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Mary Angeline BURNS Gorham 1844 -1916
Copyright © David V. Kester, 2001
Letters sent to Mary BURNS Gorham
Township: Burlington Township, Bradford County PA
Transcribed  by David Kester
Year: 1857-1869
Photo Source : David Kester

Burlington, Sept 25th [1863]

Dear Aunt, I now seat myself to answer a kind letter which came at hand today. It being so that Aunt Sarah Ann(1) can not write, I will tell you how it is. Debbie & Eva(2) is very sick. The Dr was there this morning and he said that if his medicine did not help them they would not live 24 hours, but ma was has just came from there and she says they are a little easier. Evva lies very stupid.(3) Ma thought that Debbie was a little better than she was when she went there. The Dr is a coming again tonight. Granma is there helping take care of them. They was taken with the Inflamatory Diarea(4) connected with the intermiting Billious Fever.(5) It seems a complaint going around almost as bad as the diptheria. Elam(6) has had it, all of Aunt Elvira’s(7) children has had a touch of it, but not so bad as Elam or Aunt Sarah’s children. Debbie and Evva was taken last Monday. Nothing but blood passes their bowels ever since. Dr Sweeny says there was a funeral yesterday, all with the same complaint, but were none of his patients. He has not lost any patients yet and says he don’t mean to. I suppose that it seems a long time to Lettie(8) since she left home. She must make a rag baby or something to pass off the time. Lettie you must not count every hour, but play with Johnie and Willie Chaffee.(9) I have thought of Lettie a great many times, especially cold mornings when I wake up and find the clothes all off from the back side of the bed. I have thought what nice times you would have, how I wish that I could went and seen the circus and went down to Mary’s. Bell(10) says she wishes she could have went and seen Towanda and the circus. . .

I would have wrote before but have been waiting with patience to get a letter from you. It seemed a long time to ma. We thought you never was going to write, but come to find out Jim Wilcox(11) made a mistake and sent it down to Rob Knapp.(12) I suppose he never looked to see if it was Kendall or Knapp. Aunt Adelade made the same mistake and opened the letter and then she see that it did not belong to her. She put a new raper over that and sent it back to the post office. Well I suppose by this time that Lettie will want to know when we are coming down after her. If nothing happens any more than we know of now, pa and ma and perhaps Uncle Horace and Aunt Ruth(13) will be down in 2 weeks if not before. Ma feels uneasy about Lettie for fear she will get the diptheria. I want ma to let me go down and stay until granma comes (providing you want me). I have put in my best to get the wool spun. I have spun two run a day so she will let me go. Granma has got her wool all spun and would have been weaving if the children had not been sick. Lucy(14) has been at Granma’s ever since you went away. She has not fetched her things yet, she thought she would wait and see whether Philander was drafted(15) or not. The draft has gone off, but none of our folks was drafted. Uncle Horace thought sure he would be drafted, but luck was on his side.(16) I am not like Sally Gates she said she did not care who was drafted, if John wasent. I will name a few that was drafted in this place; Henry Hill,(17) Lorenzo Hill,(18) Zoph Morgan,(19) Dennis Crouly,(20) Philander Long,(21) Charles Williams,(22) Job Morley,(23) Penn Lane,(24) Dock Campbell,(25) Bill Brage(26) & Bill Compton.(27) Granma was wishing she knew whether Uncle James(28) was drafted or not. I have not got much more to write at present. If Debbie and Evva gets any worse I will write again.

Lovina Marsillas(29) has been very sick, they did not expect her to live, but is better now. She has had a daughter, but it is dead. Margret McCormic has got back to Burlington. We have not seen her but she has been to Aunt Ruths. Uncle Horace helped arrest a prisoner the other day that brook [broke] jail. There was two, one was Mrs. Gates brother Fisimmon. They was in Mr. Gateses barn. Fisimmon got away. I will close by asking you to excuse all mistakes. I hope this sheet will find Mary, Johnie, Lettie better than you was when you wrote. Good bye.

Floretta to Mary and Lettie


(1) Mary’s sister Sarah Ann BURNS Kendall, age 32, w/o Robert D. Kendall.

(2) Debbie, age 11 and Eva, age 6 were Robert & Sara’s children.

(3) Stupid in this context means In a state of stupor, i.e., mental torpor or inactivity.

(4) Inflammatory diahrea--the worst kind,use your imagination

(5) Billious fever- Loose term for illnesses with vomiting, fever and sometimes jaundice. It could be typhoid, malaria, typhus or hepatitus.

(6) Elam Kendall 2nd, age 10, s/o Daniel and Elvira LANE Kendall.

(7) Porter 13, Isabell 6 and Mary 3

(8) Letitia Kendall, age 8, d/o Lawrence & Jane BURNS Kendall.

(9) Willie Chaffee, son of James J. Gorham’s neighbor in LeRaysville, Horace B. Chaffee.

(10) Isabell Kendall.

(11) The only Jim Wilcox in Burlington was a farmer age 62, but it seems he was also their postman.

(12) Robert Knapp, age 39 & wife Adelade, age 22 lived at the foot of Kendall Hill and were related through Deborah KNAPP Kendall, Wife of Elam, the Kendall patriarch.

(13)Lydia "Ruth" KENDALL Burns, b. 14 Jun 1836, d. 25 Nov 1878, d/o Elam & Deborah KNAPP Kendall, w/o Horace O. Burns, Mary’s brother.

