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Haley Family Letters

This slideshow contains 19 items
1
William Haley letter to son in Sebago, 1864

William Haley letter to son in Sebago, 1864

Item 63410 info
Sebago Historical Society

William Haley writes from the hospital in Camp Keyes in Augusta where he is recovering from the illness he contracted in Louisana.

In this letter to his son John, age 12, his concern about his farm and family are evident. He talks about weaning the colt and cutting the wheat and includes messages for John to give to his sisters.

He asks John to "kiss billy (his younger brother) for me."


2
William Haley letter on army camp, 1864

William Haley letter on army camp, 1864

Item 67446 info
Sebago Historical Society

William Haley Jr., still at the General Hospital at Camp Keyes in Augusta, writes to his daughter Elzira, 14, and her cousin Mary.

He mentions that he has read the Maine Farmer newspaper indicating that he still follows the farm news even though he's away from home.

He asks them to "Tell mother I want her to send some good apples if there is any."

His letter is dated September 1 perhaps a little early for apples.


3
William Haley Letter to his Daughter Elzira, 1864

William Haley Letter to his Daughter Elzira, 1864

Item 67486 info
Sebago Historical Society

In a letter dated October 9, still at Camp Keyes, William Haley writes to his daughter Elzira that men are leaving his ward and going back to the war.

He speculates that he will be "examined" this week. He mentions that he has dreamed of being at home a number of times, "I should like to have them come to pass."

This is the only time in his letters that he clearly states his desire to be home with his family.


4
William Haley Jr. letter from New York to his wife Miriam, 1864

William Haley Jr. letter from New York to his wife Miriam, 1864

Item 67546 info
Sebago Historical Society

Writing on October 29 from New York to his wife, Miriam, William Haley is on his way back to his regiment.

He describes his journey by boat and train, mentioning that he's traveling with 60-70 men including Nathan Wight also from Sebago.

He expects to leave on the train at six in the evening and plans to go "out to Washington and have this business settled up."


5
Wm. Haley Jr. to daughter and niece, Alexandria, Va., 1864

Wm. Haley Jr. to daughter and niece, Alexandria, Va., 1864

Item 67547 info
Sebago Historical Society

William Haley writes to his daughter and niece from "Camp Destribution" near Alexandria, Virginia.

He works in support services behind the lines, which was often the case with soldiers who had been ill. He is working in the cook house while he waits to join a regiment.

He remarks that "it makes no difference what we was market fore they will send us whare they please." He goes on to say that his brother-in-law, "Uncle Charles was marked for the defences but they sent him to his Regt."

He has written to the girls on the back of a song tract, "The Battle of Gettysburg" set to the tune of "While everything is lovely and the Goose hangs high."

Soldiers could purchase 14 copies of these printed ballads for fifty cents with no charge for postage.


6
Letter from Lorenzo Gammon to his cousin in Sebago, 1864

Letter from Lorenzo Gammon to his cousin in Sebago, 1864

Item 67548 info
Sebago Historical Society

Lorenzo Gammon, whose mother is Miriam Haley's sister, joined a Massachusetts regiment, perhaps because the bounty was higher.

He writes to his cousin Elzira that he has visited the 32nd Maine Regiment and mentions that the 30th Maine is in the Shenandoah Valley.


7
Letter from Wm. Haley Jr. to his daughter, Elzira,  1865

Letter from Wm. Haley Jr. to his daughter, Elzira, 1865

Item 67669 info
Sebago Historical Society

Haley, now in Winchester, Virginia, writes to Elzira that he had gone to bed for the night when the mail came but he got up to read her letter he was so glad to hear from her.

He states that he is now on picket duty. He mentions that her Uncle Charles (Davis) has come by to visit with Kollock (Horace Kollock's father) who is going home on "a furlow tomorrow." This is the furlough Horace mentions in his letter.

He also asks for clothing (socks and mittens) and describes how they have built their quarters.


8
Letter from William Haley Jr, in Winchester, VA to his wife Miriam, 1865

Letter from William Haley Jr, in Winchester, VA to his wife Miriam, 1865

Item 67745 info
Sebago Historical Society

In a letter dated April 1, William mentions his worries about a new law changing state aid.

The Maine Legislature authorized towns to pay "State Aid" to dependent families of volunteers, funds that would be reimbursed by the State to towns.

The average amount paid to Haley's wife, Miriam, would be 75 cents a week and the aid to each child under 15 was 50 cents a week.

He states that there are rumors that the army has captured Petersburg and that Lee "had come over into our lines & was holding a council with Grant and Lincon."


9
William Haley Jr. letter to his wife Miriam, Winchester, Va., 1865

William Haley Jr. letter to his wife Miriam, Winchester, Va., 1865

Item 67840 info
Sebago Historical Society

Besides describing the ambulances, in this letter Haley also gives advice on how to care for a sore that one of the farm oxen has on its leg.

He says, "get some cast steel soap" and wash it every day and "after washing it out put some grese on it."


10
William Haley, Jr. letter to his wife, Miriam,  1865

William Haley, Jr. letter to his wife, Miriam, 1865

Item 67862 info
Sebago Historical Society

Writing on April 25, 1865 William Haley is near Washington D.C. and states "there is a report that they have caught Booth the murderer of Lincoln...I hope that it is so I should like to see that villing strung up, he will be & a number more if they catch them."

