1850: Rev. Charles Emerson Blood to Rev. Lorenzo Whiting Blood

This letter was written by Rev. Charles Emerson Blood from his home in Collinsville, Illinois, some four years before going to Kansas Territory. We learn from this letter that Rev. Blood and his brother, George Lysander Blood — a former shipmaster — purchased a farm together in Collinsville. George, however, caught gold fever and went to California in 1849 which is where he was when this letter was written in the fall of 1850.

“Rev. Charles E. Blood, a native of Mason, New Hampshire, commenced his labors as a Home Missionary, at Juniata, [Kansas Territory,] November, 4, 1854, having with others in his own words “left their homes in the States not simply to improve their worldly interests, but to fight the battles of freedom and save this beautiful country from the blighting curse of slavery.”

“On April 22, 1855, the Rev. Charles E. Blood conducted a worship service in Manhattan, Kansas Territory. The sanctuary was a tent, a trunk served as the pulpit, and worshippers were seated on boxes and kegs. The text for the sermon was from the Acts of the Apostles: “Those who have turned the world upside down have come hither, also.” The Rev. Blood was an abolitionist preacher educated at Lane Theological Seminary, Cincinnati, Ohio, so the text was certainly appropriate. In subsequent months, services were held in the tent, then in a log cabin, in private homes, in a store building, and then in a public school building newly erected on Poyntz west of Ninth Street. Such was the beginning of the second Congregational church in the Kansas Territory.”

Rev. Charles Blood wrote this letter to his brother, Rev. Lorenzo Whiting Blood. Lorenzo was born April 13, 1812 in Mason, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire. He graduated Wesleyan University in the class of 1838 and became a Methodist Minister.

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Addressed to Rev. Lorenzo Whiting Blood, Rockville, Connecticut

Collinsville [Illinois]
September 21st 1850

My Dear Brother,

Your & Sister’s letters came to hand a few days since. I am sorry that we cannot expect Hannah this fall. I supposed that sister Caroline had consulted brother Rufus & that the matter was all understood. As sister said nothing as to the time of her returning, I knew not whether it would be in September or October or November. I did not know that you would be obliged to “think, decide, & act” all in “one week” with reference to Hannah. I had not received the letters of which you spoke when I wrote. I have since received them. Hannah does not come this fall. I think you had better send them to sister Matilda as I promised to send her ten in October & I cannot well spare more at that time. If Hannah does not come this fall, you & [Rufus] Hartwell can take the $15 each. And then if Hannah should come in the spring, I will send more to pay her expenses out. I hope that some arrangement may be made by which our dear Mother may be as comfortable & happy as it is possible to make her. We in the West will furnish at least $50 a year & more if necessary.

I think, brother, you are very reasonable. I have always felt that you were good & kind to Mother & willing to do all you could. I can understand your peculiar situation, being obliged to remove from place to place every year or two & as you say to take up with such as dwelling as your people will provide. Perhaps Rufus will be in a situation to take her provided he could have, as you suggested, $75 per year. I am so situated that I cannot have her with me however much I myself might desire it. I am so situated, however, that with a continuance of health, my prospects for being able to render all necessary aid are very flattering. Tho’ I am making considerable by my school & boarders, yet at present my debts & the interest keep me very short of money. I am trying all the time to sell the farm which brother [George] & I bought. As soon as I can do that, I shall be greatly relieved & can do all that is required. I am determined, however, not to wait for that, but to forward to you whatever you need & whenever you need it. I agree with you that Matilda & Mitton ought to be satisfied if they do not pay Mother that debt, & I wish you, when you write to her, would tell her what you think about it. Tell her to take the $10 for her own use.

We heard from George a few days since. His prospects were not so encouraging as they had been. They have been all the forefront of the summer digging to turn the current of the river & now it does not work as well as they hoped it would. The water keeps high & troubles them. And besides, they fear the bed of the river is not so rich in gold as they hoped. His health was now good tho’ he had suffered some as well as many of his companions with the diarrhea. He had said in his previous letters that he hoped to obtain enough so as to return before winter. He now has nearly abandoned that hope. He does not mean to come until he has obtained something for his family. His wife & children are all well & comfortably situated.

