I Seat Myself to Write you a Few Lines: Civil War and Homestead Letters from Thomas Lucas and Family [2 vols.]


From Civil War soldier to homesteader, the life of Thomas Lucas Bayard and those of his family members are revealed in this book through hundreds of letters written during a span of more than fifty years. Thomas and his wife Letty grew up in a small Pennsylvania town, but their lives were disrupted in 1861 when Civil War broke out. Thomas heeded the patriotic call, leaving his pregnant wife and their baby daughter Millie to serve for three years in the First Pennsylvania Cavalry. The first section of this book covers the Civil War years. Through 380 letters written by, and written to, Thomas Lucas, readers can share adventures and daily routines; eavesdrop on his deeply religious views; observe the people and the countryside devastated by war; and feel his anguish at being separated from his family. The second section gives us eloquent descriptions of life after the war and the family's move west to Nebraska. Almost 150 letters and memoirs reveal stories of hard work, courtship, and raising families on the prairie, tragic death, memorable blizzards; newfangled farm machinery; friendly Indians; and lively descriptions of life as a prairie teacher by Thomas's daughter. The third section provides brief biographical sketches of Thomas Lucas, his family, and others who are featured in the letters. This section also has a family tree. Numerous photographs, maps, a bibliography, an appendix, and a fullname plus subject index enhance the text.

Dona Bayard Sauerburger and Thomas Lucas Bayard

(2002), 2007, 8½x11, paper, index, 2 vols., 470 pp. 

ISBN: 9780788441677