I am William McNall, son of John and Mellison Washburn McNall. I was born February 23, 1806 in Stafford Springs, Connecticut. When I was 10 years old my family decided to make the 30 day journey and settle in Cadiz, New York. I traveled most of the way by foot with a goad in my hand to guide the ox-drawn cart with our household effects.
Living in the wilderness I only managed to obtain a common school education. But by perseverance and natural talent, I became a farmer, carpetner, joiner, mason, wheelwright, millwright or blacksmith depending on what was needed.
On December 17, 1829 I married Sibyl Seaward, the daughter of Stephan Seaward Esq. We raised a large family of five sons: Nathan, Stephan Eugene, Thomas Efner, Charles and William and four daughters: Lucy, Almira, Mary and Lois. Nathan, Lois, Charles and William died very young.
Tragically, my son Thomas, who we called Efner was killed at Morton's Ford, Virginia in 1863 during the Civil War. Stephan was the only one of my sons to survive and he purchased the family homestead and is a prosperous farmer.
I breathed my last on December 20, 1870 after a brief illness. During the autumn of 1878, my remains were moved to Mount Prospect Cemetery. Everyone said wonderful things about me in my obituary. They said I was public-spirited, charitable and benevolent as a husband and father.
This is the letter I received notifying me of my son Efner's death sent to me by Henry S. Merrill when he was in the adjuctant General's office at Washington D.C.
October 13, 1863
I have just this moment run upon Rob Bard. He has just come from the front. He brings the sad intelligence of the death of Efner. He fell while making a charge upon the enemy's lines last Saturday. The ball entered his right side and came out the left breast. He was brought off the field as nine others were and buried near the town of Stephensburg, 3 miles to the rear. As good a burial was given him as circumstances would admit. His death was instant.
The Captain of Company 3 was killed ans also Ephraim Smith, a person I do not know, from Sugartown.
I do this as a favor thinking the boys of the company have had no time to write. It may however, be too late, I hope it is.
Bard came in with the wounded this morning. He is looking poorly.
I am truly yours, Henry S. Merrill