Friday, June 28, 2019

New Website

Apologies for not updating this blog in a few months, I've been working on another Civil War Project, The Civil War in Howard County, Maryland, which is my home county. I will get back to regular updates in the near future.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Joel R. Campbell to William Elbert Campbell, April 27, 1906

The following letter was written by Civil War veteran Joel R. Campbell to his son William Elbert Campbell in 1906. Mentioned in the letter are Joel's other sons Marcellus and George W. Campbell.

4 - 27 - 6

Dear Elbert

I have with held writing to you, thinking I would get to go to your house have no spare horse now they are harrowing & commenced planting this morning. Bird has a colt & it came very near getting drowned. Just found it in time to save it.

I saw Marcell Sunday he had sold as he thought the Balance of the goods took invoice of goods $23.00 & something out side of Stone fixtures $2.60 when it come to Paing & fixing note he only wanted to pay $4 00 down & the remainder about $1 00 a month I didn't think that would be agreeable with you and Harve (it is not with me). Am looking for a letter today from W. M. C. don't know whether I will get it or not. Am going to your House as soon as I can and want to stay a few days when I go if I can.

Will have to close as it is mail time.

J. R. C.

George has sold his mare for $1.10 to Billy Alexander.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

1866 Letter of Elizabeth C. Carter to Former Slave

Lebanon, Russell Co., Virginia 
September 10th 1866 
My Dear “Dark”[1]former female slave of Dale Carter. Dale Carter owned dozens of slaves...

I wrote to you for Clara[2]Former slave of Dale Carter, gave birth to child Rachel on May 10, 1853. A Clara Carter, age 50, appears in the 1870 Census for Carroll County, KY. Henry L. Giltner (see below) was living in Carroll County. several months
ago but we have heard nothing from you since. I know
you are anxious to hear all the news we have in Russell
and I will not wait longer to write. Charlie & Mary
Fulton[3]Charlie and Mary Fulton - Lizzie Carter's brother, Charles Dale Carter married Mary Taylor Fulton daughter of Creed and Mary (Taylor) Fulton. were married in June. We gave a big Party
here a few days after the wedding. I wrote to you
to come out to it and was sorry you were not here.
The house was full for two nights & a day. We did
not ask any body about here but Kate Wagoner[4]Kate Wagoner - Rachael Catherine Wagoner, daughter of William D. and Nancy (Munsey) Wagoner. Born ca. 1844. Married Harvey Sawyers on 12/12/1870. See Lizzie Wagoner below.. She
was here the night of the Party and looked mighty nice.
We have had a door cut in the little room, over the old
dining room leading into the passage in the min.[?] stairs.
We had a carpet made for it and the bride & groom
stayed in it when they were over. Aunt Nance &
Ib were here helping in the kitchen. Sallie[5]Sarah Preston Carter, daughter of Dale Carter, sister to Lizzie Carter. Born Jan 21 1843, died Jan 1 1910. Sally Carter, age 26, RC 1870 Census, HH 110 (household of Charles A. Smith, John T. and Margaret Lampkin also living there.) & I went
over to the wedding and I waited on them. Every
Young lady & gentleman in Abingdon came home
with us to the “Infair”. Soon after the Party here
sister Marge[6]Margaret Crockett Carter Lampkin. Daughter of Dale Carter (see below.) Born 8/27/1839. Sister of Elizabeth C. Carter. Married to John T. Lampkin. went home and had a son. She was dread-
ful sick and her baby was dead born. It was a fine
large boy. We thought for a long time Sister Marge
would die. Sallie, Mother & myself were all there
while she was sick. Cousin John & Mag[7]John T. Lampkin and Margaret C. Carter. See above. are both very

