This letter was written by Rev. Edward Scofield (1810-1878), the son of Peter Scofield (1774-1837) and Susan Bessey (1775-1818). Rev. Schofield’s lengthy biography is in the footnotes below. He was married to Elizabeth Williams (1820-1899) and together they had at least ten children between 1841 and 1859.
Edward wrote the letter to his brother Charles Scofield (1797-1885), a shoemaker in Westport, Connecticut. Charles was married to Abigail (“Abbie”) _____ and had at least two children, Hiram (b. 1827) and Elizabeth (b. 1829). He also mentions a sister, Susan Ann Scofield (1812-1861) who was married to Edmund Lockwood Smith (1807-1886). She and Edmund had two sons — William H. Smith (b. 1831) and Edmund L. Smith (b. 1833); it isn’t clear which of these boys suffered from the “convulsions” described in the letter.
Addressed to Mr. Charles Scofield, Westport, Connecticut
July 12th 1850
Judging from the past, I have not much reason to expect but one letter from you during the year. In writing to you, I will not confine myself to so small a number.
We are all enjoying usual health with the exception of Edward who has the whooping cough quite bad. That awful disease — the cholera — is again about us. In Cincinnati there recently have been from 30 to 60 deaths per day from this cause. It seems to be abating. We have not had any case with us as yet though there have been some few in towns around us.
William & Eliza last month made us a visit. They came Monday evening and remained with us till the following Friday. We as a matter of course were very glad to see them & receive a visit from them. They look some older than they did when I last saw them but otherwise had changed but little. I should judge from appearance & intimations that William is in good pecuniary circumstances. He says Edmund is worth about $20,000. May they all make a good use of what God entrusts to them. William has not forgotten the triumphant & blessed death of [our infant] Harriet. In speaking of it, when with us, his heart was tender. He wept. She is enjoying “durable riches” — a treasure in heaven. May we so live as to meet her around the throne of God & the Lamb, and together & forever sing the song of redeeming love.
Sister Susan Ann I learn is in poor health. I fear that her days will be few if she does not get better soon. She is quite poor & nervous, occasioned in part by the death of Harriet, her niece, but more particularly by her care, anxiety & constant attention in regard to her son who is subject to constant convulsions. I should like to make her a visit the coming fall very much & Deo volente (God Willing) would with my wife & Edward if I had the means. I hope, as William & Eliza have set the example, that Edmund & Susan Ann, Charles & Abbey & others may follow it. Why, it does not take but about 3 days now to go from New York City to Cincinnati.
I have concluded that it is my duty to leave this place next fall or spring. Where I shall go, I do not know. I am willing & ready to go East, West, North &c., where God may direct, where I may do good to saints & sinners. The principle object in my seeking another location is to obtain better support. We do not preach for money as a main object, but we must have money to live as well as other people. I have just received for my labors a living — just enough to keep my family — though never wanting, have never saved anything. My oldest children are becoming more expensive. They require more for dress, education, &c. than formerly. These churches are feeble & unable to do much better than they have done. I have received from $350 to $400 per year counting everything received. I have had to pay $50 per year for house rent & about as much for keeping a horse. I have been thinking some of going to the North part of this state in Lake Erie Region. I have written to a minister enquiring of him if there are any vacant locations there. I possibly may get back to Illinois again.
Are all the churches in your region at present supplied with ministers? Your minister would probably be better able to give an answer to this question than yourselves. You could ask him. And what is the state of the churches? What support is given, &c. There is an ocean of field West. “The field is the world.” The laborers are few; the vacant places are many. The Lord will direct me where to go.
Now, I desire that you would write soon & let us know how you are & how your churches around you are getting along. Do not long delay. Our love to you all & all enquiring friends. I desire very much to see you all. I should be somewhat surprised to see Abbey at my house in Batavia in the course of a few weeks & Charles, Elizabeth, or Hiram with her. Come on, take us by surprise. The Lord bless you in all things. “Glorify God in your body & spirit, which are God’s. “Pray without ceasing.”
