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Ira Conine Papers: Transcripts - MS 673
Beechwood School House
January 14, 1864
My Dearest friend
After a silence of nearly a month you have at last written. I do not think I ever was made happier by the reception of a letter than was last Eve on receiving your of Dec 18th. I was just dying to hear from you yet I dreaded to hear for fear it would be bad news. I am thankful that you are as favorably situated as you are, and as it is it is bad enough. I thought a great many times I never should hear from you again. You have seen harder times this trip than you ever did before have you not? You have scarcely been out of my mind a moment since you left for I knew it could not be other wise but you would see hard times. How I wish I could share your hardships and help you to bear up under the toils and trials that are incident to a soldier life. It is useless for me to think of these things still I cannot help it.
I have not been at home for two weeks. I spent New year's and Christmas at home. Didn't have a very good time. George and I went to Findlay, had some negatives taken but I have seen nothing of the photoes yet Eliza H had a Party Christmas Eve taking it altogether it was a perfect ___. Dan Oren and Ike M came pretty near having a fight.
I felt bored to think I was in the company. We have had good sleighing for the last two weeks. A gentleman from [Ottawa] called to take me sleighing last Sunday Eve but I didn't feel for sleighing so I declined the invitation. Mrs. [Barnhizer] said I need a whipping for not accepting the offer for she thinks him a good "catch," but I though differently.
I suppose Anderson was glad enough to see you, was he not? I should think he would be ready to give up Han if he has not heard from her for so long. Dan and Han [kick] around as much as ever. I cant think for my life what she means. I think they must keep you moving on double quick if they move three times a day and twice the night. That would be a little too much moving for me. I might get used to it if I was in the army though. No Ira I did not think you had forgotten me for I don't think you can do that but still you might get neglectfull not saying that you have. You directed all your letters to McComb not aware that I was looking and some times your letters would lay up home two week before I would get them. But you know how to simpathise with me as you have been cut off from the mail line. Oh how could you endure it? I thought it hard enough here at home, let alone being down there where you can see nothing but blue jackets and rebs. I wrote Han a letter yesterday. I am going to have a spelling on the 22nd of this month if there is good sleighing. There are all coming down from Sharpsville. I did have a spelling last Friday night. The first spelling ever I had the pleasure of superintending. I thought of you all the time as you regard me Sallie had her second finger taken off and by this time she has her fore finger off. That was the calculation when I left home the last time. Your uncle John has got pretty near well again. I haven't been over there this winter, but I want to go before my school is out which will be in four weeks. They want me to teach 4 months but I hardly think I will, I am almost tired to death now. I have had from thirty five to forty scholars every day this week. I never found teaching as hard as I have this winter. Mrs. Barnhizer says I don't look like I did when I commenced teaching. I think I shall quit at the end of three months and go to Findlay to school and teach in Hancock co. this summer as you and I have dissolved partnership but you think we can settle that after you come home. No we cant do any such thing. I want it settled before you come home so that if you did not ___ to ___ me I could be looking out for some one that would ___. I had'nt [hadn't] better drop any of my correspondents I might want to take them up again. But enough of this. [Presume] we can settle this matter with out any trouble.
George and John S. have not gone yet, still talk of going. I had a very unexpected letter from Davie Randall this week. It was quite a flattering letter too. I cant imagine what ever possessed him to write to me. I presume you will say that I wrote to him first but indeed I did not. I had a letter not long since from a soldier in Capt [captain] Prebles company. He was an entire stranger to me, never heard of the name before. His name is Swank. I had a letter from [Moll Coats] this week, she sent me a Photo. I have had seven Photoes given to me since you went away. Some person took one of yours out of my Album the one that you had taken sitting.
Han and Sallie and I are going to Licking co. in the spring on a visit. We are making calculations on having a gay old time. Your Pa is going too. How I wish you was here to accompany us then I would enjoy the visit.
It is getting dark too dark to write in the school house and I am getting hungry too. So I think I had better quit for this time. I would love to hear where are you now and how you are getting along. It is very seldom that I get to see a paper so that I may know how the battles have gone. Write very often but wait for answers but let me know where you are and how you are. Give my love to Anderson and Harrie and retain a share for yourself. Ever your own Jennie.
Dillworth has come home. I hav'nt seen him only at a distance.
Beech-wood school house
Saturday Eve. Jan 30th/64
Your very welcome although almost unexpected letter arrived at its destination to day. Just one month since it was written all to one day. I say unexpect because it had been so long since I had heard from you that I could not think it possible that you could be living not write to me and yet I could not believe you was dead. O Ira you cannot imagine what my feeling have been for the last four weeks. I was at home last Saturday your folks had heard nothing only what Capt. Howard wrote to his wife he wrote that Anderson was wounded. Your name was not mentioned among the killed or wounded so that gave us some hope. Han appears to feel very badly hearing of Andersons misfortune and Mrs. Apgar has nearly gone crazy. I hope Anderson will get home. Ira you did not say how he was wounded or whether you thought he would get well or not why did you not write the particulars.
The 21st Regt. came home last Tuesday I have seen none of them yet.
My school will be out on the 13th of Feb I hav'nt very much to write. Ira but I am so glad that you are safe I was dreading to hear for fear I would hear bad news and yet I cannot help but think you will get home safe.
Mrs. Jenkins is dead she dies two weeks ago Lou is not married yet but is going to be soon.
I had a spelling last week George brought Moll Coats in a sleigh. John Shaw a sled load. We all went to McComb and had a gay old time. It is getting so dark I cannot see to keep the line I wanted to write this for I thought I might get a chance to send it away pretty soon.
Ira take care of your self be a good boy write very often don't forget.
