1861-62: Letters to Jerome B. Trim

The following biography for Jerome B. Trim was taken from the Portrait and Biographical Album Oakland Co., Michigan by Chapman Brothers 1891 (pp. 511-512).

Jerome B. Trim, of Springfield Township, was born on March 28, 1828 in Oswego County, New York… Jerome came to Michigan [with his parents] in his ninth year. When old enough, he worked out by the month, receiving for his first wages $4 per month. When twenty-one years old, he bought forty acres and farmed for a few years. He afterward lived in Ionia County and in Shiawassee County. In May, 1847, he enlisted in the First Michigan Infantry and served in the Mexican War. His Company went to Lake Superior to guard money with which to pay the Indians off. He was in the service one and one-half years, but never saw Mexico. He lived in Shiawassee County twenty years and removed from there after the close of the War of the Rebellion.

Mr. Trim enlisted in Company H, Fifth Michigan Infantry in August, 1861, and took part in the Peninsular Campaign. He was present at the following battles and engaements: Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Siege of Yorktown, Williamsburg, Fair Oaks and seven days retreat with continued fighting to Harrison’s Landing. He then went to Arlington Heights where he was taken sick. Dropsy developing, his discharge was obtained and he came home for a year after having spent some time in hospital.

Our brave soldier re-enlisted in November 1863, in the Sixth Michigan Cavalry, Company E, joining the regiment at Stephensburg, Va. … At the battle of Five Forks, Mr. Trim’s horse was shot and fell upon him, giving him severe injuries. He was taken to the hospital at West Philadelphia where he remained until discharged July 24, 1865. He is an invalid and has never been able to do any work since that time. Besides the injuries to his knee and hips, he is so deaf as to be obliged to use a trumpet. The Government grants him a pension of $24 per month.

The marriage of our subject took place November 11, 1849. His wife, Elizabeth Husted, was born in New York on April 6, 1826. Their two children are living, Charles Franklin in California and Erwin J. in St. Clair County, this State. Born Mr. and Mrs. Trim are members of the Presbyterian Church in which he is a Trustee. He is a strong Republican and a member of the Masonic Lodge, No. 115, at Corunna. He belongs to the Ancient Order of United Workmen, Charter Oak Lodge, No. 55. He has eighty-eight acres of land which he rents out, and a fine large residence, and excellent barns and outbuildings. He is universally esteemed both for his excellent character and his war record.”

Jerome died on 6 March 1911 in Pontiac, Oakland Co., Michigan.

1861 Letter

1861 Letter

Addressed to Jerome B. Trim, Company H, 5th Regiment, Michigan Infantry Volunteers, District of Columbia

Shiawassee County
October the 20, 1861

Dear husband,

It is with great pleasure that I attempt once more to address you with these few lines in answer to your kind letter which I received October the 7th. It found us as well as common. I was glad to hear that your health was good. Mortimer Trim is out here on a visit. He came with Ford. Ford has traded with Kent for that eighty by William friends. Charley Ford and his wife [Aurena] start tomorrow morning for Grand River. His father has given him a forty. Mortimer has enlisted since he came here and Perry and Truman Allen Stephens has enlisted and Mr. Barker. I am very sorry that Perry has enlisted. I do not know how we shall get along without him to see to our affairs.

The supervisor was here yesterday. He says that Kent told him if I applied for help, to not let me have anything. I told him I would have left when the thrashers was paid so he gave me an order of ten dollars. He said he would come around again and if I could not get along he would let me have some more.

Perry and Matilda has the ague every now and then.

I have not gathered my garden stuff yet. Perry says there is more than a wagon load of squashes. The cabbage is first rate. I shall not have much corn to feed my hogs but they look good for time they have been fed. I am in hopes you will be home to help me eat the pork. We are making great calculations about seeing you here New Years to eat dinner with us. I expect your father will be here to visit with you. I am in hopes the war will soon end so you can return home safe to your family. It grieves me to think you have to sleep on the cold ground and not even a blanket to cover over you. There is not a night passes away but what I think of you a laying upon the cold ground.

Do not say to me cease to think of you. You might as well ask me to cease to love you and that would be impossible. As long as God lends me breath, I shall think of you and love you and you will have my prayers and you must pray for your unworthy companion. It does seem to me a great while between getting letters. I have neglected writing in order to get some envelopes and postage stamps. I could [not] get any in this place. I want you to write as soon as you receive this and I hope yoy will [say] where Charley is and let us know if he has got well. Give my love to Charley. Tell him to write as soon as he can. Franklin sends his love to you. I must bring my letter to a close. Goodbye.

