Purchased off e-Bay from a woman in Sheridan Oregon. There are 14 handwritten civil war era letters. All of them are written to Emargene, Emegene, or Gene Starr who lived in Penfield Lorain County, Ohio. Most are from her family and friends and the earliest is dated January 1861. The second letter starts off in 1865, with the latest one having of date of October 26th, 1867. There are only three of them that do not have dates but by reading them they seem to also be written during the times above. Seven letters have envelopes.

Some of the places that the letters were written from are; Middlebrook, Harpersfield, Schenevus, and Fairmount. Several have some great comments of what life was like while the civil war was raging on around them and right after the war ended. One makes mention of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Letters have one to four pages of script. I have transcribed the letters as well as possible. Some were very diffficult to read. Note that I am quoting them as they read, poor spelling and all.

I received a letter from Pat Rodgers of Alden, NY, an ancestor of the Starr family. She advised that Emogene was the daughter of Gideon Lindsley Starr, son of Talcott & Mary Lindsley Starr. Mary was a daughter of Matthew Lindsley. Emogene`s mother was Polly Baird. The Julina Beardsley who wrote to Emogene from Harpersfield, NY was Julina Baird, probably a sister of Polly. Julina was married to John Beardsley, a grandson of Gideon Beardsley. In 1860, Emogene was 13 years old & Julina was about 48.

Each letter has been assigned a letter (A,B,C,) in order to consistently identify each one. You can view images of the letters and envelopes by clicking on the individual page links. If you have questions, or comments, contact

 (A)  Pages 1 & 4  Pages 2 & 3


  (B)  Pages 1 & 4  Pages 2 & 3

North Harpersfield Sept 13th (No year)
Dear Gene,

I have been negligent in answering your letter. I will write a few lines it is ten oclock.
I have been writing to David he is agoing to be married the eight day of november at
eight oclock in the morning the girls name is annie Daniel
..... Joseph has bought a farm they will move in two or three weeks if nothing happens. I was afraid when I got your letter and found your pa and ma. I thought they would almost talk. I think a good deal of your photograph.
..... I would write something but I will not for fear you will say I have poor feelings when I never thought of the thing Uncle Rufsel has had another trouble his baby died the second day of october
George takes to his pa and it is papa all the time Asenith Brockway keeps house for Uncle Rufsel he keeps Mrs Heipen for to help her and for company
I must close for it is late Give my love to all that enquire after me and take a good shave for yourself
write soon
..... I would like to tell you something that I have heard today the news comes today that James Campbell had took or stole a gun I have heard that the sheriff was in the place to night I am sorry
I hope it will come out write
.............. Julina Beardsley

 (C)  Page 1   Pages 2 & 3

 Sunday Nov. 9th
................. (No year but it is definitely civil war era) (This one has a sample of fabric)

Dear Cousin Emegene,
I am now seated to answer your long- neglected letter. I am perfectly ashamed of myself for not having written to you before this time. We are all well at present, but Arthur and I have had the whooping cough this fall, Arthur has had it very light but I have had it quite hard, but we have got about over it.
.... We went over to Middle Brook last night, and went to Anna Fulina's, she is well and John is pedling Yankee notions and cigars. Maria is well.
.... It is snowing today like fun, yesterday it was good sleighing but it is quite stormy and the snow is so deep that I have scarcely run a sleigh out today.
Pa went to N.Y. last week and had a first rate time, it was week before last that Pa went, instead of last week. Grandpa went to Aunt Sally's home. Uncle Peter was out here and satyed all night Friday night.
... We have to shovel out a path every time we go out. We have milked all of the cows until now, it has been so warm, but now we will get rid of milking once a day. Our school is going to commence in about two weeks, I guess we shall have quite a large school this Winter, I wish that you could be here with me this winter. I hate to sleep upstairs alone awfully. I suppose you will go away to school this winter.
... I will send you a piece of dress that pa got to New York for me. I think it is quite pretty. Uncle David's folks are well. I guess that they are pretty lonesome. They took a little girl to live with them but did not keep her only a little while. Our hired man that we have had for two years has listed in the Delaware Regiments. The regiments have been gone about a month. We have had one letter from him since he left…..
Your affectionate Cousin, Florence E. Baird.

