Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
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Mary Angeline BURNS Gorham 1844 -1916
Copyright © David V. Kester, 2001
Mary BURNS Gorham Photo at right
Letters sent to Mary BURNS Gorham
Township: Burlington Township, Bradford County PA
Transcribed  by David Kester
Year: 1857-1869
Photo Source : David Kester
War Hits Home (1862-1863) A—(War Hits Home (1862-1863) B)

Blackberry the10(1)1862

We don’t know when we shell

march but expect next Week.

I have got my uniform, It is nice.

Don’t Write till You hear from me

again, for you don’t know whear

to write. When you find out whear

to direct letters I want you all to

write often.

Good By, may I prove fafeful(2)

To my Cuntry



(1) of September

(2) faithful.

(3) James A. Burns


Burlington Sept the 20th (1862)

Dear Sister and Brother, I embrace the first opportunity of writing to you.(4) We are all well, as usual, as far as I know. I hav not seen enny of your folks yet for I have not ben down there.(5) I hav ben to Anthony Beeches every since I came up until yesterday I came down to Franks.(6)I am at mr Mcgees today, but I’ll tell you whare I wish I was. If I could only spend this afternoon out their with little Johnie, how glad I would be to do so. Poor fellow, I should like to know how he is getting along. I hav dreamed about him every knight. Last knight I woke up calling him loud as I could hollow.(7) How does your hand get along and has Floretta(8) got homesick yet? The day we came out here we arrived in Towanda just in time to see the soldiers start out. I saw Uncle Steav(9) but not to speak to him. I saw Frank Elsworth and had quite a talk with him. He told me who had gone from Leraysville. There cant be menny men left in that place now. Mr Mcgee has just ben reading a list of the killed and wounded. There is several from this place that I know. Wiliam Smith(10) is wounded, you know him. It is reported that Wileard Lane(11) is wounded but it is not known for certain. We are getting good news from the war now and I hope we shall keep doing so.The boys that went from here six weaks ago was in the battle, now some has already ben wounded. Myron is writing to his brother James,(12) but perhaps he is not living to receive it. Mary, I am getting along with my work first rate. [I]think we shal go to keeping house next weak if nothing happens. We went to Troy last weak and got some Tin ware, flatiorns and so on. I hav got some Table cloths and bed ticks and got them made. I think of going down to the creack and on the [Kendall] hillthis weak. I hav dryed half a bushel of Plumbs last weak. I guess we shant suffer for dryed fruit this winter. I had a very good visit at Orland Vosburgs(13) last evening, they sent for me to come over there about 8 oclock. William Knapp and his wife was there. They were our old neighbors at Pine Creek.(14) I hav not seen them before, since I came from there. I almost imagined myself a little girl again when I saw them. How menny happy hours have I spent at their house, playing with the girls and Nelson, their son. But (time) has brought its changes in their family as well as ours. Nelson is in the army, they know not whether he is dead or living. The girls are both marrayed and gone west. They are out among the indians. They hav not heard from them in some time and know not but they have shared the same fate of menny other poor beaings. The change in our family since that time is equaly surprising. Death entered our family and tore from us the one dearest to us all, our mother.(15) you know the rest. The sight of these old friends who hav spent so menny happy hours with mother brings these circumstances back fresh to my mind. Well, I must stop writing for if you read what I hav writen you will do well for I hav an old steal pen that will hardily make a mark. I was quite sick for a day or to after I got here. Give my love to aunt Polly(16) and all the rest of the folks. Now Mary write to me soon and let me know how Johnie is getting along. Kiss him for me, don’t let him forget Eliza. I am going to stay to Mcgees this week, except when I am visiting. Good by write soon.

From your Sister, Eliza

To James and Mary


(4) She means to both Mary and James at the same address.

(5) She is referring to Mary’s folks who also live in Burlington Township.

(6) This could be a reference to either Francis Gorham of Burlington Township. or Frances Eastabrook of North Towanda Township, there was no Frank Beech of which I am aware.

(7) she means holler.

(8) Mary’s neice, Julia Floretta Kendall, d/o Lawrence W. Kendall and Jane A. BURNS Kendall of Burlington Township

(9) Stephen Gorham, 41 (James J. Gorham’s uncle), LeRaysville wagon-maker and Captain of Co.C, 35th Regiment. Pa. Militia and later Co. G, 13th Regiment.

(10) William Smith, 23 s/o Jacob and Sarah Smith of Burlington Township.

(11) Willard Lane, 21, s/o Zephaniah and Polly CLARK Lane of Burlington Township.

(12) First Sergeant James M. Beach of Co. E, 141st Pa. Vol. Infantry was wounded at Chancellorsville (30 Apr–6 May 1863), but recovered from his wounds and continued to serve for the duration of the war. He enlisted 25 Aug 1862 and was discharged 28 May 1865.

(13) Orland Vosburg, age 24, s/o Dr. J.E. & Mrs L. Vosburg He later became Burlington’s Constable after a short stint in the army, 6 Sep 1864-30 May 1865.

(14) In Lycoming County, see Letters #1-4.

(15) Emily C.LANE Gorham who died in 1855 when Eliza was only eleven.