A survey is now being made of a railroad between Terre Haute & St. Louis. We think it will pass by or near Collinsville. This will complete the connection of railroads between Boston & St. Louis that are either completed or are under contract. The whole line will be completed, we hope, in 2 or 3 years. Should I live to see that work done, & should I be able, I shall most certainly visit once more my friends in New England.

The state of religion is very low here at present. We have no interest at all. I hope it will not remain so long.

Mary & [George’s wife,] Jane unite with me in sending much love.

Your affectionate brother, — C. E. Blood


Lorenzo Whiting Blood:

Methodist minister, was born April 13, 1812 in Mason, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire. He graduated Wesleyan University in the class of 1838.

The volume is a 131-page manuscript diary kept by Blood from May 17, 1835 to July 28, 1844. All entries are shorter than a full page, apart from a few exceptions. The diary begins with Blood describing his abusive childhood, and he then introduces himself as a freshman at Wesleyan University. During his freshman year, he became a member of the Missionary Lyceum student organization, and he traveled across Connecticut preaching at the Connecticut State Prison in Wethersfield, the American Asylum, at Hartford, for the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb (now American School for the Deaf), Middletown’s African-American Cross Street A.M.E. Zion Church, and many other Methodist churches. On November 14, 1835, Blood left Wesleyan University to teach at a school in Cheshire; however, the following March the school was shut down. He returned to Wesleyan University a semester behind but took twice the course load to catch up. On November 3, 1836, Blood left Wesleyan University again, this time to teach at the Amenia Seminary. He relished in the chance to preach, but on March 16, 1837, he came down with the measles, leaving him the verge of death for two months. Blood did recover and went on to graduate Wesleyan University near the top of his class in 1838. After commencement, he received a job in Litchfield, and then decided to set up a select school in Bradleysville on November 13, 1838. During this time, Blood dealt with an adulterous husband, whose wife feared that he will leave the family; curiously the majority of this entry is crossed out in the diary. After his school was shut down, Blood married Elizabeth Smith and moved to a small Methodist church in South Hadley. On March 1, 1841 their first daughter, Mary, was born and on June 13, 1841, Blood was ordained as deacon to Stafford. The diary ends after Blood was appointed the Methodist minister to Mystic, Connecticut. Blood often felt incapable of preaching God’s work, and continually admitted it through his entries. Blood also occasionally remarked on his support for the abolitionist movement, with hope that the Methodist Church would follow suit.

The majority of the diary entries date from Blood’s time at Wesleyan University from 1835 to 1838. Blood starts the journal with a look into his past as he explains being raised by Hindal, a cloth trader, who used to beat him regularly.

George Lysander Blood:

George Lysander Blood

Born on 31 July 1817 to Reuben Foster Blood and Relief Whiting at Phillipston, MA, married May 1845 in Athol, MA and died 13 Aug 1869 of acute pertonitis. Wife Jane Green Spooner was b 1823 in Athol, MA and died in 1903. George was listed as a shipmaster and resided near Taylors Falls. After ten years at sea he settled first in Collinsville, IL. In 1849 he headed for California by the overland route. After 2 or 3 years without much success (presumably hunting for gold), he returned to Collinsville and then moved to Minnesota, where he became successful as a cabinet maker in Taylors Falls. His wife was Jane Green, 1823~1903, who was buried in Highland Cemetery, Athold, MA.

Listed as children in the 1865 MN census were Caroline (“Carrie”) Eliza Blood (1851-1918) Carrie, Charles Henry Blood (1849-1909), and Lorenzo Spooner Blood (1852-1931) as family 48 of Taylors Falls Twp. In the cemetery transcriptions George Albert Blood is also listed as a son, b. 20-Apr-1846, d. 14-Nov-1856.

Local resident William H C Folsom had this to add about George Blood. He had been a seafaring man, later was trained as a joiner, tried farming in Sunrise Twp (1854) but was unsuccessful. He moved to Taylors Falls where he died. He had two sons living in St Paul. After his death in 1869, his family returned to Connecticut.

Info: United Methodist Church records, 1857 and 1865 census records, Folsom book: 50 Years in the Northwest, and Roger Deane Harris’ book: The Story of the Bloods.

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