This letter was shared with me by a wonderful woman, a cousin I never saw in person, and who is now dead. Her kindness and her genealogy isn't. She infected me, and loads of others, with the love of the hunt --- AND the frustration of not finding our McGee ancestors. (Grin) Her name was Ann Mellard. She was the daughter of my grandfather's sister. She lived in Arkansas and died in Texas. I truly miss the mind and the logic of the woman - even in her nineties she was exceptional.

[I'd like to add that I have since found many cousins who also have this letter. One of those shared another version of the letter with me. That version differs with comments added by another "cousin," older than Ann, and who has now also left us. I'm in the process of preparing it for presentation and will be glad to share it with you when it's complete.]

SMITH Descendants List ALLEN Descendants List

Oak Bowery, Alabama
February 2, 1862

Dear Sister (1) and Brother (2),

Your long looked for letter came to hand a few days ago. I assure you it was perused with a great deal of pleasure. It was the first we had had in two months.

This is the Sabbath. It has been raining nearly all day. Could not attend church nor the Bible class this evening so I thought I would spend this evening writing letters. I have written Nat and Willie this evening.

Lt. Havis came home a few days ago. Nat and Willie are well. They are in Richmond now.    Col. Judge regiment suffered a great deal at Evansport.    About 200 of his regiment had died; only 266 are fit for duty now.    The sick are improving, they are fixed very comfortably at Richmond, have good home and cooking stoves.    They were to guard Yankee prisoners there . . . Nat sent Mollie and Susie a ring apiece that the prisoners made out of beef bone, they look like ivory.    He had their names put on them.    Mr. Havis says Nat and Willie make good soldiers. Nat weights 170 pounds and Willie is not far behind him.

Columbus Avery is only one of the O. B. boys that have died, several of the others are in the hospital though dangerously sick.    Mr. Havis has come home to get recruits. Col. Judge has sent out two men from each company recruiting. It is the opinion of many that there will be a draft soon.    Capt. Harrington brought his son home dead about two weeks ago. He will start back Wed. 10 of his company have died.    Mr. Havis said that he saw Sue Ingram (3) at Loganport.    Dick (3) was at the hospital . . . It is getting dark I will finish tomorrow . . .

Feb. 3rd
This is a gloomy morning we have had a great deal of rain recently. The weather has been warmer than usual this winter. Ma has peas ready to pick, cabbage up and has sowed nearly all kinds of seed.

I'm sorry you can't get cards. They are scarce everywhere I hear from. Sometime ago there was some in Columbus selling for $5 a pair. I heard that Aunt Permelia sent to Virginia to get her some . . . I guess that they are as scarce in Virginia as they are elsewhere. Ma has two pair and an old pair. She could let you have a pair if it was near enough to get them. Come to see us and she will give them to you. I do wish you could collect your money so you might come to see us.

Cousin Albert must visit you often. I recon he talks bigger than ever now. What ever became of Cousin Carrie ? You mentioned all the family but her. Cousin Sid Harper (4) and his wife visit Aunt Lizzie Cole (5) frequently. They live near Cotton Valley. Aunt Lizzie was here Christmas. She came to see Aunt Rebecca (6) married. She married December 31 to a widower by the name of Patillo (6) from Macon Co. seven miles below Auburn. He has 8 children, 1 son and 7 daughters. His son belongs to the same company Jimmie Sharp does. They were at Ft. Tallow near Kentucky the last time we heard from them. Camp life agrees with Jimmie finely.

I must finish telling you about Aunt R's wedding. She was married at twelve o'clock and stayed at home until the next day. He brought two of his daughters up with him. Aunt Susan and Josh went home with her. She likes her home very much as he is in very good circumstances, is a good provider, and a local Methodist preacher, very good looking and 45 years old.

Aunt Maria (7) was up Christmas. Uncle William (8) still lives at Society Hill (9). Uncle Wesley (10) lives at Lafayette, at Dr. Hardson's old place. I have been to see them once since they married. He is proud of his little daughter. He has bought him a plantation 8 miles from Lafayette. He is still selling goods. He has a few on hand yet. Mr. Williamson sells goods here. His is the only store we have here. There has not been a yard of calico in this place for several months. The ladies that had money bought all the summer dresses before Christmas. I heard that the Jews in Lafayette had some for 30 cents per yard. We have had to do without a great many things we used to have and I expect will have to do without them for some time to come. There is not much probability that the blockade will be lifted soon.

