Reasoner

Meeting my ancestors changed my life  .

NOTE: This essay is incomplete, and I ask your forbearance.  My intent is to introduce this interesting couple and then publish the typescripts of their original letters, written between 1834 and 1852.

I was about 15 years old when I made the discovery that changed my life. Allowed by my grandmother to poke around in her guest room closet for "old stuff," I found a red hosiery box with carbon-copied typed letters, and a lovely white feather fan tucked inside. I ran to my grandmother to ask about them. Had she carried the fan? Could it be as old as that?  No, she replied, it had been her sister's fan. But the typed pages were even better-- they were the letters of her own grandparents and dated to the 1830s! My fascination with their story gave me a deeper faith in God; propelled me back to school for a history degree; and spurred me to research the rest of my family to even things out. I had to know as much about the rest as we did about Grandma's grandparents!

The letters were wonderful. They told the story of John Stout Reasoner and his wife, Tryphena Tryphosa Northway (I am not making this up), who met about 1832 at her father's home in Painted Post, New York, near the present-day town of Corning. Family tradition says that Tryphena always claimed she "knew" that God had brought him there to be her husband. Her family was devout, and her father is remembered for being an Elder in the Presbyterian Church, and having prayed for his descendants "to the last generation of them."

John Stout Reasoner was a frontier boy. Born in Maysville, Kentucky, to an itinerant schoolteacher, he grew up at his grandfather's house after the early death of his mother. Education was valued in the home, although it never led to wealth. John went to Centre College in Kentucky; boarded with a family in Pittsburg while working in an early steel mill; and finally earned enough to enter the Presbyterian Seminary in New York. He learned Greek and Hebrew, and is said to have translated from both "on the fly" while preaching. Once graduated from Seminary, he was assigned a "licentiate" position to preach in the area where Tryphena grew up. He stayed with Captain Northway, the Elder, while in Painted Post

Tryphena, too, was well-educated for her generation of women. She had attended a women's "seminary," though its name has not survived. Her desire was for the mission field, as was true for many young women of the time. Adoniram Judson and his first wife had entered the mission field some time before, and their story made exciting reading for the youth of the church. But the Board of Missions of the combined Presbyterian/Congregational Church under the so-called Plan of Union discouraged single women from entering the mission field. They must have a protector, for going far from home alone was not advisable. Many young women, among them the famous Narcissa Whitman and Eliza Spalding (Oregon Territory), married after a hasty meeting with their groom in order to be included in a missionary assignment.

Evidently John and Tryphena married in less haste, as their contact in her family home and their shared congregation was prior to their calling as missionaries. Nevertheless, family tradition places them applying "with" the Whitman Band to go to Oregon Territory. This has never been proven, though tantalizing evidence of tradition remains in the records of the Congregational Historical Society. There we find at least one couple rejected due to "ill health." We know from John and Tryphena's letters that sometime in 1834 both were considered ill: he of an undisclosed complaint, and she by being pregnant. The early 19th century term for anything to do with pregnancy or the menses was "ill health," and we know that their first child, Francis Northway Reasoner, was born in 1834. So Tryphena may be proved to have been in ill health for part of the year.

They did not travel with the Whitmans to Oregon. This is a great blessing in our family, as the Whitmans were massacred by Indians after living among them for some time. The Spaldings were spared, but suffered great hardships on the field.

After their health improved, the Reasoners applied for a so-called domestic mission: one within the established States. Domestic mission assignments were made to areas without a Presbyterian or Congregational church, and may be considered in the light of the modern term "church planter."

We know more about John and Tryphena's journey to their mission station in the wilds of Illinois because of their letters home to her parents. These survived long enough to be typescripted for their grandchildren in the 1930s. This is what I found in Grandma's closet.

The letters described in detail how John and Tryphena set out, with another young couple, on a hastily-built raft on the Allegheny River. Both couples had babes-in-arms; the Reasoners also had a toddler. Tryphena, the main writer, described the shelter they built in the middle of the raft, and how they ran the raft on moonlit nights to speed up their journey. The women watched the little children while the men steered the raft with crude poles. Trhypena described visiting a steel mill in Pittsburg, where they visited the family with whom John had lived while working there. The other family left for their own assignment, and John and Tryphena booked passage on a steamer to Kaskaskia, Illinois, along the Mississippi River.

In the 19th century church planting was a more rigorous job than it is today. Missionaries were sent to the most primative areas of settlement, where they were paid very little and subsisted on their own skills at farming. If they were able to "get up" a congregation, chances are that few would be able to help support their pastor. The best they could expect would be occasional contributions of produce, or help with their own farm.

