Jeremiah H. Cason is one of my most colorful and interesting ancestors. My great-great-grandfather was a missionary to Africa in 1856, a Chaplain and Captain in the Confederacy who lost an arm, and a Baptist preacher for over 60 years. Last year, I talked about his wife, Bettie Cooper Cason and at some point, I will tell more of J.H. Cason’s story. But this week, our theme is “At the Cemetery”.
I started in genealogy in the late 1980s. I remember my grandmother, Mary Higgs Wren, showing me the Bibles she had that belonged to her grandparents, Jere and Bettie Cason. She also had the Bible that belonged to her mother Lida Cason Higgs. When my grandmother died, all these Bibles passed to me.
In the front of her own Bible, Lida Higgs Cason added dictation of what her father was saying as he slipped from life to death. His health had declined for the better part of a year. In his last month or so, his mind had also slipped away. Lida wrote to her friend Ida that by the time she (Lida) was able to reach her father’s side, he was no longer able to recognize her. But he spoke of his childhood and Lida captured it in her Bible:
Jere talks about his family, how his ancestors had come to Middle Tennessee years before. He talked about the family farm and the family graveyard at the foot of the hill. He said:
Thomas settled the McGrady farm on Fall Creek, where the Nashville & Cainesville public road cross the creek. The old Cason grave yard is on that farm. The crossing is one mile below the old Smith Mill. … Jere Cason married Elizabeth Favor, Limestone Co, Ala, & bought the old McGrady farm. He lived & died on it & was buried there. At the foot of the hill, where he is buried, you can see the creek for a mile.
Here the years slipped away from my father. He forgot he was dictating to me and wandered again over the old place, telling me of many of its nooks & corners, his favorite places as a boy and young man, where he first took my sweet mother, to proudly show his father & mother his choice.
A few years afterward, early in my genealogical career, I was pleased to meet J. Merritt Graves, a cousin and Cason researcher who knew Wilson County well. Merritt took me to see the old Cason cemetery. It was past the end of a gravel road. Once the road gave out, you had to walk through the woods, down an old path and fence row that appears to have been a road, for about a quarter mile.
When we got to the cemetery, it was just as Jere Cason had described on his deathbed. It was tucked at the bottom of a hill, and from there, you could look back up the valley of Fall Creek for a long way. The old cemetery was surrounded by a stacked stone wall, about three feet high, with a long-rusted gate at its opening.
Most of the cemetery was grown over, but the stone stood proudly upright, like the people that they remembered. There were stones for Jere and Bettie Cason, several of their children and many members of the children’s families.
Ultimately, even though he talked about his old home place and the cemetery there, when he died in June 1915, Jeremiah H. Cason was not buried in Wilson County, Tennessee. Instead, he was buried in Royce City, Rockwall County, Texas, alongside his wife, Bettie Cooper Cason. Bettie had preceded him in death in 1901. She has a large, impressive marker in the small-ish cemetery of ordinary markers.
Lida wrote to her best friend, Ida, shortly after her father’s death. In this letter (which I suggest you read in full), she talked about how Jeremiah had already selected his monument and was prepared to cross over to the life he was certain of after his death:
Soon after Mamma’s death, Papa had his monument made just like hers. He had all the inscriptions put on it but the date of his death. It was a source of great satisfaction to him the rest of his life – that it was prepared just as he wanted it done. He had no fear of death but enjoyed life. He had many times given us minute directions about the way he was to [be] laid to rest. He had an agreement of years standing with a preacher friend, a lifelong friend, that whichever one survived the other, the other should conduct the funeral service. That also was carried out.
With a start like this to my genealogical career, with ancestors who left Bibles and letters and amazing stories, how could I not be hooked? From that time on, I was stuck on genealogy like the ticks I found on my socks in the cemetery.
Since then, there have been many trips to many cemeteries. At each one, I try to imagine what kind of people these ancestors would have been. How they would have treated the people around them. What their life was like. What the place they lived was like when they were there. Many people think of the cemetery as a place only for the dead and for the grieving. True that grieving is certainly a part of many people’s cemetery experience. But, for me, it’s a place where I try to understand the lives of those who have gone before me.
There’s lots of kinds of surprise that we find in our families. Sometimes, we find a surprise ancestor as we are looking for someone else. Sometimes, in these days of DNA, we find “surprises” of a completely different sort. What was that song? “Your daddy’s not your daddy, but your daddy doesn’t know”? Luckily, I’ve not any any NPEs (non-paternity events) in my research.
