Friday, January 29, 2010

Civil War Veteran Writes

B. Rockwell, Pioneer Citizen of Chariton, Now in Kansas City

Miss Myra Dungan has received the following letter from Mr. B. Rockwell, one of the early pioneers of Chariton, and a veteran of the Civil War, and who will probably be remembered by some of the older residents of this city and the Civil War Veterans:

Kansas City, Mo., July 4, 1927.
Miss Myra B. Dungan, Chariton, IA

Dear Miss Dungan:  Sixty-six years ago today at a celebration in a grove near Chariton, Theodore M. Stuart delivered a patriotic address and I read the Declaration of Independence, an exact copy of which I enclose, which may interest you.  Am surprised that Thomas Jefferson did not sign it.  (My comments on this are below).  Stuart was then associated with your father in the practice of law, and was the editor of the Chariton Patriot.

There were present on this occasion your dear father, Warren S. Dungan, N.B. Gardner, County Clerk Wm. Boyles, the miiller, D.W. Waynick, merchant, John O. Coles,  merchant, and Lizzie Conway and Sallie Leffler, the belles of the town, and hundreds of its citizens - nearly all of them.

Will thank you to ask the present editor of your paper to publish this note.  If it strikes the eye of any soldier of the 34th Iowa Infantry, would like him to write and give me any news he has of any soldier of that regiment.  At its organization I was the last man in the rear rank of Capt. Wm. Boyles, Company K,  and when the war closed I was captain of Company C.
Sincerely yours, 
B. Rockwell

P.S. - I hope this may find you quite well and full of happiness.  I have nothing to complain of.  Have fallen several times in the past few years, but as yet have no broken bones or neck broken.  Spent a month in Florida last spring and have made two business trips to Oklahoma and Texas since then, and a prospect next month of visiting two daughters in California  with my wife and a daughter.  The latter lives in Assisi, Italy and with her daughter is now visiting us.
(my comments):
Contrary to popular belief, the Declaration of Independence was not signed on July 4th.  On that day, the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted by the Continental Congress.  On July 19th, the Continental Congress voted to have it engrossed and signed.  The document was ready for delegates' signatures by August 2nd, and that is the earliest date at which Jefferson and the other delegates present in Philadelphia could have signed it.

If you look at the document you will see Thomas Jefferson's signature.

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