October 17, 1851 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Crawford

October 17, 1851                  

To: Sarah Keith                               

From: Nancy Crawford, LaPorte, IN

Had a visit with Aunt Jane. Everyone was well except Frank Nelles’ wife, who was “confined with a young son.” They buried their 14-month-old daughter on September 1. Almira‘s husband died of cholera two months ago and Aunt Jane was in low spirits because of the cholera epidemic. Aunt Jane had lots of sewing to do and Nancy wished Sarah could live there as she could get as much sewing as she wanted. Robert said he would take Prosper in the Spring, and she sometimes wishes he would because she has a “grate trial with him,” but she would miss him. Henry left LaPorte September 17 for St. Louis. She is beginning to worry, as they haven’t heard from him yet. He hadn’t been able to work for 5-6 weeks because he had erysipelas on his hand and a fellon and boils. Edwin is going to Toledo for a new Engine — wanted to have Hiram as his fireman. Edwin is to have the greatest and the most splendid engine that runs. The name of the engine is the I. B. Parks (?), named after the president of the road. They moved to another house close to the depot (she is apparently living with Edwin). Edwin has always been kind to her, but Mary “has been quite clever since I came back.”

Scan of 1851-10-17 Nancy Crawford to Sarah Keith

Laport October the 17 1851

Dear Sarah,

It is with plaseure i take my pen in hand to inform you of the viset i had with your Ant.[1] When I arive thear i found you relatives all well with the ecception of Frank Nelles wife.[2] She was confind with a young son all though she was quite smart. They beraed thear only Daughter the first of September a little girl fourteen months old. To my grate surprise i found Almira[3] thear a young widow. Her husband had ben ded two months and he dide with the Cholra and your Ant Jane was in low sperects for thear had ben so much Cholra a fue rods of her Door. She had felt quite alarmd for fear she wold have it herself. I saw a hous a fue rods of her door that the hole famly dide eccept two Children and thear it stands with the furniture all in it and they talk of burning it up. They was all glad to see me and i had a verry good viset. Your Ant wanted i shold stay with her this fall and winter and saw she has lots of sowing to do. I mad one coate wile i wase thear. She said it was made well. I wish you lived thear you cold git as much sowing as you wanted. It is a verry plesent location on high grown above the lake shore. I think Lukes[4] helth wold be better if he could injoy the Freach breeze of the Lake. I was gon little over two weeks. I returnd home the second day of October and found Mary[5] all alone with the ecception of a little molte citten that Ed[6] had brot home for her. Prosper[7] was out to play. It was half past eight in the eveing and Edwin dident git in till eleven. Dear Sarah wen i came home i found three letters that was directed to me. Ed had opend them all one from you and from Robert[8] and David[9] and sence i returned home i receive one from Hiram.[10] I was verry much plese to hear from you all and hear that you was weell but i am sorry hear that Luke helth is so poor. I wish he could find sumthem to help him. Sarah I dident want you to send me the dollar. I felt as tho you had paid it. You help me wen I moved. Robert saes he injoys life well with his companion[11] I hope they continyou so. He wrote that he wold take Prosper in the Spring. I somtimes wish he could take him now for I have a grate trial with him but wen I think of parting with him I feel bad. If he does go I hope he will do wright and be a good boy and Robert I think will be kind to him. I know he is under the protecting power that we all are and I feal to give him up in the hans of God. David roat about the monny Henry[12] ode him for the watch. Henry left Laport the 17 of Septeber for ST Loues. That what he told me. He said he wold write the next week after he gote thear but I have look with grate ankzity ever sence and havent receive no answer and I begen to be alarmd about him for fear that somthing has happen to him. He wanted to pay David but he had so little monny he could not spare it. He lost so much time. He had the arasiplus[13] on his hand and a fellon[14] and boils. He could not do any thing for five or six weeks. He said if his life wase spard he wold be back in two months and he wold send the monny. Hiram said in his letter he was a going out to live with Robert and he wold be a long hear the first of next month and stoped five days with us. Edwin is a going to toledo this week or next for a new Engine and he saide he wold like to have Hiram for his fireman if he could stan it. I dont want him to be a fireman without he wanted to. I would like to have him live whare i could see him wonce awile and Pa[15] may be disapointed if he stays. Ed is a got to be promoted. He is to have the graest and the most splendid Engin that runs over the road. The name of the Engin is I. B. Parks (sp?) named after the presedent of the road. We have moved in another hous near the depot and I have to live up stairs. It makes my work verry hard for me. Edwin has bout a good deal of second hand furniture all of it verry nice. He got it verry cheap. Thear part is furnish quite well. Mary folks[16] was out to see her wile I was gon. Her Father to[ld] them to pick out a block[17] to sute them and he wold send men on in the spring to bild them a hous of brick or a fram hous. She has been quite clever sence I came back. Ed has allways been kind to me. I have thought that I could not stanit it go up and down stars so often but it seams the back is filed for the burden. Mary said she could not do it. My helth is much better sence I returned home. I was verry sick on the boat a going out. They carred us by Wakegan[18] 25 miles to Recein[19] for i was so sick that i did not no wen they past by. The lake was verry rough and Dany was sick to. Sarah will you tell Hiram I wish he wold bring cloth and for Pros a coat. Clothing is so high hear. My love to you and Luke and the four children.[20]

