FOLLOWING AN UNSUCCESSFUL REVIVAL, A DISHEARTENED MISSIONARY PREACHER LAMENTS, “AFTER I LEFT THERE I WEPtT OVER THE LOSS OF SUCH AN OPPORTUNITY OF WINNING SOULS TO CHRIST; Letter from a Presbyterian minister in the heart of Wisconsin’s lead-mining district to the secretary of the American Home Missionary Society
Mineral Point, Wisconsin to New York City: 1850. Envelope or Cover. This three-page stampless folded letter measures 16” x 10” unfolded. It is datelined “Wyoming Valley Iowa County April 1st 1850” and bears an “X” rate handstamp and circular “Mineral Point / Wis.T.” postmark dated April 2, both in blue. In nice shape. A transcript will be provided.
In this letter Loughlin first relates the death of
“one of our most valued female members She had been confined to her room for near ten months and during that time had not been able to sit up but very little During her long and severe illness she was remarkably patient and submissive to the will of her heavenly Father For some months before her death she seemed ardently to desire ‘to depart and be with Christ’ which she felt would be ‘far better’ for here than to remain in this sinful world [but] before her departure the enemy seemed permitted to come in like a flood and for a season she was much distressed [and worried] ‘O how dreadful will it be if I have all this time been deceiving myself with a false hope’ [however she] gained the victory over the enemy and afterward was to the end calm and peaceful I have been much affected by the death of this dear sister . . . I feel dear brethren encouraged that God has used my feeble powers in assisting . . . this precious soul for the bright courts of glory. . ..”
He then proceeds to describe his disappointment after participating in a revival:
“I have spent one sabbath at Pine River and . . . I was greatly discouraged. . .. The Methodists had just closed a series of meetings [however] they had accomplished but very little two or three backslides having been retained I felt that the blessing of God and a properly conducted effort might result in much good for there were a number of young persons beginning to manifest considerable anxiety for the salvation of their souls. . .. I told those favorable to our denomination that if they thought best I would return in a day or two and continue the effort. . .. But there was not one of them willing to assume the responsibility although . . . years might pass away without such another opportunity being offered them I felt this deeply and after I left there wept over the loss of such an opportunity of winning souls to Christ. . ..”
And closes with a funding plea,
“Dear brethren I have again to call on you for the quarterly account promised by your society I want to pay my debts just as fast as I can The amount is 37.50 which you will please send as soonas convenient Was there not a small mistake in my last draft? I make the account 25.65 instead of 24.65 the amount of the draft sent me. . .. yours in Christ A D Laughlin”. Very good. Item #009667
Mineral Point was the hub of Wisconsin’s lead mining district and an important boom town. Statehood ceremonies were conducted there in 1848 (it’s unclear why the post office was still using a territorial postmark in 1850) and a state seal, a miner’s arm holding a pick over a pile of lead, was first displayed.
The American Home Missionary Society was a multi-denominational Protestant organization formed in 1826 "to assist congregations that are unable to support the gospel ministry, and to send the gospel to the destitute within the United States." (See The Home Missionary, Volumes 23-24 and The New York State Register for 1858, both online.)A nice first-hand account of a missionary preacher attempt to establish a church in a mining boom town.