  (D)  Pages 1 & 4  Pages 2 & 3  Envelope

 Envelope addressed to ".Miss. Gene. Starr. Penfield, Lorain Co. Ohio
Postmmarked: Berea Oct 23 3 cent red stamp

Sunday Evening Oct 26th "/64

Dear Gene,
.................................. of the I see this evening ............ Joesephine
Although I am very tired I will endeavor to answer it tonight for I shall be so busy tomorrow tending to my church duties that I shall be obliged to do. A ..... of my everything this evening, for I must write to Jos'e tomorrow and if I have the time invite her to an ...ssay. You may wonder why I complain of being so tired. I can tell you. This fore noon I spent most of the time in cooking. When Millie came from school she said all of the students were going on a walk and so of course I had to go along. I don't know how far we went but I should judge by the way I feel that I had been 10 ... miles. I will own give you a brief ..... of what kind of place we went to. It was down to the Rocks a great Resort for the students on Holidays. It is climbing up and down our Rocks and Stone and every other imaginable thing but never the less I come out alright. No limbs broken or skull cracked. By the way I came across John and we walked home together and had a pleasant little chat. Take it all around we had quite a good time. I wish you might have been here to go along.
Gene I have an invitation to attend a lecture delivered by .. ... G Jw Holland . .... Wednesday eve. The subject is Indians Rights. I expect to hear something grand. I am going with John. I don't know for certain whether he will be over tomorrow eve or not. I shall go to church and then he will probably come home with me. That day I wrote you before I told you I was not going to church in the evening but John came over after me.

Needs to be completed

  (E)  Page 1  Page 2  Page 3  Envelope

Envelope is postmarked Berea Ohio Jan 15 & addressed to
Mays Emergene,S,Starr Penfield Lorain Co Ohio

January the 13th, 1861
Dear Emergene,

..... I take this opportunity to write to you and let you know that I have received your letter. I am well now and so is gloves. He wore a standing collar to church today and it was hard telling him from a profeser. I could not of told him from a profeser if it had no of ben that he struted so much worse than they could. He is writing a letter to Edwin Goudmin this evening. He had a letter from his Aunt Cornelia last week he said that she did not say anything about having any children yet. They was a little girl horses here today. She died with the croup day before yesterday.
..... Emergene you had better drop William Lae.tch for they is a boy here that ...... him. All away his name is Deacom. He l......s some like William. It is good staying here now. Last night was the coldest night that has ben sence we have been here. it froze the water in the room about a inch thick but it did not freeze our apples nor potatoes. they is meeting to the church to night. they are keeping the meeting ... yet and I guess that they will all winter. I have attended church twice today.
..... They are having big times here about war. The boys last week got up a paper and got it in the post office for a fellow that he had got to go to war and the next nite they swore him in and they said after they had got him swore in that they believed that he was a turn coat and then they went at him and striped him stark naked to see if he was a turn coat and then they let him go the next day. They forged a leter and put it in the post office and wrote that his father wanded him to come home and he had not got any money to go home with so he sold his books to go home. He lived in Belview. He went home and has not ben seen back here yet. His name was Chartmen. The facelty has got hold of it and they has about six or seven had to meet the facelty and I am afraid that they will hafto leeve the school. They is some body ........ meet the faculty about every day. I expect every day that I should hafto leave next but I have not had to yet. I have not had to reed Comfisions yet. Will has had to twice yesterday. I mixed up some pancakes for the first and they was write. i tell you will ate six for supper to night. I could not bake them as fast as he could eat.
..... I have not got but one more green shirt. if you think it best I will come home a week from next saturday and by that time we will be out of provisions and if not i should hafto get some things washed. Last saturday the school was half out.
.................................................................To you mind I come out a week from next saturday and fetch some things and then I could go back with you or I could leave home on the ... a week from Saturday and then Monday you could come and fetch me back and fetch some things. if I do that way I would know what we would want the best. Or if you don't think that is best write and ...... Write what we want. Write this week and then I will know what to do if I come home a week from saturday. We can wash my before Sunday so that they can get dry so that we can iron them sunday night and me leave....... wash Monday
................................................from L.Y. Starr to Emergene and Ma and pa." shore and write this week so that we will have time to get things in shape.

 (F)  Page 1  Pages 2 & 3  

 Written on paper stamped H.Q. Hawley & Co Planing & Sawing, Albany, N.Y.

July 24 - 65
Dear Cousin,
Having a few moments to spare I think I will devote them to you. Even if I have nothing very interesting to say as I suppose mother has written all the news. It has been quite lively here this summer. not as many going out of town as usual among my firends. My visit with Howes Cave did not come off on account of bad weather but expect to go in a few days. The road now runs to Worster Co. It's a short
journey to Jeff. .... Wm goes this week. I would like very much to see it again in summer but haven't the time as this is much the busiest season they have since I came here. They keep us all a bobing


 (G)  Pages 1 & 4  Pages 2 & 3  

 April 30th 1865
Sunday Evening at home.

