For instance, the thing that I found most interesting during my research and writing of The Two Civil War Battles of Newtonia was Mary Grabill's letter to her daughters, written years after the fact, detailing her experiences during the war. In fact, I tried to use Mary and her experiences as the connecting thread throughout the various chapters of my book.
Mary was a young woman (age 22 I believe) at the outset of the war, newly married to E. H. Grabill, a Newtonia merchant, and the family lived in Newtonia throughout most of the war. Even though her letter was probably written around 1900, many years after the close of the war, she recalled many of her experiences quite vividly, and her reminisciences shed light on not just what life was like in Newtonia during the war but what it must have been like for other people like Mary and her family in other parts of Missouri. Mary mostly talked about the hardships she and her family endured (because hardship was mostly what the Civil War was all about), but I found it interesting that she also mentioned some of the high points or pleasurable experiences that the war brought about. For instance, she commented on the pleasant visits and conversations that she and her husband occasionally had with Union officers and their wives, refined people that she might not otherwise have encountered had the officers not been stationed at Newtonia.
Mary and her husband continued to live in Newtonia for several years after the war, then moved to Springfield, where Mary died in 1912. She is buried at Maple Park Cemetery in Springfield.
Labels: Newtonia battles