May 26, 2024

Welcome to Illinois Story

“I Remain, as Ever, Your Kinsman” complies letters, documents and photographs to tell the story of an Illinois family’s participation in the California Gold Rush of 1849, and the Civil War.  Four of the five family members who tried their luck in the “Eldorado of the Pacific” died there, on the way there, or on the way back.  The one who survived, Robert Cullen Wilson (“Cullen”), then volunteered as a Quartermaster for the Illinois Fifth Cavalry in the Civil War.  The family saved his letters on the way to and from California.

Cullen’s nephew, Pvt. Allen Mathes Patton, volunteered for the Civil War, as well, and served in the 21st Illinois, “Colonel Grant’s Regiment.”  He was killed at the battle of Stones River in Tennessee.  The family saved his letters, as well as those from his parents, brother and others.

The book compiles 91 letters by 29 people, written from 1840 to 1939.