And believe me to be Ever yours
February 5, 1864
My Dearest and best Friend-
This eve finds me well and responding to your welcome missive of 26th.
Your Pa and Ma had been to Ottawa and they brought the letter to me. They called at the school room door, gave me the letter, did'nt stop to talk long but I believe they said had taken a lot down to send to you if that is as I presume. You and Lieut will live well while it lasts. If all accounts are true the box would have to be a pretty good size for the contents to last through one meal unless the Lieut has lost his appetite which would be a serious affair.
For a few evenings since a lady who was spending the evening with me was very much taken with that photograph of Wallace. She asked a great many questions concerning him all of which I answered to the best of my ability. There is no doubt but it is a genuine case of love at first sight.
She is a lady too and by the way I tell you who it was. I presume you remember Callie Smith. She has been living in Findlay the last year. She is handsome and a perfect lady. Callie and I used to be to gether so much when we lived in the country and I find it very pleasant renewing our acquaintance here at Gilboa where good society is so scarce. There is only two young ladies in town that I associate with and they are Miss Hall and Gale. The married ladies and gentlemen had a surprise after supper last Thursday Eve. We three girls were there and one young man. We had a gay time. Didn'nt get home until two o'clock in the morning.
You was wishing to be up at the "Old Squire's" while the sleighing lasts. That would be very nice for you but it would do me no good while I have to stay in the school room. I would as soon have you down in Knoxville as to be here sleigh riding around with Miss Amelie or some other one whom you would choose to call a schoolmate. No doubt it would be quite a gratification to you to have such a picture as you described in your letter. I have thought a great too many times that it was a "smart trick" of Amelie to hold the curtain back for you to see the girls drying. It was not doing as she would be done by. Then you think you and Anderson will never wear those clothes again? I should like to know why.
I cant tell you anything about Mr. Critiser's. The last I heard of them they lived in Modarie Ohio. I presume it is the same Sarah that went to school at Sharpsville. Write to her and find out. Is it nine months since you went to Knoxville? I had'nt thought of it being that long. Well I hope they will keep you there seven months longer and then send you home. You have indeed been lucky, few very few soldiers have it like you. You ought to be thankful.
That was too bad that the mail bag came without a letter from you. Did you ask him when he expected one? That was the way Fred Stoll used to do when we sent him to the office and there was no letters. He would ask the postmaster "when he expected one."
Doomed to disappointment are you? Only average about two letters a week? I think I am doing well when I average that many a month.
You could'nt help laughing when you was reading my letter over. Well there now if that is the way I shall just stop writing.
Ira I have one request to ask of you and you wont refuse one, will you? It is this: I want you to destroy those letters I wrote you since your return to Knoxville, wont you? Please do. Some accident might happen yet, you might take sick and die and then those letters would be there for any and every person to read. Please do something with them, send them home or burn them.
I presume Mr. Conine and Mr. Wallace will think they are some when they get in to that new home.
Perhaps I shall come to the dedication and perhaps I wont. There will be enough there without one. Did Wallace give Maggie P. an invite to the dedication?
Oh why did you not send those novels right along? I hav'nt had any thing to read for a month. I had a great mind not to answer this letter for a week just to pay you.
Our sleighing is gone and we have mud instead. Been raining a day or two. I have had the blues to day, felt miserable all day. Had such singular dream of you last night. There is considerable of sickness in the country at present. Mrs. Moffit died last week. I will close ere I weary you with my scribbling with the hope this will find you well.
I am still your own,
Please excuse me as there is no "Yaller Gall" of my acquaintances that I can present your regards to.
The Dutchman thinks he can arrange his business so that he can leave for Germany in the course of six or seven months. I think that will be soon enough.
February 15th 1864
My Dearest friend:
Yours of the 30th Jan now lies before me. I was very very gald to hear from you again as I have heard nothing from you since Jan 1st. I has almost come to the conclusion the Johnie Rebs had got hold of you, but still you are safe.
Anderson came home this evening by this time he is talking with his father and mother. It is now nearly 11 o'clock. Your Pa had been down on the Ridge was coming home overtook Anderson on his way from the station. He was riding old Lano's horse. Anderson thought he would have to go home first. Han is just more than flying around. I cant see how she I will stand it to wait three days before she can see Anderson. I don't believe I could nor I would'nt wait unless I had to. My school was out last Friday. I was visibly among the scholars the last week of school. Well, I dreamed three nights in succession that you had come home and you know the old saying is what you dream the first night you sleep in a house will come back. I slept in a different house every night. Sometimes I would almost believe there might be some truth in it but I guess it must have been Anderson instead of you. I am sorry you are not at home for I think there will be some turkey killed while Anderson is home. If they get married and don't ask me to the wedding I'll match them for it - see if I don't.
Ira you wanted me to send my photo with Anderson when he goes back. I am going to Findlay tomorrow and I had a negative taken nearly two months ago but I have not seen them yet. If they are not good ones I will have some more taken while Apgar is here. I am going to start to school to Findlay in two weeks if nothing happens and I am well.
Ira you say you have written to me but I don't answer I always answer just as soon as I get your letters. I have only received two letters since you are at the Regt. Three with the one Apgar brought but I think there are letters at Ottawa for me now.
Bill Mathias is married started for Nashville yesterday. George has'nt put his name down yet but he is going to in a day or so but he is not going untill Lieut Eply goes which will be the 1st of March. Well Ira I guess I have written all that I know of for this time. It is getting very late and I am very tired as I have been washing to day.
Uncle Abram --- was here last week and took Callie off with him. He couldn't do without her any longer he was here nearly a week but I didn't get to see him.
Charley is not living with us either so our family will be rather small when George goes away. Good by Ira keep in good heart. Think of Jennie very often. And don't let the Rebs get hold of you.
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