Breed Family Letters submitted by Todd Walter
Churchill Family Letters submitted by Judy Churchill
Curtis Family Letter submitted by Todd Walter
John F. Miner Letter (1902) submitted by Chuck Miner
Sherwood Letters submitted by Carolyn Kraft
Wetzel Family Letter submitted by Lewis Wetzel
Williams Family Letter submitted by Danni Hopkins


The following letters written by the Breed family and was submitted by Todd Walter.


From: Sands N. Breed
Stonington, Connecticut

To: Jedediah Breed
Blooming Grove, New York
April 20, 1833

Dear Uncle,

We all feel ashamed of ourselves for not writing before, it was not the intention but time flies unmarked - we all enjoy the blessing of health at present at least so that we are all able to do some business. Mother I think is better than she has been for a year past. Edmund has had the Plueresy this spring and I had a slight attack of it. Jonas has a swelling on his hand which is rather painful. Uncle Peabody and family are all well. You doubtless recollect that I told you I intend to come and make you a visit. it was my intention but Father was not willing. we all or at least some of us calculated to make you a visit this spring but as our business is we think we cannot - We expect to take our departure for the west next Wednesday or Friday. we have sold all of our landed estate and all the stock but one horse and two hogs. the hogs we shall kill and sell a part - we shall carry our beds & bedding and wearing apparel and some cloth not made up - we shall have between three and four thousand dollars to start with. we shall have no misfortune occur when we get at our journeys end about three thousand and about 200 dollars worth of new cloth. Father has abandoned the idea of settling in Ohio but thinks of going to Illinois - Springfield is the place which he has selected as the end of the journey. it is as near as we can learn about 2 thousand miles the way we go - yet we may not go so far - I now beg your pardon for the rest of the family and myself for not writing before. our family send their love to you and family and are very sorry we cannot see you before we go so far- I shall look in the Post Office at Utica for a letter from you or at Newburg. I shall write you as soon as our journey is completed let it be where it may- And now Uncle do not follow our example but write soon. Give my love to Aunt Breed and all the cousins. In great haste I remain your friend Sands N. Breed.

P.S. Father says that if the boat will stop at Newburg he will come and see you if it is but a few hours. S.N.B.


From: Betsey Breed
Near Albany, New York

To: Jedediah Breed
Blooming Grove, New York

Dear Brother and Sister

We are not (missing word) to pass you without writing a few lines believing it will be a satisfaction to you to hear that we are all well and likewise where we are. Wednesday the 24th we sailed from Stonington had a pleasant passage arrived at New York the 26th. At three o'clock in the afternoon we went aboard of a tow boat for Albany. We passed Newburg a little before sunrise the 27th we thought much of you but it was not in our power to stop and visit you, perhaps it is all for the best, it would have been hard parting. When we parted with our neighbors it was really a solemn time; Brother Peobody and wife was at our house a little before we left, she seemed to feel very disagreeable realizing that she was the only one of her Fathers family that would be left in Connecticut. I will attempt to describe the feelings that I have had on so great an undertaking but before I left my native land I believe I was made willing to resign myself and my Dear Family into the hands of that God who has said he will never foresake those that put their trust in him. I have felt calm and composed in my mind ever since I first set sail Thanks be to God for his mercies to me one of the most unworthy of his creatures.

Our motive in moving to the west is hoping to better our children not that we lack a comfortable living - We cannot tell exactly now where we are going but if we live to get settled we shall write to you and let you know where we are- We are now on the boat sixteen miles from Albany we have not been sea sick nor home sick yet have not met with no loss nor accident and now Dear Friends Farewell and when it is well with thee Remember me - Betsey Breed

P.S. Your Brother is in good health and spirits; Remembers his love to you and family We all send love to you all.

April the 27th 1833
I had forgot to mention I see Cyrus Wheeler in New York yesterday he says our friends in Chenango were well when he left a week ago.


From: Sands N. Breed
Canton, Illinois

To: Jedediah Breed
Blooming Grove, New York

Canton Fulton County Illinois 26 July 1836

Dear Uncle & Aunt

Imediately after the receipt of your letter of August 5 Mother wrote an answer describing our situation and the situation of the country in general which I think must have been lost in the mail as we have not heard from you since- - or your answers /if you recieved it/ must have shared the same fate- - we have been at the post office every week for letters but could find none and this has caused the long delay on our part we were continnually hoping for one the next week but have been thus far disappointed and probably you have experienced the same disappointment we all hope that the communications between us will be more frequent for the future, as this is the only way that we can converse - we have been very much concerned about you all and hope you will imediately write on the receipt of this- we are all enjoying the blessing of health in a good degree much better than when in Stonington. None of us have had any serious sickness since we came in to Ill but Mary, she took some calomite after she had the whooping cough and it opperated as a poison she was bloated almost to twice her common size but with due care she recovered in a good degree but she is not now able to be about home(?) We have a very good society a school and meeting within one fourth of a mile we have harvested or wheat (30 acres) it is good, we have between 50 & 60 acres of corn on the ground it looks well 18 acres of oats &c. Wheat is now worth 60 cts per bushell oats and corn 2(?)_________

