Letters to the Editor of the local newspaper were an early version of social media before radio, television and electronic devices were available. Letters continue to provide a venue whereby citizens can express their beliefs and frustrations on almost any subject. I love Letters to the Editor as they provide a view of the issues of the time. The following Letter to the Editor shows the frustrations of Southern pro-Union citizens in obtaining goods during the Civil War.
"Smithland, Ky., Jan. 12, 1862.
Editors Evansville Journal: I write you for the purpose of getting, if possible, through your paper some information that may or may not be satisfactory to myself and many other Union men of Crittenden county, Ky. For be it known that, though I am at this place and in the army, I am a citizen of Crittenden county, when at home. There are some things in regard to the buying of goods in Evansville by the merchants of my county, that we Union men cannot understand, for it seems to some of us 'that all the wicked are the blessed.' It seems that Messrs. Wilson and Armstrong, of Marion, men notoriously Union, can get no goods in Evansville; nor can W.C. Carnahan and Mr. Piercy, both saddlers and Union men, get leather to work. But J.W. Rutherford, a man universally known throughout the county to sympathize deeply with secession, and believed by every good Union man in the county to be a spy and general news carrier for all the marauding bands of rebels that infest the county -- every few weeks can and does get from Evansville, goods in sufficient quantities to keep a well stocked family grocery, out of which the rebels and those who sympathize with them can buy whatever they want. Only a few days since this man Rutherford was seen to take out a bag of shot and slyly put it in a wagon which belonged to a strong secesh, who had one or two brothers in the secesh army.
"Some five weeks since I was in Evansville, and Wolf and Dickey, secesh, and Cash and John Gracey, Union from Princeton, Ky., went up to buy goods. The Surveyor, Maj. Robinson, was told that Wolf and Dickey wanted goods, and that they were secessionists. He said they should have nothing. (This I know.) I came down the river with all these parties, and at Ford's Ferry, four sacks of coffee and five or six barrels of salt were put off for Wolf and Dickey. Gracey could get nothing but a few pieces of calico, and Cash not a thing. If this traffic is right, in the name of God, let Union men have it; if it is wrong, stop it.
"Crittenden county has about 400 men in the Federal camp, not one of whom but looks upon Rutherford as a secessionist. If justice is worth nothing, our feelings are: Our county has been desolated, our friends driven off, their property stolen, and yet such men as Rutherford and D.A. Butler can buy and sell more goods than the Union merchants in the county." [signed] Crittenden.
 "How Does It Happen," Evansville Daily Journal, Evansville, Indiana, Wed., 15 Jan 1862, p. 2
Published 8 February 2018, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog, http://wkygenealogy.blogspot.com/