(14) Lucy E. MORLEY Burns, b. 11 Feb 1839, d. 4 Mar 1891, d/o Jacob & Harriet KNAPP Morley, m. Philander P. Burns 4 July 1863.

(15) By 1863 volunteerism could no longer keep pace with the needs of the Federal Army and the War Department instituted the first federal draft.

(16) Actually for all of the worry about being drafted, relatively few actually were.

(17) Henry Hill, age 29, s/o G.C. & Fanny Hill

(18) Lorenzo Hill, age 22, s/o G. C. & Fanny Hill

(19) Zoph Morgan, (Zopher H), age 20

(20) Dennis W. Crowley, age 24 mustered in a NY Reg’t 10 Oct 1864, was discharged 1 Jul 1865.

(21) Philander Long, age 31, s/o John H. & H.L. Long

(22) Charles Williams, age 21, s/o Samuel & L. Williams

(23) Job Morley The only Job Morley in Burlington was age 38 at the time of this draft.

(24) Penn Lane, William Penn Lane, age 20/ s/o Zephaniah & Polly CLARK Lane.

(25) Dock Campbell, Charles D. Campbell, age 29

(26) William Brague, age 37

(27) Bill Compton, age 26, s/o Hubbard H. & Almira.

(28) James J. Gorham, Mary’s husband was never called for the draft.

(29) Lovina Marcellus, age 17, d/o Isaac & Almira Marcellus.


Burlington Oct 7 1863

Dear Mary

I now take my pen in hand again to inform you of the sad news, yes sad it is. Little Evva is dead. She died last Thursday eve at eight Oclock, after suffering severely. She was sick one week and four days. She took a great deal of medicine with the promise of going down to see Aunt Mary and Lettie. She has gone where she wont have to take any more. They wanted to send for you. They could not help her she was mortified so bad. I would have wrote before, but sometimes we would think she was a going to get well and in an hour she would be worse and that is the way it has been all the time. Ma has been there a good deal of the time.

Debbie is getting better so we think she will get along if she don’t take cold. She is very weak yet. The Dr said, if she is very careful she might get well. Sickness has hindered us from coming down as soon as we expected. We calculated to come down this week, but Lovette(30) is taken sick with the same complaint. Uncle Horace and Aunt Ruth is coming with us when he gets well. Granma came from there this morning and she said she is not quite so well, but she is not near as bad as Debbie and Evva was. The Dr says it is catching. We don’t know but it will be in our family next.

Lettie you must keep good courage, a week or two longer will soon pass away. I have saved some chest nuts for you and if I go down to Mary’s with Ma I will fetch them down. I have not felt very well for two or three days, but I am better now. I must close for I have got to take it to the office to night.

Floretta to Mary, good bye


(30) Lovette Burns, b. 22 Sep 1858, d. Oct 11 1863, s/o Horace O. and Ruth KENDALL Burns.


Burlington October 18th 1863

Dear Sister Mary

Since I received your letter I have not had an opportunity to write till now. I suppose you know the reason why. At the time we received your letter we did not think Deby and Eva Could live but a short time as they were both suffering with pain and distress. Deby has got quite smarte again, but God saw fit to take little Eva from us. O Dear how can it be that she has gone never to return. Yes, she has gone whare she will never suffer any more. I know she is better off but O Mary you do not know how I do miss her. She was so much Company when the rest was gone. She was always with me. Poor little Sissa, she talked about going down to Aunt Marys a grate deal. When she was sick she would take the medicine when we would tell her if she would take it she might go down to Aunt Marys when she got well. Sometimes she would say, "O Ma, this medicine don’t do me any good, I’ll die." She would say, "O Ma, I cant tell you what pains I have." She died 1st day of Oct, Thursday night.

Little Lovet, he is dead. He was laid by the side of Eva.(31) A week ago today we was over to Horaces to see him, he was very sick. He did not seem to suffer as much as little sis did. He was a dying when we came from there. He died about 9 o Clock Sunday Night the 11th day of Oct. I believe the rest of our folks are all well except Mother. She has been sick a week with the same complaint of the Children. She is a getting better. She has not been so but what she could sit up, but could not walk around much. She does not have any appetite to eat much yet. She has not had any Doctor. She thought she would docter herself. I guess it is about as well. I am afraid she will not be able to do much this fall. Philander brought her loom over hear. She had just got her full cloth peace in the loom and I have wove 11 yards. I shall weave the rest next week, 10 yards for Jane. Mother Kendall is poor. She was not able to go to Lovets funeral.

Philander and Lucy has just gone by here.(32) They have been down to see Ann,(33) she has been sick. She is a little better, she can not sit up nor stir herself in the bed. She has lost her little boy.

Well Mary, I shall have to stop writing. It’s getting dark and I shall not have time to write any more at present. Write as soon as you can, if you can not come up.

From Sarah A. to Mary A.


(31) Lovette Burns, age 5y/19d, s/o Horace & Ruth KENDALL Burns and Evva Kendall, age 6y/19d, d/o Robert & Sarah BURNS Kendall were buried at Luther’s Mills Cemetery.

(32) Philander Perry Burns, b. 29 Aug 1839, d 27 Feb 1891 and Lucy E. Morley, b.11 Feb 1839, d. 4 Mar 1891 were married July 4, 1863 on James & Mary BURNS Gorham’s first anniversary.

(33) Annie Morley, age 19, Lucy’s younger sister, d/o Jacob & Harriet KNAPP Morley, married O.F. Ayer 23 Dec 1862.


