This letter was written to Lucas Folsom Smith (1844-1924), a musician in Company G, 101st Indiana Infantry. This regiment was organized at Wabash, Indiana, and mustered in September 7, 1862. They immediately left the state for Covington, Kentucky, and were on duty there till 23 September. They participated in the pursuit of Bragg into Kentucky during the early part of October 1862. Luke served until June 1865 when he was mustered out with his company. After the war. Lucas went to the Michigan Law School at Ann Arbor, and commenced practice in Indiana, afterwards removing to Texas and thence to California.
Lucas Smith was the son of Thomas Thornburg Smith (1800-1881) and Catherine Geary (1812-1882) of Rock Creek, Wells County, Indiana. This letter was written in two parts: the first part was written by Jacob Henry Clay Smith (1842-1923) and the second part was written by James G. Smith (1834-1909). Mentioned in the letter is their brother William H. Smith (1840-1933) who also served with Lucas in the same company. Also mentioned is another brother, Thomas G. Smith (1837-1919) who was married in 1860 to Rebecca Allen (1838-1868) and resided in Huntington, Indiana.
We learn from this letter that Lucas Smith worked in the printing office of the Banner which was operated by his brother James in Bluffton. That office was located in Studabaker’s Brick Block from 1856 to 1862 when it moved to the corner of Main and Market Streets. Smith took control of the newspaper in April 1859 but his editorials advocated for a peaceful resolution of the Civil War, even if it meant an independent South. The paper fell out of circulation in 1863 as a result and did not rebound until after Smith sold out in 1864.
September 21st 1862
I take the opportunity of writing you a few lines to let you know that we are all well, hoping that these few lines will find you enjoying the same blessing. We received a letter from you today and learned from that William is not well which is very bad for him but we hope that he will get better. We also got a letter from William. He says that he thinks of getting discharged. If he does, it will leave you rather lonesome. There is right smart of sickness in the neighborhood. Mr. Joseph Bulger was buried today.
Uncle John Wilson and family was here today and Barbary Wilson, and Peter Brickly and family. They are all in tolerable health.
We have not got any money from you yet but learned this evening that it is at Murray in care of Stocton. Father wants to know what you want him to do with your money.
Mother was up at Bluffton last Friday and she says it looks rather lonesome in the printing office without you. We have got plenty of ripe fruit at present and would be very glad to have you here to help us to eat some of it. We are done sowing wheat except the field James thinks of putting out. He was to be down this evening but has not come yet.
You got wrong information about Henry Kelly having his head shot off. He was taken prisoner and paroled and came home. But the brave little fellow is gone again.
But as it is getting past bedtime now, I must close. Brother Thomas and wife was here last Sunday. They are well. No more at present, but remain your affectionate brother, — Jacob H. C. Smith
Sunday Evening, September 21, 1862
I have just arrived from town. ____ and I have come down here to seed a piece of wheat. I intended to have written you a letter today before leaving town but was so busy that I could not. Sunday, as it was, I had to print political bills all day — printed 3¼ sheet bills — come to $5. Last night I printed 2000 tickets for Jay County, another $5 job. I left Bluffton this evening at sundown and walked all the way — good exercise.
I expected a letter from you by yesterday’s mail but did not receive one and was consequently somewhat disappointed.
In this week’s Banner you will find your communication published. It is highly extolled by all who have read it. You must write again.
In your correspondence with John McBride you have acquired his style somewhat and make almost the same mistakes in grammatical construction. The style, however, is a pleasing one and I am proud of your proficiency in letter-writing. I took the liberty of leaving out part of the communication and inserting part of what you intended as private matter. I did this because your description of Gen. [Lew] Wallace and compliment to Capt’s. [David] Trusdall and [Peter] Studabaker are of more interest to readers in this vicinity than anything else.
I shall be here all week and will not issue any paper this week.
The folks are all well. You ought to be here to drink good cool well water and eat peaches.
Don’t forget to answer the questions I asked when you write.
No more now. Your brother, — James