My Dear Gene

......I take this opportunity to answer your welcome letter. It came to my hand this morning. I was feeling somewhat lonesome. I thought that John would come home last knight & he did not. I was somewhat disappointed and I was disappointed when your letter come to me. Aunt Harriet had been to Middlebrook inquiring if I had any letters from you. She said she had two and had your likenys. She come down all the way by foot on Sunday.
.....Enough of this. I am well as usual and all the relatives. Granpa is very smart last week one day he walked from Warnerville to Summit. He said he was ahead of the stage so you may know he is very smart. I have not seen Aunt Hellen since we visited to Josephs. You wanted to know where Joe & Maria was living. They are to their old home yet. They are going to move home with me this summer. They have been to Daniel two or three weeks ago. They are talking about buying the farm that Daniel lived on when you was there. I suppose you remember about Cate Spangler and Elide Johnson. Cater is dead. Joseph has sent Eliza and little Joseph to Michigan to their parents. They have been gone one week. John Sout has gone to Illinois. Polly Sout has been sick ever since.
.....I suppose you was so glad when you when you got home that you forgot how you thought your ma did. Not use you ............ when you thought she scolded at you when you was down east. I often think of you. All I think I would like to step in just now and see you all at home while my children scattered to the four winds of the earthe.
.....Give my love tom pa and ma. Tell them that they are not as old as I am and they can write and you must often. Granpa says Hellen apron strings is to short.
.....Give my love to all that ask about me and keep a good share yourself Gene.
.................................. Julina
....................tell tet I want she should improve in printing

  (H)  Page 1  Pages 2 & 3  Envelope

Envelope is postmarked May 15th Harpersfield and addressed to
...............................................Gene, Starr Penfield Lorain Co Ohio
...............................................and marked on back " Answered June 4, 65

Harpersfield May 9th, 65
Dear Gene,

..... We wore very glad to get a letter from you. We had be gan to think you wore not going to write to us. Every thing is moving along here as usual now. The Irish imps are gone. I tele you it is good. We had to paper and paint all over new. It was a quite a job, three large rooms. I have a hyred man and Clarisa Seley works for us. We only milk 12 cows. Hellen has ser...hed her slef most to death. She is bound to have the Irish sent all removed. But not for paper & paint she would have had her match but it looks very well here now. Little Mark enjoys himself. finaly he has plenty of room but he makes all things yee. The longer his hair gets the more it curls. It is in perfect curl all over his head. He has had the chicken pox quite hard but is quite well now and growing finally.
..... The old Abolition Church is in gear again and is running every Sabath. All fiting Christians
thirsting for more blood not satisfied yet. There savior was killed in a theater. And the nation has made a fool of itself. By reading the papers one would never mistrust that there had been but one widow made by this war of four years, fighting by day and night. Did Almond run crazy when he heard of the death of Old Abe
..... We thank you for your likeness. I think it is a good one. Little George new you and tried to kis you. he does not talk much yet.
..... Helen Buckingham is coming to stay with us a spell this summer. Is your folks coming out here this summer. Some how I can not think any thing to write. Hellen ..... in sending much love to you and all that inquire after us.
.................................................................................. Russel"

