View Full Version : Sex in the 60s

01-04-2007, 01:10 PM
Human Sexuality Reflected in the Samuel Odell Letters

By Scott Cross

There seems to be a general myth concerning Victorian morality and the sexuality of Americans during the 19th Century. Even the word “Victorian” conjures up images of straight laced ladies and gentlemen who never discussed sexual matters. It is true that there wee certain codes of morality imposed upon Victorians from religious sources of the times, but what were the attitudes of every day people? The fact of the matter is that human beings are sexual creatures and that is just as true of Victorians as it is for anyone else. Primary sources related to these subjects are very rare. The sensitive nature of the subject itself caused many of these documents to be destroyed, but some have survived.

Samuel Odell migrated west from Cold Springs, Putnam County New York around 1857. He had operated a dry goods store there for several years. In 1858, he went into partnership with Lathrop W. Hull and purchased a small dry goods store from F. F. Hamilton. The store was located in the small community of Butte des Morts, Wisconsin. Odell remained a bachelor for most of his life and eventually married Sarah Van Doren some time in the 1890s. He operated his store until his death until 1917 and his widow ran it until it closed in 1935.

Odell collected and kept everything, from advertising flyers and broadsides to posters and personal correspondence. Among his collection of personal correspondence are letters from a friend, G. R. Woodworth and some unidentified married women. These letters and notes are extremely rare since they deal with the subjects of sexuality and infidelity. They are even more rare because Odell did not destroy them as their authors requested. The letters have been edited for spelling and punctuation to make them more easily readable.

W. R. Woodworth Letters

Fairibault Minn. August 7, 1864

Well Sam I received your epistle a long time ago and was glad to hear that your Bowells was regular. Sam it has been so hot here that the Farmers done their cooking in the Sun, they say it is Cheaper than wood. Sam what do you think about the draft[?] that is what Bothers me now. Sam we sold out about three weeks ago and made a good thing. I have rented a store and started another shop and there was a man here that wanted to Buy me out yesterday. We have not made the trade yet but I think we shall. I am a going to Osage Iowa if I sell, that is Eighty miles from here. Sam this is the best country that I ever see and a good Place to make money. I don’t see what the Devil you stay in Butte de Morts for when you can make more up here and a Damned sight more business going on here than there unless Butte des Morts has grown since I left. Sam you must of made a good thing on your goods as they have Advanced so much in the last Four months. Everything is high here Except Fucking. That is very low and Plenty to be had at the old Prick. Sam where did you go the Fourth, did you go to Bogk’s? You and me went there last year and got pretty drunk, at least I did. I suppose that Mage Ashby and Wesley B had a good time shooting fire crackers. Sam give my love to all of the Girls and tell Mary Ann that I will come back if there is any chance to, since Peter and Dalton left my chance would be good I think. How does Neilson make it go, does he get as much trade as Pete did? Tell old Mike Doty that I have seen Liby’s Husband that lived at the Agency and he feels very bad to think that Lib got married. Tell woodward that I would like to go in company with him this Fall. Well Sam this is a damned poor letter and you will do well if you can read it. Tell Sarah fish to Kiss my Arse. Give my respects to mr. & Mrs. Hull and Mrs. Petford. Write soon as you get this and I will try to do better next time. Tell me all of the news and what Lucy Abells is doing this summer. Sam burn this letter as soon as you read it. Amen.

