Monday, September 20, 2010

Amanuensis Monday: 1855 Letter ANN M (FRAZIER) WAY to MATILDA (FRAZIER) CORSBIE

ANN M. (FRAZIER) WAY was the eldest sister of my Quaker great great grandfather, ELI BRANSON FRAZIER. They were the children of HENRY FRAZER & MARY "POLLY" OTWELL, who were married in Guilford NC, and migrated north to Indiana. They ultimately settled in Iowa.

ANN was a prolific writer, turning her hand to letters, journals, poetry and more.  She  enriched the lives of all descendants in our Frazier family by writing about her life, her siblings and her roots in Guilford, NC.

This summer, my 4th cousin Lorraine wrote a blog (with many wonderful photos) called ANN'S DIARY 1867, as she and some cousins re-traced a journey made by the Way family in the summer of 1867 that Ann documented in a journal.

Here is a transcription of an 1855 letter written by ANN M. (Frazier) WAY, shortly after the death of her mother, MARY "POLLY" OTWELL.

Level Lawn, Iowa
2nd day (night), 11th mo. 1855

Dear brother and sister,

It has been your turn to receive a letter from me for some time; but the recent loss and anxiety amongst us has deranged our plans, and caused us to write as we could without much order, only to direct them to such of you as would be apt to get them quick. We received Elzena's (Elzena Frazier Cox) doubly welcome letter, written a week ago today, last 6th day evening, with throbbing hearts of mingled hope and fear to hear the contents, and with what anxiety it was sketched over till we saw an account that Matilda was not only still living, but mending. Most assuredly do I believe that the "prayer of faith still saves the sick" as it did in the days of James. For I doubt not many fervent tho' feeble prayers were put up for her restoration; not only for John's sake, but that your tender little lambs might not be scattered.
And now dear sister if thou art still better, do not repine and wish thou hadst been taken, but rejoice that thou art still counted a comfort to thy family. There may yet for ought I know be something for thee to do in the church militant, that thou mayst be better prepared to join the church triumphant; --and flinch not , that thou mayest have to be a judge or a counselor, for truly there is need of those rightly qualified.
We are scarcely less uneasy about Jerusha (Jerusha Frazier Gossett, Ann's sister) than we were about Matilda, as she had the flux when Elzena wrote and is so weakly in other ways. A breach has been made in our family circle, and it may be ere long that many of our once happy company may be numbered with those that were but are not. Phebe (Phebe Hixson Frazier, wife of Lotan Frazier, Ann's brother)has a return of the chills, and is quite unwell, tho' not entirely confined. She has been to meeting but twice since she got here. She is quite dissatisfied and feels the loss of Mother more than any of us. William & Nancy (William Millis & Nancy Otwell Millis, Mary Otwell Frazer's sister) have gone up the country, and she feels like she was left nearly alone. Tho' I think she, as well as father and the boys, feels better since they got moved to themselves. The rest of them are mending, as they were gathering corn at Thomas Saint's today.
Abi (Abi Frazier Elliot, Ann's sister) stayed here with her children last week and went yesterday from meeting to father's to help Phebe this week. We have not heard from George (George Elliot, Abi's husband) since he started on the cars a week ago tonight. Abi begins to think the time long. Alson's (Alson Gray Frazier, Ann's brother) are in common health. Mary (Mary Hockett Frazier, Alson's wife) is not stout. Eli Gossett and his wife were to be baptized in Skunk River yesterday, tho' I do not believe he is a convert to the doctrine, only to accommodate his father and mother-in-law. Henry (Henry Way, Ann's husband) went to Burlington last 5th day to take the Irish woman and her children, whose husband died at Payton Wilson's just before Mother died. She wanted to go on the cars to her relations in Ohio. We bought 2 pair of bedsteads for father and Lotan at 3 dollars, 87and a half cents, a pair of quite nice ones. They got an old pair of old-fashioned ones of Edward Hockett at 75 cents. Gideon Frazer is mending.
Our monthly meeting at Cedar Creek was opened the 2nd, 7th day in last month. It was attended by Seneca and Persis Hazard, a man and his wife, both ministers from New York. And at our monthly meeting last 7th day, I had the honor of signing returning certificates for Bridget Haight, a minister, and her companions Jane Cronk and Peter Doyle from Canada. There is not much sickness that I know of now except some on the creek and river. John D. Hockett, if alive, is very low with flux. He lives up the country, but he and his wife are down on a visit to her father's. Jane Hockett has got so she can walk and was at meeting and at our house yesterday, with her father and Margaret. Tryphena (Way) is at work at Jesse Hockett's at 50 cents a week. Huldah stayed at Samuel Wilson's last week at a dollar. Girl's wages are not quite as high here as there....Mary M. stayed a week with Abi helping her to get ready to move. We sorted out some of the best of Mother's clothing to send in there to you girls, but George started so early next morning that we had no chance of getting them packed up. Perhaps they can be sent some other time and do as well. Father wanted me to have her bonnet as the rest of you all wear white ones.
(At this point there is a lengthy poem composed by Ann Frazier Way on her mother's death, but sadly not included in the transcription by Manly Frazier's son. A few years after receiving this,  4th cousin, Lorraine Fritch emailed me a copy of the poem )
I will send a lock of Mother's hair that was taken off after she expired. There was a satchel with some scraps in it and a pin cushion or two that likely were sent to somebody out here, but Phebe nor the rest of them could tell nothing about them. One of the pin cushions was pieced up out of little scraps like James Brown's girls dresses, and perhaps a piece or two like Ruth's. It they were sent by them or any of the rest of you we should like to know it, as we feel much at a loss to know how to dispose of such things. So write very often if you are well enough. Fanny (Ann's sister, Fanny Frazier White) I should like to have an answer to my letter to thee and Peter, and from Jerusha too if she is living and well enough to write. Heber (Ann's brother Heber Frazier) if thou only knew how proud I should be of a letter from thee; I do believe thou lost enough respect for me to gratify me. Branson (Eli Branson Frazier, my gg grandfather, who lived in Thorntown, Boone Co IN at that time) and Elzena have been pretty good to write. Tell Ruth Brown we read her interesting letters over and over. One of the big apples rotted. Phebe cut the other in two between Anna and Alson. Tell her that Alson has got to wear pantaloons and is as fat and hearty as need be. Wm. Hammars folks are well as usual and all her other relations out here. Old Rachel Osborn (Suple Dick's widow) goes to our meeting and looks quite well. She lives with her son William. This last is to Ruth Brown. John and Matilda share the rest.

