Box 2 Folder 12

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Letter 1 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---

[Addressed to]             Mrs. Elijah Grant
                                    Care of Deac. [Deacon] Elijah Grant
                                    Millbook [Millbrook]
                                    Conn. [Connecticut]

Shelburn Nov. 24, 1845

My dear Mother
            I have been on the point of writing you for sometime -- one reason I have not done so is that I been exceedingly busy -- going round from place, and the other that I wished to wait <that> till I might have some news worth communicating -- What I have in the shapes of news is soon told -- My health has much improved since I was in Colebrook [Connecticut] though I have been laboring quite hard most of the time -- Some of the time too hard -- harder that I intend to labor in future -- Another item of news is that I am expecting and intending to spend the winter somewhere South -- probably in Delaware -- and shall probably employ my time on teaching a class in [Minather?] -- <composed> the class is to be composed of the reinforcement which is to join our Mission next year -- A third item is that Miss Moose of South Hadley has consented to take the place of our beloved Mary [Mary Grant Burgess] whom God has taken to himself -- This item of intelligence is of very recent origin -- only 3 or 4 days old -- I communicated to you as soon as I can -- for you are interested in such matters -- this third item is connected with a fourth <and determines it> -- viz that I cannot leave America on my return to India till after Aug. 1st 1846 -- I have heard once incidentally that sister Martha is not as well as when I saw her -- I should to hear from her -- and from you all -- I have of Joel’s marriage -- and that he is gone West –
            I hope some of you will write me before long -- It will be nearly two weeks before I shall leave Boston to go South -- and letters will find me direct to care of A.B.C.J.M. [American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions]
            It will be impossible for me to visit you this autumn again -- But hope to do so in the Spring -- To morrow I go to Williamstown and then return to Boston the latter part of the week -- Though perhaps I may stop in the valley of the Connecticut to spend the Sab [Sabbath] --
            My kind regards to all the family and friends –
            I am as ever
            Affectionately your son [in-law]
                        E. Burgess


Letter 2 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---

[Addressed to]             Mr. Elijah Grant
                                    Litchfield Co.
                                    Ct. [Connecticut]

<New> South Dedham [Massachusetts] Feb. 20, 1844.

My dear Brother,
            I have not heard one word concerning your daughter Martha, since I received a letter written partly by her brother Joel at South Hadley [Massachusetts], & partly by Miss [Mary] Lyon.  She had then been confined to her bed six weeks, & her mother had been with her two weeks.  I directed my reply to that letter to Miss [Mary] Lyon, & requested further information without delay, & also frequently information while she should continue ill.  Why no one has written, I cannot conjecture.  If the dear child had left “the land of the dying, & gone to the land of the living,” surely some one would have communicated to me the fact.  With a disease so severe, & so stubborn, she cannot have recovered sufficiently to be removed home in the uncommonly cold weather of this inclement season.  Probably your family remains in a measure broken up, while you suffer loneliness & anxiety.  No doubt, however, you rejoice in the privilege, which Martha enjoys in being allowed the presence of her mother; as well as the privilege which her mother enjoys in administering to her stricken child.
            You may be ready to inquire, why I am again at South Dedham.  Perhaps you already know, that Dr. Briggs was attacked last June with profuse & stubborn hemmorrage of the lungs.  From the debility consequent, he so far recovered as to be able to attend to his professional business.  A slight cough through the summer & autumn was attended by a decay of health, until December 26, after one week confinement to the house, his spirit was released, & his emaciated body, a few days after, consigned to the tomb, then to remain until the morning of the resurrection.  In the last week of his life he gave, by will, all his estate to his wife, & made her sole execution.  Since his death, debts have been presented to an unexpected amount; & the 6th of March is appointed as time for an auction, in which the house, garden, woodland, & some of the household furniture is to be sold; -- leaving Mrs. Briggs & her children almost destitute.  From a letter, which I received from this, my very dear friend, just before evening last Saturday, I feared she was breaking down under the weight of care, labor & solitude now devolving upon her, & overcoming what I had supposed to be insurmountable obstacles.  I yesterday hastened to her dwelling. The Sabbath had been to her a season of precious rest from almost overwhelming cares & labors, & her spirit seemed to have been refreshed by drinking at the fountain of truth.  Still she is worn down, & feeble.  What she is to do, she knows not.  The people throughout the parish are exceedingly kind & sympathizing.  <Both> Her father, the Rev. Jabez Chickering & her grandfather Rev --            Balch (Mr. C’s [Chickering] predecessor) each spent a life as past of this church & people.  Her father, having ample pecuniary means, gave a library to the parish, & did many benevolent acts suited to promote the intellectual & moral improvement of his own generation, & of their posterity.
            On my way to this place I called at Mr. Wm. [William] Stickney’s 52 Temple St. Boston.  They often received a short letter from Mr. Burgess.  Under date of last October he says, that it is possible they may see him here in the course of a year.   Should he come, he will, of course, bring his little boy, now almost four years old.  He speaks of its being the opinion of the mission that he ought to [...] of its being peculiarly trying to him to think of leaving his field of labor among the Mahorattas.
            From this, I infer, that the restoration of impaired health must be his object, tho [though] he does not specify. -- Dear Mary [Grant Burgess] has finished her work, & gone to heaven before us.  While our attractions to earth diminish, do our attractions to heaven increase? 
            I did not know, until I heard at Mr. Stickney’s of the failure of Mr. Jonathan Hoyt, & I fear you may have suffered by this event. (He was owing Mr. Stickney six thousand dollars for borrowed money, which was to be paid next March.  Mr. S. [Stickney] considers Mr. H’s [Hoyt] house as fraudulent, thinks he is liable to indictment, believes he has funds secreted; -- but has very little hope of receiving his due.) From his having purchased cheese & wool.  I fear many around you may suffer -- How is this? -- Is uncle Cowles still near you?  How is he? 
            Wm [William] Banister always speaks of you with fraternal affection, & he cherishes the hope that at some future time you may visit us.  For some weeks past, he has not enjoyed so high a degree of health as usual, tho [though] with care, he attends almost daily to his ordinary business.  The health of his eldest daughter is better than it was last winter.  She rides to take the air almost daily, & on part to the time is quite comfortable, having the aspect of a person in health.  She reads many volumes every month, & writes a good deal.  But occasionally she suffers for hours, & some times severely.  No day passes without her suffering more or less.  His second daughter is not sick, but she is exceedingly slender. -- James Richards our missionary son is in his 17th year.  He does not love study well enough to justify our sending him to college.  It is his choice to return to the [S.I.?] sooner or later.  If his own father, whom we constantly expect from Europe, should decide that he shall follow his inclination to become a farmer, I do not see how we can provide for him the necessary training. My own health is, on the whole better at present than it has been before for seven years.  Still I have no capacity for endurance. Overextension when we had company last week
            This in brackets is for you only. {confined me mostly to my bed from Friday noon
until Sunday morning. -- We have excellent Christian minister, & many steadfast Christians, among us; but we suffer greatly for want of a season of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.
I wrote a few lines to Mr. Pettiborne from Amherst last August. & I have not since heard from him.  How is he?             
My most affectionate regards to each member of your family, including Joel & John, when you write them.  Tell Elizabeth I remember her with much affection.  During these seven years, that it has lost me so much suffering to write a letter she has not once written me -- That you, your wife & children may be sustained under present trials, & prepared for whatever God, in his providence, has appointed you is the desire of
yr [your] afftc [affectionate] sister
Z.P.G Banister.[Zilpah Polly Grant Banister]