From your Friend

G.R. Woodworth
Fairibault February 6, 1865

Friend Sam
It has been a long time since I received your letter. I should have wrote to you before, but I have been very busy and have not had time to write. Dick was taken sick and was sick four days with the brain fever and died Jan. 24th. Rome has gone East with the remains and I am running the machine alone and have all I can do. I had a letter from Frank Robinson last week. He is well and having lots of fun. Sam, Frank says that you are shoving it to Jane Brown. If that is so, Bully for you. That is better than Mrs. Becker. Don’t you think so?
Sam, what do you think about this draft? I would like to see you with a Suit of Blue Clothes on. Sam, there has not been enough snow here this winter to make a good sleighing, yet the weather is very nice here and no snow. Sam, I sent some papers to Mr. Hull last week. Sam, do you go over to see Lucy Abels now? I would like to be down there about a week. I think that I could have some fun. I suppose that old Miller is there yet. Sam, Has Hull found out who it was that stopped him when he was coming from Oshkosh? That was a good joke on him. How does Nelson get along? Does he do as much business as Pete did? I thought he would do better. I suppose that Old Schoettle is a selling whiskey yet. Sam Beckwith was here from Oshkosh last week. He said that Hull was now running the mill this winter. I suppose that Lattin’s eyes will be sore now until after the draft.
Sam, you would have had a good time if you had been with me last night and got your Old Root Scraped. If I was in your place I would get out of that place and come up here where you can make something. Sam, give my respects to Mr. & Mrs. Hull and my love to Mary Ann petford and get all the fucking you can. Write as soon as you get this and tell me the news.

Don’t show this
Letter to annyone
From your Friend

G.R. Woodworth
Cherry Creek, Dec. 2nd

Well Sam
Here I am in a store doing a Bully Business and making money. I should of wrote to you before, but have had all I could do and more too.
I received a letter from Ed Moran. He said that he had been to Osage and had got back to Butte. He could not keep away from Miss Jones. He is a Hell of a Boy.
I suppose that Johny Latham is at Petford’s yet. Has Thomas made up his mind what Kind of a Boy George was yet? I suppose that Ed Brown has got his Pea Nut stand to running by this time.
Sam, I have made four hundred dollars $400 since I came home and have got in a Bully place to make more. I have not Drank a Drop of anything since I left Oshkosh.
Sam, how does Lucy Abels get along? I would like to see her and Diddle her once more. I suppose all the folks in Butte think that I am a Dam little fool, but I can take care of myself yet. Sam, I wish that you was down here long enough to get your Old Root Scraped. If you can ever come in the state, and don’t come and see me, I will Kick your Ass. I am looking for mr. & Mrs. Hull down here this month, but have not heard from them yet
Now Sam, I want you to find out all the news and write and let me know as soon as you get this. Tell Johny that I will write to him as soon as I get time. Give my respects to Mr. & Mrs. Hull and all of the Snots left. [Tell] Ed Moran to get it into every one that he can. Rome has been quite sick, but is better now. Sam, I have got something that I want you to hand to Johny after you read it; Women’s Rights and Bill of Price.
Write as soon as you get this. Don’t show this to anyone.

Yours with a Jerk

G.R. Woodworth

Direct to Cherry Creek
Chatauqua County
New York

John E. Latham letter
Prairie du Chien May 2d

Friend Sam

I received your letter some time ago of which it was very interesting to me. It found me well & sound as a Brick & I hope this will find you the same. It is very pleasant here. There is some gay girls up here. I wish you was up here. You could get your old bone varnished. They are thicker than the hair on a dog. They are all a getting married down there I suppose by what I heard. Mary Ann was agoing to be married to that Norwegian. You will have to hurry around or you will lose Mary.
Well Sam, how does she get along? Is her teats as as big as ever? When you see her, give her my best respects and tell her to keep her nose clean.
I had a letter from Pat Riley yesterday. He said the folks was all well. He said Ed Moran was living with Old Jones. How does old Bogk get along with his [illegible]. Does the Boys yet go on a spree down there? I haven’t been tight since I came up here. I heard old Braun said I got tight down to Oshkosh that day I left. That ain’t so. How does Oshamus get along this Summer with his farm? Does he keep a man? I suppose he stays home and tends bar. Well as it is a getting late, I will close.