 (I)  Pages 1 & 4  Pages 2 & 3  Envelope

 Schenevus, July 18th, 1865

Dear Friend Gene,

.................. "Better late than never" is an old adage which (I Think) will apply quite well in my case. I received your kind letter a long time ago and have been so very busy that I have not had time to answer it before. I hope you will pardon me and I will try and do better in my next:
.....Your letter found me well and enjoying myself hugely: I am still living on "South Hill" my school closes in about 6 weeks: I tell you I shall be awful glad to: Gene if you ever get into schoolrooms you will then know what I have to put up with: It need the patience of Job to teach school and I am well aware I have not got it: but however I am trying to do the best I can.
.....I presume you had a very nice time the fourth and enjoyed yourself finely: well so did I. We all went to Jefferson and had a very nice time: I should like to know very much though who that nice young escort was who took Miss Gene: Can you tell?
.....I have not heard from home in nearly two weeks. I presume you have heard from Middlebrook since then.
.....I have not seen John S. in nearly four months. I don't know as I should know him if I should see him.
.....Jim Campbell has been having rather bad luck. I do not know as I can tell you what it is about but he has made an assignment of his property:
.....Daniel Beardsleys folks were out the 4th. She has another baby. It is about 8 months old: Don't you think they are doing well?
.....I met Miss Mary Henry down to Schenevus. She was walking out with a Mr Deloring. She looked very f........... Lonnie Wilcox is attending school at the commercial college in Poughkeepsie. I suppose he will be coming out an accomplished gentleman: maybe with black hair.
.....The soldiers have most all come home. It begins to seem some like old times again although it seems rather hard for those who have lost their friends there.
.....For the want of room and it being nearly school time I shall be under the necessity of bringing this letter to a close. Write just as soon as you get this and tell me all that is going on out your way. So I will close by bidding you affectionately Good Bye.

......................... I remain ever your true friend
..........................Mary O. Beard

 (J)  Pages 1 & 4  Pages 2 & 3  Envelope

Fairmount Jan 7th, 1866

Friend Gene,

.....I intended to have written you before this but I have not felt like doing much of any thing. I arrived here the Saturday before New Years after beating about for two or three days and nights in a stage and pretty near freezing to death. When I got here I was pretty well tired out. I rested over Sunday and Monday. Went to work to help my Uncle get ready for New Years. They had a ball here and as my uncle keeps all the Hotel that is kept here he had to get up the supper. I attended the ball in the evening and enjoyed myself very well. I will give a description of it. The ball room was the county court house and is used for a church, court room and dancing hall &c. The building is most as large as the school house in your district.
.....I think I rather beat you spending the holidays. I spent Thanksgiving in Penfield, Christmas in Wisconsin and New Years in this state.
.....I had a nice little sleigh ride of 160 miles and got here in time for a bull New Years. Don't you think that I done well. I like the country here pretty well I think that it must be very beautiful here in summer. There is a chain of little lakes that goes right through here that adds a great deal to the beauty of the country. I think some of taking a trip across the plains to California in the spring if they start an expedition and they talk of it now.
......Please write soon.
......... From your friend
............William R. Leonard."

 (K)  Page 1  Page 2  Envelope

.................................................................................................... No. Harpersfield August 19 /66
.................................................................................................... Dear Larrs
Dear Friend Gene,

..... I know you will laugh when you get this but John was in and just raised the perfect _____ all the time. he had to begin it: and then direct it: then told me. I ..... bend it.
..... I received your ever welcome letter a week ago which found us well and enjoying ourselves hugely. I was somewhat surprised to hear that John E was living with you as I supposed him to be with his brother Isaac. Where is Maria Duey. I think you did not write anything of them. I presume you would like to hear all the news from this way ( as you are very little acquainted in Harpersfield) so I will endeavor to tell you as near as I can. There is nothing much more than commons going on in our usually quiet little village: You must know what that is. Such as gossiping, slandering your neighbors.
..... Your Aunt Julina is well but is just growing old. You can see age ( and you know she is a person fitted to have a great deal of trouble) wears upon her very fast. John boards at home with her. he is still in the store but he says the 1st of December closes his business in Middlebrook.
..... Jo Johnsons folks live back on the hill out of sight and hearing of everybody. John has been to see them once and staid about an hour and they have lived there nearly a year.
..... There was quite an accident happened over to the head of the river last Thursday. Your cousin Asenith Brockway, John Birdsills wife and Maggie Simes a lady from Davenport started for Sternifora with a little boy a driving they had with John Birdsills runaway team. The horses got frightened some way and run away with them throwing the boy out and when they first started and nearly killing Maggie and Mrs. Birdsill jumped out, Asenith, she hung on the back board until they stoped the horses and was not hurt a particle. Miss Sines the last we heard could not possibly live as they thought her skull was broken. Mrs. Birdsill they have hopes of her recovery as she was not hurt quite so bad:
..... I attended a Masonic Installation at Davenport last week and had a splendid time. the masons were represented from most parts of the country.
..... Sam Osborn is here today. He is going to Davenport tomorrow as a clerk in Goodriches store (Joy go with him). You wished I should take ... you if .. was going. To marry ... ... not is a mistake. You asked how George Minor was. he is well, or was the last time I saw him. I haven't spoken with him since last spring. Then Bay he is going to marry a girl in ............ I don't know her but her most intimate friendship in Jefferson is Spib Rarick. Cuttis's hired a girl if you don't know her ..... will.
..... has sold out their tavern stand. they are a going to move back down to Minerva. I saw a letter from Jim Campbell last night. He is in Denver City working at the carpenters trade. Gets $6 per day.
..... I presume you will get Johns letter before you get this ( as he said he had written one). When you answer it ask him about his Irish School Marm. dont you tell that I said anything.
..... As I am nearly out of paper I must bring this thing to a close for I know you must get this. my love to all of your folks Johny and keep a good share for yourself.
............................................................................................. From your friend Mate."

