This letter was written by Thomas H. Fernalld (1824-1894), the son of William Fernalld (1794-1888) and Betsy Frothingham Purington (1794-1876). Thomas was married to Elizabeth Philly (1829-1885) and resided in McDonough, Chenango county, New York. The couple had at least thirteen children between 1851 and 1875—the most recent addition to the family when this letter was penned was Serilia Jerusha Fernalld (1861-1951).
McDonough [Chenango county, New York]
August 21, 1861
I sit down to write a few lines to you to let you know that we are all well at present and I hope this will find you the same. We have been haying about six weeks. We finished yesterday. We have had pretty good crops of hay this year. You begin to think by this time that we have forgotten you I guess but we have not. I have been talking about writing for a month and have just got at it so you must excuse me for my neglect.
Well, I suppose you want to know about the baby. Well she is a fat, plump baby. We think she is a nice one. Her name is Serelia Jerusha. Don’t you think that is a splendid name? I do. Elizabeth says if that ain’t worth fifty cents, she don’t know what is.
We have been over to Father Philley’s today. They are all well. Serelia has been a black berrying and got wet as a rat and a few berries.
Father received a letter from you last night. We were glad to hear from you that you was well and hearty. I should liked to have been with you on your fishing voyage and seen you haul in some of them big fish. It must have been fun.
Well you wanted to know how the gal got along. Mary Carr is to work to Charles Purdy’s. Lucy M. is at home this summer. Mary don’t have any boy. George Carr is shining round Lucy. Bet and Fan are well. Bet thinks Leander Beebe is shining round her. I don’t know but he is but they ain’t married yet.
Fan had a young yeoman after her last winter but he has quit so she is unfortunate. Thomas and Rebecca J. are well. Two of Thomas’ brothers have enlisted. They were in the battle at Bulls Run. They come out unhurt. Tis James and John Dunning. This war is a bad affair to make the best of it but I don’t know how we can avoid it. We must fight it through the best we can.
Elijah has lost his youngest child. She was taken sick last Sunday night and died Monday just at night. She had fits. The rest of the family is well. Drew and William’s families are well. Good night.
Well, Thomas, I must finish my letter tonight or I can’t send it out tomorrow morning. Luke Carr carries the mail from McDonough to Greene and he is on hand pretty early in the morning. He drives two horses and goes in pretty good style.
Well, I have been over to Woodberry’s today. I found them all well. Woodberry is haying. He manages to finish tomorrow. Marthy is not very well this summer. I looked over to Mr. Sprague’s a number of times this afternoon. I saw Eliza out round. I think she is well but I didn’t get a chance to speak to her. Don’t you think she was over to Woodberry’s the other day to borrow a little shirt, she is making things—shirts and dresses, what does all this mean? What was you about when you was up here round to surprise parties, lest I should scare you too bad. I guess I had better explain myself a little on the subject. She is a making these things for her sister. She has a par of twins so Aunt Eliza is a going to make them some clothes and send to them. They are little boys so don’t be frightened for she is as straight as a candle. Serelia has not got her Bill Huntley yet nor never will. I guess she said to Elizabeth the other day she guessed if nobody hadn’t said anything, she should have had you for she thought enough of you. She says when another fellow comes along, she will have him. They may say what they may. That’s the kind of grit.
If you want to know how I get along without tobacco. I have not touched a bit. Clark has used it all of the time but don’t pay the 50 cents. Give my love to all. Goodbye. Write soon.
T. H. Fernalld to T. J. Rolling