It is much more easy to get a living here than in Conn. the same labor will produce 5 times as much for subsistance. I comptemplate a visit to the East this fall and should it not fail you may expect not to be neglected- Sister Bathsheba was married the 5th of May last to Joseph Geyer- tailor from Germany-they live in Canton- the climate here is delightsome a pure breeze from the Prairie abounds in the hotest weather. not unlike the sea breeze of my native home with such a climate soil and natural prospect it is easy to account for our not being home sick- for we all love our Native place for the friends we have left-But love our adopted better for its extensive fields and general health No person who is not home sick will ever be contented to live in another country if he has once seen this--No part of the state has advantages over the Canton prairie I have been in almost every part of the state and have not found a situation which pleases me so well as Father. I hope you will write soon after the receipt of this and in answer I will give or try to give you some farther description of the country in general. Give my love to every member of the family-you must excuse Father for not writing you know he does not love to write he says that you have his love and best wishes and request you to write the local situation of all your children. Mother sends her love to you all and request you to write. all the family join in love to you all--I remain your friend and nephew Sands N. Breed


Part 1:

From: Sands N. Breed
Canton, Illinois

To: Henry A. Breed
Blooming Grove, New York

Canton Fulton County Ill. June 4 1836

Dear Cousin

I returned home to day after an absence of two months and was much gratified to find your kind communicas of Apr. 9th(?) with you I can cheerfully say that I am anxious to continue the correspondence between ________ families altho for as _________ never had the satisfaction of a personal acquaintance yet I fancy that the feeling of amity(family?) is as strong as can be between persons similarly situated and sincerly hope that the correspondence may be continued on both sides.

Our family are enjoying a good degree of health- we have had a very cold winter in Illinois and the spring was very wet for the first six weeks but since the middle of April we have had good weather vegetation was very late this season but when it did commence it was astonishing to see the change produced(?) in one week the Prairies were changed from the black color produced by the burning of the old grass to the most beautiful green- ______ the trees... (bottom part of page not scanned)

I am very sorry to hear that you had so severe a winter it was not so bad here but just about an average northern New England winter- _______ ____________
_____ wished almost that you was settled in our country My beautiful Illinois the wish is ______ just start and the business is done-you cannot come too soon for land is rising very fast- our land which cost two or three dollars an acre could not be bot for ten- the farm joining ours was sold last fall for that price which we could have but three years _____ _______ _______ _______ there are good situations to be bot for the minimun price _____ _____ _____ without improvement- you must hurry and find that fair one and you _______ _______ _______ for her if you please _______ ______ may prove(?) my generosity.

Give my love to your Father and Mother and all the family (cant read rest) yours sincerely S. N. Breed

Part 2:

From: Betsey Breed
To: Jedediah(?) Included with the above

Canton Prairie June 11th 1836

Dear Brother and Sister

We were all exceeding glad to hear from you it was a long time since we received a letter from you and we began to wonder what was the matter, It was a great satisfaction to recieve a letter from our Nephew also we never saw him, and we wish him to continue to visit us. But you must not entirely give up writing, it is such a comfort and satisfaction to my husband to see and read the well known hand writing of brother(?) which he often says seems nearer to him than any relation he has left _____ ______ _____; you are the only brother that has ever wrote him except brother Peabody we received a letter from him this spring he wrote he had received a letter from you and that you were all well, which we was very glad to hear. It is a general time(?) of health in this region except the measles and whooping cough. We have been sorely afflicted with the inflamation in the eyes about the middle of Feby. Sands, Nancy, Lydia(?), Lucy(?) and myself was taken sick, it began with the eyes until they were closed with it came pain, a coldness and shivering; our youngest child lost her senses for a while she was totally blind one week ______ _______ expected she would lose her eyesight, But God always dealt better with me ____ ________, _______ got better before Mary and Edmund was taken sick. ____ several ____ ____ they began to mend, and I am in hopes it will _______ ______ the family; mine dont(?) mend as fast as the rest they are quite sore and weak while makes it some difficult to read and write. My husband has enjoyed better health the last _______ months than he has for twenty years; in the latter part of winter he and Jonas put 100 barrels of wheat on a steam boat and _______ it to Peoria he did not want to wait there till the boat returned ___ he walked home 26 miles, to the astonishment of his family, he did ____ complain of being much tired; He has followed the plow all this spring, he says he is so busily engaged I must write for him that his last years crop turned out extraordinary well, and he has 80 acres of crop on the ground 36 of corn, and the rest spring wheat, oats and potatoes; we had very little snow last winter and the wheat was most all killed in this part of the country. Now(?) Sister Nancy ____ you was here we would treat you with strawberries ____ children has just brought in fifteen quarts all picked in bunches and there is a great _____ _______ of plants. It is astonishing to see the emigration to this country last fall and this spring almost every day we see 4,5 and 6 waggons passing loaded with women and children and some with large droves of stock; and we see but a small part of what comes to this state. This is a beautiful country and I should be exceeding glad to see my friends but I shall never... (Bottom not scanned)


Part 1:
From: Sands N. Breed
Canton, Ill.

