This letter was written by General John H. Morris (1780-1851) of Lawrenceville, Lawrence County, Illinois. He was married to Delia Hoagland (1782-1861) in 1802 in Kentucky.
John was the son of Rev. Joshua Morris (1753-1840) and Sally Walton (1745-1805). Delia was the daughter of Cornelius Hoagland (1750-1806) and Mary Tuttle (1757-1840).
I believe this John H. Morris is the same Capt. John H. Morris who had a company of Kentucky Mounted Volunteer Militia that served under Col. William Mountjoy during the War of 1812.
Morris wrote the letter to Rev. John C. Brigham, the Corresponding Secretary of the American Bible Society from the later 1820’s to the the 1840′s.
Addressed to Rev’d J. C. Brigham, Secretary of American Bible Society, City of New York
27th July 1828
Rev’d and dear sir,
With pleasure I sit down to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of April 25th in your welcome, and highly interesting communication of that date, and must offer an apology for this long delay — the disordered state of our society as I before stated to you. Upon the receipt of your letter and the encouraging benevolent prospects therein contained, I determined and did advertise a general meeting at our former, usual, constitutional time, which anniversary was yesterday the last Saturday in July, hoping under the favorable auspices which you through divine Providence you present to revive our Sundry relation with you, our Parent Society.
My fond anticipations were realized. Immediately after reading your excellent letter, we immediately reorganized the Society, without hesitation or ceremony with a small number of 12 members but with an expectation of an increase, and with redoubled resolution, God being our helper; of giving the word of God without note or comment to the destitute of our County and that we will not cease in our exertions until every family is furnished with a copy of the Bible.
We have this morning opened a correspondence wit the Bond County Society who’s object is to enter into a State Constitution which is to be formed by delegates from each society to meet at Shoal Creek Meeting House, Bond County, on the 8th day of October next for the purpose of putting into effect the desirable object of giving the word of life to every destitute family in the state.
Dear Brethren, we have nothing to return to you but gratitude for your Parental care and benevolence to us; Only five dollars herein enclosed — a present to you from Brother Benjamin Gibbs, one of our directors who is poor in purse but rich in faith and good works and I hope his two notes will be received and regarded as such.
You will please to send the 50 Bibles & 100 Testament given us by your Society to Mr. John Marshall, Shawneetown, Illinois,¹ to be conveyed on to Vincennes, Indiana. If it is convenient, I should be happy to reserve a part of your donation in the Pica Testaments, should the number thereby be lessen’d as they are so fine for old copies.
Permit me, my dear brethren, to ask the favor of a file of your Annual Reports up to the eighth, inclusive. Pardon me for asking so much after so much generosity on your part. I hope the Lord will enable us to repay you in future for your goodness.
With sentiments of esteem, and Christian regard,
Your brother in the Lord, — John H. Morris, Corresponding Secretary L.C.B.S.
P.S. I need hardly tell you your present donation is amply sufficient for this time. — J. H. Morris
¹ John Marshall emigrated to the United States in about 1804 from Ireland. He along with his brothers settled in Shawneetown, Illinois. He built this brick house about 1808. It was the first brick house to be built in Shawneetown — a contrast to the log cabins and rough frame houses in Shawneetown. The house became the center point of social life in Shawneetown. Marshall opened a store in the house and in 1816 was granted the first charter for a bank in Illinois. He opened the bank in the house in 1817 suspended operations in the mid-1820’s, and reopened from 1834 to 1842. Marshall was active in business and politics. In 1818 he was elected a legislator from Gallatin County to the first Illinois General Assembly. He died in 1858.