1848: Francis Kellogg to Cynthia (Kellogg) Prime

What Francis Kellogg might have looked like in 1848.

This letter was written by Francis Kellogg (1795-18xx) of Kelloggsville (Monroe Township), Ashtabula County, Ohio. He was the son of David Kellogg (1765-1850) and Christiana Traver. Francis was married to Cynthia Spaulding (1797-1862) in 1826. Their son, Pliney F. Kellogg (1834-1895) wrote a small portion of this letter to his cousin George Prime (1836-1862).

The letter was written to Francis’ sister, Cynthia (Kellogg) Prime (1796-1880), wife of Horace Prime (1793-1881) — a farmer in Bristol, Addison County, Vermont. Horace and Cynthia had at least three children: Horace Nelson Prime (b. 1831), Angeline Jennet Prime (b. 1833), and George Kellogg Prime (b. 1835).

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TRANSCRIPTION

Addressed to Mrs. Cynthia Prime, Bristol, Addison County, Vermont

Kelloggsville, Ohio
March 28th 1848

Dear Niece,

I take my pen in hand to write you a few lines. We were very glad to hear from you but wished you had written more particular about all our old neighbors and acquaintances. We want to hear about them all. I have not much to write as I suppose Francis has written all that is necessary. I thought I would give you a little account of a very singular school we have had in Monroe this winter. We would like to know if you have had any among you. It was called a memory school having for its object to teach the memory. The teachers were four ladies of the name of McCumber from Castleton. They came attended by two gentlemen in a couple of fine carriages. They stated they had taught several schools in New York. Their terms were a dollar a scholar for four evenings. Those that attended rather think that they have been deceived but enough about that.

We have news of war and peace, of sorrow and pleasure, but the one great subject is too much neglected, I fear, by all. Give our respects to our brothers and sisters. I have no more to write. Yours affectionately, — Louisa M. Kellogg

My dear cousin George,

I was very much gratified to receive a few lines from you. I will try to answer them as well as I can. You wanted to know about our studies. We had a good school this winter. Have studied reading, writing, and arithmetic. I weren’t too interest[ed] on notes, ___ to reduction of compound numbers.

I should like to see my cousins in Vermont and spend a winter on the snow and ice. — Pliney F. Kellogg

I do not know how much encouragement to give you about Father & Mother making you a visit. Louisa thinks Father would be able to manage a steady horse. The subject is thought of some. Either the first of June or first of September would be a suitable time to start, but do not raise your hopes too high. — Francis Kellogg

[This portion of the letter written by Francis Kellogg is missing. but continues below]

… season after it was mailed. We had been looking for one some time, and now after some delay, I sit down to write you one in reply. Ellen, I suppose, has been several times already to the Post Office for a letter. She is very anxious to hear from us, and I do not blame her. She has lived here, the old people are here who looked after her in her infantile years. I feel that she with the rest ought to be gratified and I assure her that the few lines she sent us were listened to with much pleasure by her and grandparents.

In looking over your old letters, I perceive a few brief lines from Brother Prime in which amidst all over secular affairs he admonishes we should be mindfull of the heavenly inheritance; the words of the Apostle appears to be very appropriate “to be diligent in business fervent in spirit serving the Lord.”

The summer here was considered a moist one and the fall quite wet, and though much high water, yet no freshet. On the Ohio and its tributaries, great damage was done. The roads were excessively bad. They came in well. Wheat was light, being much injured with the fly. Corn had a good growth but in some places much destroyed by squirrels. Our two pieces on and adjoining the Moon place were half destroyed by coons and squirrels; many of them were slaughtered.

