June 1864

June 1, 1864

In school. Down street. Nothing new. At theater. Sauter here drunk.

June 2, 1864

In school. Rainy. Down street. Got a letter from [cousin] Lucy Stratton. Sent a letter to [my brother] Jim at Pine Bluff. Nothing new. A soldier stole my pipe.

June 3, 1864

Rainy. Boys did not come [to school] today. Down the street. At theatre. Nothing new.

June 4, 1864

Saturday. Down the street. At Mrs. Fulton’s to pay rent ($31.00). At Schreifer’s.  Got drunk with Lange.  Talking about going in with him in a beer saloon. At theatre.

June 5, 1864

Sunday. At home all morning. Down at Wiedemann’s. Lange still wants me to go in [to the saloon business] with him. Went & drank three times (55 cents). At Charley [Berkson’s] in the evening.

June 6, 1864

In school. Closed it today. At store. At theatre. General [Dan] Sickles here.

June 7, 1864

At store all day. Done pretty good business. Took in about twenty dollars. At Theatre.

June 8, 1864

At saloon all day. Did not do well. At theatre.

June 9, 1864

At saloon. Dull all day. Nothing new. At theatre. Mr. Lange came here to store today. (Paid $2.00 for whiskey for Mary.)

June 10, 1864

At saloon. Business very well.

June 11, 1864

At store. Took in twenty five dollars today. At theatre.

June 12, 1864

Sunday. Wrote letter to [my brother] Jim. In store almost all day. Evening, had a quarrel with the niggers – Julian especially. Nothing new.

June 13, 1864

Business pretty good. At theatre.

June 14, 1864

At store. Pretty good business. At theatre. Feel tired out.

June 15, 1864

At store. Business pretty good, but not so good as it might be. At theatre. Sick with diarrhea & [so] is Mr. Lange.

June 16, 1864

At store. Some drunken men there. At theatre. Got a letter from home.

June 17, 1864

At store. Business dull. At theatre.

June 18, 1864

In store. Business dull. At theatre. Had a falling out with niggers.

June 19, 1864

Sunday. At saloon. Wrote a letter home. Got drunk. Egan paid me all he owed me.

June 20, 1864

At saloon. Business tolerable today. Sent letter off. At theatre. Some men have given me a neck tie & a pair of cotton stockings.

June 21, 1864

At saloon. Business dull. At theatre. Got a letter from [my brother] Jim. Said he had sent me one hundred dollars by express. Lange commenced to board with me today.

June 22, 1864

In saloon. Got letter from [my brother] Jim last night. Said he sent me one hundred dollars by express. Went down [the street]. It had been there nearly two weeks. It was one hundred dollar bill. Got it changed at Dodge’s [drug store]. Got a bottle of medicine [5] for Mary.  At theatre.  Got drunk.

June 23, 1864

At saloon. Drunk. At theatre.

June 24, 1864

At saloon. Business not very good. At theatre.

June 25, 1864

At saloon. Dull. At theatre.

June 26, 1864

Sunday. Lange & I went out to the camp of the 43d Illinois.  Then down to store. Pretty good business for Sunday. Very warm. Wrote letter to [my brother] Jim.

June 27, 1864

At store. Business dull. At theatre [and] quit [my job there] tonight.

June 28, 1864

At saloon. Lange sick. Confederate expected in soon. Business not very brisk. Like to get into trouble today.

June 29, 1864

At saloon. At theatre.

June 30, 1864

At saloon. Nothing new.


Union General Dan Sickles, who lost a leg at Gettysburg in July 1863, was sent to Little Rock to monitor the progress in re-establishing local government following the Union occupation.  Sickles’ presence in the city was probably notable to Goodrich because of the notoriety Sickles received in gunning down his wife’s lover in Washington D. C. in 1859.

The only black or mulatto appearing in the 1870 U.S. Census with a residence in Little Rock was grocer Julian Powers, born in Georgia in 1841. It’s not clear if this is whom Goodrich is referring to.

The letter was from Goodrich’s mother who had obviously not received any recent communication from Arkansas where her two sons, Ralph and James, were last known to be. The letter read:

June 5, 1864 Owego, [New York]

My dear Ralph. I do not write to you today because I owe you a letter. I write to you because I want to hear often from you. I even do not know as you will get this for you may have gone from Little Rock before this gets there. Have you had trouble there? I mean in the army trouble. And is [your brother] James still at Pine Bluff? I have not read of any battles there lately. I think his time must be out or nearly so. And I hope he can go to Kansas and go see [your sister] Augusta, and come on home with her. She intends coming [here] in August. And I hope you will be here then.

