Monday, November 12, 2012

Letter #27 -- Georgetown College Hospital, Washington DC - November 11, 1862

Letter #27 continues on the discuss of the drafting of John Beaver, a family friend.  John is concerned about the welfare of both Beaver as well as his wife Anna and their children.  To ease the impact of the loss of the husband, father and bread winner on the farm... John's parents sent John's younger brother George over to the Beaver household to help with the chores and day-to-day farm activities.

John mentions the Slotterbach family and his happiness that Mr. Slotterbach and the other "Deep Creek Boys" are in South Carolina, where the fighting is light...comparatively speaking.

***Interesting note is that my other Great Great Grandfather John Z. Wagner was a member of the 55th PVI and was one of the Deep Creek Boys that John Derr mentions....indirectly.

Another interesting reference John makes in this letter is the term "Dutch Paper"

I googled Pennsylvania Dutch remedies and found a website....

There I found this Brown Paper charm that was/is used by the Amish/Pennsylvania Dutch...Could this be the Brown Paper that John is referring to?  Something his Mother sent to him to help with the healing process?

Amish Headache Charm

On a piece of brown paper, preferrable the type used for wrapping meats, write the following:


Soak the paper in vinegar for three minutes.  When ready, let it drip-dry then place on the head of the individual with the headache.  Lay your hands on the person's head and repeat three times:

Up Jack got and home did trot
As fast as he could caper.
He went to bed to mend his head
With vinegar and brown paper.

Some may notice right away that this charm is actually the sequel to the ever-popular "Jack and Jill" rhyme...
Brown paper and vinegar is an old Amish cure-all, most especially for wounds.  The paper is wetted with vinegar then placed directly on the wound.  This acts as a disinfectant and the brown paper helps the blood clot faster.

And now...Letter #27

                                                                                                Georgetown College Hospital
                                                                                                Ward No. 2, Nov. 11, 1862

My Dear Father and Mother,

                        I take my pen in hand to inform this few lines to you to let you know that I am well at present time and I hope that this few lines will find you in the same state of good health.  Further I let you know that I received your letter yesterday and I was very glad to hear from you and to hear that you are all well.  But I am sorry to hear that John Beaver is drafted for I think that Anna takes it very hard.  But I am glad to hear that you let George go up to her.  That will ease her a good bit.  Dear Father I wish you would let me know whether you did draw my pay for July and August and September and October.  I would like to know whether you did draw it or not for I hain’t been paid anymore since the last of June and I thought maybe you couldn’t draw it at home wither.  So let me know whether you did draw it or not.  Further I let you know that I got that Dutch paper in your letter and I was very glad for it as it may do me some good.  Further I let you know that we had a good snow here the other week but it is all gone now again and it is summer again.  Tell Mrs. Mary Slotterback that I am glad to hear that her husband and all the rest of the Deep Creek boys are so lucky as they are down in South Carolina and that she should let them know that I am well and where I am and that I was wounded but only slightly in the leg.  Now I must bring my letter to a close for this time.  You must excuse my bad writing and all my mistakes.  Answer this letter as soon as you get this from me.  This few lines from your dear and respective son.

                                                                                                John W. Derr

Direct your letter to Georgetown College Hospital, Ward N. 2,  Washington D.C. 

Jim D.

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