Missouri and Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of Missouri, the Ozarks region, and surrounding area.

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Location: Missouri

I'm a freelance writer specializing in the history of the Ozarks and surrounding region. I've written sixteen nonfiction books, two historical novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Wicked Women of Missouri, Yanked Into Eternity: Lynchings and Hangings in Missouri, and Show-Me Atrocities: Infamous Incidents in Missouri History.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mary Grabill

I have a confession. Even though I've written several books and numerous magazine articles about the Civil War, I'm really not very interested in military strategy, troop movements, or what sort of weapons were used during the war. I'm much more interested in the effects that the war had on people, both soldiers and civilians.
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.



Anonymous Marie Griffin said...

I agree, Larry. It is the people that make your books so interesting. Let other authors write about troop movements, battles, etc. and continue doing what you do so well.

September 24, 2010 at 6:26 AM  
Blogger Larry Wood said...

Thanks, Marie. I'm glad that there are those such as yourself who prefer to read about the people instead of the military strategy.

September 27, 2010 at 8:00 PM  

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