Page 2 of original letter
much distressed at the loss of their baby. It would have
been named “William A Stuart” if it had lived.
Miss Pug Leece[8]Margaret Leece, (b. ca. 1837), daughter of Samuel and Margaret (Thompson) Leece, married George Sandoe (b. ca. 1838), son of George & Rebecca Sandoe, on August 29, 1866 in Russell County. married Mr Sando[9]George Sandoe, see above.. See above. from Abingdon
she was married one morning soon at Sam Leece’s[10]b. ca. 1801, RC Census, 1860, HH 296, age 59 with daughter Margaret (Pug), age 23 and son Samuel, age 24. See &
went to Abingdon that day. People think she has done
very well. She did not have any wedding.
Alice Dotson[11]Martha T. Aston, daughter of Samuel W. and Louisa Aston, married George W. H. Gray, son of Napoleon Bonaparte and Rebecca Gray, 9/5/1866 in Russell County. [Writer apparently confused Alice with her sister Mattie, see below.] married one of Bone Gray’s sons[12]George W. H. Gray, see above. See also: last
week. Mattie Aston[13]Mary Alice Aston, daughter of Samuel W. and Louisa Aston, married Thomas McCleary Vermillion, son of Issac and Martha (Boyd) Vermillion. See & Ike Vermillion’s son ran
away and married about six weeks ago. Hopkins &
his wife[14]unknown came up to see us not long ago and stayed
all night. They are living out in Wise. Israel[14]unknown & his
wife live with them. Israel has a child named Eliza.
Lizzy Wagoner[15]Mary Elizabeth Wagoner, daughter of William D. and Nancy (Munsey) Wagoner. Born ca. 1842. Married Benjamin Frank Bickley, 9/12/1865. Bickley was the son of Sebastian and Fannie (Haburn) Bickley. & Frank Bickley are living up above
town. They are doing well, but from all accounts will
have to look around for a cradle soon.
Holden Davis'[16]Holden Davis (b. 5/22/1792 in Wilkes Co., NC.) Married Rachel Harmon ca. 1817. Moved to Russell County between 1840 and 1850. Married (#2) Delpha Martin (b. ca. 1842) on 8/3/1864. She is listed as the daughter of Sarah Minick (1850 Tazewell census has Delpha Martin, daughter of Sarah Martin.) Holden died around 1866. wife has a nigro child and old Davis
gave lb & Dave Leece[17]free African Americans, Dave Leece (b. ca. 1820) and Ibby (b. ca. 1818), 1870 RC Census, HH 54, living with Mary (age 3) and Maggie (age 3). Ibby was formerly a slave of Dale Carter. Gave birth to child Ellen, March 23, 1861 as slave of Dale Carter. a cow & calf to take &
raise it as their own. Aunt Margaret Lampkins[18]Margaret B. (Smith) Lampkin, married to John Lampkin 11/6/1839. Mary Elizabeth Lampkin (b. 1853), daughter of John and Margaret.
& Mary Lizz came out from Lynchburg and
stayed several weeks. They were here about a week
Aunt Margaret fell one day while she was at Uncle
Henry’s[19]probably Henry Smith Lampkin. See: & broke her arm. It did not get well before
she went home. Miss Lucy Dennis[20]unknown and a lady from
Richmond came down and spent a week with us
not long ago. They are nice ladies. Martha Jessee[21]Jefferson Jessee had three female slaves in 1850, ages 16, 15, and 11. In the 1860 census, he had one female aged 23, and five male slaves.
that used to belong to Jeff Jessee is our cook. Ive
have a white girl to do the house work and get
along very well. I get my clothes done up tol-