(16) Aunt Polly could be either Polly CLARK Lane, age 51, w/o Zephaniah, an older brother of Eliza’s mother Emily or she could be one of the Susquehanna Co. Burns family members who made an extended visit to James & Mary Burns Gorham’s in LeRaysville during the winter of 1862/63.


Burlington Oct 5 [1862]

Dear Friend(17)

I now seat myself for the purpose of addressing a few lines to you to let you know that I am well and hope these few lines will find you the same. There is nothing going on here now, It is verry lonesome since you went away. I have no one to ramble the woods with now you are gone. I am not living at home now,(18) I am staying with Mrs. Wrisley(19) so it is not quite as lonesome as when at home. I was up to the corners(20) the other day and I called and took dinner with Eliza Jane. She has everything looking as neat as a new pin. She said she was coming down to see you in a short time. I have no news to write. Your mother(21) talks of coming down the last of this week. Aunt Fanny(22) and Kezia(23) talks of going to springvill(24) and I don’t know but they will go by your place. I should like verry much to come and see you this fall but I do not expect I can. Gerome(25) and Bill Kendall(26) are in the army. I never thought Gerome would go on account of his being lame. Mrs Campbell has another girl(27). Well I do not know as I can think of anything more at present. I do not know as I had better send this letter for you have never wrote to me, but I guess I will send this one and if you do not answer it I shall not write again.(28) Mrs. Wrisley has been out trying to help thrash buckwheat and she said she was going to make me come and help her, you know what a funny woman she is. Well, I shall have to stop writing and go to the office,(29) so I shall have to bid you adieu for the present. Now if you do not answer this I shall not write again. Write soon as you can. Give my regards to Mr. Gorham and kiss Johnny for me. I remain as ever your friend and well wisher.

Sara Travis, Write soon


(17) Mary BURNS Gorham

(18) Sarah Ellen’s parents Myron Travis and Phoebe BAILEY lived just down Kendall Hill Road from the Burns family, toward Luther’s Mills.

(19) Esther S. Wrisley, b. 1824, d.,1900, w/o James W. Wrisley, b. 8 Feb 1811, d. 15 Feb 1882, of Luther’s Mills.

(20) Heverly’s History & Geography of Bradford County states, "When the Berwick Turnpike was completed in 1820, crossing the former Burlington Center, it became known as Burlington Corners."

(21) Letitia CAMPBELL Burns

(22) Fanny Travis, 40, w/o Zury Travis

(23) Keziah Travis, 20, d/o Fanny and Zury

(24) In Springville Township, Susquehanna County.

(25) Gerome Bonaparte Kendall, b. 31 Aug 1834, d. 16 Apr 1916, s/o Elam and Deborah KNAPP Kendall, m. 1st Anna Keenan, b. 6 Aug 1853, d. 11 Jul 1891, m. 2nd Sarah Ellen TRAVIS Gibbs, b. 1844, d. 21 Mar 1902, the writer of this letter. Gerome liater migrated to Jefferson Iowa where he operated a restaurant, bar & billiard room.

(26) William Kendall, b. 17 Oct 1830, s/o Elam and Deborah KNAPP Kendall, served in the war 3 ½, years. He m. Lucy Burgess 7 Nov 1865 then settled west of Chicago for 12 years until they decided to head further west. They set out with a team of mules and eventually homesteaded three miles west of Danbury, Nebraska until moving into town 12 years later.

(27) Emma Campbell, b. 3 Sep 1862, d. 29 Dec 1954, d/o blacksmith Charles Drake Campbell & Sarah

Miranda Harvey. Emma married George A. Madigan, age 22 on 13 Mar 1882 and they had a son Albert E. Madigan who grew up to become a Pennsylvania state Representative 1944-1952, state Senator 1952-1966 and was elected Clerk of the Senate in 1967. Albert’s son Roger A. Madigan, b. 25 Jan 1930 followed in his father’s footsteps serving as chairman of the Bradford County Republican Committee for nine years, as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives 1977-1984 and as a Member of the state Senate from 1985 to the present. Senator Madigan resides on his father’s farm on Rte 6 near Luther’s Mills in Burlington Township.

(28) Apparently the Golden Rule goes only so far in regard to letter writing.

(29) Post Office


Burlington [Thursday} Oct the [30th 1862]

Brother James

I just returned from the aid society(30) and found your letter lying on the table and for fear your prediction may prove true concerning the [illegible], I concluded to write to you forthwith, so here goes. First I will say wer all tough, harty and ugly as usual. We commenced keeping house 4 weak ago yesterday. Altho the house is not our own, it is home to me, more so than enny place I ever knew. Ther is an other family living in the back part of the house, their name is Gardner, from york state. I like them first rate. We have fine times together. Myron generally works in the shop(31) until after nine oclock and I stay with Mrs Gardner when I dont go to the shop with him. We hav lotts of company. Some of my relatives who condemed Myron Beach so much hav condescended to call upon us so soon. Uncle Jim Wilcox(32) and the Rev. Mr. Lane(33) for instance. Father and Mother(34) was here 2 weaks ago. Frank Easterbrooks(35) was here last Sunday. Tell Mary all the big buggs in the corners have called upon me even to Mrs Adison McKean.(36) Well, we hav enough to eat and drink and thars a fair prospect of having enough until spring, for we hav a fine pig a fattning and plenty of jonnycake.(37) In fact we ar taking as much comfort as can be imagined. I shall certainly hav to stop writing until I can get a better pen for it is almost impossible for me to read my own writing. I am going upon the hill tomorrow and I will take it with me and finish it. Perhaps Mrs. Burns will have something to write, so goodnight. Eliza