            Ellen continues in the family of David Choate, Esq. (at Essex, five miles from Ipswich. [Massachusetts]) & pursues her studies to good advantage.  Her present situation is favorable for her health her improvement & her character -- Direct to me at Newburyport

Letter 3 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---

[Addressed to]             Mr Elijah Grant
                                    Mill Brook
                                    Con [Connecticut]

New Haven March 22 1847

Dear Father
            I am unexpectedly enabled to repay you the sum of money you furnished me when I left home -- It gives me much pleasure to do so, as I knew you could not well spare it.  It is due to my dear Aunt’s [Zilpah Polly Grant Banister] great kindness that I am permitted to refund any part of it.  She voluntarily proposed to loan me enough to enable me, besides paying my bills here, to refund what you gave me on leaving home.  She has moreover in the greatness of her kindness procurred & presented me a full supply of clothing for the summer.  Great occasion have I to be grateful to her for the sympathy & affection she has evinced towards me in this time of sore trial.  Her visit of a week here I enjoyed most richly -- I have also abundantly reason to speak of Uncle Banister’s kind interest & regard, but have not time or strength to spare at present.
            I have been getting along very well since you last heard from me, & had expected to ride to Watertown [Massachusetts] to-morrow.  The storm however will probably disappoint us in this.  It is now <four> five o’clock P.M. & the storm has been raging more or less all day & there is little prospect of its ceasing immediately.  If our Watertown friends come for us we shall proceed to Watertown as soon as the weather permits -- I shall probably remain then some time -- know not how long --
            Marcus’ letter enclosing Massey’s was received <on> Thursday morn before Uncle & Aunt left (they did not leave till Thursday) & we were very glad to hear again from home & the intelligence brought was not however so pleasant as we hoped -- I will though still hope for that which is more favorable ere long -- shall expect to hear soon after reaching Watertown.  I know not whether I shall visit home or not this coming summer -- but deem it very doubtful.  It will however depend very much upon circumstances which are yet to be developed.
            I have now season to be encouraged some what with regard to my future prospects yet I cannot know how far I shall restored to soundness.  I shall try to procure some employment suited to my education before long.  I am able to walk now pretty well tho [though] I am still somewhat weak.  I walk up & down stairs with ease & you would be surprised to witness the great change wrought by the removal of the tumors.  I hope it has procured me permanent relief.  The tumors weigh 18 ounces.
            Let the next letter from home state that this with its contents is received.  Marcus has neglected to state so fully as I wished what letters have been received by you at home but I presume you have lost none.
            Aunt Banister left with me for Mother to be sent her soon as the opportunity presents Barris’ Notes on the Gospels.  I presume an opportunity will present for sending them from Watertown before many weeks --
            Love to all at home.  I hope to hear of Mother’s recovery & Martha’s great improvement in your next.  You must not expect to hear from me very often as it is hard for me to write long --
Your affectionate son
            I wish Marcus to write soon after the receipt of this, & let him promptly forward such letters as come for me to Mill Brook should any more come --
            Love to all friends --
            Cousin Martha sends love to all --

Letter 4 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---

[Addressed to]             Mrs. Elisabeth Grant
                                    Mill Brook.
                                    Ct. [Connecticut]

Wankeshaw [Wisconsin], Apr. 12, 1848.