To Jerome Trim from E. [Elizabeth] Trim

October 19, 1861

Dear brother Jerome,

It is with great pleasure that I sit down [to] write you a few lines & I hope that it will find you well & also Charley. My health is very good at present. I am to work to Mr. Merrill’s & I expect to stay all winter. I went out to Oakland to the conference & I had a good time. We had a powerful meeting out there. The Lord was with us & that to own & bless. I should [have] enjoyed it a great deal better if Charley had been there. He made so much calculation on being there. Brother Warren is on this circuit another year.

I was glad to hear that you had the privilege of being with some Christians & especially with your own church. I think that it will be such a help to you for there is nothing so good as religion. It is a good thing [to] live by & I am sure that it will be good in the hour of death. I am glad to hear that you enjoy your mind so well & to hear that your health is good. How does Charley get along? I wrote to him when I was out to Oakland & I have not received any answer. I am waiting to hear from him before I write again. If he received it, I hope that he will write & let me know for I am anxious to hear from him. You did not write anything about him in your letter. I hope that he is well.

John Babcock has enlisted & a great many others that you are acquainted with. I suppose that you will see Perry & Mortimer out there for they have both enlisted. Give my respects to all of my acquaintances that are in your regiment. You must excuse my short letter for it is Elizabeth’s letter, so no more at present. Keep good courage for I shall expect to see you New Years. Tell Charley to write. So goodbye.

Jane Husted to Jerome Trim


Shiawassee [County], Michigan
November 25, 1861

My dear husband,

Once more through the mercy of God I am permitted to write a few lines to you in answer to your kind letter which I received the 21 of this month. I was truly glad to hear from you. It had been three weeks since I had heard from you and I began to think you had entirely forgotten me or you did not care anything about me for I had written two letters in the time and I watched the mail with a sad and aching heart. I see many sorrowful hours on the account of your absence knowing your health is not very good and knowing my own circumstances. There is not a night passes away but what my pillow is wet with tears while thinking how far you are from home and the hardships you have to endure. My heart aches for you and I fear that we never shall meet again this side of the grave. But we must put our trust in God praying that we may be spared and permitted to enjoy each other’s company again. Although we are many miles apart, we can worship God the same, my dear husband. I can tell you truly and sincerely, it it were not for the hope that I have in Christ, I should sink under my troubles.

I feel that I need your company now if I ever do, but it is impossible. Your letter found Franklin well. I gave him a good big kiss for you. My health is not very good. I have been up to the place to get my things and it has been rather hard for me. I have got fifteen bushels of ears of corn. I have got my potatoes. I shall have enough for everyone’s use. I had two bushels and a half of buckwheat for my part. I did not get any of that hay that Sanford cut on shares. Grove went and claimed it so I have got to buy all of my hay and I have got to furnish half of the wood. Now Perry has gone, I have not foddered my cow any as yet. We have had a little… [remainder of letter missing]


Shiawassee County, Michigan
December 13, 1861

Dear Husband,

I praise God this morning that he has spared my life to hear from you once more and given me a privilege of answering your kind letter which came to hand the 13th of this month. I was glad to hear that you was well. Your letter found me as well as common. Little Franklin is well. Perry’s folks are all well at present — only bad colds. Jane is at Merrill’s yet. She is complaining some with a cold. Perry has been home on a visit and stayed a week with us. He was sick all the time he was here. He had a very hard cold. It seemed to be on his lungs. He wore his soldiers rig. He says he has been corporal ever since he enlisted. He expects to be orderly sergeant.

There is quite a number sick around here but there has not been many deaths here. Old Mr. [Stephen] Sergent is dead. Old Kent come very near dying. A good many was sorry that he did not die. Old Kent says that the straw on your place belongs to him. I am sorry to tell you that I have not got the deeds made out as yet and put on record but just as soon as I am able to tend to it, I shall. I cannot go around [to] see to anything at present. I have got my things all away from Kent’s but a few bushels of corn and the stalks. I am a trying to fat[ten] both of the pigs. They look very [good] but I shall [not have] corn enough to fat[ten] them as I would like to. I have fed them most all of the rye and some of the corn.

You wrote that you wanted my likeness and Franklin’s. I will go and have them taken as soon as I am able to. I got father’s horse and wagon the next day after I received your letter and Matilda went down to Corrunna but the money had not come. I waited two or three days and then got Alfred to go and see to it. He went yesterday and he found it all safe. There was forty dollars in a package, well sealed up.

You wrote that Charley had sent fifteen dollars to pay to Old Kent. Tell Charley that he counts it lost. He has been so mean a trying to hinder me from a drawing pay from the county that I would let him rest until I came to see to it myself.

Charley, I send my love to you and I am ashamed that I have not written to you but you must excuse me for the present. Pray for your sister. You have my prayers that you may return home, my dear husband and I pray to God to watch over you and save you. Goodbye.

