Margaret Monfort Letters


Hanover students from GW143 "Autobiography: History" (Fall 2013 and 2014) and GW144 "Autobiography: History" (Winter 2014 and 2015), both taught by Sarah McNair Vosmeier, transcribed these letters. The originals are available at the Duggan Library Archives, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).

Margaret Montfort corresponded with her brother, Elias Riggs Montfort, whose letters have also been transcribed.

For more on the people, places, and events discussed in the letters, see the Guide to the Elias Riggs Monfort Letter Collection. Other transcriptions and page images from the Monfort collection are also available.



Maggie Monfort, letter to Elias Monfort, 23 Jan. 1862, folder 1, box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Ricky Windell, HC 2017.

Glendale Female Col. January 23rd

Dear brother

When you read this you will probably be on your way to Virginia. And I shall be at home thinking of you. Shall I ever see you again? It may be that you will return, or it may be that God has designed that you shall fall on the battle field if this is the will of God we must submit. but I shall earnestly beseech him every day to spare you and return you to us again. and if my prayers will avail any thing, there shall many go up to the throne of grace. And liable as you are to be killed almost any moment, should you not always be prepared Are you prepared? I fear not. Do you not think you ought to be? _ _ _ _ Then when will you prepare your self by humbly falling at the throne of God and asking him to pardon you and direct you in the way in which you should go? If you do this you will be so much happier. My dear brother I know that you do not expect to die unprepared but now is the time. You may never have another chance, for God says "Boast not thy self of tomorrow for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." tomorrow may never come to you. Your life may be o er before tomorrow. Oh then, why not prepare so that if such be the case you may be ready to meet God and render a good account of the talents he has committed to your keeping?   Now dear brother do think about this matter. I beseech you. and [crossed out: for] if I Should never meet you again in this world, let me hope that I may meet you in heaven. a ransomed soul. Do not think I would have [you] fear death, and shrink from offering up your life for your country. but all I want is that when called upon to leave this world you may be able to feel that you have a home in the skies and a friend in Jesus. who can never be taken from you. But I hope that you may be spared through the whole and be instrumental in bringing peace to our distracted country. Be careful of yourself and your men. do whatever you consider your duty to yourself and your country. but keep yourself out of unneccessary danger. Be kind to your men. if you see one wearied with his heavy burden, lighten him if you can. if you see any one hungry share your bread with him. and whenever you see any way of helping any poor soldier do it and you will make them love you more. and wish to assist you in anyway they may be able.

And now,  dear brother, I have no more time, and all I wish is that you may do your duty and take care of yourself. Write as often as you can.

Goodbye. Your affectionate sister

Maggie E. Montfort


Maggie Monfort, letter to Elias Riggs Monfort, 29 Jan. 1862, folder 1, box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription and research by Brittany Slaughter, HC 2018

Letter No. 1

Glendale Female College

Wednesday January 29/th

Dear brother Elias

It seems strange to think that a few day ago you were near home and now  you are at the seat of war. I hope you will be better pleased with your destination than you anticipated. We have been anxiously waiting to hear from you but I suppose it is not yet time and I hope we shall hear before you receive this. When you write tell us all about where you are, what you are doing, what you expect to do. I intend to number all my letters to you so that you may know whether [insert: you] get them all or not. Tomorrow and the day after are examination day's. Mr Willson has sent special invitations to persons here, and has written to a  great many "clergymen," from Lockland, Redding, Sharon and Springdale requesting them attend, if they could. Sallie Furman and myself are the only ones in the Cicero class, and having finished all we intend to study in this book, we were to [strikeout: have been] examined Friday morning but we went to Father and asked him to excuse us, which he did, because we have so much else to prepare. Tomorrow, I have to be examined on the first four books of Geometry and Friday our classes in Chemistry and Rhetoric. Every young lady in school has to prepare a Composition, [strikeout:and] but Miss Taylor, our section teacher, has excused [insert: us] from writing new ones but is going to take all we have written this year [strikeout: om] select the best of them and put them in the form of a paper, she will write an editorial and other things that are necessary to form a paper and select one or two persons to read it. In this way we will be excused from writing and reading a composition which few persons like to do, and no one but Miss Taylor will know [insert: in] what part of the [insert: paper] the composition of any one is, as there will be no names signed Miss Taylor told us not to tell this as she wishes to surprise the other sections, but I see no harm in telling you as there is no danger of your writing and publishing it, at least not before Friday. 

