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Abolitionist Hutchinson Family Sheet Music

Monday, May 11th, 2015

The Minnesota Historical Society has a very extensive sheet music collection, focusing on Minnesota subjects, publishers, and composers. They are an emotional, celebratory, sometimes funny, and usually graphic representation of the State’s history.

Our new favorite piece of sheet music is an 1844 abolitionist song we recently acquired at an auction in New York. It was written by Jesse Hutchinson, of the famous Hutchinson Family singers. The Hutchinsons were super stars, an internationally famous family of itinerant singers, known for their four-part harmonies and abolitionist views. This song, “Get Off the Track,” may have been their most well known anti-slavery tune.

Minnesota has an important and unique connection to the Hutchinson Family Singers. Eleven years after this music was published three of the brothers, John, Asa, and Judson, homesteaded in Minnesota establishing the town of Hutchinson, on the banks of the Crow River.

This one piece of sheet music gives us a glimpse into both the cultural significance of popular music and political debate in the era just preceding Minnesota’s establishment as a Territory and the outbreak of the American Civil War.

See the article in Minnesota History for more details on the Hutchinsons’ story.

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Civil War Daybook – Epilogue

Friday, May 1st, 2015

Thank you to all of the readers and subscribers of the Civil War Daybook blog. As the sesquicentennial of the Civil War comes to an end and soldiers begin returning home, this will be our final post. We at the Minnesota Historical Society are extremely grateful for your appreciation of Minnesota’s Civil War history, and hope you have enjoyed the collections featured in this blog.

For more information about Minnesota and the Civil War please see:

The conclusion of the American Civil War comes in a series of Confederate surrenders throughout the spring and summer of 1865. Some of the most notable events include:

  • April 9, 1865 General Lee surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox in VirginiaApril 15, 1865 US President Lincoln dies
  • April 26, 1865 General Johnston surrenders his armies at Bennett Place in North Carolina
  • May 9, 1865 US President Andrew Johnson declares the armed resistance “virtually” ended
  • May 10, 1865 Confederate President Jefferson Davis is captured at Washington, Georgia
  • June 23, 1865 the last Confederate general to surrender, Cherokee Brigadier General Stand Watie, surrenders at Fort Towson
  • August 20, 1866 US President Andrew Johnson signs a proclamation of peace – Proclamation 157 – Declaring that Peace, Order, Tranquility, and Civil Authority Now Exists in and Throughout the Whole of the United States of America, August 20, 1866.

Between July and September, 1865, the majority of Minnesota’s soldiers were discharged at Fort Snelling. To learn more about veterans’ homecoming experience, don’t miss Civil War Weekend at the Fort, August 15-16, 2015.

If you’re curious about what happened in the lives of some of the regular contributors to this blog after their discharge, check out the post-war biographies below.

James Madison Bowler (3rd Minnesota Regiment) remained in the army after the conclusion of the Civil War (much to the frustration of his wife, Elizabeth) until he was mustered out in April, 1866. When he returned to Minnesota he held a number of different jobs, including farming and railroad construction, eventually settling in Saint Paul. He served as a representative in the Minnesota Legislature in 1878, and was the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in 1896 and 1898. James Bowler died in 1916, and is buried in Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis.

Dr. Ebenezer Mattocks Brewer (2nd and 7th Minnesota Regiments) was mustered out of service in August, 1865, and returned to Saint Paul to establish a medical practice. He served as the Saint Paul city physician and health officer from 1867-1871 and 1874-1880, and was the Ramsey County deputy coroner in 1870 and physician from 1874-1882. He moved to Faribault, Minnesota, in 1882 where he continued his practice until his retirement in 1900. Ebenezer Brewer is buried in the Oakland Cemetery in Saint Paul.

Thomas Davidson Christie (1st Minnesota Light Artillery Battery) was discharged in 1865 and surveyed land for the Winona and St. Peter Railroad Company near Winona, Minnesota. He began attended Beloit College in Wisconsin in 1868, receiving a Master of Arts degree in 1874. He graduated from Andover Seminary in Massachusetts in 1877 and was ordained as a minister. In 1877 he and his family traveled to Turkey and did missionary work until 1920, when they returned to the United States. Thomas Christie died in 1921 in Pasadena, California.

Charles Goddard (1st Minnesota Regiment) was mustered out of service with his regiment in May, 1864, and returned to his hometown of Winona, Minnesota. He suffered from the pain of the wound he received at the Battle of Gettysburg, as well as mental trauma of what we might now call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Goddard moved from job to job after his discharge and died of tuberculosis in 1868 at the age of 23. He is buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Winona, where Mathew Marvin (also of the 1st Minnesota) was the caretaker.

Matthew Marvin (1st Minnesota Regiment) was officially mustered out of service with his regiment in 1864 while he was in Chicago, still recovering from the wound he received at Gettysburg. Marvin returned to his family home in St. Charles, Illinois, to complete his recovery. In 1871 he moved with his wife Angie to Winona, Minnesota, and in 1873 he was appointed as the caretaker of Woodlawn Cemetery. He died in 1903, and is buried in Woodlawn. His daughter, Mabel Marvin, gave a reading at the dedication of the First Minnesota monument at Gettysburg on the 50th anniversary of the battle.

Thomas Montgomery (7th Minnesota Regiment, 76th, 67th, and 65th U.S. Colored Regiments) was discharged from service in 1867 and settled in Saint Peter, Minnesota, with his wife Sarah. He was appointed to the state Board of Equalization in 1887 and moved to Saint Paul, where he served as alderman. He also served in numerous positions within the Masonic orders. Thomas Montgomery died in 1907 and is buried in Oakland Cemetery in Saint Paul.

Finally, we invite you to join us in April, 2017 for the launch of the World War I Daybook blog, which will begin on the centennial of the United States’ declaration of war against Germany.

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“Surrender!” and “From Washington”, The Saint Paul Press – April 30, 1865

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

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Diary entry by Thomas Montgomery of the 7th Minnesota Regiment, Company K – April 29, 1865

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Clear & warm. On duty as Regt. C Off. Of Day, and very busy in putting the boat in a good cleanly condition. Had it washed out. The fleet of Boats dropped down about six miles to M Culluns’s point to a higher spot of ground & disembarked. I remained up stationed Camp Guard & &.

Citation: April 29, 1865. Diary entry by Thomas Montgomery, Diary, 1865. Thomas Montgomery and family papers. Minnesota Historical Society. [P2812 box 1]

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“Andrew Johnson” and “The Draft”, The Saint Paul Pioneer and Democrat – April 28, 1865

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

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“Lee’s Surrender”, The Saint Cloud Democrat – April 27, 1865

Monday, April 27th, 2015

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“President Johnson” and “Proclamation”, The Rochester Republican – April 26, 1865

Sunday, April 26th, 2015

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“Biographical Sketch of Mr. Lincoln” and “About Minnesota”, The Stillwater Messenger – April 25, 1865

Saturday, April 25th, 2015

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Diary entry by Thomas Montgomery of the 7th Minnesota Regiment, Company K – April 24, 1865

Friday, April 24th, 2015

Clear cool morning[.] Lieut Kreps my 1st Lt returned last night from a leave to his home in West Newton Pa. A daring feat occurred last night: the Rebel Ram Webb came by our fleet at the mouth of Red River & passed this place on her way to sea, about 10 ½ P.M. Drilling. Drew & issued clothing to my company.

Citation: April 24, 1865. Diary entry by Thomas Montgomery, Diary, 1865. Thomas Montgomery and family papers. Minnesota Historical Society. [P2812 box 1]

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“Sumter”, “Exchange of Prisoners of War” and “A Peace Programme”, The Saitn Paul Press – April 23, 1865

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

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An Ounce of Preservation: A Guide to the Care of Papers and Photographs