1864: H. F. Chad to her Nephew

How Mrs. Chad might have looked.

This letter was written by a woman who signed her name H. F. Chad, though I can’t be certain of the middle initial as the script is unusual. She datelined her letter from Orwell, Ashtabula county, Ohio, but I cannot find any public record online under that surname even if I search under the name Chadd instead which was the more common English spelling. I can only assume they moved into the area after 1860 and left before 1870. The woman and her husband seem to be farmers based on the content of the letter and she indicates that they were having a new barn erected on the property that was being framed by Marshall Howard, a local carpenter.

She wrote the letter to an unnamed nephew who was clearly serving in the army—probably engaged in Grant’s Overland Campaign. She mentions that she was sending him some tea in the envelope and I can only assume that the lithographed paper with scenes of Washington D. C. on one side and of flowers on the reverse contained a small pouch of tea at one time.


Orwell, Ashtabula county, Ohio
June 19, 1864

My kind and affectionate Nephew,

I now seat myself to write a few lines to you in answer to your welcome letter of the 7th that came to hand yesterday with the glad tidings that you was still well and hearty which I was very glad to hear and so was your Uncle. We had a letter from William written the 31st of May. He and Seymour was well and hearty then. They were eleven miles from Richmond. I hope the next letter I get from you that you will have the good luck to be in Richmond safe and well.

So I will send you a drawing of tea so you can take tea. I sent William some twice. He is very fond of tea.

I hope the war will be over by the 1st of July so you can have a day of rejoicing and Independence. The reason I send so small a piece of paper is so I can send some more tea and I am in a hurry for I have a hired man to get dinner for this Monday, the 20th. I had company come yesterday so I did not get it wrote but I will do better next time.

We are going to have a new barn. Mr. [Marshall J.] Howard is framing it. They think they will raise it Thursday.

You say it is very hot weather down there. We have had a very cold spring except a few days. We have had 4 days what you may call warm weather and we have had no rain to speak of for 3 weeks. Yesterday it tried to ran but did not rain enough to lay the dust. This morning it just warm enough to be comfortable.

We think of you poor fellows down there having to march and fight these hot days and I thank the Lord too for sparing you thus far and have faith to believe he will watch over you and bring you safe home.

Mrs. Sheredeen [Sheridan?] had a letter from Mack [?] wrote the 8th. He was all right then and in 5 miles of Richmond. Carol is done going to school this spring. She has been sick with 6 boils but not as bad as 6 balls would make her, I guess. Oh yes, we had two quite hard frosts this month but they did not hurt anything right here. Our corn and potatoes, oats and beans look first rate, and peas, but they are sowed late.

I often wish I was a bird that could fly down there and take a peep at you and over the field to William but I can’t and is it all right. God knows what is best. So I will leave you in God’s care and close this scribbling and do better next time. write as often as you can for we like to hear but we know you can’t have much time. This is from your aunt, — H. F. Chad

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