. Dan Nelings [this is likely Daniel Austin Neelings] wrote to our Dan [Daniel Thompson Nelings] saying you were going to guard a place where they were going to hang 400 Indians, so I believe he wrote so to his Father [this refers to the hanging of 38 Dakota as an aftermath to the Sioux Uprising. See this article. 400 were convicted, Abraham Lincoln commuted the sentences of all but 38.]. In his to Dan he said Will T. Wallace had joined the flying artillary [this is likely William T. Wallace, a Private with Company L Cavalry]. Jim did not say anything about it.

We miss you both very much, in every way. Did you take your comforts—I mean your quilts with you. How much will you have to carry. I am glad you have one religious man in your tent. I don’t think anything of importance has transpired here lately. Mother and I got home last night from a visit up at Turner’s [this is probably Tashus Turner, who lived in Wagner Iowa, west of the Nelings] Dan was up plastering Turner’s house. Dealia Owen is living with Dan’s folks now, perhaps some of your squad knows her and thinks of her often [I’m not sure who this is].

Dore [could be Dove] is in good health, I believe. I have not seen Ella Linton since the fair [could be Eliza Linton, daughter of William Linton of Farmersburg IA]. Perhaps there is two of your squad would like to hear from her.

There is a party at Anson’s to-night. I guess it is rather slim. Mr. J. Havens [?] came down since dark after girls. He wanted Delia  NI[?] to go, but I thought it was fiddlers. Manning and a fiddler who gave it.  The Record you sent us came. We are much obliged to you for it. I hope in the space for remarks opposite to your names we will not have to write anything bad but something good and honorable about any of you, particularly WH Jr Nelings. It snowed here this morning. It is freezing all day. I hope it is not much colder where you are. 50 letters came to this office yesterday from the 27 Reg.

Lizzie Jack’s sister Becky Ann Haze [?] is at Jim’s. She knows your girl, Jim. She came up, we let her see your daguerrotype. She thinks it is the greatest joke she ever heard of. She is very lively. Henry Clark [?] has joined the Cavalry at McGregor, Jim [?] Jack was telling me to-night. He was Orderly Sarjeant. Don’t you think he will make a good one, I don’t believe it, I told him so.

Saturday morning, Sis is  [?] this morning. I thought I would try and finish this before mail time. I guess sis has told you almost everything except that Miney [?] has another daughter. It is about two weeks old it has the most black hair you ever saw and baby Florence is quite well now, she can say a great many words very plain. Dan is away, has been two weeks and will be four more I expect. I must hurry and finish this and take it to the office this morning. When you write tell us all the particualrs, how you fare and everything. Philip wrote to Josh that the bread was very hard. I hope you don’t have to lay out these cold night. You must both write as often as you can. We all join in sending love to you both.

From your affectionate sisters

??? Maude??

Mother sends much love to you both and says to be good boys and be kind to one another. We cannot send this today, so I will say a few words more, if I have nothing to tell. Mother is sick with this head ache today. She is not up yet. I don’t know whether she will be able to write any in this or not. Gale [?] is building a house on the south side of us. George Hudson on the north.  Don’t you think we have good company. Well I want to tell you of a word or two. You do not spell right, now you must not be mad for I am telling you that you may spell right when writing to strangers. You in spelling write spell it right with the pen the other is right not wrong. If you do not like this let me know. Your  [obliterated]

Mother want you to write to George.

 

Whilst I was writing Florence got a pencil and wrote these scribbling.

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David Dickie Nelings Autograph Book, pt 3

In addition to family, friends and neighbors also signed Dick’s autograph book.

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Mathilde Ulrich was a neighbor of the Nelings in 1895.

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Rose A. (Johnson) Kingdon was a resident of Broadland, a neighboring township.

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Roy Parks, who is currently unknown.

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David Nelings Autograph book, part 2

David’s family was large, so here are more entries from his family:

David “Dick” Tyrrell’s mother wrote a sentiment most mothers would have written. I wonder if this is a general statement or if she was reminding Dick of his temperament:

Dear Dickie-

Be kind to all you chance to meet In field or lane or crowded street. Anger and pride are both unwise. Vinegar never catches flies.

