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LETTER FROM MISSIONARIES AT ELLIOT TO THE CORRESPONDING
REV. AND DEAR SIR,
Elliot, Choctaw Nation, April 12, 1819. It is with mingled emotions of gratitude
and pleasure, that we find ourselves in a situation to sit down, and jointly communicate to you the dealings of God with us, since our arrival in this heathen land. Our communications heretofore contained only short notices of particular circumstances. It would be a satisfaction tous, and we doubt not it would gratify the Prudential Committee, if we could fully communicate all the events which have transpired relative to this mission. Our present opportunity will admit of only a brief outline of the most interesting. As this is our first joint letter, we shall endeavor to give a connected view from the beginning
Brother Kingsbur', and brother and sister Williams, arrived at the Yello Busha settlement on the 27th of June. Considerable time was occupied in selecting a situation, which would be both suitable to our object, and satisfactory to the natives. Having taken into prayerful consideration the circumstances which sught to guide us in this decision, and having consulted the Agent and the natives on the subject, we were enabled to fix on a site for the establishment, which combined as many advantages as we could expect to find in one place.
About the 15th of August we felled the first tree on the ground, which we considered as henceforth consecrated to the cause of Zion's King; and from which we hope to diffuse, among this wretched people, the benign influences of civilization and Christianity.
The place was entirely new, and covered with lofty trees; but the ancient mounds, which here and there appeared, showed that it was once the habitation of men. On the 18th, the brethren Kingsbury and Williams, with the help of Mr, Ladd and a Negro man, raised our first house of logs. It was 15 feet by 18. The weather was oppressively hot, and our prospects discouraging. The timber for
the buildings necessary for our establishment, was still growing, and the forest was ! waving over the ground which we wished to cultivate. The men, who we ex
pected would undertake the buildings, declined the contract; the season was so far advanced, that we had little hope of assistance from the north, and we had a poor prospect of help from this country. We had also been informed, that we could obtain supplies by water at any season of the year; but now learned, that there would be no opportunity before winter. We were almost destitute of mechanical tools. implements of husbandry, and many other important articles; having brought only a few of the most necessary ones in our waggon through the wilderness. But in this hour of difficulty, we remembered that the Lord had been our helper; and our hope was not in vain, that he would again bring relief.
On the 19th of August, inan to whom we had written came and hired to us, and has continued with us most of the time since. The same day heard a report that three or four persons were at Natchez, on their way to our assistance. As soon as arrangements could be made, brother Williams set off with four horses, by way of the Walnut Hills, to meet them. But they had taken the route by the Choctaw Agency, and on the 23d, to our great joy, brother J.G. Kanouse arrived at Yello Busha. He had parted with his brother, Mrs. Kanouse, and brother and sister Jewell, about six days journey from the n'ission, and came forward to notify us of their approach. Brother Kingsbury immediately set out to meet them, and conduct them in; and on Saturday, Aug. 29th, all reached the mission in safety, though much wore down with the fatigue of the journey.
On the 30th brother Williams returned, having been absent 11 days. He proceeded about 150 miles on the way to Natchez, when hearing that the brethren YOL. XIV,
had taken a different route, he returned. Thus were our hearts made glad in a way which we had hardly presumed to hope for. The kind providence of God in preserving the lives, and granting so great a degree of health to our brethren and sisters, during a long and fatigning journey, through a burning and sickly clime, called forth our warmest gratitude. There was a providence in their arrival at this time, which as yet was cancealed from our view.
Sister Williams had enjoyed good health from our arrival in the country, and been able to do the work of our littie family. On the 7th of September, just eight days after the arrival of sisters Jewell and Kanouse, she was seized with a bilious fever, which in its progress brought her to the borders of the grave. The help of the ocher sisters now became necessary, both to take care of the sick, and to provide for the family. There was no oher white woman in this part of the country. The sickness of sister W. continued severe for several weeks, during which she manifested, in the immediate prospect of death, that submission and Christian confidence which gale us the liighest satisfaction. But it pleased the Lord, in much mercy, to remove hır disorder, and in the month of November she was restored to usiai healin.
Brother Pe'er Kinou-e had not enjoved good health for some time before he left the north; and the sea voyage proved very unfavorable. When he reached the mission he was feeble; but hoped a little rest would restore his health. He endeavored to labor but found that the smalles degree of exercise produced an alarming infimation or the lungs He despaired of being able to render us any assistance, in the arduous abo's we harit perform, and feared that his stay under such circumstances would prove a hindrance. Af er much prayerful consideration, he considered himself under the p:inful necessity of leaving us, and departed on the 5th of Oct. to return to his family. This was a severe trial to our feelings, and disappointment of our hopes.
