Letter from William Howard Yancey Sr to his son Howard J. Yancey
during the Civil War period.

Submitted by Rhonda Lunsford


Quoting from Rhonda Lunsford: "William Howard Yancey Sr (Father) is writing this letter to his son, Howard J. Yancey – lived in Green Co., Ark – later became Clay Co. William Howard Yancey Sr was born in 1800 in Mecklenburg Co., VA [son of Hezekiah & Sally Worsham Yancey], died 7-12-1882 in Fayette Co., Tenn. Married twice: 1st to Elizabeth Perkins (mother referred to in letter), . . . 2nd to Francis Bonner "

Oakland Fayette County Tennessee September 18th 1865

Der Son In the mids of a world of troble I have sot down to write you a fue lines to informe you of my preasant situation. I feal thank to God that thease fue lines leaves me and family injoing a reasonable sheare of health. Der son, since I have heard from you last I have sean and ben through a good many tring seans. In the first place this cruel war has ben apon us and the oneasnes about my boyes being in the armey. Leander was in the armey three years and Eddy 2 years. Thay fought th( r )ough a great maney hard fough(t) Battle but tha both come out safe and sound. Le took Edwards place twelve monts before he was old anuf but o(h), Howard this troble was but a drop in the bucket in comparison to the troble I received sens.

Alude to the death of you( r ) mother on the 30th of April 1863. She was taken sick on friday Evening about darke. She was take(n) with a chil with a high fever foliring after it and her desease run in the gnuralga (neuralgia?) and numonia. She sufferd greatley with her hed and lungs. I first took her though a case of mederson as usial I do when one of my family is sick but she got no better. I then sent for Doc Dupre. She stil gru wors under his trea(t)ment and the day she died she ask Dupre in my preasants if he thout she wold geat wel and he told her he did not think she wold. I thout it my duty then to cole (call) in some other Doctor. I then sent for Doctor Car & doctor( r) Megines but tha coold do her no good. She died on Thursday Evening about half past five oclock in the evening. She was perfectly in her in her sences until the last and a fue hours before she died and cold all of her children to her bed side and gave them advice and told them she wanted them to prepar and meat her. As it happened Le and Edward was both at home. O(h) Howard if I ever sau a tring time it was at this time noing the best friend I had in this world was about (to) leave me. Her friends shoed great rispect to her all th( r )ough her sickness. When I found out she was bound to die I sent for you( r ) uncle William Perkines but she died a fue minets before he and you( r ) aunt Sara got thar. You( r ) uncle Davis wife was presant but David had gone home to atend to his bisines. The day you( r ) mother was beared (buried) my house and yard was fool of people. I had her funarl Preached the fou( r )th Sunday in August in the same year she died.

But O Howard I have a nother afful tale to tel you. On wend the 23rd of August Willey shot him self ded with a pistol and it is not none (known) wheather he don it aperpos or it was a (acci)dent as no one saw him do it. He was living with Lija griffin. He had maid a crop with him. He was sofering greatly with his old complant the gravel. He had bin herd to say he had rather be ded than sufer what he was sufering. He ask Eliza for a yard rag to rub his pistol with. It was geatting rustey. He went out doers and in a minit it went ofe. Eliza rane to the doer and he ware l(y)ing ded. Eliza thinkes he was setting in a roc(k)ing char when the pistol went ofe. The hole went in his forrade (forehead) betwixt his Eyes. When it hapned no one was at home but Eliza and her children. I had him brote home and berred (buried). He was at my house some 2 weaks before he kild him selfe and we had maid arangement as soone as the wether got coole enuf he was to come at me house and he was going to have the gravil taken way from him. I wase going to geat doctor Morror to operrate upon him. He lived with me last year and maid a crope with me and I was in hop(e)s he had gotten wel for I never herd him complane of his gravel until the latter parts of the year.

He was never cold (called) upon to go in the war. His friend ceape(kept?) him out.

I wel now tel you of some of aquanteances who got kild and died in the war. Isaac Keley was kild in the Muffleburrow fite. Pattrick Kelley died at home. Bob Tomson got kild. Sam Nolley got kild, he was in Lees compny. Tom Hiliard got kild; he also one of Les compiney. He was shot in the leg and Le tried to get him out of the way but he had to leave him. The Yankes was pushing him too hard. Le and Eddy both was in the calvery but in diferant compines. Tha (they) was under general forest. Lee and his company served 12 monts as escort for genal Loring. I have ceap (kept) up corespondance in Virginia until about 12 monts ago. Plummer Yancey, Billey Yancey, Beverly Yancey was kild. Sister Temperance got 4 nefuse got kild in one fite. We heard lately you( r ) old granmother perkins is ded she died in April last. You( r ) granmother Yancey and you( r ) uncle Claton was stil a living about 12 monts ago.

Eddy Ward is ded so is Jimey. Tha (they) tooke sick and died at home. Steven Bracher and William Hiliard Both was slitely woned (wounded). Wel Howard I have sean ahape of oneasneas about you as I cold not hear from you. I expecting you too was in the armey and prob(ably) was kild in the armey.

Wel Howard a(f)ter the death of you( r ) mother I was thr most lonesom deserlate man you ever saw and haveang all the clothes for my fa(mily) to by and to make (this word crossed out) hier the making them up I tho(ught) I wold geate me a nother companioun and my children incurge me in it so I went to looking to sea if I cold geat one to soote me. So I come across a ladey from the recommendations I had of her I thoute she wold suite me. So I got aqu(ainted) with her. I maide her a little speach and after seaveral visits we agreed to geat mared (married) and on the 12th of January last we got mared and we have got along finely ever cene (since). We have got along as wel as harte cold wish and she makes a good stepe mother and beside this she is one of the most bisines women you ever saw and can turn her han and do most aney thang that aney woman can do which you no is a great thang to have. She has a nother qualitey about (her) that stands hier in my estermatioun and that is she is the most kind and affectiounet woman I ever saw. I marid the wider belk. Her husband got kild in the Muffleborrow fite. She has 3 children; her oldist is a daughter, her youges is 7 years old, another darter 12 years old. Tha (they) all three can yearn (earn) thir (their) bread. My wifes maiden name was Francis Bonner. She was rased in Shelby county.

Wel I must tel you that Leander is mared he mared last wensday to Miss Emley Mrphy. Eddeys Wife (illegible word) stayed at her farthers while he was in the armey. Eddy has a likely little boy and can talk and go where he waunts.