This letter was written by Walter Chubb (1812-1893) and his wife, Margaret (Histed) Chubb (1825-Aft1900), of Oregon, Wayne County, Pennsylvania. Walter was born in Pancrosswick, Devonshire, England; Margaret was born in New York State, her father was Rev. Richard Histed, a Methodist Episcopal minister of England, and her mother a native of Germany.
The letter was written to an unnamed sister — probably Margaret’s sister — and it contains a description of the death of Walter & Margaret’s son, James Edward Chubb, who died 5 August 1862 near Harrison’s Landing, Virginia. Military records indicate that James was employed as hospital steward in Co. G, 14th U.S. Infantry. These records also corroborate the family’s understanding that he died of “heart disease.”
Margaret mentions her sister Elizabeth in the letter. This was Elizabeth (Histed) Oliver (1827-1895), the wife of William Oliver (822-1907). They were married about 1842 and also resided in Oregon, Wayne County, Pennsylvania.
Another of Margaret’s brother’s was William Histed (1827-Aft1880) who settled in Gilman, Nemaha County, Kansas prior to the 1860 Census. His wife’s name was Ella.
Oregon [Wayne County, Pennsylvania]
January the 21, 1864
My dear sister and brother,
After a long time I thought I would answer your letter. I am ashamed that I have been so negligent in not writing to you before. You must forgive me. I will try and do better. I have the cares of a family and the trials and troubles of a wicked world and my own heart to see to. I wish my heart was better than it is.
I saw your letter that you wrote to Elizabeth. She received your letter on New Year’s morning and I saw it the next day and you had better believe that we was glad to hear from you and yours — especially from your dear son that is in the army. My dear sister, you wished us a Merry Christmas. Now we all join in wishing you a Happy New Year. May God bless you and make you like Mary of old that sat at the Savior’s feet.
I am very glad that you are so comfortable as you are. Your hardest troubles no doubt is past. God knows what is best for us. While I was reading your letter, my mind was taken back years ago when we used to have meetings at father’s house. I almost thought that I heard your voice singing and praying. It don’t look like twenty-seven years ago, does it? Time once past never returns. Time like a never rolling stream bears all its scenes away. We part in body, not in minds. Our minutes continue and we hand in hand to Jesus join we hand to heart go on. But let us hasten to that day which shall our ____ when death shall all be done away and body’s part no more.
Now dear sister, you wished me to write the particulars concerning my son that died in the army, James Edward Chubb. He was in his twentieth year when he died. He died in camp of the heart disease. He never mary any open profession of religion tho’ he always had good desires after he left home. He both felt and saw the need of religion. He was gone from home four months. We received a letter every week and sometimes two, We wrote to him constantly giving him all the good advise and instruction that we could. He wrote to us and wanted we should sing some good old hymn and then get down and pray that God would have mercy on his poor never ___ soul. He said he knew that God would hear and answer the prayers of his people. He said he weeped like a child when read our letters. We have some encouragement that he entered over the broad plains of glory by our heavenly father’s side.
We have lost 3 children before and I am sure that they are walking the golden streets singing the song of the redeemer, but after all it was a great deal hard to part with James for he was away from home among strangers — his blanket for his dying bed and his knapsack for his dying pillow. Oh, my dear sister, who knows the heart of a mother but those that has felt the same. My heart is too full to write.
I have had 11 children; seven living — 3 girls and four boys. I have had to work hard, live hard, but out of all the Lord has brought me by his power. I am about as fleshy as I used to be and not much taller than I used to be. Elizabeth is very thin. I have almost forgotten how you used to look. I remembered something how you used to look upon us. We used to live on old Doctor Yates’ place when William Moore’s used to come there.
Dear sister, how I do wish I could see you. I think I should not know you but I think we could get acquainted very quick, don’t you think so?
You wanted to know about the draft. My husband is too old and my son is too young for this draft. Elizabeth’s husband stands his draft. She is dreadful troubled about it. She has got eight children — 2 boys, six girls. Stephen stands his draft. Sister Ann has not been to see us, not yet. We are a looking for her and father, and William Vercoe and sister Eling. Father sent us word they was a coming. Ann sent Elizabeth her likeness. Now I wish you would send yours in a letter. I do not know anything about none of ___ folks, nor George, nor brother William. Richard’s address is in Sullivan County, Bloomingburg [New York]. That is what Mister Vercoe told us.
Dear Sister, my letter is not finished yet. Have patience with me a little longer. We received a letter from brother Thomas New Year’s Day. They was all well then, but since the last wrote, they have had a great deal of sickness with the typhoid fever — all except youngest child, little Sarah — and their lives was despaired of. But in the last of their sickness, the Lord saw fit to lay his hand upon Richard, his eldest son, unto death. But he can say with evidence and of a blessed assurance that all is well. He got ready and left a blessed evidence behind him. They cannot weep as one gone in his sins. He left the world September the 16th in the 27th year of his age. Let us all get ready to follow his flight and lodge in Eden of love.
Brother Thomas sends his love to you and all the rest of his brothers and sisters. He wrote to me requesting me to write to you to tell you of his sickness and death and he wants you to write to him. I will tell you where his Post Office address is: Bay City, Bay County, Michigan. Now I have got to write to Richard to tell him of their sickness and death. We heard from Stephen and his family today. They were all well. Now we will give you an invitation to come and see us with father and mother and sister Ann and William Virco and Ellen. But if I only could see you and talk to you better than I can on paper.
We must close now. Good bye. — Walter & M. Chubb