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Reuben T. Prentice

Reuben T. Prentice
By Linus Joseph Dewald Jr., Editor
Winter 2000 and Revised 5 May 2004

Update of 6 May 2004: This article has now been replaced by our Summer 2004 article on Reuben T. Prentice of Ogle, IL .
Update of 5 May 2004: Reuben T. Prentiss was b. c. 1837 in PA. Civil War Service Records indicate he was inducted into the 8 Illinois Cavalry as a Private and Discharged as a Sergeant. At the time of the 1870 census he lived in Marion, Ogle Co., IL with his wife, Lovina Eyster, b. c. 1838. Her parents, John and Eliza Eyser, appear 2 residences away. They do not appear in the 1880 census.

Original Article: One of our correspondents told us about a collection of 94 letters at the Illinois State Historical Libray in Springfield, IL. The letters were written by Reuben T. Prentice, a soldier, during the Civil War. All are to a Miss Lovinia Eyster with no address given.

In an exchange of email with Connie Butts, Librarian, at the Springfield library, she very kindly examined the letters for us to see if they provided any clues which would enable us to identify Reuben. Her email of 24 Aug 2000 includes the following information:

    I did look through several letters for names, but since there are three folders of letters containing 4 years of correspondence, I can't look at many....

    I found, skimming a few from several years, that the only family member he mentions often is his sister Hattie "my pet sister". Dec 1, 1861, he refers to her and "my sister in PA. Feb. 13 1864 he refers to Alice. Mar. 14, 1864 to George. Mar 11, 1864 to Joseph Thompson. Mar 1864 to Delia and John. Mar. 2, 1864 again to his sister in PA "having a hard time with small pox". April 2, 1864 "answering letters from (?)ing and Hattie".

    When he speaks of his parents, he usually says "my folks" or "my Parents". These letters are fascinating and are really love letters even though they tell much about his day to day life in the army. I wish you could read them.

Reuben's reference to his Hattie, his "sister in PA," seems to suggest that at the time of his military enlistment, Reuben lived in a state other than PA.

In checking our database for a "Hattie" or Harriet Prentice living in PA, we did find Harriet (Prentice) Heath who is shown in the 1860 census as living in Oakland, Susquehanna Co., PA. She is the daughter of Daniel and Salome Prentice. We do not have a complete listing of Daniel's children, so there is a chance that Reuben might be a member of his family.

We have asked the Librarian to send us an order form to obtain copies of the letters. The fee is $.25 per page and the total cost of $23.50 for the letters must be prepaid. The address is:

    Illinois State Historical Library
    Old State Capitol
    Springfield, Il. 62701

If any of our readers live within an easy communute of Springfield, the letters can be examined at any time.

Correspondence:   If you have any information about the folks mentioned in this article, please send your information to us at the Prentice Newsletter. Be sure to give the full title and date of this article in the Subject line of the email.

Caution: If you don't use the above email link, your email to us may be deleted as spam by our email filter.

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