Write soon, yours
With a Jerk Bully Boy his Nut Cork by
John E Latham
Unknown Female Author
[This is possibly the Mrs. Becker referred to in previous correspondence.]
Vinland Oct. 18th /62

Friend Sammy

I suppose you will be surprised to get a letter from me this morning, but perhaps you will not be so much so when you read it. Circumstances oblige me to write it and I hope you will not be offended at me, for believe me I do not mean any offence. Well to begin with I have made up my mind not to come into your store unless I have very particular business. For you know Sam that your conduct towards me is what no woman in my circumstances ought to allow, and still I do not think you are any more to blame than I am. I do not know whether you were really in earnest, what you said about caring so much for me or whether you does it to see how far you could go. There is so much deceit in the world it is almost impossible to know who to trust, but let it be as it will. Time will prove you if you said true or not. As for me I will tell you candidly what I think, and I will trust you to your honor as a Gentleman and not to betray what I tell you. I do think too much of you and it is best for me not to meet you more than I can help. For it can be no benefit to either of us as long as things remain as they are. And if I was free today I do not think you would….well, no matter what……I will not trouble you to read any more. But my honor as a wife forbids me tell you as I do. May god bless you Sam, and bless you with a good true loving wife when you see fit to take one and sometimes please think of one who will always prove a true
PS If you will answer this it shall be safe and please destroy this as soon as you read it.

V Sat. July 2d /64

Dear S

I remember my promise about the 5th & if you want me to go anywhere I will go. I want to see you very much, but I will tell you all about it when I see you. Now, if you want to go anywhere with me, please let me know by the afternoon mail. I have been up to Julia’s for a week past and the children are there now, so I am all alone, but if I don’t get any line from you this afternoon I shall go back,
Yours truly
Direct to Box 72, nothing else.

[no date]

[torn section]

If you want to see me you will have to come here. I have been sick ever since I came back from Osh[kosh]. I have not been to Butte since almost two weeks. I would like to see you very much. I am alone now. I wish you would come up tonight and I will be sure there is no one here. Now be sure & come tonight and oblige
Yours A____

Unknown Author

Desmoines Valley Rail Road
Keokuk, Iowa June 1st 1866

Friend Sam

I wrote you shortly after I came to Iowa but you never seen fit to answer my letter or if you did it never reached me. You promised to write me when I left you, after the dance at Johnny’s Corner. By the way Sam, that was a gay time. I have thought of it often. Hope to indulge in like pleasures with same girls and boys the minute when I get home.
I am making a longer stay in Iowa than I anticipated when I left home.
I was for 13 months at Otumwa Junction, 75 miles above here, but am now in the General Office in Keokuk.
I like the business well, but do not like Keokuk as well as Otumwa. Notwithstanding, it is overflowing with good ripe Maidenheads. You can get any amount of that you set in, in any imaginable Shop. We are having a great season of pleasure just now. Charlie Shay’s Incomparable Troupe – very good; then two weeks later by the fair performers Mr. M. Kean Buchanan & Daughter, Miss Minnie Buchanan, Excellent; Then Palmer’s Great American Circus – not so good; then

02-26-2008, 02:20 PM
That is certainly a different perspective on the times, that you don't see normally, but as you said Humans are a sexual Creature.....:)

03-08-2008, 10:44 AM
"Get your old root scraped"

The more things change... :D

03-12-2008, 03:21 AM
While doing research for a Living History I'm planning for next year, I ran across some soldier letters. One of them leaves little doubt as to what the author was speaking about.

Dec. 1st, 1862

Camp Near Davis Mills, Miss

Dear Brother

I received your welcome letter yesterday. We had just moved out to our new Camp 10 miles from LaGrange. The Grand Army has moved on into Mississippi. We are taken out of our old brigade and division and we are now guarding the railroad from LaGrange to Holly Springs and I suppose we shall make our winter quarters in this place. It will be the first time the old regiment had a chance to go into a rest ?irth as good prospects as we now have of stopping.

