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Date Original

1861 October 17


In his letter, James O. Gower writes to his younger brother and sister. He expresses his love to them, and ensures them that he will always write them. He elaborates on how his brother should be a good soldier one day, and ends by sending his love to all the family.

Biographical/Historical Note

James Otis Gower was the son of James H. Gower, an early pioneer of Iowa City, Iowa, who served in 1844 as a delegate to Iowa's first constitutional convention. The six children born to Gower and his wife were sons James Otis, John H., Robert H. and Charles H., and daughters Mary C. and Hebe. As a leading Iowa City businessman and entrepreneur, James H. Gower operated the Gowers' Land Agency in partnership with his sons. During the Civil War, his son James served in the 1st Iowa Cavalry, which was engaged in battles in Missouri and Arkansas, including the Battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas, on December 7.


[Page 1] Camp of Instruction
Benton Barracks
St. Louis Mo. Oct 17th 1861.
My Dear little Sister Hebe
[and] Brother Charlie.
I received each of your letters
enclosed in Fathers and was indeed very happy
to see, that you had not long after your brother
Ole. I shall always be glad to hear from each
of you, and will never fail to answer your letters
soon after their receipt - Father writes me that
you are both doing well at school, and learning
rapidly. I hope this is so. Father loves you so
much that he would be apt to say so, even
though you were not doing quite so well as you
might, however I hope and believe that you are.
If you only take the advice of Father [and] Mother
and John [and] Mary, you will always do well. and
be happy, and I shall be both happy and
proud when I return home to find my little
Sister and Brother so much improved during my
absence - Now dont forget this after you read
my letter, for I am not the only one that it
would make happy. Be careful in choosing your
companions and associates. Have those near your
own ages, and always try to select such as are
as good as yourselves, then the tendency will not be [Page 2] bad. Let both of you try hard to assist and comfort
Mother all you can. Charlie must be a little more
decided, or he will not make a very good soldier.
He must not be a drummer for a few weeks, and
then give that up before he learns to drum
and go to playing fife. I am glad Charlie
that your colt pleases you so well.
Some day you may be a soldier and
ride it to battle. Take good care of it and
learn it all you can while it is young.
Hebe I hope you will not forget your
music. Pay close attention to it, and before
a great while I will send you some nice
pieces. Tis quite late and I must close.
Give my love to Mr. Ryans family, Mrs Carltons
Mr. Hamiltons [and] Mr Heath and all your
friends. Much love to Father Moth. John
Robert [and] Mary. and accept same for
yourselves from
Your affect. Brother
J. O. Gower
P.S. Hebe. I will send you the Picture soon.

Physical Description

1 page handwritten, front and back, 9.75" x 7.75"


Civil War


Gower, J. O.

Geographical Area

St. Louis, St. Louis County (Mo.)






A Howard Stebbins papers, MS.000392


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

J.O. Gower, St. Louis, Missouri, to "My dear little sister Hebe and Brother Charles", A Howard Stebbins papers, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.


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J.O. Gower, St. Louis, Missouri, to