John W. Stevens Letter, Jan. 23, 1879

Jan 23, 1879  Dear Sir: Jacob White, (an uncle of our present Sheriff) and I rented a a place from one of the old settlers.  This place was called Paul's Hill, which I see through my last window at this writing.  This place I call my starting point in life after marrying, on March the 14th, 1822.  I was married to Elizabeth Cherry.  She was raised in this neighborhood and generally attended the same school that I did.  There was but one house on this place that was fit to live in and White was in that.  I went into what was then called Paul's old kitchen, but with little to put in it, but we both knew how to work.  That summer I raised a good crop, my wife doing her part, spinning and weaving, as she understood all kinds of weaving carried on in the country at that day.   In September the same year White and I, for we were cousins, purchased a tract of 220 acres of land and divided it.  Persimmon Grove Church now stands on the corner of my part of that division.  We had one horse apiece and let them go in part payment, with our notes payable at certain times for the balance of the purchase money.  At this time I think the Commonwealth money helped me. When not at the farm I was at the whip saw, so I made every dollar that I got for lumber in a Cincinnati pay two dollars in Kentucky.  Late in the fall of 1822, I rented a farm of the widow Spillman, one of the old settlers, who was now going with some of her children to Rush county [Indiana].  In the winter of 1823, a Mr. Colvin, I wanted to buy a horse, send his son down with a horse.  The price was $60.  I had not yet run my lumber to Cincinnati, so I went to Aunt Rosa Thatcher's and borrowed $40.  She was a widow and as good a woman as ever lived.  I went with the boy to his father, who had settled in the Flat Woods, where Daniel Caldwell now lives.  He agreed to my payments, provided I would give him security.  I told him if he would go with me to John Reily, who lived nearby, I thought I could get the security.  When we went there, Mr. Reily was not at home.  Letting his wife know my business, she said she would sign the note so that was sufficient.  She was a sister to Rev. Wm. Morin.  I write this to show that when a man is in need and he meets with a friend he or she is a friend indeed..  I continued on this place till the fall of 1824, farming and lumbering till I paid for my land and all my debts, with the intention of building and moving onto my land by the time winter commenced.  After I gathered my crop that year, I had business in Rush county, Indiana, and coming home my horse took sick and died.  After getting home I was disheartened and told my wife that we would have to stay where we were for another year.  She encouraged, as we had been paying cash rent for three years, saying there would be some way provided.   At this time we had but one child living, having lost our first, so I gathered my tools, and walked six miles morning and evening, till I built my house, and moved the 22nd day of December   (to  be continued)  John Stevens


from the Newport Local, January 23, 1879