Old Letter Comes to Light Telling of Days When Fighting Came to County
Source: Hyde County Herald, January, 1953
Contributed by Merlin S. Berry

The war (w)as close to the people of Hyde County 91 years ago; closer in most respects than today. An old letter recently come to light and in possession of J. L. Tunnell, popular Swan Quarter merchant, tells of sickness and fever, and soldiers, and so on. The letter was by Charity A. Swindell, the grandmother of Mr. Tunnell, and it was written to her mother, living in another part of the county. The writing is fine spencerian hand, looking like a steel engraving. The paper is unfaded and the ink freshly black. Here is the letter:

Oct. 14, 1861

Dear Mother:
I seat myself this evening to write you a few lines, to inform you that we are all well at this time, and hope you and all of Fredís family are enjoying the same blessing. We have not got the measels yet, but they are all around us, Sam Jones has them and Mr. Carawan, and Mr. Henry Jones folks, they got them from the soldiers, that came down from up the county. My soldier boys are all well. Lewis has joined captain Leuths [Leith's] company. They are getting up another company, and have elected Brock captain, they have about 90 made up, and if they get enough he will accept the office. We are not as scared of the yankees as we were, we have so many soldiers down here, and expect more, we are looking for a cavalry company this week end, and hope we can put the yankees through if they come. I have been to Lake Landing once to see the soldiers drill, they look very nice. I reckon you have heard of the death of Ben Swindell, he died here, he was sick three weeks, he had the typhoid fever. Mr. Bond and Margaret are down paying us a visit. Sudy Owens has a fine daughter. Johns family are all well. Tell Sophia I have got me some homespun dresses, they are not pretty but they are good and strong. You ought to see little Annie she is so pretty and sweet. Harding says he wishes grandmother would come here. George says tell Charles how do for him. It is getting late and I must close by giving my love to Fred and Sophia and the children. You must write me soon and let me know how you all are. My love to you, I remain your affectionate daughter.
Charity A. Swindell

On the opposite side of the above letter, the letter below was written:

Oct. 14, 1861

Dear Grand Mother:
I take the pleasure to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well at present. I am staying home tonight for the first since I volunteered. I like soldiering very well so far. We are building a battery at Swan Quarter. Give my love to uncle Fred and aunt Sophia and receive a portion for yourself. I must close by saying, I remain your affectionate son.
Lewis L. Swindell

People Mentioned in Letter:

Author: Charity Ann (Farrow) Swindell (1820-1892) - d/o Miles & Lydia (Watson) Farrow; w/o Leroy Merritt Swindell (1809-1876).

Mother: Lydia (Watson) Farrow - w/o Miles Farrow.

Grandson: Lewis Leroy Swindell (1842-1922) - s/o Leroy Merritt & Charity Ann (Farrow) Swindell; h/o Emma N. (Tunnell) Swindell (1852-1934). Farmer. Served as Private, (1st) Co. B, 17th Regt., NC Infantry, Sergeant, Co. H, 33rd Regt., NC Infantry, Sergeant, Swindellís Partisan Rangers.

Captain Leuths (sic): James J. Leith, (c.1827-1864) Farmer. Captain, in Co. B, 17th NC Infantry. Killed on 2/2/64 Newport Barracks, VA.

Brock: William Miles "Brock" Swindell, (1840-1862) f. Leroy Merritt Swindell. m. Charity Ann Farrow. Teacher. Served as 2nd Lieutenant in Co. B, 17th NC Infantry; Captain in Co. H, 33rd NC Infantry. Killed Aug. 9, 1862 at Cedar Run, Va.

Copyright 2005

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