In 1993, at the age of 94, Ray Baldwin Jr. wrote his memoir, "Looking Back." Baldwin's memoir is a well-structured account of his life, which is divided into decades in the book.
Following the decades and random comments, Baldwin included copies of a series of letters, which his grandfather, Thomas Baldwin, wrote to his family while he served in the Civil War. In one letter, written on April 2, 1865, in Camp 4th Min. near Goldsboro, N.C., Thomas wrote to his father and mother, "Our Battalion was on picket guard at a bridge 1 or 2 miles beyond town when Gen. Sherman's scouts rode up with a dispatch for Gen. Scofield and said the 15th Corps would be along in an hour. With the eager eye of an eagle I watched to find Charley. At last I caught a glimpse of him in the crowd and as he passed jumped in ahead of him and took him by surprise. A happy old meeting we had, I tell you. He stands the soldiering well. He has grown heavier and looked rugged and hearty. I went over to his camp the other day and found the 8th Min. on the road. The boys were all well and cheerful. There is about 25 acquaintances in the 3 regiments."
Ray Baldwin's memoir includes a thorough account of the Baldwin family in Lyon County and his mother's family, the Bellingham family. Baldwin's parents, Ray Delette Baldwin and Alice May Bellingham, were married on Sept. 27, 1898, and built their first home on East Redwood Street (Bremer Bank is located where the house once stood). Ray and Alice had two children: Ray Jr. who was born on Sept. 11, 1899, and Gertrude who was born in 1904. The photograph featured this week shows Ray Jr. with Gertrude ice skating on the Redwood River.
"Looking Back" is a great example of documenting family history, which is rewarding to share with younger generations. We have several family history books donated from families in Lyon County. If you have a family history book or a memoir, consider donating it to the museum, so we can add it to our research room. For more information, contact the Lyon County Museum at 537-6580, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Facebook.