Gen. Veatch had us kept out of the brigade and we suppose he is going to keep us with him. I suppose he will take command of this district from Jackson to Holly Springs, when he comes back from sick furlough. We have all his things in our charge. It will be better then marching through the swamps of Miss in the rainy season. I think the war will soon come to an end. Now the old 25th is to have a resting spell. But we will have to keep one eye open all the time now for the damned guerillas may take some of our ?tofe knots off some fruj? Night or morning. The right wing of the regt is at this place and the left wing is seventy miles further up the road. They say the army have had a brush the other side of Holly Springs but I do not know how true it is. Well I am glad to hear you are all well. I am in the best of health and spirits, I hope you had a good nights sleep the night you wrote this letter to me for you said you was damned sleepy. I am glad you liked that South Letter. It will show you that the girls down here in Dixie understand what’s what as well as anybody else. Well the poor things, if I came across any of them that are hard up (and I often have a hard up) I will try and accommodate them. Not as you know like it so well. But just for charity sake. For I couldn’t stand to see any poor girl suffer. I am glad you are going to try and think of me again at Christmas with a little more of that “pain killer” I shall try and forage (we don’t take any thing here) a turkey and some milk and I will drink your and the family health in some homemade egg nog. These mills that we are stopping at used to be a great place for grinding from the south army and we have more corn meal than we know what to do with. I expect they will feed some of it to the teams. There is more than 800 bushels ground in the mills. The old chap that owned them has gone with them. He was the hardest old south tar this country. I do not think I shall get paid off till the 1st of January now. I suppose the paymaster is waiting to make it six months. Well it will be a pile when it does come. I have nothing more to write at present. Give my respects to Billy Saberton, Joe and Terry and all enquiring friends. Direct your letters to LaGrange as usual and I will get them. Good bye and

I remain your

Affection Brother

Joseph Saberton

(my respects) Geo C. Pope

10-20-2008, 01:35 PM
I can't believe this! I got a call from a family a few weeks ago to look over the archival materials of an elderly woman who just passed away. Her father was an amateur archeologist and local historian who farmed near the little town of Butte des Morts, Wisconsin. While going through a box I found a paper bag labeled, "Sam Odell letters/1860s". I finally got some time to look them over last week...sure enough, more letters from young ladies! I'll start posting them as I transcribe them.

[The following is an undated letter that is addressed to “Mr. Odell” without a postage mark, written circa 1865.]

Mr. Odell,

I suppose you will think I am out of my mind when you read this letter, but I am not. I will say what I have to say, namely, you have deceived me – but I complain not. I am not about to reproach you. If I have grieved you forgive me. It was a sudden shock to me to be told from you that I was not loved by thee. But it is over now. I feel I can bear it. Now nothing remains but for me to love you. Do not be displeased, it is the sweet lesson I have taught my heart for yours. For it will not, nor would I it should forget. Thou art my heart world. I have heard your words, the arrow has pierced & cloved my spirit’s life, but it has not shivered in my heart wherein your image is reflected. You are dear to me as ever. I may not cease to love you, but why have you not loved? Have I been all unworthy of your manly affection, of that noble love which this hour I would die to know was my own?

You love me not, alas me. Yet you must love someone, you will love someone. Happy is the one you will love. I have, alas, thought for my love blinded my penetration [perception?] and I was willingly deceived, that I had read love and devotion in your admiring eyes. Enough of this, my dream of love is over now. If it is pleasant, you must be sure to come the day you said you would. I will have so many things to tell you then. If you think it worthwhile, please answer. Burn this as soon as you read it. I need not sign my name, you will know who it is from.

10-20-2008, 02:01 PM
Your post is very interesting, remember me the very good book " The Story the soldiers wouldn't tell " " Sex in the civilian war " by thomas P.Lowry, M.D. do you know?

10-20-2008, 02:40 PM
I had to do a double take when I saw the verbatim phrase "kick your ass" used. Even though both the act of kicking and the presence of hindquarters have been around for a long time, I did not imaging that that was a period term.

David Fox
10-20-2008, 03:16 PM
Oh. You mean sex in the the EIGHTEEN sixties. I was preparing to tell you a few things about sex in the nineteen sixties: the Y&W Drive-In Theatre in Merrillville, Indiana, Lynnette, the back seat of Dad's '59 Chevy, but then....well...maybe not.

