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Samuel Ayers to Lyman Langdon - Page

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Samuel Ayers was born in Massachusetts and lived in Defiance, Ohio, before coming to Kansas Territory, probably in 1859. These letters are written to Lyman Langdon, a friend from Defiance. Unless the letters were written while Ayers was with Civil War troops, the location in the letter heading is either Centreville or Moneka, Linn County. Ayers served as a chaplain for the Seventh Kansas Cavalry, which was led by Colonel Charles R. Jennison and later D. R. Anthony. He was mustered in October 14, 1861. The letters are very descriptive of both events and the areas through which Ayers traveled. A letter written January 7, 1859 contains a copy of a item published in the Lawrence Republican that is titled "Who is Responsible?" concerning hostile events in Linn and Bourbon counties. Mr. Ayers indicates to Langdon that he agrees with most of the content. The letter for April 8, 1861, expresses gratitude for the relief assistance the settlers have received from Ohio and that it had been critical to their survival. Ayers, writing Nov. 15, 1861, describes some troop movements and indicates that he is convinced that the "secessionists" must be treated harshly if they are to be defeated. The letter dated December 29, 1861, describes the capture and killing of a Confederate officer home on leave; the destruction caused by the 7th Kansas Cavalry near West Point, MO; various other activities; and his thoughts about the war. A letter written from Lawrence on April 5, 1862, tells of the various units stationed in the area. His letter for May 6, 1862 was written from Fort Riley, where the unit was ordered to provide escort along the route to New Mexico. However, the order was countermanded and the unit was sent east, eventually spending time in Corinth, Tennessee. Ayers provides descriptions of all of the communities from Lawrence to Fort Riley. Three letters written during June, 1862, provide details about the fortifications around Corinth, an important railroad junction and about how the secessionist supporters interacted with the Union troops and the activities of units in that region. Ayers' letter dated January 1, 1863, references the Emancipation Proclamation. Other letters from 1863 describe activities of bushwhackers and Quantrill's raid on Lawrence in the August 24, 1863 epistle. The last letter is dated July 6, 1864, from "camp near Lawrence." Samuel Ayers wrote that he was serving under a contract as a surgeon. Mr. Ayers had two sons, Samuel N. and John, who served in Company H of the Seventh Kansas Cavalry.

Date: January 7, 1859-July 6, 1864

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Samuel Ayers to Lyman Langdon - 1

Item Number: 225851
Call Number: Misc. Samuel Ayres [Ayers]
KSHS Identifier: DaRT ID: 225851

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