If you and James want to sell the back lot, you had better come home then. Jack Goodrich will buy it and pay the money down, but [your brother] Stephen wants to buy one share. Land is better property than money, but when this war ends – if it ever does – land will be down as well as money. But you cannot lose all your land. I hoped that James would keep his own and buy yours, and Stephen buy Augusta’s, and so keep it all in our own hands. Stephen could pay Augusta about $200 and the rest would be in interest. James could pay you all, I suppose, if you wanted it, but if in time land should fall [in value] and that land should not be worth more [than] $10 [per acre], he would blame me. It is now worth $25 an acre. Wood and lumber is very high. I wish I could hear from James and know what he thinks about it. I have written to him but do not get any letters from him. If you get this and see James, let him read it. Or if you can send it to him, I wish you would, if he is at Pine Bluff.

We are all usually well today. Your Aunt Lucy [Fiddis] had a letter from [her son] James last week. He is at Ship Island [off the gulf coast of Mississippi] and doing well I should think by his writing. He sent his mother some money. He has not been off the island since he went there and is boss over 25 men.

[Her daughter] Lucy has a large school – over 30 scholars. She now expects to go to the White Mountains in July with a Mr. and Miss Seymour from Smithborough. Miss Seymour is teaching oil painting and Lucy has painted several pieces. She spends every moment she can out of school painting. Miss Seymour has a large class in painting and she teaches music too. The Seymour’s have friends living on or near the mountains. It will not cost Lucy anything after she gets there, so they say. We all advise her to go and I think she will.

Your Aunt Lucy is not very well. She has 7 or 8 boarders. Butter is 36 cents a pound and eggs are 20 cents a dozen. Corn is $1.25 cents a bushel and everything accordingly.

Col. [Benjamin F.] Tracy has resigned. I suppose they are having terrible times near Richmond. Gen. Grant is within 7 miles of the city but many think he will never get in to the city. And if he does not, there will have to be another draft, and what will our country come to? One of Mr. Joe Brink’s sons was killed in one of the last battles.

Russell Gridley was here two or three weeks ago. He enquired about you. He was going west and thought he should read law. [He] did not know but that he should go to Kansas. I cannot think of anything to write more and I must write to Augusta. Hope you can see James and let him read this.

Mr. Bristol is south now. Franklin Hollister and his wife were here last week. They had been west to see his wife’s friends and then came to Owego. They had been up to see Roswell Woodbridge and Mrs. Sackett came down with them and your Aunt Lucy came over with them. Frank is my own cousin. They are from Glastonbury [Connecticut]. He has been here twice before. He came with your Uncle [Elizur]. Your Uncle [Elizur] is living in the same house that he did when Augusta was there. They have a son 5 or 6 weeks old. I have not had a letter from him since last summer. I wish you would write to him.

Monday morning. Ed Stratton came in here last evening and enquired about you and Augusta. From here he went over to see Hellen Bristol but he cannot get her unless her soldier is killed. Ed went to New York [City] last week to buy goods. Cotton goods are a good deal higher than ever [before]. We have to pay 20 cents for brown sugar and 25 cents for white. Goodbye, — Mother

[P.S.] Frank Hollister said James Hollister, brother to Maria, was in Memphis. Perhaps you will see him. We feel very anxious about you. Have not heard in several weeks. Hope all right with you. James Hollister is a merchant at Memphis. His is cousin to you. He went to Minnesota with his brother Sheldon, and has been in the army a year or two.

The letter from James Goodrich read:

June 26, 1864 Pine Bluff [Arkansas]

Dear Brother [Ralph]. I sent you a hundred dollars by express as you wanted I should nearly the first of this [month] – the 4th I think – and it seems that you had not received it when you wrote last by O[rville] Crane. It has gone long enough for you to get it, I think.  I also wrote you a letter at the same time saying I had sent you the money. I sent it by Parker’s Express & paid the expense. Was 75 cents. Now if you get it, I want you to write. And when you get this, if you have not received it, I want to hear from you. I had a letter last week from [or sister] Augusta. They are all well in Kansas. She says that she is going East in August & wants I should go along. I don’t know when we will get out of the service. Our time will be out the 16th of July. There are no knews here that I no of. Write soon.

Your affectionate brother, — James Goodrich [P.S.] Excuse all mistakes. They are all well at home.

A subsequent diary entry suggests this medicine may have been to induce a miscarriage of the six to seven month old fetus Mary was carrying. It is also possible that Mary was suffering from some other illness.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: