“They had discovered in the Ray’s basement an old drop-leaf table. Mrs. Ray’s father, when he came to Minnesota after the Civil War, had made it himself out of a black walnut tree.” Quote from Betsy’s Wedding by Maud Hart Lovelace
Maud’s grandfather, Solomon B. Palmer, was a veteran of the Civil War. Undoubtedly the Boy in Blue Civil War monument in Lincoln Park brought back memories of her father to Stella Hart, memories that she would share with her children, Kathleen, Maud and Helen.
Solomon B. Palmer was born in 1836 in the state of Maine. In 1860 he married Albertine Crocker in Otto, Pennsylvania. Solomon and Albertine were living in Troy, Indiana when he enlisted in the Civil War on February 4, 1864. He was mustered in on April 2, 1864 and served as a private in Company L in the 13th Indiana Cavalry. He was mustered out on May 30, 1865. Two children were born to Solomon and Albertine while they were living in Indiana, Frank and Stella. The family moved to Minnesota and arrived in Winnebago City, Faribault County on May 25, 1870. Solomon died of consumption on June 6, 1875 at the young age of 39 years. He’s buried in Hillside Cemetery, a small cemetery just outside the village of Winnebago.
Maud remembered her grandfather in this letter written October 15, 1966. “Dear Bonnie, I can’t tell you how pleased I was to receive your letter. I remember you perfectly, and also your great-grandfather, and must tell you how I came to meet him.”
“I had come back to Minnesota from Pelham, New York, where we were living, to do research on a novel my husband and I were planning to write about the British colonists who lived around Fairmont, Minnesota in the early days. I brought Merian, our small daughter, with me and she stayed with my parents in Minneapolis while I was in Fairmont. But she and my mother came along when my father drove me to Fairmont and on the way we stopped at Winnebago City where Mother had lived as a little girl. She was anxious to show Merian and me her old home, and besides someone had told me a Mr. Henry Sherin in Winnebago City had lived there at the time the British were arriving and that he…like my mother…remembered them. (It was my mother’s tales about these romantic characters which inspired “Gentlemen from England.”)”
“I met Mr. Sherin at the hotel and he was a delightful old gentleman. He did indeed remember the British and had wonderful stories about them. Winnebago City was the end of the railroad at the time the British were arriving and I think Mr. Sherin said he drove the stage on which they proceeded, in small groups and large, to Fairmont. If my memory is correct, he also remembered my grandfather, especially his funeral which was quite an affair because the Oddfellow Lodge was in charge and Grandfather was a Civil War veteran. All of us were so thrilled and excited and had such a lovely visit with him. Later we visited the graveyard and I remember Merian picking weeds, or maybe wild flowers, as she sat in the grass on her great grandfather’s grave.”