This letter was written by Luther Stiles (1779-1857), the son of Josiah Stiles (1755-1822) and Lydia Gale (1758-1810). Luther was married to Clarissa Pierce (1787-1865) in October 1808.
Luther wrote the letter to his son, Cornelius Cuyler Stiles (1824-18xx). Cornelius was born at Aurora, N. Y. His parents removed when he was quite young to Amsterdam, N. Y.; when he was 12 years of age they again removed to Coldwater, Michigan, where he spent the remaining years of his minority. On becoming of age he went to Elgin, Illinois, and there married Cornelia Susannah Phelps (1827-18xx), daughter of J. C. and Susannah (Treat) Phelps.
In personal appearance Mr. Stiles is described as being “6 feet in height, with features pale and thin,” while Mrs.Stiles is “stout and of a florid complexion — a fine looking couple.” Some of their children are blondes. The remainder brunettes.
Cornelius Stiles was a carpenter and farmer. He owned a farm near Elgin, on which he lived for many years. In 1854 he removed to Kankakee, Illinois, where his children were educated in the public schools of that place. In 1874 he removed to Sandwich, Illinois. He has been a deacon of the Congregational church at Sandwich for several years.
Addressed to Mr. Cornelius C. Stiles, Elgin, Illinois
March 23rd 1846
With much pleasure I received a letter from Cornelius and was glad to hear from you all and have you all write some at the same time. It gives us pleasure to hear that you all enjoy a good degree of health and that the health of Luther and Eliza are improving and we anticipate much pleasure in a visit from Luther and wife this summer and also little Charles. We are all enjoying tolerable health. Your mother has had another severe turn with her face but is now getting better.
Things remain in Coldwater much as when Cornelius left. There has been many large parties since he left mixed with young and old — nearly all ready to turn out at call while we can hardly get out enough to a prayer meeting to say we had a social prayer meeting. When will these things be different in Coldwater. But dear children, I hope it is not so with you. But let me say here let religion be your first and great object, seek an interest in Christ, make sure work of it and according to the promise of God all other thing necessary to the glory of God and your own soul’s best interest shall be added.
And now, Cornelius, I am glad you went out to see James Hanchett and think you have done right in the matter. I am also glad you have take something of a look of the country west of you and if we were prepared to come out there, I do not know as any of us would have but one objection to go as far west as Pleasant Grove (if we could buy there at the best advantage) and that is it is so much farther from market which is a strong objection in any country. But as yet I have no prospect of selling. My mind and desire is the same as I stated to you the morning you started from home and I shall make every effort to sell as soon as possible.
For some weeks back there has been but little emigration through this place. There will soon be more and then I may find a chance to sell. There is nothing yet determined by the Legislature as to the sale of our railroads. They are now at work at it. If they should sell, that may make some difference. I think you had better keep a lookout for farms about Elgin and near there and if anything new comes up, write me immediately.
I know and feel that things are now with us in an unsettled state and we hardly know what to do or what step to take, and I know not but they must still remain so unless I can sell. YOu stated you hardly knew what to do — business was rather dull. But as you observed, I think it will soon be better as the spring opens. I sometimes get a little discouraged about selling and think perhaps I never shall get away from Coldwater, but let us all put on the best side — who knows but things are all working right and for the best interests of us all. You will recollect of often hearing your Father say things will come around right by and by. Let us wait, watch the signs of the times, and remain as we are for a short time and it may be things will look different and come out right side up.
There is a great deal of building to be done this summer in Coldwater but very little money paid for it. I shall take no jobs at present. I have all the work I want by the day. I do not expect to be able to work all the time.
I have nothing farther worth writing but I shall probably for the present write often and I want you to do the same as we wish often to hear from you. We all send our best respects to you all and to all enquiring friends. Since we last wrote, we have not heard anything from our friend at the East.
Harriet says Cornelius, you must write to her soon and she will answer it at once. But I must close by saying I hope the next time I write I shall have something more interesting to write.
From your father, — Luther Stiles