Fortunately, the Reasoners were prepared. Both were able to teach school. If Tryphena was again suffering from "ill health" -- she bore 13 children -- John took over the teaching. He preached, but he also farmed and provided blacksmithing and even doctoring services. As their children grew up, they were pressed into service helping the family and taking care of the littlest members. Illness above and beyond childbearing took its toll. Though most of the children were as healthy as could be expected in such a primative setting, some got worms; one died of malaria (the entire family had it); and John himself suffered a fall from a roof.

As most pioneers, the Reasoners soon needed to find more land. As their children matured, they would need to find land at cheaper rates to help their sons find enough land to farm. In 1852, twenty years after their first missionary interest in Oregon had been awakened, they set out with a horse-drawn wagon, an ox-drawn wagon, and nine children. Two more children would be born in Oregon.

John and Tryphena always credited their fixed habit of resting on the Sabbath for preventing them from losing any famiily members to the great threats of the overland journey: accident, disease, or Indians. They drank the milk of their own cattle and were never out of sight of other wagons, though they did not "join" a so-called wagon train, according to their children. Astonishingly, Tryphena and her older daughters wore the Bloomer Costume while en route. it was practical and enabled the women to keep up better than enveloped in petticoats and skirts. The Bloomer costume had not been out long, and it was positively stunning (to me at least) that a minister's wife and daughters should wear such a thing. It was considered rather scandalous back in "the States," as pioneers referred to the settled parts of the country.

One wonders what thoughts went through the minds of John and Tryphena as they finally entered Oregon. Surely they knew about the sensational massacre of Dr. Marcus Whitman and his wife Narcissa, with whom they almost journed when young.  (to be continued!)

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The Adventurous Trip Down the Allegheny River: Tryphena's Travel Tale

 Tryphena's parents were Capt. Francis Northway (Jr), a veteran of 1812 and son of Francis, Sr, a veteran of the Revolution; and Lucy Case Northway, daughter of Benajah Case, another RevWar veteran. The Northways and Cases were all active in their churches, and were descended from Massachusetts Bay Colony settlers who settled in Connecticut. Family oral tradition says that if the weather or bad roads prevented Capt. Northway's family from getting to church, he'd delegate his wife, Lucy, to lead family worship, and she could 'preach as well as any minister.' Capt. Northway was an elder in the Congregational Church after they settled in Painted Post, Steuben Co., NY. Tryphena was born in 1814.

 John Stout Reasoner's parents were Nicholas Reasoner, schoolteacher son of Peter Reasoner, who had served as a Captain in the Revolutionary War; and Mary ("Polly") Stout, daughter of David Stout whose ancestors were early settlers of New Jersey. J. S. Reasoner was born in1799, in Maysville, KY, but after his mother's death when he was about six years old, his father Nicholas took his young children to Pennsylvania, to live with grandfather Peter, while Nicholas boarded around with students' families. Later, they all moved to Muskingum Co., Ohio, to be near Nicholas' brothers. The Reasoners, too, were devout, and were members of the first Presbyterian church in New Concord, Ohio, along with other Reasoner family members.

 John Stout Reasoner studied at Centre College, KY; moved to Pittsburg and worked in the steel mills to earn money for further schooling; and attended Auburn Theological Sminary in Western New York. He came to live with Elder Francis Northway's family in 1833 as a just-graduated "licensee" or preacher. The Presbyterian/Congregational church, under the Plan of Union of 1801, "ordained" ministers when they settled in a church that could support them. The church at Hornby, New York, was a tiny congregation, and its work was supported by the "home missions" department of the church, under whose auspices Reasoner worked.

 Family oral tradition relates that Reasoner was so taken with Elder Northway and his pleasant and knowlegeable wife, that he decided to ask their daugher to marry him. After their wedding in December1833, the Reasoners were anxious to gain an assignment to a "foreign" (ie, outside the established United States) mission, and wanted to go to Oregon with the Whitman Mission. "Ill health" prevented their going. No named correspondence was found to corroborate this tradition, but reports of the Mission Board seem to verify the report. One missionary couple was indeed not accepted for health reasons.

 Since at the time, it was considered impossible/inadvisable for women to make the journey cross-country, small wonder that the Reasoners were rejected: for the "ill health" referred to was the Ninteenth Century euphemism for a pregnancy. The Reasoners' first son, Francis Northway Reasoner, was born 12 Oct. 1834. Their second child, Lucy Case Reasoner, was born 13 May 1836. The two children accompanied their parents on the trip downriver to Kaskaskia.

