This letter was written by Rev. Norman Nelson Wood (1808-Bef1879). I could not find a biography for him but this is what I pieced together from Census records and newspaper accounts. When about 25 years of age, Norman was first licensed to preach in the Baptist denomination in Springfield, Vermont — his native state. Some ten years later we find him writing this letter to Rev. Benjamin M. Hill, the corresponding secretary of the American Baptist Home Missionary Society, informing him of his impending relocation from Philadelphia to Vicksburg, Mississippi. He appears to have remained in Vicksburg until 1850 when he accepted the Presidency of the small Baptist college called Shurtleff in Alton, Illinois. He held the Presidency for five years while teaching Mental and Moral Science & Christian Theology at the same institution.
While residing in Madison County, Illinois, Norman married (December 1851) Emily E. Dunlap of nearby Jacksonville, Morgan County, Illinois, the daughter of James B. Dunlap (1802-1879) and Elizabeth Freeman. Emily’s older sister, Sarah Freeman Dunlap (1821-1861) was the wife of Illinois politician and later Civil War General, John Alexander McClernand (1812-1900).
During the Civil War, when about 44 years of age, Norman volunteered his services as a Chaplain in the 2d Missouri State Militia Cavalry. His wife filed for a pension in December 1879 following his death. She appears to have been living in Sioux City, Iowa in 1893. She was still living in 1901 when her second son died.
Their children were: Emma (b. 1853), Ida (1855-1925), James (b. 1856), Norman (1859-1901), Sarah (b. 1862), and Helen (b. 1865).
Addressed to Rev. B. M. Hill, Corresponding Secretary American Baptist Home Missionary Society, New York City
20 November 1843
Dear Bro. Hill:
As you requested me to write you when I should leave this place for the South, I wish to say that I expect to be on my way tomorrow. Bro. Bond informed me that his stay in New York on his return from Europe was so short that he was unable to see you. I suggested his writing to you his impression about the amount of salary needed in Vicksburg & some other matters which might be more satisfactory to you than if received from some other source, which he will do. I hope we shall have your interest and prayers in behalf of that place. I know not what can be accomplished. I shall make a strong effort to get a meeting house built. We cannot succeed without. And if I get them into a pressing strait, you must not forget me. I would be glad to hear from you often and I hope you will visit the South either this winter or to attend the Mississippi State Convention in June. It will do good — I am confident it will do good — I know it will do good.
Please send me such reports, circulars, pamphlets &c. from time to time as you shall deem of interest to me. You humble servant, — N. N. Wood