December 1933

Ice Skating into the New Year. Old postcard in Austin Collection.
Ice Skating into the New Year. Old postcard in Austin Collection.

December 1933 in Eldred
December was a month for skating, visiting, and getting ready for Christmas. Jim and Anna skated on Bosch Pond.

Laura McBride stopped and visited with Ella. Clinton and Ella visited with her stepmother Anna at Highland Lake. Ella also mailed a Christmas box to her sister Hazel. Garfield fixed a viola.

Austin Smith, Jim, and Garfield went to at least three Christmas Program practices in Barryville. The program took place at the Methodist Church three days before Christmas.

Two days before Christmas the Leavenworths trimmed their tree which Clinton had brought home. Anna and Jim went to the cemetery and put wreaths on graves.

Christmas Eve afternoon, the Sergeants visited. Bill Meyers was there for dinner. The family opened their presents.

The Leavenworths feasted on a 22-1/2 pound turkey for Christmas dinner.

Garfield gave Bertram his first mandolin lesson the day after Christmas. Thursday, December 28, it was 14 degrees below zero. It warmed up to six degrees below by four on Friday afternoon.

And it was time for a new year. Ella mentioned Garfield working for the TCWA in her diary. The organization seems to be related to the construction jobs created by the CWA (Civil Works Administration) in November 1933.

Posted in Book excerpts, Farewell to Eldred | Leave a comment

December 19, 1864

Sherman Leavenworth must have requested information on the death of his brother Atwell Leavenworth, who had died November 13, 1864. Their brother Hezekiah Leavenworth died April 26, 1865. Four Trees

Atwell and Hezekiah Leavenworth Stone. Photo: Gary Smith.
Atwell and Hezekiah stone in Eldred Cemetery. Photo: Cynthia.
Atwell and Hezekiah stone in Eldred Cemetery. Photo: Cynthia.

Folly Island, South Carolina, December 19, 1864
Dear Sir,
I hasten to answer your communication of November 23rd. In explanation why I have not answered it before, I will state that I have been on picket duty constantly for the last three weeks, and consequently, having no facilities for writing.

In answer to the question “how Atwell felt about dying,” I can’t say but little, from the fact that I can’t find as anyone spoke with him on the subject except myself.

Perhaps I ought to state that the nurses employed in the hospital at the time have all gone to the front at present to take care of the sick and wounded. For you will probably learn before this reaches you that most of the forces in this department have gone to meet Sherman.

Whenever I spoke to Atwell about the probabilities of his not recovering, his answer would be something like this.

“Well, I should like to live to see this rebellion put down, but if it is otherwise ordered, I don’t know but what I feel perfectly reconciled. I am not afraid to die. I feel that I am laying down my life in a just cause.”

He always conducted himself with strict propriety, and refused peremptorily to join any of his companions in any of the follies of camp life, he was a good soldier, and one that was respected by all who made his acquaintance.

He was buried with military honors, and a large number of the regiment attended his funeral. In regard to the removal of his body, I would think it impractical at present, from the fact there is really no one here that can make the proper arrangements. Continue reading

Posted in Civil War, The Mill on Halfway Brook | Leave a comment

December 18, 1864

George W. Eldred, friend of Sherman S. and cousin to the Eldred-Austin families was discharged from service in the Civil War due to illness.

In December of 1864, George W. Eldred married Miss Marietta A. West, daughter of Samuel and Mary West. The ceremony was performed by Felix Kyte at her parents’ home in Beaver Brook, New York. The new couple lived at Beaver Brook, and then at the Village where George was a farmer.

Edith Emogene (Emma) Austin, cousin of Tina Austin. Photo courtesy of Kathy T.
Edith Emogene (Emma) Austin, cousin of Tina Austin. Photo courtesy of Kathy T.

New York City, December 18, 1864
Dear Cousin Emma,

At last I have seated myself to write to you the long promised letter, although I am almost ashamed to for I have put it off so long.

I have not been to my much loved school for the past week as I am suffering very much with a bad cold in my head.

Our esteemed and most worthy cousin G.E. [George Eldred] has at last stepped into the blissful bonds of matrimony, etc. Congratulate him for me.

Well Emogene, how is that teacher? Have you got any thumps on the nose like the one I received when I was there?

