Overall Family Civil War Letters

This collection of letters has been passed down through the Overall family. They were saved by Jane Overall who lived in Gallia County, Ohio (Chambersburg) during the 1860’s. Most were written by her husband, Isaac Overall, during his service in the Union Army of the Civil War. Isaac served in the 36th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company I, between early 1862 until his death in June of 1863. The letters portray the life of a soldier during the war, and even include the letters that inform Jane of her husband’s death. There are several others written to Jane by various relatives which illustrate the strong family ties and the hardships endured by the people of that era.
You may find it interesting and helpful to read the Family Information section too. It contains background information of the people mentioned in these letters. For genealogists, there are several family names represented here. I am researching the people of these letters, and currently have a little information. If you are doing research on any of the names, use these letters, and please help me with any missing information.

I have scanned all of the letters and have included full-resolution views in the The Letters section. Just click on the thumbnails of the letters and you will be taken to a full-resolution downloadable image.

Other Interesting Sites


  • The Civil War, Unstilled Voices at Amazon.com – This will take you to Amazon.com where you can see a book, The Civil War – Unstilled Voices by Chuck Lawless. This book has published a few of my letters in an interesting interactive format.

4 thoughts on “Overall Family Civil War Letters

  1. Thank you so much for sharing!!! This is wonderful stuff. Jacob is my 3rd Great Grandfather. Would be interested to know if you had any other information on Jacob in your stack of papers or have come across any references to another possible son of his named William P Overall born back in TN?

    • All of the information that I currently know is included on this page, so I am not familiar with William P. From which of Jacob’s children do you descend? Frankly, I am short on information about Jacob and would love to know anything more. I will add any new information to this web site.

      • Great to hear from you!

        I’ve been tracking Jacob and his family for over a year and a half now, trying to find verification of my ancestry. William P Overall is my Great Great Grandfather, and I “believe” he is one of the four children born to Jacob Overall’s first marriage with Susannah Lawrence back in DeKalb, Tennessee. It is unclear when Susannah specifically died, but her father’s will authored in 1838 mentions her as deceased. I think Isaac and Lib are probably children from this marriage as well. At almost 17, it looks like William P Overall stayed behind in Tennessee when Jacob and Eliza made their move to Ohio.
        My records show Jacob as married at least three times: Susannah Lawrence, Eliza Drawer, and Elizabeth Gummel. According to land deed records, he also had at least one illegitimate son, Lorenzo Overall, with a neighbor, Elizabeth Haas, back in Tennessee around 1836. Jacob’s father was also named. His history is very interesting. I would be happy to share what I have uncovered. Please feel free to email me using the address I registered with.
        I agree that Andrew J Overall and probably James H Overall are likely brothers to Issac, but it is hard to say for sure due to their conspicuous absence in the 1850 Census. There are some children moving in and out of the 1840-1850 Censuses that may not be his. Jacob’s brother, Israel, lived in Pennsylvania and died around 1858. It looks like he had 4 children, and I often wonder if some of the 1850 kids might be his.

        Here are a couple of thoughts on questions you pose throughout the blog:
        • Wesley’s house mentioned in the letters is probably Isaac’s Uncle Wesley, Jacob’s brother, born around 1820. He lived in the DeKalb, Tennessee in 1860, not too far from Carthage.
        • It does look like Charles H Overall was raised in the home of Lovenia and Stephen Pollock. I think he is the 19 year old boarder found in their home in the 1900 Census indexed as Chas Curall.
        • Andrew J Overall. I think he is a child actually born to Jacob and Eliza. Likely the last born in Tennessee before the family moved to Ohio. The Cab Tennessee mentioned in his war papers is probably DeKalb, Tennessee (which is pronounced De Cab). This is where the family came from.
        • I think the Old Man mentioned in the letters “might” be Isaac’s half sister, Harriet Williamson’s, husband Abraham Jeffers (Isaac’s brother-in-law). Abraham was born in 1816 and fought for the Union out of Ohio. He was very old to be serving, perhaps the reference. He might also be Uncle Abe.

  2. Thank you for letting an eyewitness of history tell his story by sharing these letters, and your work decifering and presenting them to us.

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