Sometimes, our ancestors do surprising things. We can document some of these, but others are stories of legend. I’ve got one of each of those this week. Elizabeth Cooper, “Bettie”, was born 10 Sept 1834 in Bedford County, Tennessee to Micajah Thomas Cooper and his wife Sarah “Sally” Vincent. The family lived near Bell Buckle, Tennessee, which is a very cute little town today with a couple of nice shops and restaurants, and Wartrace, Tennessee. This is the heart of the Tennessee horse country. The Coopers were fairly well to do, not wealthy, but certainly comfortable and above average for their area. So, Bettie grew up in a safe and comfortable world.
In 1855, she met a young preacher, a student at the local college (Union University), Jeremiah H. Cason. Everyone called him Jere (pronounced Jerry). He must have been a convincing and dashing person in person. I have a number of the letters that he wrote to her while they were courting and they were more like sermons than love letters. My wife said that had I courted her with that sort of letter, we would not have just had our 22nd anniversary! But, in person, I am sure he was something special because in June 1856, they were married.
(You’ve met Bettie and Jere before here and here.)
I guess that’s surprise number one – this daughter of a comfortable family marries a preacher, guaranteeing a life of moving from town to town and of certainly a lower standard of living than the one she grew up with. But, it was a role that must have filled her soul. From her letters, she seemed as in tune with his call as he was.
The big surprise for the family was that not only was Jere a preacher, but he was planning to go to the foreign mission field. And he was planning to take Bettie with him! At the outset, there wasn’t a certainty of where they would go. The Baptist Foreign Missions Board would choose where they needed them the most. So, Bettie, from a little town in Middle Tennessee was going to pick up stakes and go somewhere exotic with this young preacher. Maybe China. Maybe Africa. Maybe somewhere else.
The call came shortly after their wedding for them to go to Africa, to the Yoruba Country, in what is today Nigeria. This prospect was both a surprise and a fear for their parents. I wrote in an early blog about a letter I have from Micajah Cooper to Jere and Bettie as they were on their way that talks about how scary this whole prospect was for both of her parents. You can see the letter and read a transcript here.
In August 1856, the boarded a train for New York and in early September, a ship bound for Africa. They landed in Lagos, in Yoruba, in early January 1857 after working their way up the coast of Africa trading in various ports. I am sure that every single day was filled with a million surprises. The places that they served, the four cities of Lagos, Abeokuta, Ijaye, and Ogbomosho, were all large cities, larger than any others in the South. Some of these had over 100,000 people!
The next surprise was a baby girl, born on the first of May, 1857. Tragically, the next surprise was her death on 12 May 1857. They called her Sally Vincent Cason. And the next surprise was likewise difficult. After the birth and death of Sally, Bettie’s health failed resulting in an abrupt and surprising return to America after just a year in Africa.
Do you see what she’s doing?
After their return to America, Bettie and Jere settled in, serving churches in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama. With the Civil War, Jere went off to serve first as a Chaplain and then as a soldier, losing his arm in East Tennessee. After the war, they moved west, serving churches in Arkansas and then across Texas. You can see a map of some of the churches that they served.
Some of these surprising stories are hard to verify. The things we’ve talked about before all have documents to back them up. We have lots of letters and census and official records to show where the family was and when. We have published accounts of their ministry. But the best stories come down in the family.
Both my grandmother, Mary Higgs Wren, and her sister, Bettie Higgs Finney, told me a story of their grandmother, Bettie Cooper Cason. Neither of them actually knew Bettie. But they both knew Jere. So, the story must have come from him or from their mother, Lida Cason Higgs.
Apparently late in the 1800s, while Jere and Bettie were serving a church in west Texas, the circus came to town. Along with the circus came the side show. And this side show had a group of “Savages from Darkest Africa” that the local townsfolk could go an gawk at.
Well, apparently Bettie caused a tremendous stir in that little west Texas town, in the days of segregation, Jim Crow, a very active Klan, and all sorts of discrimination. She went over to the Savages from Darkest Africa and talked to them! Not only did she talk to them, but she talked to them in THEIR OWN LANGUAGE! I am sure that a lot of the old biddies in the town were wagging their tongues for weeks after that. I mean, the scandal of it all. And how in the world did she know the language of the savages, anyway?
But all those years earlier, her surprise marriage led her to a surprise call on her life that led her to a surprise encounter with people from a place in a her past and a chance to not only surprise, but SHOCK her neighbors.