Father’s health during the summer was much as it was when you was here, but the fore part of the winter his health rather declined. On the 12th of June (the day after our coldest weather, it had been very cold here, but whether it had been measured as exactly as with you, I cannot tell). I went with him to see the German and Botanic Physician at Conneaut. The doctor, after conversing awhile said he was so well up in years he did not know as he could help him much, but gave him some medicine. Immediately after, he was taken with a hard cold, but I think the medicine had a beneficial effect. We have been down one since. The doctor did not give much encouragement but gave a little more medicine. Father has, however, been able to chop his fire wood at the door and fodder his cattle. He relinquished of his own accord the idea of tending a small sugar works by himself and said what little he did he would help us. He has chopped eight or ten side logs for us and observed the other day that he did not feel so much of that beating, as he calls it, as heretofore, and I thought he must be better to chop so smart. He has let out the sugar works on the Moon place so he will be supplied with sugar. There has been sugar weather in February. Some tapped their works. We only made a little before the cold snap in March.

…in the Physician once since that, she has slowly regained her health again. The boys had the measles last August, and the complaining of colds some, have been able to attend school every day while it lasted.

In December, the Academy in Kingsville was burnt, supposed to be the work of an incendiary; a young fellow who had been expelled from the Academy by the name of Kinner was arrested on suspicion and sufficient witness obtained to bind him over under $1000 bonds. But at the hearing of the judges, the bonds were lowered to 300 and the money was paid. The people of Kingsville and vicinity held a meeting and expressed their indignation of the act of the judges, and in a few weeks after, the Presbyterian meeting house wither the school had retired was burnt. No clue to the offender has been obtained. The house contained an elegant organ.

The widow [Sarah] Ensign’s house and horse barn were burnt last December. The fire took from ashes stored in barrels in the hog house just south of the wood shed and horse barn. The fire had reached the corner of the wood shed before it was discovered and under a stiff south wind it was impossible to arrest its progress from the kitchen and upright part of the house which extended westward. The furniture was all removed but in the horse barn was a buggy, wagon, harness, sleigh, sled, plow, harrow, and forty bushels of wheat, which was all burnt. Amidst the confusion, they barely cut the rope and let the horse escape. Four fat hogs were burnt in the sty.

About five weeks ago, the newly finished dwelling, two barns and sheds adjoining of Esq. Torrey were laid in ashes two miles south of here. The fire took from a barrel in which meat was smoking standing in the wood shed. The fire commenced about 8 in the evening. The Esq. and his lady were visiting about a mile this side. I had gone to bed before I heard the cry of fire. I hastened to the spot but the barns were burnt down and nothing but the frame of the house was standing when I got there. Loss about $2000. The effects from the lower room and cellar were removed to the street and saved.

Father received a letter last fall from George J. Rhoades, son of the one that married Elisa Hobbs. He lives in Lewistown, Fulton County, Illinois. He writes his father is dead and his mother with two of her children and son-in-law started for Oregon last spring, and heard they had got half way there in July. He and his brother expected to start for the same region the first of April. Charles, one of Emily’s boys, and I answered the letter. He has written another in reply and desires some of us to accompany them. Charles and I both decline. I have requested him to keep a journal and give us a description of the country when he gets there. Otis Smith called on us this winter on his return. His friends were well the last he had heard. I expected a letter from him before this time. — Francis Kellogg

FOOTNOTES
  • In a letter written on 10 February 1848 by Martha Luce to Caroline M. Williams, the subject of the intentional burning of the Academy at Kingsville, Ohio, was also raised and young Kinner was singled out as the culprit. It reads:

The prospect of a new academy is not very flattering there has been so much dissension about the old house that it has kept them from making any move towards preparing any thing[.] It is not yet known what course will be perused now. The question has been shall we have the old house or not[.] Now probably it will be shall we have an academy or not. I hope we shall have one but do not know; many feel that it will hardly be safe to build one if Kinner is permitted to go free. Oh that “fiend”, what language is sufficient to describe such fiendish actions as he is guilty of, none is sufficient to express the indignation felt within my own breast towards him but here I will stop and call to mind the passage “fret not thy self because of evil doers.

  • William & Sarah Pierce Ensign of Peru, Massachusetts settled in Monroe Township of Ashtabula County about 1810, William died in 1838 and was among the first buried in Kelloggsville cemetery, formerly part of his farm. He was the first Justice of the Peace of Monroe Township, elected in 1819.

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