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1864 February 10: “I suppose that Mother will be rejoiced to hear that I am a strong temperance man”

February 10, 2014

The original letter is in the Frank D. Harding Papers (River Falls Mss AB), University of Wisconsin-River Falls University Archives & Area Research Center.

Hudson Wis. Feb. 10th 1864

My Dear Father,

                                  Your letter I received last week all right.  I have just returned from a visit to Aunt Diantha’s at Eau Claire, Wis.  I found them all right with the exception of Uncle Thorpe, he has been sick for a long while and can’t live much longer.¹  Aunt is looking first rate – for her and was quite disapointed [sic] in not having Mother come with me.  She said that when she heard that I had returned to Hudson that she was sure that Mother had come with me.  Mary is the only un-married one that is living at home. Frank is with Julia at DeValls Bluff, Arkansas.²  Bertha married a Mr. Allen, a widower,³ and is very comfortably situated.  Aunt, Uncle & Mary are living with her.  Mariah’s husband (Mr. Simms) I didn’t see as he is away to work.  He has every thing very comfortable about his house and seems to be doing first rate.  They are all in much better circumstances than what they were when I was there before.  Aunt worries a great deal about Andrew.  He wrote them about one year ago from N. York and they have not heard from him since.  They are affraid [sic] that he is dead.4  I have written to Julia and when I hear from her will let you know.  [paragraph break added]

There is not much doing here this winter.  Money is scarce & business pretty dull but we look for better times in the spring.  We have had but very little snow this winter.  None until Jan. and not over six or seven inches since.  The weather has been quite warm and we manage to have a very fair time.  I suppose that Mother will be rejoiced to hear that I am a strong temperance man, belong to any quantity of temperance societies and haven’t drank any whiskey this year, any way.  I have also stopped smoking and don’t know but what I shall stop breathing soon.

I believe that I can think of nothing else to write you that would interest you.  Give my love to Mother and Diantha.  Write me soon.

Harding, Yours Frank

1.  Andrew and Diantha Thorp were 71 and 60, respectively, in the 1860 federal census. Their children living at home in 1860 were Bircy[e] (24), Mary (22), Julia (20), Frances (18), and Andrew (13).
2.  DeValls Bluff is located on the White River in east-central Prairie County, Arkansas. Except for Helena, no other town in eastern Arkansas held such strategic importance to the Union Army during the Civil War as did DeValls Bluff. When water was low on the Arkansas River, many boats could not reach the capital city (Little Rock), but they could navigate up to DeValls Bluff. Men and materiel would be transferred to the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad’s trains to be transported to Little Rock. For that reason, DeValls Bluff’s port area was heavily fortified for the remainder of the War and was home to many soldiers and refugees. For more information, see the DeValls Bluff article in the online Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture.
3.  Hardie Allen.
4.  Andrew Gabriel Thorp enlisted December 3, 1863, in Company I of the 30th Wisconsin Infantry and he survived the War, mustering out September 20, 1865.

Frank Harding letter of February 10, 1864, from the Frank D. Harding Papers (River Falls Mss AB) in the University Archives & Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Frank Harding letter of February 10, 1864, from the Frank D. Harding Papers (River Falls Mss AB) in the University Archives & Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls

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