Tuesday, May 10, 2016

1871 Letter from Rhoda (Beeman) Jones at Walcott, Minnesota to Asa and Mary Jones at Turner, Maine

March 19 to March 26, 1871 letter from Rhoda Hannah (Beeman) Jones, wife of Richmond Jones, Jr., to Mary Emery (Tyler) Jones and her husband Asa Bradford Jones, Richmond's brother.  Sadly, a portion of the letter is missing, though there would have been nothing written on one side.

 A transcription appears at the end of this post.

The letter is one of 4 letters sent by Richmond or Rhoda or the two of them together, dating from about 1856 to 1871.  The other letters:
  • c1856 letter from Richmond to his mother noting the hard times he'd had after the sudden death of his first wife from lightning and the eventual meeting of his second wife
  • September 11, 1865 - acknowledgement of the news of the death of Emily Jane (Jones) Cary in Maine
  • September 1869 [or 1867] - Richmond and Rhoda urge Asa and Mary to come to Minnesota where the dry air would be beneficial for Asa's lungs

The later portion of the letter, dated March 26, acknowledges receipt of the sad news that Richmond's and Asa's mother, Mercy (Bryant) Jones, had just died.  Rhoda regrets that she hadn't sent the letter soon after starting it on the 19th, so that it might have arrived before Mercy's death.

Rhoda notes that, sad though the news is, Asa is now free to come to Minnesota for the beneficial effect that the dry winter air there would have on his lungs, potentially giving him many more years with his family.  He had apparently come once before, perhaps a couple winters earlier, to good effect.

She writes of their crops and livestock and mentions that Mr. Soil or Soiley [perhaps she meant to spell Sohley] at Balche's store had been inquiring after Asa.  She also mentioned that Tilden Jones, presumably of Turner, Maine, and family were thinking of making a visit to Minnesota and would consider moving permanently if they could sell their place.

Click on an image to enlarge it.

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 leave your comments on missing or misconstrued words - thanks!

Walcott, March 19, 1871
Dear Sister, I will now try to answer your much welcomed letter which should have been answered long ago but better late than never.  Well to begin we are all well which is one of the greatest Blessings that God can bestow on the human family.  We have had one of the nicest winters that we very often get.  I wish it could have been so nice weather last winter when Asa [Asa Bradford Jones, brother of Richmond Jones, Rhoda's husband]was here.  We was so glad to hear that Asa was better.  A great many inquiries after his health.  They say if the climate done him any good while here that he will be better for a year or two.  Then he will be worse again.  Then he will be obliged to come west to save his life.  Mr. Soil [perhaps Sohley] in Balche's store was inquiring about Asa not long since he said that in a year or two his health will run down again and he will be obliged to come west for he said that it was written that it was the climate helped him by his being better.  Asa knows Mr. Sowil [perhaps Sohley].  We had a letter from Tilden Jones a few weeks ago.  He and his family talks of coming out here to make us a visit next fall.  He said if he ever sold there that he should come in this part of the world.  He thought his wife's health is better.  Well, Asa, I kept boarder last fall long enough to come to 28 dollars so that got us things for winter so we was not so hard up for clothes as was that fall that you came out here.  Richmond has got him a new overcoat.  He sold wheat to get that.  He got out 31 dollars worth of ties.  He would have got out more if had the timber.  We shall milk four cows next summer if nothing happens.  We are raising four calves this winter.  We bought one of them.  
March 26 - Well, since I commenced this we got a letter from you which brought the news of Mother's death.  I am so sorry that I did not answer Mary's [presumably Mary Emery (Tyler) Jones, wife of Asa Bradford Jonesletter so she could get it before Mother died.  Delly [Marian Adella Jones, daughter of Richmond and Rhoda Hannah (Beeman) Joneshad got a letter wrote to send to grandmother but we have all got to go sooner or later.  Rich [apparently the nickname of Richmond Jones] said as soon as he saw the letter was from you thought that was to bring him the news of Mother's death.  He said he did not know why he felt so but he did.  Well, Asa, now your Mother is gone.  Now it's seeming as though there was Mother to hinder you coming out, but the trouble of selling and getting ready to come now as you have got weak lungs and it is natural for the family to have weak lungs so you wants go where you are sure of the best health.  If you don't recover your health in fall you may be able to see to your family for a great many years perhaps.  Otherwise, if you stay there you stay there you may be taken from them many years sooner.  You have been...  [missing portion of letter]
Now, Asa, if you have the paper that has got Mother's Death in will you please send it to us if convenient. Now Asa when you get this you and Mary write a good long letter and tell us all about ____ [matters ?]; and things.  Don't wait as long as we all generally do.  The children talk a great deal about Uncle Asa and Aunt Mary and the children as we all do.  Kiss all the children for me.  Tell them I often look at their little pictures and wish I could see them.  Give my love to Lydia [Lydia, Richmond's sister; presumably the Lydia Jones who married Ebenezer Pitts on May 21, 1834 at Turner, Maine; note that one of the sons of Richmond Jones and his first wife Achsah P. (Gammon) Jones was named Ebenezer Pitts Jones] and family.  How much she looks like her Mother in her picture.  I must close.  Write soon.
from Rhoda Jones
 to Mr. and Mrs. Asa B. Jones

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