This letter seems to bear the signature “Dr. Jesse Spangler” and is datelined St. Patrick, Ohio but I cannot find anyone in the census records by that name. St. Patrick was a township in Shelby County, Ohio. There is a letter at the Ohio Historical Society written by the same author in June 1861 which was addressed to his “nephew and niece” and I presume they are the same recipients though their names or/or initials are not revealed in the on-line catalogue.
The author was clearly a Democrat and attributed the cause of the current national crisis to be “Abolitionism” and “Black Republicans.”
St. Patrick, [Shelby County] Ohio
May 31st 1861
Dear Friends, D. W. & M. Spangler,
I this P.M. at 4 o’clock received yours of the 28th and enclosed I found the $20 you send. I now will pay Uncle Jim tomorrow if I so long live and keep my health. I had paid him $5 some time in April before he volunteered but I was in the same fix (as Rany Julim used to say) as you say that you was for I can’t get no money of my man Fridays or I should not have dunned you as I did. But all is, or will be, right now. All, that is, of it. Your corn was delayed a few days by it as he owed Mr. Durbin and for not having the money to pay him he had to take his beans and haul corn to Wauseon for him but I think he has it planted by this time for last Saturday he had but one days plowing to do yet and the weather has been favorable since.
There is ¼ of the corn to plant yet in the Maumee Valley but farmers are rushing it right through since the rain started. This May was nothing but frost — the last 4 nights hard frosts yet. I finished planting on last Wednesday. I begun to plant on the 17 — that is up nigh; then on the 22nd — that is coming up; and on the 28th I finished. I planted about ½ acre of sorghum that is just coming up. I should not of planted so much sorghum but you know the boys are mad and they will likely not make much molasses for us. So I supposed I had better look out for myself in that line. My wheat will be ½ cheep this year. Last October when I left for Allen, I had as good lookin’ wheat as I seen all the way, but when I got home I seen that it looked rather yellow and till winter sat in the blades (except the hard) was all yellow. But this spring if commenced growing and looked well. But now it begins to show what it is. 2½ acre. I think I shall cut the most of it for hay as there will not be wheat enough for cutting it let alone for threshing it.
No Dan, you need not bother yourself about sending money for me. I have told you heretofore that I have no bill to make until I see you. Now if you calculate to get on your land and will in the fall, why then you will be surprised when you will hear me give in my bill of expense, but if you don’t move onto it, why then I will recall what I have said for I am in favor to taxing speculators, and before you live here 7 years, you will say so too. All we want we want the land improved and the roads made good.
As for the war, I need not tell you anything. Our boys they are at or near Marietta. They are in Company E, 14th [Ohio] Regiment, Colonel [James Blair] Steedman — just as good a Democrat as ever tramped sole leather and a fine citizen and a good speaker politically. But the B[lack] R[epublicans] will not vote for you but for a B[lack] R[epubican]. They have the power now but I hope I will live to see it otherwise and had it been otherwise. I tell you good it would be otherwise now in the Union. Now Dan, that is my opinion about the matter. I may differ with you on the matter but that would not matter if we did. Each man forms an opinion of the cause of the difficulty. I say Abolitionism, you say what you think.
Yours found us all well and we was glad to hear that you were all well. Now Dan, you don’t way whether you want a house built or not. I got a bill sent in last week for $110. He wanted to send his bill for $120 but was told that I had one at that so he made it $110. If you will want a house built, let me know before long as they that gets to build it would like to make a beginning to lay in lumber to get it seasoned.
Yours with respect, — Dr. Jesse Spangler of St. Patrick, Ohio