I think I would have liked to know Bettie and Jere. They must have been powerful characters.
I am glad to find that I am not alone in having a hard time figuring out what or who to write about for this week with the prompt “Next to Last”. Jamie Gates over at Applegate Genealogy talked about having a little bit of a writer’s block with this topic as well.
“Next to Last” is a funny thing. Often, you don’t know until considerably after something has happened that it even was the Next to Last. You don’t know that a child is the next to last until it’s completely clear that there are no more children coming to the family. You often don’t know that something is the next to last time that you do something or that you see someone until much later. And usually that means that it wasn’t planned as the next to last.
On the other hand, next to last can be wrapped in anticipation or at least a sense of waiting for something. Remember the next to last final exam at college. Or the next to last day before you were married. We use this as a marker to move toward something.
None of that has anything to do with my topic this week. I was looking at a pedigree chart and wondered how far back my maternal line went. Well, I didn’t have to click far to get that answer. I have only found my maternal ancestors (my mother’s mother’s mother’s mother, and so forth) back about six generations. So, I decided to introduce you to my next to last ancestor on my maternal line. Hopefully I will be able to make this post incorrect before too long and take things back another generation.
Sarah Vincent, often called Sallie, was my great-great-great grandmother on my maternal line. I can only get one more generation beyond her on the maternal line. Seems to me that that’s not terribly far back. Tracking the women is unfortunately difficult, and doing it in the frontier country of western North Carolina and east and middle Tennessee is an added difficulty. But, here’s my line as I know it:
My great-great-grandmother – Elizabeth “Bettie” Cooper, b. 1834, Bedford County, Tennessee, d. 1901, Van Buren, Crawford County, Arkansas
My great-great-great-grandmother – Sarah A. “Sallie” Vincent, b. 1809, Rutherford County (?), Tennessee, d. 1864, Bedford County, Tennessee
My great-great-great-great-grandmother – Elizabeth Adcock, b. 1789, Granville County, North Carolina, d. 1848, Murfreesboro, Rutherford County, Tennessee
It seems so strange to me that some folks get so caught up in their name line – their paternal line. The family tree is a huge thing with many ancestors. To focus so pointedly on the left edge of the tree ignores so much. If you have found your paternal line eight generations back , to your 6th-great-grandfather, you have 510 ancestors in your tree. Of those, 502 of them are not your paternal grandfathers. (By the way, the same thing holds for following the strictly maternal line, too.) There’s so much in the middle of the tree that’s exciting to research.
But, that’s a bit off-topic. Sallie Vincent was born in 1809 in Tennessee. While I have not found a record of exactly where she was born, her father had purchased land in Rutherford County, Tennessee by 1820 and appeared in the 1810 Rutherford County census. So, I think she was probably born in Rutherford County, or nearby.
Her parents were Henry Vincent (b. 1781, Granville County, North Carolina, d. 1841, Rutherford County, Tennessee) and Elizabeth Adcock (b. abt 1789, Granville County, North Carolina, d. before 1837, Rutherford County, Tennessee). Henry and Elizabeth married 30 Sep 1805 in Granville County. So, they moved to Tennessee as a young family. Admittedly, I have not researched this family very thoroughly, but they appear to have had at least five children and at least one was already born before the move to Tennessee. While Granville County, North Carolina was not a big city, they moved into the Tennessee frontier, barely ten years after statehood.
It does not appear that Sallie grew up on a “plantation” by any means. Her father purchased land in Rutherford County and appears to have been a farmer. In the 1820 census, he appears to have one slave. In the 1830 census he is enumerated as having two slaves. I need to search the tax lists to get a better idea of how much land they had.
When she was twenty years old, Sallie married Micajah Thomas Cooper in Rutherford County on 31 March 1829. Micajah was from Rowan County, North Carolina, born there in 1806. He was the son of Henry L. Cooper and Rebecca Hollis. It appears that the family moved to Tennessee somewhere around 1808-1815. Micajah’s grandfather, John Hollis, was already in Rutherford County in time to be enumerated in the 1810 Rutherford County census.
Through the years, Sallie & Micajah moved around Middle Tennessee, from Rutherford County to Coffee County to Bedford County. They ultimately settled around Wartrace in Bedford County by 1834. There, 10 of their 12 children were born (including Bettie, who went to Africa as a missionary in 1856.)
While Sallie was still in her thirties, she lost her mother and her father remarried. She lost her father not many years after that. She saw several of her children die young.