This is from your fectunate Mother N B Crawford to Sarah Keath

[Following was written in the margin on the first page] PS Dear Sarah I wanto see you all verry much. I have a grate many things to tell you that I cant do with pen and paper. I hope you will answer this write away and write every particular. Give my respects to all inquiring frinds.


[1] Jane (Comfort) Nelles Sunderlin, Nancy’s sister, who was living in Waukegan, Illinois

[2] She may be referring to Selena (Myers) Nelles, wife of Francis Nelles who was the son of Jane (Comfort) and Jacob Nelles

[3] Almira Nelles, Nancy’s niece, the daughter of Nancy’s sister, Jane (Comfort) and Jacob Nelles

[4] Charles Luke Keith Jr., Sarah’s husband, who went by the name of Luke

[5] Mary Hamilton, who became Edwin Crawford’s second wife on January 6, 1854

[6] Edwin W. Crawford, Nancy’s son

[7] Lucius Prosper Crawford, Nancy’s son, who was about 9 years old

[8] Robert Crawford, Nancy’s son

[9] David Crawford, also known as D.C., Nancy’s son

[10] Hiram Crawford Jr., Nancy’s son

[11] Assume she is referring to Robert’s wife, Louisa (McCann) Crawford. At this time, it is unknown when they married

[12] Henry Clay Crawford, Nancy’s son

[13] Erysipelas is a bacterial infection of the skin, very similar to the “flesh eating bacteria” infection noted in recent years, and was one of the major causes of death in wars among wounded soldiers and hospitalized civilians in the days before disinfectants and hand washing

[14] A painful infection at the end of a finger or toe, near the nail

[15] Hiram Crawford Sr., Nancy’s husband

[16] Patrick and Rosanah (Perry) Hamilton

[17] Patrick Hamilton owned a tract of land consisting of eighty acres in the northeastern corner of the township of Pokagon. Upon a portion of this land the village of Dowagiac was platted and laid out. He laid out what was known as Hamilton’s First Addition to the Village of Dowagiac in the spring of 1849 which was quickly followed by Hamilton’s Second, Third and Fourth Additions. He has been referred to as the Father of Dowagiac

[18] Waukegan, Illinois

[19] Racine, Wisconsin

[20] This is a curious note: two of the children would be Lois and Henry, children of Luke by his first wife, Minerva Payson, and Ethan would be another, but Nancy wasn’t born until July of 1852, so the mention of four children is confusing

September 16, 1851 letter to Almira Nelles from Nancy & Hiram Crawford Sr.

September 16, 1851

To: Almira Nelles

From: Nancy & Hiram Crawford, Dowagiac, MI

Edwin is working on the “Engine,” Louisa is boarding at Marshall with her baby, and Sarah has a little 7-month-old boy. Robert is still in Wisconsin but she hasn’t heard from James. Said she wrote to “our folks in Canada” but hasn’t heard from them. Describes Dowagiac. Expects Sally and Louisa to visit. Asks Jane, if she receives news from California, to inquire if there is such a name as James H. Crawford there and to let them know as soon as possible.