At Mother Burns, Friday afternoon

I made a mistake and wrote on the wrong line, but it’s all the same. I cant find a pen that will make a black mark without putting on all the elbow grease that I can muster, so I have to take up with the same one. I stayed to Dan Kendalls(38) last night and was up to see Jennie(39) this forenoon and hav just come over here to finish my letter. Mrs Burns says tell them she arrived home safe with the exception of geting prety wet and geting a severe cold which she has got nearly over now. She is just getting your peace in the loom. Two of Marys cousins is here, to young men, their name is Burns.(40) They talk of coming out that way when they go home. Well James I am glad that youar taking so much comfort and that you hav so good an opinion of your wife. I hope you hav found that I was not trying to flatter you when I gave my opinion concerning her. Well, no one ever told me that I would take comfort with Myron Beach, nor do I want them to, for if everyone thought just as I do thare would be a terrible collision some whare. I was surprised to hear of the death of Ed Wiliams.(41) I did not know that he had gone to war. Poor Rachel must feel verry bad. I saw the drafted soldiers when they passed through the corners. I tell you it was a sollomn sight. Some were crying, some were laughing and shouting at the top of their voice, but let one speak of ther familyes they left at home… I tell you it touched a tender spot. There was one man in particular that was verry boisterous and a man got to talking with him concerning his family, it was enough to make ones hart ake to hear him talk. O I hope none of my friends will be drafted. I had rather a thousand times they would enlist. It seems dreadful to drag them away from their homes in that way, and against their will. You wanted to know when we were going to Lynn.(42) Well I cant tell you enny thing about it, though I presume we shant come until you get your threshing dun for business is increasing in the shop and he has ben trying to get a hand to work for him but it is impossible. There is no one to hire and it would be impossible to come out there now. He says it would be fifty dollars damage to him to leave the shop now for it would make his customers mad and they would get their work dun some other place. He has work promised 3 weaks ahead, but we will come as soon as we can. Elviras(43) is here and wants to write some to Mary so I will close. Goodby, write soon, kiss little Johnie for me. Tell him he must come home with me and stay a spell when I come out there. Eliza.

Lander Travis(44) is at home. He was taken prisinor and was parolled and came home to stay until he was exchanged.


(30) Ladies Aid Societies existed well before the war began, but came alive in every church, school and parlor after the firing on Fort Sumter. Their purpose was to provide for the general comfort and well being of the boys at the front. On June 9, 1861 the Secretary of war approved a petition creating the U.S. Sanitary Commission which served to consolidate the efforts of all such societies, particularly with regard to care of the sick and wounded.

(31) Her husband, Myron Beach was a shoemaker. He came from a long line in that trade going back to his great grand stepfather, Jehiel Ferris, Burlington’s first shoemaker.

(32) James Wilcox, b. 20 Nov 1798, d. 18 Apr 1888, m. Ruth Lane, b. 7 Apr 1799, d. 15 Apr 1861, d/o Alexander Lane & Abigail Mills and sister of Eliza’s mother Emily C. Lane (see letters 1- 4).

(33) Alexander Lane Jr., brother of Ruth and Emily Lane.

(34) John B. Gorham (father of Eliza Jane and James) and his third wife Marinda MCGILL Patterson of Towanda Township.

(35) Frances Easterbrooks, d/o William & Julia Ann GORHAM Easterbrooks, Eliza’s father’s sister of North Towanda Township.

(36) Wife of a third generation descendant of James McKean, one of Burlington’s first settlers and one of the wealthiest men in the township with an assessed valuation of $15,000 in 1850.

(37) A corn bread shortened with bear’s fat which the first Burlington settlers brought with them from Johnny-cake hollow in Chemung County, N. Y. to the wilderness of Sugar Creek in 1790.

(38) Mary’s brother-in-law, b. 29 Aug 1825, d. 23 Dec 1894, s/o Elam & Deborah KNAPP Kendall.

(39) Jennie was actually Sarah Jane Kendall, youngest daughter of Elam and Deborah KNAPP Kendall. She was called Janie by her older brothers and their wives (who were 10-20 years older) but her nieces (who were close to her own age) and their mutual friends called her Jennie. She was b. 18 Jan 1844, d. 28 Mar 1877, just twelve hours after her 77 y/o father died. In Leon Lane’s Notebook II he said she probably died from shock and also possibly from an overdose of a drug given by the Dr. to steady her nerves. They were buried in a double grave.

(40) Jonathan Burns II and sons Granville and Byington of Clifford, Susquehanna County.

(41) Edward G. Williams b. 25 Jun 1842. K.C.W. 18 Oct 1862, Co. K, 50th Pa Reserves.

(42) A boro in Springvi,lle Township, Susquehanna County.

(43) Elvira LANE Kendall, b. 11 Sep 1830, d. 29 Aug 1892, w/o Daniel, b. 29 Aug 1825, d. 23 Dec 1894, s/o Elam and Deborah KNAPP Kendall.

