This letter was written by Harriet Jane Paramore (1821-1856), daughter of John Paramore (1782-1851) and Ida Hanley (1787-1849). In 1845, Harriet was married to Reuben Newton (1818-1882), the son of Elijah Newton and Lydia Holmes of Westward, New York. Harriet and John had two children: Ida Jane Newton (b. 1846) and William Judson Newton (b. 1850). A 12 year-old girl named Elizabeth Ovatt was living with them at the time of the 1850 Census when they were enumerated in Fulton County. By 1860, Harriet had died and Reuben was remarried, living in Savannah, Ohio, and employed as a Baptist minister. Reuben died in Prairie City, Kansas.
Harriet wrote the letter to her sister, Elizabeth (“Libbie”) Wallace Paramore (b. 1823), the wife of Jacob Rowland (b. 1815) of Ashland County, Ohio.
[Elizabeth W. Rowland, Hayesville, Ashland County, Ohio]
Ellisville, [Fulton Co.,] Illinois
February 13, 1852
With your letter of December 27 now before me, which came to hand yesterday, I was surprised that you had not received my letter. I wrote to you some time ago a letter of almost four pages. I think it certainly has come to hand before this time. If not, write and let me know for I cannot write much now. I wrote a long letter to [sister] Maria last week.
We are in tolerable health now. Mr. Newton is just recovering from a turn of Winter or lung fever. He had to stop his school three weeks. This is the second week since he commenced. He is now only able to walk to the schoolhouse and back – a distance of about a quarter of a mile. We had to get a boy to do our chores. We also have a young lady boarding with us. We had two [before] our sickness but since we had to take a boy, I had to dismiss one. I was rather compelled to in order to get in provisions as we were not here to lay by (Leysander is teaching). While Mr. Newton was sick, William J. was unwell most of the time. One day he appeared to have considerable of fever but I thought nothing alarming. We were done that evening and about 7 or 8 o’clock he had a fit, which lasted I think about twenty minutes. I was much frightened. As soon as he appeared better, I laid him on the bed with his Father (for he was not able to get out of bed or sit up a minute), ran to Mr. Rigdon’s to get some person to stay with us for I did not know how soon he might take another one and die. He did not open his eyes for two nights and a day.
Thus, dear sister, the trials and afflictions that I have passed through together with the attachments I feel for my friends led me to surmount the difficulties I did to see them. But I must close. As to having anything against you, I have always esteemed you & Mr. R. with the warmest of friendship.
Love to all enquiring friends, — H. J. Newton