To: Samuel Breed
Stonington, New York

Canton Ill April 7 1840

Dear Cousin

We have not had a letter from any of your folks for two years and had not heard from you until the other day - we received a letter from Uncle Peabody and he states that he received a letter from your Father in July last. I feel as though we had much neglected each other about not writing often and I hope we may hear from you all often. Father & Mother have generally enjoyed good health since we have been in this county. Father is some what lame in his hip so that he does but little work that requires much walking, all the family has generally been healthy Ames(?) had a fever last fall and that is all. The sickness that might be attributed to the climate since we wrote last- Please say to Uncle and Aunt that I remember them with pleasure and would be very much pleased to see them but dont know as I shall ever go East. in case I should you may be ________ of a good old fassioned(not sure?) _____ ______ _______.

We have got our place improved some and are getting along well for hard times - I live with Father yet Jonas lives about one mile west. We have ___ hard times since Illinois Money is much scarce than I ____ knew- the confidence between Man and Man is almost destroyed and business of all kinds sure to be parylized In fact we call it Real Van Buren(?) -times and it has it's effect upon the people - Harrisson is gaining ground very fast the people began to see that they have been humbugged in the superlative degree and Illinois will stand forth redeemed next Nov. I 1836 M. V. B. got a majority of about 4000 and now it is believed that Harrison will cary the state by from 5000 to 7000 votes- I will occasionly send you a _____ paper and I would be pleased to receive from you yours for we are anxious to get all the information we can on the subject for we in this country are all politicians ___ woman and children. Could the women vote Harrison would be elected by acclimation----!

Please write as soon as is convenient- My best respects to your parents Brothers & Sister &c I will leave room for Mother to write &c Respectfully your cousin S. N. Breed

P.S. I had the Empire State by the last mail please send again

Part 2:
From Betsey Breed
April 12th

Dear Friends

Having an opportunity I think I will write a few lines with Sands to inform that we are very glad to hear from you all and to knows that you are all in the land of the living as we have reason to believe you are by the reception of the paper . Sands wrote to his cousin Henry two years ago this spring on the reception of his letter but we have not received a letter since It would really cheer the heart of Jonas if he could once more receive a letter and see the hand writing of his Brother Jedediah we have thought strange that you have not wrote to us but perhaps the above mention letter micarried- If you receive this we would all be glad if you would write to us and let us know how you are geting along in this world of trouble. It is two years since we received a letter from our friends in Stonington Ct. We never hear from Ames and Elias only when you write about them Brother Peabody in his letter to us a few days ago informed on what you Betsey and Cousin Calvin G. Breed have just returned from a visit to Brother Peabody He says they are enjoying a good degree of health Except Allens wife her health is not good He says they are doing well and geting a good living Wm Peabody was married while they were there to a girl from Conn. They had a very agreeable visit. Calvin has built him a good framed house is married and lives about 2 miles from us is doing well There was a revival here in this vicinity last fall we have reason to believe some have experienced religion. Since this is the only way that we can converse together I hope you will write oftener and we will do the same for we that are old cannot enjoy the privilege much longer for the young may die and the old must. We heard by the way of Brother Peabody that Uncle Wm Randall had a shock of the Palsy and his sister Nancy is dead Uncle Dudley has buried his oldest daughter and all but the youngest is on the decline(?) Through the goodness of a kind God we are all enjoying a measure of health and I do hope in the course of 2 months I shall hear that you are all enjoying the same blessing I conclude with my love to Brother and Sister and all the children My family joins me in love to all.

Betsey Breed

The following letters were written by Elizabeth Churchill and submitted by Judy Churchill.

Letter written by Elizabeth Churchill, RR 2, Box 37, Cuba, Illinois, to her cousin Henry Churchill (son of Jasper Noel Churchill) LaGrande, OR . (Note: Jasper Noel Churchill is the Great-grandfather of Judith Ann Churchill.)

March 20, 1932 Dear Cousin Henry:

I am the youngest daughter of your great Uncle Charles B. Churchill. He is a brother to your grandfather William Churchill. I am the only one living of my father’s family. I am 76 years old. I am just up from being sick with the flu. I am very nervous. I am writing a new Churchill Book. I am writing for your family record. All that is required is to write your name and date of your birth and place of birth and your wives maiden name and date of her birth and place of birth and your children’s names in full and date of their births and place of births.

I sent to Boston Mass. for the old Churchill Book it dates back to 1685. I read in the book till I come to Captain Charles Churchill of the Revolutionary War. He married Lyda Belden. When his son Levi got married he named his first son Charles Belden. He is my Grandfather and also your Fathers Grandfather. Your Father is my first cousin, Jasper Churchill. When he got married to Emma Stevens he went west. I never knew where he lived. I was a little girl then. I remember of my parents going to the infair and taking us children along. Jasper and Willis was both married the same day so it was a double infair. Cousin Edmon's daughter Bessie Arrington tells me Cousin Jasper's first wife died and he married again. Can you tell me her maiden name and date of her birth and place of birth and your Fathers children names and dates of births and place of births. I want to write it in my new book I am writing. Tell me the date of your Father's death. I never knew where Cousin Mary Hellen Hoar lived till her death notice came out in our Canton Paper. It gave her children names and addresses so I went to writing to them. I have all of their family records, but the oldest girl I have wrote to her and also her sister that lives in Osborne, Kan. I hope to hear from Armita Greig so I can have all the family records of Mary Helen Hoar family. I have been five years trying to get all of my near relation. I want to finish the book as soon as possible, so please give this your prompt attention for life is very uncertain.