My dear Mother,
            We rec’d [received] your letter enclosed in Joe’s yesterday -- were very glad of it -- have been looking for it ever since the receipt of Joe’s letter in Jan. as he said he though you intended to write soon -- We are very glad to hear that your health is comfortable & Father’s good -- as you are to have workmen this summer I hope you will have help so as not to be obliged to work so hard yourself -- You speak of the hope of visiting us within a few years -- we hope it may be brought about for we should greatly rejoice to have you do so.  Am much obliged for the little present sent in your letter -- You speak of sending some things to us, they will be gratefully received -- shall think a great deal of any thing left for us by dear Martha the dresses you spoke of will come just [right?] for I shall be obliged to have some soon, & may thus be saved the necessity of getting any, or more than one at least -- dried apples will be very acceptable -- we have been without through the winter, for we used ours all last summer having so large a family we have had a peck of green apples this winter.  My Mother wrote sometime ago that they were expecting to send some dried applies & a few other things, & asked me to mention what we most needed -- I hardly know what to say -- the first thing that I now think of is a pair of india rubber over shoes, though if it is not convenient to send them expect we shall get them sometime in the course of the [...]. 
            She spoke of getting some knitting done for Abby -- she has a supply for the present, but next winter will need two pairs of every day stockings.  I am afraid she will have them knit too large -- a pair of coarse mittens would not come amiss -- she has very small hands & a slender foot, but rather long --
            Mrs. Root writes that they intend to have their Parents come out here & live with them, & does not know as they shall all be ready to come until sometime in the summer, but says Mr. Root will return early this Spring -- do not believe it would be best to trouble Mrs. Root with the care of anything as she would have her aged Parents children to see to, & if she had not I dont know but any thing would come as safely alone as with her --
            Should think it would be well enough to send by Mr. Root if he does not come too soon for your convenience & it were not so much trouble to ascertain about it -- the same of Mrs. Root’s Father is Wilcox (Reuben I think) they live in Alford a small town near Stockbridge --
            Daniel was very well through the winter, but for two months past his health <it> has not been as good -- for the last three weeks he has been quite unwell with what the Dr. calls pleurisy, occasioned by a fall he rec’d [received] three or four weeks since -- he has not been confined to the house, but has been unable to do much he is non improving & we think will soon be pretty well -- My health is about as usual -- Abby is most of the time pretty well, though she has suffered more or less for two or three months with cancer in the bowels & the blind piles -- is under the Dr’s care -- he gives medicine & ointment that relieves & we hope will permanently cure --
            She plays & talks a good deal -- I was saying something to day about a duck & she said, ducks is down to Mr. Lockwood’s.  She had in her mind one of our neighbor’s ducks that she used to follow around last summer.  I think she has not seen it since -- I did not know as such little children remembered things so long -- though she has often spoken of incidents several months after their occurrences.  She knows nearly half of the letters -- we cannot very well avail her learning them as she commenced a while ago asking the names of them as she was looking at pictures in books -- we did not intend to teach them to her for sometime yet --
            We have felt quite rich for a week past for we have new milk -- our cow was dry two months & a half & for sometime previous to her drying up she gave so little that we could make no butter -- we have been obliged to live very plain this winter, but have been blessed with good appetites to relish what we had, & now as Spring advances & our appetites call for more variety, a kind Providence is providing it for us -- we expect soon to have some maple sugar, eggs &c -- think Abby has a very wholesome appetite, she often takes a piece of bread or cold potatoe & eats it with a good relish she seems to have a great dislike to beans -- every thing else she east that we have --
            We have our bed room floor laid. -- hope to have in the course of the summer more floor partitions laid up the remainder of the windows in, & some plastering.
            Our Antislavery Sewing Soc. [Society] meets this P.M. usually attend, but I thought best to day to take the time & write to you, & beside I have some sewing on hand to do for Mrs. Codding which she wishes soon as may be -- believe Mr. Codding is expecting to remain another year -- he gives good satisfaction so far as we know -- there has been this Spring more than usual religious interest in our church -- some <who> of the many who had got far away from God were brought back to take their proper places before [...], & there have been several conversions but there has not been a general outpouring of the Spirit -- we feel that our souls have not been entirely passed by without a blessing -- last fall Mr. Tenney our Minister last year gave us a book entitled “Views of Sanctifications” by Prof. Finney -- I think his views of prayer that you speak of are not in this book, but I believe that there is a book containing some of his sermons, in the place wh. we will endeavor to procure & read –

Dear Mother,
            In haste I sit down to write a few words <just> though I hardly know what what to write           I would like to know what is the matter with uncle Luther is his mind affected?  give him my respects, and also the rest of the family tell Martin to write to me I will try to answer if he will
            I have been trying to get a living by teaming and could do so very well if I could get my pay as I go along, but I cannot however it will be wanted when it comes  I got the team on account of my health and I know my health is better than when I labor on a farm  I could have done better this winter in a school I suppose but the spring has now come and I believe I can do better with the team than any other way my health has not been good for some time but as good as ever when the warm season is approaching. I am now quite comfortable and feel that the spring seasoning is almost past if so it has past much earlier than usual I have hired a man to drive the team till I am strong again and get some other business done up    He has now been here a week and we have earnt in that time $16, besides some other work that we have done I drove the team about two months before I bought it and my health improved rapidly during the whole time and until the middle of Feb. when the warm weather commenced my health never was better.
            I intend to write to our people before long -- I mention about [her?] shoes Abby’s stockings &c because I thought perhaps it would be convenient for our people to read this letter some time before they would get another from us
D. <Daniel> last fall build a very comfortable warm stable for the horses & cow of rails and [strake?] --
            give my love to all friends --
            Your aff daughter --

Letter 5 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---

[Addressed to]             Mrs. Elisabeth Grant
                                    Conn. [Connecticut]
Wankesha [Wisconsin], June 13, 1848.

