Self-Defined Family Historian

Charles Porter Wynn, the Great-Grandfather Porter is named after

I’ve decided two things:  going after a formal MFA is not a prudent thing to do right now, and I’m going to start in earnest on documenting family history.  I’m getting digital shots of all the old photos I can as quickly as I can, I’m working on the family tree, and I’m going to collect as much of the family lore as possible, as well.

Yesterday after the strawberry patch, Daddy let me go through the old trunk in their basement.  I struck gold!  Found the original Civil War letters from which I quoted the other day.  I was heartbroken, though, to see that they’d been laminated probably twenty or more years ago.  Jared, ever thinking with his librarian cap, says that it may not be as disastrous as it looks, that a real preservationist might be able to restore them anyway someday.

There were more Civil War letters, part of one I don’t mind sharing here:

Goldsboro, N.C.

Aug. the 6, 1863

Dear Mother and family (sic.),

I take the pleasure of writing you a few lines to let you know that I am well at present, hoping when this comes to hand, that it may find you all well.

Times is hard here.  We get plenty to eat yet.  We get a quarter of a pound of meat and a pound and a quarter of meal a day, and peas and sugar, and a day’s rashions (sic.) of flour every four days.  I hear that the rashion (sic.) is goint (sic.) to be reduced.  We get potatoes here at a dollar per bushel.  Crops look tolerable well.

Our company is doing provose (sic.) guard duty at Goldsboro now, guarding the cars and prisoners, North Carolina deserters.  They desert by hold (sic.) companies at a time.  There is some twenty five or thirty in the guard house now and some comes and goes every day.  If they keep on, it will take one third of our army to guard the deserters.

The Yankees is trying to get to Richmond again.  (?) Haucker has got between Gen. Lee and Richmond.  All of the troops from around here has gone to Fredericksburg.  There is going to be hard fighting up there this spring and summer.  We may stay here six months.

(I’m editing a little out here.  Will preserve in family documents.)

J. P. says tell his mother that he is well and has got whiskers.  Tell the Georgia gals that they need not wait for me and John.  (Original transcriber says they left off a last sentence in this paragraph.)

Mother, I send you five dollars in this letter.  Let me know whether you get it or not.

So I will close for this time.  I remain

Your affectionate son,



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One response to “Self-Defined Family Historian”

  1. Didn’t put two and two together at the time I was transcribing the letter, but the one I quoted in this post was written by my great-great-grandfather. And one of the girls must have waited for him, because he got married in 1865.

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