I sent to Los Angeles California for a picture of the Coat of Arms of our branch of the Churchill family. It will be in every book I have made so please give me all the dates of births and deaths you can so I can write it in the book. I want to get it made and I hope I will live to read it. My husband died June 10th, 1926. My son’s daughter lives with me. I am so very deaf I can't live alone. I am the Mother of 6 children. My two youngest died in infancy. I married my third cousin. Our grandfathers were brothers. My son lives near me. He was all the boy I ever had. This is all for now. Hoping to hear from you soon. I remain your cousin and well wishes. Elizabeth Churchill my address is R. R. 2, box 37, Cuba, Illinois



Letter written by Elizabeth Churchill to her cousin Henry Churchill

April 21, 1932 Cuba, Illinois

Dear Cousins:

Received your very nice letter April 2nd. Was so glad to hear from you. I was sick with the Flu at the time. I have just got your record wrote in my book. I was so glad to get your record and cousin Jaspers. He was such a fine young man. I love all of my relation. When I was a child I used to be so ticked to go to Uncle Williams, we had a lovely time and the same when they came to see us. They have all passed away but Edmon and Irene Marvle. Her address is Fairview, Ill.

Times are just as hard here as they are there. It is terrible. I have a grand son in Galesburg that has been out of a job for 3 years. He is 20 years old. His father is dead. His mother is my daughter Louise. She is cook in the Cottage Hospittle in Galeburg. She supports 4 of her children. Her oldest are married. I have 16 grand children and 4 great grand children. My youngest daughter lives in Fiatt near here. Her husband was instantly killed in his fine otomobile Nov 13 1931. His name is Floyd Massingale. My daughter has 4 children. The oldest is William 17, Ollie is 14, Leta Mae is 8 and Anna Belle is 3. They have all had the Flu. Charlsie get a mothers pention for 3 children, $6 a piece. William trucks stock to Peoria, Ill. Floyd was tall broad shouldered man 38 years old, his car was a total reck. I have 4 living children. Charlie is all the boy, his oldest girl and her husband lives with me. They have been married 3 years no children. Bernadine is her name, her husband is Ronald Mc Kean. He is working on the road it won't last long. Charlies boys name is Belden. He is 22 the 26th of this month. He is plowing with the tractor. Charlie has 10 acres of wheat on his place and 20 acres of oats on my 80, my father willed me. He was a brother to Henrys Grandfather. When I get my book finished I will let you know how much it costs me to have it made. Maybe some good luck will come your way and you will want one. It will be a book worth reading. I must close with love to all from your cousin. Elizabeth Churchill


Letter written by Elizabeth Churchill to Henry in Elgin, Oregon Mar. 21st

I hope this letter will find you at Elgin for I have wrote several letters that has come back to me where they have moved away and left no address. It is getting so hard for me to write a letter now. I am sending a letter to day to Cousin Silas’s wife. It may be she can get me Cousin Levi’s family. If she can I will have all of Uncle William’s family provided. You can get me Cousin Jasper’s family. Must close with love to all from your cousin, Elizabeth


NOTE: Two letters written by Robah Smith Sherwood (wife of Minor) from Canton, Illinois to Matthew Sherwood of Ballston, Centre, Saratoga County, N.Y.

Letter addressed to “Matthew Sherwood, Ballston Centre, Saratoga County, New York State.” Also on exterior reverse, “ Canton Ill, 30 August 25[cents or pence?].” (Folded and wax-sealed):

Canton August the/11 1838

Affectionate Cousins

Almost one year has elapsed since we parted many have been the Changes you would think by this time I had forgotten my promise to you I should have wrote before this time had I thought you had not heard from us by the way of brother Hanford or Mrs Verplank as Harriet engaged to write to her and has received her kind answer in return I have neglected an account of Mrs Taylors from saratoga springs comeing out here last spring and spending the summer with her son at Canton as she is about to return I will endeavour to give you a litt[le h]istory of our stay here when we wrote Brother Hanford we was in a hierd house we moved from that into the woods one mile and A half it was very unpleasant we could not see a house stayed there untill the middle of April then moved on the farm that Mr Sherwood had purchased it is two miles east of Canton he has 320 acres of Praire 180 of wood land the wood land is tax tille [tithe or title?] he gave for all 28 hundred Dollars the wood land is about two miles from the praire the farm is verry pleasantly situated we are all verry well peased with the farm and have enjoyed as good health as usual sine we left you Mr Sherwoods health is good I suppose you would like to know what our folks have been about this summer when he bought had 50 acres fenced 40 acres broke they broke in the spring 10 acres more they have planted & sowed 50 acres to wheat Corn oats buckwheat potatoes and beans crops are generally good we are well pleased with Illinois as far as we have seen as a Country

