Monday, May 9, 2016

1855 or 1856 Letter from Richmond Jones, Jr., in Minnesota to his Parents, Richmond and Mercy (Bryant) Jones at Turner, Maine

1855 or 1856 letter from Richmond Jones, Jr., in Minnesota, possibly at Medford or Walcott, to his parents Richmond Jones and Mercy (Bryant) Jones at Turner, Maine.

A transcription appears at the end of this post.

Richmond described sad times in the year or so after the death of his first wife, Achsah P. (Gammon) Jones, who died in 1854.  According to an entry on her Find-a-Grave memorial, Achsah died from a lightning strike on her first day at Medford, Minnesota.

The letter was found with three other letters sent by either Richmond himself or Richmond and his second wife Rhoda Hannah (Beeman) Jones from about 1855 to 1871:
  • September 11, 1865 - Richmond and Rhoda write in response to a letter from Richmond's brother Asa Bradford Jones revealing that Emily Jane (Jones) Cary had died; this letter might also have been the first that Richmond heard that his father had died on September 9, 1865, though where Rhoda didn't mention it, I believe they had found out in an earlier letter or perhaps by telegraph.
  • September 1869 [or 1867] letter - Richmond and Rhoda urge Asa and Mary to come to Minnesota where the dry air would be beneficial for Asa's lungs
  • September 19-26, 1871 - acknowledgement of the news of the death of Mercy (Bryant) Jones, mother of Richmond Jones, Jr.
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:
  • Ebenezer Pitt Jones, born November 9, 1841 at Portland,  Maine; he died in 1909 in Port Angeles, Washington.
  • 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:
  • Wallace W. Jones, born about 1857; died on July 5, 1862
  • Marian Adelle Jones, "Della", born December 11, 1859 at Walcott, Minnesota; married Samuel Curtiss
  • 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!

Dear Mother, now I take this opportunity to inform you about how I have got along for a year after my Wife died.  I live with a family for one month and then one of the Boys and I went to keeping house for ourselves.  Ebenezer done my cooking, washing after a fashion.  It had to answer.  Charles help him what he could, the time drug very heavily along here among the wild Indians with a few white people.  At that time, everything look dark to me, every thing seemed to come against me for a wife.  The Boys wanted to come to Maine after their Mother died.  Did they teased me for a long time to go but I reasoned the case with them.  It was a long time before they become reconciled to it as well as myself.  I did not know which way to turn for everything I had was going to Destruction and no one to take care of anything for me.  At last I was obliged to have some one to keep house for me.  I went to Janesville.  There I found a girl from Vermont, and married her the 16th day of July last.  I moved her to Minnesota.  She proves to be a very good housekeeper.  Snug, Prudent, keeps the Boys ___ up well clean.  She is about thirty years old.  She understands farming well.  Father, I will write you a few lines, too. I have not written to you for a long time.  I have enjoyed good health ever since I left Turner except I had a few shakes of the  fever & ague.  I got mad and went to the River and jumped in head ___  [first ?] and by so doing twice took it entirely.  Otherwise than that, I have been well all the time.  The Boys have been well all the time.  Father, I have got me a good farm here and I am satisfied with it.  I come here when there was but only six houses in forty miles.  Where I live the valley is four miles long, the road runs straight the whole length of the valley.  It is settled the whole length and houses on every quarter of a mile now.  We have the ___ [sum ?] of a steam saw and grist mill at our Door.  It sounds grand.  Father, if the People East could only know what's best for themselves they would [sic: go ?]west in a hurry.  I want you to write me.  
[Written diagonally on the left margin]
Mother, tell Sylvia to write to me if she will.  Ebenezer, too. 
[Written diagonally on the right margin]
Emerley [presumably Emily, possibly Emily Jane Jones, daughter of Europe and Orpha Jones, whose death is 1865 is the subject of another letter] too.  Ann, too.  Only three cents.
Richmond Jones

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