Howell family papers  1770-1798
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection contains 22 incoming letters addressed to Gideon and Sarah Howell of Morris County, New Jersey, as well as 3 documents. The Howells received 8 letters from Deborah Pierson, a relative from Bridgehampton, New York, who wrote of family news, and 12 letters from friends and family living in North Bend, Ohio, including 8 from their son Daniel and his wife, Eunice Keen Howell (later Rittenhouse). The Ohio letters contain detailed information about life on the frontier and settlers' relationships with Native Americans. The remaining 2 letters are from Daniel Howell and a friend in Burke County, North Carolina. Deborah Peirson of Bridgehampton, New York, wrote 8 letters to Gideon and Sarah Howell, whom she addressed as "Brother and Sister," between 1770 and 1795. She primarily reported on her family's health, such as her father's illness and death and other family illnesses. She also discussed her son Elias and his family. In her undated letter, she enclosed a copied page of notes on the biblical Book of Job.

Gideon and Sarah Howell received 12 letters from early settlers of North Bend, Ohio, who moved to the area in late 1789. These include 8 letters from Daniel and Eunice Howell, their son and daughter-and-law, as well as 3 from Robert Whelan, an acquaintance, and 1 from Captain James Keen, Eunice's father. In their letters, the settlers reported extensively on their journeys to Ohio and on many aspects of pioneer life. They also frequently commented on their conflicts with, and fear of, the local Miami Indians, as well as on illnesses, hunting, and other aspects of daily life. Eunice Howell also wrote of the effect of her husband's death. She composed one letter after she married William Rittenhouse.

The two remaining letters are a personal letter Daniel Howell wrote to a brother with condolences for a recent death and news of the family in Southampton, New York (April 6, 1770), and a letter from Clizby Cobb describing life in Burke County, North Carolina (4 pages, August 10, 1798).

The collection contains the following 3 documents:

  • William Livingston warrant to pay John Cleves Symmes one month's salary as a justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court (May 18, 1785)
  • Richard Howe document concerning the commission of "Captain Kinney" (1792)
  • Constitution of the Female Mite Society of the Vicinity of Morris-Town, a society founded to raise money for the Kentucky Baptist Mission Society's efforts to convert Native Americans. Hannah, Margaret, Sarah, and Eunice Howell all subscribed to the organization.
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