My dear Mother,
            Since the receipt of your last letter it has seemed my duty to spend considerable time with two sick neighbors so that I could not consistently answer your letter immediately as you requested.  With regard to our going to Ct. [Connecticut] to live I do not know what to say -- Daniel has for sometime seemed to have some idea that it might be best -- at least he has occasionally spoken as though we might sometime go, says he does not doubt but that it would be better for us if we were there -- provided he could find some employment that would not be too hard for him -- it is evident that his constitution is not sufficient to labor hard upon a farm, but if he is obliged to do it, we had better remain here -- <If we thought that was a p>
            Daniel has lately talked considerably as though he should try to make arrangements to go with in a year or two -- if we thought we should go within a year, should not think it best for you to send much if anything except the apples, unless it was a dark calico dress pattern -- but mind & every thing is so changeable I make no calculations for the future -- I hope the Lord will direct us.
            Our present prospects are not very encouraging, nor do I know that they are particularly discouraging -- D. [Daniel] has disposed of the team, for he did not find it profitable keeping them as he was not able to get money enough to meet his expenses -- was obliged to take some kind of pay that would not buy grain, or wait a long time for the cash --
            The wagon and sleigh are yet on hand --
            He has not yet succeeded in getting into other business as he thought he probably could -- presume he can get a school next winter though it is somewhat doubtful whether he will be able to get one & be at home much of the time --
            His health is <pretty> good.  Abby & I are well I wish you would not worry so much about us.  If Abby has a return of that complain we intend to use more water in the treatment of her -- we are now reading some borrowed Water cure Journals edited by Dr. Shew of N.Y.  [New York] City -- they contain more valuable information -- have not yet seen any particular treatment described for cases like hers.  I wash her almost daily in cold water, or rather in water that has the extreme chill taken off, but she is exceedingly averse to it --
            June 20.  Yesterday was Daniel’s 30th birth day -- he feels that that he is getting to be quite an old man, but I supposed you & Father consider him young yet.
            He has been intending to write some in this letter & has been waiting, thinking that perhaps he might be able to say something definite about going to Ct., [Connecticut] but he cannot at present -- presume it would be better for us & more pleasant on many accounts to be there, & for some reasons it might not be as well for us. dont think we had better go unless we can make arrangements without sacrificing a great deal --
            I dont know as we have much <sparsely> more reason to fear sickness here than there -- more & better pay is given there for labor, & payments are met more punctually but I do not know as we should be able to get along there with quite as little expenditure as we do here -- but I am not particular where we live if we can only get a comfortable living, & keep out of debt without Daniels working beyond his strength -- D. [Daniel] has come to the conclusion in his own mind that perhaps it is best for us to return to Ct. [Connecticut] independent of any thing, that has been said to him -- I have said nothing to him on the subject till within a few days past for more than a year, but he has occasionally spoken about it. 
July 2 1848.
Dear Mother,
            It is sometime since we received your letter and I will now try to get it answered            It is not easy to make up our minds what it is best to do in regard to what you proposed.  We are so situated that we shall soon be able to enjoy ourselves here perhaps as well as any where (but that is impossible to tell) and there are great objections to our returning I can’t see which way the scale will turn
            If I knew of some business where I could get fair compensation, for my labor and business that I could follow I might think it best to go. but it may be as difficult to find such business there as here and I never can go there to work on the turnpike and if I have got to work on a farm, I had certainly better be here than there.
            Mr. Cummings one of our merchants told me a few days ago that I must not go back says that he knows that farming is too hard for me, but he will find business for me that I can get a good living at better than I can do east, but then I cant depend upon him, that is I must look out for myself.  He expects soon to build a house, near us and he intends to have us for neighbors, so there is a little selfishness about it.
            I do not now fear the disease of the country, cold water I think will drive them away
            Mr. Cummings I think will find something that I might do to a good advantage if I had three or four hundred dollars in money but I fear he will not without.  But dont trouble your self about us, my health is better than it has been for more than a year and a half before, and if I can find employment that I can bear I will risk my health.
            If we should conclude to go it would be a year before we could get away
            Yours &c. Daniel

            Shall send to Joel soon & intend to write to John before long -- think a good deal about his weak back.  fear it will never be strong -- hope Marcus is well & doing well -- what do you hear from Elisabeth            Hope you are not obliged to work very hard.
            Abby said she wanted to write to Grandma so I let her scribble a little -- I am distressed because this letter was not sent before, for I know you wished to know what to do about sending Martha’s things -- As it is impossible for us to tell now, when, if ever we shall go to Ct. [Connecticut] think you had better send what you wish to, if you have an opportunity that you consider safe, but if not, keep what you feel the most choice of till a good opportunity presents -- (turn to margin on first page)
            Since I wrote you before, I have written to our people that perhaps it would be best to try to send some things by Ms. Root, as I had seen Mr. Root & he said he could have the care of them &c & represented that She would return before long but he rec’d [received] a letter from her two weeks ago & her Mother has so far recovered as to be able to walk about the house but is not able yet to endure the journey out here & she did
Mrs R. [Root] did not tell when she thought she should return -- I presume she will not before fall if then -- but if our people thought best to send by her presume they have seen her before this -- We expect to have the bed room & one other room plastered before winter. D. [Daniel] has been to work lately for a neighbor farmer --
            remember us aff [affectionately] to all friends –
            Yr. [your] aff. [affecitonate] daughter

Letter 6 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---

Lockport, Ill. [Illinois] Dec 18 1846.