(44) Landis L. Travis, s/o Zury & Fanny Travis was mustered in at Co. B, 34th Pa Vol. Infantry 8 Aug 1861. After the prisoner exchange cited above he was returned to active duty in time to participate in the Battle of Gettysburg where he was described as a gallant soldier. On 6 Jun 1864 he transferred to Co. C. of the 191st PVI. He was taken prisoner for the second time 19 Aug 1864 and held until 1 Mar 1865. On 2 Jul 1913 Landis died suddenly upon the Gettysburg battlefield while attending the great 50th anniversary celebration of the Blue and Gray.


Friday October [31] [1862]

Dear sister Mary

Acording to the Scripture which says do unto others as you would be done by I will try and pen a few lines to you. I expect that Eliza has told you all the news. Well she stayed with me last night and today we are visiting your Mother and I wish that you was here. I think it is to bad for James to come up here and get the best girl in our place. Well I suppose we will have to forgive him for he needs you more than anyone els. Your Mother arrived home safe but has not been very well. Philander(45) is going off on the west branch(46) to work this winter with his two cousins that came from Beech woods(47) and Zura(48) Travis is going to move in the house. And your Mother(49) is going to make a visit out to Susquehanna Co. and then stay with you the rest of the Winter. So now Mary I know this will be glorious news to you. She will come as soon as she gets her weaving done. Fanny Travis(50) has just come and sends her respects to you and Family. So I must bring these few lines to a close for it is getting late and I must go home. You must excuse this poor writing for this is the worst pen that I ever saw and Eliza has bloted the paper all up and wanted me to write and shure as the world I have commenced wrong side up, but never mind now, so good by for this time. Love to yourself and family. Write as soon as you can. Elvira

Mary, as Elvira did not take up quite all the paper I thought I must fill up the space with something. I am not going home until Sunday and then Myron’s coming down and we ar going over to Uncle Wiliam Easterbrooks.(51) This is the first of my visiting since I have ben here and it will be about the last for this winter only to go to spring. Well I did not want to come away to stay so long, but Myron insisted upon it, said he was afraid he would forget how to keep house if he did not have a little practice ocasionaly. Eliza


(45) Philander, Mary’s older (unmarried) brother b. 29 Aug 1839, d. 27 Feb 1891.

(46) West Branch of the Susquehanna River.

(47) a favorite spot for sleighriding located in Susquehanna County.

(48) A neighboring farmer just down the road, age 45.

(49) Letitia CAMPBELL Burns, a widow for just over a year.

(50) Wife of Zury,

(51) Eliza’s father’s brother-in-law.


Nov the 2d/62

Dear Aunt and cousin

According to the scripture which say do unto others as you would like to be done by, I will devote A few moments in answering your letter which came at hand last night, it found us well and I hope these few lines will find you blesed with good health. I thought it was about time you would want to hear from home so I thought I would write.(52) Your letters were not directed to me alltho I took the privledge of answering them. Debbie(53) you did not tell me how you liked it down there or wheather you was homesick or not. If you like it as well as I did you are not homesick yet. I did not care anything about coming home. I wanted to see Aunt Mary, Uncle James and Johnie before I came home but Uncle Philander was in such A hurry that he could not wait until you came back. I suppose Johnie has got so he can go upstairs and down by this time. I wish I could see him. I will send him this little card. I have got no primers or I would send him one.

Ma & myself had a hearty laugh when we read about your getting scart.(54) I was almost frightened myself when I began to read it, but you might know that it was Uncle James, he is such A mischeivous scamp. I was not any alarmed when I found out the rogue.

Landis Travis(55) is at home now, he has been in four battels and is A live man yet. He has been taken prisoner and paroled and he has come to see old Burlington once more. He dont know when he has got to go back. He returned last Sunday, he stopped and took supper with the rest of us at granmas(56) and I must tell you who else was there, cousins Granvill and Byington Burns, Uncle Jonathan’s boys(57) from Beech woods. They came here last Saturday. Uncle Philander(58) and they talk of going out on the west branch A lumbering this winter. They can get 25 dollars a month and boarded. Granvill thinks it will pay better than A draft. There has been one draft made in Clifford and another to come off [a] week ago yesterday. They expect to hear that they are drafted. There was not one of the Burns drafted the first pull so they don’t expect to escape the next draft.

Granma and Philander and Pa(59) has had a letter from Uncle Jimmie(60) since granma came back. He was well, he sent his likeness in granmas letter. Philander and Byington went to Troy yesterday and got 100 dollars that Jimmie sent home. Ma wrote to him yesterday. We don’t know but he has gone by this time. Tell Granpa(61) that I have learnt the tune to love in the tub and can sing part of the crying song and I want him to tell them to Debbie and let her copy them. I want to learn the words. I will have to close. Give my love to A Polly and all the rest of them (Frank any how) good bye.

Floretta(62) to Aunt and cousin, write.


(52) That writer Floretta Kendall would become a "take charge" woman is clearly evident here, even though she had just turned twelve the week before writing this letter.

(53) Debbie was Floretta’s four month younger cousin, b. 25 Feb 1851, d.16 Dec 1903, d/o Robert and Sarah BURNS Kendall. She later m. Fred McKean.

(54) More than likely a Halloween prank.

(55) age 18, s/o Zury and Fanny Travis of Kendall Hill Road (see letter #42).

(56) Mary’s mother, Letitia CAMPBELL Burns.

