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Francis Stewart Papers: Transcripts - MS 744
Fostoria Jan Thursday 5th 
With pleasure I seat my self this morning to answer your kind favor of Dec. 25th. I was quite anxious to hear from you as you and brother John were reported Dead. [W]e have heard from John he is well. We have no thanks to offer to our kind friends for such news. After you had been wounded at Atlanta, a friend told me you was again wounded more seriously than at Atlanta. It was so for she heard it at Mr. Stewart's. I don't suppose your folks ever heard of it or told it either.
Jim started yesterday for our old Home. It is a lonesome day to me. Snows very hard which makes everything dull and gloomy. One of your men visited us last Tuesday. J. Baird of Bloom... He walks as if his limb was stiff. I like his appearance very much. He is so manly and noble looking. How did you spend your Holydays? The 2 Miss Shirks and Mollie Russell spent Saturday before New years with us. We had a great deal of Sport over Sallie Bronsons correspondent---Sallie told the girls she was first corresponding with a Sergeant, then again with a Capt. a vessel. Lin Shirk wished it was a big black nigger. He is so anxious to call and form an acquaintence. They did not know I had any Idea who the fellow was. The greatest mystery is, how you come to get a vessel under your care, as she sends her letters in your care. It is as good Sport for us as you--Frank[,] you spoke of Albert Frankfathers being wounded. Is he seriously or not. We cannot find out. George Bronsons children take [took] his death very hard. I would of thought them to [too] young to notice. He always fussed a great deal over them. Omer Norris has got away from the rebs at last. Success to him, don't you think so
Do you remember the few hints you gave me about Mollie Bossler a short time before you left. I have thought over it a great deal. [I] have not since written but have found out that she is not with her aunt Cnos[?]. Through her mother, she says Mollie sews by the day at one dollar per day, thinks she goes from one house to another. John Bossler is driving teems [?] in Toledo. There is a great mystery about their actions, and I most heartily thank you for opening my eyes. Although you gave me no information concerning any fault, you gave me to understand that all was not right. If you knew anything about her that was to[o] bad to tell me she would be the wrong person for me to associate with. Will Bonnell is back from Mich [Michigan]. His health has improved greatly. I saw Levi Simons that was reported killed when Silas was. He is now at home. We had a visit from Mr. Kelso this week. He is now quite well. I did not know until you informed me that Mr. Turner was in the army. Does he like his position bette[r] than Chaplain[?]
I am sick and tired of this war. Another draft shows that it is intended to last longer that this winter. Some of our leading men ou[gh]t to be gagged and starved for not using Reble pris[o]ners as they use our men. They would not be so willing to assist the South by giving them healthy men to fight our worn out soldiers while our poor fellows come home to die.
You did not say how your health did you stand the fight well? You merely said you were safe. I wish you would write more about yourself. I want to hear from you as well as the battles.
My health is very poor this winter. Worse than when you left. I cannot stand the cold winters. Fire hurts me very much. seems to oppress me[.] rest better upstairs away from the stove than down. I believe your doctrine of sleeping in open air to be good. Nellie [?] and I kept our door and window both open last summer felt the beter [better] for it.
I have not heard from your fathers for several days. were well when I saw them last. Don we site to the burgh [?] yesterday.
Receive my love and best regards. Hoping to hear from you soon.
I am as ever yours,
P. S. I received the Paper you sent the same day I received your Letter[.] It is quite a welcome messenger
Thank you for it,
Fostoria Jan/ 65
With a great deal of pleasure, I site myself to write you this morning. My health is so poor I do not know whether I can write much or not but will do my best at making a few lines on this sheet.
I was sorry to hear of your poor health. Think a visit home would do you good. You certainly need rest. I wish you were free altogether. We received a letter from John last week. He was well and like you grinding at Danbridge Tenn. Your Mother was down last Saturday. They were well, had heard from Jim he is well. We received a Letter from brother Jim. He landed safe and was at our old Home when he wrote. I am so lonesome without him. Grandmother May is with us now. It keeps us from thinking of Jim all the time to have her with us. We have splendid sleighing now. Add took Nell and I out last week. I was so tired, I had to go to bed as soon as I came back. It was the first time I had been out since I was at Findley. Don't you think I needed a little fresh air?
I really think you would be glad to join your Regt. again as dirty clothes are so unhealthy. Wm. Conley's funeral sermon was preached sabbath by Mr. Lunt at Union. The House was crowded, so Ell informed me as I was not out. Miss Addie Shirk was up Saturday and sabbath. The pass like a whissle. Ad Corey is quite taken with Adda.