Mr. Hughey went down to Columbia last week and bought all the sea island domestic in the place and that was only two bolts. He gave 2 cents a yard. Everything is high, the farmers are asking 15 cents per pound for meat. There was not much sold as people do not have money to buy. Tom gave $10 per sack for salt, I understand that it is $20 now. Corn is $1 per bushel and wheat $1.50 to $2 per bushel.

Hudson (11) is staying at grandma's now going to school. Uncle Wesley (10) told Ma he would pay his tuition if Ma would let him stay there. Grandma (12) still has those spells she told me to tell you she is anxious to see you, says she always claimed you as her girl (13). Aunt Susan (14) speaks of going to Greenville soon. I told her to visit as much as she pleased and I would stay with Grandma and to marry, too if she got a chance. (15).

I have just read a letter from Aunt Mary (16) and Aunt Rebecca. Uncle Ellis (17) has had bad luck, his house and tan yard burnt with a $400 loss. They have the best and sweetest little babe in the world. Aunt R. is still delighted with her new home. I will send you a piece of her wedding dress . . . it has a small flower embroidered in yellow and green. It was a bridal present from Uncle Wesley's wife, priced $32.

You wished to know who my sweetheart is: Robert E. Park (18) of Greenville, Georgia. He is in Virginia, near Manassas. I received a letter from him the other day he wants to marry me when his time expires next June. I haven't told him I would, I have no objection to him, he is younger than I am. He was going to school in Auburn and would have graduated in June if he had continued going. He is a brother of John Park who used to teach school here you remember he boarded at Dr. Thomas'.

Dr. Brockman has married Mollie Hall--Jan 2nd (1862). I believe that I wrote you that Capt. Erwin married another of the Miss Sims. Hr. Hightower's daughter is married. Mr. Williamson is station mastor?--West Point. He has not moved there but goes down each Saturday. Mary, his oldest daughter, is teaching school five miles from here. Tommie, attends to the store, and Mr. Hester, teacher in the Mile School, are the only young men in the place, there is one old bachelor, Mr. Griffin. Josh (19) is the only boy Ma has at home now he assists Tom in the shop and carries the mail from here to Dudleyville. I am trying to teach Mollie (20) and Susan at home and it keeps me right busy with the work I have to do. I have done more work this winter than I have done in a long time?

I must tell you how much knitting I have done this winter-knit 6 pairs of socks, two pairs of stockings, 2 soldiers caps, 1 comforter, 1 pair of gloves with gauntlets. Our society has done a great deal of sewing for the governor: have finished 100 jackets.

Grandma has hired out Dan (21) near Salem. Aunt Rebecca took Julie (21) home with her, she had Aunt Termelia (21) and Mandy (21) at home with her.

Uncle William still keeps meat. Melia has 3 children at home

I believe I have written all I know what to write about. I expect Lizzie (22) will be writing [me] soon. Mollie and Susan send their love to her.

John, I would be glad to hear from you soon.

Accept the best wishes of your sister,

Cassie (23)

(P.S.) I did not get the letter you said you wrote just before this one.