 Finally, "health" improved, the Reasoners were accepted for a "home" (stateside) mission in Kaskaskia, Illinois. There had been a previous Presbyterian minister at that location who returned because of his ill health. The Reasoners, needing cheap and quick transportation from Olean, New York, built a raft with the help of another missionary couple, the Blakeslees, who are mentioned in the letters. They took passage on a steamboat in Pittsburg, after selling their raft to pay for their passage.

 Like many educated "movers," Tryphena kept a travel diary which turned into a letter home to her parents. The first letter and several others were identified in the 1930s by a second cousin of John Stout Reasoner, who had them typed up and copies made for all of the Reasoner grandchildren. Since 1980, I have tried to track the whereabouts of the original letters, but have been unsuccessful so far (as of 2000). We feel lucky to have the typescripts. I have re-typed the letters from my typescripts, noting anamolies possibly made by the original typist. Some errors seem to be original; these are mostly punctuation and capitalization. Some errors may have been induced by the first typist, who may not have understood the terms and word usage of her grandparents, and was reading very old-fashioned writing. Finally, some errors may have been committed by me as the second typist, for which I beg indulgence.

 ©2000 Marjorie Shell Wilser. All rights reserved.
 Permission to copy for PERSONAL USE ONLY granted IF this notice is included.

Marjorie Wilser

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 Letter dated 1837, Mary's River Township, near Kaskaskia, Illinois, from Mrs. John Stout Reasoner to her parents, living at Painted Post, Stuben Co. NY.

 Mary's River Township, Randolf Co. Ill. A. D. 1837

 October 5, 1837 father left us at Mr Ponds. October 8th (Thur) Mr Reasoner went to Olean to hurry on the building of the boat. I washed yesterday. To-day I am almost sick [Nineteenth Century euphemism for a woman's monthly menstruation] but have had a pleasant visit with Mr and Mrs. Woofruff as they returned last evening in consequence of the inclemency of the weather and bad roads.

 Friday no better.

 Mrs. Clarissa Pond invited me in to eat pot-pie with her father and mother, sister and husband. As good a pot-pie as ever I ate. Lucy is fine and playing here.

 Saturday some better. Expect to move to Olean and fix in the boat so that we start early Monday morning. Mrs. Clarissa Pond gave red gingham to Lucy for a dress. Mr Reasoner came here after dark and informed us that he had labored hard three days assisting with the boat and it is not done yet, but will be early Monday. In the afternoon they wanted to know if Mr. Reasoner would preach for them on the morrow. I told them that I thought he would so they gave out an appointment at Hinsdale. When Mr. Reasoner came home he said he was tired, and his mind unfit to preach and would rather go and hear brother Blakeslee four miles distant.

 Sabbath, October 9th. Mrs. Clarissa and her mother stay at home and take care of Lucy. The rest of us go to meeting. The meeting was in a large school house and it was pretty well full They wanted Mr. Reasoner to preach another sermon so he gave out an appointment at candle light in the evening. I did not go but I was told that the house was pretty much crowded. This is the first preaching that they have had in that place for two years for they would not suffer anyone to preach there and particularly the Baptist, but I hope that the day of God's power is near at hand and there will soon be a change.

 Monday Willard Pond gave Mr. Reasoner a pair of buckskin gloves and half a quire of letter paper, and me a dress handkerchief all worth $1.75. The old gentleman fixed up his wagon and sent his boys with us to the river. He treated us very kindly and charged us nothing. When we came there we find the boat is not done yet. Mr. Blakeslee came with his family an hour or two afterwards. The boat was so far done that they commenced loading about three o'clock.

 Tuesday, last night, Mr. Reasoner helped Mr. Blakeslee fix his bed in the boat and they slept in it to try how it would do and they slept grandly. Mr. Reasoner filled my bed with straw which we brought for the purpose from Mr. Pond's and we made our bed up on the floor in the house where father left our goods and Mrs. Blakeslee and I and our babes slept in it. Francis slept in his cradle and Mr. Blakeslee's boy Wm. Cone Blakeslee slept in his cradle.
 This morning we gather up and start. Another family go with us nine miles. Our boat is twenty-five feet long and eight feet wide. Sixteen feet in the middle is sided up and covered, for the cabin (7 ft. high). We hung bed quilts up each end for doors. We have a floor but it is too low down. It can not be bailed out but what the water will come up through the cracks occasionally. We have a nice Franklin stove in the cabin which Mr. Blakeslee bought for the purpose.
 We passed along very well for nine miles til we came to a mill-dam where the water fell over it as much as three feet perpendicular. Mr. Reasoner and Mr. Blakeslee were afraid to run over it. There were some men present who said there was no danger. We all got out and Mr. Reasoner and Mr. Blakeslee carry the babes and we all walk around probably a quarter of a mile while two hired men take the boat over the dam. They take the boat over slick only it shipped some water at the bow and stern, probably three pails full. They charged 50c. We get in and go about eleven miles further and halt up for the night. Get supper. Tended worship and the men fixed down our bunks and we go to bed when our bunks are down.

