Mailing List:1999-06-19 03, Esau J. Whitney (Jr.) of Minnesota, by Allan E. Green

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Mailing List Archives > 1999-06-19 03, Esau J. Whitney (Jr.) of Minnesota, by Allan E. Green

From: <ALLAGREEN -at- aol.com> Subject: [WHITNEY-L] Esau J. Whitney (Jr.) of Minnesota Date: Sat, 19 Jun 1999 23:08:11 EDT Dear WRG: In clearing through old papers as a part of the process of deciding what to throw out and what to pack up to move, I came across a letter from the Minnesota Historical Society, dated Apr. 29, 1996. We left for our last trip to England and Europe on May 13th of that year, and I know this was set aside to take care of later and then migrated to the bottom of a pile. Thus, I am sure I never informed the WRG about it, either. Somewhere I had discovered that the Minnesota Historical Society had some Whitney papers. I wrote to ask about them and received a response, the material mentioned above. The letter said: "Enclosed is a photocopy of the inventory description to the Esau J. Whitney correspondence. You can request photocopies of these letters." It goes on about charges. The inventory description then said: DESCRIPTION OF THE LETTERS The letters of 1854-1856 are primarily love letters written by Whitney to Rachel Ellis in Ionia, Michigan, while he was living in Whitney Valley, New York. He discusses the opposition of his family to their wedding plans and his intention to go to the West. Some of the letters contain poems." "Five letters of 1859 were written from Princeton, Minnesota, to Rachel who remained in Ionia with their daughter, Sarah (Nettie). A letter of August 1 contains a map of the area and a description of a journey to Green Lake. [NB from AEG - I've swum in that lake many times] His letters generally describe the land and soil, the prairie, weather, crops, neighbors (August 6), and Rachel's journey to join him. On August 14 he writes of the damage by a tornado(?), and includes a description of the town of Anoka. A letter of March 22, 1886, from Silas Sprague (Ionia, Mich.), contains details about settling the estate of Rachel's father." BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH "Esau J. Whitney was born in 1829 in New York. [He appears in Witney13 as Esau Jr, b. abt 1830, no further data] In 1859 he moved to Minnesota with his father and brother (Benjamin) to stake out claims in Princeton Township, Mille Lacs County. Rachel Ellis was born in New York in 1835 and was living in Ionia, Michigan, during the time the letters were written. They were married about 1856 and had a daughter, Sarah (b. 1857). Rachel remained in Michigan when Whitney went to Minnesota, but joined him in Princeton in the fall of 1859. Rachel later married Jonas R. Hill and continued to live in Princeton." I know we have (or have had) some members who are interested in the families of Whitney Valley in New York, and I also know that a few are interested in Whitneys who lived in Minnesota. If these materials can be of use to some of you, I'll follow up and order them for transcription later and posting on the "whitneygen" website. I won't get it done until next fall, however, after my relocation to Maryland. Alternatively, if someone else wants to tackle the project out of a greater sense of urgency, I would be glad to furnish anyone with the details of how to get copies made from the Minnesota Historical Society. On the other (third?) hand, if someone has already secured copies of these letters, please let me know -- and I would suggest sending them to Tim for placement on our website. Allan E. Green


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