Jane Ely

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    Jane Ely (Jane Wellington Barker) was born in 1817 in Oriskany Falls, New York in 1817.  She married 
Edward Ely (b. 1811) in Oswego, New York April 23, 1843. They had four children: Charles born 1844 in 
Ohio; Helen Mar born in Ohio in 1850; Mason Barker born in Winona, Minnesota Territory in 1853; and 
Harriet Elizabeth born 1858 in Winona, Minnesota.  Jane and her husband were early pioneers of this area 
coming to Wabasha's Prairie, Minnesota Territory, May 4, 1852. Jane's husband Edward was Postmaster 
of Wabasha' Prairie, as well as a teacher, businessman and minister.  Jane corresponded frequently with 
her mother during Winona's early years.  Janes's son Charles Ely was severely wounded in the Battle of 
Gettysburg.  A few days after the battle, Jane and Catherine Goddard Smith (mother of Charles Goddard 
who was also wounded) traveled to Philadelphia to assist in their sons' recovery. While there, Jane wrote 
a number of letters home to Winona--these letters or portions of letters were printed in the Winona Daily 
Republican
and are included in that section of the manuscripts.  Included in this section are letters
Jane wrote during the period following the Battle of Gettysburg. 

 

Philadelphia July 25, 1863

My dear Mother,

I arrived here on Wednesday morning safe and sound and have succeeded so far in all that was undertaken. 
We went immediately to Gen. Head Quarters and made the proper inquiries and without even taking a car 
cab or bus we found our boys. I could not tell you how surprised and pleased they were. Their wounds are 
doing well healing as fast as possible. Charlie was wounded very badly. The Physician considered his case a 
hopeless one and left him to die, he bled nearly to death and one of the Minn. Boys told me yesterday he 
passed him on the field and thought he was dead. It’s a great wonder he lived. He was taken to the tent and 
while there had no care except what a drummer boy gave him who had seven others to take care of. His pants 
were so saturated with blood he was obliged to take them off and went without while in tent. He even went to 
Baltimore without pants, coat, shoes, stockings or hat. When they reached Baltimore the Ladies flocked into 
the Hospital dressed their wounds and gave them clothing. They cant say too much for the ladies of Baltimore. 
When they came to this City Charlie was very weak and was considered the worst case among them, now he 
is able to wait on all the rest. He got a pass yesterday and walked out. I am going to bring him here to Allies 
today if I can get the Physicians permission. The Physician told me if the ball had gone through him half an 
inch one way or the other it would have been fatal. Charlie Goddard is doing pretty well. His doctor says he 
must be careful or his wound on the thigh will break into his main artery and then he might bleed to death. 
They all want to be transferred to Minn State Hospital. We have been trying to have it brought about. 
If we succeed we shall accompany them home. In that case I will have to leave Mrs. Smith near Detroit to
go after Matie.
I found our friends all well here and spend the nights with them. I take dinner at the Hotel 
where Mrs. Smiths stops only two or three doors from the Hospital. Allie says she is mad at you because 
you did not come on with me. Julia her girl says give her my love. Peggy is still here sends her love. I must 
close as I am in haste to go to the Hospital. Give my love to all my friends in Cold Water.

Your aff. Daughter

Jane W. Ely

 

 

July 27, 1863 Winona Daily Republican

From the Wounded Soldiers in Hospital
at Philadelphia.


[extract from a private letter]

Philadelphia, July 22, 1863

Dear Husband: We have at last arrived at the hospi-
tal, and found our boys without difficulty. They are
much better than we expected to find them. They were
surprised and delighted to see us. Mr. Marvin got hold
of my hand, and I thought he would never quit shaking
it. My Charley is weak, but is able to go out. The
physicians and nurses on the field thought he was mor-
tally wounded, and would do nothing for him. He is
very weak from loss of blood. He lay all the time on
the field rolled in a blanket, having thrown away his
pants, which were soaked with blood. In this condition
he came to Baltimore, where they remained overnight
in the hospital. Great numbers of ladies visited them
there, and provided them new clothing, and dressed
their wounds, and fed the hungry
We found fourteen wounded Minnesota boys on the
third floor in the hospital. They are all anxious to be
removed to the State hospital. Senator WILKINSON vis-
ited them on the battlefield and promised them that
they should be transferred to the State hospital. He
was very kind to the boys, and gave each needy wounded
soldier five dollars.
We are much fatigued from our long journey, and we
must have rest. We shall return here tomorrow, and
commence distributing the good things we brought, and
shall try to find all the wounded Minnesota boys. To-
morrow I will write again. JANE W. ELY

 

July 30, 1863 Winona Daily Republican

From Our Wounded Soldiers at Phil-
adelphia.