Burlington December the 27 1863

Sister Mary

As it is Sunday Evening I thought I would try to write this small piece of paper to inform you that we are all well in this vicinity. We have been looking for a letter from you, but have not got any yet. I should like to hear from you and Mother and to know when you are a coming up hear. Horace and Ruth was over hear to day and we talked about going down to Mary’s. They said they would go just as soon as thare is any sleighing. There has not been much sleighing hear yet. Our folks has drawed a few logs but they was somewhat disapointed when they heard that Frank Ayers steem mill was burnt up. It was burnt about 2 oclock Christmas Morning. It was all in a flame when they first discovered it. His shingle Mashene and all of his tools was burnt. I believe he is a going to build a nother just as quick as he can. Philander has been a making his bobsleds. I guess they have concluded to draw logs the same as before. Henry Kendall(34) was Maried two weeks ago today to Sally Hall. Orrilla Clark(35) died the next Tuesday after you went away. The Docter was there Monday. She said Docters did not always know [and] she was a going to get well. Docter Sweeny has lost his little boy, he had the dropsy on the heart.(36) Kesiah has lost one of her boys. Jerome and Janie(37) is a going to start west next monday or Tuesday. Well I guess I will not write much more, my eyes is a getting tired. We did not go to bed last night until one oclock. Seth and Sintha(38) was hear. They was come after there Cloth. I have wove 17 yards for them. I warped it alone. I am a going to weave there carpet. Mary if you can not read this it will not make much difference. Perhaps I shall [see] you before long. Write and let us know if you are coming up here Newyears. So good by.

Mary A. Gorham / Sarah A Kendall


(34) Henry Kendall, b. 18 Apr 1842, d. 1923, s/o Elam and Deborah KNAPP Kendall, m. 13 Dec 1863

Sarah Ellen Hall, b. 14 Sep 1857, d. 26 Apr 1921, d/o Philander and Laura Hall.

(35) Aurilla Clark, 1848, d. Dec 1863, d/o Joseph & Lydia Clark. She was a neighbor and classmate of the Kendall children.

(36) Dropsy (Or Dropsey), Oedema (fluid retention), often due to heart failure or kidney disease.

(37) Jerome Kendall, age 29, recently discharged from the army and his sister Sara Jane Kendall, age 19. traveled to Iowa for several months and returned home. Jerome eventually relocated there permanently.

(38) Seth Gustin, age 30, s/o Eliphelet & Cynthia CLARK Gustin, (see letter #70) m. Cynthia Rundall, age 23, (see Letter #49) d/o Lorenzo and Susan LANE Rundall.


Kendall Hill Jan 14/64

Dear Mary,

Probably you have looked for a letter from home ever since I was at your house last. We supposed Floretta had written you, as she was talking about it before mother came home, but learned yesterday that she had not written for the want of time. You know she attends school every day when mother needs her help nights and mornings.

Your mother thinks you had better bring your flax up here and she will spin & weave it here. I have expected you before this time. Your collar and pin are here.

There is considerable excitement about the draft. Some have already gone to Waverly [NY] & others talk of going to enlist for the sake of the bounty. Phil, I think, is more than half a mind to go to. But I shan’t let him if I can prevent him, would you? I walked over to Elvira’s and yesterday morning stayed all day with her. Her health is rather better. She was busy making pants. Henry Kendall has got the start of the rest of us as they have a daughter about a week old.(39)

Phew I don’t feel one bit like writing this morning so I shan’t try any longer. Come and see us as soon as convenient. We all want to see you.

Excuse the scrawl

Lucy E.


(39) It’s surprising that Lucy is reporting this so matter-of-factly, in light of the fact that Henry Kendall and Sarah Ellen Hall were married just one month and a day before the date of this letter. Tragically the baby, Henrietta died 29 March 1865 at age 1y2m and about 20 days.


Lynn [Springville Township, Susquehanna Co.] March 6th/ 1864

Dear Sister Mary[40]

I guess you begin to think by this time that I have forgotten to keep my promise to you but I have not. We are all well at presant except James(41) he was taken with a fever a week ago and it increases daily. We call it western fever. He talks of selling his farm and going to Iowa. I am in hopes he will not go. I would like to go west if it were not for leaving my folks. I do not see them very often now, but I would never expect to see them again if I went so far off. The baby did not have the measles, but she was quite sick after we got home. She was threatened with inflamation on the lungs,(42) but I docterd her with unions [onions] and she soon got better. She is quite well now and runs like a streek and begins to talk some.

I have written two letters to Lucy(43) and have not received any from her. I heard that Siloma S. had a letter from her yesterday and you had better believe I feel provoked to think she has not written to me yet, when I feel so ancious to hear from there. Siloma thinks she shall try and get along without a [hired] girl this summer. I was in hopes they would want Suez, for I want her to work down here somewhere for it seams very lonesome without her, but perhaps we shall go west this spring. If we do it will make no difference to me. I [normally have my] flax all spun by this time. James talked some of getting a load of flax and going up there and getting it dressed, but I gues he has given it up now. Please answar this letter soon.

From Maria L. to Mary


(39) A village in Springville Township, Susquehanna County.

(40) The writer, Maria GORHAM Lyman, 1842, m. 1860 James Lyman, 1835, d/o John B. and Emily C. LANE Gorham. she is actually Mary’s sister-in-law, being the half sister of James J. Gorham, Mary’s husband.