he has bought Considerable stock 42 head of Cattle old and young 13 calves mild 12 Cows we were oblige to turn Succour last spring that is let our Calves suck untill they got pasture fenced to call up the cows off from the open praire they have fenced 50 acres this summer since they got their pasture fenced we have milked our cows have made 300 pounds of butter 35 Cheeses butter is now l shilling Cheese is 1 shilling there is verry little Cheese made here or butter the generality of people keep Scarcely Cows enough to supply themselves with butter through the summer winters butter is high last winter butter & cheese was twenty five cents a pound we have anumber of hogs 11 sheep 4 horses hens & geese there is nothing wanting here more than there is there except fruit but what we can have with health and industry there is more fruit than I expected there is a number of orchards around us that begin to bear and currants some peaches we can get dried apples for 2 dollars per bushel peaches dried 3 dollars and half bushel we have no conveniences to do any thing we have no buildings except a small log Cabbin & alittle log room we use for milk we are building a cheese room it is framed readdy to put up there A number of dry good stores in Canton groceries mecanics Printing Prefs and College Mr Sherwood often Wishes you were out here he sends his best respcts to all his friends and Connections give mine to the same he says he would not go back on any consideration

There are two Churches in Canton Presbyterian and Episcopal Methodist there is a protistant Methodist church a building this summer & Baptist Bible Clafs we have Steaddy Preaching the Reverand Mr Steward from Ohio Sabbath school Monthly Concert weekly prayer Meeting and other institutions of the day we like Mr stewards preaching verry well but we have not found such a School as we did under Mr Mc Masters preaching we was aware we should not be blest with that long had we a stayed we heard he had left Ball[s]ton on account of his takeing a glafs of wine at a wedding should all the members be turned away for as small offence we fear there would be but few left if the elderly people Could not be taught by him I think the risi[ng] generation must feel his lofs some day. he was a faithful minister of Salavation he was the mesenger of truth he held a sacred office & preached the Doctrines of the gospels his language was plain and decent and delivered in a sollemn manner he is concious of the responsibility as an under Shepherd he instruts those whom he is placed over he in treats those who are in the gall of bitternefs and in the bonds of iniqity to turn and live he is diligent to promote the Cause of god instant in season and out of season reprove rebuke with all longsufering and doctrine and imparts to each one a portion in due season he visits the sick and afflicted Comforts mourners in zion brings glad tidings of great joy and publishes peace I want you to write the particulars of Mr Mc Masters going away and of the Church we shall expect an answer soon this from your friend Robah Sherwood M sherwood P Sherwood [I think “M” and “P” refer to addressees Matthew and his wife Polly in Ballston, not to Minor and someone else]

Elder Taylors[sp?] wife returnd sooner than I was aware if you will take the trouble to call and see her you will see one that has visited us in illnois She can tell you more than I can write

You will pleas send Mc Masters for a will adress by Mail.[?]

Transcribed by David B. Harper, 1504 Delphi Road, Cazenovia, NY 13035, on 7 August 2004


Letter addressed to “Matthew Sherwood, Ballston Centre, Saratoga County, New York State.” At top, “Canton Il 25[cents or pence?].” Also, on exterior reverse, “ Canton, Fulton Co” and “Dr., Rev.Dr.J.N.C.” (Folded and wax-sealed):

Canton january the/24 1841

in the [Laws?]