Later news from Andersonville says their brother died with Consumption. He cought it when here five years ago, that never left him, a hard place for such a disease. George Corey's health is improving. He was down yesterday after Father, Mother, Gramma [Grandma] and Nell, Ellan and I were alone. Will was at school. We enjoyed ourselves good. Excuse this blot [there is a dark blot on the page]. Grandma and ma are going to Mr. Cooper's today. Do you wonder we have plenty of snow. It always snows when Mother starts out. We will keep her going so sleighing will last. If you come home, about what time do you think you will be here?
S Cellers [?] is waiting. Adieu
I will write as soon as able again.
February 7st/ 65
I received a letter from you dated Jan. 25 on the 3rd of this month. Sorry to hear of your poor health. Be very careful of your pluresy. I used to be troubled when a little girl with the same disease. I think it the Lung and not the side at al [all?]. Joe Grilicks consumption started just in that way.----
The war excitement is very high at present. Everybody that is liable to the draft feels sure they will be drafted. Will Brittolph went to Freepont to ask his father's cousin to go and has never returned ... was to come back the same evening. This is the fourth. We heard he had gone to Toledo. Everything goes off much more pleasant since he left. He was always finding fault and was so saucy to mother and the girls. He was very kind to me. Jim is in Middlesex yet. Nellie wrote for him to come home to settle a little business for me. I will tell you what it is. Mrs. Drake brought Cellars and our news from the Office when she gave call their news she took ours to[o]. Mrs. Drake wanted to bring ours down as she had she had to pass the door but the other refused saying she could send them just as well.
She kept them a night and a day sent my Letter broken open. I have 2 witnesses to prove the letter was opened there. Stopping my mail with permission is enough to go against her. The Letter was a very unexpected one from Mollie. I think she was afraid Mollie would ask me some questions. Some think they have parted. If so, Rob and Call has [have] done it. No Frank and Rob is not worthy the name you give him. If I ever live to see you I will tell you some things that will open your eyes. The general opinion is now that I will never get well. Dr. Cake[?] called to see me a few days ago. He said he could not do anything for me except give me something to ease my cough. He did that and I feel much better. I am so deaf I cannot hear only when the mouth is put to the ear. Cake says if I had good health my hearing would be as good as ever but my disease makes it so. I give up myself until the Dr. spoke in that way. But a still small voice says, ["]Hope thou in God.["].
Certainly I will pardon you for not writing sooner. Duty always first. I do not know anything about Sallie Lytle. I never ask for her perhaps your folks could inform you as she is a great friend there.
Write as often as you can.
Feb. 18th 1865
Being fully aware that etiquette forbids a lady opening correspondence with [a] gentleman[,] I would first ask you to run back with your memory to the time Captain Stewart was a schoolboy in Republic. If my memory serves me[,] he wrot[e] a letter and received the promis[e] of an answer. I can assure you it was not threw [through] any disrespect it was not answered but mere negligence, another reason why I may be allowed the privelidg. It is war time and many of our young Ladies are advertising for corrispondents. Some in view to matrimony and, as I am not a candidate for That State I Think I can choose one among my friends.
Thinking of school days and absent friends sends chill to my heart. Many of my school mates have fallen in the bloody conflict while others have sickened and died in the of those who would have died to save them and others are still suffering and longing to quit this vale of tears[.] among the last named is our dear Till. Her sufferings are great but her Trust in God is strong. Dr. Cake examined her case ashort time since but gave no encouragement. Livers was in yesterday. He thinks Thair [there] is no prospect of recovery. But as long as thair [there] is life, thair [there] is room for hope and I do not feel that her time has come yet. Neither does Mag. She is now with us. We are giveing her a pleasent medicine which was prescribed by a female physician. It appears to have the desired effect. She is so low it will be some time before she will be able to write. She reads, but little except her Bible and her letters. She is all ways glad to receive looks for them anxiously.
She spoke in one of her letters of receiving an open one. When she came to trace it up she found she could not prove whom opened it alltho [although] suspicion is as strong as ever. She wishes you to say nothing about it if you please.
It [It's] so dark I cannot see the lines. I am in the room with Till and we have to keep it verry dark. I will close by asking you to write as often to her as possible.
I remain your friend,
Nellie A. Foreman
If at any time she should get worse, we will inform you.
March 24th / 65
As the family are all asleep except Till, I thought it [a] favorable time to acknowledge the receipt of yours of the 12th and also one of the 16th. It did Till so much good to hear from you as she had not heard for over a month. Why it was she knew not. You need not be afraid to write on the acount of her illness. Your letters addressed shall remain sealed after her death. The day of it I think is not far distant. She is entirely deaf and has been since the 1st of Feb. she is very week ... not able to sit up some days to get her bed made. Her limbs a few days ago were without flesh .. are now round and plump[.] On looking at them this evening now she smiled and said my arms are getting fat and nice. She has to lie on one side all the time which makes it very hard for her. The skin is worn through in three places. Her ear has a hole almost eaten through. She suffers greatly except under the influence of morphia. Last Monday morning she asked Ell if she could live longer than noon. She told her yes. She told her yes that she would live a day or two. yesterday her again how long Ell made no reply. When Mag went in she told her of it and said she could have told me for I am not afraid to die. Mag told her it was uncertain. We knew not when. After that she rested easy. It is so hard to give her up. She and I were so different. It appears necessary for both to live for each other's good but an all God knoweth best. It may be our separation will be short. Be that as it may, I feel resigned to his Holy will. Since dark[,] a mesinger came from Eagleville stating Grandmother May was not expected to live from one minute to the next with billious Colic.