(41) Lucy Gorham, b. 28 Sep 1841, d. 28 Jan 1867, d/o John B. and Emily C. LANE Gorham. Another of James’half sisters

(42) In the last century, cause of death often was listed as inflammation of a body organ such as, brain or lung but this was purely a descriptive term and is not helpful in identifying the actual underlying disease.


Burlington March the 25 1864

Dear Aunt,

I now take the opertunity of writing to you. Our folks is all gone. Ma has gone over to Granmas and Pa and Orry(43) has gone into the woods to work and it is verry loansome so I thought I would write a few lines to you to pass away the time. We are all well at present, all excepting Emma,(44) she is pretty sick now. Liza has lost her boy, she has pretty bad luck with her boys.(45) Mira Compton(46) has got a girl. Sally(47) has come down to Grandpas to live. She has gone up home to day, they are going to have a party up to Mr. Halls to night, but I am not going. They had a sugar party(48) up to Holl Compton’s (49) the other night. They bought $22 of sugar and they did not have a bit left. I did not go up there, but Huldah Wheeler did and Florett was going up, but it snowed and so we did not go. If you will come up here this spring maybe we will let you have some sugar to eat. We will if you are a good girl and I guess you will be if we will let you have some. I have had a letter from Jennie(50) and I guess by her talk she is homesick. She was to Uncle Lows when she wrote and she said it was awful lonesome there. She said she did not see any one pass once a month. Floretta has just received a letter from her. She has just come over here. She says there is a sugar Party over to Horace Sherman’s(51) to night and she wants me to go, but I don’t know whether I shall go or not. You always say that you do not have anything to write about, but you have as much to write as I do. When I wrote to Jennie she wrote back the next morning, but I suppose you don’t think enough of me to write. Florett thinks you are never going to write to her.(52) Oh Mary we have got some new neighbors, Mr. Gibbs has moved down there to the Peterson Place. He has bought it. This is Sam’s(53) brother. Sam is going to move over here too. They have gone down today. Sam has got him a stove. They are going to move down there this week. Floretta says that Ma, Grandma B[urns], Granma Kendall, Lucy have all gone down to Unckle Mort Napp’s.(54) Well, I don’t know as I have much of anything else to write this time. You must read what you can of this and let the rest go. So good bye Aunt

D O K(55)

My paper is so poor that I can hardly write and a poor pen and writer to and all together makes it pretty bad. I send my love to all. Tell Granpa that we have most learned his song love in the tub.

Mary I want you to answer my letter. Kiss

Johnnie for me, give my love to Granma, Granpa

and all. F.(56)


(43) Orry Kendall, age 9, s/o Robert and Sarah BURNS Kendall

(44) Emma Kendall, age 1, d/o Robert and Sarah BURNS Kendall

(45) Eliza GORHAM Beech had several male children who were stillborn and one, Freddie, age 6months is buried alongside of her. Eliza died 21 Aug 1872 at the age of 29 years, 2 months and 18 days. It is not known if she died in childbirth.

(46) Almira Compton, w/o Hubbard Hollister Compton.

(47) Sarah Ellen HALL Kendall, age 21 new bride of Henry Kendall m. just over three months.

(48) "’Sugaring-off’ parties were held at the end of maple sugar season in March. Those fortunate to have their own sugar bush (maple grove), as many Bradford County farmers did, and therefore did not have to buy the finished product, would pour the boiled-down hot maple syrup onto china plates and each party-goer would stir his own syrup until it cooled into an ivory colored treat." From "The Sugar Bush", a short story (unpublished) by Leola VANORMAN Kester.

(49) Hollister Compton, age 35/36, s/o Hubbard H. & Almira Compton.

(50) Sarah Jane "Jennie" Kendall, had gone west with her brother Gerome 3 months earlier.

(51) Horace Sherman, farmer, age 36/37.

(52) These young girls apparently don’t realize that Mary is no longer "one of them". She’s a 19 year old relatively new bride of 20 months with a 5 year old boy to raise.

(53) Sam Gibbs, who married their friend Sarah Ellen Travis the previous year.

(54) Mortimer Knapp, farmer, age 31/32

(55) Debbie O.Kendall, age 15, d/o Robert and Sarah BURNS Kendall.

(56) Floretta Kendall, age 13, d/o Lawrence and Jane BURNS Kendall. Debbie’s first cousin.


March the 31 1863

Dear Sister Mary, Deborah commenced writing to you about a week ago and she has not had a chance to send it, it has been so stormy. It snowed all day yesterday and last night, but it’s melting off very fast today. Robert has gone down the river and it is quite lonesome here now, but I expect he will be drafted and that will be worse. Yet they have not done anything in this town to raise the money to get soldiers to enlist and there is a great many gone out of this town into others and enlisted(56) and that makes those that are left feel very downhearted.(57) Our folks here blames the commissioners very much. Father [Elam] Kendall was one, he done all he could, but he could not do anything alone. Mr Risely(58) and Waters(59) was the others. Mr Waters has enlisted and Mr Risely is not subject to a draft. I suppose that was the reason they was not interested. This paper is so poor I cannot write.

I was over home yesterday, Philander went up to the corners. He said he did not know but he should go up to Troy and enlist, but he did not, he came home. I expected Robert would enlist before this time. He said sometimes he was a going to, but he hates to go so bad he will wait to be drafted. O I hope there will be something happen yet so there will not be any drafting. Sarah E. has gone to housekeeping.(60) Emma has got well.