Beloved Brother and Sister

it is a long time since we received your letter and time is swiftly pafsing away I will no longer neglect writing lest the cold hand of daath summon us and deprive us of this privilege of holding convers with each other you must exuse me for attempting to write I feel myself inadequate to thetask I do not know that Minor would write a line to any of our friends if you are as anxious to hear from us as we are from you you will look over the imperfeactions of this letter. you perhaps will say we are not anxious by our long neglect of writing Minor says we must do the writing had I words to exprefs myself as well as he can I would not put it off from time to time as I now do I often feel that we have not much to write that will be interesting to you we are all enjoying good health at present Harriet and Eliza Ann had the Billious fever last fall. we have not heard from Eliza ann in some weeks I trust you are interested in the cause of truth and in the Church of Christ when we left Ballston there was nothing that twined around my heart like the beloved Minister and the Church there is a tie that binds the christians heart with love there is where I first felt the love of God shed abrond in the heart and first united with the people of God pleasant was the hours when we sat in the house of God and took sweet Counsel togetether and I received instruction from your hands when we came here we endeavourd to get near the Church to which we felt [atached?] that we might dwell to gether in unity we thought we had done so man appoints but God disappoints when the division took place in the general Assembly Mr Steward the Minister was anxious there should be a division in the Church there was only about thirty that Called ourselves Presbyterians the rest were all New School we had no one to break unto us the bread of life we were as sheep without a shepherd occasionally there would a stranger come and preach untill last fall a Mr. Mc Cune Came and preached a few times last summer we hired him he was ordained and enstalled over the Church the fourth of sept but did not move to Canton untill november he has a wife and one child he is 25 years old appears to be fine man he is a workman that needeth not to be ashamed we give him 500 dollars not because we are able but because we think he needs it to live we think we can let him live with the rest of us God is sending now and then a Minister that will set truth before error he was educated in south Hanover College he left before Mr Mc Master came there he has been back is acquainted with Mr Mc Master we have a Mr Mc Ginnis settled in Lewiston 15 miles from us that came from Hanover College last july they were both formerly from Pennsylvania he says Mr Mc Master is the greattest sermonizer he ever heard he is beloved by every one. the great head of the Church has heard prayer and sent us a man after his own heart we trust there is now upwards of 40 Members we have many things to encounter we are allmost alone God is our reffuge the power belongeth unto God it sems that there almost evry thing for the world to run after there is a great many names of people here, Swedenbergers Mormons Univeralists Radical Methodists Episcopal Methodists Baptists Anti Mission Baptists Unionists Congregationalists presbyterians New school the New school will not come to Presbyterians preach[ers?] they seem envious with the exeption of a few the new scholl have appointed 4 or5 men to revise the confession of faith or see what part they can subscribe to they are divided among them selves they have met to take to themselves a new name we have not heard the result we have a minister but no steaddy place of worship once in two weks Mr Mc Cune preaches in the Meeting house the new school occupy it the rest of the time it makes it verry unpleasant he preaches in different neighbourhood we have prayer meetings every wednesday evenings Mr Mc Cune has never mifsed of being there verry interresting we are about to try to build a Meeting house we are not able if [of?] ourseves they think of trying to get some assistance from the rich Churches from the East it is hard times here as to getting much money this is good soil it brings forth abbundantly produce is verry low good wheat 50 cts Corn 20 cents oats 18 butter 12 we have sold ours for 20 cheese 12 & pork from 2 to 3 and half Mr Mc Cune we expect will go to general Assembly next spring he m[e?]ans to try to get some help to build a house could you face the want of sound preaching as we do or have Done we think the Brethren of the Church would lend us some aid you can not realize it we feel sometimes if we were back there now we could give with a threefold libeal heart than we ever did we pay twice as much to our minister as we did there we all extend the utmost of our ability

we have had a verry pleasant fall and winter with few exceptions last october we had quite cold weather for 8 or 10 days there has been but 4 days this winter that has been verry cold [but?] 4 or 5 inches of snow it is now all gone verry warm for 10 days scarcely freezes nights except some litte drifts

give our best respects to mr [Holmes?] and wife Mr woods Mr Verplanks Mr Deforests Mrs. Burnet and all others and thommas and Johns families we remain yours in Christian love write soon and particularly about the Church and other things

Minor Sherwood Polly Mary

Matthew Sherwood Robah thomma

[Harriet and Eliza Ann, mentioned near beginning, were eldest daughters of Robah and Minor; Thomas and John (Sherwood) were married brothers of Matthew, living in Ballston; signators and addressees are mixed in at end: letter apparently written by Robah (Smith Sherwood), Minor was her husband; Polly was Matthew’s wife, Mary and Thomas their children]

Transcribed by David B. Harper, 1504 Delphi Road, Cazenovia, NY 13035, on 7 August 7, 2004



The following letters were written by William Williams to James and Eunice Williams
 and submitted by Danni Hopkins.


"State of Illinois Rock Island County May the 16, 1844

Dear father and mother I take my pen in hand to inform you that we are in a tolarabel state of helth at present hope that these few lines may find you enjoying the same blesing Terry hare and family is well as far as we know they named their last child Mary Misis wood and Misis hare is very frendly Henry send his best respects to his uncle James and Charley and franklin henry wants his uncel franklin to bite his granmother tit and quit sucken we have had avery hard winter har this winter I have concluded a warmer countrery would agraitaebl beter me and father Guilliams is going to starte to Arkansas in few days We hav a very good wagen and team we have six yoke of catel and five horses and several heads of catel which we intend to grive with us I would come and see you if I could it is so late I want to start I think I will come back next spring and see you if I have good luck I will rite to you as soon as I setel myself so nothing more but we remain you loving son and daughter until deth. S/William W. Williams and Mandy"



The following letters were written by John Nebergall Wetzel to his daughter Mary Meley Wetzel Toland
 and submitted by Lewis Wetzel.

Adair, Illinois
January 1912

Mellie Dear Daughter and Family,

I am permitted by the mercy of our Heavenly Father to try once more to write to you in answer to your long and welcome letter. I want to write a fairly long one. I expect it will be pretty mixed but I will try to get it so you may be able to read it. I may say some things that I have said my memory not being quite so good I find as when a boy and while touching my boyhood. I will talk a little about you may have herd me talk of some of my boylife before we came from Virginia but I will tell of some of it for the benefit of the Children. We moved from where I was born 20 miles into what we knew as the north mountains or foothill of the Alleghenys the year of 1841 in the spring and lived there till fall of 1844. Then the spring of 1845 we came to this country. We left Virginia from our old home the 20th of May 1845 and landed at Astoria the 25th of June came by team. I was 12 years old when we moved to the mountains and from the time I was 13 years old till we came to this country and when coming to this country I drove four horses with one line riding the near horse or one by the tounge called the saddle horse nearly all the time.

