Civil War Letter

The following letter was written during the Civil War by William Leonard to his family and friends:

North Fork Creek Nation March, 25th 1862

My respectful family and friends -

It is with the greatest of pleasure that I take up my pen to let you know that I am well at present, all but a cold. I have had a very bad cold and cough ever since I left home. I would be glad to hear that you are all well.

We got here last night and I donít know how long we will remain at this place. There are about 1600 men here. There is also a regiment of Indians here. Four came in drunk just now, that nobody knew anything about. We have taken them prisoners. I donít know what will be done with them. There are droves of emigrants going to Texas every day. We have taken several weapons from them.

This is a very rough country - all but the water. There are some of the prettiest running streams. The timber is getting green, and there is more sassafras and spice here than I have seen since I left the North. Our horses look bad. We canít get anything but corn to feed them and they wonít eat that to do any good. My horse looks as well as any of them. The Gray boys are both well. They came in a-head of us, but have both been sick with the measles. There are 103 men sick now in the regiment.

This is three letters that I have written to you since I left home. I would love to see and hear from you all very much. Camp is a very bad place to compose and write a letter. There is so much confusion that it bothers a man. You must look over all my mistakes.

There has been a big fight, but we have heard so many different tales that I canít tell you the truth about it. Some tell one tale, and some another. There is some talk of us retreating back twelve miles from where we are. That shows that we are whipped. Others say the Federals are saw. [sic] We have a preacher in camp. He talks to some of the boys. For my part, I try to do like I did at home, for I donít know what hour I will be called off. This thing of shooting is a dangerous thing. I expect to try to be ready when that hour comes, that I may not dread death, if I get that. Molly, I want you to be prepared to meet me in another world to come, that is better than this, and I want you to teach "Teeny" in that way, so that she may know what is right. If we were to look forward and think for a moment, we are in a dangerous place. We know not when we may be called off. I want you to think of all this, Molly.

I would be better satisfied if you will direct your letters to North Fork Town. I want you to write to me as soon as you get this letter, and tell me how you are getting along. I must bring this scribbling to a close for the present. I still remain your affectionate husband until death,

William Leonard

To -
Mary Ann (Molly) Leonard and Maggie Christina, Father, Mother, sisters, and friends, so Goodbye.

Transcribed as written from copy in Mary Daggett Lake Collection, Fort Worth Central Library Genealogy Department.

William was the son of Abram Leonard. Abram came to Texas to help his brother A. F. Leonard operate his mill. William was married to Mary Hurst. Their daughter, Margaret C. "Maggie" Leonard, married Cicero Isham on September 23, 1877. (source: Pearl Foster O'Donnell's Trek to Texas.

Pat Crowley, 3/15/96

Post Civil War Letter

Letter from Elijah P. and Louisa Jane Younger Crowley to Isham and Elizabeth Medlin Crowley:

Greenville, Clay County, Mo. August the 2, 1866

Dear Mother and Father, Brothers and Sisters:

I once more embrace this opportunity of writing to you to let you no that we are on the land among the living and our health is tolerable good at this time except myself. I am just getting over a spell of sickness. I was confined to bed three weeks. My hert is not good but I do hope that when these lines reach you they will find you all well and doing well for it has been a long time since we have had the pleasure of writing to each other.

We have seen and felt a great many hard trials since this most cruel and unlhoy war commenced. Doubtless you have heard that my dear and lovely boy Dock as we always cauled him was murdered shortly after he came back to Missourie by a pack of those thieves and murderers called feds for that was their business whenever they thought the had the chance.

He came home on tuesday night the 28 of March 1865 which was very unexpected to us for we told him if he ever got to Texas to stay there until the war ended, but I expect he wanted to see us and no what had become of us again. He was at home three times, tuesday night, thursday night and friday night. He went to tries to get away, for the feds was after them and had killed too of the young horses that day. On saturday night he and James Charley was taken prisoner as they was going through Smithville. They kept them there till late Sunday evening. They told them they was going to take them to Ridgely and try them. They went about a mile and a half, took them out in the woods and shot them and left them laying there. An old man heared their groans and went next morning to hunt them and found them and made his too little boys bury them.

We heard that they were killed we got a union man to go and find about it. We then had a coffin made and sent for him and brought him home on friday and buried him at Bethel Church on saturday the 2 day of Aprile and I do hope and pray that he is better off than his murderers ever will be and if they do not meet with justice in this world, they will be sure to in the world to come. I have his tintype that is dear to me. He had it taken and gave it to me before he left home. We have also got the little gray mare that he left home on. Perhaps you have heared him speak of her. He called her Kate. We all think a great deal of her. We would not part with her for no mention on his account. He told us he was with you all and how kind and good you was to him. I hope the Lord will bless every one that was good and kind to him while he was gone. He professed religion several years ago and joined the Methodist Church. I hope he had not forgotten it. He was a good and kind boy to us all and beloved by all. His acquaintance Robert Ellington professed religion last fall and joined the church. He is a good soldier and he had a spell of typhoid fever last winter and came very near dying. He lay ___ weeks before he could set up. We had a serious time of sickness in our families at that time. There was five down at the same time there was fever. Nancy, Elizabeth with rhumatism of the heart.