10-20-2008, 07:35 PM
well said.... I can tell categorically there was sex in the 1860's...'cause we are here in the 2000's

Scott Manderville
Grandson of Ebben S. Manderville, Pvt, G Trp 21st NY Cav and Grandson Of Daniel Vandecar, Pvt, Co K, 93rd Ny Inf

10-21-2008, 12:48 PM
[The following letter does not have a year, but was probably written in the 1860s to Samuel Odell. The sender does not give her full name and no woman named Nora could be found living in Winnebago County, Wisconsin or Mount Hope, orange County, NY in 1860. Sam did not accept her offer and did not marry until 1890 when he was sixty years old.]

Mount Hope July 4th


Permit me to address you through a medium the pen on an important subject Matrimony. For a long period of time I have met you in church and in three public places and have cherished a respect for you that I have not for others of your sex.

Sir you must pardon me for my frankness on this subject. You are aware that it is natural for our sex to be rather prudish. I will tell why I cherish this respect for you. First, I admire attraction as I look upon your noble carriage and graceful attitude. I can but admire your personal beauty. You know it is natural for a young lady to [look] at the attractions of a young gentleman, and his accomplishments and I consider you to be an accomplished young man, also a man of rare intellect and can appreciate good society.

Second: Position in business is worthy of notice as you are a partner in a wholesale establishment, and the name of being a merchant’s wife, how that sounds among the lower class of people. Yes, I have often put my head into [a] barrel and said “Mrs. Odell” and with the greatest satisfaction I heard it echo back again. Third: you are blessed with a large intellect and well developed, also having the means to alleviate suffering humanity by your benevolence which is worthy of example. Again, I think that you could enjoy society of the domestic circle. I think that you have a good disposition and will be kind to the children.

You know that I have not [a] jealous disposition and would be jealous of you if you should speak to the kitchen maid. I have a good education and can appreciate the productions which emanates from a well cultivated mind. In conclusion I think that we ought to be married. I must acknowledge that you have won my affection and I am waiting for you to ask for my heart and hand which is at your disposal. I would be very happy to have an interview with you soon as it would be convenient for you to do so.

From your sincerest well wisher,

Mr. Samuel Odell

Lone Guard
10-21-2008, 01:13 PM
HAHA! I wrote a paper a year ago for a history class on sex in Victorian America, I really could have used these letters.

I love reading these sorts of letters since there is a group here in AZ who believes the Victorians to be as pious and observant of morality as monks and nuns.

03-05-2009, 03:18 PM
Ol sam was a tom cat on the prowl. He reminds me if burgess meredith in the grumpy old men series. I'll some how work "get my root scraped" into 1st person in 09.

03-12-2009, 08:55 PM
More misbehavior in camp:

From Daniel Tuttle
16th Ohio Battery
3rd Division, 13th Army Corps
Carlton, LA
Dated August 27th 1863

Dear Brother,
…There is quite a contrast of health, health between this time and the same time last year. Last year at this time, we had 138 men and 17 of them for duty. Now we have 118 men and 100 of them for duty, but I think that there will be quite a number of candidates for the hospital the way they run to the city and to the Public Houses. I think they will get the rheumatism in the middle leg.
…The boys is all in the tent making such a noise that I cannot think of anything to write. All they can talk about is the city and the whores in it. Well, I was down there yesterday for the first time, but I could not see any good looking girls in the place. To tell the truth, I never seen so many homely, dirty looking women in my life. It beats St. Louis for dirty whores, and you know that was bad enough…Everything here is cheap except butter and eggs…

This is a two-sided letter written to Albert Yetter on February 24, 1864 from two soldier friends, each writing on one side of the letter.

