1843: Job Tubbs to Hannah (Tubbs) Turner

Almerin Turner, courtesy of Debra Turner

Almerin Turner, courtesy of Debra Turner

This letter was written by Job Tubbs (1797-1856), the son of John Moore Tubbs (1759-1843) and Elizabeth Bush (1767-1822) of East Lyme, Connecticut. Job was married to Frances Chappell Turner (1805-18xx) and they had several children, most of whom are mentioned in this letter. Their first son, John Tubbs (1827-1831) died young. Their second son, Charles Herman Tubbs (1830-1863) is not mentioned. The next three children are mentioned as being sick with the measles at the time the letter was written in 1843: John H. Tubbs (1833-1893), Frances Elizabeth Tubbs (1835-1916), and Mary Gridley Tubbs (1839-1846). Their last child, George Frederick Tubbs (1846-1904) was not yet born. Living in the same household was Abigail (“Abbey”) Tubbs (1786-1883), Job’s older sister who never married.

Job wrote the letter to his sister, Hannah (Tubbs) Turner (1788-1854), the wife of Almerin Turner (1780-1873), the son of William Turner (1756-1790) and Hannah Williams (1758-1777). Almerin was a farmer in Susquehannah County, Pennsylvania.

The letter describes the death of Job’s, Abbey’s, and Hannah’s father, John Moore Tubbs, who died on 21 February 1843 after an illness of just two weeks duration. After John Tubb’s first wife (Elizabeth Bush) died in 1822, he married Sybil Chapman (1781-1849) in 1823.

Stampless Cover

Addressed to Mrs. Hannah Turner, Silver Lake, Susquehannah, Pennsylvania

East Lyme
March 27th 1843

Dear Sister,

Under a sense of duty I owe to you, I now take my pen to communicate to you the painful information of the decease of our aged and beloved father. He died on the 21st of February at 9 o’clock P.M. He had been as well as usual this winter until about two weeks before his death. He went into the woods with his team after a load of wood, wet his feet, took cold which occasioned a hard cough raised much from his stomach. He appeared to raise with ease to what he had at other times when he took cold. But some fever appeared and he mostly stoped raising. We called on the Physician. He visited him several times but medicine did little or no good – only a verry little temporary relief. We did every thing in our power to make him comfortable and restore him to health. But alas, his time was come. He appeared to have his senses until his last. He lost his speech verry much so that it was verry difficult to under stand what he said. He appeared to have considerable pain until a day or two before he died when he appeared to be sensible of but little and appeared to drop away easy.

You doubtless would like to know how his mind was in regard to a future state. To this I can give you a little idea as it was so difficult to understand what he said. Mr. Gridley, our Parson, visited him about a week before he died, before we thought him dangerously ill or before he had so much lost his speech. He asked him if he was willing to die. In reply he said he did not think it right to act the part of a hypocrit. He could not say he was [and] did not feel prepared. Asked Mr. Gridley to pray with him and a day or two after he said to Abbey he had lived with us a great while but was now going to leave us. She asked if he was willing to die. He said if it was God’s will, he was. He says I wish I could tell you how I feel – everything appears different – I feel as if I was in a new world – but I cannot tell you. He was much exhausted as it was a great exertion for him to speak. He said to his wife he thought he should meet her in heaven – no injustice – and how does it become us to spend the short time we have to spend here upon the earth in the service of God – to put our trust, our whole trust, in him – for he that trusts in Christ is safe.

My family are in tolerable health except John, our 2nd boy 9 years old. He has the measles, very sick, and we have two more to have it – Elizabeth 7 years old and Mary, our baby, 3 years last September. Our family consists of 9 – myself and wife, Abby, 4 children of our own, and a boy and girl that live with us. Abbey’s health’s poor but able to do very light work. I was sick last winter, not able to do anything about half of the time. This winter have had a lame hand all winter and is a reason I have not written you before as a great part of the time I could not write attall. But we have received many blessings and have the comforts of life.

Edwin Smith’s wife Eliza has been very feeble this winter in consequence of her lame limb much exercised with paine and confined to her bed a part of the time. There has been but few deaths just in this neighborhood. Capt. Joseph Smith is very infirm – only just able to get about house and Aunt Polly Clark is sick – probably will not recover. She has been entirely blind more than a year and almost helpless.

Father’s widow lives at the house where he died and probably at present. We received your letter last fall and hope we shall received another soon. I want Mr. [Almerin] Turner should write to us soon. Our love to you all. Write all about your children where they are. Abbie sends her love to you all and would write you but her hand trembles and she cannot. Your affectionate brother, — Job Tubbs

Enclosed a small piece of Father’s hair.

