The identity of the author of this letter has not been confirmed. His name was Rev. J. F. Jones — a Baptist preacher in New Jersey. Nothing further found.
This letter was written to Rev. Sanford Leach, a son of Lemuel Leach (1776-1866) and Elizabeth Smallidge (1779-1863). Rev. Leach was a graduate of Amherst College and a Baptist minister. He married Anna Elizabeth Allen, daughter of Dr. Heman Allen (1779-1859), on 24 January 1844. The birth of their first child, Herman Leach, is acknowledged in this letter.
Addressed to Rev. Sanford Leach, Deckertown, Sussex County, New Jersey
Northfield, Essex County, New Jersey
January 3d 1845
Dear Brother Leach,
I suppose that you have been somewhat anxious to hear from me in my new location. Whether this has been the case, I know not but this has been the case with me respecting yourself.
We arrived here about the 8th of December & our time since that date has been most employed in arranging our domest[ic] affairs & attending to the extra meetings which this period of the year has caused. We are now about settled & we feel that we are somewhat strong in our new sphere. But we feel that it is good to have a home that belongs to ourselves though we have never wanted many near & dear friends.
The people are very kind to us & have given us a good visit. There are good prospects of usefulness in the ministry here, though the people are very poor as a general thing — far more so than in your direction. The prospects of establishing a school here are so far from being encouraging that I shall not attempt it for the present at least. Should there be an opening in your place or in any other within your knowledge, I should be much obliged to you if you would inform me of the fact.
On my last visits to Sussex, I learned that you had been blessed with an heir — a son. I have known how to sympathize with you & yours before that event took place, & you how to do so with me & mine in our present circumstances. Besides the above fact, I have not heard from a single minister of your association [Baptist] since I left for the Convention, but Bro. Teasdale I saw at the Convention.
Whether your Report on Mr. Wood’s Tract has been printed or not, I have not heard. I expect that it has been printed. This is what I have earnestly desired & hope it is the case. I mailed a letter to Bro. [C.] Brinkerhoff yesterday in which I requested him to pay you three dollars of the five due me from the Mt. Salem [Baptist] Church. He told me the last time I saw him that he had collected two dollars of the amount which I told him to keep until the remainder was collected or I called for it. Should the amount not come from him, I will see that you get it between this time to next spring should your report be printed.
What the state of religion is among the churches in your section. I know not but hope that it is far better than it is in this region. I hear of no conversations here. I hope that God will be doing differently shortly. There is great need of it, I assure, here. Temperance is flagging here.
I have felt very solemn in view of the post & the coming year. I feel that my favors have been nearly thrown away (last year). I am sorry that things took the course they did at Newton on the account of the church there. It is my earnest desire & fervent prayer that they may succeed there in erecting their house of worship & in securing a far more holy, efficient, & successful man to labor amongst them than I have been to them. I hope they all will be prepared to cooperate with him, appreciate his labors, & profit by them fare more than some of them have in my case.
Having understood that your church were still without a pastor I have written Brother Boll & M’Coy respecting one Bro. William Biddle of New Canaan Ct. who can be secured should the church invite him to visit them. From what I have seen & heard of him, I think him to be an eminently holy man of superior pastoral qualifications — i.e., visiting talents, & good preaching abilities, & a laborious man, & will live I suppose on $350. You need, however, to say nothing about the matter unless it be introduced by them.
I meant to have filled one side of the sheet to you & your wife. I hope that you are out of your perplexities and are prepared to engage in the duties of the ministry with greater efficiency than ever. Mrs. Jones desires me to congratulate you & Mrs. Leech for her on the account of the late accession to your family. I hope to pray that God will bless you both through life. Remember us affectionately to your parents & sister. Our love to all. Yours in the best of bonds, — J. F. Jones