This letter was written to Cephas Warren Parker (1841-1912) the son of Ezekiel Parker (1809-1872) and Mary Ward Winchester (1818-1910) of Amity Township, Erie County, Pennsylvania. Cephas married Julia Ann Adams (1845-1925) in 1868 and resided in Wayne, Erie County, Pennsylvania. Cephas served in Go. G, 1st Pennsylvania Light Artillery.
The author of the letter was a young woman who knew Cephas in Concord. She shares the news of the locality with her “absent but not forgotten friend” and informs him of the grand illumination in nearby Corry where the residents celebrated Lee’s surender. She also tells him of the fate of Edmond Dalton, the father of her friend Johanna, who was brutally assaulted and left for dead on the night of the celebration by Irish Catholics who held no grudge against him except that he was a Protestant.
Concord [Erie County, Pennsylvania]
April 11th 1865
Absent but not forgotten friend,
Once more I take my seat to have a few moments conversation with you. I delayed writing because I intended to have went home but I was exposed to the small pox and couldn’t go. But thank kind Providence, I didn’t have it. I have been vaccinated and it has worked well. My arm is pretty sore yet.
Your folks moved today. I should have went with them if I was able to help her work. Your mother got your letter last night and was glad to hear from you. She said she couldn’t write this week and wanted me to tell you how we all rejoice over the glorious victory. It was confirmed yesterday that Lee is taken and they had a regular jubilee at Corry last night. We could hear the music and see the lights plain from here. You would have imagined that the city was on fire — every house in the place was illuminated.
Mr. [Edmond] Dalton ¹ came very dear getting killed that night. He stood a little apart from the rest listening to the speeches when all of a sudden there was an Irishman nabbed him by the hair and dragged him out into a crowd of about a 100 Irishmen. There they beat him [and[ mangled him till they thought he was dead and [then] dragged him off. He lay there a spell, then he revived up and prayed God to give him strength to get away for he was afraid they would come back and finish him. By a great effort, he got to Dr. Chase’s. They washed him, dressed his wounds, and the next day he was brought home. I was to see him yesterday. He was a little better but not out of danger and all that was because he is a Protestant. A great many saw them fighting [but] supposed it was a brother Irishman so they let them fight it out and Dauton’s shoulder was put out of joint so he could not help himself any.
Hiram and Aldin Pond ² are both very sick with the fever. Hiram isn’t expected to live. Have you seen Alfred Olmsted? ³ He is drafted and gone down there somewhere. He didn’t like to go but he couldn’t afford to hire a substitute. Harriet Mead wants you to write to her but I suppose Martha has told you about it before this because Mrs. Mead told me to give you Harriet’s address when we were in Mrs. Stebig’s Picture Gallery and Martha said she would. I got some pictures taken the other day and I will send you one if you wish but remember I must have yours in return.
Pa has a $6 Album I want to get a lot of photographs to put in it. I have the promise of most all the young folks around here. Alfred is a going to send me his and I am a going to have Henrietty Platner’s likeness — that’s Alfred’s sweetheart. I suppose you know I have enjoyed myself very well this winter. I have had a good many sleigh rides and been to a number of parties. I have left Beardsley’s now after serving 5 months. I don’t know whether I will go home or down to Oil Creek. Johanna Dalton is down there getting $3.50 per week and if I can get a place near where she is, I think I will go.
I hope we will see you marching home in a short time. Won’t we have a glorious celebration day when the rebellion comes to its final end. I wish I was a boy so I could have a chance to fight in the glorious cause.
It is time to close so goodbye. Please write as soon as you get this and tell me all the news. This from your ever true friend [name was excised from the letter].
To Cephas W. Parker
¹ Edmond Dalton (1825-18xx) was an emigrant who came from Ireland with his wife Ellen in 1849. His two eldest daughters, Ellen and Johanna, were born in Ireland. Johanna Dalton is also mentioned in this letter.
² Hiram (b. 1845) and Isaac Alden Pond (b. 1848) were the two youngest boys of Elijah Alijah pond (1794-1874) and Betsy Elizabeth Alden (1804-1892) of Concord, Erie County, Pennsylvania. Hiram, must have survived for he appears to have been enumerated in the 1870 US Census.
³ Alfred H. Olmsted was drafted into Co, B, 98th Pennsylvania Infantry on 6 March 1865.