Scan of 1851-09-16 Nancy & Hiram Crawford to Almira Nelles

Dowagiac September 16th 1851

Dear Niece[1] Once more I take my pen in hand to inform you that our healths is all very good eccept myself which has not been very good the last three or four weeks. I have not answered your letter as soon as you expected I should. I suppose it is beause I could not find anything to write about and because my health as I said before has not been very good. Edwin[2] is working on the Engine and Louesa[3] is boarding at Marshall [Michigan] with her baby.[4] Sally[5] has got a fine little boy[6] about 7 months old. Robbert[7] is still in Wisconsin and we had a letter from him last June. He was doing well then. We have not heard from James[8] yet. We expect Sally and Louesa out here to make us a visit and I should like to have your mother[9] or yourself or your sister[10] or both of you to come out and visit with Sally and Louesa. I have written to our folks in Canada and have not heard from them since last fall. This is a fine and thriving little Village. It is quite sick around here though. This little Village contains two taverns four dry good stores two groceries and one Drug store. It has one school house which answers for a school and meeting house to the Baptist and the Congregsionalest are fixing for to build a church a piece for them. Then there is a number of dwelling houses. There is a large grist mill going up besiges many other wonders of the grat Dowagiac City. Give my love to your mother and brothers  and sisters.

and believe to be your Affectionate Aunt

[to] Almira Nellis        Nancy B Crawford

NB Sally and Louesa will be here the last part of this month or the first of next. Jane if you recieve any news from Californ[11] let us know and if you write back to them ask them to inquire if there is any such a name as James H Crawford[12] there is let us know as soon as possible.

Your Sister

Nancy B Crawford

NB Almira answer this letter as soon as you can.

Your Aunt

Nancy B Crawford

[The following portion seems to have been written by Hiram Crawford[13]]

Dear Neice

You will excuse you aunt for not answering your letter sooner as she had nothing particular to write, but I could not put off any longer as I am anxious to hear from you all. Since I last wrote our healths have been as good as usual. We are living alone in Edwins house, his wife and child is living at Marshall and he is on an Engine running from Marshall to Detroit.

Sally has got a son 7 months old and was well when last heard from. Robert is in Wisconsin yet. We are looking for him home daily. James we have not hears from our anxiety is great about him.

We have had no news from Canada notwithstanding I have written several times. There is some sickness here prncipaley among the new comers. It is much heathier than last year. Our Village is growing fast. Some twenty or thirty buildings have gone up this season. In addition the Baptist and Congregation are each intending to erect meeting houses within a year.

Jane if you have any news from your Husband & children write. Should you write to them have them enquire for James H Crawford. Answer this letter Almira and come out one and all and see us as soon as [letter ends here, however the following paragraph was written upside down after this.]

Large subscripions have been raised for the building of two meeting houses, one by the Baptists and the other by the Congregationalists.


[1] Almira is the daughter of Nancy’s sister, Jane (Comfort) and Jacob Nelles

[2] Edwin W. Crawford, Nancy’s son, worked as an engineer for the local railroad

[3] Louisa (Hall) Crawford, Edwin’s first wife

[4] Eugene Crawford

[5] Sarah (Crawford) Keith, Nancy’s daughter

[6] Ethan Keith

[7] Robert Crawford, Nancy’s son

[8] James H. Crawford, Nancy’s son

[9] Jane (Comfort) Nelles Sunderlin

[10] Almira had two sisters, both born to Jane (Comfort) Nelles Sunderlin and her second husband, Peleg Sunderlin: Jane Sunderlin (born in approximately 1840) and Louisa Sunderlin (born in 1846)

[11] Jane’s husband, Peleg Sunderlin, as well as two of her sons, Wallis Sunderlin and Henry Nelles, were apparently bitten by gold fever as they were all working as miners in Empire Canion, El Dorado, California, in 1850

[12] James may have been a sailor for a time. See description of his travels in letter dated May 23, 1856

[13] Nancy’s husband

September 10, 1850 letter to Sarah Keith from Hiram Crawford Sr.

