The Letters of John M. Jackson– May 18, 1863

On one of his usual treasure hunts in Maine, our CEO, Will Seippel  stumbled upon a massive collection of letters that belonged to a soldier in the Civil War.  These letters will be published in chronological order in The Insider over the coming weeks, months and years, as we follow John Mower Jackson’s personal victories and struggles within the greater national struggle of the Civil War. Click here to read our introduction to this new column that sets the stage with our soldier’s background story.

This time we have 3 letters from someone named “Frank” who seems to be a good friend of the Jackson family. All 3 of these letters were included in the same envelope, but on two separate pieces of parchment. Perhaps Frank never got around to mailing the January letter and just included it with the other two that he wrote later.

JAN 28 1863

My Dear Friend

I thought as long as Debora & your ma was writing to you that I would write some too. Monday your father & I were setting out appletrees & Alonzo was ploughing up at Asa P Taylors & your father had his little white(?) boy here picking stones that northern contraband. I mean, we set out 18 appletrees all day yesterday

Sunday 17th 1863

I have been to meeting today went with your father & Alonzo we left your father up there & Debora & I  are a going up to the evening meeting after him just as Alonzo & I started from the meeting house Deacon Barrels team had quite a bad & Alonzo hallued(?) at Nell & wanted her to ride with him but instead of that he got the Deacon himself.

May 18

Delora roused me considerable early this morning to write you so as to send it down to the heart of the city. We have got the stones picked the man come & picked or finished picking them Saturday, we have got all of our boards stacked & there is quite a pile, there are some coucumbers squashes & cabages up quite a way Saturday Alonzo was hauling out manure your father & my honorable self was stacking boards, Alonzo says that he is going to hauling out manure today he & your father are gone to milking now there are a couple of nests in the wood pile so that we cannot ward on that & Alonzo does not know what to set me about today I do not know but they will get another part so that your father & I can shovel


We are not sure who Frank is, but he is obviously a good friend of the family–or even part of their family.  He seems to work the farm with John’s father on a regular basis. In this letter, he tells John that he planted some apple trees with Mr. Jackson- 18 of them. The harvests have been going well; Frank remarks that there is a good number of cucumbers, squashes, and cabbages growing close to the house. Farm life was hard and having a son off to war no doubt put a strain on the workload for those back home.

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