(57) Jonathan Burns II, b. 12 Sep 1803, d. 1880, s/o Capt Jonathan & Annar CHASE Burns of Susquehanna County and younger brother of Mary’s father Orry Burns. Mary’s cousins Granville and Byington were in their twenties, about the same age as her older brother Philander.

(58) Philander had spent the winter of 1860/61 lumbering in Cameron County, north of the West Branch, (see letters #13,14 and 46).

(59) Robert Kendall, Mary’s sister Sarah’s husband, s/o Elam & Deborah KNAPP Kendall.

(60) Mary’s brother who had enlisted in the 113th Regiment, Illinois Volunteers two months earlier, (see letters 38, 39 and 45).

(61) This must be her granpa Elam Kendall as her grandfather Orry Burns died 29 Sep 1861.

(62) Julia Floretta Kendall, b. 25 Oct 1850, d. 29 Sep 1927, d/o Lawrence W. & Jane BURNS Kendall, Mary’s other sister, was quite likely Mary’s favorite niece. One thing is for certain, they remained close throughout their lives. Floretta became one of the primary communicators of family news, always interesting, but often tragic. There are a dozen letters in this collection that Floretta wrote to Mary and "Granma Lettie" between the time she was twelve years old and her eighteenth birthday. Floretta married Noel Wilcox Lane, b. 9 Jul 1844, d. 22 Feb 1920, s/o Rev. Alexander and Catherine SHOEMAKER Lane, on 6 Apr 1870. Their son, Leon Kendall Lane amassed the family history contained in two notebooks of family group sheets, photographs and biographical sketches. This reference was the source of many of the dates and anecdotal information for these footnotes. A copy of his notebooks is in the Bradford County Historical Society in Towanda, PA. My mother, Leola VANORMAN Kester remembered Floretta,s visits to her Grandma Mary and her mother Floretta "Grace" GORHAM VanOrman during her own childhood and described her as "a striking woman, being very tall with long snow white hair" and as "probably one of the most intelligent women in the county"


Chicago Ill Nov the 2d 1862

Dear Sister Mary I feel it my duty to write a few lines to you this morning. Your letter came to hand yesterday. Well I was not long a getting the rapper off Mary. I red your letter with much joy. It was a good letter Mary. You sed you was well Pleased with your home. I was glad to hear that you enjoyed yourself well but just think Mary, a little over a year ago thear was 5 of us at home injoying ourself well, but whearas now thear is only to left at home.(63) I am well today but just one year from today whear may I be god only can tell.

Tell brother James that I send my love to him and also his Friends. I hope that my life may be speared so as to reach home once agane so that I can injoy a good visit with you. Tell Deborah(64) I wood like to see hur so I will send my love To hur in this letter.

Mary I have not much news to write I have a good menny letter to write lately and some I don’t direct home. We ar still in camp near Chicago, yet Chicago is a biger city than I supposed it was. I have been on picket duty several times in Chicago after the boys that had run the guard have been through almost every street in the city. We ekspected to be away from her long ago but still we ar her yet but ekspect to go before long. I understand that the Curnel knows when we ar a going and whear but he has not told enny of his officers yet. Our Curnel name is George B Hoge,(65) we all like him well. The name of our regiment is 3d Bord of Trad, the name of our Company Governors Guards, Company G, 113 Regiment, Ill.

Mary you spoke of me sending my likeness to you, I sent one to mother and I will send you one as soon as I can. I wood like to have you send me yours and James is as soon as you can. Geromes Regiment is write acros the road from ours. He is well. Mary write as soon as you can and all the news you can. You sed that uncle was low.(66) I felt bad to hear that but we must all part from this world.

James A Burns to Sister Mary

Good By, yours in hast


(63) In 1861 there were father & mother, Orry & Letitia and children Philander, Jimmie & Mary still living at home. By late 1862, Orry had died, Mary married and moved to Leraysville and Jimmie enlisted in the army, Leaving only Letitia & son Philander at home. The following year Philander married Lucy E. Morley and took over the Burns homestead and Letitia went to live with James & Mary in LeRaysville for the winter months.

(64) Debbie O. Kendall. Had Jimmie survived the war he might possibly have been the fourth member of the Burns family to marry a Kendall.

(65) Colonel George B. Hoge was wounded during the Assault of 22 May 1863 at Vicksburg, two days after Jimmie was killed.

(66) Their Uncle Alexander Burns of Clifford, Susquehanna Co. had died the month previous to this letter on 3 Oct 1862.


Hunt’s Run(67) Jan. 4, 1863

Dear Mother Sister Brother & all the rest of the friends. As this is the first Sunday that I am about to spend in the New Year of one thousand eight hundred & sixty three, I thought that I would write and let you know that I am yet alive and well in the land of the living & way up among the mountains where the wolfs and the owls with their terrifying howls disturbs us of our nightly dreams. I suppose you have been looking for a letter from me this good while. But I wrote one to Robert(68) & got an answer from it so I thought you new whare I was & would not feel uneasy about me for they said that you was there at home. But that Horace(69) was going to take you down to Leraysville the next Saterday. So I suppose you are there before this time if nothing happened. Did you see Uncle Josephus(70) before you left there and let him have that money of James.(71) I forgot it that morning when I came away. I toled Sarah Ellen Travis(72) to tell you that Id forgotten it. I suppose you left the folks all well. I have not heard from home since I got that letter from Robert. He said that the old stags looked verry well, that he thought they were a gaining & would fetch a good price by & by.(73) I suppose you did not know whether they have sold them or not.