 There was room for only two chairs and a little firewood. Wednesday the men got up and built a fire and put off and we lay and slept till late about ten o'clock and we came to another mill dam. We land and all get out and go down to the dam at the distance of three hundred yards. The men, after examining the dam, conclude to run the boat over themselves. While they are gone Francis is much amused by throwing pebbles into the river. They ran the boat over sleek but shipped a little water fore and aft.

 Thursday, last night it rained. Mr. Blakeslee and wife got considerable wet. The wind blows. We get along slowly. About one o'clock we halt, waiting for the wind to fall. While we delay, two young women saw our boat as they were passing along. They came in to see us. They told us we were in the Indian Nation, and from the description she gave us, we passed by the Missionary's house and got water out of his well. These young ladies go away after awhile. One of them returned with another young lady with a bowl of milk. She wanted to see how comfortable movers can live in a boat.

 In describing our boat I forgot to tell you we have a glass window with six lights in it and our big box stands under it which answers for a table. Mes. Blakeslee and I want to be going on. We go out and loose the boat but the wind blew so that we could make no headway and landed on the other side higher up then when we started. To improve the time, the men go getting firewood that they might not have to stop when they could run. Mr. Reasoner was standing on a large rock which lay against the shore, sloping into the river, chopping wood, and his feet slipped into the river up to his waist.

 The wind falls and we go on this night. Our boat lies in a mill-dam.

 Friday the men hurries us up and takes us and the children into the road that leads around the dam, where the boat lands for us to get in again and they they go on with the boat. We find it hard work to go around the dam and especially this one. The road was muddy in places and we had hard work to get our children along. We concluded that we will stick to the boat, sink or swim. We rode over three other dams in perfect safety and find it much easier than to go around. This morning they got more boards, fixed the roof better and boards for doors.

 Saturday, the wind blows hard. Obliged to stop. We start to go to Warren but in consequence of some riffles and it being dark, we halt up and the men conclude to go a-foot there to meeting.

 Sabbath, October 9th. It snowed tonight. To-day very blustery so that the men could not go to Warren. Two men found that we had not got away come to the boat and wanted us to have meeting in the evening. Mr. Reasoner preached and Mr. Blakeslee gave an exortation. Mrs. Blakeslee took care of the children while I went to meeting.

 Monday the wind blew hard all day so that we did not loose our boat. Being out of provisions the men went to Warren to buy some.

 Tuesday we came to Warren about 70 miles from Olean. To-day we have rain and wind. Three men came to see us and spend some time. They are going down the river in a skiff to Pittsburg, hence in a steam-boat to Illinois. We ran four miles to-day.

 Thursday. Run this morning ten miles. It rains and blows We put up behind a big rock which shelters us completely from the wind, where we remail all day and all night. The river is rising. Mrs. Blakeslee and I are happy in each others company. When the men are steering the boat all we do is rock and sing to the babes and put wood to keep the cabin warm. When we get hungry we cook a warm meal of victuals and, after the blessing of God, we all think we relish our meals much better than when we left home. At Night after reading in God’s holy word, and prayer, we go to bed and rest as sweetly as if on land.

 Friday. Pull out and go down-stream pretty fast and that pleases us very well. The river is still rising.

 Saturday, We go down stream pretty rapidly. Eleven o’clock came to Franklin. Recruit our provision stores and start at one o’clock. Run four miles and stop and get wood and shave and prepare for the Sabbath. The river is now so large that the men want to run the night and the moon gives light mostly all night. We start about sundown. Darkness comes on and the moon rises behind us to that the moon does us little good. Brother Blakeslee is afraid of running on the little willow islands and wants to halt. Mr. Reasoner wants to run a little while to try it. Mr. Blakeslee comes in and leaves Mr. Reasoner to steer. We go over a riffle as fast as a horse can canter. I sing the vesper and let down the bunks and go to bed and leave Mr. Reasoner alone to steer.