Turner Genealogy 1686-1895 from Frances Turner

Here’s a multi-page pdf provided by Debra Turner. She thinks the portrait photo of the woman on page 8 of the pdf file is Frances Ellis Turner but isn’t positive. In the other picture, the caption reads: Frances Ellis Turner and Anna Turner (in the broad hat) with two charming young ladies (possibly Anna’s grand-daughters?), Anne (left) and little Sally (right) at Deer Isle, Maine in 1933.

4 responses to “1843: Job Tubbs to Hannah (Tubbs) Turner

  • Robert Schlenker

    I am not sure how you established who the parents were of Job and Hannah, perhaps via the Barbour collection. The connection is a critical one because it links a chain backward to John Alden-Pricilla Mullins/Mullens with a chain forward to the present day. A corroborative connection — at least if you have not already relied on it yourself — is provided by a nephew of the letter writer and son of the recipient. His name is Job Tubbs Turner.

    Job was born to Hannah at Silver Lake, Susquehanna County, PA in 1821, lived in his majority for some years at Seneca Falls, Seneca County, NY and then for the rest of his life in Iowa City, Johnson County, Iowa. In Seneca Falls, Job Turner became a merchant and continued in such capacity in Iowa where he also became involved in banking. He was a citizen of some prominence in Iowa City. He provided fascinating input to a book on the history of Johnson County Iowa, that was written by Clarence Ray Aurner and is available in a searchable PDF format at http://www.archive.org. The book’s title is “Leading Events in Johnson County Iowa History, Biographical.” The publication date was 1913. The twelve page biographical reminiscences of Job Tubbs Turner begin on p. 18. What is presented is, of course, Aurner’s editing of Turner’s contribution so we do not know what Aurner edited out. In it, Turner recognizes his mother Hannah’s father as John Tubbs and states that his mother was born in East Lyme Connecticut in 1788. This is probably enough to link to more detailed Connecticut historical records, but lacks the fulness of what you provide as preamble to the heartfelt letter of brother to sister that you have kindly posted on the Web.

    For me, finding the letter of Job to Hannah is like having found a perfect pearl in an oyster. Seldom does one find primary historic information of such authenticity. Kudos to you for being interested and committed enough to post this letter and similar authentic material for the rest of us to discover and appreciate!

    • Robert Schlenker

      I will provide the first reply, adding that Job’s brother John Turner became a physician and practiced medicine primarily in Nunda, Livingston/Allegany County, NY and Seneca Falls too, before an untimely death. His role in the Nunda cholera tragedy is mentioned in the history of Nunda, NY which can be downloaded from http://www.archive.org. That whole episode, which I will not attempt to describe here, makes fascinating reading. I refer those interested in mid nineteenth century medicine to read the description under the title “The Fowlers and Warners – 1847” p. 622f of “1808-1908 Centennial History of the Town of Nunda,” edited by H. Wells Hand, Rochester Herald Press, 1908.

      • Griff

        Thank you for the additional comments you have provided regarding this family and, in particular, the connection between these correspondents. Thanks too for the kind compliments with respect to my efforts in posting these letters. My fervent hope is that each such letter I post will be the missing link in some family’s genealogical research and/or enrich the understanding of their ancestor’s lives.

  • Griff

    Received the following comment from by e-mail pertaining to this letter:

    I discovered your “Spared and Shared” website recently, and found the 1843 scanned/transcribed letter written by Job Tubbs to his sister Hannah (Tubbs) Turner. Hannah was married to my great-great-great-grandfather Captain Almerin Turner. Almerin’s first name is spelled correctly in the into part of your website, but incorrectly where it is inserted into the transcribed letter. (It is spelled “Almerin”).

    Almerin was a sea captain (from about 1805-1815), and I have a photo of him inherited from my grandmother which I have made a high resolution scan of. I would be happy to share it. I also have scanned a letter with our Turner genealogy written by Almerin Turner’s grandaughter Frances Turner, which she sent to my great grandfather Henry Ward Turner and she also mentions he was a sea captain. Please let me know if you are interested in a copy?

    I have posted Captain Almerin Turner’s photo attached to my family tree on FamilySearch.org along with information I have collected on him so far. I am fairly new to genealogy and have just started trying to organize my bits and pieces of family history several months ago so I can share my old family photos, documents, etc. with family members.

    My question is, Would it be OK with you if I made a copy of the 1843 scanned letter and uploaded it to Almerin Turner’s information on my FamilySearch.org family tree? I would be happy to credit you or to whoever should have the credit for sharing it? Please let me know if that would be alright with you? I love your website. It’s nicely designed, navigation is well organized, and I am looking forward to exploring it some more when I have a little more time. What a wonderful service you are providing!
    — Debra Turner

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