Ultimately, Sallie, herself, died on 22 May 1864 in Wartrace. She was buried at the New Hope Baptist Church in Fairfield, Tennessee. She shares a grave plot with Micajah and some of her children. It’s located immediately in front of the church, right on the driveway, so it’s hard to miss.
So, there you have it. At least for now, Sarah Vincent is the next-to-last in my known maternal line. Hopefully, this won’t be the case forever. I hope to find out more about her and her ancestors. I encourage all of my fellow researchers to take the extra effort to meet and get to know their female ancestor as well as their ancestors from difficult places (like the Carolinas).
What really is an unusual source? Is a Census record unusual? Could be, I suppose, if there were something really odd about it. I suppose lots of ordinary records could be unusual.
Even a regular vital record could be unusual. My grandmother told a story, that I have never been able to validate, that some of her ancestors wanted to marry but their families were against it. So, they asked one of the field hands on the farm, a black man, to get the marriage license for them. He did, and supposedly, their marriage license is recorded in the register of black marriages in that county, even though they were about as far from black as you could imagine, solid Irish stock. That would be unusual. (I’ve never been able to find any proof of this at all. It’s one of the mysteries I would love to prove or disprove.)
But, in this case, I have some records that are a little out of the ordinary to share. Nothing too odd, just not a place I would have thought to go find out the history of my ancestors. Letters written and mailed from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the journals of a Baptist missionary society, and a philatelists’ compilation of steamboat timetables all help to flesh out this story (which has turned out to be longer than I expected)
Bettie was the 4th of 12 children in the family. At least three of these children did not live to adulthood. It appears that Bettie was a twin to Rebecca and that Rebecca died while still a young child, before 1840. Her family was relatively well to do in their neighborhood around Bell Buckle and Wartrace in Bedford County, Tennessee. (If you visit Bell Buckle today, it’s a very cute little town and worth a visit.) In 1860, Micajah reported $8000 in real estate and $15000 in personal property for the Census.
Along the way, Bettie met a dashing young student at Union University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee name Jeremiah H. Cason. How their paths crossed, I don’t really know. He had started preaching when he was about nineteen. Perhaps they met at a camp meeting or at church or something like that. Wartrace and Murfreesboro are not far apart but are not immediately adjacent, either.
I have a nice collection of Jere Cason’s letters that he sent to Bettie while they were courting. Kathleen, my wife, tells me that had I sent her the same sort of courting letters that Jere sent Bettie, we would probably not be here today. They were sort of preachy letters and not exactly the kind of thing that would win her heart. But, I guess that they did the trick.
Jere Cason had big plans. (We’re still getting to the unusual records, I promise.) He very much felt the call to foreign missions. Bettie loved Jere and also felt the call to share her faith in the mission field.
Bettie and Jere married in early July 1856 and spent the summer traveling together and raising money for the mission. Brother Taylor, the leader of the missionary program in the Baptist Foreign Mission board, wondered why they married early in the summer rather than just before leaving, like the other missionaries. But Jere assured him that marrying earlier in the year would make it possible for the two of them to travel together to raise money, and would be able to raise more money for the mission together than Jere could alone.
On 27 August 1856, Bettie and Jere sailed from New York City for the Yoruba Country of Africa along with two other missionary couples. Their traveling companions were Robert W. and Clara Priest from Mississippi and Seldon Y. and Mary Trimble from Kentucky.
Being on a very tight budget, rather than taking a steamship or even a direct sailing ship, they traveled on a trading ship that made its way up the western coast of Africa. This added many days to their trip and made their accommodations not quite first class.
Finally on 13 January 1857, after 115 days at sea, the little band of missionaries landed at Lagos in what is today Nigeria.
Letters are not really an unusual source. Nor are diaries. But a letter, written as a diary, from a ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, mailed ship to ship, is a bit unusual. This is one of my favorite sources. Bettie wrote a letter to her parents while on the ship. She wrote a bit each day and made it a bit of a diary.
This is a fascinating letter. It tells about life on the ship and about her newly married life. I am sure that I will come back to this in a later post. If you are interested, let me know. I have transcriptions of this and all of the letters that I have during their stay in Africa.
One of the funniest comments in the letter is when Bettie talks about how they are faring on the ship.