 Sunday October 24th. Last evening Mr. Reasoner run untill half past eleven when he tried to land but could not. Went half a mile further where there was an eddy. Mr. Blakeslee got up as they were drawing up the boat Mr. Reasoner was in, Mr. Blakeslees little cogling skiff shoving off the boat from the shore, the boats separated and Mr. Reasoner tumbled in where the water was as much as 12 feet deep. he went under all but the back part of his head. He scrambled out and came in.
 Left his hat and it would have floated off if Mr. B. had not seen it.

 Yesterday we ran about 60 miles and 34 of that we ran after dark. The river made a turn and the moon was before us till it go up to give light when going any course. To-day, I feel my spiritual strength renewed in the presence of my dear Redeemer. A great many rafts pass us and hallo and shake their bottles at us.

 Monday at one o’clock Mr. Reasoner was up, the boat untied and we were again on the march. To-day I washed some. This is the third time I have washed since we left Olean. Four o'clock in the morning we came to Catanning, a large village. See a curiosity. A ferry fixed so as to cross back and fourth of itself. Buy some provisions and run on all night.

 Tuesday we come to the great city of Pittsburgh. Wednesday went up to see the iron works. When we were there I was reminded of Daniel's fiery furnace when I see the blaze coming out of some very high chimneys. We were there as much as two hours. Mr. Reasoner was there a while showing us things and then left us to look around while he went to hunt up his old boss. He found him and then came back and we went to the glass house and see them blowing glass, then to the cotton factory, but the iron works were by far the greatest curiosity that I ever saw. Mr. Reasoner then took me to Mr. Hartup's and Mr. Blakeslee and wife went to the boat. Not having my night clothes with me we went to the boat about ten o'clock at night.

 Wednesday, they take the boat round into the Monongahela and up it a quarter of a mile to the steam boat Detroit where Mr. R and Mr. B. had engaged our passage. The evening before the hands on the steamboat take our goods and the men bought our boat $5.00 took it off and we leave Mr and Mrs. B. with our goods and we go to see the market, and then to Mr. Hartup's. I stay there while Mr. Reasoner went to see some of Mr. Hartup's children that were married. It seems odd enough to have Mr. R. call Mr. and Mrs. H. "father and mother" and to have him act there in a strange place to me as if he was at home. We go to the boat at two o'clock, the time the boat was to start but did not start untill four o'clock. The Captain charged us $7.00 apiece for the passage of each of us, not counting Francis and Lucy, and $1.00 a hundred for our goods. They did not weigh them but took them for five hundred, not counting our beds, chairs, pots and other things which we need for our use while in the passage. We counted our money and found when our passage was paid we would have but a few schillings left, but we have some provisions left so we come on trusting in the Lord.

 Thursday, the captain told the gentlemen in the cabin that he had some nice folks below and invited them down to see them. Two came down to sister B. and me. One asked if there were any aboard from Massachusetts. I told him I did not know. I inquired and found there was none. He said he understood there was and he wanted to see them. He asked where we were from. I told him. He asked what part, and which way we came. We told him down the Aleghany in a little boat. He was astonished. He asked if there were any rafts and arks came down. We told him there were and they hooted and shook their whiskey bottles at us as they passed us on the Sabbath as we were lying by. He says you did not run on the Sabbath day? He says you are good Presbyterians. We told him that we owned the name of Presbyterians but did not call ourselves good. He made further inquiries where we were going and what was our occupation. I told him my husband was a Missionary sent by the Board at Philadelphia to go to a church at Kaskaskia, Illinois. He said he lived in Philadelphia when at home and asked why the Board of Missions did not give us money enough that we could take the cabin passage as we would be more comfortable. I told him we were poor and what the Missionary Society gave us. He thought it was not enough [ie., what the missionary society gave them for travel expenses). Mr. Reasoner came in and I introduced him and Mr Smith, not knowing what his name was. We had a pleasant visit. He is not a professor but regularly attends Mr. McDowell’s church on the Sabbath day when at home. He took great notice of our children and gave Francis a half-dollar.

 Friday our visitor from above came down and brought Mr. Clark with him. We had a pleasant visit. Saturday we leave Mr. B. 20 miles above Cincinnati. Just before we reach Cincinnati Mr. Smith gave Mr. Reasoner $10.00. The boat stops here a day. We go to market and buy some provisions and go to the store and buy me a dress, and some gloves.

