Letter from Civil War Vet in 1916 to his Grandson Studying to be a Minister

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#1
I have debated with myself about sharing this letter on this forum simply because it could be offensive to readers by today's standards of looking back at the war and the attitudes that prevailed in that day. However it is History and no matter how pointed and abrasive it may be it was the opinion of my Great Grandpa Samuel Joseph Scott who was writing this letter to advice his Grandson Allen who was going to Seminary to become a Minister. So please take this as a historical document/letter of a Southern Civil War Vet reflecting back on his war experience 50 years after his service.
To give you a little background of who my Great Grandpa Scott was, here is a section I took out of my family history documents:

"Samuel J Scott married Evie McClendon. The marriage license is dated April 30, 1861. According to family legend, he left for the Civil War a few hours after the wedding. The Civil War records of S. J. Scott show that he enlisted in April, 1861 at Aberdeen, Miss. and was a company Muster Roll as Pvt. in the 11 Miss. Infantry, Co. I, and then mustered into service May 13 at Lynchburg, Va. In Oct, 1862 he was Corporal in 17 Batt'n Cavalry(Sanders) of Tenn. having enrolled at Aberdeen, May 1 1862. He was wounded at Thompson's Station and detailed as tax assessor in kind at Prairie, Miss. He was still serving in this capacity in Dec, 1864."

When this letter was written by Great Grandpa Scott who was working as a Realtor in San Antonio Texas and this letter was written on his company letterhead. My Grandpa Scott also was a Licensed Trader with the Indians in Oklahoma territory after the war where he ran a trading post, but that's another story! Here is the letter:
SJ Scotts Letter to his Grandson H. A. Scott0001.jpg


SJ Scotts Letter to his Grandson H. A. Scott0002.jpg
SJ Scotts Letter to his Grandson H. A. Scott0003.jpg
SJ Scotts Letter to his Grandson H. A. Scott0004.jpg
 

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#3
John---Here is a snippit out of Scott Family History that places James H. Gill. I think he may of been from Oklahoma City? married S. J. Scotts daughter Nina Lee as indicated below:

"In 1886 S.J. Scott was granted a license to trade with the SAC and Fox Indians in Shawnee Town. He employed his son W.S. Scott and James H. Gill as clerks. James H. Gill married S.J. Scott’s daughter Nina Lee in 1886. The name of the Trading Post was S.J. Scott & Co. While living there they attended Quaker Mission Church near by."

Hope this helps, Bob
 
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#4
My Dad always wondered since Vince Gill the famous Country Music Musician was from Oklahoma City if their wasn't some connection with Vince's Family. It would be interesting to know. Vince how about it? Was your Grandpa or uncle a James H. Gill, married to Nina (Scott) Gill????
 
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#5
I have noticed that there has been a significant amount of views on this thread and only 3 replies, 2 of which were mine. I think the reason is not that my Great Grandpa's letter is not historic but because of his toxic attitude toward Blacks plus the racial problems in our culture going on at this present time, maybe folks avoid this post once they read the letter.

I personally would like to clear the air on my part as a decedent of the old Confederate Solider SJ Scott. I personally have Black Brothers and Sisters in my Church Congregation that I Love & appreciate very much plus Black friends that we think of each other as equals. I along with MLK believe that a person should be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. I have a Son also that continues the Scott name that I can assure you, feels the same as me. So a new chapter in our family has begun that IMHO is a better way. I would reference John 13:35. Platefire
 
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NH Civil War Gal

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#6
I think you have a wonderful letter and a real treasure. I hope you keep it in an acid-free box for preservation, etc.

I'm not sure we can say his attitude is toxic because that's putting today's ideas/morals/cultural outlooks on someone from 150-years-ago. It was a different time. He certainly didn't see Negros or Indians as equals but yet, he also (for the most part) seemed fairer than most for his times. I was surprised he stood up for and behind the two Negros who were homesteading. And he didn't want to hurt one just to hurt one and I'm sure he knew plenty of white men that would and had done. I bet he could be a bit stiff and starchy when he wanted to be! Yet, he tells his grandson he isn't going to write him off, if he becomes a "Negro lover." He's trying better than most for an old soldier. The only thing he doesn't really address is a solution. If there aren't any servant positions in the South, and the race is going to go back to "original" coloring (he dances beautifully I may add around the ahem, Mulatto question), then where and what are the Negros going to do?

Do you have anymore letters from him? This guy is really worth reading, in my opinion.
 
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#7
I have noticed that there has been a significant amount of views on this thread and only 3 replies, 2 of which were mine. I think the reason is not that my Great Grandpa's letter is not historic but because of his toxic attitude toward Blacks plus the racial problems in our culture going on at this present time, maybe folks avoid this post once they read the letter.

I personally would like to clear the air on my part as a decedent of the old Confederate Solider SJ Scott. I personally have Black Brothers and Sisters in my Church Congregation that I Love & appreciate very much plus Black friends that we think of each other as equals. I along with MLK believe that a person should be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. I have a Son also that continues the Scott name that I can assure you, feels the same as me. So a new chapter in our family has begun that IMHO is a better way. I would reference John 13:35. Platefire
Not historic?
I beg to differ.
This letter gives incredible insight into the experiences of southern veterans' after the war. The racial content is a product of his life. That was a life we cannot fully appreciate today. Certainly not without laying eyes on written memories like his.
The advice he sends to his Grandson is solid. I interpret it as, "Follow the path that you feel is laid out for you. I will love you forever regardless where your path goes".
Sounds like the advice stuck.
You and your son are certainly adhering to it....103 years later.
I would personally treasure this letter.
 
