SUBMITTED BY:  Mike Stroupe (written by Cheri Todd Molter)

Samuel Spake was born June 23, 1821 in Lincoln County, North Carolina. He married Harriet R. Dellinger, daughter of Peter Dellinger and Margaret Haines Dellinger, around 1842. According to the 1850 Census, Samuel was a farmer, and he and Harriet had four children: Margaret (8), Sarah (6), Mary (4), and Phillip (2). By 1860, the family had relocated to a farm in Gaston County and grown in number: Elizabeth (4) and Samuel (3) had been born.

When the war started, Samuel served the Confederate Army as a private in Company K of the 73rd Infantry, North Carolina Troops.

The following are letters that were written either to or from Samuel during the war. The letters will be transcribed directly as they were written; then below them, will be another transcription with modern spelling and punctuation.

The first letter is from Samuel Spake to his mother-in-law, Margaret Dellinger:

[No date]
Dear Old Mother,
I take my pen in hand to drop you a fue lines to let you now that I am not well at this time. But I hope that these fue lines will find you well. I hant herd from home and the childring sense I left home. You must rite how you are getting a long.

Samu[e]l Spake to Old Margaret Dellinger

*********

[No date]
Dear Old Mother,
I take my pen in hand to drop you a [few] lines to let you [k]now that I am not well at this time. But I hope that these [few] lines will find you well. I [haven’t] he[a]rd from home and the childr[en] [since] I left home. You must [w]rite how you are getting a long.

Samu[e]l Spake to Old Margaret Dellinger

The second letter is to Samuel from his sister-in-law, Mary Dellinger:

January 16 [1865]
Lincoln County

Dear Brother,
I can inform you I and family is tolible well at present and I truly hope these few lines may reach you and find you well and doing well. Dear brother I can say to you rote you a few lines and I never received no answer yet from you. Dear brother I can say to you I sent you a little poke of provisions in D. H. Delinger’s box. Rite if you received it or not. I coulden send you much for I caden get hit in the box. Dear brother I wood be very glad to see you if hit could be so situated. Dear brother I am sorry to tell you I haint received no letter from George nor heard nothing from him sens the 16th of Dec. Now I will cloas by asking you to wright soon and as offin as you can. If you on earth nomore I never see in heaven above I hope to meet you whear parting will be nomore. Margaret sends her love and best respects to you.

From Miss Mary Dellinger to Mr. Samuel Spake

**********

January 16 [1865]
Lincoln County

Dear Brother,
I can inform you I and family is [tolerable] well at present and I truly hope these few lines may reach you and find you well and doing well. Dear brother I can say to you [w]rote you a few lines and I never received no answer yet from you. Dear brother I can say to you I sent you a little poke of provisions in D. H. Dellinger’s box. [W]rite if you received it or not. I [couldn’t] send you much for I [couldn’t] get it in the box. Dear brother I [would] be very glad to see you if it could be so situated. Dear brother I am sorry to tell you I [haven’t] received no letter from George nor heard nothing from him [since] the 16th of Dec. Now I will [close] by asking you to writ[te] soon and as [often] as you can. If you on earth no more I never see in heaven above I hope to meet you whe[re] parting will be no more. Margaret sends her love and best respects to you.

From Miss Mary Dellinger to Mr. Samuel Spake

The third letter is from Samuel’s wife, Harriet:

N.C. Gaston County
January 9 [1865]
Mr. Samuel Spake

Dear Husband,
I have taken this opportunity to rite you a few lines that will inform you that we are all well at the present time. Hoping you are the same. We are still in the land of the living and trying to do the best we can. The times are so hard here that it is a hard matter for the best of people to get a long as well as they wish to do. All kinds of produce has got so high there is no chance to git nothing at all without giving five times as much as it was. The muney will not buy any thing at all but salt and tobacco. Salt is selling at one dollar a pound. Corn and wheat is out of all reason. There is no sense in the price of nothing. Chickens is selling at 3 and 4 dollars a piece. Eggs is from 2 to 3 and 4 dollars a dozen. A man can buy anything for his work and he can git almost any price for work. Negroes are hireing here for one thousand dollars a year and as high as eleven hundred. Any kind of a hand can git a high price paid in confederate money for it is worthless. As to nuse, what we have here is not worth the ink and paper to rite it on. For what we hear is more aggravation to us. We hear nothing that is good. If we could hear the war was ended we would be cheerful to rite it at a minutes warning. We are doubtful that this war will not end in a long time. This is a hard and cold rainy night. Very cold. The weather is hard and cold. There is but very few clear and dry days. There is no work going in. No farm and a dull looking chance for wheat to make anything. We have dull and lonesome times here. The country is desolate and down caste. About the war. I hope the war will end before long for this country looks like it wil come to starvation and poverty if the war don’t end soon. We are somewhat surprised at the head leading men of this war for not trying to make some kind of arrangements for peace. Everything has a beginning and ending but this war, it has no end yet. I close for this time.

Harriet Spake to Samuel Spake

*********

N.C. Gaston County
January 9 [1865]
Mr. Samuel Spake

Dear Husband,
I have taken this opportunity to [w]rite you a few lines that will inform you that we are all well at the present time. Hoping you are the same. We are still in the land of the living and trying to do the best we can. The times are so hard here that it is a hard matter for the best of people to get a long as well as they wish to do. All kinds of produce has got so high there is no chance to g[e]t nothing at all without giving five times as much as it was. The [money] will not buy anything at all but salt and tobacco. Salt is selling at one dollar a pound. Corn and wheat is out of all reason. There is no sense in the price of nothing. Chickens is selling at 3 and 4 dollars a piece. Eggs is from 2 to 3 and 4 dollars a dozen. A man can buy anything for his work and he can g[e]t almost any price for work. Negroes are hiring here for one thousand dollars a year and as high as eleven hundred. Any kind of a hand can g[e]t a high price paid in confederate money for it is worthless. As to [news], what we have here is not worth the ink and paper to [w]rite it on. For what we hear is more aggravation to us. We hear nothing that is good. If we could hear the war was ended we would be cheerful to [w]rite it at a minutes warning. We are doubtful that this war will not end in a long time. This is a hard and cold rainy night. Very cold. The weather is hard and cold. There is but very few clear and dry days. There is no work going in. No farm and a dull looking chance for wheat to make anything. We have dull and lonesome times here. The country is desolate and downcast. About the war. I hope the war will end before long for this country looks like it wil[l] come to starvation and poverty if the war don’t end soon. We are somewhat surprised at the head leading men of this war for not trying to make some kind of arrangements for peace. Everything has a beginning and ending but this war, it has no end yet. I close for this time.

Harriet Spake to Samuel Spake

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Samuel did survive the war and returned home to Harriet and their children after it ended. According to the 1870 Census, Samuel and Harriet lived on a farm in Lincoln County and were neighbors of some of the Dellingers. Samuel died November 23, 1887 and was buried at Mount Zion Baptist Church Cemetery in Gaston County, NC. Harriet lived with her grandson, William Spake, after her husband’s death. She died a few years later, in September of 1901, and was buried next to Samuel.

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