This has been a delightful day. We have sailing more rapidly than usual, which we are glad of, for our voige has been slow and tedious; though it would be pleasant to us were it not for one thing; the unpleasant smell of the vessel frequently makes us sick, especially of a morning when we first get up but as this is nothing serious, I think we have no reason to complain, but rather rejoice when we look at the other sisters; they have been sea sick all the time & were you to see them you would conclude that you never had seen anyone sick stomache before. This is the thirteenth day we have been on board, and Sister Priest has thrown more or less bile off her stomach every day. My sickness before I left home has proven to be a fortunate thing for me. I have never been sick enough to miss my meals. Mr Cason thinks I look better than I did before I was married.
Another unusual source to learn about Bettie Cooper Cason is the letters of the wives of the other missionaries. At the Foreign Mission Board archives of the Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville, I found the collected correspondence of J.H. Cason and the other Africa missionaries. To my surprise, I also found a number of letters from Clara Priest, wife of R.W. Priest. In particular, one of her letters corroborated part of what Bettie said. Clara talked about the journey on the boat and about the places that they stopped to trade. While Bettie mentioned that a boat had been spotted and that they would trade mail, Clara actually recorded the date, position, and what ship they met. So, I can identify where in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Africa, the letter I have was “mailed”. Of course, however, this was very early in my genealogical career and I made a serious newbie mistake. I failed to make copies of EVERYTHING! I just spent two days tearing the house apart looking for that letter, only to finally find just my notes about the letter. Looks like it’s time to go back to Nashville again.
My unusual sources for this week are about searching in the archives of a church missions organization for information about my ancestor. Along with that, I searched the newsletters of the Baptist Foreign Mission Board. The newsletters and quarterlies printed reports from the missionaries. In the correspondence and reports submitted to the Foreign Missions Board, I found another poignant letter from J.H. Cason, Bettie’s husband, gives a window into their life in Africa. Remember how Bettie was feeling “seasick” only in the morning? In May 1857, she had a daughter. On 15 May 1857, Jere Cason writes:
On the 1st day of May we were delighted by the birth of a fine daughter. It grew and promised well to be raised. On the 12th it died and I followed it to the grave in a small band of Africans. Mrs Cason is doing pretty well and we hope she will be up in a few days.
You wished a good letter this time from me but you may not be accommodated as I am a little jaded mentally and physically from lack of sleep anxiety &c.
Ultimately, Jere and Bettie returned to Tennessee early due to her health. Reading the rest of the (unpublished) correspondence, it seems that things were very tense in the mission field and there was some disagreement about whether it was appropriate to return. But Jere felt like the best thing for his wife’s health was to return home.
Bettie apparently had always had sort of poor health. She was a twin. Her twin sister died as a young child. Losing a child after a few days was hard. She apparently had an injury falling from a horse. But, reading between the lines in some of the letters, it seems like she perhaps had no business going to Africa in the first place.
I have long wondered about their trip home. I felt sure that they landed in New York, since they took a steamship from England. But I could not find them in the passenger lists for New York, which are pretty complete. In one letter, Jere noted that they planned to sail on 4 November 1857 from Southampton in England on the Vanderbilt line and that they expected to arrive on 18 November 1857.
Looking online for 1857 steamship timetables, I found a very complete list from an unusual source. The U.S. Philatelic Classics Society published a book that details all of the known mail ships sailing during the period I was concerned with. It said that on the Vanderbilt line, the steamship Ariel sailed from Bremen, Germany to Southampton, England to New York. It left Southampton on 4 Nov 1857 and arrived on 18 Nov 1857. From that, I was able to look at the Ariel’s passenger list and found why I could never find Jere and Bettie in the index. On the passenger list, their names look much more like Cannon than Cason.
In the end, following the sources for her husband’s occupation to the Archives of the Foreign Missions Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and their publications over the years really provided a much better window into Bettie’s life than I would have had otherwise. So, keep chasing those strange leads that don’t sound like they would lead very far.
I’m sure you will hear more about Bettie in the future, but that’s enough for tonight.
This is the first in a series of “On this day” posts. Today is 1 May 2016. And today, we are going to meet Sallie Vincent Cason, born today in 1857.
I think I have mentioned the Rev. Jeremiah H. Cason and his wife Bettie Cooper Cason before. And I am sure that I will mention them again. They are a big part of my research and of the family stories that were passed down.
Rev. Jeremiah H. Cason, Baptist missionary and preacher, Captain, 41st Alabama Infantry, CSA
Bettie Cooper Cason
Rev. J.H. Cason and his wife Bettie were very early Baptist missionaries to Africa. In September 1856, they and three other missionary couples set out for the Yoruba country, which today is a part of Nigeria. This was one of the very first groups from the Baptist church to go into Africa.
