Mollie Clark and Sylvester Rynearson

Sylvester and Mollie (Clark) Rynearson and son Eddy 1882.

This is one of the families we plan to mention at our July 9 Ithaca Cemetery program at 9am. Mollie was the daughter of John and Sarah Clark who lived on Littles Road, west of Arcanum. We aren’t going to “spill all the beans” but give you enough history that you will want to attend July 9 to hear the rest of this exciting story about the Clark and Rynearson family.

Our purpose is to invite family descendants to attend July 9th as our special guests but we also need the public and community’s help locating Mollie’s letters as stated further in this article.

From the book “The Civil War Letters of Sylvester Rynearson 1861-1865” by Edward Rynearson Michaels.

The Rynearson’s tie with the Clark Family

When I started working on the Clark family and the brick home on Littles Road, I was told Ed Trick used to live there.  I contacted Ed to ask him about the house history and if he had any photos.  He mentioned the Rynearson family book he had.  I wasn’t sure what the tie was, but soon discovered from Find-a-grave, the connection to the Clark family which was thru their daughter, Mary Jane (Mollie) Clark who later married Sylvester Rynearson or Ves.

In reviewing the book, “The Civil War Letters of Sylvester Rynearson 1861-1865” by Edward Rynearson Michaels, we read about the extensive letters written home to Mollie Clark. 

From a letter from Edward Rynearson, MD from Mayo Clinic, we find a trunk full of letters and artifacts was sent to the family from Larry Fourman of Arcanum.  The letters were transcribed into a book and it also mentions that there were letters from Mollie which would be exciting to see and read.

In the book, it tells of visiting his grandparents home and discovering the wooden chest with the letters from Sylvester Rynearson.  Thus the start of the project.


In 1861 Ves left his home near Ithaca, Darke County, Ohio and went to Mahaska County, Iowa.  He had dreams of engaging in farming but the Civil War started.  He took up the cause.  In 1861 he enlisted with Company C at the age of 25 years.  Thur the war he wrote home to Mollie Clark.  On seeing her photography in the book, I can see why.  She was very becoming.

In the conclusion of the book we read:  At last the war is over.  We fought in 22 battles and marched a total of 7,898 miles.  Ves was going home a survivor.  He received his discharge at Davenport, Iowa on August 3, 1865.  Of the 108 men who entered Company C, only 14 returned home. 

Find-A-Grave Photo

He returned home to Ithaca to settle down.  He worked for his father until he saved enough money to buy a farm of 100 acres near Farmland, Randolph County, IN.  He paid $4,000.  On September 13th, 1866 he married his long time sweetheart and had one child, Eddie born June 23, 1867.  In 1870 he sold his farm for $5300 and purchased 140 acres near Gettysburg Darke County, Ohio for $11,000.  Here they lived for many years. 

Ves was manager of the Darke County Agricultural Society and they were both active in the Methodist Episcopal Church in Gettysburg. 

Ves and Mollie had two grandsons, Edward Harper Rynearson and Sylvester Harper.  Every summer they would visit their grandparents from Pittsburg, PA on the farm.  The farm was very primitive and there was no running water.  The water was drawn and heated on a wood stove.  Their mother even brought her own toilet tissue from Pittsburg!

Ves and Mollie made their final move to Twin Township where they remained until Ves died January 3rd 1912 at the age of 76.  He is buried here at Ithaca Cemetery. 

In the book by Edward Rynearson Michaels and a letter, we find that Molly’s letters to Sylvester, were in the possession of Jean Rynearson Michaels, Edward’s daughter. If I understand this correctly, Jean’s son was Edward Rynearson, MD and Jean’s husband was Franklin Michaels.

Our questions are “where are Mollie’s letters? And has any books or publication work been done? Are they in a historical society or archive somewhere? Any family descendants of the Rynearson or Michaels families out there?” We would love to locate or find Mollie’s love letters from the local Arcanum young woman written during the Civil War era.

Please contact Annette Stewart at [email protected] or thru messenger on awths fb page or our website if you are a descendant or have any information about these families or letters.

Please read and follow AWTHS blog guidelines regarding contents and photos. This info is to be accredited to the author, Edward Rynearson Michaels.

The photo of Capt. Sylvester Rynearson and surgeon is from Find-a-Grave.

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