Last night there was a lecture at the church by Mr Day President of the College Hill Institution his subject was the "Genius and the Drudge," Sallie and I went together as we generally do, it was very interesting. We received a letter from Frank yesterday, he seems to like Crawfordeville very much. he [strikeout: joined] entered the Sophomore class, as the course there is a little [insert: higher] than it is at Hanover. Jotham seems to remember his visit to the Camp very distinctly, say's you have houses made of white cloth. Mother wants you to send your trunk key home in a letter [strikeout: as] because she wants to open your trunk and pack away some of your books and other things, she say for you to take a thread and fasten it to the paper so that it cant slip around and wear through the letter. It rained nearly all morning and this afternoon it is snowing fast, but the ground is not frozen and I don't suppose the snow will last very long. I asked Jotham what I should tell you for him, he said, "Well tell him, I am coming to see zim (him) when I get my soldiers sings (things) on, and I am going to stay [strikeout: with] wis zim a little while, just a little while." I suppose he thinks you are still at Camp John McLean. As soon as you get a chance I would like to have you get your picture taken and send it home to me. I am anxious to have it, please do it as soon as you possibly can. don't forget. Father told me to ask you and Frank spoke about it in one of his letters, so don't forget it. Mrs. Furman and Sallie send their respects to you. There is nothing else new here. All send love. Write as often as you can and write long,  long, long, long letters.

Your affectionate sister

Maggie E Montfort

P.S. Since writing this I received your letter. We are very glad to hear that you have arrived safely at Parkersburgh. Miss Tracey told me to tell you to look out for her brother. He belongs to the 2nd Carolina regiment. (She does not know whether he is near you or not) but if you ever take him prisoner be kind to him. I am glad your revolver fires well or "to perfection" as you said. For I want you to have every possible chance to take care of yourself. Do your duty but do not rashly go into danger. Good night. Your sister


[Overwritten text:  Everyone seems glad to hear that you arrived in Parkersburgh in safety. Write soon and often. and tell me all that occurs where you and the regiment are. I feel interested in them all, but especially for your sake.


Maggie Monfort, letter to Elias Monfort, 10 Feb. 1862, folder 1, box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription and research by Ashley Templeman, HC 2017.

Letter No. 2

Glendale Female College

February 10th, 1862.

Dear brother Elias,

Your last letter was recieved this morning. I did not know that you company is Company F. it is not as high in rank then as it was before the consolidations is it? Our examinations all passed off very. so every one said to us. I was examined in Chemistry Geometry and Rhetoric I am still in Geometry as we only finished four books last session. and I have taken up Geology and the Senior Literature. I have given up Latin for the rest of this year. Father thinks I study too much for any health. so I have concluded to give it up until next September. then I will recommence it. Sabbath before last Mr Frank Robbins, who used to preach in our chapel for the Glendaler`s. preached in Glendale. from the text. Worship God. Revelations 22:9. it was a very good sermon. He called on us the next day. He is now the settled pastor of a large and promising church in Philadelphia. I expect you remember seeing him last spring when you and Father went to the General Assembly at Philadelphia. We had two new scholars last week a boarder, Kate Elliot from Piqua and a day scholar Lizzie Prague from Springdale [.] Last Tuesday the last lecture of the course was delivered in the church by Mr Rust of the Cincinnati Broadway church. his subject was "How we talk." he first spokes of the provincialisms of New Jersey. Then of New York. New England[,] Pensylvania[,] Virginia. the southern & western States. he said the Yankees. when they want to find our anything. are accustomed to put it in the form of a negative question. as for instance if looking for an old hat. "I reckon. you haint seen nothing of no old hat nowhere about here have you." The Jersey`s. if asked about their health will say. "well I`m about middling." or "right-smart" or if the that is not the case they will say "mighty feeble" or "powerful weak," He said his daughter was out riding with him the other and they passed the place where some one of their acquaintance was buried. his little daughter said "Pa. there is wher Mr _______ is dead at." These and a hundred others were given of the same kind that kept the whole audience in a continual titter. Sallie and I went together It was the last lecture of the course and every one seemed pleased with this and all of the former ones. Dottie Young sends her compliments and wants to know whether you have seen a friend of hers. she did not tell me who and I suppose you know who she means. In your letter you said nothing about your trunk key which I asked you to send if you have it with you[.] If you hav'nt it tell me where to find it, if you know. Also about your miniature. I want one very much and wish you would have one taken and send it. to me by mail. as soon as possible. Last Thursday evening Annie Hughes called for me in her carriage and we went to Mrs Allen`s to the sewing society. the ladies go in the afternoon and sew for the soldiers and the gent`s come in the evening. take tea & spend the evening. we had a very nice time. Last Friday night we had the second meeting of our Philalathean society since its reorganization we all like it very much. The President read her inaugural address and took the presidential chair. all the exercizes passed off well. Last night Mrs Furman and the cook made a long quantity of cakes to send to John William and Charlie. Louis sent them a box and she made them for him to send[.] Mother is very sick with her back worse than she has been for a long time she can scarcely move and suffers a good deal. she sends her love. I hope she will not be sick very long. Miss Miller received a letter from a friend (Miss Elliot) in Indianapolis and in it she say "Sister Flora knows the admired Elias also his younger brother Frank. how do you like them by this time. I hope Elias has not been wounded or killed in any of those horrid battles." from the expressive "admired Elias" thot she has been writing some thing about you. I must close however as there is not another minute before it must go down.