You spoke of coming home. We would be very glad to see you but hardly expect you. John has tried three times since Tillie has been worse to get a furlough but can't get one. Thare [there} is one favor we would ask of you as you have the only likeness of Till to get a half dozen photos drawn and send to us for fear something might happen to you or the likeness and we should loose [lose] it all together. We wanted her to have a negative taken some time ago but she put it off from time to time thinking she would feel better. We will pay you when you come home or send the money to you just as you wish. By so doing you will confer a favor for which we can never repay.
I remain as ever your friend,
The family send their love to you. Your brother John's address is 185th reg O.V.I. Shelbyville KY in care of Capt. Black.
Sabbath Apr. 2nd/ 65
The third time I address you but with what feelings none can tell knowing the relation existing between you and a loved departed sister. Tillie's spirit left us on the 28th of March about twenty-minutes after eleven O'clock P.M. in the full triumphs of living faith shoughting [shouting] Glory. For some hours before she died, she could not have more than two persons in the room with her at once. about nine O'clock she began calling "my God my God! Have mercy on me. Jesus come quick. Lord Jesus come quickly." then being exausted we could hear no more for a few minutes allthou [although] she was still engaged in prayer. She then looked up in my face[,] clapped her hands[,] and shouted "Glory, Glory, praise the Lord! Nellie I am going home. Praise the Lord Jesus has come!" Jimie was in the room with us. The rest of the Family were out but soon entered[.] She embraced each and asked them to praise God. Quite a number of the neighbors came in. she spoke to each -- asked them to form a ring around her bed so that she could see all and the [then] cried "Praise God from whom all blessings flow!" "I cannot hear you praise him, but if you do nod your heads." That being done, she said, "I'll praise my maker while I've breath." After she expressed a desire for prayer and singing she again became exausted and said she could not prais God on earth any longer but would soon in Heaven. Looking at those around her, she said you can praise him. "Praise the Lord!" soon after expired with out a groan. Many said they never saw anyone die as easy. Some time before she died, she told me to give her diing [dying] love to you and tell she had gone home to God. She was going to say more but others came in. I think her affection was stronger for you after you left than before. She often said she feared you would never meet on earth again. Some time before I first wrote you, she did not hear from you, which worked on her mind very much. Her remains ly in the Mill grove cemetry at her request. Your Parents, especially your Father, were very kind. They kept her in wine for some time. Such kindness will never be forgoten.
I believe I spoke of Grandmother May being sick in my last. She had passed through to the celestial City before I commenced writing, being sick only two days. Add May has [been] and is yet very sick. Mag staid [stayed] with us untill after the funeral. George has not been well for some time. He looks very bad. During Tills sickness, I felt strong and able for anything. I sat up every other night for two weeks and the two last nights all night and the night she died untill after two O'clock. It was necessary for Mag or me to be with her all the time. The rest could not understand her as her mind was partly gone. She retained her reason but would forget the names of things. He pillows she often called Jimie or pulse[?] and everything she spoke of in the same manner. I now feel very week and unfit for anything, and so lonly. I must close by bidding you adieu. Write when convenient.
P.S. I shall ever be glad to hear from you and will try to be prompt in replying.
Nellie A. Foreman
Home Apr.29th 1865
Yours of the 1st, 11th, and one directed to Till and the likeness are all at hand and I hasten to thank you for the kindness manifested. We have sent [the] likeness to Findley thinking we can get better Photos thair [there] than in Fostoria. You said I did not tell who preached the funeral sermon. It was my intention to give you all the particulars as near as I could. Mr. A. Hays Preached from 2 Cor. [Corinthians] 4th 17th and 18th verses. He spoke mostly from the last. The 17th was the last passage I heard her repeat just a few days before her death. Mr. Hayes visited her often during her sickness. She asked for him twice when dying. When he came in she looked up so pleasant and reached out her hand and said "Mr. Hayes, Jesus has some for me. I am agoing Home." About a month before he asked her if she loved her Saviour,if Jesus was precious? She answered "Oh yes, I do. He has been kind through all my afflictions." She could not talk much. None of us could give her a comforting word on account of her deafness. But she gave evidence that Jesus was with her to the last. Mr. Hayes said she shouted and talked and appeared to express her feelings more warmly than Tena Keefer did. I feel that our loss is her gain, alltho I sometimes find myself all most [almost] wishing her back in this sinfull world. How oft [often] I think of the many happy happy hours we have spent together and ask myself, can it be so that I am left alone with no desire to live. I know it is wrong, and I know when my work on earth is done we will meet whare parting will be no more.