[Extract from a Private Letter.]
Philadelphia, July 23, 1863
My Dear Husband: To-day I feel quite rested. This
morning we went to the hospital again, and gave them
some of the good things we brought. They are all anx-
ious to be transferred to the Minn. State Hospital, and we
talked with one of the Surgeons, and he says they already
have orders to transfer them. He did not know that
there was a Hospital to receive them. I wish we could accompany
them home, as we could take care of them
while traveling. I think from what I heard them say
individually that they would be ready and able in a week
or so, Mr. Marvin has a pretty bad foot, but he is doing
well. The Surgeon refused to give Charley Goddard a
pass to-day to go out with us. He says his wound in the
thigh is so near the main artery that too much exertion
might cause the it to bleed, and if he was away from the hos-
pital he might bleed to death before he could have help.
We have seen fourteen of our Winona boys in this hos-
pital. They are nearly all of them wounded in the leg.
There may be others in other hospitals in the city. We
will ascertain that to-morrow. Durfee is not here. The
boys think he went on to New York city.
We learn that the graves of the fallen at Gettysburg
were all marked.

Jane W. Ely

Phil. Aug 4th 1863

My dear Mother

I can not write any thing very encouraging about Charles he has been getting 
worse every since I wrote last. When I first came he seemed to be doing well,
 his wound was healing fast and we all thought in a little while he would be nearly
 as well as ever. I obtained ten days leave of absence for him after a great deal of 
labor and brought him here to Allies. He was taken right away with fever sickness 
at the stomach and loss of appetite. Two or three days he reported himself daily at 
the Hospital, when was taken sick so that he could not sit up. Of course I reported 
for him and got medicine. I asked his ward Physician if his sickness was caused by 
his wound or by a cold. Charles thought it was a cold, the Doctor thought the same. 
Allie advised me to send for Dr. Morton. I called him and he said at once it was his wound. 
When we thought he was doing so well matter was accumulating inside and instead of poulticing 
and drawing it out the wound was allowed to go on healing. Consequently fever, sickness, 
loss of appetite followed and if he had been left in the Hospital he would be past care now. 
The Doctor attends him daily. On Sunday his partner came with him they both pronounced 
it a very bad wound. Yesterday Allie followed him out and asked him what he thought of Charles. 
He said it was a very bad case, he had been neglected too long. He said both he and his partner 
would do all they could for him. He is wasting away fast by such quantities of discharge. 
He gets weaker every day, but his fever is gone, and he has no more sickness at the stomach, 
and his appetite has returned. The Dr. has been giving him tonics, and ordered every thing nourishing 
to make up this waste. He says he must be built up. He is afraid Typhoid will set in. I am constantly 
engaged in nursing him, his wounds require constant care. Oh I am so thankful I came on. 
When sickness comes upon the poor wounded soldier in the Hospital it is most certain death. 
The Physicians there don’t pay any attention to their wounds they are left to the nurses who know 
nothing about them. If a man is about to die all the doctors will collect around him and pour down 
medicine. Mrs. Smith was at the Hospital all day Saturday and Sunday, she did what she could for 
our Minnesota boys, but Mother it is but little we can do for them there. Charlie Goddard is doing well, 
indeed most of them are doing will, that is our boys, but there are a great many sick on the same floor. 
Two died on Sunday in our ward. There are three ward on our floor with about 70 in each ward. 
Dr. Morton says this warm weather is very much against the poor wounded soldier. 
I was told this morning that 40 wounded rebel soldier died at the Chester Hospital on Sunday. 
Allies family are all well as usual, she sends her love to you. Oh Mother she is so kind to me and Charlie. 
I love her more than ever. She sends her love to Kirk and Nette also to Josie. She wishes you to ask K 
for her is received her last letter. Jennie sends her love to Carrie. Give my love to them all. Write me 
Mother direct to the care of Mrs. Barker Cor of Richmond and Shachamaxon Streets. I hope Mason 
is a good boy, have him write in your letters from home. Nellie is doing well. They have Jane to help 
them when they want her. Hattie makes no trouble. Good bye