September 10, 1850              

To: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Hiram Crawford, Dowagiac, MI

Pros is sick, Edwin well. Louisa had a boy 2 weeks ago last Thursday and got a bad breast infection. Edwin tried to get a girl to help out but couldn’t find anyone. Robert stopped to see them. It is very sickly throughout the whole region but very few deaths.

Scan of 1850-09-10 Hiram Crawford to Sarah Keith

Dogwhack[1]     September 10th 1850

Dear Sally[2]

I embrace the opportunity of a wet forenoon to write you a few lines and let you know our present situation. To begin your Mother[3] is at present able to be about the house an your Father[4] likewise is able to be on the track. How long he will be so is quite uncertain. Pross[5] is well with the exception of having the Ague[6] now and then. Edwin’s[7] health is good at present but Louisa[8] is bad enough off. She had a boy[9] two weeks ago last Thursday and got a long the first week uncommon fast when she took a violent cold followed by fever and than ague in the breast. She has suffered a great deal of pain and is unable to sit up as yet, her breast has broke in three places and we are in hopes that she will get better now that her inflamation is gone down. Mother has been up and down two or three times since Louise been sick from overdoing. Edwin could not get a girl he hunted three or four days far and near but every house had some sick and he could get none so that Mother had to do more than she was able and Louise too in trying to help along brought her present misfortune on.

When are you coming out to see us? It is unnecessary to say how glad we would be to see you. We shall look for you utill you come. If any thing occurs that you cant come in this month write and let us know as we are anxious to hear from you if we cant have the satisfaction to see you. Robert[10] stoped here two days he was quite unwell but was anxious to go on. We are looking for a letter from him. It is verry sickly throughout this whole region of country but verry few deaths. I hope these lines will find you and Luke[11] and children[12] well. If you do not come out soon write as Mother is getting uneasy and says she must see the children soon.

Farewell — H Crawford

Dogwhack September 11 1850


[1] Dowagiac, Michigan

[2] Sarah (Crawford) Keith. Early letters refer to her as Sally, as does her marriage certificate; however, in later years she is referred to as Sarah

[3] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford

[4] Hiram Crawford

[5] Lucius Prosper Crawford, Sarah’s brother, who went by the name of Pros

[6] A form of malaria characterized by stages of chills, fever, and sweating. Popularly, the disease was known as “fever and ague,” “chill fever,” and “the shakes”

[7] Edwin Crawford, Sarah’s brother

[8] Edwin’s wife, Louisa (Hall) Crawford

[9] Eugene L. Crawford

[10] Robert Crawford, Sarah’s brother

[11] Charles Luke Keith Jr., Sarah’s husband, who went by the name of Luke

[12] Lois and Henry Keith, Luke’s children by his first wife, Minerva Payson

July 31, 1850 letter to Sarah Keith from Hiram Crawford Sr.

July 31, 1850

To: Sarah Keith, Comstock, MI

From: Hiram Crawford, Dowagiac, MI

Nancy Crawford went to see her sister Jane (Comfort) Nelles Sunderlin. Got seasick coming home and then she and Hiram were very sick for several days. Pros was also sick. Edwin & Louisa are well. Wants Robert to write if Sally sees him – they want to know the boys’ situation.

Scan of 1850-07-31 Hiram Crawford to Sarah Keith

Dowagiac        July 31st 1850

Dear Sally[1]

We send our love to you & Luke[2] and let you know that we are alive though far from being well. Your Mother[3] has been to see Aunt Jane.[4] Found them all well, staid a week. Started home got sea sick crossing the Lake came home and was taken down the third day and was verry sick for several days but is now able to be up most of the time and I trust will ultimately recover her health. Your poor old dad too has had a touch of the Chill Feaver but has been free from it these two days, but I am weak and my hand trembles as you see. Pross[5] too comes in for a share as he is up and down with the ague[6] – yet I trust through the Goodness of God we shall all recover our health. At any rate it is wisdom in us to submit without murmuring to what ever affliction is laid on us.

I would have written to you before but did not wish to afflict you by letting you know how sick your Mother was.