Mary, we had a little misfortune the other night. Got up in the morning and found one of our cows dead under the barn. She got cast(61) and could not get up. There was a man here the day before and wanted to buy her, but we thought we would not sell her for she was coming in first of our cows, in about a week. He came back today and offered $30 for a mother, but we did not take it. There was a weasel come this morning and killed 3 hens for us so I guess I’ll have to have a quiltin to morrow. Tell James to write to us. Good bye Mary.

Sarah A. Kendall

(56) This was a common occurrence in townships which did not or could not raise the money to offer a bounty for enlisting and thereby attract enough volunteers to negate the need for a draft in order to meet the township’s quota. Troy was one nearby township offering a bounty. Waverly, New York offered a larger bounty than most and consequently was able to attract a few dozen enlistees from Burlington Township alone.
(57) The great fear of the draft did not necessarily arise out of any fear of dying. One’s chances of that were no different whether he went voluntarily or was compelled into service.
The real distaste arose from the way a person was taken away, by surprise. The ones who resisted were treated like criminals in that they were literally dragged away under armed guard to the humiliation of themselves and their family. The fear of humiliation alone caused many men to enlist who might not have had to go at all. As an additional enticement, enlistments could sometimes be made for periods as short as one year.
(58) James W. Wrisley, b. 8 Feb 1811, d. 25 Feb 1882 was 52 at the time of the 1863 draft.
(59) Two Waters brothers, David and John enlisted. David was mustered in the 207th PVI on 1 Sep 1864 and was discharged 31 May 1865. John was mustered in the 210th PVI on 15 Sep 1864 and was killed near Petersburg Virginia 22 Jan 1865.
(60) See letter # 65, footnote (53) re Sam Gibbs and Sarah Ellen Travis.
(61) cast v. (of an animal) to bring forth (young), especially abortively i.e., prematurely.


Burlington May the 22nd 1864

Dear Aunt

Your letter came Safe at hand today, Sunday, we have been to Meeting. Mr. Burlington, or, I mean Burlingame Preached. He has moved down to Hollister Comptons house. He has moved up in Zura Travis old house so I suspect we will have meetings every Sunday.(62) Since the battle(63) there has been lots of the boys from this place that is killed or wounded. Billy Watkins,(64) Anthony Ayers,(65) John Guire,(66) Bill Smith,(67) Joseph Campbell,(68) John Robinson(69) is Killed. High Robinson, Dilos Ayers(70) is Wounded. Perry Alexander,(71) Stephen Albro(72) has got home. Fanny Travis has got a little girl. Charley Gustins Wife has got twin girls. Mrs Robinson has got twin boys. There is lots of Babys Around here, but I have not got much time to write so I will not write Any more About them to night. We have got 2 ducks & 8 Turkeys is doing well for us. We have got 2 Turkeys Setting on Turkeys eggs and A hen setting on hens eggs. The 2 ducks that is hatched is yours, the rest of them is setting. Tell Aunt Polly and Granpa I should like to see them, tell them to write. Granma must write to. I have not got much to write now. You must come up before Huckle berrying time. If you don’t I will get Discouraged. I expect this is the last letter you will write to me this summer. I will close for to night and finish it in the morning, so good night.

Well Aunt, I have rose from my bed this morning well & pretty hungry and have taken my pen and paper to finish my letter but do not know what to write you. You tell About not having anything to write about but you have as much to write about as I do. Well, ma got back from down there Safe and Sound and she bought me two new dresses and A pair of shoes. I have got both my dresses made, ma has not got hers made yet. Alexander Watkins was buried right away after granma went down there. Who Teaches your school this summer? Ellen McCloud teaches ours. Mag, her sister, was going to teach, but when she came up she thought she would rather teach over to Mr. Bettses, so Ell taught here and Mag over there.(73) Ma says that if you want to write Again to her you might Copy this beautiful letter off.(74) I told ma the other day that that I guess that you would write after a while and that if you did not you would not hear from me again. We are glad to hear from you if it is nothing but that you are all well. That is all we want to hear. Pa is plowing this fore noon, going to wash shep this after noon. There is not one person I know of that has got their garden made. Ma is going to wash and I am going to school. How does Johney like to go to school? Well, I must stop for I have not got no more to write. You must burn this up in to minutes after you read it. Don’t, for pity sakes let anyone see this.(75) I send my love to all, the old folks Especially. So good by Mary and Granma.

From Deborah O. Kendall.


(62) Playing musical homes was not that unusual in that era. If a family had to be away for any period of time a neighbor or relative (on Kendall Hill most of their neighbors were relatives) would move in temporarily to keep an eye on the place, the livestock, the crops, etc..

(63) The opening battle of Grant’s sustained offensive against the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, known as the Overland Campaign, was fought at the Wilderness, May 5-7. Fighting was fierce but inconclusive as both sides attempted to maneuver in the dense woods. The dry leaves underfoot quickly caught fire, the dense smoke adding to the grim haziness of the grapple. Many of the wounded burned to death in the thicket where they lay. Casualties were high, (US 18,400; CS 11,400), including five generals, two of which were killed on each side and Lt. General James Longstreet was wounded by his own men. The battle was a tactical draw. Grant, however, did not retreat as had the other Union generals before him. On May 7, the Federals advanced by the left flank toward the crossroads of Spotsylvania Courthouse and Grant continued his offensive.

(64) William Watkins, 1819, CO D, 161st PVI, w/o Elizabeth (see also letter #47).