How I wish I had a monstrous piece of pumpkin pie. Do you make it as good as ever?

Is Retta [Henrietta] as fond of feeding the pigs as ever and has Maria gotten stung by any more hornets?

How is Grandmother [Hannah Eldred] and cucumbers getting along? Does she eat as many as ever?

Tell Aunt Mary I am getting very thin for the want of a good dish of string beans and tell Grandmother I have at last learned to like applesauce and apple puddings and if she will only come and see us, I will make her an apple pudding everyday.

But I guess you are getting tired of reading such nonsense and as I have another letter yet to write, I will bring this to a close.

My love to all is the closing sentence of your loving Cousin’s letter. Tina

Posted in Austin letters, The Mill on Halfway Brook | Leave a comment

December 23, 1863

Anne Mary Austin Schoonover. Photo courtesy of Kathy T.

Ann Mary Austin Schoonover writes to her sister Laura Austin Clark.

Barryville, December 23, 1863
Dear Sister Laura,
I received yours of the 22 and now I am on my bed with the stand by it, with a pillow for me to rest on while I write.

Four weeks yesterday, I was taken sick with the bilious fever, very sick. The day before I was very smart, so Perry went down the River and was gone a week. I was down all the time, but nights I kept getting worse. On Saturday, they thought I would not live for a while.

I don’t think I ever was so sick before, but through the mercy of God, I am getting better. Oh how thankful we ought to be for such a Friend when we feel all other Sources failing us, that we take a Saviour to look to, knowing he never will leave nor forsake us, but will be our guide even unto death.

I feel to exclaim with the Psalmist, Bless the Lord oh my Soul, and all that’s within me Bless his holy name for all mercys to me.

I will not be able to come either Christmas or New Years. We intend to come when I get able.

I would like some of your pot cheese, first rate. I’ve been wanting it since I began to eat. I do not have much appetite. I have a very good girl. We pay her ten shillings a week. I expect I shall have to keep her sometime yet.

I would like to have you come and see me if you can without hindering Irv’s work. We can write to each other. Kiss tiger for me.

Martha Clark has got a babe a week old. I must close for I am very tired. I remain yours, A.M. Schoonover

Gravestone for Ann Mary Austin Schoonover.
Gravestone for Ann Mary Austin Schoonover.

Ann Mary Austin Schoonover, wife of O.P. Schoonover, and daughter of Ralph and Fanny Austin, died August 31, 1864, at the age of 37. Ann Mary Austin Schoonover was buried in the old Eldred Cemetery.

Posted in Austin letters, The Mill on Halfway Brook | Leave a comment

December 1862

Civil War Names in Highland
Aunt Sal
Goose Lot and Stone Walls
Four Trees

Civil War Battles Sherman fought in.
Civil War Battles Sherman fought in.

Yorktown, December 11, 1862
Dear Brother,
On the 11th, early in the morning we fell in line and was marched off with packed knapsacks. We were marched to Gloster County and when we were there, marched 15 miles to Gloster Court House where we camped.

We went there with the calculations of fighting rebels, but they had run. I went on picket the same night. It was cold as the deuce and the officer that was officer of the guard put us under cover of a fence as much as he could so we would not be so apt to get fired at.

We laid close and kept a sharp look out. There was a picket shot and killed on post. The next morning we came off of picket.

The general gave orders for a detail to be made out of each regiment to go and forage. They went out in the country taking every horse, pig, sheep, ox, they could find. Also searched the houses taking all the guns powder and lead, whiskey, cider and so forth.

They did not get orders to take fowls, but they did not wait for the orders and I guess the general did not care much…

They told us that they did not see how we dare come so far out with out arms as there was rebels in the swamps right below the farm, so we began to make our way to camp, for if they should get us, they would cut our throats in a minute.

We got to camp about noon. Then we went out on a foraging party…

We got paid yesterday. I sent $35 in an express envelope to father last night. I wish he would let mother have $10 of it.

Write as soon as you get this and let me know if you got the money and if you are all well or not. Write all the news. Write a good long answer. Excuse poor spelling, bad writing, as this is wrote with a rebel pen. No more at present.

S.S. Leavenworth

Posted in Civil War, The Mill on Halfway Brook | Leave a comment