Dear Friend Albert,
…Al you must take care of number one and take good care of the Gals. Get all the yamyam that you can at my expenses and if you get more than you want send some down to me and Reif for we cannot get any here unless we take Black strap and that is almost too hard to split…
from Thomas E. Hooreing

Good morning Yetter.
…We have to walk about a half a mile to piss. We dare not hold our peckers out and piss out the tent all over…We have all we want, there is only one thing which we don’t get as much as we want. That is yamyam. We could get as much as we want if we split Black Oak but so many fellows has sore cocks that I will not try my hand at it. Harrisburg Tom and I got all we wanted and more too but fortunately didn’t get a big cock…
from George W. Reifsnyder

03-15-2009, 10:44 PM
This is a great thread. it's so rare to encounter this sort of informal raciness.
I'm wondering if you know where Hooreing and Reifsnyder were from, or which regiment...

03-16-2009, 09:45 PM
This is a great thread. it's so rare to encounter this sort of informal raciness.
I'm wondering if you know where Hooreing and Reifsnyder were from, or which regiment...

I bought the letter from the decendant of George W. Reifsnyder. He was a private in Battery D of the 3rd PA Artillery. I know nothing about Hooreing. :cry_smile

05-13-2009, 10:44 PM
Here's one a friend passed on to me some years ago, it is written to Mrs. Willman Richards of Chester County, Pennsylvania:

Near Atlanta Georgia
My Dearest Annie

I must write quickly for we will be moving in a large and rapid manner presently. My officers are now at this moment calling me from you dear heart. Oh! to be with you and our loved ones at this very moment. My very dearest companion has been taken from me in the night. The surgeons could not amputate his private parts and now he is gone to his reward. Would that I could have shared my own parts with him - you know my dove I would have done so - and would you have forgiven me for removing the tool of joy that you know so well? I'm told in Europe wonders are accomplished with new "staffs of life."

Adieu my darling - my parts are warm for you as I know your "cave of gold" is for me. Please do not read this to mother.
All my love your brother

05-14-2009, 12:33 PM
Here's one a friend passed on to me some years ago, it is written to Mrs. Willman Richards of Chester County, Pennsylvania:

Near Atlanta Georgia
My Dearest Annie

I must write quickly for we will be moving in a large and rapid manner presently. My officers are now at this moment calling me from you dear heart. Oh! to be with you and our loved ones at this very moment. My very dearest companion has been taken from me in the night. The surgeons could not amputate his private parts and now he is gone to his reward. Would that I could have shared my own parts with him - you know my dove I would have done so - and would you have forgiven me for removing the tool of joy that you know so well? I'm told in Europe wonders are accomplished with new "staffs of life."

Adieu my darling - my parts are warm for you as I know your "cave of gold" is for me. Please do not read this to mother.
All my love your brother

W. . . T . . . F, over?

05-14-2009, 12:55 PM
Please do not read this to mother.

Call me cautious, but I would have put that statement across the top of the page, not dead last in the letter.

Annette Bethke
05-14-2009, 01:21 PM
All my love your brother

Brother? In-Law? In Christ? Natural? Yikes!

05-14-2009, 01:49 PM

I read that "all my love TO your brother", but now that you point it out ...


Annette Bethke
05-14-2009, 04:25 PM
I read that TO your brother as well at first, but then he writes "don't read this to mother", not YOUR mother. It would be very interesting to find out who these two were.

Clark Badgett
05-14-2009, 05:17 PM
Ain't nothing new under the sun. Incest is quite common throughout history. Some classes in ancient civilazations encouraged it. It even happened in the Bible, Lot and his daughters come to mind.

05-14-2009, 06:26 PM
he also seemed to be quite attached to this fellow that died. You gotta be pretty close mess mates to someone to want to loan them your "tool of joy".....

05-15-2009, 09:37 AM
Well, if he's already doing his own sister, he may be into all sorts of kink.

It takes all kinds. Even then.

Hank Trent
05-15-2009, 10:58 AM
Here's one a friend passed on to me some years ago, it is written to Mrs. Willman Richards of Chester County, Pennsylvania:

Near Atlanta Georgia
My Dearest Annie

That indicates there was a husband and wife, Willman and Annie Richards, living in Chester Co., Pa. I checked the censuses and couldn't find anyone by those names in Chester Co. and no Willman Richards at all (an unusual enough name). There was a William Richards in Chester Co., but ironically his wife's name was Faithful.