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#8
I do treasure the letter. I don't think I have any more by him. I have more history on his doings(Indian Trading Post Adventures), but no more letters that I recall. I would love to have known him and hear his war stories. I think we would have had our differences but could be managed and got along just fine. Me not having gone through a war of this kind, it's hard to imagine all the rigors you would go through and the effect it would have on you. So I know that would have to be factored into his general disposition. One thing I figure is a lot of Southern Boys that got into the war, their families didn't own any slaves but war was at hand and every abled bodied Son was expected to go if for nothing else, to defend the homeland.

Glad Ya'll appreciate the letter. Type written without all the tools of a word processor. Platefire
 

JPK Huson 1863

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#12
It can be tough reading but is hugely valuable. Thanks for sharing it. One thing catching my interest is his mention of ' not so much mixing of the races ', speaking of our mulatto population. I've been chasing this for awhile, since coming across instances of mixed race marriages here in PA around the time of the war and up until maybe 1880? 1890? Some later- then poof, gone. We rocketed backwards somewhere and it's difficult figuring out exactly where. In 2019 there's just no raised eyebrows of course- boy meets girl, no story there except another young couple starting out in life. We're not out of our minds any more. It took over a century to regain civil ground- have always wondered how the heck, and when the heck we did this to ourselves in the first place.
 
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#13
My first introduction to mulatto's was in Natchitoches, La. About 30 Miles from where I live. Many old plantation houses around Natchitoches that do tours in the spring and summer, Melrose being one of the most famous. in the 60's when visiting Natchitoches I first encountered Mulattos. Truthfully the thing that struck me as a young man then was most Mulatto Women were very attractive. Today the mix or Black/White's children is very common but back then was very unusual. Being an old school kind of guy, it would be a lie if I said I don't have prejudice feelings arise from time to time but at least now I recognize them for what they are as they raise their ugly head and then I knock those feelings back down to where they belong. I don't think God ask anybody before they were born, what color do you want to be? We are born according to his will. So for us to hold it against anyone for the race God made them is to defy God IMHO. Platefire

BTW-If you would like to learn more about Melrose Plantation, here is a link:
http://www.melroseplantation.org/
 
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Arioch

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#14
I have noticed that there has been a significant amount of views on this thread and only 3 replies, 2 of which were mine. I think the reason is not that my Great Grandpa's letter is not historic but because of his toxic attitude toward Blacks plus the racial problems in our culture going on at this present time, maybe folks avoid this post once they read the letter.
I wouldn't read too much into that...yes, the topic is, and can be, 'radioactive'...even on this forum...But, that is just it...this is a forum where these kinds of topics are openly presented and discussed..Why?..well, it all does go back to the ACW now, doesn't it? And as long as you keep it related to the war...everything is fine..it is what it is...

So, we're all used to seeing, reading, and discussing freely this and related topics. Don't worry about that aspect...you found the right place...and we all do a good job of policing each other anyway...
 
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#15
I thank you for your post and the way it was presented. Your letter from him is surely a treasure and should be considered as sure. There is no way in todays world to really understand the nature of what our ancestors went through. During my own family research I have only been able to find two letters of communication from my ancestors. One was notes made in his artillery manual that he kept with him and brief. The other was not very legible due to age and poor storage conditions. My friend it is all about Heritage not Hate. God Bless. Dave
 
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#16
I have noticed that there has been a significant amount of views on this thread and only 3 replies, 2 of which were mine. I think the reason is not that my Great Grandpa's letter is not historic but because of his toxic attitude toward Blacks plus the racial problems in our culture going on at this present time, maybe folks avoid this post once they read the letter.
I don't think that's the case at all.

When a thread is posted, it does not stay on the front page forever. This site is perpetually in motion.

The latest threads always start out on 'top' until new threads supersede it. If someone comments on your original thread, then it moves back to the top, and the cycle continues.

For example, you originally posted this very interesting letter on February 28th. I didn't see it until a few minutes ago, so after I respond, it will be back 'on top' of the front page at 10:41 pm March 7th.

I hope this helps explain how the threads on this forum are always moving around.
 
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WJC

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#18
I have noticed that there has been a significant amount of views on this thread and only 3 replies, 2 of which were mine. I think the reason is not that my Great Grandpa's letter is not historic but because of his toxic attitude toward Blacks plus the racial problems in our culture going on at this present time, maybe folks avoid this post once they read the letter.
I
I can't speak for others: I don't know why few have posted. Perhaps they just want to read the letter but have no need to comment. Don't read too much into that.
At the same time, don't be too hard on your ancestors. None of us is perfect. It's easy for us to see their flaws while ignoring our own.
As you say, this is history- the way it was. Thanks for sharing it with us!
 
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#19
Well at first I had a feeling Edited. that maybe people were afraid to comment or say what they really feel. You guys have made me realize that's not true at all. You can't properly discuss the CW without acknowledging the way things really were back then.

I also realize a tread quickly moves to page 2 because of all the traffic and communication going on. That's a good thing because I have gone on some forums(not specifically CW) that was dead and and no new post. Not so here! Very lively discussions. So yeah I understand how threads move on a lively forum. Thanks for all your understanding and help! Platefire
 
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#20
I think the letter is a fabulous historic treasure and it gives us a very good view into situations and attitudes of your great grandfather's era. I have been around long enough to remember many people with similar attitudes toward blacks. In fact, such attitudes were commonplace in my town in central Missouri during the 1950s and 60s. I can easily imagine the pervasiveness of those attitudes a generation or two earlier. Incidentally, my own father would have been ten years old at the time this letter was written. Imagine the people he knew and the attitudes he observed during his boyhood.
 



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