The doctor said she was liable to die at any time. There was several weeks we had to set up with them but our neighbors was good to come and set up with us but thank the Lord they all got well by the help of a good doctor that had practised in the Confederate Army, ever since the war began.

Our friends and relatives are all well as far as I no. Uncle Travis Finley was here yesterday he is well. He had been down to James P. Crowleys a few days ago. They was all well perhaps you heared that James had lost his wife and was married again. He married Miss Thude _____, and Margaret Crowley was married last spring to a Mr. Hugh Fields. He is a very fine man. Uncle Jack Crowley and family are well.

The blacks have all left him but four, three women and one boy. My mother and stepfather are well. They living in Greenville. This is a real nice little place there is too stores here one blacksmith shop, one wood shop, sadlers shop and too good doctors Denham and a doctor Sheets, a good church. We have preaching once a month by the circuit preacher, southern Methodist and generally every two weeks. The are going to commence a tented meeting here the tenth of this month.

I hope we all have a good meeting. The crops looks well. Corn is very good, wheat, rye and oats are good. We have a good sugar cane patch. We make melons enough every year to do us. The people have got to raising right smart cotton in Missouri, some raise as high as three and four hundred pounds.

I have been wanting to rite to you a long time but did not no whether letters could get to you or not. Neither do I no whether this will reach you but I hope it will. _____ Crowley has been talking of writing ever since he got a letter from Benjamin but did not think they would get it. If you get this immediately and let us hear from you all once more, for we are serious to hear from you all and no how you are getting along. Mr. West left here week before last going to Dallas. We would send a letter by him if we had known when he was going to start rite soon. Give my love and respects to all and receive a portion yourselves.

[change in handwriting]

This war has been reched on us. We have lost a great deal by it. We greatly feel the knead of what we have lost. Taxes is about to breake us up. They have been very high for several years but double this year to last year. Times are rather unsettled here. Every few days some are killed. The policy of our State is very bad. The radicals has the rule. We look for bad times at the next election, but the people are determined to change policy. There is a large majority of Johnson men in this state, if they can vote. Our county has but few radicals. In upwards of 2 thousand in favor of Johnsonís reconstruction policy.

I will give you a short history of the times. Money is a little secarser than it has been, property high good horses 2 hundred dollars, mules about the same, milch cows from 35 to 75 dollars, 3 year old steers 50, 2year old 35, one year old 20 to 25, hogs from 8 to 10 cts groce per pound. hemp about 12 dollars per hundred.

We greatly mourn the loss of our dear brother Hiram but we hope he is where all the angels of heaven is rejoicing. Tell his companion to weep not for him for he died in a good cause but trust in God and persevere in holiness.

Louisa J. Crowley

[return to original handwriting]

We have eight children living, four girls and four boys. Our too youngest are boys Charley Davis and Edward Lee. He is in his third year.

[handwriting of Louisa]

When this comes to hand please write fourth with direct to Prospect Hill, Clay Co. Mo. Yours in true love in Simpathy through life.

E. P. Crowley

Louisa J. Crowley

The original letter belongs to Jack Crenshaw Grantham, Jr., 1012 Lanshire, Dallas TX 75238. In May, 1986, Jack's transcription of the letter was published in Footprints. He granted permission to copy his transcription and publish it in this form.

Jack is the great-grandson of Frances L. Crowley Geeo. According to Jack, "she was the most beautiful of all the Crowley women." Frances was the daughter of Richard C. Crowley, son of Isham Crowley. Isham's grandson Benjamin F. Crowley, son of Elijah, was called "Dock" by his family.

Every effort has been made to retain the original sentence structure and spelling of the original letter.

Pat Crowley, 11/8/96

The MIDI arrangement of "Rally Round the Flag," created by Gerald Ross, is used with his permission. To learn more about this talented instrumentalist, please read his musical biography.

Index to Crowley Heritage Page
Bear Creek Missionary Baptist Church Charter - 1853
Civil War & Post Civil War Letters
Genealogical & Historical Web Sites
A. F. Leonard - Texas Historical Marker
Leonard's Mill - Texas Historical Marker
Lonesome Dove Baptist Church - Historical Marker
Pioneer Women

Comments may be directed to: Pat Crowley

© 11/8/96 to present by Pat Crowley & George T. Crowley, Jr.