This letter was written by Rev. Roswell Cheney (1810-1895) who was an early-day minister of the gospel in Wisconsin Territory, starting Baptist Churches in Burlington and Spring Prairie while employed by the Home Mission Society. He later returned East and is found living in Burlington, New Jersey with his wife (Achsah Goldy) and daughter at the time of the 1880 Census.
[Addressed to Rev. Benj. M. Hill, Con. Sec. of the American Baptist Home Mission Society, N.Y.]
July 1st 1844
My commission as your missionary dated April 1st 1844 has been received. Answers to inquiries:
1. My field of Labour embraces two towns – Burlington and Spring Prairie. Preaching statedly [steadily?] in four places. Names of the churches [are] Burlington and Spring Prairie. Belong to the Wisconsin Association.
2. My place of residence in Burlington, Racine County, Wisconsin Territory. Post Office Burlington &c.
3. This report is from the first quarter of my appointment.
4. I have laboured in this field thirteen weeks.
5. Sermons preached = 48, Lectures = 6, Conference and prayer meetings = 19, Church meetings = 7, Travel 477 miles on foot mostly.
6. Conversions = 0, Baptisms = 0, Received by letter = 8.
7. Visits = 150
8. Concert of prayer attended at 2 places
9. Visited 2 common sc[h]ools.
10. Number of signatures to the pledge = 14
11. Preparing for the ministry = 1
12. Organization of churches = two – Yorkville and New Berlin; Ordinations = none
13. For Home Mission Society $5.60 retained by me. For Foreign Missions $5.00 Paid to treasurer of Association. For my support $37. For other objects = nothing.
14. Nothing from any other society for my support
15. Bible classes = one, pupils = 14, Sunday Schools = 4. Teachers = 36, scholars = 173, Volumes in Library = 416, teacher’s meetings = 2
16. No house commenced or finished.
I have given you an account of what we are doing. Since I came here I have spent most of my time in visiting and preaching the word from house to house and endeavouring to remove difficulties of long standing which were weighing heavily upon the churches. In Burlington, vital piety among the members of the church is evidently on the increase. Our congregations are increasing so that the academy which we obtained to hold our meetings in has become quite to strait for us.
In Spring Prairie, it is a low time. Difficulties are hedging up the way, yet we have full congregations and they listen to the word with attention.
I hope my dear brother that we can report more favourably at the expiration of another quarter. Pray for us.
Yours in a precious Saviour, — Roswell Cheney