Grandpa Wetzel (George Wetzel) of course would be with the team some time but the most of the time I did the teaming or driving. Sometimes one of the boys would go with me when I went from home. I halled logs to the sawmill and then would hall lumber away. When I halled lumber of shingles away it would take me two days to make the trip. The sawmill was owned and run by an uncle of mine and was a half mile or maybe a little over from our house. The season I was put to driving team I was the oldest boy. I liked it and Grandpa Wetzel with Uncle Christ (Christopher Wetzel) help cut sawlogs and made shingles.



Uncle Christ got to be pretty handy with the cross cut saw and the ax for a boy but while he could beat me with the saw and ax he couldent handle a four horse team with me you see want of practice on either side. We was surrounded and in the best of timber three kinds yes four kinds of Pine and yellow Poplar, Chesnut, different oak, black locust and sugar tree and maple beach and birch and we all of us that was big enough had to scratch for our living to keep up expenses of team and family. We was just about as well off when we quit the mountains as when we commenced. I would like to have you understand something of the roads I did this teaming over. The rocker streams and dug roads up the side of the mountains some of them we called ridges but would be called mountains, half not so very high say four hundred feet possible more. The road was dug along the side of the mountain and on an incline that a team would have to be rested every 20 to 40 yard owing to the load. 1000 to 1200 feet of lumber made an average four horse load for such road as it had there and 5000 hand made a load. This dug road mountain so steep you could not go straight up the side of it without catching to the brush to pull yourself up. The road was just wide enough for a wagon and was banked up with logs and dirt. Then we would have tow other dug roads not so long as the first one on what we new or called spurs of the mountains but in each case just wide enough for a wagon. There where we lived in the mountains was just a little neighborhood of about eight families. Then on the road that I halled on it was 3 ˝ or 4 miles to the next house where a family lived then 4 miles to next one the get here it was more settled on more houses along the road and getting more out of the mountains. We lived about 80 rods from the North River where we lived in the mountains then we would be halling lumber leave the river bottom where I was speaking of the dug road and after about six miles would come to the river again but after four miles from home we would first get to a stream called Seidmove run. About such a stream as Crooked Creek north of Bardolph or the Sparger place. This stream we would cross five times or ford as we called it inside of two miles. This stream empting into the North River then we would ford the North River six times in 2 or 2 ˝ miles. It was larger than the Salt River in Missouri where we went fishing and a very swift running stream and what you should call fresh water stream made up and fed by springs. Then in two or three miles farther we cross the river once more then take across country we might say. Now back to the mountains. I will name some of them or give the name they went by – Dug Road Mountain, Ball Mountain, Hanky Mountain, Bigg and Little, Sugar Loaf Mountain and one or two others I have lost their names. From on a ridge just back of our house we would see either of these mountains. These streams would rise very suddenly from a hard rain from the mountain sides and when up to a horse’s side was not safe to ford. They were so very swift and stoney bottoms. One time I was caught from home when it rained and raised the river so the folks about where I would have crossed first for home said it would not be safe they didn’t think for me to undertake to cross that I had best lay over till next morning which I did but the folks were uneasy about me at home. I should have got home that evening if it had not been high water. The streams would raise very quick and soon run down. We could have all the huckleberries and chestnuts we wanted on the Pine ridges and was pretty plenty of what we then called Juniper had red berries the size of a pea good to eat. Some of the leaves stayed green all year but after all it is the real winter green. Then there was an evergreen bush grew about two or three feet high in summer it would have a pretty kind of pink flower. It seems as if the mountains were pretty nice too. Then there were and are yet wild animals. Bears, Panther, Wolves and wild cats when we was back there in 1876 after being from there 31 years. They were still there and will be as long as time lasts because of the rough mountains country. All streams were spring branch nice fresh water that is in these mountains. A few of the springs were Sulphur Springs. The the first winter was in this country Illinois, father and I went to St. Louis with our four horse team for goods for old Mr. Moneyhan a merchant of Vermont at that time. The rivers froze up early that winter, the river being the only way of getting goods or shipping produce away. The river freezing up so early caught the merchants short of groceries especially. We took a load of wheat down and brought a load of grocerys mostly – between <35 and 40 hundred pounds. We crossed the Illinois River at Beardstown on the ice. On Christmas Day we went through Jacksonville, White Hall, Carrollton and Alton. From Alton to St. Louis is 20 miles – this 20 miles then known as the American Bottom was a perfect wilderness of heavy timber and underbrush, now all cleared and in fine farms. About 16 miles below Alton we stopped then at Upper Ferry, now Venice, on account of the ice giving way and lay by there for a week at a hotel before we could ferry. Ice had to get out we crossed at the lower ferry about where the big bridge is and where East St. Louis now is. That was Illinois Town – only two or three old looking buildings – so the bridge has been built since then and East St. Louis has been made a city from Old Illinois Town to a population 58,547 fifty eight thousand five hundred and forty seven. The winter of 45 and 46 I did some halling from Vermont to Browning for which I got such things as we needed for the family, you see all these years I had small chance for schooling.