It is quite sickly in this place Edwin[7] & Louisa[8] are well. I take the opportunity of sending this by our old Friend and neighbor W. Hurst (?) who is now here so the postage is saved. Tell Robert[9] to write if you see him. I want to know the situation of the boys at Yorkville.[10] I fear there is something wrong going on there. Oh I am tired, Dear Sally & Luke. We bid you goodby

Your Father & Mother


[1] Sarah (Crawford) Keith, Hiram and Nancy Crawford’s daughter. Early letters refer to her as Sally, as does her marriage certificate; however, in later years she is referred to as Sarah

[2] Charles Luke Keith Jr., Sarah’s husband, who was referred to as Luke

[3] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford

[4] Nancy’s sister, Jane (Comfort) Nelles Sunderlin

[5] Lucius Prosper Crawford, Sarah’s brother, who was referred to as Pros

[6] A form of malaria characterized by stages of chills, fever, and sweating. Popularly, the disease was known as “fever and ague,” “chill fever,” and “the shakes”

[7] Edwin Crawford, Sarah’s brother

[8] Edwin Crawford’s first wife, Louisa (Hall) Crawford

[9] Robert Crawford, Sarah’s brother

[10] Yorkville was a small town north of Galesburg, Michigan on Gull Lake

April 1, 1850 letter to Sarah Keith from Hiram Crawford Sr.

April 1, 1850

To: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Hiram Crawford Sr., Dowagiac, MI

Hiram is writing a brief letter to his daughter, Sarah, to let her know that they have arrived safely in Dowagiac and had settled in with their son, Edwin, although it is a little cramped. He goes on to describe the village and its prospects for growth along the Central Railroad line. He tells Sarah that “morals are low her but the place is new and good society will come in with the growth of the place.”

Scan of 1850-04-01 Hiram Crawford to Sarah Keith

Dowagiac April 1st 1850

Dear Daughter

We are well. We got here with our household goods safe although L and Hiram[1] had rather a tough time of it. We are as comfortably situated as we expected. We are in with Edwin[2] a leettle crowded with our goods but otherwise room enough. Edwin has got as pleasent a situation as is in this place. The Village itself is a handsome situation as can be well found, high and dry with every prospect of being one of the first villages on the line of the Central Railroad.[3] The country is rich and productive around it. There has been an immense quantity of grain and other produce sent from this station the past winter and even now hundreds of bushels of grain and potatoes are brought in dayly to be sent off. You see how my hand trembles. I am in a great hurry two this morning so you must excuse me from writing a long letter. Write as soon as you can. Let us know how the boys get along, ours here are as contented as pigs. Mother[4] is we[ll?] contented living here. The only drawback to it is being seperated from you and the boys and also her religious privilages in Galesburg. Morals are low her but the place is new and good society will come in with the growth of the place. But my time is up so your Parents say God bless you our dear child and your Husband[5] for your sake and his own.

Compliments to all  

Hiram Crawford


[1] Lucius Prosper & Hiram, Jr., Hiram’s two youngest children

[2] Edwin W. Crawford, Hiram’s son

[3] Dowagiac was platted when the Michigan Central came through in 1848 to establish a route from Detroit to Niles, Michigan; the village was incorporated in 1858, growing to becoming a city in 1877

[4] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford  

[5] Charles Luke Keith Jr.

December 30, 1849 letter to Hiram & Sally Crawford from Louisa & William Sherwood

December 30, 1849               

To: Hiram Crawford Sr. & Sally Crawford, Gulls Mills, MI

From: Louisa Sherwood & William Sherwood, Essex, MI

Louisa wants Hiram and family to move near them. Next part of letter is written to Sally. Writes that she is going to school for the first time since she left Canada. Wants to know if Sally is married or not. William Sherwood then writes the remainder of the letter. He was taken sick 3 years prior and unable to do anything since. Had to sell his farm as a consequence but has since bought another and the farm next to his is for sale. He also would like them to come and buy property near them. Mentions when they were neighbors in London (Canada).

