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20 May 2014

#20-52ancestors: Mystery Lady in Civil War Letter

#20-52ancestors:   Mystery Lady in Civil War Letter

William Clark Endicott (1839-1922)

Camp Rossville, Georgia
March the 8th, 1864

Ever Respected Father:
I take the present opportunity of sending you a few lines to let you know that I am well and I sincerely hope that when these few lines may come to hand that they may find you enjoying the same Blessing. We are back at our Old Camp. We found the boys all well, there is not a sick man in our Company and I do not know of one in the Regiment. We have plenty to eat and very light duty. We have just got things in working order. The recruits are drilling this morning. We have over 100 men in our company.

I wish that you would send me some Postage Stamps for I came to Chattanooga without any, intending to get them there and when I got there I could not get them for they had none in the town. If you can send me a dollar’s worth it will do me for a while. If not, the letters will be few and far between that I will write to any one for a while.

I want you to trade that sorrel off if you have not done it and work the bay all the time you can make them earn their feed if possible.

Tell the rest of the folks that I will write as soon as I can if not sooner . . . if they do not get disheartened and too soon. I got a letter from Aunt Vilet [sic] when I came back, but it was written before the one that you got while I was home and there was nothing interesting in it.

We have very plesant [sic] weather here now. Give my best respects to all inquiring friends and my love to grandmother and Aunts and Cousins.

Please write soon. Direct to Nashville, Tennessee, in care of Capt. Wilson, Co. E, 10th Illinois Infantry. [Capt. Wilson probably was Samuel J. Wilson, also of Henderson County, Illinois, who later was promoted to major].

Signed: William C. Endicott
To: Joseph Endicott (his father)

Henderson County, Illinois

About the author of this letter: William Clark Endicott enlisted as a private in Union Army in May of 1861 in Henderson County, Illinois. He served in the 10th Illinois Infantry, which went into forays into Kentucky and Missouri to break up Rebel camps; went to New Madrid, Missouri with Pope’s Army; to Nashville and supported General William T. Sherman in his attack on Missionary Ridge, pursued the Confederates to Ringgold, Catoosa County, Georgia; marched to the relief of Knoxville, Tennessee, returned to Chattanooga, Tennessee and winter quartered in the rear at Rossville, Walker County, Georgia from where he wrote this letter and also where re-enlisted. Later his outfit took  part in the campaign against Atlanta and was with General Sherman on his historic “March to the Sea” and until the close of the war. William Clark Endicott was mustered out 4 July 1865 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Sometime after the war he went to Missouri where he married Mary Jane Bass 17 September 1867 in Dallas County. They had 12 children and eventually removed to eastern Oregon. William Clark Endicott was the only known child of Joseph Endicott (1815-after 1870) and Lydia Clark, who died before 1850. A great deal of genealogical work has been done on Joseph Endicott and his New Jersey and New England lineage.

William's father, Joseph Endicott, had seven known siblings — four sisters and three brothers. Names of their spouses have been identified. None of them are named Violet. Not much is known about William's mother, Lydia Clark, who died young, or about her family. So who is this ‘Aunt Vilet” that William Clark Endicott refers to in the letter? She appears to be connected to the Endicott side of the family. Is her name Violet or is “Vilet” just a variant spelling, perhaps a nickname or a middle name? Is she a real aunt, a grandaunt or a cousin that he called aunt? Or none of the above? The name must have a special meaning for William Clark Endicott as he named his first-born child, Violet Ann.



The longer I’m engaged in genealogical research, the more I see its similarities to baseball. Our ancestors and their records are crafty pitchers, constantly hurling a variety of challenges at us. I think I just took a swing and missed a slurve ball on "Aunt Vilet."



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