Joel Jones’ ¹ [Salem, Iowa]
July 22nd 1865
Don’t be too much surprised to find me back on Salem Prairie again. Thank fortune, my stay will not be long. ‘Tis a visit this time & a very pleasant one it has been so far. I ought to apologize for having allowed your kind letter of the 6th to remain unanswered so long. You know I don’t often do so & will excuse me this time. Mrs. Frick was very bad & while I was there it took all my time to do the necessary work & attend to her. Last Sunday my cousins came in from Canaan where they had spent a week & on Monday morning I procured a substitute there & came with them in the hack here.
This week we have visited Mother & the Rhodes cousins at Glasgow. We’re only prevented by the rain from going to Vernon on the Des Moines River to see [my sister] Philena yesterday. Mud & rain, of which we are having an uncommon amount this harvest, has effectually vetoed that trip now & my cousins will have to go home without seeing her. ‘Tis quite a disappointment to me for I wanted to go badly. Guess I shall give it up now until you come & can go with me. Everyday brings fresh intelligence of troops mustered out & I’m expecting your discharge will come in before very long.
Have a letter from Bro. Sam [Rhodes] this week stating that they are enroute for Boston to be mustered out & then we may look for the “14 years a wanderer” home. The 9th Army Corps, which contains cousins Rufus & Dave is being mustered out & they’ll soon all be at home. But I needn’t write this. “Twon’t be much satisfaction to you.
I am enjoying pretty good health & a good time while [my cousins] Mary & Frank ² are here. We are to go to Uncle Leonard [Thompson]’s tomorrow, spend a day or two there, & then their visit will be done & I’ll be alone again. What will become of me then. I’m sure I can’t even guess. I thought I was settled with Mrs. Frick for the fall at least, but alas! how uncertain are all our calculations. Mine are decidedly upset this time for Mrs. Frick is dead — did not live twenty-four hours after I came away. Am sorry I left her but it seemed best to all of us at the time. It is terrible that one just in the prime of life with everything to live for & to make life pleasant should have to die & leave it all, but so it is & there’s no telling who goes next.
As to my plans, I have none at all now but suppose something will present itself soon. ‘Tis always some so when I am out of school. Recon I’ll have to hunt up one & go to work at it as that seems my natural element. Whatever path of duty opens before me I shall try to walk in it cheerfully & hopefully & Lot, frequent & kind letters from you will make the dark paths bright. Please don’t forget. Cousin Mary regrets very much that she is not to see “That Capt.” of whom she has heard & I should be proud to introduce you but not yet. I’ve no news from Liberty since the 4th. Think I shall manage to give them a call soon.
Now, I must say ‘Good Bye’ & ever remain yours truly, — S. C. Alden¹ Joel Jones (1826-1918) was the husband of Caroline Rhodes (1830-1908). Caroline was the daughter of Neal’s aunt Sarah Thompson (1809-1847) who married John Wesley Rhodes (1800-1881). ² These cousins of Neal’s from Zanesville, Ohio, were probably Mary Thompson (b. 1842; the daughter of John Wesley Thompson and Margaret Van Horne) and Frances or “Frank” Thompson (b. 1846, the daughter of Samuel Thompson and Sarah Laudner.