In the first letter, Mary R. McDonnald of Bourbon County, Kentucky, informs her cousin, Ivy Welton of Clay County, Missouri, that her father has returned from Camp Douglas. I presume that her father was a Confederate and was confined at Camp Douglas Prison near Chicago for I know of no other Camp Douglas’s. From the content of the letter we know that the McDonnald family were slaveholders but I have not yet been able to identify a family by that name in Bourbon County.
In the second letter, Lucy D. Epperson (1830-Aft1880) of Bourbon County, Kentucky, brings her cousin, Ivy Welton of Clay County, Kentucky, up-yo-date with all the news of her relatives in Kentucky. Lucy was the daughter of Rebecca Epperson (1808-18xx).
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER ONE
Addressed to Miss Ivy Welton, Missouri City, Clay County [Missouri]
[Clintonville, Bourbon County, Kentucky]
September 11th 1864
I now seat myself for the purpose of writing to you once more. We are all tolerable well now and hope these few lines may find you enjoying the great blessing of health. There has been a great deal sickness in this neighborhood. They have had a great deal sickness at Uncle Solomon Tevebaugh ¹ and he has had two deaths — his eldest daughter and his only son — and has another daughter sick at this time. Cousin L____ Epperson is sick now with the fever. Grandmother’s niece is gone and her father and mother and sister and niece has all come over to Ohio and grandmother is a going to send for her sister to come and stay with her.
My father has come home from Camp Douglas. He is well and doing tolerable well. I wish you could be here when Aunt Matilda comes. I think we would have a nice time. I would like to see you so much and if times was like they ought to be, I would come but as it is, I cannot come.
I have been going to school for some time very steady but we but we have had vacation for a month but it commences tomorrow. I like my teacher very much. Her name is Miss Bell Smith. She is very well qualified for teaching. There is no news of importance here at this time. The crops is fine but is badly blown down by the storms. The wheat was very light here. We have had a great deal of rain here.
There is talk of a draft on Thursday. I am in hopes they will not be any draft. They is talk of the Rebels a coming in. If they come, I am certain the draft will not go on.
Dear Cousin, I want you to have your picture taken and sent to me, and I will have mine taken and sent to you. One of our negro men went to the [Union] Army and is dead. He died at Camp Nelson. He was a very valuable negro. His name is Grandason. The land and the negroes had been divided. Grandmother got 2 and I got 6. The negroes have got to a great pitch here. I want you to write to me as soon as you get this and give me all of the news. Grandmother says she would like to see you very much. She sends her love to you and Elvy.
Well, I must come to a close so no more but I remain your affectionate cousin until death. Give my love to Elvy. So no more but goodbye.
— Mary R. McDonnald
Direct your letter to Miss Mary R. McDonnald, Clintonville, Bourbon County, Kentucky
¹ Solomon William Tevebaugh (1804-1876) was the son of Jacob L. Deavebaugh (1771-1840) and Mary Magdalene Welton (1776-1847). Solomon was married to Nancy Bedford (b. 1819) in 1837 in Kentucky. He later resided in Harrison, Vigo County, Indiana. Mary Magdalene Welton was the daughter of Solomon Welton (1750-1778) and Mary Magdalene Stump (1754-1841).
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER TWO
Addressed to Miss Ivy Welton, Clay County, Missouri City
Clintonville, Bourbon County [Kentucky]
November 5th 1864
Dear Cousin Ivy,
After a long silence I have taken my seat this Sabbath morning to write to you and let you know how we are all getting along these war times. We are all in tolerable good health at this time. I have had a spell of the fever but am about well again, I think. Both the boys have been complaining but are as well as usual. Fin has the dyspepsia. The friends are all well around, I believe.
Aunt Neff is here today [and] is as well as usual. She has broke up housekeeping and is boarding now at a neighbor’s house close by. She is very much dissatisfied I think that she is as well satisfied as when she was keeping house for she was dissatisfied then. She is a old and frail, you know, and Mary has gone off to school and she is all her studies and that helps to keep her miserable. They have divided the negroes and Mary got all but Jim and Harriet. They are hers. Grance went off to the army before they were divided and died so they did [not have any trouble with him. They are all hired out. Nearly all the negro men around here have got their freedom with powder and lead and some of them with diseases. There has a great many died with the fever and then a heap of negro women that have run off and gone to camp too and the owners would not go after them and they get sick there. They throw them in the reverend so they get their freedom too.
The two VanMeter boys are in prison yet. They send them something every once in awhile.
Uncle Solomon has had a very sick family this year. There was from 1 to 2 of his family and a part of the time 3 in the bed at the same time nearly all the summer. Mary was taken sick in March and was never more able to get out of bed and she died on July the 14th. And her brother was taken then and he died the 5th of August. When he died, Uncle Solomon had the flux and Betty was sick too. It looked like they were all to die at once but I thank God that they are all in tolerable good health now. Mary died with the consumption and Taylor, her brother, died with the fever.
Aunt Betsy Denison’s family are tolerably well as well as common. Aunt Betsy Morrow is still living and the last time I heard from them they said they had not had a letter from Missouri for so long they were anxious to hear from there.
Aunt joins us in love to you all. Mother says that her and the old bachelor are not married yet. You must write soon for we would like to hear from you all.
Farewell for the present, — Lucy D. Epperson
Aunt says she received a letter from you some time ago and would answer it.