On this the first Sabbath of the new year, I thought as I have oportunity a letter might not be unacceptable

Joseph Culver Letter, January 3, 1863, Page 1Head Qurs. Co “A” 129th Ills. Vol. Infty
Nashville Tenn. Jan 3rd 1863

M.E.S. School
Pontiac Ill.

Dear Friends

On this the first Sabbath of the new year, I thought as I have oportunity a letter might not be unacceptable. Let me hope that you enjoyed a “Merrie Christmas” and “Happy New Year” And I feel assured that many of you have yet there may be some little girl or boy who did not. Whose home did not possess enough of lifes comforts to allow them to enter into the full enjoyment of the occasion. Possibly there may be a few who were in the habit of attending Sabbath School when the weather was warm who are absent now. Whereas if the little girls & boys (and big ones too) had contributed a portion of those nice things which “Santa Claus” and many other kind friends had give them they would have carried joy and happiness to many little hearts and received in return increased happiness themselves. I wish you to look around the school to-day and see who is absent & then learn the cause of this absence. Some may be sick and a visit from you will be very beneficial. Some may be detained for want of clothing warm enough for this cold weather. if so it is your duty to do what you can. Ask your parents to allow you to give them some of the good warm clothing of your own that you do not use. Try it once and if it does not make you happy to contribute to the comforts of others I am sadly mistaken. Who there want to be happy? Just try what I have told you. It is snowing fast and has been nearly all day. The weather has been very cold for several days The change was so sudden on thursday evening that very few were prepared for it. Four soldiers and two negroes were frozen to death on New Years morning and I fear when we get all the news there will be many more. Co. “A” was out on Picket and came in with a rather singular “New Years Gift” Some had frozen noses and some frozen ears. I have not been out of the house over a few moments at a time for several days though I have not been very sick I had a sleight attack of neuralgia. If you do not know what that is I can tell you. It is cold in the jaw or rather in both jaws. all my teeth ached and my head too. I never had it before and am not anxious to try it again. I must have caught it by having my mouth open in cold damp weather. Therefore I advise you to keep yours shut I believe I know a good plan to get it or something else quite as bad. One way is by playing in the snow on Sunday after Sunday School. Another way is by running out in the cold when Mother or Father has commanded you not to. Hunting rabbits on Sunday is a very good way. Or crying through the streets while your parents go to church. And there are a great many ways I could mention but some might think I meant them. And I do. I know some that do all those things I have written and I fear some day when I pick up the “sentinel” I may see there a notice of their death.The commandment says “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Now I would like to ask if boys can keep it holy by hunting rabbits? Crying through the streets? Rolling snowballs? And girls by playing? Going out when forbidden to do so often taking with them a little brother or sister left in their care by their parents while they have gone to church? Boys & girls by visiting or roaming about through the snow or mud? Do you think that is keeping the Sabbath day holy? I know you do not. Yet some of you do these things while there are a very few perhaps who do many of these things at times when they thought the weather too bad to go to Sunday School. Just now three boys passed my window one had two rabbits and another one. Out in the street in front of the window are seven boys skating on a little piece of ice about 3 times as large as the table standing in front of the pulpit. I can hear their swearing and fighting 3 or 4 little negroes stand near looking on waiting till marsa leaves so he can skate too. The wood train is just coming in and very soon all the boys will have a nice roaring fire. It still keeps snowing If the roads were in a proper condition there is snow enough for sleighing. Here comes two more boys with rabbits. They are just beginning to come in. They do not go to Sabbath School. Some of them (poor fellows) have no one to teach them to be good. Oh how you ought to prize the oportunity you have. This is the day for monthly prayer-meeting. I hope all attended it. You have so many advantages over thousands of others that you ought to cherish them and thank God for his goodness and mercy. Yesterday one of the men of Co. “A” was buried Only a few days ago he was well and hearty but he took the Small Pox and then New Years night took cold and died very suddenly. I saw his funeral from my window It was a solemn sight. The company did not go very close to the grave but at a short distance from it saw his body lowered into the grave and fired their salute over it. Another good and brave soldier has gone. His name was Thompson Saycock. His parents live near Pontiac. There is but one more case of Small-Pox in the Regt. and he is almost well. There is but little sickness among us. We received the Sentinel to-day of the 22nd Dec. the first we rec’d for a long time. They do not come regularly of late. I am happy to hear that your School is so highly prosperous. May God incline your hearts to love him. Do not forget to pray. Ask God for those things which you need and above all ask him to make you good Then if we meet again we can rejoice in the prospect of Heaven and the love of Jesus in our hearts and if we never meet again all will still be well and “In Heaven above where all is Love” we can spend our eternity together Farewell

Your affect
J F Culver

About Colleen Theisen

Outreach and Instruction Librarian. Lover of coffee, as well as 19th century photography, painting, tourism and print.
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