MS 673 - Ira B. Conine Correspondence
|Title||MS 673 - Ira B. Conine Correspondence|
The Ira B. Conine Correspondence consists of Civil War era letters between Conine, serving with the 118th O.V.I., and Jennie Bysel, who would later become his wife, with a few other papers and correspondence. The bulk of the letters date from 1862 to 1865, with a few documents as late as 1888.
The initial acquisition of the Conine Papers was purchased by the Center for Archival Collections from Charles Apfelbaum of Valley Stream, New York in November 1993, with an additional number of letters loaned for copying by Ruth Dicembrino in July 1998. No restrictions exist on the use of this collection. Duplication is permitted for the purposes of preservation and research. The collection was processed and register prepared by Marilyn Levinson, Curator of Manuscripts in November-December 1993, and revised in July 1998.
Ira B. Conine was born in Licking County, Ohio on September 24, 1841 to William H. and Loretta Gail Conine. The family, which consisted of four children, Ira, Hannah, Sarah, and Statira, moved to Hancock County in 1848, where they farmed in the McComb area, near the farm of the Philip Bysel family.
During the period of the Civil War, Ira enlisted in August 1862 in Company G, 118th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Serving primarily in clerical positions, he was detailed as clerk in the Provost Marshal's Office in Falmouth, Kentucky until July of 1863, transferring then to duty in Boston, Massachusetts till November before returning to his regiment in Knoxville, Tennessee. Through the winters of 1863 and 1864 he remained with his Company, until he relocated in April 1864 to the Convalescent and Exchange Camp at Knoxville, where he served on detached duty as commissary sergeant. After mustering out in June 1865, Ira briefly located in Greenville, Tennessee, where he worked as depot commissary clerk at the post there. Returning to Ohio in August, he was married September 27, 1865 to Minerva J. Bysel, known as Jennie in the correspondence. The ceremony was a double wedding; the other couple being Ira's sister Hannah and George A.S. Apger, referred to as Anderson in the correspondence.
Jennie Bysel, was born in 1841 to Philip and Mary Carey Bysel. Her family included another sister, Jerucia, and a brother George. (During the period of the war, George served briefly with the 21st O.V.I., until discharged on certificate of disability in January of 1862; he rejoined the service with the 9th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry in February 1864). After her marriage to Ira Conine, Jennie went on to raise a family of six children, Wallace, Cloyce, Gail, William, Pearl, and Dallas. Jennie died at the age of 37 on July 19, 1878.
The post-war career of Ira Conine consisted of a period of farming in the McComb area, during which time he studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1878, practicing actively in Hancock County. After the death of Jennie, Ira remarried in 1879 to Ella H. Shaw. They had no children. During this period Ira was active in the Knights of Pythias Lodge no. 179 in McComb, was a member of the John Howard Post no. 154, Grand Army of the Republic, and was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was generally well regarded in his profession, referred to in later obituaries as genial, jovial, and jolly. On March 31, 1891, while at the Henry County Courthouse in Napoleon on legal business, Ira suffered a heart attack and died. His funeral in McComb, held on Friday April 3, 1891, was attended by over 1000 people from throughout the county.
|Scope and Content|
The Ira B. Conine Correspondence (124 letters and 8 fragments) spans the years 1862 to 1865, covering the period of Conine's service in the 118th O.V.I., during much of which he served in various clerical posts on detached duty. The collection consists primarily of the letters between Conine and Minerva "Jennie" Bysel, with a few letters from other members of the Conine family.
The early letters from Ira to Jennie concern themselves, to a great extent, with defining their personal relationship while he is away from home, with some petty quarreling and jealousy. The series of letters he wrote while on detached duty escorting conscripts in Boston, and while returning to the Regiment in late 1863, provide the best description of military activities in the early correspondence. The correspondence written while serving as commissary sergeant at the Convalescent Camp at Knoxville relates several incidents of his social activities, particularly those involving his "messmate" Lieut. John W. Wallace, the Quartermaster of the camp.
One peculiar group of correspondence is the series of letters signed by James B. Carroll and C.W. Carroll addressed to various women. As revealed in Ira's letters to Jennie of Jan. 26 and Feb. 23, 1865, these items were written under assumed names by Conine, possibly aided by his friend John W. Wallace, as a form of amusement. After they would tire of writing to a particular person they would end the correspondence by "killing off" the writer, as illustrated by the item of Sept. 28, 1864 (C.W. Carroll to Laura Kopp, Chillicothe, Ohio), in which the recipient was informed that Lieut. J.W. Wallace was killed in a skirmish with Wheeler's Cavalry.
The letters of Jennie to Ira are not as complete as his correspondence to her. Apparently, she requested that he send her letters back home in bundles, but he did not always comply. The content of her letters primarily concerned events back home and relations with his family, her career teaching school near Ottawa, Ohio, and activities of mutual friends. Many of the individuals mentioned were members of the 21st Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, who came from the area around McComb and Findlay, including Isaac Cusac, Robert Dilworth, and James Porter.
The remaining letters in the collection are from several members of Ira Conine's family, including his mother and sisters. Since the family lived close to the Bysels, there are several references to Jennie in the letters. The relationship of Ira and Jennie seems to have been a topic of some concern, but the extent of friction is unclear. Of particular interest in these letters is the account of news of local political sentiments in the Findlay area during the Brough-Vallandigham campaign.
CORRESPONDENCE - IRA CONINE TO JENNIE BYSEL.
CORRESPONDENCE - IRA CONINE AS J.B.CARROLL, ETC.
CORRESPONDENCE - JENNIE BYSEL TO IRA CONINE.
CORRESPONDENCE - CONINE FAMILY AND FRIENDS TO IRA CONINE.
Box 1: OriginalsFolder 1
Box 2: Transcripts and Use CopiesFolder 1: Ira Conine to Jennie Bysel
Box 3: Transcripts and Use Copies
Folder 1: Jennie Bysel to Ira Conine
Folder 2: Jennie Bysel to Ira Conine
Folder 3: Jennie Bysel to Ira Conine
Folder 4: Jennie Bysel to Ira Conine
Folder 5: Jennie Bysel to Ira Conine