1863: Maria to Benjamin Field

How Maria might have looked

How Maria might have looked

This letter was written by a woman named Marie or Maria, She wrote the letter to Benjamin Field (1814-18xx) whom she addressed as “respected parent” so I can only assume he was her father. The 1850 and 1860 Census Records enumerate the Benjamin Field family in West Milton, Miami County, Ohio. His wife’s name was given as Lydia and the children’s names were Abagail (b. 1834), Hellen M (b. 1843), Martha (b. 1845) and Alphius (b. 1847). (Another child was born in 1859.) In 1850, Benjamin’s occupation was recorded as “Manufacturer.” In 1860, it was recorded as “Surveyor.” Perhaps Maria was the middle name of the daughter named Hellen (or Ellen) Field.

Benjamin Field was 48 years old when he enlisted as a private in Co. D, 94th Ohio in August 1862. A little over a year later he was transferred into the Veteran Reserve Corps where he served out his term, mustering out in June 1865 at Washington D. C. Benjamin was stationed at Camp Chase when this letter was written in November 1864 where he probably served as a guard of Confederate prisoners.

1863 Letter

1863 Letter

Addressed to Mr. Benjamin Field, 46th Co., 1st Battalion, Invalid Corps Camp, Chase, Ohio

Milton [Miami County, Ohio]
November 10th [1863]

Respected Parent,

I received your letter Saturday evening and should have answered it sooner but I want to see a little farther. Mother has come back and is living in the shop. I have not heard anything wrong since she came back. Mr. Bentley has ordered her to leave the house but she says she will not. He has given her 10 days to go in and then he says he will throw her out but I want you to put a stop to that. If she has done wrong, I could not stand to see her throwed on the street in the cold winter time with a little child. I think that if she cannot hold it by law that they can scare her out and if not, why let you come home and get her out. You have more respect for her than to throw her out and I don’t think she shall be by other folks that is almost as deep in the mud as she is in the mire. I had a notion to go and tell him that he should not throw her out but I thought I would wait until I heard from you again.

And respecting that box of bedclothes, she has taken all out of it except two or three pieces. She took them when Mr. Bentley’s were gone away the week that you left but I did not know it until we went to see to bringing it up here.

I have not had a letter from the girls yet, but I look for one this week.

I expect you have heard that John Hart is dead. ¹ He was buried here last Friday by the Odd Fellows.

I shall make enquiries around and I will let you know if I hear anything. We have told the editor about your paper but he has not got to printing yet. Temperance says that Dow is such a poor hand to write a letter but  maybe she can get him to answer yours someday but he don’t know whether he can answer all the questions that you asked.

I believe I have nothing more to write this time. write soon if not sooner. Yours, goodbye, — Maria

Look up and laugh and be cheerful like the rest of us do.

¹ John Hart (1813-1863) was the son of Henry Hart (1786-1820) and Elizabeth Becker (1789-1858). He died on 5 November 1863 in West Milton, Miami County, Ohio. In 1860, he was the Sheriff of Miami County.


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