Your affectionate sister Maggie


Maggie Monfort, letter to Elias Riggs Monfort, 11 March, 1862, folder 2, box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind).
Transcription by Noah Marks (and Sarah McNair Vosmeier)

Glendale Female College

March 11th 62

Your last letter was dated February 15th which is a long time ago. We have been very uneasy and troubled at not hearing from you since that time. I hope you are well. We did not know whether you could not have any opportunity to send letters or had written and they have been miscarried or whether you were sick. I still hope and look anxiously every time the mail comes up. I hope you will write soon to me.

It has also been some time since I have written to you, but if you recieved mothers last letter you know the reason. At the time she wrote I was better and afterwards grew worse. I am nearly well now. The news has just come viz: Manassas is evacuated and our troops are in peaceful possession. Everyone is rejoicing, if true it is indeed joyful news. I see by the papers that the Guthrie Grays were assigned to the 1st position in rank at the entry of Nashville, and they placed their regimental flag on the Custom house. They say they wish to wipe out the disgrace of the late stampede. Their flag was very small for the place it was put, but it answered the purpose for which it was placed namely: that the old stars and stripes, dear to every loyal citizen, should [struck out: be] float in the[struck out:ir] place of the secessionists flag. Soon however an old gentleman, true to the Union, brought out the same flag that had hung on the State house for years. All were surprised, for it was thought to have been destroyed long ago. Probably you have not heard how it was preserved, so I will tell you. This old gentleman resides in Nashville, and when our flag was supplanted by that of the secessionists, he obtained it, and in order to preserve it, had a bed quilt made, and it was quilted inside in place of cotton batting. The secessionist heard that the flag was in his possession and went to his house and searched for it, but of course were not able to find it, and thus the old gentleman kept it until the Northern regiments entered Nashville. There are a great many interesting incidents in the papers about the citizens welcoming our regiments. They all seemed to be so pleased to get among Unionists again.

Mother and I were talking about the stampede of the Guthrie Grays, and we were unable to come to a decision as to whether, if you had been in that regiment you would have come home like the rest. Tell me when you write whether you would or not. I am anxious to know your thoughts on the subject. When I spoke about you having your picture taken, I did not of course know much about the kind of country you are in, and the difficulty of having one taken, but if you ever get into a town large enough have it taken and send it to me, without fail.

There is a young lady in Glendale Miss Thursy Wescott, who is a sister of your old Captain in the Guthrie Gray regiment, she is a very pleasant young lady.

This evening at the tea table we were discussing old Dr Dutton of Greensburgh. Do you remember the time he broke his cane over your head? And then said in apology for it that it must have been cracked. And then he used to be forever saying to his daughter, “Sit up Susan, sit up” when in reality she was considerably straighter than he. I think he was a very queer old genius. Do you think so?

We have been having a great time here working for the soldiers in the hospital. We raised a contribution among ourselves, and purchased a bolt (41 yards) of muslin and had it cut out into shirts for the sick soldiers and every evening after tea we meet and sew, while some one entertains us [struck out: a little] by reading something.

We have picked and scraped nearly all the old linen in the house into lint for the wounds. We have made up the bolt we bought and Mr Fosdick has very kindly offered to give us another if we would make it up. We of course willingly agreed, and have received the muslin and are about to make it up also. We have some of the money left but I don’t know what we will get with it. By the way I [struck out: accidentaly] discovered the other day that I was scraping lint for the soldiers with a knife mother and Father bought when they first commenced housekeeping twenty two years ago. Little did they think when they bought it that the South would in a few years rebell and try to secede from the North and her son will enlist to aid in suppressing this rebellion and bring back the seceded states, and that that knife would then come in use to scrape lint for the soldiers wounded in that cause. We have such pleasant weather now that it seems that spring has indeed come although the first week of the month it seemed different. My head hurts me very much now, as I have not got perfectly well yet, and brings to me the fact that I have already written to long for its comfort, so as I have come to that part of the sheet which is called the "Good bye corner," I will close. All send love. Write to us some

Your affectionate sister Maggie

[The following is written across the first lines of this sheet:]
Please deliver the enclosed note to [Miss Weatly?]