Brother J. G. Kanouse was afflicted, soon after his arrival, with a painful swelling on his hand, which prevented bis laboring for several days. His general health was also much affected by the change of climate; but for two months past it has been good. Brother Jewell has been troubled with a weakness in his breast, which prevented his doing much labor thr: ugh the winter. He is now better. The health of sister Jewell also has been feeble. For nearly four months she has been unable to do any thing but light sewing. We indulge the hope, that her liea'th is now improving.
Besides the indi p sition of the brethren and sisters, we have had other sickness in our fainily. Mr. Ladd, who came with us froni Brainerd, had, during the summer, several attacks of the fever and agie, and in December he was severely wounded with an axe, which confined him from Libor about seven weeks. Our other hired man was also ill for some time with a jaundice, which he contracted before he came to us.
Since the commencement of the present vear, our hands have been strengthened and our hearts rejoiced by the arrival of brother A. V. Williams, and sisters Kingsbury and Clase. Some account of their journey has already been communicated. Ab ut three weeks after sister Chase arrived she was attacked by a fever, which for a time assumed an alarming a. pect; but by the kind providence of God the symptoms soon became favorable, and she is now restored to good health.
We cannot impate these repeated afflictions to any particular unfavorableness of our situation. That we should be affected by the great change of climate, was to be expected, especi:liy considering our niany exposures Nor was the change of climate greater than the alteration of diet; both these must have had considerable effect on our health.* We feel that the hand of the Lord has been heavily upon us, and hope we have been humbled under his rebukes. At pres. ent, our family enjoys belter health than at any period since last September.
So far as health and strengih would permit, we have lost no time in getting forward the necessary preparations for our school, and we have great occasion for thankfulness, that we have been able to accomplish so much.
Perhaps there has never been in this country so great a scarcity of breadl-stuff, and of some other necessaries of lite as at the present season. We bave never been without a sufficiency of corn and beef, but we were obliged for a while to dry our beef in the Indian mode, without salt. Brother Kingsbury on his return from Natchez packed a borse load of salt 140 miles, whics answered our purpose till ihe arrival of the boat; since
have been com. foiiably supplied with all the necessaries of life.
It ought to be distinctly understood, that we have had all the materials to provide for the buildings, in the same manner as if the business had been wholly our own. The United States' agent will refund the whole, or a principal part, of the expense. We found it necessary to adopt this course, as no person in this country would contract to build them for the sum, which the Executive would feel authorized to appropriate to this object.
We have erected seven log dwelling houses of the following dimensions; viz. Two 22 feet by 20 each; two 22 feet by 18 each; one 16 by 20; one 15 by 18; and one 12 by i6. For five of these the logs are hewn on two sides, and the roofs project in back and front about 8 feet, and are supported by posts, in form of piazzas. These projections are very useful in this climate. Besides the above, we have erected a mili house, 36 bv 30; a stable 14 by 20; a store-house 11 by 20; and two other out buildings. All these buildings, except one, are completed. The mill is on a simple construction, is turned by one or two horses, and grinds well. We have a part of the timber hewn for our school-house, dining room, and kitchen, and have sawed by hand about 9000 feet of cypress poplar boards, for floors, doors, &c.
On the plantation we have cleared and fitted for the plough about 35 acres of good land, which is enclosed with a substantial fence. A part of this was covered with heavy timber; and the chopping, rolling, and burning of the logs has cost much hard labor. In this we have been assisted by Choctaws, whom we have hired. Several of them have worked faithfully. We have also enclosed 22 garden and yards for cat:le, and have set out a few apple, quince, and plum trees. Considerable labor has been spent in cutting roads in diffeisent directions, and in constructing several small bridges, which were necessary to make the streams passable by a waggon. It should also be noticed, that we have had to make many of our tools, and most of our wooden furniture.
One circumstance, which has greatly retarded the progress of our work, has been the difficulty of obtaining a suitable team. Our heavy hauling required oxen. There are three yoke in the neighborhood, belonging to half breeds, which we occasionally borrowed; but as they ran in the woods, one or two days were sometimes spent in finding them. This hindrance led us to determine on purchasing one or two yoke, if possible. For thus purpose brother Jewell took a journey of 160 miles; but returned without accomplishing his object.
