Crain, William, Rev. Correspondence, Financial Records, and Other Materials, 1829-1859 | Illinois History and Lincoln Collections
This collection consists of correspondence addressed to or relating to Reverend William Crain and his family, financial records such as receipts and promissory notes, and other materials such as legal documents and a typed family history, dating from 1829-1859.
Reverend William Crain was born in Virginia in 1802. He trained as a Methodist preacher in Kentucky and traveled throughout Kentucky and Missouri as a circuit rider when he turned eighteen. A circuit is a specific geographic route by which a preacher would travel to new or established congregations by appointment of their Bishop. Circuit riders often traveled 200-500 miles by horse around these circuits. He settled in Schuyler County, Illinois in 1834 with his wife, Harriet E. Tong Crain, and her uncle, Abraham Newfield. He died at age eighty-two on November 3, 1884.
This collection contains correspondence addressed to or relating to Reverend William Crain and his family. Correspondence includes letters from family in Kentucky, as well as letters from other circuit preachers in Kentucky and Missouri seeking advice on the profession or discussing the state of their religious activities and church matters. Family correspondence includes notes on births and deaths, the prices for produce and land in Kentucky, and news of family members heading West to places like Oregon and Iowa. This collection also contains financial records such as receipts and promissory notes, ledgers relating to subscriptions to the "Christian Advocate" in New York, and notes on church expenditures for hymnals and other purposes. Many of these financial records were mailed to Reverend Crain as attachments to correspondence. Other materials include legal documents relating to the settling of the estates of John Crain, William Crain's father, and of James Ford Tong, Harriet Crain's father, who was one of the original "Old Three Hundred" settlers in Austin's Colony, Texas. There is also a typed brief family history written by R. W. Crain.
The Library purchased this collection with the assistance of the Stone Family Endowment in 2021.
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