[post script written across the lines on the first sheet:]
I think I deserve a good long letter from you for the last letter I wrote was a very long one and this one [a sensible?] size. So I shall expect the next one from you to be of a corresponding length. Please don’t disappoint my just expectations. How is the health of your men? How do you like your position in Va

I have not been out much lately so that I have not heard of any thing in Glendale. Sallie Garman Miss Furman and about fifty others (too numerous to mention) send their respects to you.

A long Goodnight and Pleasant dreams


Maggie Monfort, letter to E.R Monfort, [April 1862], folder 1, box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Jazlyn Stanciel, HC 2017.


Glendale Female College [damaged]

Dear brother Elias,

Your last letter was received in [damaged] little bible you sent.  I was glad to get them.  The bible is very pretty and is carved very well indeed.  I did not know you [has?] so much skill.  We have had an addition to our household this week.  Some persons from the city, who wished to come to the country to board, and asked us if we would take them, which we agreed to do.  There were seven came Saturday night and a number of others are expected before long.  I sent you some papers last week and in the "World" you will see if you have received them that I have  crossed out a piece about a mob in Cincinnati the night Mr Wendell Philips spoke in the Opera Hall.  There was some excitement and eggs were thrown, but not until after he had finished speak, and there was no scuffle or anything of the sort, and Mr Philips was not injured by anything thrown or even touched.  It was a disgrace to Cincinnati that anything that happened was not prevented by the proper authorities, but the account in the "[New] York World" was very much exagerated and a [damaged] of it is entirely without any foundation. [damaged] did not tell me who wrote that piece signed [Franklin?]."  that was printed in the Gazette as coming from your regiment, and I believe you know.  For you said in the last letter you wrote to Sallie, that you "would like to see it in print," which seems to me to imply that you have [illegible] & before it was printed

-- [illegible] I send you that Robert [illegible] at last.  He and his wife have gone on east on their wedding trip.  They will return in about three weeks.  We received their wedding card.  They will probably reside in Glendale.  I send you inclosed the account of the entertainment given in the Opera Hall last Friday night for the benefit of Parson [G.?] Brownlow.  They cleared over a thousand dollars.    This [ie a flag printed on the stationery] is said to be the colors of the "Knights of the Golden Circle."  I think they (the colors) are very ugly, even more so than the flag of the Southern Confederacy (?)

Mr Jenning's Ken Elliots son in law died of the Consumption last Wednesday and was [ buried?] on Thursday. he has been sick over nine [ years?] [Jothsen?] Potter has been quite sick [ but is] better now. All the rest here are pretty [ well?] Last Monday was the day appointed for the Pioneer celebration --  which you know they have every year. Father received two tickets and took me on me of them. The celeb ration was to be at Dayton. We went up on an extra (excursion) train, which passed Glendale at half past nine oclock . It rained without ceasing the most of the day. But it did trouble us very much. we had a very pleasant ride up to Dayton.  Parson Brownlow was on the train and came around and shook hands with us. He looks very pale and weak. When we arrived at Hamilton the Parson made a short speech which was received by the people with loud cheers. The train was then run into the Oxford tracks to show Parson Brownlow the high bridge over the Miami bridge. I expect you have seen, so I will not say any [thing?]       about. After passing  this we returned to the Cin. Ham and Day track [and] were  again on our way toward Dayton. [We] arrived at Dayton at twelve oclock. Parson Brownlow was to have made a speech from the Court house steps, but it was raining too hard so he made it in the depot which was very large. he stood on the platform of a car. he made a very short speech for his throat is affected some way and he can't speak long at a time. After he finished, the Dayton band  gave us some  music, and then Gen'l Cary from College Hill spoke -- and I'll assure he laid it off pretty fiercely.  We got very cold while he was speaking and went and got a carriage and went to Dr. Thomass. We had dinner, had a very pleasant, though short visit, for we had to start back at three oclock. We arrived at home at about six oclock.  it was literally pouring down when we got out of the cars. We found the carriage at the depot to take us up home.                                                              


[newspaper clipping attached to page 3:]
MARRIED:  MOORES-DORSEY -- On Thursday evening, 3d inst., at the residence of the bride's father, in Piqua, O, by Rev J. S. Wallace, Mr. Robert B. Moores, of Cincinnati to Miss Maggie McC., daughter of Hon. G. Volney Dorsey.

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