Well Mother I suppose Robert & Sarah Ann toled you who I was to work for when they got my letter. I am to work for Eldred & Brooks, the same men that I have got my note against. We are getting a dollar a day for every days work that we do and borded rainy days and Sundays. We have been well evry since we have been here with the exception of a cupple of biles(74) Granvill had on his hand & he lost three days with them. But they have got the Small Pox on all sides of us. The closest case to us is within one mile. But I guess we will let it alone. So Good Bye, Write Soon.

Direct to Cameron PO, Cameron Co. Pa.

Tell James(75) to drink a glass of Sider, eat some aples, kiss some pretty Girls & soforth for me.

For I am remote from the glass

And the smiles of the lass

I lead but a wearisome life

Whilst others live at ease

Content for to please

A scolding and brawling wife(76)

P.P. Burns(77)


(67) A northwest Cameron County tributary to Driftwood Creek, which flows into Sinnemahoning Creek & thence to the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. Hunt’s Run is approximately 15-20 miles northwest of Lumber Township where Philander went lumbering during the winter of 1860/61 (see letters #13 & 14)
(68) Robert D. Kendall, age34, husband of his sister Sarah Ann Burns.

(69) His brother, Horace O. Burns, age 29.

(70) Josephus Campbell, his mother’s brother, age 44.

(71) James A. Burns, his younger brother who had enlisted in the Union Army.

(72) A close friend and neighbor who would later marry his brother-in-law Jerome Kendall.

(73) Adult male deer which apparently were legal to raise and sell in those days.

(74) Boils, but he probably meant blisters. Cousins Granville & Byington were most likely not the hardened farmers that Philander was.

(75) His sister Mary’s Husband James J. Gorham

(76) Six months from this day, on 4 Jul 1863 he would marry Lucy E. Morley, d/o Jacob & Harriet KNAPP Morley. They would be married nearly 28 years and would die within 5 days of each other.

(77) Philander Perry Burns, second son of Orry & Letitia CAMPBELL Burns.


Burlington Jan the 8th /63

Kind Mother I received your,s and Mary,s Letter whitch I Perused with much Pleasure. I was glad to hear that you was enjoying your Self So well and gaining flesh. If there is any comfort to be found I think you are worthy of it. It seemed a long time to me befoure we heard from you, the days seemed long and Lonesome. I had Sis(78) write to you so you would answer hers. I did not know but you was sick, I dreamed so much about you and Mary. We are all well here know except Owen(79) he has got the whooping cough. It is a bade(80) time of year to have it, But if he don’t get the Putrid Sore throat,(81) I think hew will wear it off. He caught it to school from Bill Wadkin,s(82) children. I don’t know what will become of that family, they will be on the town(83) before long. The two hundred dollars is gon that Bill left them. She has fooled it away. She claimes some one has stole it. Lizabeth Brague(84) was there A visiting. Leetie(85) laide it to here (her), but they could proved nothing a gainst here with their sun Dode is a poor distressed boy, his lege discharhges a sight, he is as helpless as a baby.

Horace has sold the stags to Jobe Morley(86) for 75 Dollars. Jobe says that he paid ten Dollars to much but that is his story. He took them a bout to weeks ago. We have not heard from Philander since you went away. Rob(87) wrote to him not long ago but has received no answere yet. I should think someof them(88) might writ. Jimmie,s coalt has been sick with the horse distemper but is better now. Mother I will enclose in this paper the remainder of James,s Letter which I entended to send to you in Floretta,s. I sent them to the Office, it was so heavy that they took out part. I thought you would think strang of having part of the letters sent to you. Mart Long(89) thought it would be best to send it in the paper to you. So we thought we would write some to you.

Mother I am afraid that this is the last letter we shall be permitted ever to read from James we have not heard from him since the Bloody Battle at Vicksburge.(90) I feel vary uneasy about him. I was looking in one paper to see the news at Vicksburge. I saw a scetch that Gen. Sherman sent in a flag of truce asking leave to bury our dead which was granted. The scene on the fields was ghastly to be-hold &c the tears blinded my eyes while I was reading. I thought Prehaps it might be Jimmie that was a monge the dead and wounded. But we live still in hopes that he is numbered with the Living. If you have heard from James since we have I wish you would write and let us know.

Eld Lane(91) preachd David Smith,s funeral to weeks ago today, he dide in the hospital. Lawren Hill(92) sent for hid folks to come after him for he had lost the use of his legs. He could not live there he said. Norman Grist(93) has just come home on furlow, he is wounded. Tom Grist is Discharged. Keziah(94) heard that here man was coming home in to weeks. I hope he will for her sake, she has so much trouble.

I will have to close for it is getting suppertime. So good bye.

Elvira & Fanny, Sarah an Mother Kendall(95) was here. I read Jimmies Letters to all. They said if it was their Brother they would have it printed. O, I must tell you that Marian Peirce has got a daughter. I suppose it is a nice plaything for them. Jany(96) was down to see it. She said it looks like any young green horn. They have named it Jessy Maria.

