Tennessee Documentary History
  Multiple Collection Search     View bookbag 
your bookbag has 0 items 

Title:[Letter] 1834 Jul. 7, Bristol, Tennessee [to] Horace Thomson, Farmington, Conn. / H. L. Rich : a machine readable transcription of an image
Author: Rich, H. L.

This work is the property of the Special Collections Library, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching, and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text. For all other use contact the Special Collections Librarian, Hoskins Library, University of Tennessee, 1401 Cumberland Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37996. (865) 974-4480.

Date: July 7, 1834
Extent: 4p
Summary:This document is a letter written by H. L. Rich to Horace Thomson regarding missionary work in East Tennessee. Rich requested help from his old friends in Farmington, Connecticut to help supply his religious school with books and other donations.
Collection:Rich Letters
Document: sc196

Page 1  view page image

E [East]. Tennessee Bristol School
July 7 1834Dear Brother, in Christ,

I hardly hope to make this letter interesting because you so frequently read and have accounts similar to it. I am therefore chiefly prompted by a spirit of remembrance and friendship for you, and other good friends in Farmington , to whom I am greatly indebted.

[added: Direct to Knoxville E. Tennessee] We are located about 9 miles from Knoxville , in a very romantic spot, and as wicked a neighborhood as it is romantic. I can convey to you but a small part of its history in this letter. A thousand things come before me, which I cannot appropriately express, but which I would be glad you understood. No pen can describe the reflections, and feelings of an exile from good society, and gospel dispensation. This is the situation of Mother, two sisters, and myself. But we are happy. Our log cabin protects us from inclement weather, food and clothing are abundant, and our health is prolonged. I said we had no good society; (I mean such society as is called good in New England .) It is truly so. And it is just the society, for which every pious emigrant, should settle in this country. Here theres no profanity, no desecration of the Sabbath, no lack of integrity, no want of christian influence, and education, and no settled spirit of indolence in the West, certainly might every christian throughout New England be justified in spending his days, in that circle of relatives and acquaintance so pleasing to his jusl juvenile life. With all this knowledge before us, we have deliberately concluded to settle here for life. Though we seldom hear the Gospel preached, we wait with patience the time when its

Page 2  view page image

Author will release us from our field of labor, and introduce us to a world where all is peace, and righteousness. But we still have sanguine hopes, that one appeals to eastern friends will not prove fruitless, but that some will yet join us in building up society and that we shall ultimately have a church, and a settled minister, Sabbath School, tract, temperance and Bible societies, all in active operation. At present we are doing little good except in our school, which consists of between 60 and 70 pupils; 45 of whom are from abroad. Many of them are the most promising young men and women preparing for Teaching. The money and books given by our Farmington friends are of inestimable value. We would they knew our gratitude. O [Oh]. that they would improve every similar opportunity for doing good. Not the smallest gift will be forgotten of God, at judgement. "Tho ye did it to the least of these my brethren, ye did it unto me." I regret that I did not accept the kind offer of the S. School, and take those question books at the Hall not in use; for we have frequent calls from neighboring schools beside our own wants, to supply. Should you, and our friends in Farmington think best at any time, to make up a box, its contents will be disposed of, we trust profitably to the course of Christ. You recollect, dear brother, what I told you at our last meeting, with respecting Sectarian influence in our S. School. We have fully realized our anticipations. I told you of the curiosity, common in this country, for riding and visiting &c. This is generally attended to in the former part of the day. We therefore concluded but to have our S. School at 4 in the afternoon, to get the more [added: pupils]

Page 3  view page image

The most we have is 45 nearly all of whom are foreign boarders. Some of our neighbors and brethren of another denomination, say, that the books in the Library are all fictitious because they are from the American S. School Union. Now how inconsistent, when some of their own brethren are engaged in publishing there same works. And again, most of these prejudiced men cannot read & word. We visit them frequently, not to talk about S. Schools, but hoping to gain their friendship. This is the only way in which we hope to get their children into the School. Alas! this is literally a heathen country! Judging from the numbers of professions of religion, the bigotry, superstition, error, intemperance, and profanity, with which this country is filled, I am led to say, there is as much need of missionary effort in behalf of it, as in behalf of the Roman Empire . Oh! when will men learn to do as they ought! When will the inhabitants of this great valley, see eye to eye, and act in concert with the truths of the Bible!

We are about building a log-school house for the accommodation of the poor in our neighborhood; which school, will be superintended by a female who will only teach the primary branches.

At the end of the half session, which is about one week hence, I have engaged to attend a protracted meeting, with one of our home missionaries about 40 miles distant. He is to attend the examination of our school, and I am to accompany him back. I design distributing one thousand tracts before I return.

Page 4  view page image

The length of the valley in which this missionary ranges, is about 40 miles. He told me that he has found neighborhoods and settlements where the Gospel has not been preached for 4-8, and even 12 years. A certain old lady came to hear him from a great distance, and during preaching seemed much affected. After the sermon, she came, and said to him, "Ah! sir, I belong to the Presbyterian church and have not heard a sermon before in 14 years"!

I would like to address the scholars of your S. School, and if you think it best, I will. Write to me on receipt of this. Give my regards to your Brother and family. Remember us in your prayers; and especially the cause, for which we are laboring in this country. We may not meet on earth, but we shall very soon, (if at all,) meet in heaven.

Till then, Dear Brother, farewell.
H. L. Rich
[added: Mr. Horace Thomson
Farmington Connecticut

A product of DLPS
To comment or inquire about content, contact UTK Special Collections
To report errors, contact UTK Special Collections