Your Mother Mina E. Nelings

Osceola, Kingsbury County, SD

April 12, 1893

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Brother James W. Nelings also remained a bachelor and lived on the farm with David and Maud. He was likely named after his uncle, James Nelings, who died of typhus as a soldier in the Civil War.

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Bessie L. Nelings remained single and also lived with her brothers and sister. She signed Dick’s book in 1893:

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Dick’s bachelor brother, Claud, was even reserved in his writing and merely signed his name.

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Bertha Nelings married John Mannings and moved to Los Angeles.

“Jan 6, 1894. Dick, An ounce of pluck is worth a ton of luck. Your sister, Bertha.”

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The next entry is from John Manning from 1897. Bertha and John were married in 1899.

“Osceola S. Dak. Dec 19/97. Friend Dick. A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches. Your friend. John W. Manning.”

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While many of the sayings were sentimental, some were humorous. This one, for example, written by TJT. This may be Thomas J. Tyrrell, Dick’s brother in law:

“1-17-1895.

Dear Friend-

Never kick a Jackass when he’s going downhill. Your friend, TJT”

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From his sister, Mame. Mame was Mary Nelings, who married Charles Suddaby and then her widowed brother-in-law, Frank F Swale. In the 1920s, after Frank died, Mame moved back to South Dakota to live with her siblings.

Osceola, July 17, 1893

Dear Dickie Boy:-

Remember that manners are of more importance than laws. Upon them, in great measure, the laws depend.

Your sister Mame

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His sister Maud, with whom David and his brother Henry Claud would live with on the family farm:

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His nephew/cousin Francis Alfred Tyrrell in 1895:

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And nephew/cousin George Howard Tyrrell in 1895 interjected a little more humor:

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The final entry is from his sister, Gertrude (Nelings) Tyrrell. Gertrude married Thomas J. Tyrrell, my great-grandfather. Dick and Gertrude’s sister Jennie married Thomas J Tyrrell’s father, Thomas B. Tyrrell.

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David “Dickie” Nelings Autograph Book

One of the items gifted by my cousin was David “Dickie” Nelings’ autograph book. Autograph books were used to collect signatures, well-wishes, and addresses of school friends and teachers (http://www.ohiohistoryhost.org/ohiomemory/archives/2546). Usually, autograph books were kept by young women, in this case, however, a young man had an autograph book.

David Nelings, the son of Daniel T. Nelings and Elmina (Osborne) Nelings. David was born in 1886 in Foster Township, what was then Dakota Territory and is now South Dakota. David never married and lived with other unmarried siblings in the farmhouse in Foster Township, Beadle County South Dakota.

David, or Dickie’s, autograph book had 29 entries, most by his family in 1895, when Dickie was 9.

In addition to the autographs, there are a number of stickers. These include dogs, flower baskets, and watering cans.

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Autographs by Dickie’s family:

Jan 11 1895. Dear Dick, On this leaf in memory prest, may my name forever rest. Your girl, Pearl Tyrrell [Pearl was Dick’s sister born in 1884 and married John Waddington in Redfield South Dakota].

in

Jan 11. Dear Dick, Never trouble till it troubles you. Ruby Tyrrell. So Dak. [Ruby was David’s sister, born in 1885 and wife of Hugh McClure].

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Dick. “Trifles make perfection but perfection is no trifle.” Jennie Nelings. Jan 7 1894 [Jennie was Dick’s sister, born in 1862, and married Thomas B. Tyrrell].

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Tyrrell Family Reunion

I spent the past 10 days at a family reunion in Montana. This was the first reunion that the “younger” generation has planned and executed and I am exhausted. It felt like I spent the entire 4 days of the reunion, and the 3 days before, cooking and preparing and cleaning.

A challenge was balancing discussion of the family’s past with making memories for the future. That, and having accurate family trees and charts printed out for people to look at. Since Ancestry has stopped supporting Family Tree Maker, and with the very buggy FTM2014, I can no longer update information about people on the tree. Nor can I add, delete, or attach/detach people. In other words, FTM has provided me with a static tree that is incorrect and cannot be changed. I have a lot of notes attached to people, these I can still edit.

One cousin gifted attendees with a selection of items formerly owned by Nelings and Tyrrell family members, including autograph books and jewelry. In the coming days I will be posting images and some research on these items.

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