My dear Mother & Sister,
            I have been forcibly reminded of home to night, and if you wonder how, it was by getting tea alone, which I have done but once before since leaving home.  Mrs. Blackstone is absent for a few days, and the girl, poor thing, had a terrible ague shake this afternoon.  Just before tea time, I went out and made some nice cookies (tho’ [though] not so good as if I had had my favorite receipt,) also some toast -- & tea all of which Joel & the children pronounced excellent.  It is a treat indeed to have things to one’s liking.  Mrs. B. [Blackstone] always has them good enough, and most of the time better than we could afford, were we keeping house, but you know people sometimes enjoy having things their own way. 
            The girl is suffering dreadfully from the fever which follows the chill.  If it was any thing but ague, I should be alarmed about her.  But in this country, people may be deadly sick as they think one day, and stirring about the next, gathering strength for a renewed attack.
            Joel has again been sick with billions fever.  Last week Wed. & Friday night he had a fever, Sat morn a chill, and severe fever followed which lasted 24 hours.  He did not go out on Sunday, but at evening the fever came on with great violence, & continued till Monday night.  As soon as he began to cool down & perspire, Dr. gave four large pills of such a nature, that the fever has not since appeared.  Dr. says quinine alone will not affect his system properly.  He is now giving him peruvian bark, mixed with magnesia & carbonate of iron also orders him to take a glass of <small> strong beer, the same as ale. four times a day.  The ale is made at Detroit, & we get it here for 371/2 cts [cents] per gallon.  Joel is of course very much reduced in flesh and strength.  One of our ladies who has been absent for a few months called yesterday; she said if she had met him elsewhere, she should not have known him.  He has not lain down to day, but is unable to prepare for next Sabbath; Any exertion mental or bodily brings on a fever.  How long it must be so we cannot tell, but I fear it will be no better this winter.  In spite of all our endeavors to the contrary, we are almost discouraged sometimes.  It is a time when a great deal needs to be done, but Joel has no strength, and consequently cannot do it.
            The audience on the Sabbath is increasing but of course, if they come & find no minister nothing but reading meeting, they will not be so anxious to come again. To be sure, we hope every shake, or fever is the last, and on that live till the dread reality appears again.  Joel is not the only sufferer in this place.  Almost all who had the fever severely in summer, have attacks of it, on ague, now.  At One of our neighbors where there are 10 in family, three or four will have it one day, & another four or five the next.  They break it with quinine, but in two weeks it reappears.  Some families do not have it at all.  In a letter recently received from one of Joel’s friends up in Wis. [Wisconsin] we were told that persons in that territory, suffer, as well as here.  And so they do, more or less, throughout this great valley.  No tongue can tell the suffering that has been endured along the [line?] of the canal.  They are better now, but the money is gone for medicine, they are weak, their hovels unthatched, their children naked, and all discouraged.  Persons bred in New England can have no possible idea of poverty.  Within two miles of us there 50 hovels not half as good as old Isaac’s.  Children are abundant, but alas; for the means of clothing, feeding, & sending them to school.  The parents are making a great effort to get them to school, as the school is a free one to them this winter.  We have been making some clothes in our Sewing Soc. [society] for some of the children, and oh that we had a few hundred yards to make up.  I have often wished I could get to some of your old flannel petticoats, that you could no longer use.  They will cut over four small girls & are so much warmer than cotton. 
            It must be acknowledged that some of this poverty arises from drinking, but that is not always the case by any means.  Our temperance Soc. [Society] is very inefficient, and must remain so as long as so many of its members are unwilling to have any measures taken to prevent the licensing of graperies.
            We have commenced a Tract distribution they are refused by but few, those mostly Catholics.  We have a priest in town, also one at Joliet [Illinois], four miles below.
            While Joel is unable to write, some of the time, he spends in singing.  His harp is a great help.  There have been 24 singing schools here, but I have attended but part of one evening.  The three children attend, & have improved very much.  I hope Mary sings often with her father.  Has Dwight forgotten his favorite “Holiday song”?  Does Willy sing & If he does not, I would beg of his mother to try to teach him.  It seems to me more important even, than when I used to sing so much.  Your children may go West, or East, or to some place where the ability to sustain that part of public worship will be to them almost invaluable.  Oh, train them in that and every other respect, as if you knew they were to be models often which a whole people should pattern; you cannot now determine what shall be their position in Society.  I trust it will be a high one for I know their natural talents and I hope they will early be consecrated to God.  I think of them very often, and hope they are improving all these precious days and evenings.
            Thus you can see a kind Providence has supplied us with cotton and linen for the coming year.  I have knit one stocking from that fine yarn and commenced another.  My health is good as usual, rather better.
            If one of Mrs. Stuart’s calls she left a bundle saying she did not like to have me get out of work.  It contained 18 yds [yards] of five bleach’d sheeting two yds [yards], five linen, 4 doz [dozen] buttons 2 spools thread & a pair of gloves.
            In Oct. I filled my feather bed & pillows.  The feathers had been in a box at the barn, but were unharmed and good as when first [brought?]
            The sack will make a good crib tick.  If it I keep it seventy years, it may come in use.  A few weeks since, I made a petticoat quilt, my old one having long since been given to our pony for a blanket.  The outside of my quilt is the small figured dress wh. [which] was once Parney’s.  The lining is -- what once lined my cashmere dress, leaving enough on it for the facing. 
            If you have not quilted my old blue black silk, you need not it will do me more good in aprons.  My alapacca dress will be for a quilt next winter.  If you have quilted it, no matter.
            I hope we shall soon hear from you.     

With much love to all, I am your aff. [affectionate]
Joel sends love to all of you.

Letter 7 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---

[Addressed to]             Mr. Elijah Grant
                                    Litchfield Co.
                                    Conn. [Connecticut]

Jefferson, Ashtabula Co. O. [Ohio] Sept 17, 1850.

