The Letters of John M. Jackson–May 25, 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.

Although there was not a legible signature anywhere on the parchment, we are assuming the letter this week is from John’s sister, Delinda.

The original building of Kents Hill is pictured here with the 1836 addition.

Kents Hill, May 25, 1863

My Dear Brother,

Since I last wrote you I have visited our home spent three days and returned to the hill of science. I found all well. While I was there they received a picture of a soldier that they supposed to be yourself and I found one here awaiting me that I knew to be yours. I think mine the most natural one you have sent home. I wish I had one to send back in return. There was a Mr Wing at our house whitewashing when I was at home that said he knew you very well.

I became somewhat acquainted with your boy Frank and think I shall like him.

I am just now visiting Emma but expect to commence my school at Readfield Corner tomorrow. I somewhat dread the task for it. Said to be a very hard school. I do not know yet where I shall board.

When I went home I stopped at the Greene depot and walked down to Dea Barrell’s took dinner there; then called at Mr. Rackleys, Mr. Gratts & Mr. Sargents and carried me down home. They were somewhat surprised to see me out I had written them nothing about coming home. I went to the village to see the fashions- saw very little that was new except a new trimming for bonnets. They trim them with birds & worms- the bird holding the worm in his mouth. Debora bought her a new dress- a drab delaine.

There was a public meeting of the Calliope last Friday eve. I returned just in season to attend. The following question was discussed; Resolved that woman exerts a greater influence for good than man. The discussion was warm but for the most part rather silly.

By the way when I was at home I saw a soldier address to his mother. His sister would like to receive a poem addressed to herself.

I feel as if I had little to write today Delora writes you all the news from home and Emma is writing and I think I shall put this in with hers 

It seems that this letter was included along with last week’s letter from Emma, a family friend. Delinda has returned home to Lewiston to visit Emma and is getting ready for a new school year at Readfield Corner. Delinda is very nervous about starting there since Readfield is said to have a very difficult curriculum.

Delinda also informs John of home affairs. She’s run into many friends during her stay and has become acquainted with John’s friend Frank, who Delinda expects to get along with well. She also attended a public meeting at the Calliope last Friday, and the participants engaged in what she calls an interesting, yet somewhat silly, discussion: whether or not a “woman exerts a greater influence for good than man.”

She closes by hinting that she would love to receive a poem from her brother, and mentions that Delora and Emma will also have news to write.


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