Stampless folded letter from Lathrop Willis Curtis Of Canton, Illinois to his brother, Rev. Otis Freeman Curtis of Barre, Vermont" Postmarked" July 28

Submitted by Todd Walter

July 12, 1835

Dear Brother,

I have in fact no leisure to write but must scribble a few lines to aquaint you with some changes which have taken place since Br. Samuel left. I trust you will have a joyful meeting with him Eliza and their little son before this reaches you. On the 17 May we had a daughter added to our family. We call her Emily Louisa. Louisa has enjoyed more than usual health since. And indeed our family have been favoured with health thus far. We have had much rain since I left. The creeks have been very high and the bottoms on the Ill. innundated so as to prevent communication with steam boats for 3 or 4 weeks. Mr. Stewart has returned safe. Havens Dewey left for Vermont I think about the first of June. On the eve of 17 June we had heavy showers. Most of the creeks were swimming. I stayed the night with Silas Chase in 8 north (if Samuel sees this he will understand it) 12 miles from Canton. He was very sick and died on the 20th. I was about to return at sunset the 18th to Canton but the appearance of heavy showers and importancy [unfortuananty?] of the patient prevailed and i staid until morning 19th. I had mounted my horse and took the hand of Br. Summers (our circuit preacher who also spent the night there) to bid him farewell, when Br. Palmer came running up and said Canton was destroyed by a hurricane. A traveler who spent the night at Canton had arrived and said only 3 or 4 houses were standing and those much injured. Several of the citizens were killed and others dying and the town a scene of destruction. You can as well immagine as I describe my feelings I could not learn who were dead nor anything of the fate of my family. My house although the best in town I did not care for. Brother Summers got on his horse and we broke for Gailors [?] it being the highest ground. We got wet in the creek north of Mallery's but came on safe to Big Creek north of Mr. Geter's [?]. Br. S. put in first his horse hung [?] in the brush and he got on the east bank after getting wet with his [postmasters ?] books papers etc. Soon we were on the high ground and could view the scene of destruction. My house was standing. Hope fear gratitude and anxiety and submission alternated or blended in my bosom.

July 18

Thus far I wrote thinking to mail immediately but was called away. We received a letter from Samuel at Buffalo last mail. Was well and about to proceed to N. E. [?] I have sent a paper to you in which I attempted to describe the effect of the storm as the rest of the commitee [communittee?] were too lazy, for I am sure they were not more busy than myself.

The deaths occassioned by the storm you know. Mr. Absolem Ellis died at Mr. Hines [?] and one woman near Peytons under the bluff and three men nears Eggmons ferry with the colera. Mrs. Emery, billuous fever also Silas Chase. Elisha Hazen, Apoplexy. Dr. Donalson buried a babe yesterday. Emmigrants are crowding in faster than ever before. We have had a abundant harvest of _ _ _ _ _ _ grain and corn looks well. Our little town is rising rapidly from its ruins. We had a Methodist chapel 30 by 40 well built and covered, windows and doors in but the storm has unroofed and nearly demolished it. The windows and doors are destroyed and much of the lumber. The Presbyterian have had a bell sent them from N.Y. which sets off their church tho small our chapel makes but a broken echo. Suppose you could have a contribution on your circuit to help us repair it. Read them the account in the paper but methodists are poor hands to beg (except of their father in heaven) and he has taught a salutary lesson by taking Col. Foster & Br. Swan.

Col. F. was the most efficient Methodist in Fulton county. He was a holy man and died full of faith. May I follow him as he followed Christ. He died in my house and only a few feet from where he kneeled a few weeks before and plead for mourners (about twenty were on the floor around, and among them his little daughter that was killed by the storm) with them for two hours. He said it was the gate of heaven and so it proved to him a few days after. He seemed in every meeting after that to be aware that his end was nigh. Said when leading the class the sabbath before the storm in positive terms but probably accidentally that we should never all meet in class again on earth. He told to his wife his wishes relative to the settlement of his estate and what she must do with the family. She thought him _ _ _ _ _ as they say here but it was fortunate that he was so as he was destroyed too sudden to make any arrangement of his temporal business during his illness.

I am as a methodist more alone than ever. Will not Br. O come to this land where in many points the fields are all ready for the harvest. Father Wright has just been in and says give my love. Little Mosely is sick this morning but the effect of an emetic which is now operating I hope will be o_ _ _tary.





* Dr. Lathrop Willis Curtis b. Jan 9, 1800 Hanover, NH - d. Mar 25, 1879 Norris, Fulton Co., IL

* Rev. Otis Freeman Curtis b. July 6, 1804 Hanover, NH - d. July 1, 1879 David City, NE

* Daniel Havens Dewey b. Nov 8, 1801 Berlin, Vt - d. Dec 22, 1873 in Canton

* Silas Chase b. June 4 or 14, 1803 - d. June 20, 1835 Fulton Co., IL (possibly near Farmington)

* Absolom Ellis b. abt 1804 South Carolina - d. June 1835 Fulton Co., IL (possibly in Liverpool)



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