Lost and found

Lori Boes, Nancy Cramblit and Stephen Kochersperger have brought to light a series of letters written by a Union Army soldier during the Civil War.

The final piece of a puzzle involving Civil War-era letters has fallen into place.

Link recently reported on Lori Boes, a Michigan Postmaster who received an envelope last year that contained 19th-century letters from a Union Army soldier. The letters were later researched by Stephen Kochersperger, a USPS senior research analyst.

The sender of the envelope was unknown — until now.

Nancy Cramblit of Muskegon, MI, says she mailed the letters to Boes. Cramblit’s late husband was an antiques dealer who acquired the letters, which she came across while cleaning out his things.

Cramblit couldn’t bear to throw away the notes, so she mailed them to the Newaygo, MI, Post Office, where Boes worked at the time.

Cramblit was surprised this month when she saw a story in Smithsonian magazine about the mystery surrounding the letters.

“I sat down to read it and I was floored. Oh my gosh, that’s the letters that I sent out. I couldn’t believe they went that far,” Cramblit told a National Postal Museum curator last week.

The letters were written by Nelson Shephard to his family in Newaygo. After Cramblit discovered the notes, she mailed them to the Newaygo Post Office hoping they could be forwarded to Shephard’s descendants.

“I figured if there were any family members in Newaygo, the Post Office would find them,” Cramblit said.

Boes and Kochersperger are happy Cramblit came forward to disclose her role in finding the letters, which are now part of the National Postal Museum’s collection in Washington, DC.

“I was hoping that [the news coverage] might lead us to the sender but I am astonished by how quickly it happened,” Kochersperger said.