From Elizabeth Trim [to] Jerome Trim

1862 Letter

1862 Letter


August 12, 1862

Dear Husband,

It is a pleasure to me to sit down to answer the receipt of your kind letter which came to hand the 6 of this month. It found me well and the children but Matilda is quite sick. Her children are a getting better. My dear husband, my prayer is to my God that this letter may find you well and enjoying the blessings and the holy spirit of your dear redeemer. O do live faithful and keep Christ in your view for that is all that I have to comfort or console me is that you feel prepared to meet your God at any time.

I read your letters every time with a trembling hand for fear it will bring bad news. Whatever happens to you, I want you to write and let me know just as it is. we got a letter from Perry last night. He is not so well. He is still awaiting for his discharge. Poor fellow. I hope he will not be disappointed in getting it.

Matilda has just received a trunk of things from Perry but we have not opened them yet. You said you would tell me all about Charlie Harper but you have not. I would like to know what he said about Delia Ann.

There is a great excitement here about drafting men for this war. They are a going to commence drafting after the fifteenth of this month. Sister Warren was here the other day and she said that brother Warren was a going to write to you. When you write, tell me whether Charley has written to you since he came home and tell me what you think of McClellan. A good many here think that he has not done right. For my part, I think [he] may last a good while.

But my dear husband, all that I can do for you is to pray. My prayer is to that God above that this rebellion may soon be put down and you may return home safe to your family and we may enjoy each others company is the prayer of your dear wife.

Elizabeth Trim to Jerome Trim

August 12th 1862

Dear Brother,

I am ashamed that we have not answered your letter before this time but I hope you will excuse us as Alfred has been sick. He is not well now. He is unable to work and is doctoring all the time. He has been out to Oakland 2 weeks. They were all well there. Charley can talk now as well as he ever could. You probably have heard of the great wedding that has come off out there between Mr. Isaac Hubbard & the belle of Springfield [Oakland County, Michigan], Mary E. Hollister. ¹

There’s a great deal of excitement out there about drafting. Governor [Moses] Wisner of Pontiac is getting up a regiment. He is Colonel. When Alfred was there two weeks ago, he had over five hundred. They say he will make a good officer. Colonel Buck is getting better and will soon be able to take the field again. I hope the war will soon some to an end now as they are going to drafting and will raise a large army. I hope some of these old sweatheads round here will have to go. I wish Old Kent ² would have to go. I hope Jake [Kent] & Jeff [Kent] will have to go this time. The sheriff came and took them off some time ago and Old Kent borrowed money and went into Detroit to get them back and when he was gone somebody went in his shop and stole all of his currant wine, a keg of maple molasses, & two good hams. This is the way they serve rebels in this part of the country. They _____ed it as confiscated property.

It has been very unhealthy here this season. There is a great many has been called to their last account. George Merrill and his son Delbert is dead & a great many others. I hope you will be able to some home to your family before long & see a little son that you have never seen. He is real handsome. Your wife is a true-hearted woman. She thinks about the absent one night and day. There is not many like her. May God bless you and keep you is the prayer of your affectionate sister, — Sarah Husted

Please write as often as you can. Goodbye.

¹ Isaac Hubbard (1842-1913) married Mary Hollister (1841-19xx) in Springfield, Oakland County, Michigan on 22 March 1862.

² There are several references in these letters to “Old Kent” — most of them negative. I believe this was John Kent (1798-1887) and his wife Polly Bennett (1800-1886) of Shiawasee County. John’s grandsons were Jacob Kent (1840-18xx) and Jefferson Kent (1841-1896). 

August 11th 1862

Dear brother,

I thought I would write a few lines in answer to your kind letter. The reason that I have not written to you before is that I have not been well and my work has been some ways from home. Still I think myself well off when I think of you in a fair and distant land and on the battlefield. I have often thought that I should not like to be your place but the time is close at hand. They are going to draft here after the fifteenth of this month and I do not know but I may be taken. If I am taken, I can only say amen to it. There is a good many men that found fault about the support of the families. They now say they are willing to help them. If they only enlist these cowards at home afraid of being drafted, they offer a bounty from two to three hundred dollars to them that will take their place if they are drafted. This is the way to bring them to a sense of their duty. If Old Suglion [?] could only be drafted, then I should feel to praise the Lord but I suppose he is too mean to be in the army. No more of this kind of trash.

Dear brother, the time is very long since I saw you but I hope it will not be much longer. I suppose you have endured a great deal of hard fare since you left here. I did not think you could stand so much hard fare. You must put your trust in the Lord and He never will never leave nor forsake you. Dear brother, I hope you will not do as I have done. Write as soon as you get this letter. No more at present.

I suppose you think you can with Patrick Henry “Give me Liberty or Give me death.” This is the moto. This from your brother and your friend, — Alfred B. Husted [1816-1901]


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