They married 3 July 1856 and spent the summer raising funds for their missionary efforts. They sailed from New York to Africa on a trading vessel, the cheapest and slowest way to get there, and arrived early in January in 1857.
That spring, Jere Cason wrote the following letter to his supervising pastor, Brother Poindexter.
Ijoye, Yoruba, May the 15th 1857
Dear Bro Poindexter
Your kind favor came to hand May 5th. It was a comforting letter and manifested much interest on your part in our mission. We were sorry to learn that Bro Taylor was unwell and hope he has long since been permitted to engage in his duties.
On the 1st day of May we were delighted by the birth of a fine daughter. It grew and
promised well to be raised. On the 12th it died and I followed it to the grave in a small band of Africans. Mrs Cason is doing pretty well and we hope she will be up in a few days.
That little girl was Sallie Vincent Cason, named for Jere’s mother. How sad. But, how matter of fact about things, too. Jere doted on his children and grandchildren. He wrote letters to each grandchild on they day it was born, welcoming that baby to the world. So, you now that he and Bettie were devastated by the death of their daughter. But, they also felt a duty to their call and their mission. I can hardly imagine.
I found this letter through the Baptist Foreign Missions Board archive in Nashville, Tennessee. They sent me copies of all of Jere’s letters. I went to visit them and made copies for myself of the letters from the other missionaries serving with them. It’s such an amazing thing for the archivist to bring a box of letters that are 160 years old, that were mailed back to the US from Yoruba, Africa.
He never really thought it would come to this. His oldest daughter (one had died as a young child, so now she was his oldest) was leaving home. Not just leaving home, leaving her comfortable home in middle Tennessee, but really leaving! Going to Africa, maybe never to come home. And as a father, he was worried and a bit scared. So, as she left, he wrote her a letter.
Micajah Thomas Cooper was born in 1806 in Rowan County, North Carolina. His family moved to first Cannon County, then Rutherford County, Tennessee by about 1810. They settled in the Woodbury area and then moved south into Rutherford County. In 1829, Micajah married Sarah A. “Sallie” Vincent in Rutherford County. They had twelve children together and lost at least three of the twelve as children. Micajah was a fairly successful farmer. He bought land in Rutherford County, in the Bell Buckle area and grew to have a farm valued at $8000 in 1860, with personal property valued at $15000.
Micajah and Sallie’s daughter, Elizabeth “Bettie” Cooper, was born in 1834. By the fall of 1855 and spring of 1856, she had become quite attached to student at the Union College in nearby Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He was studying to be a preacher, a Baptist preacher. He wanted to share the Gospel not only to the people of middle Tennessee, but across the globe. This student, Jeremiah H. Cason, wanted to be a missionary in the foreign service. And Bettie wanted to serve with him, wherever that service would take him.
Micajah and Sallie raised Bettie to be a devout Christian, but this was never what they saw as her future! The wife of a preacher? A missionary? And Africa? What kind of dangers would she face there? Was this anywhere for a nice Tennessee girl to be?
Bettie and Jere married in July 1856 and by September that year, they boarded a sailing ship for the Yoruba County of Africa (today’s Nigeria). Not knowing whether he would ever see his daughter again, Micajah took pen to paper and wrote them a letter, hoping it would find them before they sailed. In it, he sent them on their way with his blessing, but with more than a little sadness and trepidation.
At Home Aug 10th 1856
My heart was very much gladdened on the reception of your short letter from Augusta and again by a similar one from Richmond. I hasten to write you a few lines which will have to be consise[sic] – first I would say we have tryed[sic] to submit to your departure with all the fortitude we are capable and am happy to say your mother has bore it better than I could have expected – but not a day has passed that she has not alluded to you – but I busy her up the best I can and mention the importance of your mission and the consciousness you feel – that you are discharging a duty to that God who willeth not that any should perish but that all should have eternal life. This reflection is gratifying but you know how human nature is such that it is hard for us to be willing to be separated from children who would afford us so many pleasures along the journey of life – but enough on this subject – we are all in good health and attending the Garrison Camp Meeting.
Bettie and Jere stayed in Yoruba for about a year, but that’s a story for a different day.
Micajah and Sallie died. She in 1864 and he in 1874 during a visit to a daughter in Kentucky. Both are buried right in front of the New Hope Baptist Church, in Fairfield, Bedford County, Tennessee.