The Anglo-African, September 3, 1865
SOLDIERS, YOU HAVE LADY FRIENDS IN CLEVELAND
CLEVELAND, O., August, 1865.
DEAR EDITOR: Permit me to make your excellent paper the medium of giving credit to the ladies of the Cleveland Soldiers Aid Society, with a semi-annual report of their labors. I hope that you had not drawn the conclusion that silence indicated a relaxation in the great work they began for the welfare of the soldiers; but rather, I shall frankly acknowledge, remissness on my part in writing to you, for which I am exceedingly sorry, and fear that the imperfectness of my report will subject me to the severest reprimanding I have ever received from that sex, within the bounds of my recollection. Since my last communication this society has been ever on the alert; members and citizens, join in with a will to enhance the cause of the soldiers. At this annual fair of the society which was held but one evening, and with very unfavorable weather, the proceeds amounted to near two hundred dollars, net $150; and I assure you that this money, and as much more as they can get, is judiciously expended for the comforts of the soldiers and their families. The ladies of this Society do not consider it practicable to disband on account of the cessation of hostilities, but continue their weekly sewing meeting during the afternoon of Thursdays for the benefit of soldiers. I must not neglect to note one very considerate and Christian act on the part of the ladies. When the last call was mad for men, a squad composed of some of our most worthy colored citizens, eager to share some of the glories of the holy conflict, was moved as if by the impulse of one man, to arms! To arms! And to see these men in blue marching and countermarching our streets rapidly filling up their ranks, naturally produced a spirit of patriotism in the hearts of both old and young. On the Sabbath evening prior to their departure, Rev. J. A. Warren delivered an able discourse, pertinent to the occasion. After which a Bible was presented to each soldier, accompanied with a short address on behalf of the colored Ladies’ Soldiers’ Aid Society, and was received with expressions of gratitude, in the presence of a large and appreciative audience. Elder Warren’s church gave an ovation, which called together their friends and relatives. To attempt to describe the hilarity of that evening would be useless; but to be brief, soldiers and friends partook heartily of the bounteous repast, as well as a general expression of sentiments. The enthusiasm was high, men became patriotic, and as a natural consequence were mounted upon the rostrum, giving vent to their feelings. When the hour for dispersion had arrived, and the patriots were saying farewell to the ladies, caressing them, and sealing it with a kiss, many were the regrets from the young men. Would, oh would, that I had enlisted today (how high their military ardor stood the next day I am not exactly prepared to state). Our brave boys left for Wilmington, N.C., where they joined the gallant 27th O.; but more of the Aid Society. The annual election of officers took place a few weeks ago, which resulted in the election of all the old officers, save one who declined, that was our faithful and efficient Secretary, Mrs Lavenia Sabb. Mrs. Wm. Morris was chosen her successor. The meeting, preceding the election of members, had manifested their respect for their President, Mrs. Mary Parker, in the presentation of a richly engraved portrait of our earthly benefactor, Abraham Lincoln, worth $16, and put up with great taste from the rooms of B.S. Green The Affair was one of great surprise to the receiver. In response to the presentation remarks, with eyes bedewed with tears of gratitude, she could simply say the words were inadequate to express her appreciation in accepting the unexpected gift, not feeling that she merited it; and how, since our beloved President has fallen by the hands of a cowardly assassin, it would be superfluous to say she placed a double estimate upon it, for not until now did we know how we loved the illustrious dead. We are under heartfelt obligations to you for noticing the doings of this Society. It has been the means of informing the soldiers everywhere that Cleveland is mindful of them, especially in the South and Southwest, of whom we have received letters of grateful acknowledgement, for what they claim to have seen of us in the ANGLO-AFRICAN.
I must not neglect to notice the visit of our true friend, that estimable lady, Mrs. Wm. Slade, of Washington, D.C., the widely known zealous worker and lover of the poor freemen accompanied by the amiable and intelligent Miss Kiger and Mrs. Slade, in connection with Miss Ricks, of Washington city, did not leave the city without laying the claims of the freedmen around Washington before the society. Her remarks for more than thirty minutes, relative to the freedmen, were pathetic and appealing, and listened to with the greatest interest, after which a collection of fourteen dollars was taken up, and on motion fifteen dollars was voted out of the treasury to aid the suffering freedmen.
A single digression, and I will tax you no longer. The commencement this season at Oberlin seems to be one of unusual interest. This being the meeting of the alumni, as well as a number of colored candidates for graduation, has attracted a number of the elite of Cincinnati, of Columbus, and elsewhere, as well as a host from this city, to the delightful seat of learning, and most happy am I to see your great city represented in the person of one of its paragons, Miss Kate Stanley, who by the way seems to be as happy out here as Eastern ladies generally are. J. M. Langston spoke here last night on the great suffrage questions of soldiers’ aid societies.
J. E. SAMPSON,