Monday, May 9, 2016

1865 Letter of Richmond & Rhoda Jones of Walcott, Minnesota to Richmond's Brother Asa Bradford Jones at Turner, Maine

September 11, 1865 letter written by Richmond Jones, Jr., and his second wife Rhoda Hannah (Beeman) Jones of Walcott, Minnesota, in response to a letter just received from Richmond's brother Asa Bradford Jones at Turner,  Maine.

A transcription appears at the end of this post.

The letter shown is missing the year, but the reference to the death of Emily and to the sadness of Mr. Cary points to 1865, as Emily Jane (Jones) Carey died on August 17 of that year.  Emily's parents were Europe and Orpha Jones.  Orpha's maiden name may have been Orpha E. Merrill.

This letter was found with 3 others, dating from about 1855 to 1871 from Richmond, and from Richmond and Rhoda, to Jones family members back home at Turner, Maine.
  • c1856 - Richmond writes to his parents of his sad state in the year or so after the devastating death of his wife and of the Vermont woman he met at Janesville, presumably Wisconsin, and married.  She was Rhoda Hannah (Beeman) Jones.
  • September 1869 [or 1867] - Richmond and Rhoda urge Asa and Mary to come to Minnesota for the dry air that will be more beneficial for Asa's lungs than during the Maine winter
  • March 19-26, 1871 - acknowledgement of news of the death of Mercy (Bryant) Jones, mother of Richmond Jones, Jr.

This letter deals with the shocked reaction of Richmond and Rhoda when they receive Asa's letter bearing the news of a death or deaths back at Turner, Maine, that of Emily Jane (Jones) Cary and possibly also that of Richmond Jones, Sr.  It's also possible, since Rhoda didn't mention Richmond Sr., that word of his death had already been received, in an earlier letter or by telegraph.  Rhoda expresses that though she and Emily had never met, she considered her a dear friend through their shared letters.

Richmond's mother, Mercy (Bryant) Jones, would live until March 11, 1871.  News of her death is the subject of another letter in the collection, where Rhoda would encourage Asa Bradford Jones to come west for his lungs, now that his responsibility to his mother had ended.

From brief online research, hopefully correct:  [corrections and additions requested]

Richmond Jones, Jr., was born January 7, 1815 at Turner,  Maine, the son of Richmond Jones and Mercy (Bryant) Jones.  Richmond, Jr., was married twice and had children with each wife.

On June 20, 1840, Richmond, Jr., married Achsah P. Gammon, daughter of Robinson Gammon and Sarah (Parsons) Gammon of Portland, Maine.  They had two children, noted as "the boys" in the letters:
  1. Ebenezer Pitt Jones, born November 9, 1841 at Portland,  Maine; he died in 1909 in Port Angeles, Washington.
  2. Charles A. Jones, born January 16, 1846 at Portland, Maine; he died in 1920 in Minnesota.
Achsah died in 1854 in Minnesota; according to her Find-a-Grave memorial, she died on her first day at Medford, Minnesota.  An undated letter from Richmond to his mother Mercy (Bryant) Jones, written in the year or so after Achsah's death, details how Richmond's world had fallen apart after Achsah's death but ends on the positive note that he had found a worthy partner at Janesville, presumably Wisconsin.

This new partner was Rhoda Hannah Beeman, daughter of Solomon Beeman and Mary (Dickinson) Beeman of Vermont.  She and Richmond, Jr., married about 1855 or 1856 and had three children:
  1. Wallace W. Jones, born about 1857; died on July 5, 1862
  2. Marian Adelle Jones, "Della", born December 11, 1859 at Walcott, Minnesota; married Samuel Curtiss
  3. Emily May Jones, born about 1865 at Walcott, Minnesota; see a photograph on her Find-a-Grave memorial; married Charles Christopher Livingston.  She was presumably named after Emily Jane (Jones) Carey, the main subject of this letter.
Richmond Jones, Jr. died in Minnesota in 1883 and Rhoda in 1907.  See a photograph of Richmond on his Find-a-Grave memorial.

If you have corrections and/or additions to the information above, please leave a comment or contact me directly.

Transcription - please forward your comments on missing or misconstrued words - thanks!

[Rhoda Hannah (Beeman) Jones writing]

Walcott, Sept the 11 

[no year written, but presumably 1865, as the letter refers to the sudden death of Emily.  An Emily Jane Carey, born April 18, 1820, died on August 17, 1865; daughter of Hugh Carey and Silence (Phillips) Cary and wife of Maurice Cary.  It's possible the just-received letter from Asa with news of Emily's death also contained news of the death of Richmond Jones, Sr., on September 9, 1865, but that news may have come first in an earlier letter or by telegraph, as it would be odd if Rhoda didn't mention it.]

Dear Brother
We have have [sic] just got a letter from you.  We was very sorry to get such bad news and is it possible that Emily is dead.   When I read it, it struck me so.  I thought it must be that I had made a mistake, but I read it over and over and it was so.  I was very much attached to her, although she was a stranger.  Can I have it that Emily will never write to me again, but, Asa, none will feel loss like Mr. Cary.  But she has only got a little the start of the rest of us, a few more years at the longest and we shall be no more but may we all be found ready.  I am afraid that by you and the rest overdoing that you will get sick.  As soon as you can, write all the particulars.  Was Emily aware of her death and was she willing.  We expect the boys home before long, then we will again [sic].  
Rhoda Jones

[Richmond Jones writing - he may be responding to the just-received letter from Asa alone or to the letter and an earlier message of the death of his father, Richmond Jones, Sr., on September 9, 1865.]

I receive your letter in nine days from date.  It opened to something that is hard but it is the common lot of man.  I would like to go to Maine, but the circumstances will not admit of it.  I am alone, no one to leave at home.  The boys take in the army. If the Boys were at home or one of them, I could go there feeling contented to stay awhile.  As it is, I do not, so how I can come and leave my family.  I would like of seen Father before he died.  Emily and her children, too.  I want to see Mother more than ever.
[Rhoda Hannah (Beeman) Jones writing]
I have waited two or three days for Richmond to finish this but he said that he can't write any more now.  He feels bad.  He said he knows it will fit his mother and I am afraid it will.  Write as soon as convenient and as soon as Richmond gets over the excitement of hearing those things so he can know what to write, we will write again.  I must close to send it in the mail.

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