The Futch Family
Who were The Futch Family?
The Futch Family lived in New Hanover County, North Carolina, around the Holly Shelter area during the time of the Civil War (1861-1865). Like many families during that time, The Futches had a male family member enlisted in the Armed Forces.
John Futch, Co. K, 3rd North Carolina Troops often wrote letters to his wife, Martha Ramsey Futch and the rest of his family while he was at war. John Futch enlisted February 1, 1862 in New Hanover County and was reported absent without leave from August 11-31, 1863. It was because of this “absence without leave” that he was shot for desertion on September 5, 1863. By reading original letters like the ones sent between the Futch Family, we can better understand that period in history from a first hand account.
Listen to a modern day story of a husband and wife separated by war.
(National Public Radio)
Scroll through the images at the right to see original documents that help tell the Futch Family’s story.
Rollover the images and click to view a larger version.
Addition (8/01/2011): Since the creation of this website, further items from the Futch Letters have been digitized and are now available through the North Carolina Digital Collections. A blog post about these materials is also available through the North Carolina Civil War 150 blog.
In this activity, you will get a look at how the Futch Family (and many other Civil War Families) may have felt and how they corresponded. By reading information from credible sources, including primary source documents, you will see how original ideas and images can inform our history.
Read the questions pertaining to the Futches and follow the links above them to find their answers. You should then record your answers on a sheet of paper, or the worksheet provided by your instructor.
(The links will open in pop up windows.)
- What do you learn about Mrs. Ramsey from her letter?
- What do you learn about John Futch from Mrs. Ramsey’s letter?
From his letter?
- What do we learn about the home front during the Civil War?
- How did letters get mailed during the Civil War to both free soldiers and prisoners of war?
- Where is "Holly Shelter"?