Oh Children Let Us Think On Eternity!

This past weekend I was doing some research on various lines of my dad’s family. Monday we got a day off from school due to weather so I continued my search and focused on my SULLINS line. Specifically, I was looking at my paternal 6th great grandparents, Nathan and Winefred MAYS SULLINS. In order to give you some idea of how we fit into the SULLINS family, the line of ascent goes from my great grandpa Mark DRAKE to his dad Ervin to Ervin’s mom Hester MITCHELL to Hester’s dad Mordica to Mordica’s parents (John and Winnie SULLINS MITCHELL and Mordica’s grandparents Nathan and Winefred MAYS SULLINS.

During my search, I came across a website I want to share with you. The Cole Family website includes a page with a handwritten letter from Nathan and Rebecca MITCHELL SULLINS (Nathan was the son of Nathan and Winefred). I loved the letter and would like to share it with you here but I also encourage you to go look at the Cole Family website and see what you can find for yourself.

This particular photo is a screenshot of a portion of the Nathan and Rebecca MITCHELL SULLINS letter that I found on Ancestry. However, the entire original, handwritten letter is on The Cole Family website at the link above.

Here’s the transcription below. You can find more details about the letter and view the original handwritten letter at the link above.

Athens Tenn Apr. 19 1848

Dear Son & Daughter
I now send you a letter to let you know we are all alive. According to our age we enjoy as good health as could be expected. Morris got home
yesterday about 12 o’clock. We was glad to hear you was all well, but
sorry to hear you expected to go so far off. I once was young but now I
am old, by the help of providence we have raised 12 children, there is 11 yet alive so far as we know, they are now scattered in 4 states. My
children are near to me. When I was young and able to labor with and
for my children I then had pleasure. I now am not able to labor much
nor to travel and when I think of a child leaving me so far that I never
expect to see its face again in the flesh its as much as I want to bear. Mary has always been a good obedient child.
[page 2]
Oh children let us think on eternity that there is a God to serve and a
heaven to obtain that is more sacred to us than all this world’s goods.
We want you to write to us when you locate and tell us where you are
and where to direct our letters. Annis lives in Green Co. Mo. direct your
letters to Springfield to John Murray.
[page 3]
Family Record
(NOTE FROM LISA: On page 3 there is a list of names and dates, as if it
were copied from a family Bible to pass on to the receiver of the letter.
I won’t transcribe that here. You can find that information at the link

No more at present but remain your affectionate parents
Nathan and Rebecca Sullins

I love this letter so much. I can feel every pain of this momma’s heart as she worries about her children moving far away and never being able to see them again. I can imagine that she’s thinking about grandbabies she will never meet as well. If she’s anything like me, she’s thinking about all the bad that could happen and how much she would like to spare her children from experiencing the bad things. More than that, she’s worrying about their spiritual well-being. Oh how I can relate to this momma as she pours out her heart in a letter to her daughter!

I Once Was Young But Now I Am Old

Like Rebecca, I can remember being young once, too. I can remember when Bart and I decided to move to Idaho and I remember receiving a letter from my mom. A letter where she poured out her heart to me and wished me not to move so far away. Things sure do cycle back around, don’t they? And when we saw my son off to his eternal home, nothing was more important in that moment than his spiritual well-being and whether I would see him again in eternity or be separated from him forever.
Yes, I sure can relate to my 6th great aunt Rebecca as she poured out her heart to her daughter in a farewell letter.

So Fades the Summer Cloud Away

So fades the Summer cloud away;

So sinks the gale when storms are o’er;

So gently shuts the eye of day;

So dies the wave along the shore.

I want to leave you with one last thing about Rebecca – her obituary.

Obituary of Rebecca MITCHELL SULLINS. Found on Ancestry.

Sweet Rebecca. I hope you are spending eternity with your children whom you loved so much and so well.

Until next time,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog

John Bell and Sarah Hardin- Another Postmaster and His Wife

Today’s blog post is about my paternal 4th great grandparents, John BELL and Sarah HARDIN who were married in January of 1822.  I have never found a marriage certificate for them.  The date given is one I have received from other researchers.  I mentioned this couple in an earlier blog post.  As I was writing this week I realized that in recent posts I’ve forgotten to tell you which line leads me to each of these ancestors.  For John and Sarah, I descend through John and Sarah’s son Quincy, through Quincy’s daughter Eliza (whom I recently wrote about here), and Eliza’s daughter (and my great-grandmother) Bessie.  I’ll try to remember to include an ancestral line in future posts. 

