Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Jennie Reed, December 1, 1863

In this letter from December 1, 1863, Samuel Reed writes to his wife discussing the next day's city election in Burlington, Iowa. He worries that there will be trouble and expresses anger at the Republican Party for having "thrown away the old constitution which has been our safeguard thus far in our national existence and set up the administration in its place whose greatest asperations [sic] seems to be the nigger." Reed states that he is glad he has business on the road the next day, as he has no desire to be near any "row" which may occur. He also notes that there is still no certainty regarding the extension of the road that season, and is undecided "about staying here for 1000 a year and gold rapidly advancing."

Dearest Jennie

Tomorrow I suppose you will recieve [sic] my last letter. I wrote and posted it thinking you would recieve [sic] it Saturday but learned afterwords [sic] that the mail leaves in the evening instead of morning as I thought. I have just returned from church and from partaking of the holy communion. How I wished for you dear Jennie to go with me to that sacred feast of the emblems of the broken body and spilt blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

There were about twenty five commencements present not as many as I expected from the congregation present. To day [sic] is a clear cold day. The coldest of the winter with high wind. I hope it will continue cold for the balance of the winter. The roads are very rough and it will take some days before they will be passable for teams. I was out on the road yesterday and shall go out tomorrow to finish measuring up the past month's work. Tomorrow is the city election in Burlington and from appearances there will be a very warm time if from the signs of the times I am not mistaken we shall ere long see civil war nearer our own homes than it now is. I often hear men wishing that if things are not as they wish them that the strife would commence at once. The Republican party have thrown away the old constitution which has been our safeguard thus far in our national existence and set up the administration in its place whose greatest asperations [sic] seems to be the nigger all other classes of the human race must bow before the coveted and idolized sons and daughters of Africa. Hundreds of men will go to the election tomorrow armed for mortal strife that heretofore have never thought of carrying weapons. I am very glad that I have business out on the road for if there is to be a row I have no desire to be near it. But I trust and hope that the good sons of the people will counsil [sic] moderation. The elective franchise is one of the main pillars of government and all should be allowed to go quietly to the polls and vote without molestation. Or question if they are intitled [sic] to vote.

I have found in a box of old rubish [sic] in the office a church book (title the Emegrant [sic] Churchman in Canada) which has amused me not a little the author a graduate from Cambridge with more knowledge of the clasicks [sic] than of rough humen [sic] nature and more refinement than many [leaves] home and home friends in old England to such a living in the wilds of Canada. The faces he makes at the odd manners of the people with the hurl things he says of all that take him in and change two or three prices because he is so green as not to know when he is imposed upon and the real John Bull style that he talks of all in the states is quite laughable. In the end he turns out to be quite a man and much in love with his adopted country and ours.

I hope to sea [sic] you this week if I can posably [sic] get away. There is no certainty yet of the road being extended this season. If it is not I don't know about staying here for 1000 a year and gold rapidly advancing soon green backs will be as bad as Confederate scrap. I hope to hear from you by Tuesday evening if not before you will let me hear all about Litty as soon as you hear from her.

Rememr me to all.

Your Affectionate husband
Saml. B. Reed

About this Document

  • Source: Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Jennie Reed
  • Extent: 3 pages
  • Citation: Yale University Library, Manuscripts and Archives, Samuel Reed Family Papers, Box 2, Folder 30
  • Date: December 1, 1863