Dear Father,
            Having understood from Mr. Smith that you have some thought of removing to the west, I am induced to drop a word in regard to it and will merely state a few facts, and how the matter strikes my mind in view of them.  And in the first place, there are farms for sale near this place, of different sizes, from 200 to 30 acres; one of 30, with a small but new and well finished house and barn, within about a mile, all considered cheap.
            But another plan has struck our minds, -- the house we have purchased is quite large enough for two families, with a barn altogether larger than we need, indeed large enough for a middling sized farm.  If you had a mind to come and occupy with us, we might entertain the hope that it would be agreeable all around.  The amount of ground attached is only 6 1/2 acres but if you should still be disposed to do something in the agricultural line, there are pieces of land for sale within from one mile to half a mile, from this place.  If you should be disposed to pass the balance of your life in comparative ease the plan of removing would occur to me to have the recommendation of economy.  We both now occupy an extent of building that we do not need, and not available to any profit, at all corresponding to the amount of capital invested.  In the plan of your occupying with us, and improving a small piece of land, there is on our part a touch of selfishness.  Is it that you might afford to our sons, some part of an agricultural education.  They promise to be tolerably able bodied and have altogether more action than either they or I in our present situation, know what to do with.
            If you wish to inquire as to any particulars I have not stated please communicate.
            If you should seriously entertain the thought of removing and occupying with us, and would wish a piece of land in the vicinity, I would either improve the first opportunity to purchase such quantity as you should designate, or have it till your arrival, to be decided by your own judgment.  We understood by Ms. Smith that you had present opportunity to sell, where you are.  If so I hope you will not lose the opportunity at least, without giving the subject due deliberation.
            I have employed Elizabeth as my amanuensis and for this you will see a sufficient reason in my signature.  She intends giving mother a more particular description of the premises. 
            Yours affectionately.
            Wm. Burton

Dear Mother,
            I hardly know what to write, but hope to hear from you soon.  Mrs. Whiting, Mrs. Smith, & Mrs. Roxana Marshall, with her husband and two children have visited us since I wrote you.  I heard some thing of you through them.  Mrs. Smith said you had not heard from Daniel for some time.  I rec’d [received] a letter from br. [brother] Jno. [John] day before yesterday.  He wrote from Newburyport [Massachusetts], apparently in haste -- stated his own calculations, but said nothing of Daniel, or Marcus.  Please write soon about them. 
I am very anxious to know your own calculations.  I hope you have not misimproved an opportunity of selling your place.  I should feel so much better about you if you were located more snugly.  I have often wished you could live in our house. Mr. & Mrs. Cooper still occupy some room in the house.  They are very accommodating, and though Leavinia’s babe cries a great deal they do not seem to be annoyed by it or the other children.  I cannot say whether you would enjoy living in the house with so large a family of little children, but if you could accommodate yourselves to us, it would be pleasant to us, to have you here.  I did not like to say much about it.  I waited to see what Mr. Burton would say, & you know he is rather slow with regard to some things.  I fear this letter will be too late.
Brother Phelps & sister Susan have been quite sick but are better.
I wish to send many thanks to sister Caroline for her kind letter.  I rejoice that she manifests such a Christian spirit.  I should love much to write to her, but my time is occupied.  I have to write a great deal for Mr. Burton
Margaret is attending school in Austinburg.  She started on Monday.  I hope to hear from you soon.
            Your aff. [affectionate] daughter,
                                    E. [Elizabeth] Burton
Much love to all our friends.  I am very anxious to know what father thinks of coming west.  I have seen none of uncle Calvin’s family yet.
Much love to sister Caroline & her children, also to Joel and his family.
I visited at cousin Leysander Cowles (Rachel’s) but aunt Olive had just gone to see Kezia, & I did not see her.  She has since returned to Austinburg.

Letter 8 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---

[Addressed to]             Mrs. Elisabeth Grant
                                    Mill Brook
Marysville, Dec. 26, 1852.

Dear Mother,
            Day before yesterday I went to Parks Bar, & was rejoiced to find a letter from Joel & one from John, inclosing a half sheet written by you.          
You may well suppose that it was a comfort to hear from home and more as nearly six months had passed since we had received any intelligence.
I do not suppose that it was long between times of writing with our friends at home, but the letters were in some way lost.  As you will now direct to Parks Bar, I have strong hopes that we shall receive your letters.  So far they are very accommodating at that office.
I was surprised to learn that Joel had gone to Ill. [Illinois] again, & to the same unhealthy place he once occupied.  I can no more conceive why he has done so, than he can why I prolong my stay in this country.  I suppose he has reasons for so doing that I cannot understand, as I have for staying here that he cannot understand. 
You must not think dear Mother that because we see trying times that the dangers we escape are greater than we should or at best might have to undergo nearer home.  Truly the time of cholera was very trying, but there are trying scenes of the same nature in the Atlantic states.  Joel states that “death has been busy” in Lockport, & no one knows but we might have fallen victim if our residence had not been changed.  But this is foolish speculation.
*I wish I had something to write that would be pleasant for you to <hear> read, but I have nothing except that my health <has> is good.
The rains set in this year with a good deal of fury, & continue at the same rate.  But a short time since we were very anxious for rain, now we are overwhelmed with it.  There have already had two freshets, <the> both of which the water was higher than before since the white population have inhabited this country.  Today has more appearance that we may have have some pleas-ant weather, than we have seen before for some weeks.  Snow is very deep in the mts. [mountains] John wrote that he expected to visit home at Christmas, so I presume he is at home today, How I wish I was there too.
I am now at a ranch about six miles from Marysville.  I came here from the Bar nearly two weeks since & have been prevented from leaving <on acc> by the rains.
All farm or public houses in this country are called ranches, also an indian village is called an indian ranch.
I am going into the Mts. [mountains] to make shingles as soon as the travelling will admit.
I went to the Bar day before yesterday & saw Marcus.  He is enjoying good health.  I dont wish you to tire yourself writing to us.  There are enough to write that are better able, if they only will <if> do it.  Caroline wrote often about the time Ralph left home.  I don’t know how often she has written since.  I have received nothing since R. [Ralph] arrived from her nor but one letter from home.
Heard nothing of R. [Ralph] in a long time, have written to him, but perhaps he did not receive it.
Saw James Allen about four weeks since he was well.
Suppose from what you wrote that Abby is stopping with you a-gain.  It seems too bad for her to wade through the snow to school, to that old barn of a schoolhouse.
We shall one or both of us go home I think within a year, & I presume both of us.
Don’t worry at all about us but remember us in your prayers.
            Your affectionate son,
            Daniel Grant

