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Saving history, one letter at a time…

1862: Alvin M. Brown to Daniel Tombaugh

How might have looked

How Alvin Brown might have looked

This letter was written by 18 year-old Private Alvin M. Brown (1844-1863), the son of Jacob C. Brown (1814-1891) and Sarah Price (1816-1848). However, Alvin and his older brother, George W. Brown (1840-1930), were brought up on the farm of Daniel Tombaugh (1818-1891) and his wife Mary Ann of West Independence, Hancock County, Ohio.† Having no children of their own the Tombaugh’s raised and educated both brothers. About 1855, Mr. Tombaugh sold out and moved to Stark County, Ohio, and located three-fourths of a mile from Louisville.

The letter was written not long after Alvin joined Company H, 107th Ohio. Alvin served with his regiment during the ensuing year but was killed at the battle of Chancellorsville on 2 May 1863. The 107th Ohio served in Maj-Gen. Oliver O. Howard’s XI Corps during the Battle of Chancellorsville which had the ignomonious distinction of being “rolled up” in the flank attack by Confederate General Stonewall Jackson’s men.

Other letters by Alvin Brown and his brother George may be found here.

1862 Letter

1862 Letter

Addressed to Daniel Tombaugh, Louisville, Stark County, Ohio
Soldiers Letter, W. Koch, 107th Ohio

Camp Wallace
September 25th 1862

Dear Father,

I am well at present and I hope that these few lines will find you the same.

On Monday, I and Jacob Royer ¹ left Louisville for to go to Cleveland. When we came to Alliance, we met Tony Moffit and he told us that the regiment had left for Kentucky. We came back to Louisville on the one o’clock train but we went straight ahead without stopping. We came to Crestline about five o’clock in the evening.

We went to Conrad Tombaugh’s and got supper. They gave us some cheese and about two dozen cooked eggs and a lot of crackers which we took along.

[No signature]

¹ Jacob Royer’s name sometimes appears as Jacob Roger in company records.

† A descendant of Jacob C. Brown writes the following:

“Jacob C. Brown was my great great great grandfather. What I know of him is from a combination of his granddaughter Eliza Hollis’ writings and my research through census and other online records, including from Google Books: Portrait and Biography of Stark County Ohio which contains a short biography of Jacob’s son George.

Jacob was born in Ohio, and was of German ancestry. Growing up on a farm, he was later trained as a mason. He and Sarah Price married about 1835, and had five children: Martha, Eliza, George, William, and Alvin. Sarah’s health likely began to fail sometime after 1844, and she died of consumption (tuberculosis) in 1848. It was during her illness that Jacob and Sarah’s children were separated, likely because of the difficulty in caring for them. Martha was sent to neighbors who eventually moved into the woods of Ohio. George and Alvin were sent to live with the Tombaugh family. I do not know where Eliza and William were during this time.

After Sarah died, Jacob remarried. In the 1850 census he is living in Ohio with a woman, Unice, and his daughter from his 1st marriage, Eliza. We do not see Unice again, and it is my understanding that she also may have died. Not long after, Jacob marries a third time, to Alvira Hull. Eventually, Jacob tracks down Martha, who is now about 16 years old.

She lives with her father and stepmother for a short time, before she is encouraged to marry Solomon Adams, a shoemaker who was near twice her age. After they have a son, Solomon dies, and Martha and the boy go to live with her uncle, David Brown, in Iowa. There she meets her future husband, John Hollis, and they marry when she is 19 years old.

George and Alvin are raised by a Mr. and Mrs.Tombaugh, who had no children of their own. When the call to arms comes in 1861, George and Alvin both fought for the Union. Alvin dies at Chancellorsville, at the age of 18. George lived through the war, and became a minister, married Sophia Grant (a distant relative of the famous general) and had two children — one of whom died of typhoid after rendering aid to the victims of the famous Johnstown Flood.

We know that Eliza kept in touch with George, because he was apparently visiting her when the call to arms first came in 1861. She married a man by the name of Green. I have no other information about her. What I know of William is from other ancestry members, and is not documented.”

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This entry was posted on April 4, 2014 by .

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My passion is studying American history leading up to & including the Civil War. I particularly enjoy reading, transcribing & researching primary sources such as letters and diaries.

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