Dear Keziah, I Heard from a Cousin Today

Company 1-B 154th Regiment

Keziah, after my previous blog called Pieces of the Puzzle, I’m receiving some exciting exchanges and confirmations of the genealogy through many DNA Matches. I was so glad to receive the copy of a letter from Milton Gibbs even though it was dated November 27, 1862. When reading Pieces of the Puzzle Joshua was the youngest son of Abraham and Keziah and brother to my Great Grandfather Isaac. Joshua was 16 when he joined his brothers fighting in the Revolutionary War. In his letter we learned that he, Joshua and Isaac had gone to Canada. Then when Joshua was leaving to come back to the USA with his boys, Myron and Hiram E., they were captured and and rather than go to prison fought for the British. Joshua’s son Myron D Gibbs was born Jan 26, 1796 in Vermont. He lived to be 97. But my attention is now on Myron Gibb’s son Milton who was born in 1841 at Brookville, Pennsylvania the oldest of 9 children. Milton joined the 154th Regiment, New York Company B and was a private. (Records of U.S. Civil War Soldiers), fighting on the Union side. My thoughts on reading the letter: Milton was well educated to read and write and was a very empathetic person, concerned for his family and wishing for news. The letter was written to his cousin Ann, daughter of his uncle Hiram Gibbs. (Original letter passed down and saved by the descendants of Sarah Josephine Hooker Nebbit. Obtained from Roxanne Larsen, saved and transcribed by Jerry Hooker, Jan. 2018) Some of the letter was redacted, I’m imagining for secrecy during the Civil War.

___________, Virginia

November 27, 1862

Dear Cousin;

_____ save this opportunity to inform you that Nathan and myself are well at present. Our new regiment arrived in this state October 2. Well since then we had plenty of marching to do. I believe I had informed you before that Nathan and myself both _____ take inthe regiment that my sisters husband belonged to. Our regiment hasn’t seen battle yet, but we have been near enough to hear the cannon roar several times, but that was near enough for me. I have crossed the ____ battle field twice. It’s a hard sight to behold the ground is completely covered with graves. there is a good many that was never buried at all. I think the state of Virginia is paying a dear penalty for trying to break away from the best government that ever existed as far as I have seen. The country is laid to waste the finest that once blessed with plenty now affords ____places for our soldiers. The cozy cottages that once resounded with the merry laughs of the gay and happy are now for hospitals to accommodate our sick and wounded. O what a change it makes me feel homesick sometimes to behold the wide spread desolation. the weather has been very beautiful here this fall. There has been only three storms since we came here. One was a snow storm onthe 7th of the month and the ground froze the first time. I think Amelia will visit home in Michigan this winter. Poor girl, am sorry for her she is very lonely since George enlisted. I received a letter from home and one from Alvira last week. They are all well. I wish when you write you would send me your brothers adders also Ellens. Hers I have forgotten. I should like to hear from them all,

Yours with respect, Milton Gibbs to Ann Gibbs

Address to Milton Gibbs, company 1-B, 154th regiment No. ____ D.B. Allen, Washington D.C. Fathers address is Frankenmuth, Saginaw County, Michigan, Aliviras is Otsego, Pointe County Michigan.

Milton Gibbs 1841-1909

Milton survived all the horrors of the war but on his Civil War Pension he was listed as an invalid in 1865. His widow, Mary would apply for it Mar 12, 1909 which would confirm his death Jan 19, 1909 at Shawnee, Park County, Colorado.

Milton married Mary Elizabeth Bedell. 1862 and the couple had their first children Myron Richard in 1862. and is listed on the 1870 Census, after the war ended at Duncombe Station, Washington, Webster, Iowa, with his wife and children Miron aged 8 and Cora a baby, born in 1870. Next came Clarence Elmer, Minnie May and Verona Blanch.

And now my heart aches for this 4th cousin 2x removed. The newspaper record was titled A Sad Record of Death — We are all liable to murmur and complain when the icy hand of death destroys even the least bud of promise in our homes, but when an entire household of beautiful and interesting children is swept away, what human agency is sufficiently potent to assuage the sorrows of the grief stricken soul. David in the depths of his despair cried unto the living God, “Be merciful unto me O, God, be merciful unto me, for my soul trusteth in thee; yea, in the shadow of they wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be over past.”

All died of diphtheria, the children on Milton Gibbs and Mary E. Gibbs, Duncombe Station, Iowa, within two weeks of themselves in 1876.

April 5th, Myron Richard Gibbs aged 14 years, 9 months and 10 days

April 8th Minnie May Gibbs aged 3 years, 2 months and 1 day

April 10th Cora Adda Gibbs aged 7 years, 6 months and 5 days.

April 14th Clarence Elmer Gibbs aged 3 years 11 months and 22 days

April 18th Verona Blanch Gibbs the last of the flock, aged 1 year 2 months and 4 days.

Milton and Mary moved and on August 12, 1878 welcomed a baby son back into their sorrowing arms Calvin Deloss Gibbs and on the 1900 census were at Chase, Park, Colorado, farmer age 59, Mary 59 , and son Calvin D. Gibbs age 21. The Civil War soldier was to die there in 1909 and was buried on Forest Service Land above the Shawnee, Park, Colorado. I am thanking LuAnn Hacking Hazelwood for the pictures and information found on Findagrave.com.

I and my children were all vaccinated for diphtheria. In 1876 there was nothing to be done, as it wasn’t till 1885 doctors learned to intubate and a vaccination was discovered in 1891 but wasn’t used till 1910 and not largely used until 1930 In 1943 an outbreak accompanied war in Europe. 1 million cases resulted in 50,000 deaths. There were still outbreaks of diphtheria, one being in Nome, Alaska and the “Great Race of Mercy” to deliver diphtheria antitoxin is now celebrated by the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Who Knew that fact? The symptoms: a severe sore throat and fever, grey patches in the throat block the airways and create a croup like barking cough, with swelling of the lymph nodes. It was spread through direct contact and through the air and some people spread it being asymptomatic.

Here I am in 2020 with a corona-virus pandemic spreading world wide with a promising vaccination on the horizon. Many are saying they will refuse it. I have no doubt that Milton and Mary would have welcomed the chance to vaccinate their children and when I roll up my sleeve I’ll remind myself of his story. RIP Milton and children.

Milton Gibss aged 67 1841-1909

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