Letter 9 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---

Lockport, Ill, [Illinois] Feb. 1, 1853.

Dear Parents,
            Since I wrote you last, our family has been in comparatively comfortable health.  The children are now suffering somewhat from colds produced, in part perhaps, by the unseasonable warm weather.  Still they are not sick, but on the whole quite comfortable.
            I have had a little more time recently to look at the spiritual destitution & diseases of this place.  I think there is improvement here, & that we have reason to look for still greater in future, but still it seems one great moral waste.  Christian families here are things in a great measure unknown.  In this village there are but two families connected with the Cong. Ch. [Congregational Church] Where family prayer is observed.  There are three Methodist families where I have reason to suppose this ordinance is observed & beyond this, I know not that there are any others.  But there are tokens of good.  Last summer there came here both a Baptist & Methodist minister, who both labor earnestly & wisely for the good of the Church of Cht. [Christ]  There is also an Episcopal Minister of evangelical views & decided piety who in his sphere is doing good.  From this it would appear that that if good does not come to Lockport it will not be for want of ministers.  The Cong. Ch. [Congregational Church] is at present however the chief one here, not in members, perhaps, for its members are only about 50, but in the size fits congregation, & the character of those who give it support.
            We have some organized forms of wickedness here that seem very unpromising.  The most prominent is the Catholic Church, wh. [which] embraces all or nearly all the Irish, & is in a good degree of prosperity.  The next is the “Codding” party, as it is known, embracing infidels, Universalists, & spirit rappers [spiritualism].  This, as an organized party, seems likely to fall to pieces eventually, though it is probably its affects must remain.  Codding is still the idol of many, their beau ideal of everything a minister should be.  But his doctrines do not really set before men any thing to do, & it is only a jest to be sustaining an organization that has no high purposes in view.  It may last months yet, or even longer, but I greatly mistake if it is not destined to fall.  The support given to Codding (other than encouragement by attending his meetings) is very small indeed.  He, however, has leased a farm in this vicinity for five years, & lives upon it, & while he can have hearers will probably preach.
            The Spirit rapping delusion influences very many here.  It seems impossible to deny that strange things are performed by unacceptable agencies.  The spirits seem to delight in theology, & as far as I know, while they present nothing worthy of thought, they all testify to the happenings of all who have departed this world.  I doubt whether this delusion is likely to receive any considerable check, until our preachers shall instruct the people (1.) That the days of trustworthy revelations have ended. (2.) That all such seeking for Knowledge as by inquiry of spirits real or pretended is forbidden entirely, in the Bible, is preeminently liable to imposture, & therefore must be avoided by all Chn. [Christian] people.  I am looking into these things somewhat & propose soon to preach upon them.  Only on one question am I now in doubt, viz. whether the action of incorporeal intelligences has any thing whatever to do with these manifestations.  If there are any spirits at all in the case they are evidently wicked spirits, sent to deceive.  I have been accustomed to believe that the days of spiritual manifestation had ceased, & this I believe has been the opinion of Christiandom since Witchcraft was exploded, though quite a contrary opinion prevailed previously.  But I am led to inquire whether or in the reaction of the public mind consequent upon the cruelties to wh. a belief of Witchcraft led, has not produced too much skepticism, & whether God dos not permit Satan at times to exhibit his operations somewhat more publicly than by mere interior suggestion, even in our Savior’s days he was permitted (by his agents) to influence the bodies of certain individuals.  If such is the case we might expect just what we actually behold, what the unreligious, the unbelieving, the rejecters of Cht. [Christ] as “God manifest in the flesh,” would be led astray.  <This is> In all this place there is not an individual who previously had a belief in Cht.[Christ] as God, or in God as a being who will punish the wicked eternally, who has been carried away.  Others, & even some who previously denied the resurrection or that there is either angel or spirit, are borne away.  How far the delusion may extend I know not.
            Our people have given us a donation Party, & done very well too.  They brought us $95 in money & about $75 in that wh. [which] is equally valuable -- total $170.  The expenses of our removal (family & goods) were about $160.  The party was numerous & very pleasant.  We have a hold upon the better portion of this people that I think neither men or devils can readily break, though it must all be as the Lord appoints.
            We all send love.  Our weather is very warm & we long sometimes for your cold & bracing air.  We have had no snow for more than four weeks, & then we had no sleighing,
            Your aff. [affectionate] son.
Joel Grant

Letter 10 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---

Lockport, Ill. [Illinois] March 1, 1853.