 Sabbath got at Louisville just in time to go to meeting. We heard William Breckinridge preach an excellent sermon. This Breckinridge is a brother of John Breckenridge. We understold his meeting House took fire this same evening and burned down.

 The boat is so crowded that the passengers endeavour to get passage in another boat, so the Captain concluded not to stay all day as he calculated to do when he stopped.

 Mr. Reasoner tried to get in another boat but could not. Shortly after meeting the boat started. We go slowly through the canal round the falls of Ohio. It is much of a curiosity to most of us to go through the locks.

 After we go through the canal the most of the crew go in. A few stand on the guard, among the rest a young girl of about fifteen. She spoke and said that she felt awful solemn. She felt more afraid than ever in a minute after a little boy of her acquaintence came with a vessel wanting his pa to get some water. The girl said to him “Let me get you some water.” With that she took the vessel and stepped down to get the water, she slipped into the river. She was seen floating on the water for some time, but the boat could not stop in time to save her. After hunting for a while for her the boat came on and left her in her watery grave.

 Monday a child died. It was sick before it came aboard of the boat.

 Tuesday, this morning there was a very solemn assembly when Mr. Reasoner addressed them to be likewise ready, buried the child, and started on.

 Wednesday, had a very serious talk with the Captain. He tells me that four men drowned last year in the same place where the girl drowned. We all feel more afraid of that place lest we should slip in.
 Francis is quite sick. Got a high fever.

 Thursday, two o’clock we land at the Kaskaskia landing, about three miles from the village. All of us most sick. There were three hundred passengers and poor accomodations.

 Here we get into a little cabin, the only house here, put down our bed and go to sleep. There was a man there with an empty wagon. he told us that there was no Presbyterian Church in Kaskaskia, nor any of any kind but Catholic. He lived eleven miles beyond Kaskaskia. He said there was an associate reformed Church in his neighborhood. We concluded that they had applied to the Missionary Society for aid so we put up with him. We passed through Kaskaskia. It is a beautiful situation but not much more than huts in which there were a few good houses. We crossed the river and then providentially a Mr. Mann found out who we were. He told us that his brother was an Elder of the Presbyterian Church. He lived four miles from Kaskaskia and the church was vacant. The place of preaching was two miles beyond him so we stopped there about sun-down. Paid the man taking us there $2.50; he asked $3.00. We had about $4.00 left.

 Saturday we came to the widow Pettit. On Monday we moved in one room of her house and have remained here ever since. In a few weeks we all recovered. Mr. Reasoner got well in one week, Francis in two or three, but I was miserable for five or six. After I got well I enjoyed better health than I have since I have been married.

 Francis was sick in January for a week so that he did not eat anything. He lay in his Pa’s arms all the time. He took all the medicine willingly untill the last dose and that he determined not to take but we forced it down him. We have no doctor here that we can put any confidence in. but felt sure that if we should call a doctor he would be sure to die. We do not know whether the worms set in first or the fever, for worms came from him some fifteen inches long. He has got hearty again. It has been very sickley here this winter, though it is the most healthy part of the state. The sickness originates principally from drinking. I want to see Luther here in a year from this. Farmers are glad to get hands at sixteen dollars per month and they can get 75c for cutting cord-wood without cording it.
 = = = = = = = = = = = = =
 Dear Parents,
 Tryphene tells you that they were all afraid of
 failing. Tryphene will not let me tell what I was going to. The church
 here is feeble, sixteen persons belonging to it. Two of them live out of
 bounds and two of the rest ought to be cut off.
 In reality, the church consists of twelve members and them scattered over a large territory.
 Mr. Mann and Mrs. Petit has supported us thus far and would the year
 out, but we are going to move from these neighbors soon in a few days.
 They have made up a school which will be worth to me between three or
 four hundred dollars and it will keep a few from the Nunnery.
 = = = = = =
 This old letter is addressed to:
 Francis Northway, Painted Post
 Steuben County, New York
 X (25) Postage

 Letter sent from:
 Hames Creek, Ill.
 May 22 (25)

 The letter was folded over and sealed with sealing-wax in place of
 envelopes which were not known of course.

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These few letters are those which comprise the story of the Reasoners' trip to Kaskaskia, Illinois. There are later letters which I plan to add to this page. I hope, through contact with other relatives, to find even more of their writings, for once we have read their mail, they are alive to us even at this remote date.

Once again: COPYRIGHT 2006, Marjorie Shell Wilser. Permisson to reprint ONLY with inclusion of all interpretive materials, including this notice.