John BELL was born about 1795 possibly in North Carolina or Kentucky.  I don’t know for sure who his parents were.  There is much about John that I haven’t been able to figure out.  I have yet to find a birth or marriage record.  His burial location is on private property and in the 1970’s the then-owners of that land destroyed the headstones and the Bell family cemetery.  This information comes from researcher Shirley Davis who visited with the people who owned the land at that time.

Sarah HARDIN was born about 1806 in Rutherford County, North Carolina to Hardy and Tabitha (ROBERTS) HARDIN.  Their last name is also commonly spelled HARDEN.  Sarah has been easier to research than John but there is still much about Sarah that I don’t know.  She is buried in the same location as John so there are the same difficulties with no one knowing exactly where that is.

John and Sarah lived in Sweetwater, McMinn County, Tennessee at the beginning of their marriage between 1820-1830.  In 1838 they moved to Greene County, Missouri with their children- Quincy, Calvin, Serena, Elvina, Catherine, Alexander, James, Sarah, and Hannah.  After the family moved there, Phebe and Mary were born.

John was the first Postmaster at the Dallas, Missouri, Post Office (Greene County).  The first Postmaster appointment I can find for him was at the Dallas (Missouri) Post Office on 19 December 1844.  He as there until 27 May 1846.  The following day John SMITH replaced him at Dallas Post Office.  On 15 January 1847, John was appointed Postmaster at the post office in St. Paul, Missouri.  Another researcher (Shirley Davis) has said that the St. Paul Post Office was on John’s property.  As I’ve said in previous blog posts, the postmaster often kept the post office in his own home.  John’s property was Southwest of Marshfield, Missouri, on the James River.  I believe it is that area that is known as Bell Ford, which you will see on several of the family records.  There is also a place called Bell Spring that was named after our Bell family.  Here is a map showing Bell Springs Road and Bell Ford Road.

Bell Hardin post - bell springs map

Here is a zoomed-out map of the same area.  #1 is Marshfield, Missouri.  #2 is Fordland, Missouri.  #3 is Seymour, Missouri.

bell hardin post zoomed out bell spring map.jpg

This map will give you a better idea of location.  Within this triangle of Marshfield-Fordland-Seymour is where John and Sarah HARDIN BELL lived and where Bell Springs and Bell Ford are located.  My guess is they lived closest to where #4- High Prairie- is.  When I looked for St. Paul (the name of the post office John ran out of his home) the Geographic Names Information System indicated that St. Paul Cemetery is located in a place now called High Prairie.  So this is my best guess as to where they lived.  St. Paul Post Office didn’t exist for very long and there is no longer a place in Webster or Greene County, Missouri going by the name St. Paul.  The area shown in the map would, of course, also be the general area where the Bell family cemetery is located.  These maps were found at Any Place America’s website.

I’ve read that John ran the St. Paul Post Office until his death.  Government records show that he was Postmaster there until 30 November 1848.   However, the will transcription given by Shirley Davis shows that John died “on or about” 7 September 1848.  The Postmaster records for this time period are difficult to read so it is very possible that John had no gap in employment as a Postmaster.  In addition to being difficult to read, the records aren’t indexed.  At this time though, these are the only records I’ve found of his employment as Postmaster.  The census records for his era do not list types of employment so this may be all we ever learn of what John did for a living.  

After John’s death in 1848, Sarah remained in Greene County, Missouri.  In 1855, Webster County, Missouri was created from part of Greene County, Missouri.  This area included the place where Sarah BELL lived.  As far as I can tell, Sarah remained there until her death.  Her adult daughters lived with her for much of her life.  At least one of the daughters never married.  Sarah and John, along with some of their children and grandchildren, were buried in the Bell family cemetery which is on private property.  (See above discussion.) 

Here is a teaser for the next time I post about Sarah.  She had two little girls living with her in the 1870 census- Sarah C. DeSHZER and Cynthia A. BELL.  I don’t know who these girls are but I suspect they are grandchildren.  Notice that living close to Sarah was her daughter Elvina BELL JACK.  I believe the woman living in between Sarah and Elvina was one of Sarah’s other daughters but I haven’t been able to prove or disprove that theory.  Here is a screenshot of that census:

bell hardin census image

(Screenshot from Ancestry.com)

There is so much more to know about this family but I’m going to stop here for now.  I plan to return to this family later in the year to finish their story.


Until next time,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog