1861: Alfred Hurst to George W. Steinhauer

How Alfred might have looked

How Alfred might have looked

This letter was written by 55 year-old Alfred Hurst (1806-1890), the son of Jonathan Harvey and Patience (Wescott) Hurst. Alfred was married to Wilhelmina Smith, the daughter Capt. William S. Smith of Glasgow, Scotland, and Maria C. Steinhauer (1780-1861). Alfred resided at Norristown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

Alfred addressed the letter to Capt. George W. Steinhauer of Bureau County, Illinois, informing him of the death of Maria C. (Steinhauer) Smith but I think he erred in referring to Mrs. Smith as George’s older sister, unless the thought he was addressing the letter to George’s father (same name) who died in 1851. According to Philadelphia Death Records, Mrs. Smith resided at No. 608 16th Street.


Stationary header states “Army Clothing and Equipage Office”
Philadelphia [Pennsylvania]
July 25th 1861

Capt. Geo. W. Steinhauer
Bureau County, Illinois

Dear Captain,

With the heavy pressure upon my time, I can only write a few lines of painful intelligence. About a week since, Mrs. Smith fell from the front door step & severely wounded her forehead. It appeared to be healing favorably when on Friday the 19th or Thursday, it turned to Erysipelas in the eyes and head with great severity and resulted in her death at 10½ o’clock yesterday morning.

So my dear Captain, God wills it. You have lost your eldest sister and we the head of the family. I write thus hastily fearing in their troubles and excitement it may have been omitted. She is to be buried tomorrow beside her father on the Frankford Road. Accept my sympathies.

God bless you all. Yours truly, — Alfred Hurst


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