Letters

The other day I asked readers to send in any old letters that they had from relatives and Teresa Sitz was kind enough to share this letter from the Civil War from a relative:

Amanda Lavina [Williams] Maxwell writes to her husband James Harvey Maxwell, who is serving in the Civil War. Amanda is 19, living with her 2-year-old daughter Margaret in Benton County Arkansas. James Harvey Maxwell survives the war and the family moves to East Texas. Amanda and James are the parents of Joseph Henry Maxwell who married Della Avery Stewart.

The original letter has been scanned and is here.

Benton Co Arks August the 9 1862

Dear husband. I now seat my self to write you a few lines to let you know that us are all well and I hope when these lines comes to hand they will find you well. The connection is all well as far as I know. I received your letter dated July the 16. I was glad to hear from you and hear that you was well. I have received 4 letters from you since you left home. I have not had the chance to send you a letter before. I want to see you most powerfull bad but I fear it will be some time before I will see you. Margaret…

…grows fast can say anything she wants to say. She says she wants to see her pa. When you take up winter quarters you may begin to build a house for I am coming to stay with you. If I live I want you to come home as soon as you can.

I will now tell you who has joined the army. Marion Tell Hubard, John Williams, Sam White, John and Jess James and Thomas Cowden, John McCoy, Arch Moor, Anderson Henry, William Henry, George Hearal, George Williams. That is all from here I believe. John Howdyshell is dead. He had the measels and tooked relaps and died. William Cowan is dead. Condrys wife is dead.

I got your mare in the spring and have got her yet have had hard work to keep her from the feds. They took old Cornel off once and kept him a while and turned him out and I got him again. There was one hundred and forty eight bushels of our wheat. The feds has been in here several times since you left home. They have been fired on many times. Several of them has been kiled. They was shot at one time and they surrounded the thicket where the men was and shot at them. Killed *old man Chasteen. Shot him six times and after he was dead Esq. Wimpy stuck his boyonet throug him. The rest of the men got away.

I will have mine and Margaret’s likeness taken the first chance I have and send them to you. I will send you a piece of mine and Margarets hair. I want you to rite every cance you have to send a letter and I will do the same. So nothing more but remains yours truly until death.

Amandy L. Maxwell to James H. Maxwell

* “Old Man Chasteen” was Reverend Jehu Chastain, born 30 DEC 1801, Pendleton District, Pickins County, South Carolina. He was killed 20 JUL 1862 in Benton County AR and is buried at the Fairmount Cemetery in Benton County.

3 Comments

  1. Please note. I wrote about the death of Rev. Jehu Chastain. I don’t think that “old man” Chasteen is one and the same person though the time frame is reasonable.

    Jehu lived SW of Springtown Whereas the Maxwells lived between Cave Springs and Rogers. I am related to them via the Williams as well as Jehu. T. Cowden is also kin as is Anderson Henry (Uncle Anders as my GF called him.) There are both Chastains and Chasteens from Benton county who lived nearer the Maxwell homes. I would be most interested in any more info on the subject. Thanks

  2. Can you tell me the names of the people in the above photo. Rev Jehu Chastain is a distant grandfather of mine, and this photo has shown up in the internet durring my research of him
    Thanks in advance,
    Kerie

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