Also did a quick search for Pennsylvania soldiers with the last name of Putnam and couldn't find any from Chester Co., but didn't have a way to search for first name Putnam only. Couldn't find anyone with the first or last name of Putnam in Chester Co. in the census, though of course he could have lived elsewhere.

Has anyone found evidence of these people, outside of the letter?

Hank Trent

Annette Bethke
05-15-2009, 10:58 AM
Yeah, I knew that it occurred. I just "assumed" that by the 1860s it had become taboo enough to warrant not mentioning in letters so openly; something kept in the shadows and not talked about. But as has been mentioned the guy seemed to have some other issues as well :).

05-15-2009, 01:14 PM
I don't think these letters are at all the norm for the period, but are extremely rare and funny to read. It sounds like this was the kind of fellow to end up on the wrong side of a gun.:eek:

05-21-2009, 01:01 PM
What I find most interesting about the language at the time is the innuendoes used. Of course there are the more obvious metaphores i.e ramrod; mountains; hills. But what I noticed more than anything was that anything could be used sexually if in the right context.
If you think about it, its not that much different than today. Through reading Lowry's Stories.... the curse words/derogatory name used for people are not that much different from today.

05-21-2009, 03:59 PM
AuSable, Mich
Feb 16th, 1866

Mrs. Jane Trail

Dear friend,
…I went to Nashville, Tenn. I got off the Train, ordered the omnibus driver to take me to one of the best fancy houses. He done so. I stayed at 154 College Street. Asked what the terms of board was. I was told 30 dollars per week. I thought that steep but supposed I could make it easy as any of the other girls and so I stopped there. Well, I made money, lots of it, and lived in splendor. I made sometimes 75 dollars per day. You bet I dressed and rode in fine carriages and put on stile…Well I staid there about four months. I got tired and worried of that life so I began to study how to get out of it and at last I made up my mind to join some northern troupes that was expecting to go home soon so I pitched in as was always my way of do, you know. I bought me a suit of blues and had my hair cut short and then made for headquarters and was sworn in as a solder of the first Mich Engineers Mechanics CO D. You bet I fell in spots but went ahead soldiering. They called me little Pete. So the long wished for day came at last. We were mustered out of service and sent to Jackson Mich to be paid off. That was in October. We got there safe the fourth day after leaving Nashville but remember I kept all my clothing through this scene. My trunk was a large traveling trunk as large as that chest of yours. I has it put with the officer’s baggages and a sabre put on it so it taken care of as a Captain’s trunk. After we were paid I went to a secret place and changed my clothes and came out in my own dress. I got a boarding place and stopped in Jackson about one week. You wonder if I had any friends to assist me I did and some that proved to be true up to the present time and where I am now no one knows anything about this only one. I am now living a quiet life with everything comfortable and nice more so than ever before. Miss Trail, you know I was accused of bad conduct but that was all false for I never was guilty of a bad act before I left there but I was so down hearted that I did not care what became of me and I knew that a great many believed me to be guilty so I thought I would go where I could weave the gain as well as bear the name and I done so. Well, who will have it to answer for is why the Whites in general I hope curses my fall one their heads up their death as for my babe, I hope she never will hear of the misconduct of her mother. I hope they may raise her up in the way she ought to go as though she had no mother. If they ever tell her of me, I hope it told to her as not knowing anything only when I was young and innocent girl. She has my picture of innocence that is all I want her to know of me…
Direct your letters to B. A. White, AuSable, Iosco, Cou, Michigan

05-21-2009, 04:00 PM
Office of Notary Public
Bath Morgan Co, West VA
March 14th, 1868

Henry Ambrose charges his wife, Eliza, with adultery with Col. Campbell at Sir Johns Run while he was in command of a position of Federal Forces during the late civil war.