Page 3 of original letter
erably well, but always wish for some of your
washing when I get on a big dike.
Mrs. Giltner[22]Martha Griffith Young Giltner. Married to Henry L. Giltner, see below. writes to us some times. She is at
home. The baby[23]of above. Emma M. Giltner (b. 1865), died 6/22/1866. Buried in Carroll County, KY. that was born soon after she left
here died not long ago with whooping cough. They
were much distressed at its death. In Mrs. Giltner's
last letter she said Giddy[24]Gideon Giltner (b. 1862), son of Henry L. and Martha Giltner (see elsewhere.) got on the arm of the
rocking chair every day and took a ride to see
Dark” & Grandpa Carter[25]letter recipient, probably a former slave of Dale Carter. Grandpa Carter is Dale Carter.. I know you would
be as glad to see him. Adjt Freeman[26]Terah Major Freeman - "Adjutant Terah Major Freeman (HLS, 1860, LLB), was born Apr. 5, 1839 in KY. He studied law at UVA, 1858-59...and giving his home as Frankfort, KY...On July 5, 1861, he enrolled for the war, as pvt. in...2nd KY Mtd. Inf....During fall 1862, he transferred ot the staff of Col. Henry Liter Giltner, 4th KY Cav...He was appt. lt., adj. on Giltner's staff, Jan. 3, 1863..." - Crimson Confederates: Harvard Men who Fought for the South By Helen P. Trimpi has
married his cousin. The Giltners are all sin-
gle and still at home. Major Nounnan[27]James H. Nounnan "Nounnan was born about 1834 in Virginia. He enlisted as a private in Company H of the 22nd Virginia Infantry on May 8, 1861. In Augusts of 1861 Nounnan was transferred to Capt. James Corns' Cavalry Company, attached to a temporary organization known as the 2nd Kanawha Regiment. This company was known as the Fairview Rifle Guards and eventually became Company K of the 8th Virginia Cavalry. He probably served in this unit until October of 1862, when he left to form his company of cavalry in Ferguson's Battalion. Nounnan rose to the rank of major in the 16th Virginia Cavalry and led part of the regiment at various times. Nounnan was one of the officers who remained with Gen. John McCausland and rode through the Union lines instead of surrendering at Appomattox. In May, 1865, McCausland, Ferguson, Nounnan and 13 others marched to Charleston, West Virginia, and were paroled. Nounnan died at the Lee Camp Soldiers' Home at Richmond on October 1, 1900." - 16th Virginia Cavalry, Jack L. Dickenson is liv-
ing in Texas. He writes to us right often. Dave
Bowls[28]unknown married soon after he went home but died
not very long ago. Poor fellow! I wonder if he will ever
get forgiveness for all the big tales he has
told in his life. Aunt Nance is still living
with George. She does not look well now, but I
think the cause of it is, she don’t get as much coffee
as she wants to drink. She had a letter from Charles
not long ago. He is well and is still anxious to come
out to Russell. I am sorry to tell you Georges Fleck[?][29]unknown, possibly "George's Fleck", Fleck, the son of George?
died with the flux about two months ago. He
suffered a great deal but talked a great deal about
dying. He was such a fine sensible little boy.
Hannah & Jord[30]unknown have a boy. I suppose you have
heard old Uncle Jordan[31]unknown is dead, and old Uncle Job[31]possibly unknown father of Job Wadron, 1870 RC, age 23. A Samuel Wadron is living with Ibby and Dave Leece (see above.) too.
Old Jeff Jessee[32]Jefferson Jessee, b. 1802, married Nancy J. Counts, ca. 1824. Died May 6, 1866. is dead, also Antony Puckett[32]b. ca. 1805, Halifax County, VA. Married 1/17/1833 to Hannah Holt in Patrick County, VA. Father of Dosh (below)..

Page 4 of original letter
Dosh Puckett[33]Theodocia Puckett, b. ca. 1843, daughter of Anthony (above) and Hannah Puckett. Married Joseph Ashby, 3/6/1866. married one of the Ashbys[34]Joseph Ashby, son of John and Valey (Hackney) Ashby, b. 2/5/1847, married Dosh (above). Died 2/8/1936. See: Jim
Puckett[35]James M. Puckett, b. ca. 1841, son of Anthony (above) and Hannah Puckett. Married Nancy Stamper, 8/9/1866. See: is married too to some girl over on the
river. Ann Barton[36]Angeline Barton, Age 3, 1860 RC Census, HH 294 (William and Metilida Smith). Age 13, 1870 RC Census, HH 229 (living with William and Margaret Barton.) Mother: is here. She is a smart girl and
Mother has taken her to raise. Mrs Barton[37]Ruth Barton, age 37, 1860 RC Census, HH 294 (William and Metilida Smith). Wife of John Barton, 1850 RC Census, HH 371. lives
about at different places. We went to Camp
Meeting last week. It is going on yet. Jim Gib-
son[38]Possibly James Gibson, 1870 RC Census, Copper Creek, HH 127, age 39. and several others professed religion.
Henry, Dale & Johnny[39]Possibly brothers of Eliza Carter (unknown, John Taylor Carter, Charles Dale Carter.) John Taylor Carter went by "Jack". Alternately, Henry was a slave of Dale Carter. have been staying
over here a great deal. They are all fine boys
and Dale talked a great deal about “Dark”
I wish you could see them again.
You must try to come out to see us. I
would be glad to see you and I know every
body else out here would be as well as my-
self. Mother and Sallie are well and look
about like they did when you left.
The old house yard is grown up with weeds
three feet high and the doors & windows gone
out of the old kitchen. Our servants live in Aunt
Nance’s old house. I have not been down there
since you all left. It is the saddest looking
place you ever saw and I know you would
cry over it sometimes if you could see it.
Sallie sends her love and says tell you when
she marries she is going to send for you to
do up her wedding clothes.
The yard is full of pretty roses now but the frost
and snow will soon scatter their leaves.
You must let me hear from you soon. Let me know.
If you have many troubles these days.

