Kennebunkport Hutchins Letters donated by the Westbrook Historical Society

Mark Swett of the Westbrook Historical Society contacted me at the archives several weeks ago. He found some very interesting Kennebunkport Hutchins letters mixed in with a donation Westbrook Historical Society received that had been stored away for many years in someone’s attic. “Some of the letters between members of the Moses Hutchins family [who lived at 5 School Street Kennebunkport] date back to the Civil War,” said Mark. “Would you like me to send them to you at the Kennebunkport Historical Society?” “Yes Please,” said I, trying to contain my excitement. A carefully packed box arrived a few days later and I have been processing the contents ever since. I will share a few details of one letter in this treasure trove.

Does anyone now living in Kennebunkport descend from the Hutchins Family? Just kidding. I know there are plenty of you. But do Moses Hutchins and his wife Susan Huff appear in your family tree? Moses and Susan’s sons, Cornealious (Neal) and Erastus both enlisted to fight in the Civil War. Twenty-nine-year-old Erastus was in Company K of the 27th Maine Infantry. Eighteen-year-old Cornealious was in Company K 43rd Infantry near Nerbern, NC. Their mother Susan had died in 1859 but their father Moses wrote a few letters to his sons at the front.

On December 22, 1862, less than 2 months after Neal enlisted, a soldier who marched with him on an 80-mile expedition to the interior of North Carolina posted a 4-page letter to Neal’s sister Susan Louisa Hutchins. Neal had fallen ill before their march but insisted on going with them. “He felt that it was his duty to go forth and help fight the battles of his dear beloved country.” Neal’s condition deteriorated during the march and a victorious attack on Kingston. His fellow soldiers finally took him to the hospital but by then there was nothing the doctors could do to save him. He died on the evening of December 20, 1862.

5 School St at left was built by John Cromwell after 1813. Moses Hutchins bought the house in 1845 and transferred it to his son Ferd in 1879 with life tenancy for himself and his second wife Roxanna. Moses passed in 1888. Roxanna in 1899, at which time Ferd sold the house out of the family. They are all buried in the School St Cemetery if you would like to pay your respects.

1856 and 1872 maps of School St. Kennebunkport

Part of the 4-page letter notifying the family that Cornelious had died in North Carolina while enlisted to fight in the Civil War.

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