Ever the farmer, he responds to Miriam's remark that the grass seed was high. "It is verry high but do not scant the quantity any for that light ground wants more than the wetter ground."

He closes, in a rare demonstration of affection, "give my love to the children & take a share for yourself."


11
William Haley, Jr. letter to his wife, Miriam, near Washington, D.C., 1865

William Haley, Jr. letter to his wife, Miriam, near Washington, D.C., 1865

Item 67902 info
Sebago Historical Society

William Haley writes on May 14 that Jefferson Davis and his staff have been captured "in Georgy bully for that."

He states that General Sheridan paid a visit and "the soldiers cheered him good."

He speculates on when he will be sent home stating, "I think the Government does not want us any longer."


12
Elzira Haley letter to her father, William Haley Jr.,  1865

Elzira Haley letter to her father, William Haley Jr., 1865

Item 67891 info
Sebago Historical Society

On June 18, Elzira writes that her youngest brother Billy (less than a year old) has been sick and quite feverish but he is "better today & has not had any of them spells yet."

She signs her letter with her family nickname Elsie.


13
Miriam Haley letter to William Haley Jr.,  1865

Miriam Haley letter to William Haley Jr., 1865

Item 68020 info
Sebago Historical Society

Miriam writes on the same day as Elzira to let William know about Billy's health saying she doesn't "want to alarm him but I thought you ought to know."

She and her brother-in-law, Seth Douglas, took Billy to see the doctor, whom she calls the old pirate, who gives a mysterious diagnosis of a "contraction with the head and the stomach which causes fits."

She also visits a Dr. Bonny who gives contradictory advice. She decides to try Dr. Robins' medicine for a while saying that she wants "to have all the faith I can for you know I never had much in him," an agonizing decision for her to make without her husband there to help.

Miriam continues with news about the farm. But she does not have to manage it alone; relatives help out and she has a hired man named Joe.

She closes with some good news about their daughter Sarah who turned 6 the day before and is the "smartest reader in her class."


14
Letter from Miriam Haley to William Haley, Jr., Sebago, 1865

Letter from Miriam Haley to William Haley, Jr., Sebago, 1865

Item 68147 info
Sebago Historical Society

Miriam writes on June 28 that Billy is better. She took him back to the doctor who said he thought he was better. She states emphatically, "I know he is."

She mentions that she tried to take him to meeting in the morning but he had "so much business" she took him out for a walk.

She adds a note to the letter on Monday morning, "We have milked and churned... so good morning."


15
Letter from Miriam Haley to her husband William, 1865

Letter from Miriam Haley to her husband William, 1865

Item 68443 info
Sebago Historical Society

Miriam reports that Billy continues better, not having had a fit for two weeks. She mentions that it is July 2 and she is thinking of William's birthday. He turned 40.

She is anxious for a letter from him. It has been two weeks since the last one.

Her letter is filled with farm and weather news. She is quite proud of "what I have done with my cows" making butter to sell and two cheeses "to eat through haying."

She wishes he could have a taste of it but adds stoically "but it is no use to wish."


16
Letter from Miriam Haley to her husband William, 1865

Letter from Miriam Haley to her husband William, 1865

Item 68446 info
Sebago Historical Society

On July 9 Miriam writes that Billy has had a slight relapse of his illness but his spasms are not "so bad as they was before."

She says he is learning to talk and "will say all the Alphabet quite plain."

The money he sent arrived safely and she states "I shall be as prudent of it as I can." She lists the bills they owe and says "I must pay with my butter."

She mentions that her nephew Lorenzo (Gammon) is on his way home.


17
William Haley letter from Savannah to his daughter Elzira, 1865

William Haley letter from Savannah to his daughter Elzira, 1865

Item 68524 info
Sebago Historical Society

William writes Elzira on July 10 that he has been sick with colic and "then the Diarreah sot in." He takes only a few of the doctor's pills and cures himself with brandy and sugar.

He includes some parental advice saying he hopes she has a good teacher because he wants her to improve all she can.

He intends for her to go to school in the fall in Gorham but "untill I get home I want you to stay with Mother & help her all you can be a good girl and you will not loose anything by it."


18
Letter from William Haley to his daughter Elzira, 1865

Letter from William Haley to his daughter Elzira, 1865

Item 68529 info
Sebago Historical Society

William starts this letter July 31 and finishes it August 2.

He writes that he is well and spends and has been on patroll in Savannah with his regiment.

He wonders why Elzira did not get a ten dollar bill he thought he sent but is going to send another one along with an additional five dollar bill.

His concern with the farm is evident. He asks many questions about the haying, the other crops and the colt and the cattle. He instructs her to "tell Joseph to girt the oxen & steers & write me how large they are."

William was mustered out of the infantry with his company less than two weeks later on August 20, 1865 and went home to his farm and family.

He lived to age 72 finally succumbing to the illness he contracted while fighting in Louisiana.


19
William Haley, Jr. farmhouse, Sebago, ca. 1890

William Haley, Jr. farmhouse, Sebago, ca. 1890

Item 70027 info
Sebago Historical Society

The Haley Family Farm, still inhabited, has a three-story barn and many bedrooms. William and Miriam Haley are buried farther down Convene Road in Haley Cemetery.


This slideshow contains 19 items