  (L)  Page1    

Elyria Jan 17, 1867
Friend Gene,

..... According to agreement I enclose you a ..... Photo hoping I may have an opportunity to ..... you with a better one at some Junctions time. Well! how does this Jims sled ...... I hope you are enjoying it. I went to Amherst Monday eve, Tomorrow night a .... is going to Brownhelm
There is nothing of great mention going on except sleigh riding and dancing.
Hoping things will be noticed soon. I will close by sending my love. Good wishes to
From your friend W.W. Obitts

 (M)  Page 1  Pages 2 & 3  

 Envelope Postmarked Jefferson Jun 4 67

Jefferson June 2nd /67

............................. Imagene as we get no letters from anyone but you I of course do not feel it my duty to write anyone but you.
.....We have been to Harpersfield today to a funerell and went to see your Grand Father. He appears to be much better than he was the last time we saw before he rode out this morning and thought it done him good. One of his lags was most well and the other is certain much better than it was four weeks ago if they do not brake out again. When it gets to be his weather I think he will be quite smart again. He is very anxious to get over to middlebrook once more and go and see Senith. She and her husband were there yesterday. He is rather a green looking chap.
.....John Beardsleys wife has got a daughter. Mileys folk are made for this world and the world to come. Tell your Aunt Abigail that you Uncle Burrel is going to see she that used to be Mary Milks that works for Norhes folks when they kept Tavern in Middlebrook. she is said to be rich and is a widow with no children. Money makes the mare go, the old saying used to be.
.....We have bought the place in Greenbush that I wrote to you about and expect to move in the fall if nothing happens. We have rented it untill we get ready to move for 24 dollars per month. That is more than the interest of the money that we paid for it.
.....We are talking of going to Illinois some time this summer. We may stop in Ohio a short time.
.....Sam Yerner has made a lengthy visit out here and went ff in debt the same as before. When he was here they was a little suspitious of him. He told so many different stories.
.....If your folk or your Uncle Alrmons are coming out please write what time they are coming.

................................................. no more this time
................................................H G Baire (Baine?)
.....write soon as convenient

 (N)  Pages 1 & 2  Pages 3 & 4  

  June 29th /67

Dear Gene,

.....I have just written to our folks & thought your letter needed answering as bad so I will keep slight on 4. Have 8 answered letters in my Portfolio. So Gene I will put yours in the envelope with our folks if I don't I shall run short of Postage stamps. I have got one a .... and a .......... it is black with bangles on it lined with silk. I have never carried it yet as ..... my s.... but want to today. I expect you are having fine times at one thing and another.
.....I would like to be at home a few days a..... in str...... busy time but I can't. I wish I could see you and could talk much faster than I can write. I hope the time will come when I can have time for what & am a might to do. I am about tired out but I am going to stay awhile longer. I shouldn't come home till I come for good. I have not heard from Ike since I came back. I am going over to the Theater again next week if nothing happens. There is one of the grandest plays that ever opened in Cleveland. Some Black Crook. I presume you have seen it the papers.
.....I am not troubled with the cows as you are but I believe I should rather milk than some other work. I would give a ........... in c....-....... if I was at home today. What is the use of slaving ones self to death and not enjoying it. Do you know any more about g.... affairs than you did. If you do tell me in short. Go no further.
.....Henry (Harry?) was down here last week and he said the stories all around Gene was going to be married. I told him I guess people knew more about it than you did yourself. I told him I guess people would think so ... while before it was done. I guess you won't want to hear anymore of my ....... .... so I will close hoping to hear from you soon and all of the news. Write about everything you know. Have you visited Allie yet. I must close now and write another letter.

................................................... Your Loving
....................................................Friend, Lane
....................................................Regards to all

This invitation was purchased in a seperate eBay auction. 
Click to enlarge


Truman Denham Penfield, Ohio 1896 

Penfield Union Schools
Report Card for

Truman Denham
Dated February 28, 1896


Purchased off ebay.