William Henry Harrison Reed

Company A, 39th Illinois Volunteer Infantry

Letter Home and Additional Biographical Information

Information conveyed to Wayne Reed from Helen Corbin, February 21, 1975:

He [William Henry harrison Reed] married my grandmother March 8, 1866; but he was acquainted with her before the war. William lived with his parents in Jackson Township - Reed's Grove - near the old cemetery we visited.

Lorena lived in Elwood with her parents William & Susan Eversoll and two sisters Minerva and Polina. At this time Lorena was more interested in John Shoemaker, whom she married in 1857 than she was in William. She told her children in later years of sleigh rides, taffy pulls, and dances at which John was her beau. Lorena was born in Lancaster, Ohio in 1839.

Nov. 5, 1857 she married John Shoemaker. Their children were Delavan Dayton (born Sept. 20, 1858) Francis Sylvester (March 1, 1861) and John Fletcher (Mar. 16, 1863). John Shoemaker served with the 100th Illinois Infantry and died at Nashville, Tennessee Feb 14, 1863. Some time after John died (measles, not at bullet) Lorena took the 3 little boys and moved in with the Eversolls.

William did not escape from Andersonville. He was released at the end of the war - mustered out June 15, 1865. He had enlisted in Wilmington, Ill. Aug 15, 1861. Co. A was raised mostly in Wilmington and left Chicago Oct 13, 1861 for Camp Benton, Mo. From there they were sent to Hagerstown, Maryland. He was captured with his pal, Corp. Thomas De Line (from Elwood) at Wier Bottom Church near Fredricksburg, Va. June 20, 1864.

After the war William married Lorena, and the 3 shoemaker boys lived with them on a farm which William purchased in Florence Township. Delavan and John later became farmers and are both buried in the Elwood cemetery (Maple Hill) Both had large families Delavan farmed for some years in Kansas (Udall neighborhood); so some members of his family settled there. Sylvester settled in Chicago, at first as a teamster (today he would have had a small trucking business). Later he moved to Ohio and lived with his family in Akron & later in Ravenna.

Lorena said she was glad to marry again as three little boys with copper-toed boots were almost too much for grandparents who had raised only girls.

William and Lorena's first child was a boy Lester who died in infancy, Little John sometimes got tired of rocking Lester in his cradle but felt real bad when the baby brother died.

The Reed children (Eva, Viola & George) felt they had three sets of grandparents Reeds, Eversolls and "Grandpa and Grandma Shoemaker." (Amilia & Joseph, parents of John) In fact, I think Grandpa Shoemaker was a great favorite with children.

Letter William Henry Harrison Reed wrote to his sister:

Elkton Station,


January the 28th 1863
Dear Sister,
I have just got up out off bed and it is one oclock for I am on guard until morning and I thought I would light the candle and answer your most welcom letter which I received yesterday morning. your letter found me well and I still remain so. I was sorry to hear that the children was sick yet I hope when this comes to hand will find you all well and enjoying hapiness
which I do not altogeather for I feel that the war will never come to a close the way things is working now.
We have had a nother change with our generals. Burnsides has resined and general Hooker taken his place. which was in charge of the army of the potomac. you no Jay wrote a few lines in your letter and I will give the rest of my mind in relation to the war in answering his.. and will draw your attention to something else I have nothing of eny importance to write this time. and am out of humor this morning but will say a word or two to you for I like to write to you. it snowed all day yesterday and now it is raining. the weather has bin very mild this winter and has bin but a few dayes of cold weather here this winter.. I received a letter a few dayes since from Cousin Wilson Tolbert stating that uncle jackson started to k-y for Britton for he was in the hospital sick. but he could not get to him.. and also aunt jane was sick. and the worst of all he had lost his youngest brother. Armstrong. which died on the 16th of this month with typhoid feaver I think Wilson is married. I suppose you no. and is out off the service of the United States.. you spoke about the small-pox being around neer by.. it is the same here.. they say it is in Wilmington delaware about 25 miles from here.. you sed you was still waiting for my likeness yet.. I have one taken now and will get anothern or two when I get paid off. and will send them in the Box that we are going to send when we go to leave here.. I think I will send you a blanket in the box if I can get anothern I shall write to father and tell him to let you have all he can possible spare.. of my money when I get paid off.. I remain as ever your sinceer Brother write soon and all news Mary Smillie

Many thanks to Wayne Reed who submitted this information.

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