This letter was written by Franklin A. Hoke (1815-1895), the son of Peter Hoke (1791-1864) and Sarah Lorance (1792-1857). He was married in 1838 to Mary A. Zimmerman (1818-1889) in 1838 and resided in Lincolnton, North Carolina, before relocating to South Carolina prior to the Civil War. I believe he was the proprietor of the American House and had a daguerreotype business in Laurensville, Laurens County, South Carolina, in 1848.
Hoke addressed the letter to Hon. Daniel Moreau Barringer (1806-1873). Barringer graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1826. He began a law practice in his hometown of Concord in 1829. That same year, Barringer was elected to the North Carolina House of Commons; he would serve there until 1834, and also in 1840 and 1842. He was also a member of the 1835 North Carolina constitutional convention.
In 1842, he was elected as a Whig to the 28th United States Congress, and was subsequently reelected to the 29th and 30th sessions. During the 30th Congress, he chaired the Committee on Indian Affairs and the Committee on Expenditures in the Department of State. He became a personal friend of fellow congressman Abraham Lincoln. Declining to run for a fourth Congressional term in 1848, Barringer was appointed by President Zachary Taylor as minister to Spain, where he served from 1849 to 1853. In 1854, upon returning to North Carolina, he served one term in the House of Commons.
At the outbreak of the American Civil War, Barringer was a delegate to the 1861 Peace Convention held in Washington, D.C., and then after the war was a participant in the Union National Convention of 1866. He became a Democrat and chaired the North Carolina Democratic Party in 1872, taking over after the death of Thomas Bragg. Barringer died September 1, 1873, in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, and was buried in Greenmount Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland.
Barringer was the older brother of Civil War cavalry Brigadier General Rufus Barringer.
Addressed to Hon. D. M. Barringer, M.C., Washington City, D. C.
Lincolnton, North Carolina
January 28, 1847
Col. D. M. Baringer
As the representative from this district and as my personal friend, I address you this letter on a subject however which does not personally concern me, but which is of the greatest importance to a poor woman in the neighborhood who with tears in her eyes came and requested me to do every thing I could to get her husband discharged from the army.
Some weeks ago, Capt. Burke of the regular army being in the recruiting service in this section of our state, among a number of others in the neighborhood, took into the service one Joseph Elmore, the husband of the woman above spoken of and sent them to Sullivan’s Island near Charleston, South Carolina. I was very recently in Charleston where I saw Capt. Burke and had a long conversation with him on the subject (he has since that returned to Charlotte, North Carolina) in which he stated that the regulations of the war department were such that he could not enlist married men if he knew it — but that Elmore had told him a falsehood about it — he having asked all the questions required by the department and that the matter had gone so far that he as an officer of the army had no right to discharge him but stated that the authorities at Washington could do so.
I went over to the Island to see Elmore and take a letter to him from his wife, and he seemed to regret his conduct very much and begged me to try and get his back to his family where he would atone for his conduct. They are very poor and have to depend entirely on their daily labor for a living. He enlisted and went off without letting his wife know anything about it, leaving her destitute and far advanced in pregnancy (she has since had her child). I suppose the facts are that they had some little family quarrel and he came to town and drank too much liquor and perhaps was persuaded by some of the others that enlisted and the Sergeant that was here put him and some others into the stage and sent them right off to Salisbury where Capt. Burke was and was no doubt sober when he actually enlisted. There is no doubt about his being intoxicated when he made the contract with the Sergeant here and that he thought he was bound from that time and therefore for consistency sake also told Capt. Burke he was not married.
If it was not for the distressed and dependent situation of his family, he might stay there for me after acting as he has, but taking all things into consideration, I do think it would be proper to let him off. It will be relieving the distresses of a poor woman & child which I know the officers of our government would not wish to do even for the little expense the government has been at in sending him to Charleston &c. &c. He is an industrious fellow and can support his family.
Enclosed I send you an affidavit showing his marriage. I did not see him married myself but there is no doubt about it. His wife got the affidavit and brought it to me by the advice of her friends. In consideration of this whole matter, will you be kind enough to call on the proper authorities in Washington and lay the whole matter before them. And if he is discharged, have the proper papers sent on to the officer in command where he is. And please write to me on the subject as soon as possible whether anything can be done or not.
Yours very respectfully, — F. A. Hoke