…On one occasion I was in the office of Col. Campbell at Sir John’s Run when Mrs. Ambrose came into the office and she requested me to leave the office as she had some secret conversation with Col. Campbell. I left immediately and the door was closed after me. She remained there in the office some two or three hours. There was a lounge in the room somewhat serving the purpose of a bed and the room seemed to be darkened by the curtains being drawn at the windows. Her frequent visits to Col. Campbell were the subject of much talk with the soldiers and citizens and the impression seemed to be that an improper intercourse was going on between them…

…The relations between Col. Campbell and Mrs. Ambrose were the subject of much talk in the neighbourhood and strong impression existed that there was an improper intercourse between them…

…I was much struck with her conduct…and her conduct to a young and single man. I saw her hugging him, sitting on his lap, stroking his face with her hands, her face near unto his judging them to be kissing. Altogether her conduct struck me as unbecoming and unworthy of a married woman. I never saw a young single woman worse after a single man than Mrs. Ambrose was after this young man…

05-21-2009, 04:01 PM
Nov 13th, 1861
T. Curlze
Justice of the Peace
Erie, Erie County, PA

To the Manger of the House of Refuge of Western Pennsylvania.
…Martha Warner...is of the age of fifteen years, that she is unmanageable and beyond the control of her mother and other relations, that she is of an abandoned character, parading the streets of Erie during the night time in company of vicious young men, that she does not follow the ways of chastity and virtue, but follows men in order to gratify her depraved passions, and that it is impossible for her relations to bring her back to the path of virtue, and that the welfare of said Martha Warner requires that she should be placed in the guardianship of the managers of the House of Refuge…

05-21-2009, 04:01 PM
Aug 13, 1864
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

…Emma Jane Mecum…did dispose and say that a certain William D. Myers of the township of Muncy…on or about the sixth day of April A.D. one thousand and eight hundred and sixty-three in the dwelling house on the floor at the residence of the said William D. Myers in the township of Muncy did then and there deliberately wickedly, willfully, maliciously, and feloniously by force and violence, assault and with illicit commission, carnally know, ravish, debauch and deflower a certain Emma Jane then living with the family of the said William D. Myers, against her will. She said William D. Myers (being a married man and having a wife in full life) did commit adultery with her the said Emma Jane Mecum at the time of the carnal knowledge aforesaid and at divers other times since…

Hank Trent
05-21-2009, 09:58 PM
I bought me a suit of blues and had my hair cut short and then made for headquarters and was sworn in as a solder of the first Mich Engineers Mechanics CO D. You bet I fell in spots but went ahead soldiering. They called me little Pete. So the long wished for day came at last. We were mustered out of service and sent to Jackson Mich to be paid off. That was in October.

Sure enough, that would have been in the fall of 1865:

The regiment received orders to march to Louisville, KY. On June 6th, and hence to Nashville, TN. There were stationed there from the 1st of July until 22nd of September, where they were used to construct better defenses. The unit was mustered out on Sept. 2, 1865, and marched back to Jackson, Michigan, arriving there Oct. 1, 1865. The solders were then paid and disbanded. Source (http://www.1stmichiganengineers.com/cwhistory.html).

Looks like there are enough sources such as this (http://books.google.com/books?id=0p28pSEoshIC&pg=PA323&lpg=PR7&output=html), so it might be possible to come up with some guesses, through process of elimination, who she was in a list of "men" mustered out.

Hank Trent

05-22-2009, 09:25 AM
Looks like there are enough sources such as this, so it might be possible to come up with some guesses, through process of elimination, who she was in a list of "men" mustered out.

Hank Trent

I had a friend who is into genealogy try to find more info on Miss White but she was unable to come up with anything.
I also checked the CW data base and was unable to find any "Pete" whose enlistment fit her description.

05-22-2009, 02:01 PM
Sex? whats that? LOL

05-24-2009, 02:38 PM
It seems like yamyam was a common term for sex? does anybody have any documentation for this other than the two letters already posted that mention it?