The identity of author and recipient of this letter are unknown. There were several Gardner’s living in Brown County, Ohio in the mid-1800s but I do not see a J. D. Gardner. Without an envelope, the likelihood of determining who “friend Park” was is remote.
Gardner appears to have been too young to enlist in the Civil War — probably born about 1850.
August 6th 1865
I received your kind letter and hasten to answer it. We are doing all in our power to promote the cause of our country and keep rebels down, though the rebs of this (North) are rampant. The political campaigning has opened. S. J. Murray ¹ is out doing wondrous works and it is thought that things will be hot.
Our Basket meeting at Eden is over and the boys are trying to get a Picnic at Ellis’ schoolhouse ² but it is hard to raise any excitement. Your humble servant is quite weary and you must excuse him if this isn’t interesting for he is at a loss to know what to say. We have singing school at the neighboring houses but your humble servant don’t visit them. I want to pay a visit to Merom, Indiana, this fall and wish you was here to go with me. I don’t expect to go to school because I don’t like to go to school. But I think the school at Merom to be as good as any other. I never expect to be well larnt. Two things I shall always aim at, viz: Grammar and Music. Whether I learn them or not is to be decided in the future.
This has been a dull and weary summer but this accursed and wicked rebellion is put down and I trust to God that it will stay put down and that the devils both North & South will get what they deserve.
The crops look well but who knows the future? The item for the Union at the close of your letter will be handed in. You speak of the nigger but in the name of God, I can’t tell what will become of these unfortunate people. But enough of this.
We expect to have a Sunday School celebration ‘ere long but can’t tell how things will terminate. We hear (nearly) everyday that the one-year men will soon be home. Probably things would have a better aspect.
I see Jesse occasionally and he looks well and hearty. Hope that we all may meet and have a grand Exhibition which was so well begun last winter. I expect that this will be wearisome to you and therefore I will close hoping to hear from you soon.
You will excuse bad spelling &c. Rumor says that Shon Ellis and Shemaggie Martin are going to get married. Your humble don’t know but ’tis the talk.
I am with profound respect your obedient servant, — J. D. Gardner
¹ Seth J. Murray (1822-1889) was an attorney who resided in Georgetown, Brown County, Ohio. He was married to Margaret Ann McClintic (1824-1893).
² In 1880, an act was passed by the Ohio Senate authorizing the construction of a free turnpike road in Brown County that stretched from a point in the Higginsport and Feesburg free turnpike road to the line of the Augusta and Newmarket Road passing the residences of George Love, B. B. Gardener, James Waterford, Ellis’ school-house, John Ellis, J. M. Gardner, to the residence of Samuel Cochran…