Joanne A. Smith Mello has transcribed a letter from John L. McMaken. He was husband of Eliza Jane Cummins, d. 3 Oct 1870 in Middletown. It is her death that is the topic in the first paragraph. The recipient of the letter is Nancy Cummins Smith, sister of Eliza Jane. Nancy's husband was Josiah Thompson Smith, one of the early settlers in Middletown area. Nancy lived in Etna, Siskiyou County, CA at time of the writing of letter.

Both girls, Eliza Jane and Nancy, were children of James Cummins and Sarah Nutt. James Cummins d. in Middletown around 1850. We do not know where his wife Sarah died, probably on the route to IA from OH around 1839.

Besides Nancy & Eliza, there were other children in the family of James Cummins and Sarah Nutt: 1) John Lytle Cummins who md. Olive Carpenter, they ended up in Siskiyou County, CA. J. L. Cummins disappeared from the scene around 1862. That's a long, interesting story. 2) Adam Nutt Cummins md. Margaret Wheatley & they settled in Siskiyou County also. 3) Enoch James Cummins md. Mary Ann Roberson and they also settled in Siskiyou County, CA. Other children are buried in Old Baptist cemetery, Harrison Twp, Hamilton Co. OH. James Cummins and his son-in-law Josiah Thompson Smith are two of my dead end ancestors. If you would like more information on any of the contents of the letter, contact me.


Middletown Dec 26th 1870

Dear Sister

I recived your kind letter of Nov 16th and for the expressions of Sympathy for us in our sorrow and bereavement I would return my heartful gratitude. We are all in usual health at present. I was sorrow to hear that you were not in good health. I should desire very much to see you again as those who were near and dear to her I shall cherish with the most grateful recollections. I feel as though life with her taken away would present no more charms for me and no one can fully feel the depth of that Isolate and desolate feeling unless they have experienced a like bereavement and it is also true that we do not fully appreciate our blessings until they are removed from us and I feel that I have lost the best of wives and the children the most devoted and affectionate of mothers.

Such an one I feel is the most valued treasure this earth affords and when they are removed theere is a void which no earthly object can fill.

You write that you suppose there has been great changes since you left and such is the fact. Some have died and many have removed. Old Wm. Robison is dead. Jennet is married living in Mt. Pleasant. Sergent Jim and Maggie are living in Missouri. Maggie is married. Aunt Polly's family are living near Albia, Iowa. The girls are not married nor Will. Jim :umniiis is to be married this week and is to be doen to McChesneys with his wife on Wednesday. Report says he is to marry a widow and a farm.

Old Mrs. Chambers is dead and the old man is left alone and is away in Wisconsin preaching.

Lizzie Henderson is living with Robt. 1. Robison who is living in Oskaloosa. Old uncle Robt. Robinson has left Middletown and is living on a part of the Ward farm below us.

Jo. Robinson bought a part of it has built a house and Robert is farming it. Mrs. Elliot and sister is living in the Chambers house and Widow Toothaker is still living in your old house. Uncle Dan Lewis is living in the McGugian property.

Om is married is a tinner and lives in Burlington. John and Augustus are out in the mines.

Oc is teaching School in the Carding District. Helen and Car. Sharp are running a milliner shop in Burlington and Lois still continues in a state of Single blessedness. Angeline Robinson is married to a Mr. Clark of Davis (?) who is teaching the Middletown School. John Crawford is living on the old place and Cruse (?) is living in the house that Em built in Middletown and owns part of the Sergent farm. Bishop has sold and bought and is living on the place on Long Creek where Dr. Ives lived.

But I have not time to ennumerate all the changes and will stop. Young Sam tloore lost his wife and one of his children and another of his children is not expected to live. Old Bill Johnson's wife is lying with the fever. She and @loore's wife were daughters of t-Ir. Burk.

They wre all cases of the Typhoid fever. Last week we had it very cold. The first cold weather of the season. Jimmy and Vena started this morning to visit their Grand Pa who is living at Washington Iowa with their Aunt @lary. We had nothing of Eliza that we could send in a letter but a ring she used to wear. The ring she had been wearing was left on her finger.

Em sends this photograph.

With a wish for your health I close

Mrs. Nancy Smith

Yours affectionately

J. L. McMaken

Give my love to the children and friends. I would feel very thankful for a letter from you soon. Ransom Price told me last summer when I was in Ohio that a friend of his had met with John somewhere in the mines and give me the name of the place but have for- gotten it do you know anything about him if so please write.


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