Clarke Historical Library
Central Michigan University

Finding aid for
Mary J. Farnill Family correspondence

Finding aid created by
Marian Matyn

Summary Information
Title: Mary J. Farnill Family correspondence
Creator: Farnill, Mary J.
Inclusive dates: 1862, 1875, and Undated
Extent: .25 cubic foot (in 1 box)
Papers include family correspondence, a poem, military service records, and miscellaneous.

Call number: MSS.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University
250 East Preston Street
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
Phone: 989-774-3352
Fax: 989-774-2160

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Acc# 3076

Access Restrictions:

Mary J. Farnill Family correspondence are open for research.


Copyright is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

Mary J. Farnill Family correspondence, Folder # , Box #, Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University


Arrangement is alphabetical then chronological.



John S. Farnill from Pittsfield, Michigan, enlisted in Company F, 6th Michigan Calvary as a Corporal on September 1, 1862 at Ann Arbor, Michigan, for 3 years at age 18. He was mustered on October 13, 1862. Farnill was taken prisoner on July 4, 1863 and died at Annapolis, Maryland, on December 27, 1864.

John’s sister, Mary J. Farnill and his parents, Isaac and Sophie Farnill, all lived in Ann Abor. He also had a brother, Wm. H. Farnill and possibly a younger sister, Ellen.

His friends from Pittsfield, Michigan, all of whom served in Company F. 6th Michigan Cavalry and are documented in the collection included:

George E. Briggs, enlisted on October 13, 1862, killed in action at Cedar Creek, Virginia, on October 23, 1864. He was buried in National Cemetery in Winchester, Virginia.

John Briggs enlisted on September 29, 1862, at age 44, was mustered on October 13, 1862, and was discharged at Hilton Head, South Carolina, on September 21, 1864. He may have been George’s father or another older relative.

John Farnill’s friends from Pittsfield who served in the 20th Michigan Infantry included:

William P. Lovejoy enlisted in Company D on Aug. 7, at age 19. Was mustered on August 18, 1862, killed in the trenches near Petersburg, Virginia, on June 30, 1864, and was buried in Popular Grove National Cemetery, Virginia.

Edwin Tyler enlisted in Company B on August 8, 1862 at age 25 and was mustered on August 16, 1862. He was admitted to Satterlee Hospital, Philadelphia on May 7, 1864 and transferred to the Veterans Reserve Corps on January 13, 1865. He was discharged on July 5, 1865. After the war he lived in Vermontville (Eaton County, Michigan).

Collection Scope and Content Note

The collection includes letters mostly to Mary Farnill from her brother, John Farnill, Nov. 27, 1862- June 20, 1863, and from her friends and relatives and fellow soldiers of John’s, early 1863-1866, and 1873.

John’s and his friends letters discuss slow trains, cavalry drills, horses, tents, ill friends in hospitals, the illness, death and burial of John Frank (January 6, 11, 25, 1863), picket duty, lack of pay, the desertion of cousin William Farnill, and news of family and friends.

Mary’s friends included: cousin Eliza Elliott, Delbert Preston, Dinah Learning, and Lizzie Sutfine (sp?). Dinah sent her sympathy about John dying of starvation (February 25, 1865). There are a few letters from W. H. Farnill to his parents, and one to Isaac Farnill from S. S. N. Greeley, Chaplin of the Michigan 6th Cavalry about searching for news of John (August 20, 1863).

A few envelopes documenting addresses, a poem, and copies of John’s and his friends’ military service records (in Biographical Materials) complete the collection.

Subject Terms

    • Farnill, Mary J.
    • Soldiers--Correspondence--Michigan.
    • United States--Personal narratives--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • United States---History--Cavalry operations--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • United States---History--Chaplains--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • United States---History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • United States---History--Hospitals--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • United States---History--Women--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • Michigan--Personal narratives--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • Washington (D.C.)--Description and travel.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Mary J. Farnill Family correspondence. [series]:
    Box   1 F   1
    Biographical Materials (copies), undated
    Box   1 F   2
    Correspondence, 1862
    Box   1 F   3
    Correspondence, 1863
    Box   1 F   4
    Correspondence, 1864-1866, 1875
    Box   1 F   5
    Envelopes, 1862-1865
    Box   1 F   6
    Poem, undated