We wish we could inform you that as much has been done to enlighten and save the souls of these perishing people, as to inake preparations for the instruction of their children. But, alas, as yet we have been able to effect but little towards this most important object, and that for two reasons. First, for want of a suitable interpreter, and secondly, we have been so constantly occupied in labor, which was necessary to the very existence of our mission, as to leave but little time for these imp rtant concerns. It is impossible to express our feelings on this subject. The expectation of the people has been, that we should direct all our efforts towards the coin mencement of a school. And indeed, it could not be expected that they would feel a particular desire for Gospel instruction. But with respect to a school, they have ever shown a great anxiety, and their expectations have fır exceeded our ability to meet them. To have taken off one of the brethren from the secular concerns of the mission, when our help has been so feeble, would have greatly embarrassed our business, and might have had an unhappy influence on our future usefulness. Our efforts are obstructed, and we are prevented from attempting many things which might be done, if we had a few more laborers. We had hopes that some of those men from New Jersey, who have offered themselves, two or three of whom were mentioned in brother Kingsbury's letter of Oct. 3, would have been went out early in the winter; but we shall not expect them now before another autumn. We feel assured that the Prudential Committee, so far as they understand our real situation, will do all in their power to forward the object of the mission.
16. Since this letter was begun, we have received yours of Feb. 9th, giving the grateful intelligence, that a physician and blacksmith were engaged as fellow laborers in this mission. We would gratefully acknowledge this attention of the Board to our wants, and this propitious sinile of Heaven on our undertaking. We could have wished that two or three liborers had been joined with them; but the Lord will send thein in his own best time.
By the same mail we received your letter of March 4th, from the city of Wash. ington. We congratulate you, dear Sir, the Committee, and all the friends of religion and humanity, on the success of your mission, and the favorable disposition of the Government towards the Indians. The foundation is now laid, the business can go forward if suitable persons can be found to perform the necessary labor. We rejoice to hear you say, "the instruction of the Indians is now the great object.” Money will not long be wanting. There is a wide door open. The Indians are anxious for schools. They are willing to aid them with funds. But without devoted laborers the plan must fail; the lodians must remain in ignorance.
Standing in the midst of this heathen land, surrounded by the gloom of darkness and wickedness, we are constrained to make the appeal-Are there not those in our churches whose situation does not forbid their removal? who for the honor of the Christian name, for the love of Christ, for the souls of the perishing heathen, will be willing to come and labor, that the uncivilized Indians may enjoy the means of instruction? But let them count the cost. There is no opportunity in these huge forests, and while encompassed with the most pressing duties, to enjoy the luxuries of science and literature. And persons must expect to wear themselves out in the cause. We think no one ought to set his face to this work, who has not prayerfully considered it, and who does not see in it sufficient attractions to bind his heart to the work, so long as there is a prospect of success, whatever repulsive circumstances may attend it.
But to return from this digression. We have preaching every Sabbath at our house, at which a number of half breeds, and white people, and negroes, atiend, and occasionally several of the natives. Two or three appear seriously disposeu. On the last Sabbath in March, a church was organized here, and we had the privilege once more of surrounding the table of our Lord, and receiving the memurials of his dying love. The scason was interesting. We were in the midst of a wilderness, winch had never, till lately, resounded with the accents of Gospel mercy. The emblems of the great sacı ifice for sinners had never before been exhibiied. We hoped this little church was a fold, into which many of the wan. dering sleep of Christ would be gathered.
We come now to speak of our prospects relative to a school. On this subject we are severely tried. We need a school house and two more buildings, before we can be in a convenient situation to commence it. In addition to this, the want of sufficient help, seems to present insuperable obstacles. On the other hand, there has for more than a year been an expectation in the nation, that a school would be commenced among them this spring. Many are anxi us, and appear almost iinpatient. We have much doubied what was duty. But an event has occurred, which must lead us to decide immediately. Yesterday eight promising children were brought more than 160 miles, in consequence of their parents hav. ing heard, that we were ready to take scholars. What to do we know not. To send them back will be a great disappointment, and appear discouraging to the
To take them will involve us in many difficulties in our present situation. May the Lord direct us in the path of wisdom.
18th. We have concluded to receive the children. Their parents appear willing that we should dispose of them as our circumstances will adinit. And as we have determined on keeping these children, we think it best to make up a school of about 20, and trust the Lord will provide.
