John W. Stevens Letter, Feb. 13, 1879

Feb. 13, 1879  Dear Sir: About 1843 my family was large, consisting of 16 persons for a few years.  By this time my boys were able to work on the farm, still cleaning and enlarging the farm, everything apparently prospering with me, which I trust I was not forgetful of the source from which it came.  I will just say here that my wife was a Christian woman.  She had joined Brush Creek Church when young, so we had regular [illegible] in the family until her death.  We both worked hard to raise our children to be respectable, and give them as good a start in life as we were able.  One of our rules was to rise at four o'clock in the morning, doing all our chores by five o'clock, at which hour we breakfasted, by six we were all at work, the dinner hour blew precisely at eleven, and the supper horn at six in the afternoon.  Some may think this was hard on children, but they will soon get used to rising at a certain time and not need to be called.  My boys still follow the same rules that I taught them.  I write this whether I was right or wrong to show parents what great responsibility rests upon them in setting a good example before their children.   I ought to say something here about the churches and the ministers of the association, but will defer it to another time.  Up to 1848 we had lost four children, one a married daughter who died in the triumph of the Christian faith, requesting all her friends to meet her in heaven, and her husband to fill her place in the church which he did.  In 1849, some of my neighbors persuaded me to get up a steam saw and a grist mill, as I had been running a horse mill for several years. I must say I went very reluctantly, but by the 29th of June, I had the frame up for the saw mill, and the steam started, intending in the fall to build a grist mill.   I moved my Burr stones from the horse mill and attached them to the engine, and also the boiling chest.  On the 6th of August, the same year, at night, my dwelling house was burned and most all we had in it.  I had hard work to save some of the family as there were some of them upstairs.  This stopped my further building of my mill.  I have always counted this a blessing rather than a misfortune, as we knew nothing about steam.  After our house was burnt, the family went in a loom house, the sides of which was sheded for sleeping apartments for the hands who carried on the mill and I built a new house.  This mill I sold in 1854.  It was moved away about three miles.  (to  be continued)  John Stevens


from the Newport Local, February 13, 1879