Friday, February 25, 2011

The Sarah Chandler Hess (3563) Letters from Decatur, Illinois (1856 – 1858)

Sarah Chandler (3563), the sister of William Chandler Jr.(3562), married Samuel Hess, apparently in the early 1850s and apparently in Ohio. Gilbert Cope, the family genealogist, does not record the date of the wedding, nor does he note any children resulting from the marriage.

In late June of 1856, Sarah and Samuel Hess moved by covered wagon from Chillicothe, Ohio to Decatur, Illinois. A July 4, 1856 letter was written during the trip west. The trip is again described in the first letter from Decatur. Over the next two years Sarah wrote a series of letters to family in Chillicothe describing life in Decatur and Sarah’s and Samuel’s efforts to adjust to their new setting.

In March, 1858, the final letter of the series is written by Samuel Hess informing the family in Chillicothe of Sarah’s death. The letters, while providing interesting details about Decatur in the mid-1850s, offer an even more compelling look at Sarah as her health declines and home sickness for her family colors her views of Decatur and its people.

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