Your aff. Daughter

Jane W. Ely

 

Phil. Aug 7th 1863

Broad & Cherry Hospital

My dear Mother

I know you are very anxious about Charles since I wrote last and I am thankful that I can say he is better, 
his ten days leave of absence expired yesterday, and I was obliged to bring him back, this morning I came 
down to dress his wound. I shall keep close watch of him and nurse him all I can here. Perhaps in a day or 
two I can take him again, it is enough to make a well person sick to stay here. I hope Charles will be well 
enough for me to leave in a week or ten days. Mrs. Smith left on Thursday, she will be home by Saturday. 
The boys will not be sent to Minnesota so I shall return alone and will to go by way of New York and 
Oriskany Falls. I hope to get a letter from you before I leave.

Your aff. Daughter

Jane W. Ely

CGSmith4xx.JPG (3309 bytes)

Catherine Goddard Smith

An accompished portrait artist, Jane painted this portrait of Catherine Goddard Smith in the 1870's.  
Charles Goddard's image is on the broach she is wearing.  Charles had died suddenly in 1867.

 

Phil Aug 19th 1863

My dear Mother

I write again to relieve your anxiety. Charlie is decidedly better as far as his general health is concerned, 
that is, all the Typhoid symptoms have left and he is able to sit up most of the time, and has a good appetite, 
but his wound has no appearance of healing. The doctor says there must be some foreign substance there, 
either a piece of bone or a bit of clothing lodged there by the ball. We hope to draw it out by the poultice. 
Until that is removed it cannot heal. I cannot say when I shall start for home. I must see Charlie out of danger 
first. I cannot write any more as Charlie wants his wound dressed.

Your daughter

Jane

 

Winona Oct 25th 1863

 

My dear Mother

I am all alone the children have gone to Sabbath school, and Mr. Ely went up to St. Paul a week ago 
yesterday to serve as juryman at the Supreme Court. I have been quite lonely all the week Mr. Tomlinson’s 
people moved away two weeks ago. O I have missed you so much. I am driven with work. I cleaned the 
whole house the week after I returned and since I have been mending and repairing. My eyes are very bad 
much worse than when I left. I cannot see any during the evening, and my eyes force me to bed early. It will 
be as much as I can possibly do to keep my children comfortably and decently clad for school and meeting 
this winter. I took them all to church with me today. Nellie wears my plaid shawl and her straw bonnet 
trimmed with that plaid ribbon that was on Carrie’s straw that Nettie gave me. Hattie wears Carrie’s 
straw trimmed with her old Magenta ribbon that she had on her own hat last winter and she wears that shawl 
Mary Ann sent her. I have not had time to make a thing for her yet. I am now repairing Nellies old blue 
Merino to make it unseen for a change for school. I have made her a waist out of that flannel saque she 
had last winter. He has two nice changes for Sunday the two red plaids. I do not expect Charlie here 
this winter, have you not seen his letter published in the Republican about his coming home? If I thought 
you had not I would find it and enclose it, the sentiments he expresses have called forth the loudest praise 
of every body. He writes that he contrary from all expectation will be able to reenter the ranks before long, 
so we need not look for him this winter, but he will come next April with the Regiment if spared. I was sorry 
to hear you had taken another cold, there will be no chance for you to get will of that cough. Your visit was 
rather cut short in Ann Arbor. I have heard nothing from the apples yet, we shall feel quite disappointed if 
they don’t come. I am so sorry that I did not see our friends in Detroit. Still I did not return home too soon. 
I was very much needed and a longer stay away would not have been justified even with the expectation 
of seeing so may old dear friends. By the way Mother how do you succeed in bread making? I never did 
better than since I came home. I wish I lived nearer Detroit. I might see you all once in a while, tell Kirk 
I congratulate him on his nomination and hope he will be elected, though I am opposed to him in 
politics.
Mrs. Slocum has been to see me several times she has taken tea with me twice. Nellie is 
spending the winter in Chicago. Helen and Matie have both been to writing school. Matie says he will 
write you a letter all by himself. I think Mother we shall be quite comfortable here this winter. We have 
had a patent dampter put on the stove pipe and the stove set further out. Give my love to Kirk and nettie 
also to Ruth and Isreal. Kiss little Curtis for me. Matie often repeats his sayings and mimics him perfectly. 
The children are coming, I must close and get supper.

Your aff. Daughter

Jane

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