(65) This report of Pvt. Anthony Ayers’ death is not consistant with Heverly’s "Our Boys In Blue" which states that Pvt Anthony N. Ayers, CO D, 161st PVI was wounded and captured 8 Apr 1864 at Sabine Crossroads, Louisiana and died 27 Aug 1864 at Tyler Texas.

(66) Capt. John M. Guyer, age 25 of CO I, 35th PVI was killed 12 May 1864 at Spotsylvania Courthouse, Virginia.

(67) According to Heverly’s Our Boys in Blue, Pvt. William F. Smith CO E, 141st PVI enlisted 25 Aug 1852 and was discharged 28 May 1864. It is doubtful that Debbie referred to either of the other two Bradford Co. William Smiths in the war who were from Ulster and Athens Townships.

(68) Josephus Campbell, age 24, s/o Alanson and Susan Campbell (here called Joseph to differentiate him from Josephus s/o Cephas & Elinor) mustered in 21 Jun 1861, CO F, 34th PVI. He achieved the rank of 1st Sgt. before being killed 10 May 1864 at Spottsylvania Court House, VA

(69) Neither John Robinson, age 22, nor Hiram Robinson, age 20, s/o A.V. and Celinda Robinson were listed in Heverly’s "Our Boys in Blue" Hiram is listed in the 1880 Burlington census with his Wife Philena C. and their six children.

(70) This report of Pvt. Delos Ayers, like that of his brother, Anthony, is inconsistent w Heverly which states that he (also of CO I, 161st PVI) died 3 Jun 1864 of disease at Morganza, LA, age 18.

(71) Pvt. Perry Alexander mustered in at CO I, 35th PVI 22 Apr 1861, was subsequently transferred to CO A 2nd US Artillery in Oct 1862 and discharged 22 Apr 1864.

(72) Pvt. Stephen Albro, mustered in at CO I, 35th PVI 27 Jul 1861, andwas also transferred to CO A 2nd US Artillery in Oct 1862 and discharged 22 Apr 1864. He later reenlisted in the 3rd NY Infantry.

(73) Kendall Hill was in the Prospect School District, #9. The Betts District, #8 was in the northwest corner of Burlington Township, adjacent to the west of Prospect District.

(74) It’s nice to know that Debbie Kendall had a good sense of humor regarding her letter writing skills or lack thereof.

(75) Obviously Mary didn’t follow her thirteen year-old niece Debbie’s instructions or we would never have had the opportunity to enjoy this delightfully amusing and informative bit of history. It’s good that we don’t know the future life of our words and deeds else we would be so inhibited about what we say and do that life would be very boring indeed.


Burlington May the 29th [1864]

Well Aunt Mary and Granma, as it is Sunday and I can not think of anything else that will pass off the time better than to be writing, I will let you know how Burlington people are getting along. They are all well as far as I know. Ma and Pa and Uncle Dan and Aunt Elvira(76) have gone over to Uncle Horaces to day and Lettie(77) has gone over to play with Belle(78) and Emma(79) and so you see I am here all alone. I have never been over to Uncle Philander’s since Granma has been gone. Ma and Aunt Sarah Ann and Aunt Elvira was over there yesterday. It is the first time that ma has been there since Granma has been gone. Frank Morley(80) is there nearly all the time. Ma said she was there yesterday, she would set and hold the cat and rock. Lucy(81) had a great Crock full of sour cream that would been plenty sour enough to be churned that morning, but she was waiting for Philander to come home from our house and churn after he had been to work all day drawing logs (it makes me so mad sometimes that I could all most tell her what I think of her), why didn’t she set that great big lazy Frank to churning. Lucy has bought her a set of white dishes that cost 17 dollars. She said she did not know what differents it made when she made butter and paid for it herself. But who milks the cows, who churns or where would she get her cow to milk if there had not been someone before to [have] bought them and paid for them. But Oh Granma it is so lonesome to go in ten rods of the house.(82) Philander is as good as ever but… you know what I want to say, if you don’t, think about it for a little while and you can guess. Debbie stayed there one night and Lucy did not send her dinner and when she got along as far as Uncle Dan’s, Aunt Elvira found out that she had no dinner so she sent it. Wilber(83) stayed there one night and she did not send his dinner. She has not had any occasion not to send my dinner for I have never been there. I must stop talking or telling tales about Lucy or I will not have any paper left.

I presume you have heard that Pen Lane and Jane Fairchild is married.(84) They was married on her birthday, the day she was 18. They have moved right in with the old folks. Mira and Charley Morgan have gone to Troy to keep house. He is to work up there. Mira’s baby is six weeks old. Sara Campbell(85) teaches the peeks school and she is liked extremely well. Ell McDonnels(86) teaches our school, the same one we had last summer. It is some of Sile Bettses(87) work a getting [her], but still I like her very well. We spoke pieces and read composition last Friday. I wish all of you could heard us, we had a first rate time. There was a good many there. We spoke the old womans tea party. We had off our hoops and had on old capes and great wide collars and spectacles and pipes and old white caps. Oh, we looked ridiculous, we saved our dinner and put it on the stand and ate supper. Zoph Morgan and Willis Taylor(88) was there and most all of the scholars parents. We are a going to speak more in two weeks.