Lura Clark(97) fell down on the ice yesterday, broke out two of her front teeth. It is dreadful slipry going here. It has been raining to or three days, now frose up. You must excuse all mistakes and bad speling. Give my love to Aunt Poly, grand pa and all the rest.

To Mother and Mary, Jane Kendall

I did not answer Jimmies letter for he said he was a going away. I thought he would be gon be four he could get an answer. Write as often as you can.


(78) Sarah Ann BURNS Kendall, age 32.

(79) Owen Kendall, age 4, s/o Lawrence & Jane, named for his grand Uncle Anning "Owen" Campbell.

(80) Jane Kendall’s writing style included superfluous (e)s at the end of some words.

(81) Ulceration of the tonsils or diphtheria.

(82) William Watkins, age 33.

(83) "on the dole" or relief.

(84) Elizabeth Brague, age 44, w/o W. Brague, age 48.

(85) Elizabeth Watkins, age 25.

(86) Job Morley, local merchant, age 37 (see letter 46).

(87) Brother of Jane’s husband, Lawrence Kendall also husband of Jane’s sister Sarah Kendall.

(88) "them" meaning Philander or cousins Granville & Byington Burns who were lumbering in Cameron County. (see letter #46).

(89) Martin Long, Postmaster, age 27.

(90) The Battle of Chickasaw Bluffs. On December 26, 1862, three Union divisions, under Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, disembarked at Johnson's Plantation on the Yazoo River to approach the Vicksburg defenses from the northeast while a fourth landed farther upstream. On the 27th, the Federals pushed their lines forward through the swamps toward Walnut Hills, which were strongly defended. On the 28th, several futile attempts were made to get around these defenses. On December 29, Sherman ordered a frontal assault which was repulsed with heavy casualties (US 1,776; CS 207). Sherman then withdrew. This Confederate victory frustrated Grant's attempts to take Vicksburg by direct approach, but Jimmie Burns lived to fight again.

(91) Elder Zephaniah Lane, b. 14 Dec 1796, d. 9 Feb 1872 a "respected and very religious man." sometimes referred to as Reverend, but the Census listed him as a farmer and his gravestone said he was a soldier of the War of 1812.

(92) Lorenzo Hill, age 21, s/o George C. & Fanny Hill.

(93) Private Norman Grist, age 21; his brother Corporal Thomas Grist, age 25 was also wounded at the Battle of Fair Oaks Station (also called Seven Pines) May 31-June 1, 1862 during Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan’s Peninsular Campaign (March-September 1862).

(94) husband of Keziah Travis, age 20, d/o Zury & Fanny.

(95) Deborah KNAPP Kendall, age 58, w/o Elam , age 64.

(96) Sarah Jane Kendall, age 13 , d/o Elam & Deborah.

(97) Lara Clark,age 13, d/o Joseph Stanton & Lydia Clark.


Burlington Jan the 17 [1863]

Well Granma & Aunt Mary(98) I will now set down to write you a few lines but I don’t know as you will care anything about hearing from us. We are all well at present but ma(99) has been sick two or three days & has just got well and Orry(100) has been sick, he has the putrid sore throat but he has got well. The Dr. gave him some medicine that helped him and ma gave him some burnt Alum and salt peter before the Dr. came that helped him. The Dr. did not come but once for he got so much better. Leranna Rundall(101) has got the putrid sore throat so that they don’t expect her to live and the scarlet fever has set in two. Sally Hall(102) has got it pretty hard two & pa was down to lection yesterday & he sayed that one of Rose Luthers girls has got it too. Dr. Sweeny(103) said that if thay got it up on the hill that it would rage awful. Well I guess I wont write anymore about that. We have not heard from Jimmie since Aunt Jane got a letter that she sent you. We don’t know but he is dead. I expect that he was in that great battle at Vicksburg(104) and it said in the paper that they could not get men enough to bury the dead. They was killed from Gen Shermans reg.(105) We had A letter from Gerome(106) last week, before the battle he said that Jimmie had gone down the river with his reg ament. Uncle Gerome is Clerk in the Hospital so he was not in the battle.

Mother, Deborah has been a writing som, she has got tired and wants me to write. I do not know as I have anything to write that will be interesting to you. We have been a looking for a letter from James. I should think that he would write by this time if he is not dead or wounded, but still I am in hopes we shall hear something from him before long. It is very lonesome here since you went. I have not been over to Zurys(107) since last Christmas. It was very lonesome there. Mother was not there, nor Mary nor any of our folks but Jane. It does not seem much like home. Well it is a getting dark and I shall have to stop writing and Floretta is a waiting for me to finnish this to take it over home and let Horace send it in a paper. We have talked some of going down there this winter but you need not look for us for I do not know as we shall come. There has not been much sleighen here yet. I should like to if Mother is a going out to beech woods this winter or not. Give my love to all, write as soon as you can.