Dear Mother,
            Your full & valued letter of Feb. 6. came to hand in due season, & was truly refreshing to us.  We were glad to hear that you & father enjoy such comfortable health, & we hope the same favor may long be continued to you.  We have been well since I last wrote you with the exception of Willie, who about three weeks since was taken with a kind of fever wh. [which] for a few days was pretty violent.  He still is not well -- he demands a great deal of attention, & is so worrisome that it is impossible to sleep much while taking care of him nights.  Still he is not very sick.  Mary has improved a good deal during the past months, & John has continued well, & grows very rapidly. We have not thought it best to send him to school as yet, principally because he seemed too young to mix with the multitude alone, & to take care of himself away from home.  He has not made any very considerable advances in learning, though I now <have> endeavor to hear him read a little every day, & find he improves rapidly. 
            It is impossible to tell what course Flora will take the coming season.  I think it most probably she will return to Ct. [Connecticut] during the summer, but at what time I do not know.  Whether she would answer your purpose as help, I cannot tell, but think it likely she would find your work too hard.
            You inquire what grows in this country.  The general answer is that all cultivated fruits are scarce here Apples, peaches &c. though now gathered on a few farms, yet are not produced to any considerable extent.  Besides this country seems to be more liable to early frosts that destroy the blossoms of both apple & peach trees, than Ct. [Connecticut] & yet for that very reason it is probably that a fruitful season will be very fruitful.  Strawberries grow abundantly here in favorable seasons, so do blackberries, & other wild fruits.  If it is in your mind to provide something for our use, the article most desirable will be dried apples. 
            *I am sorry to hear that Daniel & Marcus are still unsuccessful, though their past history gave us too much reason to expect it.  Should their health be continued there is no reason, I think, to expect they will starve, but they may be made to suffer somewhat.  A great many people have gone from this place to California, a large number have returned, & are now with us, but quite a number are now there.  The greater part of those who have returned did very well there, & their success has added an important element of prosperity to the place.  Those who have friends there do not seem to be anxious about them now, any more than if they had removed the same distance to any other part of the world
            There is no marked change in our religious affairs since I last wrote.  <Things> I have ventured to preach against the Spiritual Manifestations [Spiritualism] & I think with good effect.  A few in this place are determined to trust to them, & I doubt whether there is any care for them, but others now let them entirely alone, & others still are beginning to be satisfied that the whole is untrustworthy.  I took for a text Is. [Isaiah] 44:25.  “That frustrateth the tokens affairs, & marketh diviners mad,” & my <general> design, briefly described, was to show that God had pledged himself to render vain & profitless all such things, & to infatuate (make mad) all who trust in them.  The week previous to my preaching two men had become insane in Chicago through this delusion, & others were imprisoned for crimes to wh. [which] it had led them, & this gave power to what I said, with the daily increasing infatuation of those who still practice it here, is a running commentary on the same point.  I think the authority of the Spirits as teachers of theology, & disclosers of the secret of the present or future is at an end here, though it is astonishing what numbers have been disposed to trust in them.
            I am inclined to think the wonders of this thing (& wonders there are beyond doubt) are to be explained by <refer> supposing the minds & bodies of those present to become highly excited, & “the nervous fluid” (so called because we know not what other name to give it) with wh. [which] all are surrounded, or enveloped, does act in accordance with the volitions of those present, performing strange feats, & sometimes revealing things forgotten, though I am not certain that it ever <I doubt whether it ever> does things absolutely unknown to any present.  That this is so (in part at least) is evident from the fact that every circle gets just such revelations as it wishes.  If <they> it is made up of infidels & universalists (as it commonly is) their views are endorsed, if of orthodox people their views are declared correct &c. so that it is probable the answers are the work of their own minds.  Still this thought remains; if a state of things can be induced in wh. [which] our Spirits <souls> may thus make use of “the nervous fluid,” why may not that spirit “that goeth about as a roaring lion,” make use of the same, & thus actually disclose (when he chooses, & is permitted to do so) the secret?  This general position is safely taken viz. that none of the spirits that profess to act ever have any thing to do with the matter, that if there is intelligence in the manifestations (& we cannot deny that there sometimes is) it is mostly <either> in the persons who seek such manifestations, & <perhaps rarely> possibly sometimes in the angels, principalities, & powers, to whom God hath given liberty to tempt & try the human race, & whose revelations are never to be trusted even when they tell the truth.
Your aff. [affectionate] son,
Joel Grant

Letter 11 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---

[On back]        Written Aug. 1. 1859 by Abigail Cowles Grant announcing the death of her little daughter --

            Lockport Ill. [Illinois] Mond. Aug. 1. 185[...]

My dear Mother
            I have sat me down to tell you that God has taken our dear little Mary Hannah to himself.  She breathed her last this morn at 10 minutes before eleven.  She had been sick a week this P.M. she was taken violently with the worst form of dysentery, and no skill could save her --
            All has been done that skill or kindness could prompt -- Physicians & friends have been unwearied in their attentions -- It is a great trial that Mr. Grant is gone, but I do feel that God has so permitted all these things for some wise reason & I am to be still because He has done it --
            I washed & drest her beautiful form, & Flora arranged her curling hair -- She is drest in that delicate pink muslin that Mary will remember Johnny used to wear -- It was her own, & she looks as if she must speak to us -- She has a white rose beside her; not so pure as herself           She is laid out in her own cradle, her dear resting place -- [...] that you all my dear friends could come & look upon her & let my crushed heart find sympathy with kindred -- Calls are innumerable, & sympathy abundant but, oh, how my heart yearns for my husband, my parents, my sister & you all -- Perhaps I ought not so to write, for God has mingled so many mercies in this bitter cup, that I feel deep gratitude, & submission as well as sorrow -- Mary [Hannah] died so peacefully, so calmly, Mr. G. [Grant] will tell you some more about her, & I will write ere long -- The funeral is to be tomorrow Tuesday at 9 o’clock P.M. With love to you all. I am
Your afflicted daughter