We have got 3 new milk cows, 2 of the calves are heifers and the other is a bull (if I must be polite).(89) One has got a star in its face, one is red and the other is spotted. Granma Lettie’s heifer has not come in yet, but we expect her to every day. We have got seven goslings and seven turkey and another hen a hatching. We had 8 chicklings, but the hawks catched 3 and the rest all died with the gaps(90) but one and that was sneezing around and the old tom killed that and so you see we have none any more. I forgot to say anything about the baby.(91) He is just as fat and cunning as he can be. He grows pretty every day, wish you could see him. I should like to see you very much. Give my love to Aunt Polly and granpa and Frenna and Uncle James and Jonnie and Frank.(92)

Floretta to Mary


(76) Daniel D. Kendall, b. 29 Aug 1825, d. 23 Dec 1894, s/o Elam & Deborah KNAPP Kendall and his wife Elvira LANE Kendall, b. 11 Sep 1830, d. 29 Aug 1892, d/o Zephaniah & Cynthia SWAIN Lane.

(77) Letitia Kendall, age 9, d/o Lawrence & Jane BURNS Kendall

(78) Isabell Kendall, age 8, d/o Daniel & Elvira LANE Kendall

(79) Emma Kendall, age 5, d/o Robert & Sarah Ann BURNS Kendall.

(80) Frances Morley, age 12, d/o Jacob & Harriet KNAPP Morley and sister of Lucy MORLEY Burns.

(81) Lucy E. MORLEY Burns, b. 11 Feb 1839, d. 4 Mar 1891, m. 4 Jul 1863, Philander Perry Burns.

(82) This is the BURNS homestead which just three years previously was occupied by a bustling family of five. But two deaths (father Orry & son Jimmie) and two marriages (Mary & Philander) have resulted in mother Letitia going to live with her oldest daughter Jane and son-in-law Lawrence, leaving only Philander and Lucy, his wife of 10 months, living there. As one of the eldest grandchildren, Floretta seems to be taking this situation very hard. Add to the mix, her favorite Aunt, Mary having moved to LeRaysville, a days ride away and her Uncle Jimmie, whom the whole family idolized, being killed in the war and you have a situation ripe for a 19th century version of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Lucy, the most recent addition to the family is viewed by Floretta as the interloper and is hence the recipient of her misplaced aggression. This amateur psychiatric evaluation is provided absolutely free of charge.

(83) Wilbur, age 10, s/o Lawrence and Jane BURNS Kendall.

(84) William Penn Lane, b. 6 Oct 1842, d. 22 Feb 1920, s/o Zephaniah & Polly CLARK Lane, m. 20 Apr 1864, Jane Fairchild, b. 20 Apr 1846, d. 18 Sep 1937, d/o Gideon & Lydia KNIGHTS Fairchild.

(85) Sarah Ellen Campbell, b. 30 Jan 1843, d. 16 Jun 1917, d/o Josephus & Asenath MILLER Campbell, m. 1868, John Wilson Lane, b. 19 Jun 1838, d. 7 Jan 1898, s/o Rev Alex & Catherine SHOEMAKER Lane. Sara Ellen was one of Mary’s first cousins and closest friends while growing up (see letters #10 & 11). After completing her education at the Susquehanna Collegiate Institute in Towanda, she taught at the Prospect School on Kendall Hill where most of her scholars were her relatives.

(86) Ellen McDonald, age 22, sister of Margaret McDonald, age 19 (see letter #68), both d/o John & Margaret McDonald who were born in Ireland and emigrated to the U.S. before both of their daughters were born.

(87) Silas Betts, age 48, lived in the northwest corner of Burlington Township, an area which was designated the Betts School District #9. Mr. Betts had likely deeded or allowed the free use of a portion of his land for the school in that district, not far from his farm.

Transcriber’s Note: From History & Geography of Bradford County 1923 by Clement F. Heverly, p.78: "The Public School System. The Act of 1834, establishing a system of free schools, inaugurated a new era in public education, and to Gov. [George] Wolf and [State Rep.] Thaddeus Stevens and Samuel McKean of Bradford County, the people are most indebted for this beneficent measure. It provided that the schools should be maintained at public expense by property and individual taxation. The establishment and supervision of schools in each district were entrusted to a board of six directors, to be chosen by the legal voters. Two directors in each district were appointed by the court as School Inspectors,… to… examine persons desiring to teach and if found qualified in learning and good moral character, grant them certificates. The office of County Superintendent was created… by the Act of May 8, 1854…to examine candidates for the profession of teacher, [and] grant certificates to those qualified…"

(88) Willis Taylor, age 15, a former scholar.

(89) Letitia CAMPBELL Burns, age 57, widow of Orry Burns.

(90) Gapes, a parasitic disease of poultry and other birds characterized by frequent gaping due to infestation of the bronchi and trachea with gapeworms or nematodes, Syngamus trachea.

(91) James W. Kendall, b. 7 Feb 1864, d. 23 Nov 1924 in Warren, Pennsylvania.

(92) All people who lived with or near James J. & Mary Gorham in LeRaysville, Pike County.


Burlington Sep. 8.1864.

Dear Mary:

We have looked and looked for you up here until we have made up our minds that you have either left the country (as some of our neighbors have done) or else you are sick some of you. Philander has enlisted and gone to the war for one year.(93) He and Alex Lane(94) started off together, of course those two could not be separated. We would have liked so much to have you and James here last Sunday. The family were all here to dinner excepting you, after which we all went up to Sunday school. I tell you it has been and is getting pretty sober times here. Almost everybody has gone or are going in a short time. Among the rest are Joseph Morley,(95) T. Knapp,(96) I. Soper,(97) Charles Campbell,(98) two of the Gustins,(99) Clark Wheeler,(100) Two Morgans, Charley & Zopher,(101) Pen Lane,(102) Josiah Lane(103)&c- I cant begin to tell them all. About all there is left is the old men & a few democrats.(104)

Some think there won’t be any draft, but I don’t know. Your mother and me are living all alone now. We think if Horace is left at home & everyone thinks he will be, he will move over this fall and see to things while Philander is gone.