Affectionately, Ann M. Way

My gg grandfather, Eli Branson Frazier

Ann Millis Frazier born Jan 28 1817 Guilford NC married Henry Way; died CA
Jerusha Reynolds Frazier born Oct 10 1819 Guilford NC married Thomas Gossett; she was likely named after Jerusha Reynolds, who married Thomas Frazier, son of John Frazier & Marjorie Stanley, Quakers, of Guilford NC.
Fanny L. Frazier born Aug 8 1822 possibly Randolph NC married Frank White
Alson Gray Frazier born Apr 8 1824 Guilford NC married Hannah Reese, Mary Hockett
Eli Branson Frazier born Jan 17 1826 Guilford NC died 1871 Bangor Iowa m. Nancy Van Arsdale. He was named after Eli Branson, a Quaker of Guilford NC.
Matilda Frazier born Jan 5 1828 Guilford NC married John McDill Crosby/Corsbie
Abi Erwin Frazier (Female) born Feb 26 1830 Randolph Co IN married George Elliot
Loton Smith Frazier born April 17 1832 Randolph Co IN married Emily Bunch, Phebe Hixson
Heber Ellis Frazier born May 3 1834 Randolph Co IN married Keziah Hixson
Elzena Davis Frazier born April 4 1838 Randolph Co IN married Jeremiah Cox
Curtis Otwell Frazier born Nov 19 1840 Thornton, Boone Co IN married Jane Hockett; he was named after his maternal great grandfather, Curtis Otwell.

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2010


Barbara Poole said...

Interesting letter. Does anybody have the pin cushion or the lock of hair? Ann sure was a writer, and you are all so lucky now because of it.

Nancy said...

Ann shared so much information! If you didn't know much about the family this could give a lot of help for searching. It was interesting to read about life during that time period. Thanks for sharing the letter. Lucky you to have it!

Anonymous said...

Eli Branson Frazier-Betty check out Find a Grave for Eli, there is a good picture of his gravestone.