You spoke of good news from Grant. Little did we think ere the shouts of joy ceased such a calamity was to fall on us. Lincoln is killed sent a pang to evry [every] Loyal heart. He that seeth not as man seeth doeth all things as he wills. All tho [although] we have lost good and honest man, let us not forget the one that is filling his plaice [place]. Each one tho [though] ever so feeble can do something for him. If [I] am informed right, he is not a christian. Neither was Lincoln when he took the chair nor untill the Battle of Gettys Burg, when thair [there] he gave his heart to God. I think Johnson will be more severe with the Rebs. I was very sory Lincoln repreaved Davis the Keeper Danvill prison. He should have been hung or shot or something worse. Today's dispatch says old Jeff is taken. If so, I hope to see you soon. The part of our family in Findley wishes to be remembered by you, and when you come home wish you to visit them. Mag took one of your pictures. She said if you wanted it when you returned she would give it [to] you. If not, she would like to keep it. Ell has the other on the same conditions. The Photo Till gave me, she wished me to burn all her letters, for no one had any business with yours except you and she...that it be best for you to have them burnt. Her reason perhaps you know. I will be glad to hear from you as often as you can find it convenient to write.
As ever your friend Nellie.
P.S. Please return my warmest wishes to those gentlemen hoping they and you may all be preserved from danger and soon return. I am glad you have pleasent companions. Accept the love of the family.
Fostoria July 23rd / '65
This is the Sabbath, the sweet day of rest and finding my nerves [?] stronger than they have been for some months, I thought I would pen a few lines for your perusal. God in his kind providence has at [last] seen fit to lift the dark vail of wrath or Justice and given us hope of health and to some degree happiness. Since I last wrote you I have spent some time in Findley with Mag. When she left here last spring, if you remember, she went to nurse Add whose life was dispaired of. By the time she was able to go around with a cane, Mag's energy gave way and she was quite sick for some time. George has not had good health for this summer the first of this month. All that saw him thot [thought] his cours was run. He took billous or cramp colic which was quite severe in his weak state. He is now able for business. In your last you expressed your fears for my health. It to [too] took all my power to exorcise cheerfullness. Had I given way one moment, all would [have] been over with me. I was enabled to carry my case to a throne of grace and thair I had an advocat [advocate] with the Father and I can truly say by his grace was I kept. Tis sweet to know tho [though] this clay be dissolved, we have an house not made with hands eternal in the Heavens where thare will be no more parting or mourning for loved ones. Never did I realize so fuly that all under the sun is vanit[y] as I have done of late. Vanity of vanity saith the Preacher all is vanity. When I look around and contemplate I can say all is vanity. Laura S thot [thought] her happiness had just begun when her cup of sorrow was poured out all ready for her[.] Willie Bernard just entering manhood with a bright future before him, sickness came and told him all was vanity. Your memory will point you to many others in like circumstances. One young man in Findley was engaged to be married to Nan Goucher. He went to the army, bot [bought] a house and was having it furnished and made ready for them. Soon he was taken prisoner. Report came [that] he was badly wounded and perhaps dead. Nan being consumpted [?] and of weak nerves, she sickened and soon died. He lived to return and found only her grave. Such is the way of all earthly enjoyment. Yet I think we should try to make the best of life. We all have a work to do. Should we waste our time or the time God has given us to do the work assigned us in grieving, would we not incur his wrath? We know he doeth all things after the counsil of his own will. And if we could see as he sees we would no doubt be more willing to say not as I will but thy will be done. I write to you as a sister expecting you to look over my weakness trusting you as of old. Others may step between us in nearer ties, but I wish to be remembered as a friend as you will be held by me. If you ever need a favor, I hope you will come as a brother. True you have sisters, but of times, sisters with families cannot do as they would if they were free. Neither would think of asking of them as of a single one. Report says you will be home soon. I do hope so. As my paper is growing, I will close. Pleas write soon as convenient.
Nellie A. Foreman
The Better Land
Oh the home where changes never come
Nor pain, nor sorrow, toil nor care
Yes tis a bright, a blessed home
Oh who'd not fain be resting there.
And when bowed down beneath a load
By heaven ordained thine earthly lot
Thou yearnst to each that blest abode
Wait, meekly wait, and murmur not.
If in thy path some thorns are found
Oh think who bore them on his brow
If some sharp griefs thy heart should wound
They reached a holier than thou
Toil on nor deem though sore it be
One sigh unheard one prayer forgot
The day of rest will dawn for thee
Wait, meekly wait - and murmur not.
[Repeat last line]
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