Philander sent some wool to the mill(105) by R.[Rob] Kendall to have made up for his own wear. We would like to have James get the cloth & bring it up when you come. There was 20 lbs of the wool. It has been picked. We want 3 yards of casimere. It doesn’t so much matter whether you bring that now or not, & the rest in white flannel shirting width instead of the checked. He is to take his pay out of the wool you know. Mother is spinning yet she has not got half done. The folks are all well as usual, I believe. Now unless you are coming up very soon you must write & let us know what’s the matter.

Good bye

Lucy Burns


(93) Philander mustered in as a Sgt in CO B, 207th PA Vol. Infantry 1 Sep 1863 and was discharged 31 May 1864. He and three dozen other Burlingtonians saw battle in the Petersburg & Richmond campaigns as Grant’s Army of the Potomac closed in on Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s forces ultimately resulting in Lee’s surrender on 9 Apr 1865. (see letters #71 – 80)

(94) Alex Lane 2nd, b. 27 Sep 1835, d. 15 May 1882, s/o Daniel M. & Lydia MORTON Lane (see Ltr #71)

(95) Pvt. Joseph Morley ,age 28, s/o Jacob & Harriet KNAPP Morley and older brother of Lucy E. Burns had previously enlisted in CO D, 132nd PVI 12 Aug 1862 and was discharged 24 May 1863. He reenlisted as a Corporal in CO B of the 207th PVI 30 Aug 1864 and served until 31 May 1865.

(96) Sgt. Tracy Knapp, age 28, s/o Charles & Diadema Knapp had also previously enlisted in CO E, 141st PVI on 25 Aug 1862 and was discharged with surgeon’s certificate 27 Feb 1863. He reenlisted 27 Aug 1864 in CO B, 207th PVI, was promoted to 1st Sgt and commissioned 2nd Lieutenant at the time of his discharge 31 May 1865.

(97) Pvt. Isaac D. Soper, age 34, enlisted in CO B, 207th PVI on 30 Aug 1864, and was discharged 31 May 1865.

(98) Charles D. Campbell, age 30, s/o Josephus & Asenath MILLER Campbell enlisted in CO C, 188th New York Regiment 4 Oct 1864 and was discharged 1 July 1865.

(99) Ethan, age 29 and Seth, age 20 were both s/o Eliphelet Jr. and Cynthia Gustin. They enlisted 4 Oct 1864 in CO C, 188th NY Reg’t and were discharged 1 July 1865. Their brothers Burton K., 25 and Judge D., 22 had enlisted 24 Oct 1862 in CO F, 52nd PVI. Judge was killed 3 Jul 1864 at Fort Johnson, South Carolina & Burton was promoted to 1st Lieutenant. He was discharged 27 Jan 1865.

(100) Pvt. Clark B. Wheeler, age 35, enlisted in CO C,188th NY 4 Oct 1864, discharged 1 Jul 1865

(101) Pvt. Charles H. Morgan enlisted in CO A, 207th PVI 29 Aug 1864. His brother Zopher was reportedly drafted in Sep 1863 (see Letter #60). Neither of their discharge dates are recorded.
(102) Pvt. William Penn Lane, age 20, s/o Zephaniah and Polly CLARK Lane enlisted in CO C, 188th NY Reg’t at Waverly, NY 4 Oct 1864 and was discharged 1 July 1865.

(103) Josiah Lane, age 28 enlisted in CO B, 207ty PVI 1 Sept 1864, discharged 31 May 1865,

(104) Democrats generally opposed President Lincoln and opposed the war and few joined the army voluntarily. (see Letter #73).

(105) Woolen Mill.


Camp Whipple(106) Sept 21 [1862]


Emily(107) said it was your reques that I should writ to you. My health is good and I hope these few lines will find you enjoying the same blessing. The boys here are general in good Health. We have had so much marching to do that its nearly tierd some of the boys out. Our first camp after we crossed the stone bridg was camp wells. We staid there about 3 hours and was march to Camp Sumpter near the Chain Bridd. And staid a week from theire to fort Lions, staid one day from their to fort worth, staid from their to Ferrfax Semnara,(108) from their to this place and are now, but cnt say what hour may have to leave or how long may have to stay, I hafto writ on my knee. If you can read this writ soon and have Mr. Goreham(109) writ. I am writing candle light. A.D. Beach and Lance Beach tents with me. Give my respects to Elsie.(110) Pls writ soon. I shall have to quit fore it is time put out our lites. Excus poor writing and bad speling and Bad Grammar.

A Lane 2d


(106) The chain of camps which sprang up for the defense of Washington, D.C. were relatively close together and it was not uncommon for units to periodically march from one to another as strategic and defensive requirements dictated. Most of these camps were, by necessity, temporary in nature and their specific locations are difficult to determine.

(107) Emily Lane, 1844, sister of writer Alex Lane.

(108) Fairfax VA, across the Potomac from Washington.

(109) Mary’s husband, James J.Gorham of LeRaysville

(110) It is uncertain who this is, perhaps he meant Eliza Jane GORHAM Beach, half-sister of James J. Gorham