Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Decoration Day, 1883

This is a transcription of a letter written by my great-great grandmother, Susan E. Percival Holt nee Davidson to her son, John "Henry" Percival on May 30, 1883:

                                Carthage, Mo. 5‑30/83

Dear Son
        Today is decoration day all over the country, north and south ‑ flowers are strewn over the graves of dead heroes.  I send you the Carthage papers.  Cora and I helped make the arch sent from here to Springfield by the Confederates.  It is a day filled with sad memories to me, here on the hill north of town was fought the first battle your Pa was in and Springfield was another.  After the war this place became so (Rich) they would not let Southern men stay here.  But now there are as many Democrats as Republicans.  Rev. Gould was the only one who waved the "bloody shirt" at memorial service Sunday eve and the "Banner" defended him and made some insulting remarks about Dr. Prosser's speech.  So there is some bad feeling.  Give Col. Child the paper when you read it, as he knows Prosser.  Dear boy, as I sat and wore those flowers yesterday, I thought of Decoration day at Little Rock and wondered whose hands would scatter flowers on one grave where the noblest and best lie buried, one who laid down his young life for what he thought was right and son I thought of his sons grown, out in the world and I know not as years pass on what may be their views as to the right or wrong of the cause he espoused (they are dead issues today).  He was no hireling fighting for wages, but he left home and loved ones to fight for principle he loved dearer than life. God forbid his children should ever be ashamed that he died thus.  I was glad I did not hear Gould's speech, and I hope that ere my children Are as old as I am all trace of the war will be wiped out.  I shall look for you the last of the week.  If you can get a copy of Democrat with Mrs. Bogies' article about Carthage, bring it with you as it has been severely criticized here I want to read it again.

Hoping to see you soon, I remain yours, Mother.

{Blogger's note: Susan Davidson married John Stearns Percival, who was killed outside of Little Rock. I have it from a historian in Little Rock that many of the "rebels" were never buried and such is probably the case for John. I hope Susan never knew this, as I think it would have broken her heart again.}

Copyright 2010-2013, ACK for Gene Notes

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