153 Years Ago

The envelope also featured a photo that replicated the scene of a civil war battle and had words “The War for the Union,” written on it. The actual postage stamp was torn off but it did not take much time to Boes to realize that it was sent 153 years earlier. Surprisingly, the letter reached the post office in April of 2015. Where was it during all these years? And with what purpose was it sent to the Postmaster? And most importantly who had written this letter?


Luckily, the mysterious envelope had more evidence laced on it that gave away clues about from where the letter sourced and who was its writer. This is true that the original stamp was taken off the envelope but when it got into the mail in 1862, the Postal employee who was organizing the mails pressed an ink stamp against it that read “Norfolk, VA.”   

The Name

That was not it. The envelope also had addressee’s name on it. The letter addressed Orrin W. Shepherd coming from Croton, Newaygo Co., Michigan. Well, this detail helped a great deal in figuring out as to why the letter came to this small town of Michigan. However, the mystery of it landing on the desk of Boes after 150 years was still uncovered.         

Why So Late?

What could have taken it so long to reach Newaygo? 150 years matter, right! Perhaps, the letter kept circulating in the postal system for centuries. But that does not make any sense. She tried to figure out all the possibilities for this gross delay but could not find any result. It was then Boes pulled out the letter that had some really astonishing content. 

To Parents?

Boes read the first line of the letter and felt her head spinning. The words were, “My Dear Parents, I received your ever welcome letter last Sunday and I just returned from Guard…we marched about 6 miles when we were drawn in line of battle…” Boes just had gotten her hand on a letter written by a soldier to home. The soldier had fought in the Civil War.      

The Realization

Boes recalled, “My heart leapt in my throat. I was holding a piece of Americana. I was mortified that I’d ripped open the outer envelope,” She continued, “Suddenly, I felt the enormity of what was in my hands.” Curiosity had crept up all over her. She decided to read further.