Heirloom roses

April 28, 1864 – Mary Howard had just returned from a visit to her sister, Sarah Forrer, and wrote: “The flowers came in good order and are the wonder and admiration of the neighborhood, but the chickens have commenced their depradations, and I shall be obliged to keep them out of their reach. The first thing they did the morning after I came home was to snap off the bud of my Gen Jacqueminot. I don’t know when I have been so vexed, as I had been particularly careful of it all the way.”
General Jacqueminot is a rose, introduced in 1853, and it is still available. I think I need to find one for my garden.

Here is one place that sells this rose.

wishing for “happily ever after”

The past two weeks have been full of successful research. Last week I read bits and pieces at the Dayton Metro Library, while photographing 100s of letters. This week I sat and transcribed letters sent home from the war. While working I have gasped in amazement, had “aha” moments when I found missing “pieces of the puzzle,” laughed at amusing incidents and shed a few tears over sad passages. Anyone who’s been following my adventures knows the outcome of Howard G Affleck’s life, as I’ve known for years. Yet I find myself reading these letters, rooting for him to make different decisions, in hopes of a happier ending. Does anyone else do this when they already KNOW the ending to a story?

His Sorrowing Mother

Yesterday I spent 4 hours at the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society, transcribing a journal in which my 3rd-Great-Grandmother transcribed the letters written by her son Howard Gladstone Affleck while serving in the Union Army. His last letter was to inform his mother that he’d been injured. A musket ball in his knee led to his death about a month later. As intro, Mary Howard Affleck wrote: “His letters have been preserved, and although, while in camp, or on the march, especially during the time he was in the three months service, he had few facilities for writing, yet so thoughtful and loving was his nature, that a week seldom passed without bringing one, or more, to the anxious ones at home. Many of them were written with a pencil, and have become so dim as to be almost illegible. With the hope of preserving them, and believing that in after years they will be perused with interest by his surviving relatives, they are here transcribed by his sorrowing mother.”
I doubt she had any idea these letters would be read with interest 151 years later.

Journey of Discovery

SEpt 12 – My research begins in earnest, at the Dayton Metro Library There are 78 letters written by Mary Howard Affleck to her sister Sarah (and many letters from others as well! Today I take a camera and will try photographing the letters. It feels amazing to hold these letters in my own hands – makes me feel very connected to the past, and startling when I recognize pieces of myself in these letters. The following quote is from 3/25/1838 (Mary Howard and Dr. Affleck were married 11/1/18837)

“I have just returned from a long and somewhat fatiguing ramble among the hills, being tempted by the fine weather and the hope of finding some spring flowers, but I found only a few green leaves and some buds, indeed a flower of any kind would be a refreshing sight, for I have not seen one for several months, and as far as I can discover the “good folks” here have not much taste for such things. I, however, hope to set them a better example….”