Written at the top of the first page above the greeting
We never hear
from Andy[40]probably former slave of Dale Carter. these
days. I reckon
he is dead.
Ike[41]probably former slave of Dale Carter. is still
living at
John Lampkins.
Clara and all
are well up
there. Rach[42]probably former slave of Dale Carter, daughter of Clara (see above). has
gotten to be a
great big woman.
I reckon it will
not be long be-
fore she thinks
about marrying.
I forgot to tell
you Charlie & Mary
are living at old
Cousin Mary Fulton’s
I must close
Yours affectionately
Lizzie C. Carter
Russell Co

Saturday, September 29, 2018

World War I Letters of Russell County, January 24, 1919

The following letter appears in the December 20th issue of the Lebanon News:


Headquarters, Co. M, 317th Inf.
American Expeditionary Forces,
December 9th, 1918

Mrs. Sam Bartee,
St. Paul, Va.,

My Dear Madam,

I am in receipt of your letter stating that you have been officially notified of your son's death.

John Williams was one of the old men of my company, having been with it from its organization. From the first day he came to Camp Lee he was always willing and enthusiastic to do his full duty and was in every way a fine soldier. When my company went into the drive north of Verdun on Sept. 25th, he was a Platoon Runner, one of the most important positions in a platoon organization. A runner must be strong, reliable and willing to go any where at any time that duty calls him, thus your son was. From the 29th to October 1st when we came out for a short rest John Williams cheerfully did valuable work for his platoon.

While in reserve on the night of October 3rd, my company was under rather severe artillery fire. One shell struck near where he was sleeping, wounding him in the head and two of his comrades who were sleeping near by. I saw him shortly afterward and he seemed to be suffering no great pain. I remained with him while his wounds was dressed and saw him put in an ambulance about twenty minutes later. It was with the deepest regret that a few days later I learned that he had died Oct. 5th.

I can assure you that your son was liked and admired by all his officers and fellowmen, and that it was with the greatest sorrow that they heard of his death.

Your son was one of those noble American soldiers who gave his life for his country in the greatest of all wars.

I remain sincerely yours
Captain 317 Infantry."

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Chloe Fraley Lee Osborne Civil War Letter

Chloe Fraley was born in Russell County 1809, the daughter of William and Nancy Smith Fraley. On June 23, 1830 she married James Lee. They had at least 8 children before James Lee died in 1851. Including among her children were James M., Alexander M., David Fletcher,  Tivis P., and William E. Lee, who all served in the Civil War (see Alexander M. Lee Tries to Get a Substitute and Five Civil War Veterans Who Survived the War Only To Be Murdered).

After James Lee's death, Chloe married Samuel Osborne on May 18, 1852. Chloe had one known child with Samuel, a daughter Frances S. Osborne.

Chloe's son James M. Lee was stabbed to death while on leave in Russell County on December 26, 1862. Incensed, Chloe placed the following advertisement in the Abingdon Virginian:

$200 REWARD.
I WILL pay the above reward for the apprehension of SQUIRE OSBORNE, who wilfully murdered James M. Lee, in Castles Woods, on Friday, the 26th of December, 1862. Said Osborne is about 36 years of age, about six feet high, blue eyes, dark hair, round or stoop shouldered, has one little finger cut off, (hand not recollected.) He also has fresh wounds on his left arm, is quick spoken, and has a small round face, with a scar below one eye.

The above advertisement ran for several months, but it does not appear that Squire Osborne was ever tried for the murder of James M. Lee. Squire Osborne served in the Civil War and died in 1907 in Wise County.

In 1863 Chloe wrote the following letter to one of her sons. The letter was probably written to her son David F., as James M. was dead, Tivis and Alek (Alex) are mentioned in the letter, and the letter mentions "Mary" who was David's wife. David would eventually divorce his wife Mary in 1868.

Rusel Co virgina
August the 18th 1863

Dear Son I now take my pen in hand to writt to you to let you Know we are in
tolerable health Frances still keeps poorly and eats nothing hardly, I hope
when these lines comes to hand they may find you in good health, I received
a letter from you last Saturday and was truly glad you had come out of your
battle without being hurt I have bad news to write to you Mary lost 140
dollars stole out of her pocket Book and dont Know how it was taken and no
wonder she carried it about with her from place to place and lete other
people count it She has brought the rest of it here Six hundred Dollars
I am taking care of it for you
I am halling in your wheat to day though it is half destroyed I got a
letter from Tives the other day he writes he is very poorly he has been sick
a week or two little Bill was well and seting over a fine pot of chicken
helping himself I have a letter from Tives. I am going to send to you
he writes that he is out of clothing and I am going to send him some by Alek
Alek wants you to get a furlow and go with him I am mighty glad he is such
a brave Soldier tell him the next horse he captures I want him to bring to
me. nomore at present but remain your true mother until Death

Cloey Osborne.

Tivis P. Lee died at the Battle of the Wilderness on May 5, 1864.

