I believe the author of this letter was Nathaniel Reynolds (1806-1882), the son of John Reynolds and Jane Flack, of Marblehead, Massachusetts. Nathaniel was married to Hannah Standley in 1831 in Marblehead. Their first son, John E. Reynolds, was born in 1834. Though the letter is not dated, Nathaniel states that his “little son” is 13 months old so my guess is the letter was written in 1835. Nathaniel’s occupation is given as a carpenter in census records but his son grew up to be a shoemaker.
Reynolds wrote the letter to his former Marblehead acquaintance, Ebenezer Sanborn Rand, Sr. (1804-1885) — the son of Enoch and Mary (Hill) Rand of Marblehead, Massachusetts. Ebenezer was a shoemaker and farmer, by occupation. He emigrated to Illinois from Massachusetts with his first wife, Hannah Calley, in 1830. Between his marriage to Hannah and subsequent marriages to Elizabeth Calley and Joanna C. Lawton, the Rand family grew to eight children who survived infancy. William Lucius Rand, a son, served in the 118th Illinois Infantry, Company B during the Civil War. In 1840, Ebenezer was elected probate judge, a position which he held four years.
Ebenezer was a part of the 1844 grand jury who acquited the accused assassins of Mormon leaders Joseph and Hiram Smith in Carthage, IL. This is documented in “Carthage Conspiracy, The Trial of the Accused Assasins of Joseph Smith.”
Addressed to Mr. Ebenezer Rand, Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois
Permit me to write to you although I wrote last. Yet feeling you may be displeased on some account, not altogether without some good reason, I presume to address you again if it may be to establish to perpetuate a friendship that was ardent & warm at least on your part. That spirit that removed E. Rand [to the] West was an enterprising one truly & shall have its reward if it has not already, yet it shall. So much ardor & enthusiasm must bring a rich harvest of varied & deep experience that will repay for all. We knew but little of one another while together. Circumstances had not brought out the outlines of character & we had a friendly feeling from impulse almost rather than an attachment on account of knowledge of one another by the acts of ours. Of course we presumed on fidelity, nor do we now know much but we want to know & understand & we are enough attached & interested for each other to imagine. I have called at Richard’s to know if you had written. You, I believe would write, but those questions! that delusion!! the “Blight”!!! Excuse, I do not mean to know harrow up, but to put my hand on the tender place & soothe, if it may be, & wipe away the excited feverish feelings and advise & counsel & reason with a friend.
No, no, I desire not to make more than ought to have been, but I do know I am as interested for you as some others here & I would have an understanding with you. I have an unfortunate misunderstanding with about all. I pray I may understand myself. Do not be offended. I have a right — you have a right. Let us be friends. Let us look things in the face. Why Rand, I am better prepared to serve you now than ever. I would do it. Why, let’s see. Ask me as much as I have asked. Let us do something for one another. Don’t be weaned from me. Tell us how you do. Let us know your hopes, your fears. Give us your hand & to strengthen us in doing good, give us your ideas on the signs of the times, season on high thing. Let us talk of government & governing of being at the helm. Come, does not the Anglo Saxon, the Israeliteish blood flow in your veins? Good Lord, what are you about? Why don’t you write? Do let us know what is going on & how its going on & when it’s off &c. &c.
Yours, — N. Reynolds
Thomas N. Merritt wrote a year or more ago, I believe, & would have sent on. I believe if you & he could agree about $200 worth of boots or shoes to your order if it could be acceptable. Thinks you did not get the letter. William P. M. Martin is building a new house for boarders worth I understand about 6,000. Ain’t that great? A great ship is to be launched on Tuesday at the Red Stone Cove — do you get the _____ paper?
My little son is 13 months old. Bruce Hiller lives in Lynn. G.C.B. in Lowell. Shoemaking builds up Marblehead. A great deal of broad cloth wove by youngsters. John & Jane Reynolds mostly poor health.
E. R. and J., sis, what are your ideas about Marblehead? What would you ask about the place or people? What are you thinking about doing to know your native place? How does sister feel about seeing where she was born? Please to write to your Father friend & your Mother friend & oblige N. Reynolds
N. B. I would write much more but I want [to] hear from you. It’s due, so be true, won’t you, so do.