0.3 linear feet
The papers of Thankful O. Jones reflect the private interests and concerns of a nineteenth century woman and members of her family who lived variously in New York, Missouri, Illinois, and Michigan. The collection includes correspondence sent to Thankful Jones from her siblings and children, but does not contain any of her own writings.
The bulk of the letters was written by Harlem B. Jones during his service in the Civil War. Writing to his mother and sister Emily on a weekly or semi-weekly basis, Harlem describes in detail his unfavorable impressions of camp life; his observations on the military strategies of Stonewall Jackson, Joe Hooker, and Ambrose Burnside; and his participation in the battle of Bull Run and the assault on Baton Rouge. Harlem also relates briefly his impression of Washington, DC, Abraham Lincoln, and the Presidential Election of 1864.
Also included are Civil War letters from Thankful Jones's step-son, Amos S. Jones, and from her nephew, Nelson C. Burch. These letters pertain largely to family news and interests.
Thankful Jones also maintained extensive correspondence with her brother Varnum D. Burch of Madison County, Illinois and Jefferson City, Missouri, following the Civil War. These letters reflect a variety of topics, ranging from health and living conditions to the anguish caused by a sexual indiscretion and the subsequent relations with an illegitimate child. Other correspondents of the Burch family include Sabina Burch and Lucy R. (Burch) Jones, sisters of Thankful; nephews Nelson C. Burch of Jefferson City and John C. Burch of Crawfordsville, Indiana; niece Celestia A. Moore, Abbie R. Flagg, and Hattie Willard; and F. A. Willett, a brother-in-law. Several letters from Thankful's son Asa reflect his life in Maple Rapids, Michigan in the 1890s; and those of Libbie Anderson document Thankful Jones' interest in the Woman's Relief Corps of Maple Rapids.
The collection also contains numerous military documents reflecting the Civil War service of Harlem and J. Eli Jones, as well as numerous deeds and estate papers of William Jones. Thankful Jones's efforts to settle her husband's estate and to secure the pension of her son Harlem are reflected in her business and military service correspondence. The papers also contain some Jones family biographical and genealogical material.
The collection also includes some papers of the Matthews-Owen family of Pittsford, New York and Owosso, Shiawassee County, Michigan. Included are some military papers of Henry Matthews and several letters to Mary Ann Matthews from her sister Abigail L. Ely and cousin Julia Owen, dating from 1835 to 1841. The relationship of this family with that of Thankful O. Jones remains unclear, but the papers do reflect conditions in Penfield and Fairport, New York in the 1830s and 1840s. Among the letters is an account of a duel in Washington, DC in 1838.