This letter was written by Price Phillips (1829-1895), a life-long resident farmer of Warrick county, Indiana, who was married in 1858 to Mary Eliza Gardner (1836-1875). Together they had ten children. After his first wife died, Price married Emily Baker. He is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery. Price’s wife was the daughter of William H. Gardner (1800-1876) and Frances Maria Glass (1806-1861).
Price Phillips was the son of Joseph Riding Phillips (1800-1865) and his wife, Sarah Caroline Price (1813-1881). Price had at least three younger brothers — Thomas (b. 1833), James, (b. 1838) and Robert M. (b. 1844). The youngest brother, Robert M. Phillips relocated with his parents to Union, St. Francis county, Arkansas, prior to the Civil War and lived there long enough for Robert to engender feelings of loyalty to his adopted state of Arkansas. As a consequence, when the war broke out, Robert enlisted as a private in Co. F, 1st Regiment Arkansas Cavalry. Robert’s Confederate military record indicates that he was taken prisoner at Crittenden county, Arkansas on 14 July 1864, and was held as a prisoner of war at Camp Morton in Indianapolis. When he signed the Oath of Allegiance and was released on 22 May 1865, Robert gave “Newburgh, Indiana” as his place of residence, and he was described as standing 5’6.5″ tall, having a florid complexion, sandy hair, and hazel eyes. Apparently illiterate, Robert had to sign his name with a mark.
Price wrote the letter to Morris Henderson Oliver (1809-1890), the son of Abraham Oliver and Rosannah Grant of Rockingham, North Carolina. In 1829 Abraham traveled on horseback from his home in Rockingham County, North Carolina to Putnam County, Indiana, and bought land on Bear Creek, Franklin Township. Again in 1835, he made the trip on horseback and bought more land adjoining his first purchase. He made three such trips before he finally sold his North Carolina property and moved with his wife and son, Allen to live in Franklin Township, Putnam County, Indiana. The farm lands he had purchased he deeded in 1836 to his sons, Jeremiah and Morris H. of Union County, Indiana. Morris married in 1834 to Paulina J. Hesler and later, in 1852, to Catherine J. Gardner (1821-1892).
Addressed to Mr. Morris Oliver, Greencastle, Putnam county, Indiana
Newburgh, Warrick county, Indiana
January 22nd 1865
Dear Uncle and Aunt,
Permit me to write you a few lines to let you know we are all well at present [and] hoping these few lines may find you all well. The connection are generally well, so far as I know. We lost our baby. He died about a month after I was at your house. I expected to get a letter from you or some of the family before this but as I have not, I concluded to write. The people are alive down here [and] in hopes of peace and a cessation of hostilities and a permanent restoration of the States with the wiping out of slavery for all ages to come. And as all desire a permanent and honorable peace when this is settled, we will have peace — and not a lasting peace — till it [slavery] is marked out forever.
Volunteering are quite brisk down here. If the bounty was raised to $400, the quota of this county would be filled in one week. But the bounty won’t be raised, I fear. George W. Gardner have volunteered again. I don’t know whether any of the other of the boys thinks of volunteering or not. Wm. H[enry] H[arrison] Gardner was drafted before but did not have to go as the quota was filled before they came down to him.
Mr. Oliver, I have not succeeded in getting my brother out of prison at Indianapolis but I expect to get him released in a short time and if he comes to your house with the letter I wrote to him, question him. Ask him who I married and where I live and what my occupation is and if you are convinced he is my brother, send him to me. Give him instructions how to come and tell him what your charge is and I will express you the money immediately. I wrote to him if he had not money enough to bring him home to come to your house and you would send him to me. I wrote also for him to keep the letter I wrote him and show it to you. He may have money to bring him home. It will take about $7.00 to bring him to Evansville. If he gets there, he can get home. The reason I want you to question him is for fear someone might come and pass theirselves off for my brother. You know my wife’s name and so does he and if you are satisfied that he is my brother, give him seven dollars and I will send it at my own risk.
I hope you will get time to answer this. Aunt said she had not time. They have seen one of your brother John Gardner’s son-in-law down here but he did not come to see us. He was looking for a farm to buy or rent. I must close. You must write soon and often. Give my love to all the family. Goodbye.
Yours affectionately, — Price Phillips and M. E. Phillips
To Morris H. Oliver and Catherine C. Oliver
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