Review of “Deliver Us from This Cruel War”, by Jeffrey M Girvan

Last week while doing research on the Co. F, 55th North Carolina Infantry, I found information about this book “Deliver Us From the Cruel War” written by Jeffrey M. Girvan. Mr. Girvan used the letters that Cleveland County resident Lieutenant Joseph J. Hoyle wrote to his wife during his duty in the Civil War. I was so moved and excited, because I wanted to understand the life and times of my ancestor Aaron Cook Sr. who fought in this same Company. I purchased the Kindle version on Amazon and was captivated for the rest of the day! I would like to encourage those who had ancestors who fought in this company to read this book. There are many references to the soldiers in this company as Joseph would write Sarah Self Hoyle, his wife, about their family and friends, who were in that company. I was wanting to find out why my Aaron would be AWOL sometimes. Joseph did not tell that, but he mentioned that they would shoot those soldiers when they brought them back, and this was stressful for him. There were many who could not take the stress of the war.  The letters are dated and he tells us where he was stationed at each time of writing her. One can compare the Battles of the Civil War with his letters. He often asked about the neighbors at St. Peters.

After reading this book, I am more grateful to those who fought in the military then and those who are still giving their lives fighting for our freedom today.


An Old Store at St. Peter’s

Old store at St. Peters

There is still standing  today an old dilapidated building just above the old Luther Wellmon house, which is adjacent to St. Peter’s Church in Cleveland County, NC.  I am not for sure who owned and ran the store, but it may have been the Wellmon’s.  Anyway, during the Spanish flu epidemic in 1918-1919 you could go to the store to purchase your staple items, but you could not get in the door.  My father, Dixon Cook, told his family about the owners letting a basket down from a little window from the top with your groceries in it.  The epidemic was so severe and so many died that they were not taking any chances of catching it.  It is noted that 3%-6% of the global population died from this type of influenza A.  This pandemic has been given the name “the greatest medical holocaust in history” and may have caused more deaths than “Black Death.”  The symptoms were so unusual in 1918 that initially flu was misdiagnosed as dengue, tuberculosis, cholera or typhoid.  Complications from this Spanish flu were hemorrhages from the mucous membranes, especially the nose, stomach and intestines.  Bleeding from the ears and skin also occurred. The majority of deaths were from bacterial pneumonia.  World War I was going on at that time also, and worked to spread the disease in the camps.  In October, 1918 there were 25 deaths in Cleveland County and in November there were 57 deaths in Rutherford County. All total there were 13,600 deaths from the Spanish influenza in North Carolina alone.