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Tabor H. Parcher Papers

 Collection
Identifier: mss-770

Scope and Contents

The collection contains letters and letter fragments written by Tabor Parcher to his wife Sarah. It also includes a partial loose leaf diary. Parcher wrote about the daily activities in camp, the availability of food and liquor, the interactions between soldiers and civilians, and military engagements of the regiment. In addition to frequent salacious remarks to his wife, Parcher made occasional comments about the sexual activity of soldiers and civilians. Some of the letters were written in the line of battle, or shortly after battles, specifically of Orange Grove, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor. He also gave an account of the Tenth Vermont’s role in the pursuit of Lee’s army after the battle of Gettysburg.

The diary gives brief summaries of daily activities from January through March 1864. The diary has been transcribed.

One letter is dated January 18, 1864 written to Parcher from his brother in law, Private Ezra W. Conant (also in Company B of the Tenth Vermont Infantry) of Waterbury, Vermont, while Ezra was in a military hospital. A few letters written in early 1864 are addressed to "Ned" and brother. An unsigned letter, probably written by Ezra, dated September 25, 1864 is addressed to "Sister Sarah" and mentions Eddy [her son] and Tabor. A small amount of post-war correspondence appears to represent extended family members; one such letter from 1880 is addressed to Eddy Parcher in Moretown [Vermont] and signed Alma Conant.

Some letters appear to be addressed to "Sada" or "Sadia" while others clearly read Sarah or wife; however, this may be a quirk of his handwriting. Not all the letters are signed by their author; of those that are, Tabor or Tabe is commonly how he identifies himself.

Dates

  • 1862-1880

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Manuscripts.

Biographical / Historical

Tabor Hiram Parcher was the son of Hiram Parcher (1807-1877) and Ruth (Smith) Parcher (1813-1880); they were married in 1833. Hiram worked as a farmer.

Some records give Tabor's name as Hiram T. Parcher. He was born in Waterbury Center, Vermont in 1838 and raised there with siblings Orpah (b. 1835), Sarah (b. 1849), Jane (about 1835-1868), and Henry Josephus (1851-1927). Not much information is available about his sisters. Henry J. Parcher became a deputy sheriff and gamekeeper in the area, thus contemporary newspaper accounts cite him with some frequency.

Between 1850 and 1860, Tabor married Sarah E. Conant. She was born in about 1837, the daughter of Dr. Benjamin Conant and Eliza (Warner) Conant. Tabor enlisted as a Private in Company B of the 10th Vermont Infantry on July 14, 1862. He was promoted to Corporal in July 5, 1864 and mustered out on May 5, 1865.

Sarah's brother Ezra W. Conant (1843-1923) was a Private in the same company, enlisting on the same day as Tabor. He mustered out on September 1, 1862 and was recorded wounded on November 27, 1863, likely at the Battle of Orange Grove. He was transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps in June of 1864 and discharged wounded that October. Another of Sarah's brothers, Joseph B. Conant, was a Private in Company B of the 15th. He was born in about 1841, enlisted in September of 1862, and died of disease in 1863 while still serving in the army.

In 1863, Tabor and Sarah had one son, named Tabor E., "Eddie," or Ezra (records vary, see Processing Information Note). Sarah died at the age of 29 in 1867. Tabor remarried Lovina S. Ellis (1843-1920), likely between 1870 and 1873. They had two children, John W. (1873-1960) and Fannie S. (1875-1963). Tabor died March 24, 1880 and his mother Ruth died that April.

Extent

0.2 Linear Feet (1 box)

Abstract

Collection contains several letters of Civil War soldier, Tabor H. Parcher of the 10th VT Regiment, to his wife Sarah, as well as Parcher's diary.

Condition

Some information loss has resulted from failure of ink or pencil, wet conditions (previous to acquisition), incomplete letters, and illegible writing.

Physical Location

Library Research Annex; contact uvmsc@uvm.edu for access.

Related Materials

Extended family members and Waterbury area neighbors of the Parchers, the Demeritt family is represented in the Lanpher and Demeritt Family Papers, also at University of Vermont Special Collections. The two families are connected thus: a brother of Ruth Smith Parcher (circa 1813-1880), named Valentine (d. 1880) married Elizabeth Bridges. Their daughter (Ruth's niece) Louisa Smith (born in Waterbury in 1832) married Lucius Demeritt in 1853. Lucius Demeritt was appointed administrator of the will of Hiram Parcher (1807-1877) in 1877.

Processing Information

Names have been spelled in varying ways. For example, his grave marker (and birth and death records) reads Taber H. Parcher but the letters in this collection and other official records (ex. Vermont Volunteers roster, marriage record, pension application) give Tabor. His second wife Lovina (as on the grave marker and census records from 1910 and 1920) is also recorded as Lavina (ex. death record, 1880 census, 1900 census).

Tabor's son appears to have been recorded in the 1870 census with his paternal grandparents under the name Ezra (age is a match). He seems to have lived with his stepmother in 1880 and is recorded under the name Eddie. A birth record matching his data gives his name as Tabor E. Parcher.

According to Lovina's obituary, she was raised by the Phelps family. This may help explain the details on Fannie's 1893 marriage record which gives her father's name as Tabe Parcher, deceased, and mother as Selina S. Phelps of Waterbury, Vermont.

Benjamin Conant was married four times.

More information is available about the Smith family in the Gazetteer of Washington County, Vt., 1783-1889 edited by William Adams (p. 502-504).

Creator

Title
Guide to the Tabor H. Parcher Papers
Status
Completed
Date
2018 July
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the University of Vermont Libraries, Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Silver Special Collections Library
48 University Place, Room B201
Burlington Vermont 05405 U.S.A. US
(802) 656-2138
(802) 656-4038 (Fax)