Scan of 1849-12-30 Louisa Sherwood & William Sherwood to Hiram & Sally Crawford

Essex   Dec the 30th 1849

Respected friend

I take this opertunity to write a few lines to you, and let you know that we are all in the land of the living. We are here in Michigan. We are all well at present except for Father.[1] He has been sick going on four years. He was taken in the first with the Fever. He has not walked a half a mile since. We have had a great deal of sickness sense we have been here. Father, and Isaiah[2] is well suited with the country. They do not think that they could find any placle that suit any beter. We never have heard anything from you untill about 3 three weeks ago. Isaiah saw Emmons. He told him that you had moved to Michigan some where. Isaiah saw Shipman last week. He told him where you lived and I am determined to find out if there is such a thing. Ship will be here sometime next month. He says that you all have been sick. I am sorry to hear it. I can asure you we can sympthise with you. Father has writen to you when he first came here. Now Mr Crawford if you hav not bought you must come out here and buy. You use to say that you would be a neighbor to Sherwood again and now you must be as good as your word. You must write as soon as you get this. Direct your letter to Essex Clinton Co Michigan. So good by to you.

 Louisa Sherwood[3]

[to] HC

Friend Sally[4]

I must say to you that you have my love now as much as ever no one knows how I want to see you. You use to say tha when I would be a way from you that I would not think of you. Sally I think just as much of you as ever. There is many here that I think much of. My school teacher I think a great deal of. I am a going to school this winter for the first time sense we left Canada. Sally I wished you was hear to take school. You could have come any time and I would go to your school. I want to know if you are married or not.[5] As for myself I am not nor a going to be. Tell your Mother[6] that she has my love and all the family. Mother[7] and Isaiah sends there both resects to you all.

Sally you must prsuade Father to come hear and buy. If not you must come and make us a visit. I must bring this to a close. Father wants to write.

Please excuse my poor writting and correct all mistakes.

Yours with respects

Louisa Sherwood

[to] Sally Crawford

PS Marion[8] wants you to say to Prosper[9] that he wants him to come out hear and go to school with him.


My Dear Friends

I sit down to write a few lines to you it is but little I can write as Louisa has wrote all and but little I am able to write. I was taken sick 3 years ago last Sept and have been unable to do any thing since. I sold my Farm last spring for $700.00. I was obliged to sell in consequence of my sickness. I bought again in Greenbush Township 6 miles east in this County and there is 80 acres joining mine for sale at 20/ per acre trade pay I.E. for stock etc. It is on the main mail road oak openings excellent wheat & corn land. If you have not bought come & buy. I think this is the healthiest part of Michigan. I went to the Polls and voted last fall for that good old Soul Zachary Taylor. If you reccollect I told you when I was in London I was Whig and all over Whig. We shall look for Shipman in a few days and why not look for Mr Crawford & Lady, Robert[10] & Sally. Isaiah saw Shipman at the Capitol Lansing Shipman is about taking fifteen miles of Plank road to make. I dont believe he will live with Emmons much longer from what I can learn.

We live 17 miles east of Lyons on Maple River or 28 miles north of the Capitol by the way of Dewitt. I must now draw to a close by wishing you a happy New Year. Mrs Sherwood joins with me and the family in sending their respects to you and Mrs Crawford and Family. Your friend & well wisher.

W. Sherwood

[to] H. Crawford, Esq.

Direct to Essex Clinton Co Mich

[1] William Sherwood

[2] Isaiah Sherwood (age 22), William Sherwood’s eldest son

[3] Louisa Sherwood (age 20), William Sherwood’s eldest daughter

[4] Sarah Crawford, Hiram’s oldest child and only daughter. Early letters refer to her as Sally, as does her marriage certificate; however, in later years she is referred to as Sarah

[5] Sarah married Charles Luke Keith Jr. on November 14, 1849

[6] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford

[7] Hulda Sherwood (age 43)

[8] Marion Sherwood (age 7), William Sherwood’s youngest son

[9] Hiram’s youngest son, Lucius Prosper Crawford

[10] Hiram’s son, Robert Crawford

September 11, 1826 letter to his wife and children from Benjamin Hamilton

September 11, 1826

To: His Wife & Children

From: Benjamin Hamilton

This appears to be a letter which Benjamin wanted his children to read upon his death. He wanted to ensure that they accepted Christ as Savior and know that they would have eternal life in Heaven.

