William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan
Finding aid for
Woodbury and Ellen Hardy Family Letters, 1856-1868
James S. Schoff Civil War CollectionFinding aid created by
Meg Hixon, May 2012
Woodbury and Ellen Hardy family letters
Hardy, Woodbury, b. 1833 and Hardy, Ellen Matilda Price
This collection consists of 31 letters that Woodbury and Ellen M. Hardy received from friends and family members between 1856 and 1868. From 1856 to 1860, Woodbury Hardy received 13 letters from acquaintances, cousins, and his brother in Hopkinton, New Hampshire; South Danvers, Massachusetts; Palatine, Illinois; and Meridian, Michigan. He and his wife collectively received 6 letters written during the Civil War and 4 written between 1866 and 1868. The collection also holds 8 undated letters. Writers commented on family and social news, agriculture, aspects of life in the Midwest, the Civil War, and the impact of the military draft.
The material is in English
William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu
Access and Use
The collection is open for research.
Copyright status is unknown
Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.
Woodbury and Ellen Hardy Family Letters, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
The collection is arranged chronologically, with undated items placed at the end.
Woodbury Hardy was born in Hopkinton, New Hampshire, in March 1833, the son of Ozias Hardy and his wife, Lavinia Barden. He had three brothers: Samuel (b. 1829; m. Abby A. Putney, 1858), Charles, and Sanford. Sanford moved to Illinois before 1859. Woodbury worked in South Danvers, Massachusetts, in 1860, and lived in Illinois during the Civil War. He served as a private in Company E of the 95th Illinois Infantry Regiment. After the war, he returned to Hopkinton, where he worked as a farmer for much of the rest of his life. On March 31, 1861, Woodbury Hardy married Ellen Matilda Price of South Danvers, Massachusetts. She was the daughter of William Price and Lydia Felton, and had 4 siblings: Lydia, Sarah Jane (m. Samuel F. Prey), William, and Eliza. Woodbury and Ellen Hardy had two children: Arthur and Clara.
Collection Scope and Content Note
This collection consists of 31 letters that Woodbury and Ellen M. Hardy received from friends and family members between 1856 and 1868. From 1856 to1860, Woodbury Hardy received 13 letters from acquaintances, cousins, and his brother in Hopkinton, New Hampshire; South Danvers, Massachusetts; Palatine, Illinois; and Meridian, Michigan. He and his wife collectively received 6 letters written during the Civil War and 4 written between 1866 and 1868. The collection also holds 8 undated letters. Writers commented on family and social news, agriculture, aspects of life in the Midwest, the Civil War, and the impact of the military draft.
Woodbury Hardy's friends and cousins in Hopkinton, New Hampshire, shared social news with Hardy when he lived in South Danvers, Massachusetts, in the mid-1850s, and in the Midwest during the early 1860s. They commented on weddings, education, agriculture, and family health. Woodbury's brother, Samuel Hardy, and an acquaintance, Levina Williams, wrote of their lives in Illinois, often mentioning agriculture, local news, and separation from family members on the East Coast. Woodbury's cousin, also named Woodbury Hardy, wrote a similar letter from Meridian, Michigan, discussing local history, crops, and schools (March 9, 1860). Woodbury and Ellen Hardy continued to receive similar personal letters from male and female correspondents throughout and after the Civil War.
Of the 6 letters written during the Civil War, 5 comment directly on the effects of the war in South Danvers, Massachusetts. Ellen Hardy's "Uncle Moses" wrote an 8-page letter on July 6 and 9, 1862, sharing his thoughts on the war's causes and progress and on a woman named Sarah Jane, who feared the loss of a loved one in a recent battle. Other letters mention the effects of the draft and names of local volunteers. J. Clough, of Nashua, New Hampshire, wrote a final war-era business letter to Woodbury Hardy regarding a shipment of freight from New Hampshire to Chicago (May 26, 1862).
Family letters of interest include Sanford Hardy's account of his railroad journey from Nashua, New Hampshire, to Chicago, Illinois, in early 1857 (May 28, 1857). He compared first and second class accommodations, and shared his strong negative reaction to other passengers in second class. In one letter, Carlos Hardy, Woodbury's cousin, discussed a recent scandal involving Samuel Hardy and his wife Abby, who reportedly married under duress (December 17, 1858). Two letters by Lydia Ann include mention of a family member and a friend who had been prisoners of war at England's Dartmoor Prison during the War of 1812 (July 23, 1860, and January 10, 1868). Among the undated letters is a letter John Price wrote to his great-grandson, Arthur Hardy, and a letter from Arthur's sick 5 year-old cousin "Frannie" (written by an adult). One later undated letter addressed to Ellen anticipates Woodbury Hardy's imminent return, along with other Civil War veterans.
- Agriculture--United States--History--19th century.
- Draft--United States.
- Hopkinton (N.H.)--Social life and customs.
- Internal migrants--United States.
- Meridian Charter Township (Mich.)
- Palatine (Ill.)
- Railroad travel--United States.
- South Danvers (Mass.)--Social life and customs.
- United States. Army--Recruiting, enlistment, etc.
- United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
- Hardy, Carlos.
- Hardy, Samuel A., b. 1829.
- Hardy, Sanford.
- Williams, Levina.
Additional Descriptive Data
Felton, Cyrus. A Genealogical History of the Felton Family... Marlborough, [Massachusetts]: Pratt Brothers, Printers and Publishers, 1886.
Lord, C. C. Life and Times in Hopkinton, N. H. in Three Parts. Concord, New Hampshire: Republican Press Association, 1890.