Alexander M. Lee died in 1894.

Chloe died in 1898.

David F. Lee died in 1926.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Old Man Brackett

The following article is from the February 9th, 1894 edition of the Clinch Valley News.


It is reported that a sensation has been created among the people of Copper Ridge, Russell county, by the arrest of Bill Baker. an illicit distiller, for the murder, four years ago. of an old man by the name of Brackett, and the murder would, in all probability, have remained a secret forever but for the statement of a woman who thought she was on her dying bed. She was the only living witness.

Baker was indicted for illicit distilling four years ago and taken to Abingdon for trial before the United States Court. The trial was postponed and the prisoner released on bond. Old man Brackett was the principal witness against him, and was on hand ready to testify at the trial.


When Baker started home that night he asked Brackett to go with him and spend the night. The unsuspecting old man did so, and the world never saw him again.

The woman who divulges the secret was living with Baker as his wife at the time. Next morning she went down in the cellar for something, and a sight met her eyes which made her blood run cold and filled her with horror. There, under a quilt, lay a man with his throat cut from ear to ear.


She hurried up stairs and asked Baker what it all meant, and who the man was. "It is old man Brackett, who was going to give me away for making liquor." said Baker, "and I cut his throat with this knife, and will cut yours if you ever tell it." She stood in fear of him, and never told till a few days ago, when she learned that that dreaded disease, consumption, would soon carry her away from earth. She thought she had to tell it if she wished to gain entrance into the better world.

Baker will be tried for murder. He is now under arrest.

From the April 8th, 1894 issue of the Tennessean:


Had Recently Been Acquitted of the Murder of Dr. Brackett.

Bristol, April 7.--[Special.] Bill Baker, a notorious character, who was recently acquitted of the murder of Dr. Brackett, four years ago, was instantly killed on Copper Ridge, near Nickelsville, Va., yesterday evening by Jas. Minton. Three shots took effect, one passing through Baker's head and two through his body. The killing was the result of a quarrel caused by Baker's intimacy with Minton's step-mother. Minton surrendered to the authorities.

From the April 19th, 1894 issue of the Big Stone Gap Post:


Fires Two Shots With His Little "Pop" and Bill Baker Gives Up the Ghost.

On last Friday James Minton shot and instantly killed Bill Baker, at the home of the former on Castle Run, Russel county. The particulars of the killing as near and we can learn as as follows:

The property of Minton and Baker joined one another, the latter by one of his rascally schemes having come in possession of the dower of Mrs. Phillip Minton with whom he was intimate, proceded to the house of her step-son and demanded that he sign a paper in which a trespass upon his own (Minton's) property was stipulated; Minton refused and told Baker to leave his house. Baker pulled a gun and with an oath to the effect that he would make him sign it - but Minton was too quick and fired two shots, one through his body and the other his head. Baker fired one but missed his mark. The two were unfriendly, carried arms to kill one another, and the meeting that resulted in the death of one was inevitable.

Minton is said to be a peacable citizen, while Baker has a wide spred reputation as on of the vilest, meanest men that ever hardened a community. It will be remembered that he was recently jailed for murder of Dr. Bracket, who was a witness against him in the U. S. court, but as usual was let out upon the evidence of an accomplice in crime. At the recent session of this county court he was indicted in five cases and among them one indictment stood for the above mentioned murder. He is gone without regret and the comunity in which he lived is in gain rather than loss by his death. - Coeburn Herald.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The World War II Letters of Billy J. Campbell, Letter 9

Oct 17 [1945]

Hello Everybody

Its after bed time now but maybe I can say hello before they turn the lights out.

We are still fooling around trying to train pull guard and details. I have never had more than two men of my section with me at once when we were working on the machine guns. There is 8 men in the section but some of them are always on detail or something. I think ever time they get a new eight ball they send him to my section. Maybe nobody else can get them on the ball like me!

We had retreat parade this evening for the first time and we have 3 parades in the next 4 days. I hope they think we look too well to stay in Japan. I think they could use a good outfit like the 1st Cav back in the States for xmas parades and so forth.

Some of the boys were telling tonit that 40 point men were going home, according to the records that gets ever man in this division. If thats true they will change our point score back down to what it is supposed to be. They have been talking about making this outfit over strength but so far we just got enough men from the 43rd to replace the last bunch that went home. It will take another 20 men to make it up to strength.

I heard from Doris yesterday. I think they are both homesick. Maynard, Sam & Lissie all wrote me and sent me a picture yesterday.

Its about time for somebody to come around raising heck about the lights so I had better get in bed. I don't want to lose these 3 stripes this quick.