The Chiefs of the Chickasaw nation, not long since, wrote to the Choctaws, for liberty to send their children, as soon as the school should be opened. The Chociaws considered that they had as many children of their own, as could be accommodated; but said they thought it would be hard to exclude the children of their brothers and sisters; because if their children had no education, it would seem to imply that their parents were but little thought of; and therefore they concluded to admit those children from the Chickasaw nation, whose father of motier is Choctaw. Puck-sha-nub bee, the principal chief of this part of the nation, has granted $200 out of their antuity, as a donation to the school. It was observed, "ihat this was but a small surn, but every little would help."
We have two Chociaw iads in our family, who have been with us nearly eight months. We have instructed them as we have had opportunity, and their progress and deportment have been pleasing. One of them, a full-blooded Choco
taw, about ten years old, we have named David Baldwin. The gentleman, whose name he bears, is a pious man in Durham, N. Y. who will do something towards his education.
We deeply sympathize with our brethren in the East, with the Prudential Committee, and the Christian church, in the death of brother Warren, and the dangerous sickness of brother Richards. But the arm of the Lord is not shortened; he will accomplish his own work. We rejoice at what he is doing through the instrumentality of those who still remain as laborers in that important field.
May the blessing of the Lord God of Israel rest upon the American Board, and upon all who are engaged in promoting the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. C. KINGSBURY, Moses JEWELL, L. S. WILLIAMS, AV.WILLIAMS,
J. G. KANOUSE. Rev. Samuel Worcester, D. D. Cor. Sec. &c.
LETTER FROM CATHARINE BROWN. !18 Oir number for April, p. 170, our readers will observe a letter from this interesting female to Mrs. Chamberlain, written after she had left the mission family. While anticipating the drealed separatiou from her Christian friends, she wrote the followiug to Mrs. Williams, at Elliot.)
Brainerd, Nov. 1, 1818. MY DEARLY BELOVED SISTER,
I HAVE been wishing to write to you ever since you left us. You can hardly tell how my heart ached when I parted with you, expecting never to see you again in this world; but when I remembered that you were in the hands of the Lird, and that he would dispose of you as he pleased, it gave me joy equal to my sorrow.
O how I rejoiced, to think that you were going to carry the glad tidings of salvation to a people who had never heard of the dear Savior. I do hope and pray, that the Lord will bless your labors among them, as he has here.
We were very lonesome when you left us, especially at our prayer meeting; but I hope our hearts were united in love. I was very sorry to hear that you were sick; but it rejoiced me to hear that you were recovering. O, iny dear sister, I will join with you in praising the Lord for his goodness in restoring you to health. I shall never forget you, or your kiod endeavors to bring me to a knowledge of the Savior. Sometimes I feel the love of God shed abroad in my heart; and feel as if I would be willing to give up every thing in this world to Christ. O how good is it to enjoy the presence of God; O that I might always enjoy it: but my heart is so bad, and so prone to leave the God I love, that I am afraid he will leave me. O my dear sister, do pray for me.
All the Cherokee brothers and sisters are weil. Three of the scholars, viz. Lydia Lowry, Alice and Peggy Wilson, we hope have obtained an interest in the Savior. Mr. Wilson came here, and wished to take his daughters on a visit to Mr. Brown's. Nearly a week after, he sent word that he was not going to send them back to school again. We felt very much grieved to hear it.
I expect my father here every day. I do not know whether I shall go to the Arkansa w or not. I feel grieved when I think of leaving my Christian friends, and of going far from all religious penple, into a wild howling wilderness, where no star shines to guide my wandering feet to the Babe of Bethlehem; where no warning voice is heard to kcep me in the straight path that leads to heaven. When I look to that dark region, I start back; but when I think of my two brothers there, and my dear parents, who are soon to go, I feel reluctant to stay behind, and leave them to perishi alone.
Brother and sister Hall, and sister Sarah, are on a visit to Knoxville. They have been gone nearly three weeks. We look for them every day. Sister Hall has been sick, and thought it would do her good to ride out. Sister Matilda, kiss Louisa for me; I long to see her, hear her talk. Mr. Kanouse left us last Thursday, and James Fields has gone with him to the north.
Tell brother Williams and Kingsbury that I remember then most affectionately, and also all the dear brothers and sisters at Yello Busha. From your loving sister,
CATHARINE Brown, [Subjoined to this, on the original paper, were letters from two smaller girls, after whjob slic coaclides as follows: