1861: Kenzie Allen Lovell to his Friends

Kenzie Allen Lovell as an older man

This letter was written by Kenzie Allen Lovell (1841-1923), the son of Amon Lovell (1802-1850) and Wealthy Houck Baird (1816-1907) of Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania. Mentioned in the letter is his brother Albert G. Lovell (1839-1934).

At the time that Kenzie wrote this letter in 1861, he was employed as a school teacher but the following year he enlisted in August to serve 9 months as a first sergeant in Co. E, 122nd Pennsylvania Infantry. In 1870, he was still living in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, earning his living as a lawyer. He was married in 1865 to Mary G. Lease (1845-1928).

Kenzie’s letter speaks of the outrage exhibited by the Northern populace—particularly by the students in his school—when the Massachusetts Militia were attacked by southern sympathizers as they attempted to pass through Baltimore on 19 April 1861.

Massachusetts Militia attacked while passing through the streets of Baltimore (Monument City).


Tuesday, 3 p.m., June 25, 1861

My dear friends,

Your most welcome epistle reached its destination a few evenings since and to all such, I respond with the greatest pleasure. I am sorry to hear that you do not intend coming to the Normal [school] till next spring, but am glad that you have not abandoned the idea entirely. I can’t say whether I will be here then or not but I want to remain next winter at least. If I am, you will not see me.

I suppose old “Harmony Hill” Seminary is now closed up and left to commune in silence with those large oaks around it, or, mayhap ’tis still frequented by a group of “little ones,” more eager for play than study. In your next, please let me know when my successor closed and how he succeeded. Let me know also where Mr. Solliday is; whether he has left Maryland or not.

The school here is not now as large as it was at the commencement of the term, many having left at the close of the first quarter. There are now only about 300. The war excitement had a great effect upon the school this spring, and many students left their books to handle the musket and sword. May success attend them where traitors are to be crushed.

When the news reached the school that the Northern troops had been attacked in Baltimore, it created intense excitement, and had it it been in their power, the proud Monumental City, disgraced by its treasonous inhabitants, would have been reduced to ashes. This I give you as an illustration of the effect which that ignominious attack upon our troops had in the school, and the illustration will apply in general to the whole North, from Pennsylvania’s southern boundary to Maine, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

It is now begun, however, and were a hero of the Revolution permitted to visit America at the present unhappy period in her history, he could not but weep to think that our once happy Republic should so soon fall a victim to civil strife—strife inaugurated by traitors whose foul deeds would make an Arnold blush. But enough of this; it pains me to behold it, much more to picture it to others. I anxiously await the result, and think that ere six months more roll around, Gen. Scott—who is the Union’s support—will have proved that the “Southern Confederacy” is only a phantom and that Republicanism is not a failure.

I am happy indeed to read such sentiments as are expressed in your letter, and to think that while evil influences surrounded you, you did not yield to them, but still remain the same that you were when we last conversed together in my study at Mr. Kline’s. In your next, please tell me if you can what Mr. Kline’s sentiments are about the present national issue.

Brother Albert, I believe, is still in Maryland, I think, however, he intends coming to school here before long. I suppose you are about beginning to cut your grain crop, for it is some earlier than ours. I would like to go into the harvest fields about two weeks if I thought I could endure it. I am confident if you intend going to school any place, you will find it vastly to your benefit to attend the institution because it has been prepared and is now endowed by the State to train teachers.

I believe I have written all of importance and shall close. Please write soon. You will see this letter has been written in haste. Direct as before. Sincerely yours, — K. Allen Lovell

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