Sarahann K.(108)


(98) This letter was begun by Debbie O. Kendall, age 11, d/o Robert & Sarah Ann BURNS Kendall.
(99) Sarah Ann BURNS Kendall, Mary’s sister.
(100) Orry 2nd, Debbie’s little brother, age 2.
(101) Luranna Rundell, d/o Rev. Lorenzo M. Rundell, b. 1817, d. 29 Jul 1880 m. Susan LANE, b. 29 Oct 1824, d. 31 Mar, 1902, d/o Zephaniah & Cynthia SWAIN Lane. They lived just east of Luther’s Mills. (see Transcribers Note in letter #51)
(102) Sarah Ellen Hall, age 17, d/o Philander & Laura Hall would recover and eleven months hence, on 13 Dec 1863, would marry Henry Kendall, Lawrence & Robert Kendall’s younger brother.
(103) Doc Sweeny apparently was the only doctor the Kendall Hill and Luther’s Mills folks ever mentioned, he did however occasionally have a "student doctor" working with him.
(104) Another reference to the Battle of Chickasaw Bluffs (see letter #47)
(105) Three Union Divisions under the command of General William Tecumseh Sherman participated.
(106) Gerome B. Kendall, another of Debbie’s Uncles, who had enlisted with Jimmie. He probably was not an infantryman because of a previous illness or injury which had left him lame.
(107) It is actually the Burns’ home, but Zury Travis, their Kendall Hill neighbor has been caretaking there since Philander went lumbering in Cameron County, mother Letitia is visiting in LeRaysville and Horace has apparently bought his own farm a few miles away in the northwest corner of Burlington Township.
(108) Sarah Ann BURNS Kendall, age 32, w/o Robert D. Kendall and a sister to Mary.


Burlington Jan 28 [1863]

Dear Mary, with a sorrowful heart this evening I will try and pen a few lines to you hoping this may find yourself and family well. Our family is all well at this presant time and also your sister’s Family. But how long it will remain so no one knows but him who knows the Secrets of all of our hearts, for sickness and Death is in our Neighborhood.(109) Luranna Rundall(110) was taken with Dypthyeria about three weeks ago and after sufering two weeks, Died. She did not want to live and suffer any longer but wanted to die and go to the Happy land. Her Father asked her if she thought she was going to that happy land and she said O yes and told all her friends that they must meet her and after kissing them over and over, bade them all Farewell and died. Ensign(111) was taken with the same Disease last Tuesday and poor Mary Ann(112) last Thursday and after the short Illness of five days she departed this life on Sunday. She sent for Uncle Alexander Lane to come and see her. He went several times. She thought from the first that she should not live. The Doctor said there was no hopes and Tuesday Morning at five O Clock she died. She was ready and willing to go. She died very happy her Father said. He did not wish them back for they died so happy. The both had there reason until the last. Only four days between their deaths. They were buried without any funeral for the rest of the family was most all sick with some Complaint. Susan,(113) Ensign, Roxena and one of the little boys they think they may Possible get well, but I fear for Susan and Ensign. The Doctor thinks that if Ensign’s Constitution is strong enough to beare it he will get well and if Susan can stand the grief she will get well. But O Dear Mary, what trouble and sorrow there is in that house. They all take it very hard and I with the rest. I cannot realize that Mary Ann is no more. One year ago now she was living with me and you and her was going to schooll together and Ah, what a change since that time. Synthia(114) has had the same Disease but is getting well. She has not been able to go and see her folks since they have been sick. I have not been there but once, that was while Luranna was sick. I did not see Mary Ann. The Doctor thinks it is catchimg in some Cases it apeares so heare and for that reason I did not go and that made it a great deal harder to bear. If I could have seen her one(ce) more I could feel more Reconsiled. It does not seem as though I could ever give her up but I know it’s wrong to feel so for she is better off than we are. There is a great many Familys sick with awful disease But it has not ben here in this school yet.(115) The school at Robert Knapp is broke up, the scholars was most all sick. Mary when have you heard from James? Your folks have not heard from him in some time. They feel uneasy about him. I should think that he would write if he was well. Rob got a letter from Philander last week and Jany got one from Granville, they was well. Now Mary I must close for my eyes feel so bad I cant hardly see. Give my love to James and your Mother and Jonnie and except a share your self and write without delay. So good knight and may Heaven bless us all while we tary here below. This is the Prayer of poor unworthy me.

From your friend, Elvira Kendall(116)


(109) Clement F. Heverly’s Bradford County Chronology has this to say regarding the year 1863: "First three months of year diphtheria raged over the county with fatal effect, causing the death of scores of children; many children also succumbed to scarlet fever… A year of great sadness, deaths from disease and fatal accidents at home and the county's terrible losses on battlefields in the southland."

(110) Luranna Rundell died Friday 23 January, 1863 (see letter #48).

(111) Ensign Rundell, age 16/17, survived and lived to be 82. He resided in Towanda where he was in the milling business & at one time was Sheriff of Bradford County.

(112) Mary Ann Rundell, age 19, died Tuesday, 27 Jan 1863. She had lived in the household of Daniel Kendall for at least 2 years prior to returning to her father’s home where she died.

(113) Susan Rundell, age 36 d/o Rev. Zephaniah and Cynthia SWAIN Lane.

(114) Cynthia Rundell, Age 22 was the oldest of the Rundell children.

(115) The Lorenzo M. Rundell family lived at the foot of Knapp Hill Road in the Grant School District #7, while Kendall Hill where the Burns, Kendalls and some of the Lanes lived was in the Prospect District #8.

(116) Elvira LANE Kendall, age 32 was the wife of Henry Kendall and therefore was Mary’s sister-in-law by marriage.