  1. Ann Eliza Smith Ingram McGee
  2. It is more likely that "Brother" is John Ingram, than any other John, using primarily the date on the letter as a guide to the conclusion. Additionally, there is a notation about their daughter, Lizzie, in the last portion of the letter.
  3. Is this a relative of Ann Eliza's first husband?
  4. Could this be the son of Lucy Allen and her husband, William Webb Harper? Lucy Allen is Emily Byars Allen Smith's aunt.
  5. Eliza Ann Allen. Married Lindsay H. Cole, 1839.
  6. Rebecca Garland Allen. Married Rev. Nathan W. Patillo, 31 Dec 1861.
  7. William Cole Allen married an Ann Maria Wilkinson.
  8. William Cole Allen
  9. East of Tuskegee
  10. Richard Wesley Allen. Married Elizabeth H. Wheat.
  11. Hudson Allen Smith, born 1847. He would have been 15 in 1862.
  12. Mary or Polly Cole Allen.
  13. "Ann Eliza must have stayed with Grandma Allen to attend college, where she was graduated in 1852. I have her sheepskin, as I was named Ann." Ann Mellard.
  14. Susan Thomas Allen, born 13 Apr 1827 and died 18 Jun 1873 at age 46.
  15. But she did not marry, according to our records.
  16. Mary Jane Allen. Married 1st: Andrew Jackson, 1857. Married 2nd: Myron Ellis, 1859.
  17. We assume that this is Myron Ellis, Mary Jane Allen's second husband.
  18. It would be interesting to know why she didn't marry Robert E. Park. Did he die in the Civil War? Did he die at Manassas? Or did she decide not to marry him because he was younger?
  19. This is most probably Joshua Soule Smith.
  20. Mollie is Mary E. Smith.
  21. These people seem to be slaves whom Mary Cole Allen had inherited from her family. She could legally do as she pleased with them, according to the papers we've seen. She wasn't restricted by controls from a husband, brother or father, or other male relative - OR by any rights that those slaves might have as persons. Emily Byars Allen Smith also had slaves given to her free of all restraint. These persons were whom she gave to Nat and Ann Eliza. One person, named "Old Lucy," seems to have been one of those persons Ann Eliza Smith Ingram McGee took to Arkansas when she married John C. Ingram . . . but still had with her a descendant when her mother wrote her in the period before 1890. See letter, Emily Byars Smith to Ann E. McGee. This according to Ann Mellard and materials available.
    -- If anyone is searching for ancestors who are African American and were known to have come from this locale, these names might be a worthwhile clue. A search of the Georgia and North Carolina records would be just as important as Alabama and Arkansas. I'll be happy to share as much of the information as I have (which isn't much).
  22. Ann Eliza and John Ingram's daughter.
  23. Martha Cassandra Smith. She married Rev. McCrary and lived in Florida. Some of her descendants lived in Texas; and some of those lived in the Weatherford area.

Yellow Flower
Special Bits of Information!

From Don Havis of Texas:

". . .   Lt.   Havis is a distant uncle of mine.

James Judge Havis, b.1821, and married a Mary Ellen Oslin in Oakbowery.

He was a 1st Lt. in Co. A, 14th Regiment Alabama Volunteers.    Company A was the "Cusseta Grays".    The Commander of the Regt. was Colonel Thomas J. Judge.

". . .   "You can find 14th Alabama on net at "U.S. Civil War Center". Go down a few lines to index, Go to Units, Alabama will Be first up. Scroll down to infantry and hit 14 Ala. This report shows a   Lt.   John J Havis which is really James.

". . .   In the letter I have signed by James J. Havis is the signature of a "Nat M Smith 2nd Lieut" They were in the same Company!!!

". . .   One of my pages shows Lt.   Havis on a recruiting trip May 1, 1862.    But your letter probably corrects that as it's dated Feb.2 1862.    Maybe he went twice?? We'll never know.

". . .  
James Judge Havis was a Captain at the surrender at Appomattox and lived until 1901.

". . .   Capt Harrington resigned 2 Aug 1862. He was by trade a Baptist Preacher.

". . .   "The reason most of the men were sick or dead is probably because of a measles epidemic the Regiment passed through on it's way to Evansport, Va. on the Potomac River.

". . .   "I love reading letters like this.    I have a bunch of letters from a guy from Pennsylvania . . . I can't find any relatives . . . I'll keep trying.
[". . . . My letters are on a Cornell/Forbes Family."]

Maybe this info can help you."

Don Havis can be reached at     dhavis@flash.net

title; Cassie's
SEARCHING:   Early Military Service, with various family & associated family members.
Civil War Sites Mentioned:
Welcome to the     U.S. Civil War Center!
U.S. Civil War Center -- Civil War Soldiers and Units Information
U.S. Civil War Center -- Civil War Links 3

Directory Map for Cassie's ltr back Topics or Index next


yellow flower
All comments, suggestions, additions and CORRECTIONS are appreciated!

Last Revision: 3 Dec 1997; 1999; 2000.
K©1997; 1998; 1999; 2000.
Main URL:    http://home.earthlink.net/~kmcgee03/index.htm
   .  .  .  and   SEARCHING: Cousins . . . .
To the TOP  OR: 

     Site Map    What's New    Search