Scan of 1826-09-11 Benjamin Hamilton to Wife & Children

Come my beloved wife and children, come hear you father speak, although he is dead and gone, these are his words. Now my children, are you ready to come after me? We all must die and go into the eternal world. Would you believe me if I could be permitted to come and speak to you! If you would, why could you not believe Christ that has come and told us all things that we need. The time is short that you can stay here in this world. Die we must whether we are ready or not, we must go when God calls. Mans life in this world is but a vapor, tis gone before you think. Let me ask you, have you ever thought of dying? You read death comes like a thief in the night. Now we have all sinned and fell short of the law and we can say nothing for ourselves, but to fling ourselves at Christs feet and cry for mercy, and believe in him, he is able to save us, and no one else can help us. The Lord that sets above the skies divides their rage below, he speaks with vengence in his eyes and strikes their spirits through. Well he remembers all our sighs. His love exceeds our best deserts. His love accepts the sacrifice of humble groans and broken hearts. Death and the terrors of the grave stood around me with their dismal shade, while floods of high tempest rose and made my sinking soul afraid. When you read this remember the warnings that your Father has warned you of.

Benj- Hamilton Sept 11th 1826

Our lips shall tell them to our sons and they again to theirs. And now when I go to behold Christ dying & bleeding is this holy lamb of God sacrifice & slaughter for my sins. Lord teach my heart that it may be suitably affected with the sight; so as to intensly live my blessed Savior, and to hate my cursed sins.  Oh! How should I at this be covered with shame and loath myself, who has both procured the death of Christ by sin, and sinned against his death by slighting his blood and neglecting his great salvation. I am chargeable both with the guilt of Christs blood, and of murdering my own soul.

Be not contented with a fair profession of religion, or with a form of Godliness, and a name of life among men.

I sit down under his shadow with great delight and his fruits are sweet to my taste. How lovely is my stricken Jesus, even when bleeding and mangled by my sins.

Lord, I am ashamed of the hardness of my heart, let me go, then, to thy table with faith and love, and thankfulness to remember Christ and his dying love. Let me go and remember the woundings and pierceings of my Redeemer, with a pierced and wounded heart, for these cursed sins which nailed him to the cross.

Oh! My God & my Father in Heaven & Earth I give my heart and soul up to Christ and pray for him to fit and prepare it for his use and service. Have mercy upon me O God, wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sins. Bestow unto me the joy of thy salvation and uphold me with thy free spirit. In the day of my trouble I sought thee Lord. Thou shalt guide me by thy counsil and afterward receive me into glory. Trust in the Lord and wait patiently. My heart and tongue their joys express, my flesh shall rest in hopes, thou will reveal the path of life & raise me to thy throne on Heavens Eternal hills. May I ascend above the skies where Christ has gone to plead the sinners cause. When from the dead he raised his son and called him to the sky, he gave our souls a lively hope that they should never die. We walk by faith as strangers here until Christ shall call us home.

Ye sinners seek his grace, whose wrath ye cannot have, fly to the shelter of his cross and find salvation there. Look up, ye pairs of endless joy nor let your fears prevail, Eternal life is your reward when life on earth shall fail. The soul that longs to see my face, is sure my love to gain.

I say unto you, he that heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation, but is past from death unto life, for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. If thou shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shall believe in thy heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. We have all sinned and come short of the law, we are all guilty alike, so we can do nothing more than fling ourselves at Christ’s feet and cry for mercy. We can say nothing for ourselves, more than, Lord have mercy on me a sinner.

And now my children listen to your Father’s words which are these, my children near & dear, you all have souls to save or lose, and now let me beg and pray of you to seek after Christ before it is too late. I feel anxious for you children, but I can do no more than to warn you, beg and pray, of you to seek for your souls before it is too late.

Christ says, “Now is the time.” We have no promise of tomorrow. What shall I say more, now do you think of the warnings I have given you all, to seek for Christ.

Age and sorrow long hath blasted
Every youthful pleasing dream
Quivering age with youth contrasted
Oh! how short lifes glories seem[1]


[1] This letter was sent courtesy of Sue Rood, who is descended from Benjamin Hamilton through his daughter Jerusha. Jerusha Hamilton married a cousin, Zeri Hamilton, in Stockbridge, Massachusetts on September 13, 1811