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.


Mathilde Ulrich was a neighbor of the Nelings in 1895.


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


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


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.


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


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


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.”


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.”


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:


Dear Friend-

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


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


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


His nephew/cousin Francis Alfred Tyrrell in 1895:


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


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 ( 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.


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].


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].


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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Letter from home, Civil War

Civil War Letter


National July 30


Dear Will. I received a letter from you on Satterday writen on the 10. I was very glad to here you were still well when so many thare is sick. That is my great fere that you will be kept thare untill you are down sick and not able to come home. It seems strange you are not discharged well as others. I think your officers cannot halve attended to thare business right, but I think you will shurly be discharged before long. Keep up your spirits as toward you keeping you down in that sickly place when you are doing nothing and no need of you thare. If you get discharged against the time you enlisted it wont be long. Harvest will comence here this week. The crops looks very good. We are well as usual. Dave has not got home yet. She expects him this week. I saw Enock on  Satterday he was well. I gave him your letter to read. Sam Bucks wife was buried last week. The friends to the boys in this place is well. [Keep?] as well as you can untill you are honorably discharged. If you only keep well that is that great matter. I believe the 21 is hime, they enlisted the same time you did. Burky that is in the 27 wrote a letter to uncle Jim giving a Awful description of it down thare, He says the discontent is dreadfull and you do not get enough to eat. One spell you had nothing to eat but parched corn and that you had to steal from the mules. If one half is true he says it is bad enough. I think government is not doing thair duty. I believe I have  no news to write. I hope you will be home before this gets to you. Take as good care of yourself as you can and keep up hart. That you may be spared health and strength to return to your home is the prayer of your


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Asa BURRELL Probate

Asa Burrell lived and died in Brandon, Rutland County, Vermont. His estate was probated in April of 1872. He was married to Abigail Burrell, who survived him.

In the process of finding out information about the Cheneys, I copied his probate records and have them linked here:

asa burrell estate pt 1

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