Yours affectionately, — Edward Scofield
Rev. Edward Scofield, who ministered to the Presbyterian church in Metropolis, Illinois, from August, 1872 to July, 1873, was born Sept. 22, 1810, at Norwalk, Conn. His mother dying when he was about 8 years of age he went to New York City to live with a married sister. His parents were Peter Scofield, second in line of the same name, one of whom served in the Revolutionary War, and Susan Scofield, nee Bessie. In 1831 he came from New York by canal to Shawneetown, Ill. He took his meals on the boat and as the boat tied up at night, slept on it. Leaving his baggage on the boat he easily walked as fast as the horses, literally walking from New York City to Shawneetown, Ill. There taking up his baggage he footed it to Jacksonville, Ill., where he entered the preparatory department of the Illinois college, and graduated in 1837, under Edward Beecher. The same fall he went to Lane Theological Seminary at Walnut Hills, Cincinnati, Ohio, where Dr. Lyman Beecher was presidnet, and lived in his family, reading the first ten chapters of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, with Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe in manuscript, and attending the same school with Henry Ward Beecher, who graduated one year after he did. Mr. Scofield graduated June 16th, 1840, and the same evening was married to Elizabeth Williams, in Cincinnati, Ohio, grand daughter of Robt. Orr, one of the early pioneers of Cincinnati.
That same month he was installed over the churches at North Bend, Cleves and Berea, Ohio. While in his first pastorate he was called to preach the funeral sermon of his parishioner and friend, President William Henry Harrison, baptizing some of his grandchildren, President Benjamin F. Harrison being among the number. While at Cleves, his church was mobbed, the windows all staved in and the pulpit demolished, by men in disguise, who came to meet the congregation on their way thither. Rev. Scofield, kneeling down on the bare ground with the congregation, said “Let us pray,” and closing his eyes prayed, as he was ever gifted in prayer. That night they went to his house at midnight and threw stones, mashing all the windows down stairs. Then they went to the barn and shaved the parson’s horse’s tail and mane, and threw the buggy into the canal; all because at a meeting of Presbytery the ministers dared to say that slavery was a curse to this nation. Fifty dollars was offered anywhere in Kentucky where he might show his face. This was in 1843, and in 1872, he was very well able to maintain the same sentiments in this county. He remained at Cleves until the storm subsided. They even fixed his buggy up and returned it at night in better condition than if was when thrown into the canal.
He then moved to New Richmond, Ohio, where five large distilleries were in full force, and some of the owners members of the church, but were not allowed to hold their names there, after he took charge. At the same time he preached in Batavia, Morrow and Munro, Ohio, moving to Batavia in 1847, where he remained seven years. He also preached at Anderson, Ind., seven years and spent seven more years at Mishawaka, Ind., being there from 1861 to 1867.
He was thoroughly imbued with the missionary spirit, and in the early years of his ministry, did much successful and lasting work in the organization of churches and building up feeble congregations. In his ministry of thirty-nine years, God not only blessed his ordinary labors, as a means of salvation of souls, but also crowned his efforts, in permitting him to enjoy ten extensive revivals in his fields of labor.
Besides many articles for periodicals, he published treatises on “Family Government,” of which there was a second edition, and a translation of the same in Aramaic; “Civil Government and the Rebellion”; and “The Solar Heavens-a New Theory.”
The Ninth Indiana Regiment, which went from that place, wanted him to go as chaplain, but he could not leave a sick wife and a large family of young children. He composed hymns, which were sung in the regiment, and his “Civil Government and Rebellion” was distributed by the Christian commission.
He came to Lean, Ill., to Centralia, then to Metropolis and last to Somonauk, Ill. He died in the parsonage at Somonauk, Oct. 12th, 1878, surrounded by all his children, members in his beloved church. His last words to his wife were: “The gates are open; Blessed Jesus, I am coming.” Two sons-in-law and four grandchildren, supported by his faithful wife, who had been partner in all his joys and sorrows for thirty-eight years, and who died March 5th, 1899, at the same place. They lie side by side in the beautiful cemetery midway between Samonauk and Sandwich, Ill. They had ten children, three of whom died in early infancy, and Charles Scofield, who will be remembered in connection with Towle & Co.’s saw mill, who resided three years with his sister, Mrs. R.W. McCartney, of Metropolis, Ill., died May 27th, 1894, at Somonauk, Ill.
The children yet remaining are Mrs. R.W. McCartney, Metropolis, Ill.; Mrs. Geo. H. Sisson, New York; Mrs. Frank N. Earlle, California; Miss Sudie Scofield, Metropolis; Rev. Edward Scofield, Movers, N.Y.; Rev. William H. Scofield, Bonaparte, Iowa.