1847: Rev. Andrew Monroe to Rev. Joseph Cotton

This letter was offered for sale on ebay in February 2011. I transcribed it directly from the internet.

The letter was written by “the venerable patriarch of Methodism in Missouri” — the Rev. Andrew Monroe (1792-1871) from Glasgow, Missouri in December 1847. It was addressed to a fellow clergyman named Rev. Joseph Cotton of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Manilla, Indiana, a village about halfway between Shelbyville and Rushville in central Indiana.

Andrew was born 29 October 1792 in Rockingham, Virginia, the son of Robert Monroe (1750-1836) and Margaret Geary (1749-1833).  I don’t know anything about Andrew’s first wife but he married a second time in 1821 to Emily Harrison (1802-1853) in Christian, Kentucky. By this marriage, Andrew had numerous children, the oldest being Margaret Rachel Monroe, born in Kentucky in 1825. Margaret is mentioned in this letter as having recently married (1847) to Captain Dennis and “gone to New Orleans.” Perhaps her husband was serving in the War with Mexico.

Sometime about 1830, it appears that Rev. Monroe relocated to Danville, Missouri, perhaps by way of Indiana, where he was instrumental in establishing the Methodist Episcopal Church. His sentiments were clearly with the M.E. Church South when the church split in 1844. A slave holder himself, Monroe served various appointments as pastor and presiding elder in Missouri and was persecuted and pillaged extensively during the Civil War.

Rev. William G. Caples

Mention is made of Rev. William Goff Caples in this letter, then serving at Brunswick, Missouri. Caples, like Monroe was a staunch defender of the Confederacy which makes it all the more ironic that he was killed during Price’s Missouri raid in 1864 by “friendly fire.” Caught in the middle of a cannonade in Glasgow, Caples was hit by a cannonball fired into Glasgow from across the Missouri River by Shelby’s Brigade. He survived for four days, dying on October 12, 1864.


Glasgow [Missouri]
December 16, 1847

Revd Joseph Cotton,

Dear Brother. Yours of 26th was received a week since but it was out of my hands to respond untill now. I was anxious to hear from you and was glad to hear from you and Mgnet that your helth is yet poor. I wish you was well and in your work for I tell you its hard times in that reagan. I believe Uncle B is doing but little. Shane herd of his makeing some disappointments perhaps because of bad health and my quarterly meetings have ingaged my attention ever since you left so that I have not been in these bounds.

I know of nothing of inrest that has transpired since you left (in your Circuit). Brother Savage is married to Miss Pulim of Saline to which I made a third party. Margaret is married to Captain [Edward H.] Dennis and gone to New Oreans so it is gloomy times about this house. Nothing stirs in matters of religion and church matters.

The young members here are doing prity well. Jamison is No. 1 and I think will do well. I have had some good meetings but no revival as yet. Have held 4 quarterly [meetings] here in Glasgow Corner of this week. We are praying for a good time. We have no preacher for Fayette. Smith has failed intirely.

I have herd but little from Brunswick [Missouri] but what I do here is by no means very favorable. Several have gone back to the world and [Rev.] Caples finds his hands full of business and complains of hard times.

I hope, my dear Brother, you will soon be well and in your work til we are near to the cross and shrine to embrace to that rest which remains for God’s people.  Mrs. Monroe’s helth is poor; all the rest are well and we are moving, I trust, for the better land. Pray for us. Write soon and say when you will be home. And believe me yours truly,  — Andrew Monroe


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